My Day with Art

I went to The Clark today, having asked for a day off so I could go to the lecture opening the new exhibit there – Drawn from Greatness. There were drawings from the 15th century and up to current times (Pollack, Picasso, Kelly etc). Big selection of the impressionists – two pages of Van Gogh letters (with drawings) and a drawing. Sketchbooks which had belonged to Cezanne and Degas. Lots of ink and wash, watercolor, gouache, chalk, graphite, different papers, techniques. Part of the exhibit was in a different part of the building, So I wandered over.

First couple very interesting. The one behind me, lovely. Next one… hmmm quite interesting. Strangely familiar, a little cartoonish but very skilled and unique style… freaking William Blake. Around the corner from that was a, as the curator noted, “showstopper” by Victor Hugo. Yes THAT Victor Hugo.

I saved getting the catalogue for another visit and perusal. It’s about big enough to be made into a coffee table but it does look very complete. I did come home with this, thinking it would be a good read and good company for my copy of The Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Remember that this time of year The Clark is closed on Mondays! If you end up there by mistake you can wander over to the Williams College Museum of Art and see other interesting things. (Ask me how I know that!)

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Robert Siegel – All Things Considered

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to Terry Gross interview Robert Siegel, about to retire from years of hosting All Things Considered on NPR. Robert and I go way back, and many people can say the same I realize, but in 2015 I wrote about an experience I had with Mr. Siegel in 2003. I was on my way to my parents’ home on Christmas eve after working in the mall on Christmas Eve day. I was done and suddenly there was Robert Siegel talking about one of his favorite pieces of music, Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, the second movement, Allegretto.

As I listened I began to cry and finally I had to pull over. I described that a couple years later in a blog post and it continues to be true that I re-listen to that segment from time to time. You can read about it and listen to it here.

I thought it was fabulous that he took time to write me. Maybe he doesn’t routinely make women weep.

So listen and then listen to him talking about what it’s like to think about doing something else after doing what you love for many many years. Thank you Robert Siegel and Terry Gross!

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/572263140/572628143

Halloween 2017

The sun was shining and I was out and about to look at it. Quick stop at Bucky’s Bagels in New Lebanon for an egg salad on pumpernickel to go, and to find out that next week they start with Tuesday Turkey Dinners! Woot! Then a swing by Stewart’s for gas for the fiat and some coffee for me. Then off to The Clark.

They’re in between special exhibits and I’ll be going back soon to look at The Impressionist LineFrom Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec (November 5, 2017–January 7, 2018) and then in February, I’ll be back to see Drawn to Greatness, Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection (February 3–April 22, 2018).

But today, I was propelled by the notion that soon enough it will be mighty hard if not impossible to stand outside and paint. Not sure what will happen then. Hmmmm. Here are my photos of the day. You can see my watercolor album here.

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Then it was home and doing some laundry, some yummy leftovers for dinner and in about 45 minutes, the start of NaNoWriMo!

Monday – Akaroa and The Giant’s House

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What a thing, The Giant’s House is. How lucky the maker, Josie Martin is to have come to this place, begin a garden, find some shards of china and begin this journey. Her life and art has merged nicely. The garden is a “Garden of National Significance” and in total it’s “The happiest garden on Earth”.

Doesn’t get much better! It rained while we were there, but it was impossible not to smile at the sculptures and the carefully placed pieces of china and cup handles and everything else, the topiary bushes, the beautiful plants and flowers and even the other visitors.

Check out all the photos here

Also pretty cool was this statue of a painter, Charles Meryon, who’d been stationed on a ship here. I thought the concept of the statue was pretty amazing.

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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.

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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.

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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!