Saturday, January 1, 2011
I asked Tim if he had a pushpin to hang my calendar -- it is new year's day after all. After he left me alone to arrange things, I unpacked a trash bin I had used to ferry some bulky items (paper towels, a lamp). When I got down to actual trash, there among the empty plastic bags was one with something lumpy inside: I reached in and found a twist-top cap from the cheap wine my dad was drinking for a while last spring, and one silvery push pin. I said, "Thanks dad," and used it to put up my 2011 calendar. It's all Wayne Thiebaud. January is an ice cream sundae (though not these "Dark Cones."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"If the world were a perfect place, the Wayne Thiebaud retrospective ... would be nailed to the walls for good and we would be free to stop by whenever we needed to remind ourselves what happiness feels like.”
Friday, April 30, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
On Sunday we had brunch with Jack Snyder at Caffe Cielo, then went to the Museum of Modern Art, packed with refugees from the rain. During the week we also walked through Central Park, still mostly leafless, to see:
- the Whitney Biennial and the greatest-hits show "Collecting";
- the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum -- where, like most of the visitors, I spent too much time trying to figure out how to make the iPod Touch tour-guides work instead of looking at the exhibits;
- the Guggenheim -- the main (corkscrew) building closed for installation of a new show but in the new wing I discovered a gorgeous painting by an artist I'd not been aware of: František Kupka, Planes by Colors, Large Nude, 1909–10;
- the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and more.
One night Susan and I saw "Fela!" with amazing dancing (thank you Bill T. Jones and dancers) and music by Fela Kuti, originator of Afro-Beat music; the musical is set it his club in Nigeria, "The Shrine." On another night (2 blocks walk to front-row seats in a small theater!) we saw "Equivocation" by Bill Cain, riffing on the Gunpowder Plot, Shakespeare and his acting troupe, and the efforts of the powerful to torture truth into the shape of a story that will keep them in power. My idiotic choice from the TKTS booth for my last night was a farce; I missed my chance to see Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko in previews of "Red." I'll be wincing for years that I didn't go. But I did see this (Rothko "No. 10") ---
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Then, I threw some paint on to a black-gessoed panel. Whoo!
Now I'm scared to continue -- what if I wreck the part I like?!
But that splash of golden in the corner needs attention. Or actually, a little less attention....
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
A third and fourth day of painting. Limited palette: Kroma acrylics, Vancouver Grey 2009, as a base. And some Kroma Zinc White. The mountains came fast; everything else took until now, with Golden Open acrylics: alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue (lots), burnt sienna (mix with blue to get the darks), titanium white and touches of Indian yellow. Plus a teeny bit of Pyrrole Red near the end. Here's how it started a week ago.
Stage 1: last Saturday --
Monday -- no brush, just sea sponge, rag, fingers....
Monday, December 14, 2009
I sat looking across the Skagit Valley for a long time on Thursday just before the sun went down, and again the next morning before the sun came up over Three Fingers in the Cascades. Came home and started this painting, and gave it a name; painted some more today. Seeing it abstracted to a photo, I can see what I want to do next.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I wish we could show you around, but you will have no trouble finding wonderful places to sketch. Victorian buildings, boats, water, mountains (if it’s clear), and farmers market complete with musicians. Can’t wait to see what you see in my town!
As you come in to town on Highway 20, you might want to visit the boat building yard at Boat Haven (turn right at the traffic light at the bottom of the hill you will descend as you enter town; landmark is a Safeway Store and a MacDonalds on your left). If your kids need to run after being in the car, a waterfront path -- the Larry Scott Trail -- begins at Boat Haven and runs back down the bay toward the paper mill (the mill usually sends up a very visible plume of steam). Drive through the boatbuilding yard straight toward the water; the path begins there and runs to your right along the waterfront and there’s also some beach to explore. You’ll see a giant “heavy haulout” boat lift that looks like it should be a Transformer toy.
If you continue driving on Hwy 20 into town you will pass the dock for the that ferry goes to Whidbey Island. Beyond, Hwy 20 becomes Water Street with several blocks of 3-4 story Victorian buildings on each side; this is the main downtown area, right along the waterfront. Find a place to park, and you can stroll down Water Street windowshopping. I highly recommend William James Booksellers used book store if your kids will let you have time to look around!
