Lessons Learned: Plein Air Category

If you’re painting en plein air, your brushes should not be grass green. Ask me how I came upon this notion! I’m tempted to dip the ends of all my brushes in safety yellow or blaze orange just for ease of finding. And no, I didn’t find the brush I dropped and I spent too much time looking. If it turns up in the corner of a bag or something it will be a freakin’ miracle.

I’d headed over to The Clark for a 9 AM curator-led gallery walk of the Picasso print exhibit. That was very interesting and informative. I’ll go back some other early morning to go through again and look at everything with some new ideas. Afterwards, I enjoyed the rest of my coffee and headed up toward the back hill. It was hard to pick a view – there were great clouds in all directions. I took my roll-up stool with me because it poured last night. That was a good decision, unlike the green-handled brush. At least it wasn’t one of my new brushes – I’d still be there looking.

clouds 18 july 2017//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Fourth of July Weekend

I promised myself a few days with a minimum of social media and politics and a lot of art, art making and other good stuff. Three days to rest and recover and recharge. Sunday I went to the Clark to look at the new Frankenthaler exhibits and listen to a lecture about exhibit paintings. I snuck in a quick painting too .

In the evening I went to see Natalie Merchant in concert at Tanglewood. She was great. The first half felt subdued but I had no complaints – one of my favs was song #3 –

It was a nice mix of oldies and new work like Giving Up Everything, Break Your Heart and Life is Sweet, and I’m Not Going to Beg.

I felt buoyed up by her comments about the political situation and impressed that she would turn over time in a concert to let someone else talk about local activism.

Yesterday I already wrote some about.

Let me interrupt myself to say: if you have a local museum or such and they offer membership, you should do that – I feel good about supporting The Clark Art Institute, love their impressionist collection and many others on permanent exhibit, get to go to good lectures and some member-only things. And, even though I feel virtuous about supporting them, I surely do get my money’s worth out of it because I go there a lot, probably more because I’m a member.

Today when I went in one of the admissions folks was putting on my wrist band. Members bands are black. Day people get a bright yellow or other color. I allowed as it would be nice if the members got the nice color and everyone else got the black. The young folks said they’d just been talking about that very thing so we agreed they should make that happen for next year. LOL I’m sure there’s a good reason for the brightly colored day-trippers.

My main purpose for the return trip was another look at the Frankenthaler woodcuts exhibit, No Rules. I do think the lighting could be better. These are big (BIG!) things covered in glass and reflections are a problem. The process of making these is collaborative and complex in my understanding. The pieces are each unique and yet strongly tied in to the artist’s earlier paintings on display and to the Japanese tradition of woodcuts.

Then I hung around outside for awhile and did this:

And tonight I did this because every time I go to the Clark I look at John Constable’s cloud studies. Here’s one of them.

Day Off For Chasing Clouds and Picasso

I went up a road I didn’t remember, looking for some clear view of some impressive morning clouds today. This took me away from my normal Stewart’s coffee but luckily brought me out to the Cumberland Farms in Stephentown which has Dunkin Donuts! What a treat. Since I was that far I went on over to the Clark. I lugged my stuff up the hill and painted for awhile, sitting on a rather soggy log (used the tripod sleeve as a seat though so it was all good.)

Treated myself to lunch – some delicious chicken curry, some watermelon and a great ginger molasses cookie.

This Flickr album has photos taken in the morning, atop the hill at The Clark and then on the way home.

Clouds 20 June 2017//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

After I trudged back down the hill and had my lunch, I toodled around in the galleries. Some of my favorites were on hiatus and the big piano has been moved to a special exhibit recreating more of the room it was in. An interesting history of its design and the people who’d come in contact with it.

The real reason for going to The Clark right now though is the exhibit of Picassos. Whoa. (The crowd response was not totally supportive. There were parents giving patient and perhaps too thorough explanations of reductive printing processes and Minotaurs. One man was overheard to say, ‘well what is the point of all this?’ and his companion said, ‘I don’t get it.’ I heard them both again in the parking lot assuring each other that they had a new appreciation for Picasso… OK then.) I’m going to try to get over some morning first thing. It’s in a space that feels small although it’s not cramped but I’d prefer to have less commentary and people reading the signage aloud. If not I’ll just use my headphones and don the “I’m rude and wearing my headphones so I don’t hear you” persona. What ever it takes.

