Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiti's art loss

The Haitian painting here, by Antoine Obin, is safe because it's in Iowa at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. But countless other pieces still in Haiti -- artwork that tells the country's story -- are gone. And that may include the oldest known Haitian painting, done in 1822 and buried in the crumbled palace. A CNN story describes the loss. A video narrated by the Waterloo art center's curator explains the island nation's art heritage.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


A man with African-American features, from the Southeast. It's a bit disproportionate in that the head doesn't really match the size of the torso.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Headed west out of Atlanta

Usually, when I head to Alabama I have a destination in mind and I want to get there in reasonable time, so I take the interstate at least part of the way. But a few days ago I headed west with no destination in mind. I just wanted to travel an unfamiliar route and take note of what I saw.
Photos 1, 2 and 3: Ron Tallent has been raising and selling D'Uccles show chickens for 34 years at his home in Heard County, Georgia. They sell for $25 to $150 each.
4. No room for the S on this sign in Paran, Ala.
5. No room for people in this house stuffed with junk on Route 22 in eastern Alabama.
6. A cemetery in Rock Mills, Ala.
7. The place to get dolled up in Roanoke, Ala.
8. The University of Alabama has a good football team, the Crimson Tide. You may have heard of them.
Roanoke graffiti exhorts "Roll Tide."
9. Sing your praises near Alexander City, Ala.
10. A truck with crushed cars, and behind it a truck with logs.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My wife in Haiti

My wife, Moni Basu, is a reporter at CNN. Usually she writes and edits for the CNN Wire. But a few days ago she was tapped to go to Haiti. She arrived in Port-au-Prince Saturday morning and before the day was over filed her first story. Not surprisingly, Moni told me in a brief phone conversation the damage was the worst she had seen -- and she's witnessed typhoon destruction and Iraq war death. Also not surprisingly, her report is chock full of the great details and vivid quotes that set her apart as a journalist. You can read her story here.

A Texan

This came out of a house near Austin, I'm told. The arms are nailed on and move.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The letter

An open letter sits on a chair and a kneeling man lovingly grasps a woman's hand. She looks away. What does the letter say?

Monday, January 18, 2010

No, it's not a yard sale

In a neighborhood near mine, where I frequently walk, a woman has decorated her yard with castoff items. The items include plenty of toys because her grandchildren often visit.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Minimalist bird

I like things where the artist did as little as possible, and it worked. After cutting the outline of this bone bird, all the artist added was a cut swirl to indicate a wing. It might be Native-American.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Brassiere mold

Industrial sensuality. That's how I describe the appeal of this hefty mold from a brassiere manufacturer in Cortland, N.Y. The curving shape and soft patina make it sculpture, really.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shake on it

1915 box with beautifully detailed hand decoration. Signed CH Damish. A Charles Damish was born about 1885 in Middlesex, Mass., according to the 1920 Census.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Horse and rider

An old cut tin piece with a wonderfully folky look. A hole in the middle indicates it was once attached to something.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nelly's blog

Nelly Charbonneaux is a freelance illustrator and teacher in France. As part of her teaching she started a visual arts blog, on which she posts her students' work and other items she finds interesting. Recently, she contacted me about borrowing an image or two from Candler Arts. Of course, I said sure; I was flattered. Today, this old toilet paper holder appeared on Nelly's blog.  To see the post, search If you speak French, you're set. If not, Google will translate; but be forewarned, the language conversion is extremely awkward.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

American Folk Art Museum show

The New York Times positively reviews a new show at the American Folk Art Museum featuring outsider artists Bessie Harvey, Mose Tolliver and others. The Harvey and Tolliver pieces shown here are available at To read the article go here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cold painting

This folky oil really evokes winter. The brown, gray and off-white colors are appropriately drab. The trees are gnarly. The sun is low. Or is it the moon? All it lacks are some crows. Where are the three people headed? Home after a funeral? The fancy frame seems too much -- and just right -- for such a bleak, primitive painting. It's signed Laura Doyle.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a new decade, baby

2010 begins with a bang for me: a new career. After three decades in journalism, I'm shifting to what reporters call "the dark side" -- public relations. I'm excited about the job -- media relations manager for a big law firm -- but 2010 probably would have been more of the same had newspapers not gone on life support. I liked being a reporter. No matter, my former employer has had three downsizings, and I was one of about 80 who departed in the most recent buyouts, figuring this newspaper gig is not safe anymore. I told myself that with nearly a year's pay I could find something else to do, and I did. During my down time I started this blog and a Web gallery, and fired off the occasional job application. I may have to cut back on my blogging, but I'll take that because I'm going to work Monday morning, for the first time in eight months. Millions of Americans are not so lucky. Let's hope 2010 brings jobs.