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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What to read? What to read?

Mom and I like to order from Dover Books now and again. Often she’ll want coloring books, bookmarks and such and I’ll look through the catalogue and fill in the order with things to give us free shipping or use of a coupon etc. It’s a happy joining of purposes.

This time I ordered two books I hadn’t spotted before and now, well friends I hardly know where to begin I am so enamored of both!

The first to jump into my cart was the book by John Pike on watercolor. My home palette is by John Pike and I knew he was a Woodstock NY painter. This is a reprint of the 1974 edition of his book, originally published in 1966. Here’s an illustration of the palette, still in production and still a favorite of many.

Fortunately, we needed a little more for this order and I found another book I’d not seen before, The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas, a 2001 reprint of the original 1907 edition. There are a few familiar tales and one that revealed one of those happy coincidences – I’ve named a family in my NaNoWriMo story Gadarn which is just perfect for them.

Guess I’ll just have to read both at once!

Happy Birthday J.R.R – and Happy New Year to Us All!

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a Tolkien kid and have the shaper of Middle Earth read you a bedtime story? This Brain Pickings Tolkien post has two separate recordings of JRR reading aloud!

This and That While Waiting

Waiting for UPS man to appear. Molly is keeping watch from the upstairs bedroom. Sorta. She’s looking annoyed that I’m interrupting her nap.

I was wondering about color transparency so I decided to mess around with this test I’d seen somewhere. Nice plaid, eh? Also, I noticed that my palette color chart was started on May 16th 2016. Probably when I got my John Pike Palette. Noted.

I started reading A Life In Hand – Creating the Illuminated Journal by Hannah Hinchman yesterday. First published in the 90’s, it came packaged with a blank journal. I saw Danny Gregory review it in his book review video and it looked great so I found a copy. I was so inspired part way into the book that after breakfast that I sketched this oil tank because I liked the leaf shadows on it.

I came home yesterday and decided to watch a just-posted youtube video and paint along as a challenge. Turns out it’s challenging to paint along when you don’t know what the fellow is painting but I got there. I am really curious – all these UK guys keep using burnt sienna in the sky and it looks YELLOW. To me in person it looks too brown. I’ll have to look into this. Turned out pretty well

She Wins!

This morning my phone indicated a call from Williamstown and the nice voice said I’d won three books. One was particularly exciting but I can’t say what it is because it’s –ahem– my first holiday gift for 2017.

So here are the other two, quite exciting in their own right:

Watercolorists at Work

One of the books I brought home today was this: Watercolorists at Work by Susan Meyer and Norman Kent, 1972. Norman Kent, when editor of American Artist had asked twenty-five artists to contribute to a book showing their process. His successor, Susan Meyer brought the book to publication after his death. What a book it is. Each artist, in alphabetical order, has several pages of photos and text showing a work start to finish.

Tonight as I was spending time with the book I turned a page and there was John Pike, known to me as the creator of the palette I use, developing a fine ocean scene.

NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-One

I got up very early this morning to go to the book sale in Williamstown and I’d been warned that these bags would be with the “vintage” books but little did I imagine just how mysterious and irresistible they would be be. I couldn’t wait to get home and go through each ziplock bag.

Things Found in Books

At the library sale, in a small box,
bags labelled – ephemera – things found in books
So irresistible, these sifted treasures:
printed bookmarks, some from bookshops long gone
Prayers, birthday and christmas cards, ticket stubs,
gift tags, thank you notes, picture postcards,
some received with messages, some purchased;
recipes, three pages thick with typed spanish,
envelopes, study notes, a sewing pattern,
a business card with an old-fashioned phone number,
a baby announcement, clever, with all the details,
bits of newspaper, ads and notices.
All thrust between pages to mark a place,
now unexpected mysteries to share