I super loved the colorful prints at the end – some still life arrangements which just seemed to smack of everything Picasso. How confident and sure his marks were! The colors are much stronger than in the catalogue so go and enjoy them in person!

Visiting Emily’s Bedroom

This very cool 360 experience from the NYTimes

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000005045504

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-five and My Tuesday

rain on a Tuesday
wind makes it chilly
tree buds just showing color
below a swatch of ski-slope
more rain tonight
but driving home
forsythia
splattered against
hedgerows and yards
splashed across
the wet pavement
and still-dark woods.

Today I went to pick up three books I won at auction at the Milne Library book sale. Then, the plan, weather permitting was to paint on the hill overlooking the Clark. If the weather didn’t permit I figured I could always go inside to the two exhibits I missed last time. The weather held – no rain at least – so I trudged up the hill and set up and started to paint. It was very windy. I had to make a few adjustments to batten everything down after my board with paper tried to fly away. I finished the first landscape and decided to try the Crystal by Thomas Schütte – an installation which is inspired as I recall by New England-y sheds. I walked up the path and found a double door on the back and there I was, inside looking out through the opposite opening. And, conveniently there’s a bench along one of the other walls. So I set up there thinking it nice to be out of the occasional sprinkles and a little more protected, when a burst of wind blew through the opening and pushed out through the two doors. How very exciting. There were two couples that wandered up the path and through the Crystal too but they weren’t anywhere near as exciting as the wind.

View from the Crystal by Thomas Schütte

By the time I started down the hill again I was pretty darn cold. I dumped the painting stuff in the car while wondering if the museum cafe was still open. As soon as the hatchback of the fiat closed, I knew the keys were inside. Started AAA on the way, found out the cafe was closed, warmed up a little inside the building and then went out to wait. Young guy showed up in his big tow truck and had the front door open in no time. His first Fiat, he said.

Drove home. Ordered a few more watercolor supplies. (That’s it. I’m done unless I run out of something. Seriously. No more!) Watched The Voice. Write my NaPoWriMo poem while drinking some peppermint tea. Now I’m going to heat up the bed and go finish The Martian.

It Followed Me Home From The Clark

I went over to the Clark. My intention was to maybe climb the hill an sketch or paint but that didn’t happen. I went in, got banded (LOVE being a member! support your local art org!) and wandered around looking at paintings. Mostly favorites, but I did look at some of the Dutch genre pieces (very cool) and I looked at part of the Looking North and South exhibit which was mostly drawings and printed material. I saved that for another day because I ran out of time before the movie. Like any movie venue they run little announcements of upcoming events, remind you to look for the exits and not to eat in the auditorium etc. When the feature started though, it was so quiet that a good portion of the audience kept right on talking… They finally settled down.

Visually I, Claude Monet was beautiful, often morphing between real landscapes and views to the work of the artist. I didn’t know anything about his biography so there were parts that were interesting, all told via his letters to others but it seemed to devolve into ‘my life is miserable, the painting is hard or impossible and I need money.’ It was all done with a single narrator, which didn’t help. Monet did have hard stretches of life especially in is young adulthood, but I would have liked to know more about his thoughts about the work of others or other’s reactions to Monet’s work etc. To put it better, they could have made him more three dimensional.

I might watch it again given the chance because I was warm and sleep-deprived and my eyes wanted to close. I fought this because the views were gorgeous and seeing the paintings that large was wonderful.

When it was over, I went back through the building to get to my car and this book leapt into a bag and insisted on going with me. Whatcha gonna do?

Today in the Sunshine

Also found planted in the nearby garden, in case I ever need to verify my location:

I’m off to the Clark Art in Williamstown to look at new things and see the movie I, Claude Monet. I wonder if future people will be rummaging through our emails to gain insight about what we did today?