Posts Tagged 'artists'

Art Advent Calendar – 1

December 1

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
One lady reading…

Oil painting of woman reading by lamplight. Woman bends over book in front of her with shoulder turned to viewer. Lamp illuminates her outline.
Lady Reading by Lamplight, 1895, by Minerva J. Chapman.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

If you’d like more information about Minerva J. Chapman, check out this brief bio from Smithsonian Institute. Her work is still available, if you have cash on hand. Dreamy work: Pence Gallery.



Superwoman, by Kiki Kogelnik, 1973

It’s the eve of another election in the USA, and so my house is collectively pausing (to check the candidates or our polling place), and also hoping. The world is complicated, and our small corner is no less complicated than a larger portion of the country. I’m personally uncertain about the justices on the ballot, and there are a couple of poorly worlded addenda to City ordinances that have me reaching for the dictionary.

So, if you have the ability (legal or physical) to vote in this cycle, please make your opinion heard.

Meanwhile, I’m keeping my head out of the news coverage until Wednesday, and practicing my chorus music. Nothing like the sounds of carols and festivities to get the cobwebs of politics out from between my ears. I’ve also been spending a good bit of time enjoying art supplies, as a cathartic release from dealing with the canvassers calling the house.  And after a conference, I had the pleasure of visiting the National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC. I’ll probably have a little report on what the museum is really like. Incredibly powerful to see art from a woman’s perspective.


Journal ponderings

Years ago, I kept journals, mostly working thru the processes of: getting through school, adjusting to a messy adulthood (my 20s were intense), and moving sideways into a career. Now, I have a mix of (1) sketch notebooks, (2) basic notebooks (for writing notes during meetings), and (3) notebooks where I jot down notes for short stories. I’m starting to think again about combining category 1 and 3.

My notebooks are motly for my eyes. They are not as amazing and beautiful as these notebooks by artist José Naranja. Check out these links:

…..and get inspired.


I have postcards all around my office. Some of them are antique, framed ones, showing photos of places that were near a camp I used to be a counselor at. Others are of bookish things from the British Isles. Still others are art postcards, bought when a local artist’s work delighted me, or a museum had a postcard of a particularly meaningful painting. I’m in the process of making more room in my office, and find that I’ll need to have a postcard framing and hanging afternoon, hopefully when it’s icky outside.

Artists whose postcards I’ve collected:

Martha Dougherty is a contemporary artist who does lovely watercolors set in Baltimore, Maryland — both interior views and external street scenes. Truly lovely. Here’s another one [Madison at Charles Street]. In some of the saturated street scenes, she’s the artist whose work is the closest reflections of the way I see color in landscapes. Very interesting. Linda Hall is another contemporary artist who does watercolors in Chestertown, Maryland.

So, have you collected postcards? If so, are they just mementos of places you’ve been, scenery you love, mail you received from loved ones, or affordable art?



Shopping small day 3: for artists

My local art store (Utrecht) has changed its name to Dick Blick art supplies, but shopping there still feels a bit more intimate than a big crafting store in the suburbs. I look at the Aquarelle Arches paper, and my heart skips a beat (no, I don’t need more. It’s worse than my inability to leave sock yarn in a store.). But grown up artists and dilettantes (and young artists in preschool) all need:

  • Sable brushes are nice and these look luxurious for watercolor work (the set I want is out of stock, Santa).
  • I don’t think I’ve ever used badger brushes for any of my oil painting. But synthetic bristle brushes are sturdy, and offer flexibility for young students who are just starting to choose either oil or acrylic (set of 3 brushes). Round the set off with a stack of disposable paper palettes, a palette knife, and you’re done.
  • Drawing and sketching pencils, colored pencils, sharpeners in funny shapes. Consider jumbo crayons that are easy to grip for young artists (great stocking stuffers).

Other local art stores and craft stores: Artist and Craftsman. Love them. I’ve been to their Philadelphia branch and their Baltimore one. Service at both was excellent, and the ones in Baltimore were able to explain which things I could get as a gift for a young person who wanted to try cartooning. Shopping for people who do pottery can include lovely time poking around at: Clayworks Supplies (three locations or online), or at Dick Blick — shaping tools are helpful and welcome to potters and sculptors. Happy hunting!

