Thursday, April 30, 2009

Red Scarf


Red Scarf - 18 x 24 - oil on canvas (top)
Detail from Red Scarf (bottom)
See on my website
Red Scarf is my third portrait of the year. Right now I'm not sure I'll do another. Portraits are excruciating, exhausting and time consuming. The slightest error can wreak havok, and they require intense concentration. This painting entailed many layers of glazed colors, plus late-stage corrections to the eyes, mouth and nose. Yup, you guessed it, that's me.
Red Scarf will be on display at the Staring Back: Portraiture exhibit at the Sixth Street Gallery in May. On delivery day Allan and I marveled at all the wonderful portraits accepted into the show. They made mine seem insignificant, particularly the life size portraits by Marcus Gannuscio. Marcus showed next to me back in December 2007 at the now defunct Rake Gallery in Portland. I thought he was extraordinarily talented then, and still do.
We plan to attend the opening reception tomorrow night and I'll snap some pictures and post them here. Stay tuned. I think I'll wear a red scarf!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Camellias and Shell

Seeing the paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art left me with a new painting resolve. All the artists I admire painted things, places and people that were integral parts of their lives. Monet's water lilies, Cezanne's mountainscapes, Van Gogh's irises, even Bonnard's kitchen table were simple statements about things these artists saw every day. They didn't have photos, computers, or in many cases even tubed paints. Often they painted from memory. Yet their masterpieces now grace museums and take my breath away.
After we got back from New York I took a walk to get the cramps out of my legs. The camellias in front of Joe and Pat's house were blooming like crazy. Since Joe and Pat spend their winters in a warmer clime' I wondered who'd appreciate their flowers, and I snipped a handful to set up in my studio. I thought about all the paintings I'd seen and how I might adopt a simpler painting philosophy, like Pierre Bonnard, the featured artist at the Met who painted most everything from sketches or memory.
Here's the painting that resulted. I didn't use any photos, sketches, or other aides. I just painted what I saw, much from memory since the camellia blooms fell off after just one day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Klimt's Bloch-Bauer at the Neue Galerie

Me, at the Neue Galerie (top)
My sketch of the shapes I saw in the Bloch-Bauer portrait
My trip to New York wasn't complete without a visit to the Neue Galerie, home to the $135 million Klimt painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer.

In 2006 Ronald Lauder of the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune purchased the painting from Maria Altmann (descendent of Adele Bloch-Bauer) for his Neue Galerie in New York City, for a record setting price of $135 million. See above links for the painting's history.

I paid the $15 admission fee to the Neue Galerie just to see the the Klimt. Amazing. Awesome. Fabulous. I always thought Klimt painted in a loose, brushy fashion. I was surpised to see how delicate his work was. The flesh was translucent, extremely delicate, and had to have been done with small brushes. The Bloch Bauer painting was magnificent, as were the other Klimts I saw in the Metropolitan and MOMA.

The security guard standing watch at the Neue adamantly stated that no photography was allowed. Darn. So my only option was to pull out a Warwick Hotel note pad and sketch every shape I saw in the painting. Viola, my sketch (above), done on location at the Neue Galerie in New York City on April 16, 2009.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sketching in Central Park





Ink sketches of Central Park views done on Warwick Hotel note paper
April 18, 2009
Our last stop in New York was Central Park. I wanted desperately to take pictures, but the camera battery ran out in one of the museums, and yours truly didn't pack the recharger. What's an artist to do? It was a lovely day, warm, sunny and calm. People were everywhere, but we found a spot on the grass under some trees.
I dug out the Warwick Hotel note pad I'd stashed in my purse and proceeded to sketch the view in every direction while Allan napped. Some 'New Yawkahs' next to us chatted away and I tried not to smile at their accent. I wondered if anyone famous might walk by. Allan woke up and was sure he recognized the black man laying on the grass nearby. He said it was the actor who played Dr. Benton on ER. I wasn't sure. I was looking for David Letterman or Eliot Spitzer, but no one of any repute strolled by. Then a bird pooped right on my purse. Good thing it didn't hit my head! So we gathered up our bags and headed back to the hotel. Time to board the shuttle for JFK.
Goodbye New Yawk. It was nice to visit. I'm sure glad I don't live there! But the trees in Central Park were magnificent and I would have loved to paint there.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Art in the Big Apple



Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth (top)
Jackson Pollock (middle)
Reflections of Clouds on Water Lilies by Claude Monet (bottom)
more pictures from our New York Trip on Flickr

Our trip to New York City was fabulous, and exhausting. The goal was to see as much art as possible, and that we did! Along with shopping, sightseeing and a lot of walking.

The highlight was the day we spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Allan's comment as we entered the European paintings section was, 'We hit the jackpot!" There were whole rooms filled with Monets, Van Goghs and Cezannes (Allan's favorite). We saw several Klimt's, the first Frida Kahlo I'd ever seen, and the magnificent Madame X by John Singer Sargent. We thought we'd died and gone to heaven! And that was just the European paintings. We tried not drool when we saw the Rembrandts, Renoirs and Vermeers. Did I mention Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Picasso, Gauguin and Whistler? I could go on and on, but I'd start sounding like an art history book. My favorite part? The special exhibit by Pierre Bonnard and one painting by Anders Zorn; and the Van Goghs, and the Whistlers, and the Rembrandts......

The Neue Galerie was just down the block. It's home to the $134 million Klimt purchased by Ronald Lauder (heir to Estee Lauder cosmetics). I paid the $15 admission just to see it, and it was well worth it. There were several other Klimts as well and other Austrian art.

We spent time in the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim, both of which had more famous paintings. Allan likes history so we spent a half day at the American Museum of Natural History and saw huge dinosaur bones. Our touristy trek included the Empire State Building, 5th Avenue, FAO Schwartz, Central Park, Times Square and a two-hour cruise in the New York harbor where we had a magnificent view of the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the area where the Twin Towers stood, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and the United Nations building. The tour guide was hilarious. He told us to feel free to moon Wall Street as we cruised by. Surprisingly, no one did.

We at a Reuben sandwich at Maxie's Deli and walked past the David Letterman theatre, St. Paul's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. The weather was beautiful. We stayed at the Warwick Hotel built by William Randolph Hearst.

All in all it was one of the most memorable trips we've ever taken! Oh, and there were like a bajillion people there so were sure glad to get back to our little burb where you can walk down the street without getting bowled over. Home sweet home.