We have had rain for several days now..pouring rain..with water over the driveway up to 8 inches and many places flooding…schools closing due to the rain. So I like to look through my photos and pick out something fun to share.
About a block away from my house is the McFadden-Ward House Museum. The house is huge, the carriage house is across the street and then there are several other buildings associated with the Museum. And tucked away behind the building that stores much of the objects not on display is a tiny little garden.
There are several prospering tomato plants, a huge dill plant, marigolds, and zinnias.
Whenever my life seems a bit hectic, I like to stop and wander–all eight feet of it to gaze at the flowers–and sometimes I am greeted but more often I have to content myself with just a glimpse of the guardian of this universe.
One of my favorite classes in school was Art.
Mrs. Boyd took care to have interesting lessons in drawing and color but I think that she had never actually seen any of the paintings she described in person.
One technique was ‘pointilism’. She described it as hundreds of tiny dots of primary and secondary colors dabbed on a canvas to create an image. I thought of it as a dot matrix–pixel –only there weren’t such things as pixels then.
Imagine my surprise when I encountered Seurat and other’s pointilism paintings in person.
The dots are more dabs–irregularly shaped and multi-colored===almost as dipping the paintbrush in one color and then another and putting it on the canvas.
I’m not sure I would have the patience to do that. The results are best viewed from a distance–a challenging task in a museum where everyone walks just a foot away from the paintings.
And none of these paintings were by Seurat.
I have never been to India; I do have friends who lived there for many years in the Northern part and of course, some of the fleet of doctors I see are from India. The colors of India are always so intense and rich; I was pleased to find this exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
The trappings of royalty were incredible. First there was this elephant in royal robes with a carriage atop seating four with an umbrella overhead. More carriages were inside along with elaborate pavilions. I was fascinated by a game board set out with what looked like thimbles as playing pieces.
Then there were the bejeweled daggers and turban ornaments and fancy outfits for the male warriors–precisely block printed. A mortar was particularly interesting–it was elaborately decorated with swirls and flowers and leaves and vines.
What was impressive was the vast usage of red and yellow. And I wondered where did they get the red dye–was it cochineal? or cinnabar? or madder? More investigation!
I have three favorite artists—Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Klee. There are some others that take second place but these are my faves.
I have had the privilege of seeing a retrospective of Klee’s work at the Menil some years ago–there was a large group of art students there lounging about–and I really wanted to ask them to leave–they were chatting and texting and doing everything but looking at the artwork–.
Then there was the Caravaggio and friends in Fort Worth–just a few pieces of his–and none of my favorites but the museum was populated by serious connoisseurs–no-one was texting or chatting or just wandering aimlessly.
And Thursday I went to see Michelangelo and the Vatican. There were only two pieces–both cartoons; the rest were all copies of his work by others. Apparently he made cartoons or patterns for sale--and the one depicted was of Venus being kissed by Cupid–painted several times by other painters. There was the one cartoon of a Roman soldier in preparation for the painting of the martyrdom of St. Peter–pinpricked for copying onto the freshly plastered wall.
Pope Paul Frances II by Titian
Pope Paul Frances II as a cardinal before becoming Pope by Raphael
Although I like history and have learned various timelines–I did not realize that Martin Luther and his tenets, Pope Paul Frances II–an art afficionado, Michelangelo, and the Council of Trent were all contemporaneous. Martin Luther’s view of religion being for the common man may well have influenced Caravaggio’s less romantically idealized figures.
Tomorrow: Jodpur India
I always look forward to a day spent browsing through the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. I leave my house around 8:30 or so–thus missing the early morning traffic workaday rush. I thought I-59 would have been cleared out–but it wasn’t.
I usually park across from the Museum but it was filled with cranes and construction equipment.
My second choice is Bartlett Street–I can remember the name of a pear–but those street were all occupied by others–and those streets are incredibly narrow–they should probably be all one way. So I had to park in the underground garage—which is not constructed with anyone with a relatively long wheel base to access. I have to get out of my truck to pull the ticket–and when I left–I had to get out again to put my credit card in–it is poorly lit with a bright background obscuring any lettering on the payment box.
My two favorite sculptures were not available to be viewed–Marchetti’s Matchstick Man and Matisse’s Backs—the Backs were covered by construction and Matchstick Man was nowhere to be seen.
I ate at the Museum Cafe–this is the second time for the ‘new’ Cafe. And it was as disappointing as the first time. Note to self–bring personal sandwich next time.
Traffic wasn’t bad though and I spent far too much money at Texas Art Supply–some dye-pens, another sketchbook–I like to feel the pages, and two pieces of pastel to experiment with on fabric and fabric medium.
Home to find the dogs still in the fence–my fence repair earlier that day having been successful.
This is the exhibit that is going up–a lot of pieces of bamboo everywhere and the smell of sawdust. I assume the man in the red shirt is the artist.
I’ll review the two shows I did see tomorrow.
The show has always been fabulous but this year’s showing seemed more subdued. Perhaps it was post Harvey recovery or maybe it was the glow of the Astro’s championship. Each year I pick a quilt that is my favorite in the show–and this year there wasn’t one.
This was part of a quiltmania block of the month with each block including a cat or a dog. Sepia monochromatic pieces were in abundance in all categories but thankfully not with the token bit of red. One piece had a lovely unusual background of strips featuring a white daisy.
Canadians outdid themselves in representing their country–the rolling 9 patch seems to be a favorite.
But the best quilts were those of Haiti. They were intricate story pictures of axioms, current events (earthquake), and every day life.
