Being a working artist means traveling. Traveling with my bag of paper tidbits and pot of glue to interesting locations all over this country, and abroad. It means teaching, exhibiting, exploring and experiencing the world.
I couldn’t have chosen a better job. Or did it choose me?
Chasing a Dream
Last week I was teaching in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate, NY. This week I am in NYC with my dancing daughter Emilie. I am supporting her as she chases her dream of being a performing artist in the discipline of dance. Driving her to and from class and the hotel, feeding her, listening to her stories of the day, anticipating her performance at the end of the week.
She is taking a summer intensive with Tony Bradford at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens this week on Staten Island, NY. A long way from home in Orlando.
Yesterday I got her settled in her class and introduced myself to Tony who said “happy belated birthday and how were the Finger Lakes? I saw all your pictures” Oh, the powers of FaceBook.
Today I navigated the Ferry and the Metro in New York on a mission to get to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This place has an incredible collection of work that I studied in my college Art History class at Syracuse University.
My son studied Jacob Lawrence and his Migration Series in school a few years ago. I was thrilled to study it with him, and to see it today at the MoMA. What’s even more special is that the entire series of 60 pieces is on exhibit together for the first time in over 20 years.
How amazing is that?
Andy Warhol has always been of my favorites. His bold use of color, he’s creativity and his connection with graphic design resonates with my own interests and appreciation. I love his shoe series! everyone knows I love shoes. My daughter studied Warhol in high school this year, when I returned to the hotel with her tonight we talked about the line quality he achieved in the shoe art. I enjoyed being able to explain his blotted line technique to her. What was fun to remember is that when she was in elementary school I volunteered with the PTA program to teach art in her (and her brother’s) classroom once a month. I wrote up the “I am Art Smart” take-home sheets and even did one on Andy.
Klimt The Crown Jewel
in 1990 I made a pilgrimage to Vienna, Austria to experience the art of my all-time favorite artist. I visited the Austrian Gallery Bellevediere and saw 11 paintings by the crow jewel of Austria. You may remember from your history, or the recent movie Woman in Gold, the story of Maria Altmann, an 80 year old Jewish refugee, who took on the Austrian government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family.
Today I experienced the second portrait of Maria’s aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer in NY, the very same painting I had seen in Vienna all those years ago. Maria won the painting back and loaned into MoMA for all the world to see. It was like visiting an old friend. Thank you Maria.
Brushwork– Up Close and Personal
As an artist, I want to be two inches from the canvas. I want to examine and mentally deconstruct the brushwork. This is difficult with security guards on their toes. “Ma’m, you are ENTIRELY too close to the painting. Back up. You MUST be two feet away.” This I heard a lot.
So much for deconstructing.
I love the pointillism of Georges Seurat, his post impressionistic style gave the feeling of soft flickering, it’s totally different when you back up from the work vs when you are up close on it (2-feet or more, of course).
Van Gogh’s Starry Night and one of his many portraits of the Postman were both at MoMA. What an amazing opportunity to stand among such greatness.
I cried. More than once.
Besides looking at the art two-inches from the surface, I enjoyed watching people looking at art. It made me smile to see the diversity of the audience at MoMA. It seemed that people old and young were enjoying the color, shape, light, and forms of these masters of the brush. I enjoyed listening to an older gentleman explain art and artists to a little girl who held his arm tight.
Deconstructing brushwork is in the details. Any artist knows that you have to look close to see it, to experience it, to appreciate it, to learn from it. I am always looking to apply what I learn about painting in an art gallery or museum to my next piece. The textural brushwork I saw today on the 5th floor of MoMA was exquisite. You just can’t get texture from a book. (or a blog post, for that matter) You must go see it in person.
Just go do it.
Art and Emotion
Not sure why, but this Reclining Nude was the first of many paintings to make me cry. I was just so taken with Modigliani’s use of light and flesh that was rich with texture and warmth. Her skin seemed to glow, right off the canvas. She was so beautiful, so relaxed, so comfortable, so perfect. I was overcome with emotion for this painting.
Rothko’s Color (detail)
Mark Rothko’s abstract expressionist work was all about color. Recently I explained to a friend that the squares that Rothko painted were more than squares. His squares were about color, and how it blended from one to the next. The edges he created, the combinations he used, the marks he made. Amazing.
Oh how I love texture! I love thick hand made papers and think rice papers and every paper in between. So, as you can imagine, the thickly textured paintings that protruded from the canvas and the wall, were ones I was drawn to the most.
Nobody used more texture in this collection than Jackson Pollock. His work included enamel paint, nails, cigarette buts, and various other tidbits of things swept up from the studio floor. I appreciated his use of silver metallic, dark black with grainy grounds mixed in, and the occasional tiny pop of color. This work was sure to be looked at close.
Picasso’s Interior with a Girl Drawing was thick application of delicate color and layers and layers of paint.
deKooning’s Woman I has a threatening gaze and ferocious grin that are heightened by aggressive brushwork and intensity of color palette. She really looked like she might jump out and grab you. Now that’s dynamic texture and brushwork.
What a Day!
Not only was happy to be immersed in some of the most significant art of the 20th Century, but I was proud to say that I navigated my way around the City via public transport. I did some walking up Broadway, enjohing the theatre posters along the way. I passed the Apple Store and Trump Tower and appreciated the cleanliness and classiness of Park Avenue.
Stay tuned for the rest of the week in NYC. I’ll be visiting more Art Museums and I hope to find my favorite shoe store… and clothing designer… among other New York treats.
for being a part of
My Art Journey,
For more information on my workshops visit my Facebook page for a complete listing of classes. No Facebook account required.
Meet Me in Italy!
Meet Me in Belize!