Shimmer – Magic on the Wet Edge


The principle of a rainbow divinely captured here on the wet edge of a beach. Seen in the still frame of a seeking eye. An iridescent light. Illusive, like a playful shimmer of magic, lying stretched out along the sand and pebbles on which the Pacific Ocean endlessly ebbs and flows. The alchemy of sunlight rippling on sea foam, inventing golden, magical particles of fairy dust that dot the landscape. All at once fascinating, enchanting and alluring and quite simply, spellbinding.

Photograph by Jerry van de Beek


The Japanese have a Verse for it


The flow of the river is ceaseless

and its water is never the same.

The bubbles that float in the pools,

now vanishing, now forming,

are not of long duration;

so in the world are man and his dwellings…

They die in the morning,

they are born in the evening,

like foam on the water.”

– Kamo Chomei (1153-1216), Hojo-ki (An account of my hut), 1212

The Painter of Light – Illumination of the Soul


Who, as a child in England, doesn’t remember being ushered into an impossibly darkened gallery to view the paintings of J.M.W. Turner? That viscerally despondent feeling that perhaps our very breath might destroy the delicate miracle unfolded upon the paper or the canvas. Saddled with the monicker of, “romantic landscape painter” Turner was in fact so much more. The son of a barber and wig maker with a mother from a family of butchers, made him a true working-class son. Admitted to the Royal Academy of Art in 1789 at the tender age of 14 he produced his first water colour a year later for the Summer Exhibition.

The independence such early recognition gave Turner, coupled with the financial freedom it brought him, allowed the young artist the license to experiment and dabble. Water colours, oils and print were the mediums he chose to express his outstanding visions of light but he did more than just capture the right moment. Many of his paintings cast a distinct narrative such as this emotive piece, The Slave Ship or Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying. Surely that broiling sea and that blood red sunset in reflection speaks to us even today of the barbarous practices of slavery and the pact made with the devil of that evil trade.

Better Than the iCloud the Real Clouds


A thousand particles of water droplets. A million tiny ice crystals. A fleeting mass of astonishing visuals suspended above us and strung across the atmosphere in a free form motion of flight. Cast your eyes skyward and read the signs.

Cumulus: Fluffy white heaps of cotton wool that promise the kiss of summer. Stratus: The bringer of just a light dousing of drizzle – perhaps even snow. Cirrus: High wispy strands curled around the sky like an innocent lock of hair but still the forward phalanx of a tropical cyclone. Nimbus: Looming large and filled with heavy foreboding. Dark as thunder and swollen with rain – yet sometimes edged with a silver lining.

A paradox of meaning, an infinite distraction, a celebration of being. Clouds – sustainers of life. No app necessary.

Dedicated to VERLYN KLINKENBORG – the extraordinary writer of New York Times column, The Rural Life.

For Lovers of the Arcane


History and art were my favorite subjects when I was growing up in England and they still are today. The knowledge one stores in the recesses of the mind has a way of percolating through to the present time to become something of an applied science in the modern world. Here’s an extract from one of my most treasured books, A Shortened History of England, by G.M. Trevelyan. His skill with language could bring any passage of history alive in the mind and fire up the imagination to conjure up vivid dioramas.

For many centuries after Britain became an island the untamed forest was king. Its moist and mossy floor was hidden from heaven’s eye by a close-drawn curtain woven of innumerable treetops, which shivered in the breezes of summer dawn and broke into wild music of millions upon millions of wakening birds; the concert was prolonged from bough to bough with scarcely a break for hundreds of miles over hill and plain and mountain, unheard by man save where, at rarest intervals, a troop of skin-clad hunters, stone-axe in hand, moved furtively over the ground beneath, ignorant that they lived upon an island, not dreaming that there could be other parts of the world besides this damp green woodland with its meres and marshes, wherein they hunted, a terror to its four-footed inhabitants and themselves afraid.
– A Shortened History of England – G.M. Trevelyan

Magic in the Sigh of a Breeze


On a still day they may rest hidden in porticoes. Some hang in the garden or lie unseen from the eaves of a roof. Others dangle above a doorway. Some tinkle or clang, ring or peal. All are percussive and attuned in inharmonic spectra.

Used since time immemorial to ward off evil spirits and attract good fortune. Revered from epoch to epoch across borders and seas: the phallic tintinnabulum of ancient Rome, the glass Furin of the Japanese Edo period, the temple bell protectors of 2nd Century India, the strategically placed wind bells of early Chinese pagodas – and still today.

What coastal beach town has not it’s beaded shell strings, or suburban garden it’s tinkling muse, or city balcony it’s melodic ring?

