A few visuals from our time at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area!
Archive for painting
On a recent rainy weekend we let our wanderlust direct us and headed to one of our favorite places to visit, Cooperstown, New York. Since it was just a quick trip we centered on the gem of the town (in our opinion) and wandered the Fenimore Art Museum. The next trip will have to include another wonderful centerpiece – The Farmers’ Museum – but for now we fed our souls with the art at the Fenimore, and particularly the Thaw Collection.
The photographs follow our progress through the museum, starting with folk art and ending in the Eugene and Clare Thaw galleries. This collection continues to grow through gifts from the Thaws and others, as you will see by the final images of a more modern acquisition by a Lakota artist. It is an amazing and large group of diverse pieces from around the country including almost 850 objects. To wander the gallery experiencing the masks, clothing and artistry is a meditation. Completing the experience in the Study Room with it’s ‘open cases’ (for storage of the objects not on exhibit) is intriguing. The mind is pulled to the homes of those who created the work… the American Southwest, the Northwest Coast, the Plains… Perhaps not a cure for wanderlust at all!
Artists are always looking at other imagery to find inspiration. In fact, a few of my art teachers steered me towards other artists work – from photographs to drawings and paintings, to learn to draw what I saw. The internet is a wonderful source for inspiration since I can find multiple images of whatever strikes my fancy in order to draw creatures, scenes, people… I love to look through ancient illustrations and modern photographs for my ideas. One of my sources is now The National Gallery of Art since they have made more than 35,000 images available as high quality downloadable images. After all, they belong to us!
Right now I am perusing images to that remind me spring is coming… the winter is wearing on me!
“We believe in puppet theater as a wholesome and powerful language that can touch men and women and children alike, and we hope that our plays are true and are saying what has to be said, and that they add to your enjoyment and enlightenment.” – Peter Schumann
This post is the continuing story of my trip to Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, Vermont. You can read the first installment and check out other photos here.
The most fascinating and all-consuming aspect of Bread & Puppet for me is the museum… most of these photos were taken there…
Don’t forget to look up to the high ceiling of the museum!
Peaceful faces, swords, mythical creatures… so much for the imagination.
Everywhere you turn a face is watching you, studying your moves…
Ah, more hands… I have a fascination with hands.
The Woodshed Gallery – where many of the wonderful banners, notecards, postcards and posters can be purchased for very reasonable prices.
The Papier Mache Cathedral & Dirt Floor Theater is covered with wonderful banners…
Looking back toward the large museum building I spotted these characters watching me…
Being a big fan of Jane Austen, I recently re-read Pride and Prejudice… Then my sister gave me a copy of another entertaining tale, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. While working diligently on my table, a quote from that book stated by Miss Bingley in Chapter 10 keeps popping into my head (in a faux English accent, of course) – “Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improvement on the harp, and pray let her know that I am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table, and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley’s…”
We can assume it would have been a decoupage design that Darcy’s sister was creating on a table… The craft was then called the art of Japanning (a term that was derived from the Asian lacquer technique.) Whatever Ms. Austen was referring to in her classic tale, I am sure it was quite different than my table design. I confess, however, that I do hope it would also qualify as “superior to Miss Grantley’s”!
Coaxing the right colors from tubes of paint can be surprisingly time-consuming for a perfectionist! Color is usually more complicated than we realize, but I am really enjoying the process. All of the painting is done free hand – without the aid of taping edges or lines. Though I feel this technique enhances the organic feel of the design, it does take a steady hand and a great deal of concentration.
Slowly, as I apply more coats of paint, little details are added to enhance interest. The richness of color is revealed as layer after layer makes the blues, greens, yellows and reds more opaque. Many hours are spent perfecting the paint, the edges, the color…
It is a bit obsessive, but somehow also meditative and enjoyable. I really get drawn into the process and find it difficult to pull myself away, despite my aching neck and lower back!
Eventually I decide that the table looks complete and it’s time to stop. Occasionally I ask someone else to look and make suggestions, or tell me “It looks great! Stop now!”
The paints I’ve used to create my mandala table are rated outdoor acrylics and are UV and water resistant. It isn’t intended that it remain outside indefinitely, yet it can easily be folded and carried out to the porch to enjoy with your morning espresso and scone!
1. In Oriental art… a schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity.
2. In Jungian psychology… a symbol representing the effort to reunify the self.
The Arms & Legs Auction is an engaging event in which one-of-a-kind works of art are donated by local artists to be sold at auction. The objects are mainly tables and chairs – hence the event title. A few years ago I painted and découpaged a little sewing table and donated it to the auction. More recently I found the perfect folding, round-topped table to paint for the benefit.
After putting the word out that I was looking for a small piece of furniture I was invited to look through the attic of my lovely friend Sadie. The first table she showed me was in the garage and had obviously been used for many years as the surface on which to place other things while you painted them… It looked rather forlorn, and was folded and tucked in next to the freezer. Hmmm – maybe.
We climbed up the steep steps to the attic and looked at all the other options… I narrowed it to two… a cool 1950s folding wooden chair with a fabric seat, and a little magazine rack/table. But then the round topped table in the garage came back to me, and I went back to it… I realized it was THE ONE, especially when Sadie said she could never seem to give that one away (in other words, no one would ever take it off her hands!) Of course it is perfect, but it didn’t dawn on me how great it would really look until I began sanding it…
I brought this ridden-hard-and-put-away-wet aged beauty home and cleaned the cobwebs off.
After evicting the spiders I sanded every surface and began thinking about the transformation. Aahhh… a conversation begins. Along with the details of the folding mechanism and the many colors of paint remnants, I really loved the crazing on the surface of the table. I imagined all the other objects that had been painted while sitting on this table, and about the life it had led until then!
While sanding the top, I almost hated to see the shadows of other paint sessions disappear, but I had bigger plans for this circle. After preparing the table I headed inside for the evening to begin a drawing of the design.
After drawing what I had in mind and outlining the design with black pen, I experimented with adding color – hence the varied color combinations in the paper drawing above. Once the drawing was complete and I had decided on the colors, I began painting the table. The first step was to paint the legs with black acrylic. After coating the outside three surfaces of each leg I decided to keep the interior leg surfaces as they were, showing old layers of black and white paint along with some interesting crazing and finish variations. It was the “distressed look” in its most honest form! I had sanded them along with all of the table surfaces, and they looked lovely.
After preparing the legs I primed the top, then began to duplicate my paper design. In order to create a mandala on the table, I made the largest compass I ever have by sinking a pin into the very center of the top and tying a string and pencil to it!
I started by drawing a few circles and then moved on to measuring out the segments of the top. Eventually I transferred my entire drawing to the table, but on a much larger scale than the original. Once I had the drawing the way I wanted it I applied black pen to the lines. Excess pencil lines and marks were then erased and my painting began.
The colors were all added straight out of their bottles, in what I would call another primer coat. For later coats of paint I will be mixing the colors to create the color-palette I’ve imagined… for this first layer, however, the primary colors will form a strong base.
As I added each color to the surface my “sketch” gradually took shape on the tabletop. A few of the colors were close to what I pre-visualized, but most of them would require mixing for the final coats.
Black paint was added to the edges and finally the white was gone… none of the first coats completely covered the white paint as much as I would like, thus they’ll all need to have second and third coats added to give the colors the impact I want.
A second application of black was applied to the outside border… and more will be needed. The next step was to begin mixing the colors… The crazing of the old layers of paint can still be seen, adding character and interest to the top and legs of this old workhorse.
The next steps are coming in another edition… stay tuned!