Tag Archives: design

Fine Art : Gourmet Food for the Senses


People continue to work, eat and play surrounded by drab industrialized cookie cutter styled walls. It’s amazing how so many people allow their walls to stay boring.  The sad truth is plain walls are boring and depressing.


Bored and fighting depression is not what you want at home or in the work place. It will affect the way your thoughts, moods and even your health.  It’s depressing working in a place where the only flash of style or inspiration is the dead remains of a malnourished houseplant.  When people work and live in dull and non-inspiring conditions they produce dull and non-inspiring work.  People are constantly searching for new ways to increase their productivity.  How?  Fine art is your answer.


If art is food for the senses then fine art is gourmet food.  Whether it is sculpture, painting, or photographic in nature, art provides mental stimulation in places like meeting rooms or even classrooms.  Fine art  in your living room can show the type of tastes and styles that you love to be surrounded with and will inspire and emotionally recharge  you.  In fact, the art you display in your home or office communicates volumes to those who visit you. Fine art is the same for a room as wearing that power tie to a meeting or that black dress to the social event.    What does your art say? Are you gourmet?

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5 Reasons to Enjoy Cacti

Growing a cactus is generally a love it or hate it part of the gardening world.  They make some of the best plants to grow and it’s even possible to plant varieties that produce fruit and eaten.

Some of the advantages of cactus in a garden are:

  • Low maintenance –  You really don’t need to worry about watering them everyday.  In the Texas summer when the temperature reach 105° in the shade, the heartiness of  a cactus plant is well suited to the dry and drought  conditions of August.  You do want to generally avoid tall-growing cacti such as a Sedona like cactus due to the intense storms that can roll off of the Great Plains.   A tree branch being torn from a tree in a 70 mph wind gust is bad enough, but an entire cactus with spines?  That’s a little frightening.
  • Little trimming –  Generally, you can let a cactus plant grow as it wishes however, if a cactus ever needs trimming make sure to use heavy work gloves and a good pair of garden shears.
  • Go long periods without nourishment  – Cactus can survive in desert climes with little water and little minerals from dusty and rocky soil.   Miracle-grow isn’t a necessity.
  • Cacti put out fruit that used in various candies and jams –  I learned this 1st hand when I was a student in archaeological field school.  Along with learning how the Native Americans cooked turtles, not for the weak of stomach, we foraged for prickly pear fruit during our time off.   It’s full of moisture and is just the thing when your hot and thirsty.
  • Security –  One of the most overlooked reasons for having a cactus garden is security.  Placing cactus strategically under windows is a great deterrent to a burglar.  Also, you can plant them as a border for other plans in a garden.  They serve as a natural defense against animals like dogs and coyotes.


There are some down side to cactus in a garden.

Cacti that receives too much water too much can start to rot and become an invitation to rodents and insects.

The largest deterrent to a cactus garden is pets and small children.  The curiosities of pets  or children child under 10 years old are generally not compatible with cactus.  These critters need to be trained about these plants so that a painful trip to an emergency room or veterinarian is not necessary.

Here is a good website with some further information about cacti:



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Delphiniums: Reds, Whites, and Blues

When I took this picture I saw several things.  The first was a really cool blue stalk with gorgeous white and blue layered flowers.  The second was that the stalks of flowers  silhouetted against a field of pink and reds.  The color is so vivid and alive.    However, the plant is a mystery to me.

I admit that I’m not much of a gardener.  Living in a rather urban setting, there are few opportunities to practice growing anything more than an odd tulip now and again.  I should say that between tornadoes, hail storms, and the oppressive drought or summer heat from May to October, it is difficult to grow long-term plants that don’t end up looking like they had a 3 round fight with a weed-trimmer.

There was no sign telling me what kind of plant I was looking at.  Therefore, I did what anyone would do.  I Googled it.  This hybrid flower is one of the 300 species of the Delphinium plant.  It is a perennial found in many gardens throughout the world.  Gardeners are fond of the large spires of flowers and the unique color combinations that are found.  I discovered that they are only grown outside of the comfort zone of a cool climate like Alberta and Colorado as annuals.  Otherwise, they remain classified as perennials.   They remain a favorite with butterflies and hummingbirds.  However, it’s best to keep dogs and toddlers away from them as they are quite toxic and can make them very ill.

