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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Women in Paris Exhibit at The Denver Art Museum

I have been remiss in not writing this amazing show up before it closed on Monday. Everyone I know who went has only good things to say about it. Denver Art Museum has done itself proud with this exhibit. It seems we have one good show after another so I want to extend kudos to the curators of this world class exhibition. One of the reasons I really liked about Women In Paris is that there were enough well known artists and their works to feel worth it yet there were lots of new artists to most of us, that were so worth discovering!

I went twice. Both times it was well attended.  As you entered, you were met with self-portraits or portraits of many of the artists in the exhibit. One large painting that took center stage in this area was of an all woman's art class at the Atelier. The male model was discreetly covered.

Cecilia Beaux, one of my favorites; the black kitten is a stroke of genius.
a lovely detail

I loved this little scene with the warm light leaking out under the door; the archway to the right aids and abets

Sometimes a good scream is just what is called for!

A German artist whose graphic style really caught my eye
Mary Cassatt did this lovely jewel of her sister, Lydia
It wasn't all sweetness and light.

And last but not least, I loved this painting because it is so real.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Klimt at the Legion of Honor

Lady with Feathered Hat
The show at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco is a double billing of Klimt/Rodin. For me, it was all about Klimt. Don't get me wrong, I like Rodin's work, but I came to discover and see Klimt's paintings in person. This painting of the Lady with Feathered Hat struck me because it brought to mind one  of Klimt's proteges,  Egon Schiele, whom I happen to really like, more so than what I would think of a typically Klimt piece. But this exhibit was not a show of what most people have in mind when they think of his work. A few pieces, of course, but not overall.

For instance, one usually thinks of females, especially the Kiss or the Woman in Gold. There was one piece that fit that mold, The Maiden, shown below. I took this long view of it to show its size. Klimt painted LARGE! But the size adds to the power of his images. I think there are at least 6 women in this painting, with the virgin in the middle of this menagerie.

My personal favorite works of Gustav are the landscapes. Most people have no idea that he painted landscapes. It said in the exhibit he fit them in around his commissions, but tended to do 3 or 4 per year. They are also quite large, and all of them are square. Below is one of the 4 that were on display. It is of the Schloss were he went for rest and recuperation. You can see the lake to the left where he boated. I took a close up of another painting so you can see the brush work. I was quite surprised to discover how loosely he really painted.

Next up, either Richard Diebenkorn or The Women of Paris from our own Denver Art Museum show...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A New Year Begins! Welcome 2018

As a follow up to my last post, I will regale you with my take of the museum art shows we went to. To start, my son and I had a time of wonder and discovery together.

Starting with landing in LAX where my sister and her husband picked us up. We drove straight to the Pasadena Museum of California Art as it was 'on the way' home. The exhibit of E. Carlton Fortune was everything and more I could have hoped for. Photos were not allowed, unfortunately, so I did buy the catalog. I have not been impressed with exhibit catalogs of late so it is rare I will buy them.

The show started chronologically, but the first one that took my full attention was of Monterey Bay.
There are many artists who paint the coast, with the rocks, waves and coves, but not always do they take your breath away. Effie's (Effie is what her family and friends called her, but for her professional name she went by Charlton) handling of this subject was pure joy. Despite how many of her paintings I liked and would love to own, this one, for me, was the premier piece. I found this tiny image of The Lonely Shore to post here, but it does not do it justice nor does the image in the catalog.

Even as a thumbnail, I think it still shows it well enough. The colors and the paint application are stunningly luscious and varied.

If my memory serves, the image below is a view Effie painted from the old Santa Barbara Mission which burned down in the 1920's. The second painting below shows that Mission as a sprawling property with a cow grazing.

Charlton moved around quite a bit. She lived and worked all up and down the California coast painting as she went, mostly on site. One reason being, her home burned down in the SF earthquake. Eventually, she and her mother moved to Europe, where again, she moved around quite a bit. They lived and visited relatives in Scotland; they lived in St Ives, and also the south of France. While living in France, she entered the Paris Salon, and 'Mr Charlton Fortune' won an award and critical acclaim. She used her name to her advantage, as well she should!

Needless to say I could go on and on about Effie and this show; The good news is that after it leaves Pasadena in January it is going to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento so there is still plenty of time to pop over to CA to see this amazing painter's work.

Our next museum stop (not counting the Reagan Library, the Hearst Castle and the Monterey Bay Aquarium) was the Legion of Honor in San Francisco where the Klimt/Rodin exhibit is. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

An Art Expedition!

I am so excited to be flying to California this week despite flying right in the heart of the Thomas fire. It is so sad that California has been hit with so many devastating fires. My sister says the Thomas fire is only 20% contained. It is unfortunately taking the path we were planning on driving so alternative plans will most likely be implemented. ie the interstate vs Hwy 101 along the coast. I so wanted to drive up along the coast, but the fire got there first. We will see where it is on Friday, our expected day to head north.

My son and I are going to see family and art exhibitions. We are flying into LAX; from there we will go directly to the Pasadena Museum of California Art to see The Colorful Spirit: E. Charlton Fortune. I am so excited to see her work. I only found out about her last Spring when I first went to the PMCA. A book in the gift shop of all things. That time there was two great exhibits Joseph Kleitsch and much to my surprise, Gustave Baumann was also there. PMCA does not have its own collection so these are one of kind, borrowed from all over, exhibitions. This time the other two shows look good too. Exciting!

