Watercolor studies. A variation of the upside down house (Watercolor and gouache with non-toxic Gioconda soft pastel pencils.)This done on very portable spiral-bound Strathmore 400 Series Field Watercolor cold press sketchpad which alternates 140lb. wc paper with 60 lb sketch (15 sheets each) for on (and off) location studies. This is 10 x7. Also comes 11 x 14 and you can get here. For outdoors, this pairs nicely with Schmincke watercolor set although pricey it comes with brush, 12 colors and 2 palettes for mixing.
Received this shamrock plant from a good friend! Hope it brings me good luck:) I once gave one to a friend who was gravely ill in the hospital, and he did get better:) He and his wife sent me photos year's later of how big it had grown. Go here for more history and legends about this lucky plant.
Previously out of print, but now thanks to BookSurge on Amazon, "Only the River Runs Free: Northern Ireland, The Women's War" is now available again! An amazing story... worth a read if you are at all interested in knowing more about "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Gave all new meaning to my Irish heritage:)
Favorite Irish music: Mary Black Collected. Song for Ireland and there's a lullaby on this CD called "Mo Ghile Mear". A close source tells me it was a song that Bobby Sands (One of the blanket men ( hunger strike in Brit prison 1981) sang to his fellow blanket men (their request) during the strike)....
I just love Karin's bowl that I got at Christmastime. I've been waiting for Spring so I could use it this way. Forsythia and tulips from Wegmans, not my garden:). Her one-year old shop in Sweden is called Manos. And her style blog is here. Spring is really trying to come. More research today for the series "Fire in Pharsalia". Even the Fennimore Museum is getting ready to reopen April 1 after a long winter in Cooperstown, NY
Fenimore Art Museum is now accepting artist submissions for the second annual A Taste of the Sublime juried art invitational , to be held Saturday, August 8, 2009 on the museum's spacious grounds overlooking Otsego Lake.
Chickadee eggs found by the former curator of the Loomis Collection (natural history) at Roberson Museum, Floyd West and a note he left for his successor. I worked with Floyd for 10 years before leaving the museum. I was sad to hear that he had passed away in January. Some of my Kraslice egg collection ( the dye is scratched out of the egg with a sharp needle) and a specimen of winter grass from the garden.
According to an old Polish legend, many springtimes ago a mother cat was crying at the bank of the river in which her kittens were drowning. The willows at the river's edge longed to help her, so they swept their long graceful branches into the waters to rescue the tiny kittens who had fallen into the river while chasing butterflies. The kittens gripped on tightly to their branches and were safely brought to shore. Each springtime since, goes the legend, the willow branches sprout tiny fur-like buds at their tips where the tiny kittens once clung.(http://www.moggies.co.uk/html/legends.html)
Tracked down some tern specimens for GNSI project at the Roberson Museum's Loomis Collection. Lots of specimens actually, adults with breeding plummage, juveniles, chicks, and eggs. Will be going back for longer drawing sessions. Had to try forcing some forsythia just to see blooms of something. Pussywillows in the garden are coming along.Found some snowdrops in the garden too:) Trying to get back up to speed with drawing and painting, etc since getting back from trip. What I am really thinking about is gardening though. Here is a good video about building a raised bed garden for small spaces. Have a nice weekend!
Twitter has given all new meaning to one of my favorite Paul Klee works of art, Twittering Machine. Like all of Klee's work, the titles are so important. Done in 1922, the work is a transfer drawing with oil, ink, and watercolor on paper on board with gouache, ink, and pencil. I just love how Klee used so many different media, exploiting them all and pushing them and the paper to its limits. But I doubt he ever imagined a social networking tool "for staying connected in real time" called Twitter. The MOMA in NY ( where it lives) has this to say about Twittering Machine:
The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 127
The "twittering" in the title doubtless refers to the birds, while the "machine" is suggested by the hand crank. The two elements are, literally, a fusing of the natural with the industrial world. Each bird stands with beak open, poised as if to announce the moment when the misty cool blue of night gives way to the pink glow of dawn. The scene evokes an abbreviated pastoral—but the birds are shackled to their perch, which is in turn connected to the hand crank.
Upon closer inspection, however, an uneasy sensation of looming menace begins to manifest itself. Composed of a wiry, nervous line, these creatures bear a resemblance to birds only in their beaks and feathered silhouettes; they appear closer to deformations of nature. The hand crank conjures up the idea that this "machine" is a music box, where the birds function as bait to lure victims to the pit over which the machine hovers. We can imagine the fiendish cacophony made by the shrieking birds, their legs drawn thin and taut as they strain against the machine to which they are fused."
Now, I could make a lot of comparisons here between Twitter and the MOMA explanation of Klee's work, but what I am really thinking is, do I really want to join Twitter? Do I really want to be shackled to the perch of tweeting about what I am doing 24/7? I mean, who really cares? Isn't it just "bait to lure me to the pit over which the machine hovers"? I already feel fused with my computer just from work and blogging. Here are some one line comments I found left by folks who are trying to navigate the new world of Twitter: (I did not make these up)
How do I post a tweet?
am i tweeting?
facebook is easier
More confusing than facebook.
How do you talk to whoever you want?
Still figuring this all out.
I feel old.
I feel old too.
I feel old too, but advance. Always advance!
Sorry, I still don't get it.
At this point, I am laughing so hard my sides hurt. All this and I have not even mentioned all the apps there are for Twitter like BigTweet, Chirp and Chitter for Ichat, Squawk, Twit, Twoot, and Twitterfox just to name a few ( I swear!) So at least I am not alone. Hey, maybe it's better to exploit the medium, push it to it's limits,..who knows what will come of it. So, I'm in. I joined Twitter,... but I feel old.
