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,
REASONABLE RATIOS.
This week has been a kind of trip through nostalgia.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Drawing, colored pencil still-life

Choosing to do a drawing for a Christmas gift 
I began by buying an unusual little vase, about 9 inches high, 
from the Glen Echo Potters 
when they had their holiday sale at the Lab School.
 I took several photos trying to decide on a small grouping

 It shouldn't be but it is always surprising, 
for me to see how much colors change 
with different backgrounds. 
I wanted to work from life and I knew I would not have constant light
 during the day and probably not at night, as well. 
 I decided to use the darker background and a white base 
so there would be some reflected white on the objects

 I was using a high texture heavy substrate so a lot of white
 came through even though I kept my pencils very sharp.
 It is quite evident, here, with the texture of the paper showing through.
 Even after using some blending much of the papers texture was evident.
 I didn't want to fill the background with dark gray so just gave a hint of that color.
The title is Red, Yellow, and Blue.
 Since I was unhappy with the substrate's texture
in that first drawing, 
I decide to try the same still life on a smoother surface. 
Using Bristol Board this time, thinking it was a lot smoother, 
I began drawing. 
Soon I saw that it, too had a texture that I didn't want for my colored pencils. 
At this point I decided I liked the first drawing better 
so gave it as the gift along with the vase.
During the second drawing,
I had to switch apples as the first one had become
 soft over the week or two I was drawing. 
For all, but the apples I used Prismacolor pencils.  
I used Polychromos only on both apples and today used
mineral oil to blend the pencil lines on this apple.
 I still see so much of the paper's texture in the rest of the drawing. 
This image appears brighter in this photo than it really is. 
Now I want to go back to my favorite drawing paper
and try another still life.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving, jungle style 2014

Our annual Thanksgiving dinner had a room change. 
Vicky suggested we put the tables in the living room 
and move all of the living room furniture toward the fireplace. 
 It worked and made comfortable space for all 13 people.
 Seen from either end. I used 3 matching table clothes.
 The centerpiece, which I always think is more important than the food,
 used cabbages and kale and yellow chrysanthemums, plus....
 Alexandra's unusual place cards. 
She placed the dinosaurs, each carrying a sign, 
into the jungle of vegetables.
 We each had a candle as well 
since it became dark before we finished eating.
My special dinosaur! 
 When dark we needed the candles as there was no chandelier
above the tables in the living room.
 There were also purple and white striped eggplants 
hiding in the jungle vegetables.
 Again this year we designed our dinner plates 
with an artist's name or style or landscape or feeling, 
what ever the diner desired so here are a few.
This first one above is a rainbow created by Vicky.
 This plate has a face planned and created by Jill.
 Our graphic designer, Alex named her plate,
 "Potatochu....An Evolution of Thanksgivings Past 
in the style of the Anime Animator, Ken Sugimori
Caroline decided to honor Gene Davis with her stripes plate
I was thinking Sol Lewitt but somehow it did not work.
 Ashley gave an asymmetric design to her plate.
Julia said hers is "A Julia Original"
There were more and although I took several more pictures 
of plates I have not connected them to their owners, yet.

It was a good group of young and old. 
Dinner was followed by some fun games 
in which everyone took part.
That was Thanksgiving 2014 missing one person.