Thursday, January 31, 2013


Laura works at Three Ladies Antiques on Park Road in West Hartford.  They sell a variety of antiques like paintings, books, furniture, jewelry and rugs.

When I wear my glasses up there like Laura, things look blurry.  Kind of like the background.  Which I intended to be blurred.  Really.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Richardson Building

Marriott has built a Residence Inn into the shell of the old Richardson Building on Main Street in Hartford.

It was designed by the noted architect H. H. Richardson and opened in 1875 as the R. and F. Cheney Building.   The Cheneys operated a silk manufacturing business, which occupied space on the upper stories.  The first level housed several smaller stores.  Later, for many years it was the home of the Brown Thompson department store.  Today, in addition to the hotel, the building has a couple of restaurants and bars.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Woodland Stream, 1897

Let's look at John J. Enneking's 1897 oil painting, A Woodland Stream, exhibited at the New Britain Museum of American Art.  Enneking was one of the early American impressionists.  He was born in Ohio, trained in Paris, and then settled in Boston where he resided and painted for several decades.

We will start by noticing the painting over the shoulder of a comely woman, Artemis, who was sculpted by Bela Lyon Pratt.  Pratt was on the faculty of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts art school, so he and Enneking shared a Boston connection.

Enneking was called the sunset painter because he liked to paint the late afternoon glow of the setting sun.

Frames are often taken for granted, but this one is worth a look, isn't it?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Photography Exhibition

The New Britain Museum of American Art's photography exhibition ended in December, but I didn't find the time to show it.  Better late than never, right?

This is a detail from Lalla Essaydi's work Converging Territories #12 (on the left).  The Morocco-born photographer has lived in Saudi Arabia, France and New York, and her portrayals of women are influenced by her experiences in different cultures.

The young woman is studying two photographs by Sarah Austin and one by Dawoud Bey.  All three works deconstruct and reconstruct the images.

Finally, here is a series of abstract images created through photographic techniques that I could not begin to explain.  The artist-photographer is Ellen Carey.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Capewell Manufacturing

Capewell Manufacturing was an important Hartford factory a century ago.  It made nails for horseshoes.  The Hartford factory sure looks like it has been abandoned.  I have read that the company still makes horsenails in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Art Cinema

Art Cinema shows movies that are . . . how do I say this? . . . not art.

At least that is what I hear.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Other End of the Counter

She's at the other end of the counter.  Waiting silently.  I don't pay any attention to her and she doesn't pay any attention to me.

The waitress passes a bag with the food she ordered across the counter and takes the money.  She turns and walks out.  Do you ever wonder what is going on in the lives of the hundreds or thousands of strangers who fleetingly pass across your line of sight in a day or even an hour?

Like photos with reflections?  Click here to visit James' site, Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two Heads

Two heads are better than one.  Agreed.  But if you could have only one, which would you want?

A window display at Brick Walk Books and Fine Art on Park Road in West Hartford.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Caldwell Hart Colt Memorial

The Colts' only son surviving into adulthood was Caldwell Hart Colt.  He was an ardent sailor, who died in a boating accident in his 30s.  To memorialize her son, Mrs. Colt had an impressive parish house built to accompany the nearby Church of the Good Shepherd, shown yesterday.  

The bottom photo is from the turn of the 20th century.  The top photograph is from September.  The central tower and the ironwork along the ridgeline have been removed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Church of the Good Shepherd

The Church of the Good Shepherd is an Episcopal church in Hartford with a predominantly Hispanic congregation.  It was founded and funded by Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, the wife of gun manufacturer Samuel Colt, as a memorial to her husband.  This photograph was taken in mid-September. 

I chose a wide angle shot to emphasize the spire, the lawn and the sky.  If I just look at the church and the lawn -- and ignore the in-city location and the public housing projects behind it -- it looks vaguely like Constable's painting of Salisbury Cathedral to me.

Monday, January 21, 2013


We are going to stay in Florida for a third day.

Christine Reichow paints water colors that she exhibits in outdoor art shows in Naples, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers.  Her subjects include the shorebirds in southwest Florida, like herons, ibises, hawks, roseate spoonbills and wood storks.  I didn't see any gopher tortoises.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Sanibel Stoop

Let's do Florida again today.

Every day millions of seashells wash ashore on the beaches of Sanibel, an island off the coast of southwest Florida.  The "Sanibel Stoop" is a fond term for the way tourists walk the beach in search of the perfect shell specimen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


This big guy and I met as we were both strolling across a fairway in Florida.  I stopped to let him pass, but he saw me and curiosity got the best of him.  He turned and began walking right at me.  Ever been charged by a gopher tortoise?  It is a bit freaky, but it is also a lot less frightening than being charged by an alligator.  Alligators are faster than I am, but I am faster than a turtle.

When he got close enough to confirm that a big man was in his path, he pulled his head and legs inside his carapace for protection.  (That is his shell, Lowell.)  I slowly moved to the side and walked away, hoping that he would decide that the danger had passed and he could go to where he was going.  He finally did.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rear Window

I like a reflection in a car's window if it seems almost clear enough to be real, but with distortions that play with our senses.  For more reflections, click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Public Safety Complex

Hartford opened its new Public Safety complex last week.  The complex is a sprawling series of brick buildings near the downtown, between the interstate highway and the North End.  It houses police, fire and ambulance services, as well as a jail and courts.

You saw it twice in 2011, once when I showed some of the scaffolding and later when I showed a bunch of construction workers clowning around.

