Friday, April 24, 2015

New York and Springtime in DC

A week or so ago I visited New York and spent time with some good friends.
We visited some wonderful exhibits in several museums.

Returning home to Springtime in Washington, it seems that everything has started to bloom although the days are still cool.

 A quick colored pencil drawing of some tulips.
 Just looking out my front door this is the view I see from across the street.

 And, then on our front porch we have pansies that are supposed to live 
through very cold weather.
 The winter was too cold so these are new pansies.
Soon our azaleas and dogwood will be blooming 
so watch for more blossoms as well as some drawings.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cards and Slides and Recycling

It seems to have been a long winter and the cold weather is almost all gone.
I feel I have wasted a lot of this hibernation time 
and haven't added to my blog in a while but I have been thinking
about recycling.
This blog post will show bits and pieces of my work during the last very cold days.
 As I have mentioned before that when I need to work and 
do not have anything pressing, I work on notecards.
A while ago a friend gave me some beautiful old lace. 
Cutting some of it apart I stitched it on a few cards. 
 The colored pages in some magazines have beautiful ads and articles.
I save a lot of them for use in collages, notecards, and gift wrap. 
Often there are ads featuring rugs. 
These I cut out, resize, and sometimes recopy. 
Above an embroidered hyacinth on one of the rugs from a magazine ad.
 This rug I recopied and changed the color bit before adding some embroidery.
Saving the colored pages is a bit of recycling 
but I wanted to see what I could do with the thousands of slides I still have.
It seems waste to just toss so many old slides 
so I spent the last month trying ideas....
 Rather than keeping the slides whole I started taking them apart.
I had many cardboard frames and removed the film.
They stayed whole.
 The plastic frames opened like a book. 
Another way to redesign something?
 Now I have an endless supply of film. 
With the holes on two sides of the film, 
there must be unexplored ways to stitch through them.
 This will be in the next blog if something unusual does happen.
Some of the cardboard frames are dirty or have printing on them.
So, I have painted many of them black but am having 
a hard time finding a paint that goes on smoothly.
 Anthropologie, a favorite store of mine, has innovative thinking designers,
not for the clothes (although their many fashion designers are exceptional)
but for the store walls, shelves ceilings and windows. 
Each time I visit one of the Anthropologies in the Washington area 
I am fascinated to see how the store has changed.
The picture above was a backdrop in the Anthropologie window
when I visited on March 14.
 This window reminded me of what I was doing with the slide frames.
I filled a 12 by 12 inch board with these black framed marker colors.
Before painting the black frames I had been playing with the clean white frames.  
I was using them to fill with tiny abstract compositions.
I must admit that this was fun using colored pencils, markers and paint. 
I have now filled two 12 by 12 inch boards with these tiny abstractions.
With 36 on a 12 by 12 inch board, I have used 108 slide frames.
Is this a useful recycling project? Only time will tell.
Now back to painting more frames and figuring out how to use the film.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Three Museum Days