All vibrate to the continuum of these magic dancing objects, sentinels from an age gone by, that wait in silence for their aural signifier the gentle sigh of a breeze. A stir of treetops, the lift of a zephyr, then Wind Chimes.



What manner of a man must Sir Launcelot du Lac have been to induce the melancholy, Lady of Shalott, to leave her loom and suffer the curse of certain death? One fleeting glance reflected in the mirror. Launcelot, Knight of the Holy Grail, a raven-haired, sun baked beauty. The medieval bad boy whose seduction of his liege’s queen ultimately led to the downfall of the Kingdom of Camelot. Were that we could bottle that enchanted essence today.

LFC give Half a TED at the SF de Young Museum of Fine Arts


The creative directors of Little Fluffy Clouds, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries, are pleased to be giving a half a TED talk at the San Francisco de Young Fine Arts Museum, as part of, Micro-Presentations – Orange Nights: Amsterdam and San Francisco. The talks, part of an on-going series exploring the connection between the two cities, take place on Friday, May 31st, 2013. … And we call it half a TED because it’s half the usual length of a regular TED talk.

Our talk, focusing on design and advertising, features stills from more than 26 past LFC productions in a Power Point presentation (yes! PPT slides…) that we had to make for the event. … I guess in fine art museums the still image is de rigueur! We intend to dazzle the audience with some very fetching eye candy while they learn a little about production.

It’s just one part of the museum’s wonderful programing of late Friday night offerings. Tickets to the talks are available for free. Get them at the Koret Auditorium located within the museum anytime from 6pm onwards.

Along with us others on the same bill will talk about: City Bike Culture; Urban Sustainability; HIV research and The Hippie Movement and Changing Drug Culture. … We guess ours is the (little) Fluffy (clouds) part of the program.

For more info:

Middlesex Hospital where Tradition meets Technology

Tradition embraces modern technology, infusing both with humanity. That’s the simple truth of, Common Thread, a campaign for, Middlesex Hospital Group, a group so confident of their mandate they could step outside the expected, both in the services they offer and the design they endorse.

Hand drawn, tinted illustrations on aged textured paper is the foundation of Medicine. In centuries gone by and still today they are used with great success to explain new and breakthrough technologies in the medical sciences. These illustrations evoke a feeling of tradition, one that speaks also to the very best of doctor-patient relationships. It’s these traditions that are symbolic of the human touch we all crave when being cared for at a time when we feel at our most vulnerable. In the modern world we also rely on the latest of technologies, placing our trust in the hands of state of the art equipment and expertly trained physicians to eradicate all illnesses and restore us to our healthy selves. This is the mission of a successful hospital group.

In, Common Thread, we seek to embody the very idea of tradition and humanity and weave it into the design style. To add the new to the tried and true and echo that message, creating the dynamic, appealing, all encompassing story of the Middlesex Hospital Group and how it can be the common thread between you and a healthful, long life.

The camera takes us on an upward journey through a series of water color blooms and live action vignettes, where we move, both literally and metaphorically, from a medical treatment to connect, via the common thread, to a place of restored health, a place where a person can fully resume the enjoyment of life. It’s an elegant story with a strong message supported by powerful graphics.

See this :30 second commercial, and its accompanying :15, together with the concurrent media an digital campaign, on the east coast from April.

Donal Og


It is late last night the dog was speaking of you;
the snipe was speaking of you in her deep marsh.
It is you are the lonely bird through the woods;
and that you may be without a mate until you find me.

You promised me, and you said a lie to me,
that you would be before me where the sheep are flocked;
I gave a whistle and three hundred cries to you,
and I found nothing there but a bleating lamb .

You promised me a thing that was hard for you,
a ship of gold under a silver mast;
twelve towns with a market in all of them,
and a fine white court by the side of the sea.

You promised me a thing that is not possible,
that you would give me gloves of the skin of a fish;
that you would give me shoes of the skin of a bird;
and a suit of the dearest silk in Ireland .

When I go by myself to the Well of Loneliness,
I sit down and I go through my trouble;
when I see the world and do not see my boy,
he that has an amber shade in his hair.

It was on that Sunday I gave my love to you;
the Sunday that is last before Easter Sunday
and myself on my knees reading the Passion;
and my two eyes giving love to you forever.

My mother has said to me not to be talking with you today,
or tomorrow, or on the Sunday;
it was a bad time she took for telling me that;
it was shutting the door after the house was robbed.

My heart is as black as the blackness of the sloe,
or as the black coal that is on the smith’s forge;
or as the sole of a shoe left in white halls;
it was you put that darkness over my life.

You have taken the east from me, you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!

– Translation by Lady Gregory