I did not manage to get information about the creators of these pieces and so am posting just a small fragment of their work. Please do not use them but enjoy them.
Somehow I managed to be at the Rare Bear booth when Rob Appell and Jenny Doan came by to work on the bears and then Alex Anderson appeared—she and Jenny had never met. Both Jenny and Rob needed help in threading their hand sewing needles to finish up the bears.
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to view the new exhibit in the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. It opened on September 30 and will run through December 3, 2017. The artist gave a talk at the opening which I sorely regret missing.
Richard Stout is a contemporary painter with abstracted images of his surroundings. One of his frequent motifs is a bird like image. Some paintings are quite realistic featuring a myriad of details presented in unusual angles. All of his work includes layers upon layers of colors—all expertly mixed and applied.
There were several brzz sculptures as well but they were not as intriguing as the paintings.. I could have happily carried any one of them home. I did not take any photos as I had not brought my camera or cell phone with me—perhaps a return visit to enjoy them all again.
I’ve scanned in two of the paintings included in the exhibit.
While at Texas Weslayan University in Fort Worth for the solar eclipse earlier this month, my son suggested a stroll through the nearby Biology building to view the artwork displayed on the walls there.
The artist wanted to connect visual ideas with biology and while her methods were intriguing. Unfortunately, I with my advanced Biology degree found the lack of anatomically accuracy distracting.
For instance, this piece had an outline of the head but with the lines going straight from the front to the back–Our visual experience is much more complicated than a straight line–and there is auditory and olfactory senses involved also.
The eye was made of rolled up papers but there was no sclera or pupil–the only part was the wire eyelashes tha informed the idea of the eye.
The workmanship of these pieces was immaculate showing attention to detail and perhaps she wanted a very simple representation of what she was thinking.
One piece used a number of straight pins stuck through plexiglass–an interesting project–but she did not use the shadows cast by the pins in the piece.
While I do like to work a bit to understand a piece of art, this was too simple. Perhaps her next series will be more challenging intellectually.
As usual more photos on smugmug at https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Art/Sculptures-in-Biology-Building-at-Texas-Weslayan-University/
A retrospective of Degas from his earliest paintings to his final photographs is at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston until Jan 16. I had been to the exhibit in December but was pleased to return again to inspect the incredible range of work he completed.
Most of us think of his work as the ballet dancers or perhaps the women bathing but there was a lot more. He was born into a wealthy family, his father a banker and was able to afford private art school in France. He spent time with his aunt and her family in France and also spent time in New Orleans. He painted a lot of portraits but they are all in very unusual poses or they are occupied with a task such as playing a guitar or judging cotton. He made lithographic prints and monoprints with colored inks when the bank failed and he needed to support himself.
Always his paintings reveal something of human nature–the ballet dancer putting on her stockings, the bather straining to wash her toes. His preliminary sketching was detailed and intimate and then there is such a range of different techniques–one using essence–letting paint sit on newsprint until the oil is soaked away and then thinning with turpentine. And who would think about wetting tracing paper and dissolving pastels in water to paint with?
Of course he knew Delacroix and Manet–Matisse bought one of his unfinished paintings after his death and used it as inspiration for some of his work. He knew the impressionists but preferred his studio work although he did produce some lovely plein air landscapes for a London sale–again–he needed money.
His last works were in photography and not surprisingly many self portraits—but not the usual self portraits–they were in interesting poses as though someone opened a door quickly and took a casual photograph–or it was of two or more people and again not in formal poses.
At the end of the exhibit before we left, I had each of us choose our favorite piece. It was hard but I chose the Beggar Woman–an early painting very realistic—but then there wer some charcoal drawings that at first glance were just black outlines of limbs–but on closer inspection were delicately modeled musculature. Sherry chose the washerwomen ironing a shirt with one of them yawning and Jeanelle chose one of the bathers. We all really liked the sculpture of the girl trying to reach her toes to wash them.
We ate Mexican food and then spent a few minutes perusing the shelves of Texas Art Supply–I did not need a single thing and I came away without spending a penny—-but then there’s another exhibit at the MFA to see—-and the Menil
more photos of the day including our favorites are here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/QuiltGroups/A-day-with-Degas/
My apologies for not so nice a photo but it’s more than a challenge to shoot through a display window at an angle with lighting not designed for photography—
However, on with the story as it is difficult to read the printed signage here.
Port Arthur in pre-prohibition days boasted many more taverns than churches and as such it was ripe fodder for Carrie Nation. She appeared with her axe and proceeded to a tavern she heard was the biggest and worst offender of the group. The owner of the tavern did not think he should close his tavern on the advice of Carrie and put up such a fight that she was so impressed she gave him this little axe pin as a memento. The tavern didn’t close and Carrie decided other areas were much more susceptible to her ambition.
This is in the Museum of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur Texas in what is mostly a very deserted downtown area. Many buildings are boarded up as the oil refinery business which depended upon multitudes of workers is now much more automated. There are huge parking lots with weeds growing in the cracks that used to be packed full of the cars and trucks of the workers.
The museum does have a lot of interesting things–memorabilia from Janis Joplin who grew up here, Karen Silkwood–ditto–a lot of football players and other sports and coaches—-and musicians. And then there is Rauschenberg who has an entire room devoted to his posters–quite nice many of them.
There was also a display of animal paintings–I was disapointed in their quality–the contest for the under 6 and up to 12 year old pieces were much more imaginative and full of life than the somewhat professionally done pieces.
Here are a few more photos of the day