Reading: A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny

Inbetween shoveling snow, knitting, or obsessively watching cross-country skiing during the Olympics (and scaring my cats as I shout at the skiers on television)… I’ve gotten quite a bit of reading done. I’m almost finished with Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light, and no, I haven’t found out who-dunnit yet. Artists, gallery owners, and small town Canada, with a dead art critic outside a garden party for an older artist’s debut at the Musee’. The question almost seems to be who wouldn’t want to kill an art critic who bad mouthed people and tried to split up couples? How awful for Clara, the artist with the solo show, to find police at her door, and the dead body of a woman in the flower beds. And how dreadful that she was once best friends with the dead critic, but was treated quite badly by her in their college years. Some of the characters are hopefully in other of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels — Ruth the tactless old poet with a crude sense of humor, Beauvior the investigator who reports to the Chief Inspector (and hopelessly falling in love with his daughter), and Clara herself.

Other plotlines weave in and out, mostly from another part of the series, but it’s very readable without reading the other books. And, having been an art minor, I can see the genius in the character creation and the development of motive. So far, people are nicer than they were at group art crits.

So, have you read any good novels lately, or reread a favorite mystery story that you want to share? Please do in the comments!

Glass house — model home

Artwork by Marian April Glebe, 2013. One of the semi-finalists for the Sondheim Artscape Prize. Other houses in series include “Birdseed” and “Dandelion III”, which I think is in the background in the next lucite box. Very, very cool.

Elements: Air

Walking through an artscape airport.

There are better times to visit Indiana than a heatwave in summer (Autumn is lovely, so is spring, and when the Indiana State Fair is going on, I don’t care about the weather). The air is hot and heavy, filled with water.

However, family trumps weather sometimes, and I did manage to see some interesting things besides driving back and forth to Indianapolis. Some of the cattle farms I remember have now turned to horse farms, and the towns have stayed much the same if a little emptier from loss of automobile manufacturers. If I had time, I’d go back to Indianapolis, go to the museums, and check out the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

 Indianapolis Airport is different from what I remember from childhood (different place, even). And what is truly wonderful is the effort that has been made to introduce art into the airport. Feather images have been brushed onto divider windows. “Stained” art has been installed in exterior windows. It’s all rather like walking through a fairytale of blocks of yellow, red, and purple. The art is called “Streaming”. It’s from the Indiana Windows project from 2007 done by Martin Donlin. He’s managed to take the airiness of the airport and capture it with acid-etched and airbrushed hand-blown glass. I saw at least three of the larger stained glass pieces in the wing of the airport I was in.

Adventures with terra sig

I”m afraid today I’m just rambling around, talking about dirt and clay. If you’d like to burble about art classes, your current yarn-y projects, go right ahead and join in the comments…

I’ve been taking clay classes since January, and I’m now taking a short summer class in terra sig (and I’m sorry, but it does sound like a villain from Dr Who during the Peter Davidson era). I’m inspired by the work of Shalya Marsh, whose work I saw at a museum exhibit (her work here).  It’s positively lovely stuff, and much larger than the photos imply. Colleen Waata Urlich has a very different style using terra sig application (I’m in love with one of her pieces of pottery: Woven Plum Branch Vessel, even though it’s been sold already to some lucky person). Other contemporary surface treatments by potters are shown in an article from Ceramics Arts Daily.

This form of pottery has been around a great long time (called terra sigillata), all the way back to the Romans in Gaul, and possibly longer. Visit the Roman Open Air Museum (Romanisches Freilichtmuseum) in Hechingen-Stein to see some examples (virtual mini tour at this link). There’s a Wiki about the technique here, with other pictures. There’s a lovely site at the Metropolitan Museum (NYC) about the history of the Roman Table, and though the pictures are quite small I still feel pretty intrigued by how the ancients might have created terra sigillata. I saw some Roman/Gaulish terra sig bowls while on a trip to Köln/Cologne, but it was behind glass, and didn’t feel accessible. (I wondered if the sheen was a reflection of the glass, or the work of a craftsman burnishing the clay?)

So, now my brain is filled with strange phrases like “deflocculant” (definition here) and “mason stains”, and wondering if I’ll get 1 piece out of the pitfire that isn’t in multiple shards. I’m learning the modern technique, and also…. I’m really, really klutzy.

WOw — Yellow sticky notes

Ever realize how much of your life is spent making to do lists?
An artist made a great flip book, while also managing to tell an autobiographical story.*
Yellow Sticky Notes by Jeff Chiba Stearns.

*yeah, the bunny part makes me cry too.