Come Along

Day 108

Parker_Barbara_1You already know this by now, but I’m from the Seattle area.  So when Justin Valente posted on SoundCloud something called “Hendrix Jam” ( I was inclined to listen, adding to the fact that anytime Justin posts, I hit “Play” and “Download” at almost exactly the same time.  He is a wonderful guitarist who makes the blues cry and sing…love it.  But this purely rock session is Hendrix stripped down to the essence of what made his music so astounding and enduring.  It was a great listen that got me out of the house and into the studio…totally inspired to ‘touch the sky.’  In fact, the resulting painting is part of a new series called “Elements” and is called, simply, ‘Sky’.  I was happy enough with it that it is already hanging in a gallery show – barely dry, but dry enough 🙂 

Strange, in a way, that the evolving guitar is a result of searching through the old barn for creative materials.  I came across tow chains that hang out there for months without use, but every once in a great while are just the thing needed to handle and emergency.  I can’t say that needing a guitar is much of an emergency, but there are days when it feels like it might be.

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Chain Gang


Now, one more thing.  My friend Bill sent me the math guitar which is something that just gives me so much joy, so much hope, so much true appreciation for the left brained people of the world – I’d never heard of the Mandelbrot Set – which, considering that it is fractal geometry, is not surprising.  Wikipedia defines the Mandelbrot Set as:

The Mandelbrot set M is defined by a family of complex quadratic polynomials

P_c:\mathbb C\to\mathbb C

given by

P_c: z\mapsto z^2 + c,

where c is a complex parameter. For each c, one considers the behavior of the sequence

(0, P_c(0), P_c(P_c(0)), P_c(P_c(P_c(0))), \ldots)

obtained by iterating P_c(z) starting at critical point z = 0, which either escapes to infinity or stays within a disk of some finite radius. The Mandelbrot set is defined as the set of all points c such that the above sequence does not escape to infinity.

A mathematician’s depiction of the Mandelbrot set M. A point c is coloured black if it belongs to the set, and white if not. Re[c] and Im[c] denote the real and imaginary parts of c, respectively.

More formally, if P_c^n(z) denotes the nth iterate of P_c(z) (i.e. P_c(z) composed with itself n times), the Mandelbrot set is the subset of the complex planegiven by

M = \left\{c\in \mathbb C : \exists s\in \mathbb R, \forall n\in \mathbb N, |P_c^n(0)| \le s \right\}.

As explained below, it is in fact possible to simplify this definition by taking s=2.

Mathematically, the Mandelbrot set is just a set of complex numbers. A given complex number c either belongs to M or it does not. A picture of the Mandelbrot set can be made by colouring all the points c which belong to M black, and all other points white. The more colourful pictures usually seen are generated by colouring points not in the set according to how quickly or slowly the sequence |P_c^n(0)| diverges to infinity. See the section on computer drawings below for more details.

The Mandelbrot set can also be defined as the connectedness locus of the family of polynomials P_c(z). That is, it is the subset of the complex plane consisting of those parameters c for which the Julia set of P_c is connected.

Mandelbrot Set

OK, so you have that, right?  More importantly to me, as Bill pointed out, may be the fact that regardless of the number of pixels in a Mandelbrot image, you can very, very often find a guitar.  Or, as I discovered – the left brain in color…  There are a mess of these, each weirder and more beautiful than the last.  Oddly perfect for the whole Hendrix vibe…Mandelbrot


Day 107

911249_10200650781983531_1494948954_nOK, I’ll open with the extra, which is making rounds on the internet – the very negative space cloud formation I have either been searching for all  my life, or have been seeing…not sure which by now.  God speed George Jones, and from the looks of this, it looks like you are wished the same by so many.  You represented a generation of musicians that were the ones who lived to see ‘country western‘ become some hybrid between Opry and rock and roll…and you made it work for you.  Godspeed indeed Possum, or No Show, or just George.

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Paeonia suffruticosa saxifragales

My entry, meanwhile, is more about spring again – the tree peony is in full bloom and those glorious, lightly scented poms were just too tempting.  The tree peony blooms at least a month before the others.  It is a kind of promise, and a promise answered – winter is finally over and there is so much more to come.  How can I not feel good about life?

Durable Goods

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It is a relatively well kept secret that I have training as an interior designer – but there are suppliers and manufacturers who still insist on sending me fabric samples – bless ’em.  One of the aspects of interior design that I love the very, very most, is the sense of being in front of home fashion – in the loop for the colors that will be pushed to popular in a given year, and for fabrics that will reflect those somewhat arbitrary choices.  It helps that I get to work with a client here and there – this limited interaction keeps me from getting too carried away, but also allows me to exercise my education and curiosity.

I like the opportunity to work on small projects both in commercial and residential settings, so it is that I get information from a broad spectrum of suppliers.  It gives me an opportunity to cross pollinate the two…sometimes a commercial product can be the very durable good needed in a household, and from time to time, a clearly residential touch can make a huge difference in a commercial space.  OK, that is the view from my perspective – and pollinating even further into a clearly different realm, I give you a durable fabric guitar.

The Return of Fagus Sylvatica

Day 105

In my litany of gifts I was expecting from the European beech tree, I failed to mention the spring moment when the tree started dropping flowers.  In view that I don’t get a chance to finish with the leaf hulls before the blooms start, I don’t know how I  missed that, but I have been issued my reminder.

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A broom is useless…

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Harbingers of nuts to come

I was in a coffeeshop in Port Angeles, Washington one time when the guy next to me asked me where I was from (seriously, he did not ask me from whence I had come.)  Actually, I am from right down the road in Poulsbo. Washington, but by then I was already living in Maryland.  When I told him that, he nodded rather sagely and said “Hard woods” before going back to his coffee.  It brought into sharp contrast my then and now – loggers vs. farmers at the coffee shop, fir and cedar vs. oak and yes, beech.  Cones vs. nuts.  All of that to say that nut bearing trees are different.  In my naivete I never really thought about nut trees blooming at all, to be honest, though now I am familiar enough to have actually built structures, and not just guitars from the delicate little puffs of bloom.  Yes, that is what I call them.  Sure it is, as I am as I am taking the power blower to them yet again…trying to get them off the deck and steps before it rains and transforms their sodden little masses into paste…yes.  Delicate wee puffs they are.

As to anything else I may have omitted about the tree, I apologize to the tree, hopefully far enough in advance to get a chance to clean up the bloom before the reminder is delivered.

Tune Tech

Day 104

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Tuning fork, electronic tuner, chromatic tuner – if they were buried in layers, it would be archaeology

Of course I was looking for something totally unrelated, but I started coming across tools I have used over the years to make sure that I was playing my guitar somewhere near in tune.  The way things are around here, if I keep looking for totally unrelated things, I’ll probably find my first pitch pipe.  Which was, of course, meant for starting my voice out near where it should have been, but well, the concept is the same.  By the way, although I have all this gear, there IS an app for that – and I have it too.  I must never want to be caught out of tune again.

Another small bonus – this from Peggy traveling in Dingle, Ireland:

photo (26)

Another Blue Guitar

Day 103

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Branagh – a most trustworthy and loyal assistant

103_365 GuitarsI have had to accept that childhood was much harder than I remember.  It seems like every time I take on another “kid” medium that I find it much more involved than I anticipate.  However, it does give me a chance to laugh at myself, so it is not a bad thing.  But really.  My hat is off to children everywhere.  They would not have broken a sweat with a giant chalk yard guitar.  Which leads my idle mind to wondering if there isn’t a chalk guitar somewhere on a hillside in Britain…quick Alfred!  To the internet!  Nope.  All those horses, and the Cerne Giant with no music.  I’m sure there is one somewhere – they haven’t found it yet…

It is a beautiful, clear day today.  A great day for an update from Google  maps…at least it feels like you can see this from space.

Even the Green Man Has a Guitar

Day 102

I wandered out toward the woods garden to see what kind of wild blooming I might find…and lo!  There it was.  It has been there since long before this project began, a remnant of what I found when I planted much of what has gone native now.  Everything that was planted with their Latin names fresh on my tongue…now I can’t remember most of the common names, though I am happy to see them all in bloom and so obviously thriving.  If I sit quietly for awhile, the names will all come back, but for now, I’m going to just revel in the mystery of a guitar showing up nestled in the flowers of the wild-ish.  102_365 Guitars

Maybe You Had To Be There

Day 101

101_365 GuitarsI like to try to find guitars in everyday things – and in the wildly unusual as well.  I’m not sure quite how to classify, under those definitions, the act of cleaning out the interior of my car as relates to finding a guitar…somewhere between “yay, so what?” and “wow! Did your gas mileage improve?”  OK, there are times it looks like I live in my car.  But I live safely.  Perhaps it is hard to see – I couldn’t get good lighting so I fiddled with the photo, but this guitar represents only things found in my car – and readily at hand to boot.  So what started out as photographic evidence that there is in fact a bottom to the cup holders became a guitar made with the life hammer, and yes, a shaker.  One does not text with good music on the sound system and an egg shaker in hand.  Nor does one (I love to refer to myself as “one”) get as riled up about other drivers nearly as often.  It works out a lot of excess energy that really has no where to go behind the wheel.  It helps one focus.  So perhaps the photo is obscured…there are actual limits to what you can do without a proper software and camera…

A Milestone of Sorts

Day 100

Going into triple digits here, and I really thought that I would plan something very, very special for today’s post.  What I have learned about this project to date is that planning is rarely a part of it – preparedness is not a virtue.  Whew.  What that has done for me is to force me to open my eyes to opportunity, and to jump on it as soon as possible.

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Frost guitar

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Here comes the sun

This morning’s entry is a prime example.  When I looked out this morning and saw frost on the grass, sparkling in the rising sun, my first thought was that it was beautiful, then I wondered how the tender plants made out over night, then I thought – and the sun hasn’t touched the front yard yet, and there is frost out there!  Thank goodness my neighbors are not really nearby – of course, over the years they have come to just sort of accept that I’m a little bat-flap crazy, but this drawing a guitar in the frost dressed only in a flannel nightshirt and a pair of Uggs, holding a cell phone – sounds like evidence in my commitment hearing…  “But, your Honor, the sun was coming up and I only had a couple of minutes to act…”  Yes.  Hmmm.

Once again, if you have gotten here through the Word Press tags…welcome.  I had to go with them this morning, though I am really puzzled by the Little Bear connection.  It gives me something to mull over with my coffee…

Out to Breakfast

Day 99

Somehow, the inference is better than “out to lunch”…

Anyway, breakfast at The Kitchen in Rock Hall this morning.  Great food and a handy guitar.  Can’t beat that.  99_365 Guitars