Summer Is …

June 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Although technically speaking we have not reached summer season yet, we have had such gloriously sunny and warm days that it does feel like it. With a 18C water temperature at our local beach and 25C in the air, this is probably as good as it gets!! Then i can confidently say that summer is:

Picking up bouquets of wildflowers ….

Getting ready for wild strawberry season …

Outdoor eating …

and summer is also allergy season …

Show Time!!

May 31, 2013 § 3 Comments

I never would have imagined that passion flowers (passiflora) would grow and bloom in these northern latitudes. Coming from an equatorial land wherein the scorching sun works up the ground for these exuberant creatures, I thought that this fierce warmth was a minimum requirement for their growth. I was wrong.

One day after a trip to the local plant nursery, I came back home with one plant partially convinced by the owner that they could thrive here as well, albeit in a more limited manner. I decided to give it a try knowing how much butterflies love their flowers. After three weeks of skeptical waiting and with day temperatures ranging between 16– 23C, show time finally arrives!!

Is this an amazing capacity for adaptation or gene manipulation? I don´t know and for the time been, I´ll just rejoice in its beauty.

 

Black-and-White Photography

May 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

I like black-and-white photos. In many occasions color is too distracting. Yet the absence of color lets you focus in the essentials like shapes, composition, shadows and lights. The interplay between black, grey and white can be as rich and nuanced as you wish. It can bring drama to a scene or it can enhance a sense of serenity.

A black-and-white photo is not one missing color, but one created without color. There are many master photographers that have specialized in monochrome pictures, probable one of the best is Sebastiao Salgado. Although some people have criticized his latest turn to environmental and nature photography after having documented for more than three decades the conflicts and miseries of the world, whatever you think of him take a look at his website for a review of the unlimited possibilities of photography in its monochromatic version.

P.S. I was asked by a friend whether in our lives color is also too distracting, too domineering? Whether the present time is characterized by an ever expanding need to “color” everything and to focus only on rainbows and not appreciate enough the depth provided by just black,white and grey?

 

Of Calligraphy

April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

When i was a child i loved calligraphy. I could spend long stretches of time practicing the different ways to write the letters. Some gave me a lot of trouble, i never quite managed to write beautiful M´s or F´s, but overall i thought that if something was worthwhile writing, it should be written in a beautiful way (or as beautiful as possible). The advent of computers changed all this. Today it´s very rare that someone takes handwritten notes in schools or universities, not to mention letters, invitations, and so on. In some darkish societal corners some people may still appreciate calligraphy, but in general I would say is not a very practiced art.

I don´t practice anymore calligraphy, although I still pay attention to my handwriting. Yet when i walk or drive around a city and I  notice commercial signs done with beautiful font designs, my old passion is rekindled. Here are some of the ones i have encountered in Norway that to me have the added charm of bygone eras …

Oslo Vollen Bakeri

Flying Divers

April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Is it not incredible that just when you are busily walking down a street, your mind going over a thousand things, suddenly you lift your eyes and see a mini-army of flying divers ready to jump into the water?

This was the surprise waiting for me behind the Radisson Plaza in Oslo. The front facade is very nice, the tallest building in the city a lot of glass and shine, but if you walk around the area behind the hotel the impression is a bit different. The run down neighborhood, some semi-abandoned remodelling projects next to the river (which at this time of the year is rather poor in water) and a lot of grey, anonymous buildings, give an overall impression of decay. Yet amid the squalidness of the area, the flying divers manage to lift up the view and provide something to wonder at.

In Paris

April 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

Ohhh Paris … My lovely Paris in spring. This past weekend I was in Paris with some Venezuelan friends and we decided to check the Jesus Soto exhibition at the Pompidou. The exhibition was rather small, there were twenty works, but according to the brochure from the museum “the collection of 20 landmark works from between 1955 and 2004, donated to the state by the artist’s family, fill in some significant gaps and offer further insights into his artistic journey. Centre Pompidou is exhibiting this exceptional group of works for the first time.

I guess that the fact that your work is exhibited at the Pompidou should be good enough for an artist, but i could not avoid a vague feeling of dissatisfaction at the whole set up of the work. It seemed like it was done a bit in a hurry, to get over with it. Not much attention to details … Yet, I could not help but to notice that the whole Pompidou was a bit like that. One visit to the bathrooms at the ground floor and a grand view of the foyer coming down from the stairs was enough to elicit a sensation that the center was already showing its age. “The Pompidou needs a dose of TLC” said one of my friends, I could not agree more. Although the center underwent its last renovation work in December 1999, it is in need of further help. Maybe the finances are in dire straits and therefore the present status …? I missed the Munch exhibition from last year, which supposedly was a huge success, but perhaps that was not enough to collect money to invest in the center? God knows but the Pompidou definitively needs a refreshment!!

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