On the left side of Water Street, away from the water, at the first of the Victorian buildings you will come to, you’ll see Sport Townsend outdoor gear shop (owned by my friend Mari, a terrific rower!). Also on that corner, if you can take a few minutes, visit Belltower Arts, which has, alas, just started its going-out-of-business sale -- everything is 20% off right now, including Moleskines. Marc, the owner, is a lovely guy and I will miss the store; it started out at another location just a block from my house which was way too tempting!
There are many eating options along Water Street. Next to Belltower Arts and Sport Townsend is the Publick House; the menu has lots of choices and it is in a pleasant high-ceilinged room with old cedar racing shells hanging from the ceiling! Down that side street (Polk Street) is the Spot Café which features soups. Continue further on Water Street, 2 or 3 blocks, and you’ll see Nifty Fiftys on your right, a 1950s style hamburger shop. Windows at the back look toward the water. I haven’t actually eaten there but it looks like fun for kids. Elevated Ice Cream (link to Google Street View) is further down on the right (water side of Water Street) and has delicious ice cream and a candy store. Just beyond it is a small park with playground for kids on the waterfront, and a dock out into the water. There are several places along Water Street where you can overlook the waves, or even find a tiny beach for playing.
If you continue all the way past the Pope Marine Park to the end of Water Street, you will see some road construction, and just past it is the beautiful brand-new Northwest Maritime Center (two big new buildings just dedicated in September, with a beautiful INDOOR place to store rowing shells!). They give a wonderful view from the upper deck and the plaza on the water side of the building, overlooking Point Hudson Marina just beyond. You can see across the water to Whidbey Island and, on a clear day, the Cascade Mountains from Mount Baker to Mt. Rainier; good luck with weather! Between here and Whidbey is all the Puget Sound shipping traffic: freighters, cruise ships, fishing boats, sailboats, and of course rowers on a calm day. We have even seen Trident submarines, just a bit showing above the waves, with a Coast Guard escort.
In the Marina are all kinds of boats. You can walk around the marina to Hudson Point; there is a casual Chinese restaurant on the point called Shang Hai, a fancy restaurant called “T’s” and, at the very end of the point, Hudson Point Café which features all kinds of breakfast until about 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., so if your kids like scrambled eggs, waffles, etc. it is VERY good (perhaps an oyster scramble for the grownups?!). I had a great breakfast/lunch there with my visiting English mother-in-law the other day. Great view; it is right next to the boats in the marina.
You should certainly find your way “uptown” to the Farmers Market! There are signs to point you there. It is on TYLER STREET at Lawrence Street (I live a block away from it! I’m lucky.) It is on every Saturday until mid-December. There is always live music; there’s food; lots of beautiful fruits and vegetables, crafts, doggie treats, art, interesting people wearing interesting clothes and doing interesting things. It runs from 9:30 to 1:30. You can drive up the hill, or walk up via the steps that lead up from downtown; follow TAYLOR street (it crosses Water Street and has the only traffic light in the middle of the Victorian district), walk away from the water one block (admiring the beautiful Rose Theater!) and you will see a neat little park with steps going uphill behind it. At the top of the steps you will see signs pointing you one block left, one more block away from the water to reach the Farmers Market, which usually has dozens of booths even this time of year. Find the bakery booth in front on Pane D’Amore; EXCELLENT bread and treats. If you haven’t had lunch, you could go in to Aldrich’s Market on the corner of Lawrence and Tyler; the deli at the back has a big variety of fresh sandwiches, soups, sushi, and other good things, which you can take upstairs to the tables on the mezzanine which has a view to the water and could be a good place for casual lunch with kids.
A mile or so from downtown Port Townsend is Fort Worden State Park! Great views, great beach and woods for walks and runs with kids, beautiful lighthouse out on the point. You could also visit the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, started by my husband Tim plus master craftsman John Marckworth and woodworking book author Jim Tolpin.
You are going to have to make it over here more than once! Have a great day!
