Thursday, November 27, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

strolling in the suburbs

Suburbia swells. Once upon a time, Etobicoke was not part of Toronto, and Hackney wasn't in London. It's a familiar process, and it happens in the renaissance capitals of Italy as well. There, suburbs go by the charming name of fraction [frazione]. The term implies that they are part of a whole, but the relationship is often distinctly peripheral. It's easy to visit Florence, for example, without noticing its suburbs.

Some of them are, like Etobicoke or Hackney, so assimilated to the city that their independent existence resides solely in maps and signposts. Among them, Ponte a Mensola:

Some years ago I lived in the east of Florence. I could walk in 20 minutes to the city limits, and frequently did. One of those limits (the north-east) was marked by the former village of Ponte a Mensola, where a small cluster of houses adjoined a tiny stream called the Mensola.

There was nothing to distinguish the place, except that it was most of the way to Settignano, an altogether more famous location. But the cafe by the Mensola was welcoming and the streetscape moderately picturesque. The result was several pictures. You can see others here and here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

annihilation of time and space

Seen from the window of a high speed train, the world becomes somehow unreal, like the cells of an old hand-made cartoon.
The landscape, if it actually exists, is in France. The train was a TGV. The picture was painted later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sake Jug and Four Sake Cups

One of them with Sake in it - it's use-value has greatly increased over the past five minutes.

At the Raku Museum, in Kyoto, they have one handling session a month, where you can do just that, handle the precious tea bowls made by the various generations of the Raku family.

Of course they don't bring them all out but potentially a bowl such as Human Soul in the Shape of a Demon might sit in its pristine vitrine thinking to itself, "364 days don't seem to mean that much when I've got one day, to eclipse them all...." If I may quote a song by the erstwhile one-man band, Documentary Films.


Friday, November 7, 2014

the stones of Florence

Two quick pen sketches of streetscapes in Florence. On the left, the view looking towards the old city gate at Piazza Beccaria, and on the right one of the still extant medieval towers, built into the block of buildings.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Drawn from life at the Arts Project in London, Ontario. You might notice that his left leg should be visible - but I ran out of time.

Monday, November 3, 2014