Here is a beginner's guide for those who want to "advance":)
I recommend The Slanted Door in the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero down by the bay. But make reservations well in advance if you can. Great food at a decent price. It's wildly popular and lines are seen regularly waiting to get in for lunch. From the website.."The Slanted Door is a modern Vietnamese restaurant that showcases the abundance of produce as well as ecologically farmed meat, game and poultry found at farms around the San Francisco Bay Area." There is something for everyone there...really. Loved the Millenium, a gourmet vegetarian restaurant downtown, and the Front Porch in the Mission district is so cozy and fun, great menu, tin ceiling, bar and friendly atmosphere (we were even serenaded by musicians who travel up to SF from South America and ask for a small donation when they are done)..all this and winning chef Michael Law from New Orleans! In his own words...
"What drew me to food? The love of ingredients and the culture of cuisine.
The food and people are one in the same. Traveling and experiencing different cultures and their interpretations of cooking have always intrigued me. Food is fun. My philosophy is based on this principle: the cuisine should be simple, unpretentious and approachable. It should create a balance between old and new. And, cuisine should stay true to the food: to the people that grow it and raise it. A neighborhood restaurant like the front porch, should have those same qualities -- Stay close to the people and give 'em kick ass food."
I was looking forward to going to the Conservatory of Flowers while in San Francisco, but unfortunately, it was closed the day we went to the park. The building is pretty impressive.
It opened to the public in 1879. In 1883 the boiler exploded and the main dome caught fire and was completely destroyed. Funds were donated to rebuild the dome and in 1906 it survived "the" earthquake intact. Actually this building has an amazing history which you can read quickly here. Most notably, in 2005, "Ted the Titan"(Amorphophallus titanum), a corpse flower (because of its smell), attracted more than 16,000 visitors while in bloom (huh?) Well, this floral mammoth is pretty amazing and you can see it here where apparently it bloomed at UC Davis Botanical Conservatory in 2003. There is even a time-lapsed movie of it blooming on the UC Davis website. If you go here there is a good explanation and history of the flower
Nature is amazing.
Here are some more photos from the CAS.The California Academy of Sciences includes a Natural History Museum, Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium all in one location. The back of this turtle is exquisitely patterned. The black widow spider is near the top of the jar (just threw this in for the "ick" factor). Watching the penguins swim in the water with all the light and shadow explains much of their hi contrast patterning. Dappled spots and stripes mimicking the shadows of tall grasses and trees is so clever. I wonder if Buckminster Fuller ever stared at a turtle shell like this and imagined his geodesic dome?
I am back from a trip to San Francisco. What a vital city! The oval shaped striped building is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) which has a great collection. A Paul Klee show opened on the day we left (darn) but there was still plenty of modern art to experience. It was wonderful to see flowers blooming everywhere from Fisherman's Wharf to the California Academy of Sciences. Especially loved the aquarium there and all those fanciful fish and of course the penguins were endearing! Also had an amazing take-your-breath-away day of looking at dramatic lanscape at Fort Funston, a state park with knockout views of the Pacific Ocean and dunes covered with ice plants in bloom. I did the sketch of a man sleeping? (with ipod) while traveling on a BART train to visit friends. I'll be posting more photos later.
I promised a post about our visit in NYC with folk artist, Malcah Zeldis. She looked wonderful. I met Malcah many years ago while working as a museum educator. Her Anne Frank paintings were exhibited to complement a larger exhibit called "Daniel's Story" from the Holocaust Museum in DC. "Do you like my tree?" The first thing Malcah wanted to show us was the "tree" in her living room made up entirely of found objects, including, of course, a photo of Lincoln, her favorite. Her apartment is like a gallery with her paintings covering every square inch of wall. Notable were the holocaust paintings and a large painting of Marilyn Monroe. In her studio room, there were more paintings stacked in shelves and against the walls. On her studio table was a "Peaceable Kingdom", in pencil, waiting to be painted. Like Edward Hicks, Malcah has painted many of them.
She liked showing us her sculptures of found objects and especially wanted to show us her homage to her mother who died several years ago. (She was in her 90's) Malcah took care of her for many years and sometimes paints her, as a ballerina (which she really was), into her peaceable kingdom paintings, which I posted about before.
In her studio, she had set up a bed and carefully set out things on the bed that belonged to her mother; her shoes, photos of her as a young girl, her tea set, and a wicker head that had a crown of clothespins. "She was a queen" she told us. In another corner was a square lampshade she painted on with markers immediately following 9/11 ("..because they were all I had that day)--before, during and after the attacks were depicted on each side of the lampshade. She lives 2 blocks from ground zero.
More about Malcah...
"Malcah Zeldis was born in the Bronx in 1931 and shortly after she moved with her family to Detroit. In 1948 she moved to Israel to work on a kibbutz. While there she married, and she began to paint. She returned to New York in 1958. Her husband actively discouraged her from painting. In 1974 she obtained a divorce and began painting in earnest. Her paintings are an expression of her own life, her experiences, her feelings, her religion and her environment. With her flat style and bold colors, Malcah creates works of art which have great appeal. She does not concern herself with academic rules of painting; she follows her own rules. Malcah's work in in the permanent collections of many museums around the world including the American Folk Art Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, the Jewish Museum, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and the International Folk Art Museum and the . There is a book about her art titled "Moments in Jewish Life - The Folk Art of Malcah Zeldis". She has also illustrated three children's books ... "Eve and Her Sisters - Women of the Old Testament" , "Honest Abe", and "Peaceful Protest - The Life of Nelson Mandella" (bio from here)
Go here to see her works in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.