Category Archives: Art

Art day

I finally decided to become a member of the local art museum, so I don’t have to only go on free days. But, I could get a free cupcake on this day, so off I went. They were celebrating having an art school for 100 years, and thus were having a special exhibit of some of the former students of this art academy. And the pictures were of varying interest to me.

This was this large landscape of a local area, it’s a fairly realistic depiction done up in the bright colors of a sunny day. What was most interesting to me was how the artist used large gobs of paint on this canvas. I could never be so bold (or so extravagant, but I might try).

Styles come and go, and if one wishes to sell one’s work, one must follow the fashion. From the 1930’s or 40’s, here are dated views of the local landscape, and it seems a rather bleak place.

A clearly stylised view of a mining town, it’s not really what they look like, and I can’t imagine wanting to hang it in my living room (which is how I determine the worth of art 😉 , rather than the dollar value).

Then I came across this bit of art. A famous (sort of, he at least made a living at it) artist from the village. Why they were only on the 5th annual celebration the year he was born, he could have attended until the 84th, but I don’t know that he did. It’s clearly done in a grim and dated style, and does not fill my soul with envy, but I was amazed to find that the artist was from a familiar place. I suppose that this is one of the pleasures of art, finding a bit that somehow speaks to one, even if it is a limited language.

Art Day

Every so often I simply must take an art day to get some creative inspiration or just to take time to bunk off from doing nothing. And as there was an artist talk at the local museum, I decided that this was just the thing.

So there she was, going on to her fans about how she uses her inspiration to make work. I had been listening, but the chairs were uncomfortable after a while, so I decided that I was as inspired as I was going to get from this.

This artwork is by another Native American (Red Indian to you Brits) artist. I like it both as a piece of art, and as something that casts a lovely shadow. You know how obsessed I am with shadows and the play of light.

Today I was captivated by this shadow, from a well-known piece of Pop Art. I have previously featured another part of the shadow, the horse he rode in on.

But it wasn’t this horse! This horse is part of a fashion exhibit and definitely an inspiration. After all who doesn’t want to go about looking like a horse? So with all this new inspiration floating about in my brain, I galloped off (actually, I got in my car and went home. Perhaps I shall create some art another day).

Art or?

I’m not sure why having Art on the street has become so popular and necessary. It supposedly draws in tourists with their all important tourist dollars. Maybe it is for the locals to admire, or just something to spruce the place up. Well for whatever the real reason might be, there is a lot of art on the streets in my town, at least in certain parts of town.

Wow, is this the latest from a pop artist, like J. Koons? It’s certainly looks to be done in his style. No, it’s merely a prop for a tourist shop and one doesn’t have to make a special trip to a museum to see this. It’s on display every day. (Note the lovely reflections in the window behind this fowl).

How about this interesting hand? Is it part of a gallery display costing big bucks in Santa Fe? No, it’s another bit of street art for a shop.

Surely this is a bit of art? I mean it is reminiscent of the works of both Pop and Surrealist artists. Sorry to disappoint art lovers, it is yet another example of tourist art, designed to draw one into a shop for souvenirs. (You don’t want to forget seeing a Sasquatch on the street and the stop sign surely compels one).

But not to despair, there is actual Art for the intrepid tourist to discover. This artwork has a tiny solar panel at the top so it actually lights up at night (in a sort of Pop meets Surrealist way). And as one can see there were tourists strolling along, so I guess all of this art drew them in.

Making Art

I like to draw and I like deer (but I don’t really know how to draw them). But there was a ‘photo of the day’ in the newspaper (yes, I read a physical newspaper) recently of a rather nice looking stag, so I decided to try to draw him.

So I made this drawing in my sketchbook with a watercolor pencil and I liked it so well that I decided to do another version of it.

This one was done with watercolor pencil and ink on a postcard. I was going to send it to a friend, but I thought it turned out rather well, and I was afraid that I could never do another one quite as good (probably true).

So I decided to try and draw this image in different ways. Here he is in watercolor and ink with a red stripe outline against a dark background.