It snowed yesterday in Hartford . . . this photo was taken in November.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Photograph: Jetty at Meig's Point

Reports from Connecticut indicate that last weekend was unseasonably warm, with daytime temperatures in the 50s.  Connecticut blogger friend Sue from Idyll Haven went for a walk on the beaches at Hammonassett State Park on the Connecticut shore.  She sent this photograph of the jetty at Meig's Point for me to share with you.  The day was foggy and the water was glassy still, quite a contrast from the days when Tropical Storms Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012) lashed the shoreline and damaged the jetty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Belly Button Exercise

Many City Daily Photo Bloggers this week are participating in a "festival of the belly button" exercise, reflecting on the way their photography and their blogs have changed since their blogs began.

Here is a photograph from August 2010 -- about six weeks after my blog began -- of Ken Kahn and Thomas Hooker:

Ken was the executive director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and played a big role in adding more public art in the region, including this statue of a Hartford founder.

Here is a previously unpublished photograph of Heather and Suzi, taken in November 2012:

What are the odds that a woman in a green V-neck sweater and black pants would walk past me just as I was looking at this painting?  Heather is a curator at the New Britain Museum of American Art.  I asked her to stand with Norbert Brunner's 2010 three dimensional work, Suzi.  Suzi is painted with dots on four sides of a plexiglass cube, each side of which is composed of three plexi sheets.  It is influenced by pointillism.
+   +   +

The similarities in the two images are strong . . . in each case I posed someone with a work of art.  The more recent composition is stronger.   The biggest growth is in process.  I know Ken very well, so when I encountered him, it was easy to ask a friend to pose.  (He might even have been the one to suggest standing next to the Hooker statue.)  But, now I have become very comfortable about walking up to complete strangers like Heather.  I tell them about my blog, ask if I can take their picture, and then tell them where to stand and where to look.  So, today I am able to show a wider variety of people in my portraits, not just my friends, and the compositions are often better.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii

This marble sculpture in the New Britain Museum of American Art depicts a girl blinded by the eruption of Vesuvius.  The sculptor was Randolph John Rogers, a mid-19th century American sculptor working in Italy.

On an autumn visit, Nydia stood out because of the bright red modern work behind her.  That is Louise Sloane's The Mighty Quinn.

On my December visit, she was in front of Hell is for awesome! by Stephen St. Francis Decky.  Nydia was, once again, alluring.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Security Guard

While waiting at the admission desk at the New Britain Museum of American Art, I kept looking out of the corner of my eye at the security guard stationed near the entrance to the gallery space.  There was something about him.  He . . . didn't . . . move.

Security Guard is a 2006 sculpture by Marc Sijan.  When I saw that name, I remembered that I had posted a photograph of some of Sijan's super-realistic works at a Florida outdoor art show about two years ago.  Here is a link.  (The black and white stripes are a 2005 work by Sol Lewitt, whose works you have seen here multiple times before.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

. . . and Boots and Bags

Hartford Denim Company also makes leather bags and leather boots.

If you have some free time, are interested in hand craftsmanship, and want to learn more, click here to see Hartford Denim Company's fascinating website.

Good luck, guys!

Friday, January 11, 2013

More Denim

One of Hartford Denim Company's marketing strategies is to offer repairs to the jeans they sell, for the lifetime of the buyer.  That tells buyers that the people who made their jeans have a lot of confidence about the kind of materials they used and how rugged the jeans are.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hartford Denim Company

Three young guys in their twenties like working with their hands. They rented space in a historic factory in Hartford, bought up some vintage sewing machines and started manufacturing handmade jeans.  They have been a success in the high end clothing markets where original hand work and sustainable techniques are prized.  Hartford Denim jeans are found in Timberland stores and some other boutiques and stores, as well as online.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


 I like the seam between the exhibition of French paintings and sculptures and the main part of the Wadsworth Atheneum, but some might think it is jarring.  The exhibition is in a series of decorous galleries painted a somber light blue.  But, looking through the door to the galleries' entrance, we see another dazzling Sol Lewitt mural, the formal marble bust of an esteemed citizen whose name and sculptor I was not able to find, and elaborate railings.  The Lewitt mural is Wall Drawing #1131, Whirls and Twirls (2004).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Salon Style

Back to the Wadsworth Atheneum's exhibition of its French artwork.

In 19th century Paris and London, annual salons displayed their best works in a densely packed, multi-tier format.

The format was also adopted by the wealthy citizens of Hartford.  Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt -- wife of arms merchant Samuel Colt -- was a big collector and displayed her collection salon style at her mansion, Armsmear, less than a mile from the Wadsworth Atheneum.  After she died, Mrs. Colt gave her collection to the museum, and many works she once owned are shown here in the museum's exhibition of its French paintings.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Virginia Okinga was showing a colorful necklace to a customer, so I asked her to show it to me.

I don't look good in necklaces.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jon Smith

Jon Smith is an artist whose style is somewhere between realism and impressionism.  He often paints scenes from art museums, showing contemporary figures looking at the art.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Splish, Splash

Splish, Splash, I was takin' a bath
Long about a Saturday night.
A rub dub, just relaxin' in the tub,
Thinkin' everything was alright.

Well, I stepped out the tub
And put my feet on the floor.
I wrapped my towel around me and
I opened the door.

And then a-splish, splash
I jumped back in the bath.
Well, how was I to know
There was a party goin' on?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Norman Love

Did I ever mention that Fort Myers confectioner Norman Love is amazing?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


This is no time for jokes.  What do you really want me to do next?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Mistake and a Lost Bet

Yesterday's out-of-focus photograph reminded me that sometimes I like my mistakes as much as -- or more than -- the ones that come out as I planned.

If I knew what I did, I would do it again.

And, whatever bet this guy lost, I'll bet he wouldn't do it again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Know, I Know

Yes, it is out of focus.  But I like it.

So, I guess this closes out the holiday season.  You have my wishes for a happy, healthy and successful   New Year.