I’d imagine the Texas heat in July and August would melt them which would explain why I hadn’t seen this type of flower being grown around Dallas before.

I found this website gives good information on the different types of Delphinium available.

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3 Ways Space Appears in Your Art

The power of space makes it the last frontier of the art elements. Space is a vital element of any art. It simply is there.  This element is both existent and non-existent at the same time.

There are several varieties of space each having an exact opposite.  Space in fine art is rather mathematical in form.  As with any formula, what you give to one side of the equation you must take from the other.    If you take away the positive or open space you get more negative or closed and vice versa.

The kinds of space are:

  1. Positive and Negative- Sometimes determined by white for positive and black for negative, it is generally the area occupied by an object or the empty are around the object.
  2. Open and Closed- the area inside a circle refers to closed space while the outside of the circle is open.
  3. 2 Dimensional or 3 Dimensional – this is a study in perspective.  Since all pictures are actually flat.  Any 3 dimensional drawing is therefore an illusion.

I’ve always liked the linear example illusion of 3 dimensional space. If you look at a railway or a road in a picture you’ll see that the two edges of the road will appear as parallel lines that begin to converge on a single point in the distance.  This creates illusions of depth in the photograph.

Rush Hour in Chama

In photography, space is one of the most important of the elements.  The artist regularly uses positive and negative space to highlight an object while making another object seem unimportant.  The use of depth of field allows the subject of the photograph to appear crystal clear and the center of attention while another object appears blurred in the background giving an open space that defines the intended subject.

Another example  in photography is the white or black backdrop found in a typical photographers portrait studio. The person having their picture taken is clear and in focus while the background is out of focus and provides a clear distinction between what is important, the model, and what is not, the background.

Whether a piece of fine art is a photograph, sculpture, or painting, space is where the action is or isn’t.   Space is a vital transmitter of  emotion and feeling in any piece of art.  It is the last frontier of elements in world of fine art photography.

Do You Think of Textures When You Are Taking A Photograph?

When I think of texture my mind always thinks of a burlap bag.  Why?  I guess it is my own personal definition or association with the word.  The rough fibers, the feel of the hemp or flax, all of these help give the Burlap a certain feel.  But I also think of wine.  The silky smoothness and feel of a perfectly aged and aerated wine on the palate.   Texture means things both real and imagined.

We say a wine has a complex texture but we are not really referring to the actually feeling of the wine, it’s a liquid after all.  Instead we are looking for clues to its imaginary feel.  We want a velvety smooth wine, but that is just an imaginary description.   Have you ever put velvet in your mouth?  I doubt it is as inspiring as a good claret.  Like wine, texture in art and photography is not just about the physical sensations discovered when you touch it.  In both the painting and photographic realms it is also about the visual imaginative “feel” that a work of art has.

In painting an artist may rely on texture to relay a feeling of heaviness to the viewer. Piling the paint in thick strokes upon the canvas do this.  This use of texture coincides with lines, color, and shape to create the illusion that an object is real.

So what is the lowly photographer to do?  Photographs do not have paint to supply that 3rd dimension.  This is true, but we have our own set off tools to do the job.

In the physical realm to print our pictures on many different kinds of objects.  We can give a photograph texture by printing it on a certain canvas; we can even print the image on metal to give it a polished look.  I’ve also seen pictures printed on glass so that the light shines through the glass lighting up the picture and giving it a reflective texture.

The photographer can also offer visual texture in an image in several other ways. The most obvious is to create a photograph of a physical texture.  A close up portrait of a burlap bag would be an example.  The picture itself doesn’t have a physical texture but it does have a visual one.  Other objects that can offer texture in photographs include glass, metal, bricks, rocks, water, and wood.

When we see these imagines,  a part of the brain that identifies them according to our own experiences through our senses.  When I see grass, I don’t have to touch it to know what it feels like in my hands or on my feet. You don’t have to touch molten iron to know it’s hot.  My brain and imagination does this for me.  The photographer can use this to give the viewer familiarity  with the subject of the photograph, thus imparting the experience  the photographer wishes.

What are your favorite textures?  Do you think of textures when you are taking a photograph?

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