And here’s the opposite, a dark deer against a light background. (I don’t really like the way this one turned out, I think I should have used a different color for the light and made the darker bits darker. Oh well, that’s another drawing.)

This was a different sort of image, abstract blobs of color against a pale gray background, outlined in black pen. The antlers are a helpful clue, one can guess that it’s a deer.

I found it interesting to try different ways of doing the same image, and I hope that I learned enough to make another ‘good’ drawing. Perhaps I will send the postcard to someone, someday (but not today). 😉

Turtle Tales

One of the local schools was celebrating the children’s book author Dr. Seuss. And so of course I volunteered to come to the school and read one of his many stories. I picked a rather short story “Yertle the Turtle” as it did not have too many tricky verbal passages, and it fit in with my ulterior motive.

So I drew a copy of one of the images in the book. And after I read the story, (a striking tale of hubris) I asked the kids to draw this picture of a turtle. Whenever I have visited any museum in London there are always some students drawing pictures, it seems to be a requirement. I thought that these kids might enjoy having a go at drawing after hearing the story. All of the classrooms were equipt with a fancy AV system that projected this drawing onto a large screen tv. I also drew a simple line drawing of a turtle on the whiteboard (classrooms do not have blackboards and chalk any more). And I asked the various classes that I visited to draw any sort of turtle that they liked for me.

It took real bravery to try and copy the storybook turtle and a few students in each class I visited attempted this. This kid did both sorts of turtles and a bonus cat.

This first grader drew quite a credible turtle (I did show a hat on the sample turtle).

Also by a first grader.

Yet another first grader’s art. He wanted to be sure to include the context of pond and rock while still choosing the simplified turtle picture.

This careful sketch of a realistic turtle was done by a third grader.

I am only showing the pictures that students gave to me. I think some students didn’t like their drawings, that’s why they gave them to me. Other students were so proud of their work that they wanted to share it. The first graders were the most enthusiastic (they thought the story itself was hilarious) and willing to try. The fifth graders were the most reluctant to try, which was sad. I had wanted to share my love of drawing, and I hope that I gave someone encouragement to give drawing a try.

Shadows again

I don’t know why I am obsessed with shadows, but I am. My dictionary (yes an actual physical book which sits next to my computer) first defines a shadow as: A comparative darkness within an illuminated area, especially that caused by the interruption of light by a body or object. Further down the listing it defines shadow as, A mirrored image: to see one’s shadow in a pool (this one does not seem to be as familiar a usage).

So there was another free day at the local museum, and as usual I popped in to see what’s new. And there was an abundance of shadows to be seen in the newest show.

This artist had used found bits of the detritus of life to make art. While the artwork itself was only mildly interesting, the works cast fabulous shadows.

Definitely an interruption of light going on here.

And here as well.

All of the pieces are made of similar stuff, bits and pieces of flotsam wired together, but each casting a lovely shadow of comparative darkness thanks to the illumination of the museum lighting.

Here was my favorite reflection of the day, it features multiple mirrorings of the original thanks to it’s plexiglass box. Repetition and enigma, these are things that add an extra bit of interest to the art, and were probably never intended or anticipated by the artist. But it’s what I see and appreciate when I look at these works.

Horsing around

The horse is a powerful symbol of the West. Easterners rode around in carriages, but Cowboys and (red) Indians preferred the freedom of a horse (also there was a certain lack of paved roads like existed in the East). And when something is such an ubiquitous important symbol, it often finds it’s way into art.

These horses are part of a grouping that celebrates a local developer. Someone added a whimsical touch by decorating each horse with a seasonal ribbon tie. It’s very festive and I hope that they do this for all of the major holidays.

This horse head looks to be old, and also looks as though it was formerly attached to something (a body perhaps?). Today it rests in the yard of M’s uncle, acquiring a new layer of weathering.

While this mysterious horse head awaits it’s place as a piece of art in someone’s home. It’s probably still for sale in this swanky antique store.

This riding horse was also in the antique shop, and I fell in love with it (although not with it’s price). Hey, wait a minute, I once had a tennis racquet like the ones under this horse, surely these can’t be an antique! I guess that tourists will buy anything (they hope).