A week or so ago I spent three wonderful art days viewing 
the current exhibits at several museums with my daughter, Vicky.
The first stop was the National Building Museum where the 
unusual exhibit HOT TO COLD: 
An Odyssey of Architectural Adaption was held.
These were models, by the Scandinavian firm, Sagmeister & Walsh, 
cantilevered out from the arches on the second floor.
 They were arranged from Hot to Cold climates as you walked 
around the second floor viewing each model on a platform in an arch.
I'm sorry that I neglected to write down the area 
or city each building or group was planned for.
 This Hot To Cold was the mission of the Bjorke Ingels Group.
Each of these models was on a cantilevered platform that was 
approximately 5 feet wide extended into the open space about 3  feet.
The materials appeared  to be styrofoam, cardboard, and some plastics.
 Needless to say. We were enthralled with the design, 
detail and craftsmanship of each model.
 Our next stop was the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. 
We saw an exhibit of beautiful orchids and 
I took many many pictures but will post just this one.
We also saw two outstanding photography exhibits with 
huge prize winning photos. One of the American Wilderness 
and the other of Wild Animals of the world.
The next day we headed to the Phillips Collection to see 
two new shows just opening.
Man Ray: Human Equations, A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare. 
Some of the mathematical models were from the Sorbonne. 
Man Ray had used them (like the one above0 in drawings and paintings.
There was a video interview with Man Ray 
that explained a lot about his work, 
his artists friends, his homes, and art eras during his life.
The other new exhibit at the Phillips is a small but beautiful 
collection of Hiroshi Sugimoto's large sculpture and photographs.
This exhibit was titled: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models.
 After lunch we headed for the National Gallery of Art 
and spent the rest of the day there till it closed.
The new exhibit Piero Cosimo: The Poetry in Renaissance Florence
was the traveling show with some work that had never left Italy before.
There were 44 paintings with both religious themes  and mythological subjects.
 The El Greco exhibit was leaving the following weekend. 
We had to see that again as well. And, I always have to see 
one of my favorite rooms with the Flemish paintings. 
Caroline makes an excellent knowledgeable docent to go with us.
 The following Monday, Dominie Nash, Joan Dryer and I 
saw all the exhibits at the Hirshhorn Museum. 
On the ground floor there are huge graphic quotes 
(Barbara Kruger's Belief and Doubt) 
covering the walls, floor and ceiling. 
I took many pictures and this above is just one that I enjoyed.
This large hanging sculpture was on the third floor with the 
permanent collection.
On the second floor were many videos, collectively titled 
Days of Endless Time. 
Some were meditative, some beautiful, 
some hard to understand but all enlightening.
Those three days were full of such varied art.
I had a wonderful time with good friends and 
days like this should be repeated often.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Pencil sharpeners and drawings, old and new.

For years I have bought and used pencil sharpeners I either 
chose myself or they had been recommended. 
All of those shown above worked perfectly for graphite 
and usually for my colored pencils.
They worked with battery, electricity, or were operated by hand.
However, I was always looking for the perfect sharpener 
for colored pencils. 
 Recently Jeanne Benson gave me a new hand manipulated 
sharpener, that came from England.
 The pencils at the bottom were sharpened with my old sharpeners
and those above with the new hand cranked sharpener from the UK.
 Over the years in planning my embroideries I would often 
draw the image first with colored pencil.
 The drawings were never complete as they were just 
a design for a future embroidery. 
Since I started using my new sharpener 
I looked back at the old drawings and reworked several.
 It is a pleasure to use these very sharp colored pencils 
on the textured papers, filling in the white that shows through.
 This lily was drawn fairly quickly in Gladstone, Australia, and 
the orchids, below, in Melbourne when on a teaching tour in 2001.
I have enjoyed adding contrast, fine lines, and definition 
to these old drawings. 
Although I am using up my pencils a little faster than before, 
it has been a pleasure to spend this past month 
with very sharp colored pencils.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Face Book's challenges

Five days ago Nancy Herman invited me to participate in
 the Face Book Challenge. 
This meant one must put up three images a day for five days
 and each day name and challenge another to add his or her three images.
I decided to repeat the five days of this week
 after talking to a good friend who said she is not on Face book
 and would like to see the work.
For those who saw the five days as well as 
many other artist's work do not continue reading.
 On Day one I added three images of Hands from paintings created on the iPad
 These were created two years ago.
 Each was created on a different iPad App.
 The second day I added three figurative paintings. 
This and the third are oil paintings. 
 This group of three is stitched but taken from three oil paintings 
I had created many years ago.
 I believe all three were painted in the late 1960's from live models.
 The third day I showed colored pencil drawings. 
This of peppers is on vellum.
 I drew from live subjects even though I also took photos.
 This third lily from Dominie Nash's garden.
It appears that I like red in all its nuances.
 The fourth day again went back into my sketch books...
... to find still-life subjects. All are taken from pottery we use.
 Often I drew with colored pencil, first and then created 
with thread on fabric. 
Going from white to black backgrounds makes a big difference 
in the vibrancy of the color.
 The fifth or last day, today, I decided to show three
 very old free-motion machine embroidered wall hangings
that were seen only once, in a gallery in New Jersey.
 They were then lost, stolen, or disappeared in transit 
between the gallery and my home.
From the top of Day Five the first is HIGH-TECH ANTIQUE,
the second is A SUREAL PORTRAIT, and the bottom one is titled,
This week has been a kind of trip through nostalgia.