We will stay in Ventura for 2 days where my sister lives. Fortunately in an area that was never evacuated. From Ventura we will rent a car and drive north. We are not sure exactly what we do along the way but our first for sure destination (based on fire...or no fire) will be Monterrey. We have only heard good things about the aquarium there.  From there we will head to San Fransisco. We only have one Museum on our schedule there but it is a big one. Gustave Klimt and Auguste Rodin! I have been to the Rodin Museum in Paris a number of times but I have not seen much Klimt in person, so that is going to be a treat. I hear it has content not suitable for children. I am thinking photos will not be allowed in that case...

Our time in SF is only 2 days, but then we will spend time with family in the area for 2 nights as well. Our last museum stop will be at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. This will be Richard Diebenkorn's early works. From art school, through being in the Marines and early in his career.  What a fitting end to our road trip. We will fly out from SAC after that. I expect to come back inspired and ready to jump back into my painting.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Small works - a wee commission

A friend of mine from high school commissioned this little scene from the shores of Lake Michigan where she recently purchased a summer home . She bought 2 6x6 beach scenes from my website and wanted a third to round them out to hang in the cottage. The third one she liked from my website had already sold. I do believe she rents out this place when she is not using it.
She told me that this is the scene after a 1.5 mile hike through the dunes that she always welcomes.
Lake Michigan, oil on linen panel, 6x6

Friday, December 1, 2017

Red as theme

One of the local galleries here does themed shows every two months. The next show will be Red. I do not normally paint to the show but submit what I already have on hand. But I needed something to get me going so I decided to paint with red in mind. Here is the first little painting I did.

One Red Rose, 10x8, oil
 It was painted over an existing painting dated 2004. I can't even remember what it was now and I just painted this last weekend. No title on the back. I do enjoy painting over old paintings and letting the original layer come through. One of my neighbors had brought over a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine for me on Thanksgiving. I am their Local Grandmother replacement and I babysit when they need help and I am available as they have no family in town and have two little ones. I am happy to help. Fortunately for me, there were red roses included in the bouquet so I had a ready target. I do not normally paint roses, but what the heck? I used my trusty Japanese gold screen as a backdrop, and a new brass vase I recently added to my collection, and voila! Something fun to get me painting.
So, in addition to that little gem, I had set up these three stemmed clems, thinking of doing one still life with all the elements. But instead, I divided them into 2 separate paintings. In this 2nd painting, I did not include the base of the brass vase with the clementines reflected in the base of the vase, which I had intended to do. I decided it wasn't needed and would only confuse. I used some red rice paper as the surface to set the whole still life on.
Red Clems, 6x9, oil over old painting
This one, too, was painted over an existing painting from 10 years ago. A plein air painting I did on a rafting trip on the Yampa River. It was the only surface I could find that was the right size I wanted to use and the painting was expendable. I really don't paint this small anymore so I don't keep clean panels handy. Yet, after so long not being at my easel, small is what I needed to get myself going. Simple shapes and small.

Friday, November 24, 2017

To have Thanksgiving or Drat! My Dog Ate the Painting I just bought!

There are many things to be thankful for. This year it is that I have never heard of "the dog ate my painting" until now. That isn't quite the correct assessment, but the dog did chew this painting. A friend of mine's husband came to my art open house a few weeks ago and found a little plein air I did one spring day at Rocky Mountain National Park about 10 years ago. I had carpooled with an artist friend as we delivered art to a gallery in Estes Park. Why waste a trip to Estes Park when you can paint in the park?? What does it matter that it is frigid cold and snow is fast approaching? This particular friend never lets such trifles stop her. So we hauled our gear out into a field and went to work. So that is the back story on the painting...
Now here is the story of the dog chewing this painting. It has to be shared just because it is a unique story. So, my friend was having an acupuncture appointment in her home, when the acupuncturist remarked that it looked like her dog had gotten into something and was chewing on it; maybe a piece of paper? except it didn't sound like a piece of a paper. She replied nonchalantly would he mind checking on the dog to see what it was? He remarked "it is a painting, I think" She jumped up off the table, needled like a porcupine to find that indeed it was a painting, the one her husband loves so much. She is so upset about this that she took it back to the frame shop where we had been the day before to see if they could fix it. She didn't even want to tell me! Of course they can, but to pay to remove the canvas remount it and repaint was not worth the cost of paying for that conservation. So I told her I would repaint it.
The back, so you can see the damage
The front
I don't know. I think it is a fun story. In fact, yesterday I had the thought to see what I could do to make the original painting work without the conservation costs as the dog chewing the painting adds to the story in such a unique way. I own a book press, so I soaked the board, which is a soft particle board of some kind, and put it in the book press last night. It made a difference to the 3D teeth marks on top. The surface is now flat which softens the puncture holes. This morning when I took it out of the press, I noticed that some of the fiber board was above the line, so to speak, or sticking up above the straightness of the canvas. I just rewet it and pushed the fibers down to be aligned with the canvas edge and stuck it back in the press. I am thinking this painting should be framed as is. But I think it might also be possible to rebuild the corners and match the sky if required.
My new painting is almost done as well, so there will be a choice.