Of all the horses, this is my favorite, and is the sort that I always wanted to have. Pegasus the flying horse is out there somewhere, just waiting to be tamed by a worthy human (or demi-god). Pegasus is not limited by a little thing like roads, and that is the ultimate in freedom.

Still More Shadows

I’m sure that management of the local art museum would be appalled that I often like the shadows cast by art better that some of the art they display. It’s just that the shadows are ephemeral (and sometimes more interesting). In truth most things in life are ephemeral, we just don’t realize it at the time.

I thought this piece was fabulous, as it has not just one, but two of my obsessions: shadows and reflections. I didn’t read the label, so I have no idea why this piece was displayed. So the theme of the room was art by Red Indians (also known as Native Americans, Indigenous Peoples, etc), so it was probably made by an Indian artist.

I considered saving this picture for the series that I have called “What a knob”, but I decided that I really like the shadow version better. And what is so special about this knob? Well, it came from the mansion of the city founder. I suppose that at some point they found a more interesting knob, so this one was consigned to the trash heap, until now.

I love this shadow cast by a Chihuly glass sculpture. It always makes me think of the worms that they put in the bottom of bottles of tequila. But this bit of shadow put me in mind of a pterodactyl (so you know where this post is going next).

Yes, here is a shadow cast by an actual pterodactyl. The painting is supposed to show the ghost of an early miner, hoping to make his fortune in gold or silver (doesn’t look like he was successful). And of course I think the painting is much improved with the addition of the shadow of a pterodactyl, courtesy of the fabulous museum lighting.

Art

On my recent trip, I ferreted out the location of an interesting destination.   I had seen an advert for the place on a friend’s website, so I decided that it was a must see.

And what might Novelty Automation be?   Well it’s got coin-operated machines inside, but they are not like regular commercially produced arcade machines.    They are all artist created, satirical machines (the only similarity to arcade machines is that it takes one’s coin).

Right inside the front door was this machine.   You put in the coin, crank the handle, and the spinner above the figures whirls around while the lamb on top shakes it’s head.  And then the decision.

The diorama spins up or down to show the final disposition of the lamb.  I got ‘pet’ which is how I would treat a lamb.   The other diorama has the lamb as the main course for dinner.  (Noooooo).

This artist has made a variety of machines, I hope that this one was not based on personal experience.

Of all the machines, this one was my favorite.   It is the art critic who will give a yea or nay as to whether something is art (note the plastic cow encased in lucite on the side, obviously it must be art).  I could not resist the challenge and so I put Pteri into the little box on the side of this machine.  Pteri rose up to be judged by this critic, how could he not be impressed?   Well it just goes to show the fickle nature of art criticism, Pteri was declared to be not art.  The judgement was obviously flawed, I assert that any picture (or art) can be improved with the addition of a pterodactyl.

 

Inktober

We here we are, just past the month of Inktober ( a month in which one does a drawing, in ink, every day of the month).  This year I decided that I would give this a go.   Why?  Well not because I am good at it, rather that I am bad at it, but hoping to become better.  And here are a few of the results.

This was one of the first drawings that I did.  The subject is Wyatt B.  I did a pencil sketch first, then used ink brush pens to make it truly inky.   I’m a novice at the pen, and I half like this, and half don’t.  I think I over-worked the picture, but it does look like Wyatt.

This sketch is of Freya B, done in an extra fine Sharpie, so I don’t think it came out too bad.   I usually draw dogs and I think this may be the first time I ever drew a cat.

This is a portrait of her brother, Thor B.  I did these first three drawings from photos that I took, as I am not fast enough to do animals from life.

As I usually draw pictures of dogs and since there wasn’t a dog handy, I made this from a photo I took in front of a fancy butcher shop.

I didn’t have any interesting photos to work from, so this is what I saw on the nightstand.

Once again I didn’t have a photo, so this is a drawing of part of the living room.  I worked hard on getting the proportions right, but I am obviously not very good at shading and filling in the backgrounds.   Perhaps that is something to aspire to when the next Inktober comes around.