Monday, September 7, 2009
Used a very limited palette of alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, titanium white and, in the latter stages, Indian yellow and burnt sienna. There were a few dabs of Van Dyck brown and yellow ochre in the early stages but I didn't like them. These (except the ochre and burnt sienna) were part of the sample set of "traditional" colors in the Golden "Open" series of acrylics. I really like working with this paint: it is buttery and slippy, stays open for quite a long time.
Things I learned from this painting (again): draw first; keep the palette limited; cool and white tones first; work up to warmer layers. Perhaps best: I find that painting somebody I know well and like thinking about has kept me interested in working on the painting long enough to get it beyond early stumbles. I still want to work on this painting and get it better!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Titus was the only one of Rembrandt's children to survive infancy. I see so, so much tenderness in Rembrandt's strokes of paint.
I copied a lovely 1653 drawing of girl by Leendert van den Cooghen. Never heard of him. The small drawing in black and red chalk, brush and black ink was so beautiful.
The first day, my sketches were not very satisfying, but after I drew in the museum, my sight got clearer.
Later we enjoyed some wine and more drawing, followed by a leisurely dinner, at sidewalk tables. Beth drew me, I drew the Gastown Steam Clock, which tooted the quarter-hour for us as the beautiful afternoon turned to dusk.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
In hunting it down on-line last night, I found that the Matisse painting lives in Sao Paulo now. I also found this Chirico, called "The Uncertainty of the Poet" (Tate, London).
According to the Tate website: "The identity of the classical sculpture depicted in 'The Uncertainty of the Poet' has not been firmly established. It appears to be an Aphrodite-type cast which had its origins in the practices of nineteenth century academic art rather than in any Greek or Roman prototype.... Roland Penrose (1900-84), an English artist and critic who lived in France in the late 1920s and early 1930s ... purchased a similar plaster cast in 1935. He brought it home to England and used it in his construction 'The Last Voyage of Captain Cook', 1938.... In conversation with Richard Francis of the Tate Gallery in 1984 Penrose said of this cast, 'it was well known in Paris. It was on sale in lots of shops round Montparnasse. Always that size'. Freely available in Paris, this cast featured in works by other artists. It appears in a painting by Henri Matisse, 'Plaster Torso and Bouquet', 1919 (Museu de Arte de São Paulo). Max Ernst [also] transformed the front and back views of the cast."
The Tate also has Penrose's sculpture, "The Last Voyage of Captain Cook."
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I was looking forward to completing the drawing a week later but instead we practiced shading on a sphere. The one on the left was done with soft charcoal; I have a hard time having a light enough touch! The one on the right was done next, with harder charcoal, and it was easier to make many light marks, letting layers accrete with more subtle transitions. Three hours to draw these! Brain cells busily reforming....
Recently, I bought a couple of sketchbooks to draw with my 10-year-old in St. Peter’s and elsewhere around Rome, just for the fun of it, not because we’re any good, but to help us look more slowly and carefully at what we found.... Slow looking, like slow cooking, may yet become the new radical chic."
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Same model on Day 3, tried out Trois Crayons, pastels in white, black, and sanguine on a very dark paper. Again with the bashing around; I was just starting to get the coloring figured out when we ran out of time.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Third class in sight-size cast drawing, learning the "block in." Again, these are the fruits of 2 and a half hours of sighting, measuring, marking, checking, correcting, and measuring again. The result may not look like much but the eye-hand-mind training is the purpose. This is like playing scales would be for a musician, I suppose.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Seattle Sketchers met on Sunday, July 19, 2009, at Fisherman's Terminal. This time I focused on finishing a single sketch.
Beth painted the same boat from further along the dock.
Hope somebody drew the Ballard Bridge opening in the distance!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Here's what I managed in about 2 and a half hours during drawing class. Many brain cells were rearranged in the process and new neuronal pathways formed. At least that's the plan.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Although on Day 1 my results were feeble, I felt that something good could come of this. Evidence: the almost audible shrieking sounds as the two halves of my brain duelled for control.
"The mind wants to turn deliberate, newly learned skills into unconscious, automatically performed skills. But the mind is sloppy and will settle for good enough. By practicing slowly, by breaking skills down into tiny parts and repeating, the strenuous student forces the brain to internalize a better pattern of performance."
My hope is that the harder it is, the more useful the hand-eye training. We'll see! Four more Monday afternoons to go.
(Quotation is from this book review.)