Sunday, June 30, 2013

Construction in balloon frame 1. Construcción con estructura de madera 1




A popular myth suggests that a Chicago carpenter, George W. Snow, invented the balloon frame in 1832 and revolutionized construction practice. Chicago architect John M. Van Osdel erroneously attributed the invention to Snow in 1883, and subsequent histories accepted the story. But they did so without examining physical evidence. The oldest buildings that remain in metropolitan Chicago suggest that the balloon frame was not a revolutionary idea; nor was it invented by Snow or any other Chicagoan.
During the colonial period, carpenters simplified the timber frame to allow for rapid construction with standardized materials. The Beaubien Tavern on the plank road between Chicago and Naperville, in what is now Lisle, reflected these changes. The frame employed smaller, standardized timbers. All mortises and tenons were very simple. The roof was a system of small common rafters held in place by nails. Joinery did not attach it intimately to the frame. Heated by stoves, the building had no need for a large, central fireplace.
A minimal difference existed between the tavern's box frame and early balloon frames. Timber girts supported the tavern's second-story floor joists. They were tenoned, pinned, and braced to mortised corner posts. The balloon frame eliminated these elements by nailing a one-by-four-inch board, called a ledger or ribband, into vertical studs that ran continuously to the height of the building. The studs were notched to accommodate the ledger. The second-floor joists were also notched and then hooked onto the ledger. The joists were then nailed to the studs.

Excerpt from:



With these digital manipulations of pictures I´ve taken from our own projects in California, I´m beginning a new series of abstract balloon frame structures.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Brain trapped in a net. Cerebro atrapado en una red



This is my artistic way to show a vegetative brain that is desperately looking for communication. Or two illustrations for news like this:

Neurologists are employing brain electrodes to try to establish contact with people in vegetative and minimally conscious states.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Night blooming cereus



I took these pictures of the great Night-blooming Cereus without an artistic interest, but just to have a record of the beauty of the flowers that bloom once a year, late at night.
Here you see two shots of the process of blooming, of course, at the same night, maybe half an hour of difference.
For those who are interested in the social implicancies of the event, click here:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Colorful reflexes on the wood fence. Reflejos coloridos en el cerco de madera


When we moved to this town house, I didn't like the wood fence in the sideyard, so I decided to surround it with plants pots and some climbers. I also bought a couple of wind chimes, and once I saw the colorful reflexes and shadows of the acrylics, the fence entered in a new haptic consideration for me.
I took this picture at 8AM in a beautiful sunny day. After all, I'm enjoying the wood textures at different hours. The fence never looks the same.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

From the Aztec Codices 6. De los Codices Aztecas 6





Digital manipulation of part of the first page of Codex Mendoza, depicting the founding of Tenochtitlan.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A dead seagull in the street. Una gaviota muerta en la calle



While my husband and me were searching for the super moon on June 23rd to take some pictures of the event, I came across with this dead seagull against the street curb in our neighborhood. I was ¨delighted¨ to see the composition of the bird´s posture, the white and black of the feathers contrasting with the red curb, the virtual triangle, the parallel of the wing, a feather slightly and pleasantly encroaching in the  curb. And of course, I took a couple of pictures from which I´ve selected these two.
Though my husband is an artist and architect, he was upset to see me so interested on the bird; and after two days he´s still claiming that to impress people with shocking images is not art. ¨A dirty toilette is not art at all.¨ Besides, ¨you are influenced by the work of Peter Greenaway, he´s disgusting!¨ I do not agree with the concept, specially after reading ¨Has Modernism Failed?¨, the great book written by Suzy Gablik, who clearly explains why some banal objects are considered pieces of art, among other important discussions.
What is clear for me, and following Suzy Gablik´s explanation, once I take a picture, filter it, and make it mine, then, it´s art, and it doesn´t matter if people like it or not. That´s part of another discussion, if arts is a social tool or not.
It is even more interesting and morbid, -I would recognize-, once I filtered the image, the traces of blood showed up on the street, adding some abstract lines to the composition.
My youngest daughter said the problem was the bird has trash next to it, somehow it looks abandoned (see the candy wrap). I posted one of these pics in my Facebook wall and a friend of mine said ¨it seems it died because it ate snickers.¨ That was an unexpected funny comment from someone who knows how to read an abstract.
After all, this is a real urban street.

From the Aztec Codices 5. De los Codices Aztecas 5


Thursday, June 20, 2013

My daughter´s rose bush. El rosal de mi hija



I took these pictures late in the afternoon, to emphasize the contrast of the red rose, the green and yellow of the leaves against the shadows on the wall and on the floor.
I have a special care for this bush, it´s been two years since it didn´t bloom.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From the Aztec Codices 2. De los Codices aztecas 2


From the Aztec Codices 1. De los codices aztecas 1


With this digital manipulation of one of so many images from the Aztec Codices, I´d like to open a new series. Have you ever imagined how archaeological art would appear today if using digital tools?
So, here I am transforming, disturbing, manipulating, re-coloring the ancient Aztec images. More is coming in the following posts. Take it as an exercise of color and morphology, there is no lack of respect for them, but a respectful contemporary homage.
In this one, the background was also changed to give it a more abstract appearance.

Aztec codices (Nahuatl: Mēxihcatl āmoxtli [meː'ʃiʔkatɬ aː'moʃtɬi] are books written by pre-Columbian and colonial-era Aztecs. These codices provide some of the best primary sources for Aztec culture. The pre-Columbian codices differ from European codices in that they are largely pictorial; they were not meant to symbolize spoken or written narratives.The colonial era codices not only contain Aztec pictograms, but also Classical Nahuatl (in the Latin alphabet), Spanish, and occasionally Latin. Although there are very few surviving pre-conquest codices, the tlacuilo (codex painter) tradition endured the transition to colonial culture; scholars now have access to a body of around 500 colonial-era codices.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer barbeque. Asado norteamericano de verano


The red is representing the cow´s blood. I left the meat almost without red, to make it contrast with the blood in the background.

Colorful crickets. Grillos de colores


Monday, June 10, 2013

Agapanthus or Lily of the Nile. Lila del Nilo

This one is from the corner of our house

A path with Agapanthus in Rancho Los Alamitos, Long Beach

A solitaire Agapanthus surrounded by bambooes

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