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

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Still making progress

Not quite done, but mostly.

Photos from the Fourth

Here are most of the photos I took during my travels on the Fourth – to the Clark, along the Green and home again.

4 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!

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?

Saturday – Full of Art and Stuff

I went to the Clark over in Williamstown to see No Man’s land with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. I hadn’t been in the Library part of the campus since it reopened – it really looks like a library now. The woman checking names for the performance listened to mine and said – oh, I recognize that name because I see it pretty often! – which I thought was an exceptionally nice thing to say. I did thank her for letting me cancel the duplicate ticket I’d purchased in a moment of panic.

The theater was quite full which surprised me. It also surprised me how many people asked their seat mate during the performance, “do you understand what’s going on?” Some of the people nearby joked that they were going out to the lobby during intermission to see if they could get some insight as to what was happening on the screen. One came back and said they’d not gotten anything useful. There was a short documentary before hand and then a Q&A afterwards about it which most people stayed for.

I had swung quickly through the current exhibit of Japanese woodblock prints. Really good stuff. To get to the performance I went through the permanent collection and as I went through the room of impressionist paintings I looked over my shoulder to see a favorite painting – and it wasn’t there! Who knew? They rearrange things from time to time. They had a focus on Renoirs in that room and the side gallery had a lot of Pissaro. Anyway my favorite was there but moved mid-wall. After the performance I backtracked and saw the few prints I’d not seen at all but think I’ll go back and spend more time there and with the Renoirs.

Here’s what to do on a Saturday night at home: