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
On a whim my dear friend Sherry and I decided to make a mad dash to Lufkin–in the mist and drizzle–to see Jeanelle and her stitched birds AND the Christmas trees on display in the museum. We were not disappointed. The trees were wonderfully creative and we each picked out our favorite tree as a symbol of ourselves–mine the tripod tree, Jeanelle the driftwood tree, Sherry the Granny Yount doll tree although she was strongly drawn to the lice tree–as a school nurse she had oodles of experience–and later on we found the sign for the Lice removal Association.
Then we went to Ray’s Drive in–a popular local spot which still has a drive-in service–we opted to eat inside. My catfish burger was hot and tasty–while the other two had more traditional burgers on gluten free buns. Then we decided a side trip to Froggy Fibers was in order as we had spied their tree at the Museum.—Bags of roving, tiny little birds and people all made from either needle felting or knitted. There were even some tiny knitting kits with toothpicks as the knitting needles and a bead glued to the end.
Then, as were driving right past Sharon’s place where she had all her fabric on 50% off–we just had to stop and enhance our fabric stashes.
Home in the drizzle and rain—but a fun day.
More photos at https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/QuiltGroups/Christmas-at-the-Museum-of/
Attending the Annual International Quilt Festival in Houston is a must for those of us who live a mere 80 some miles away. The Festival has grown each year and is now the largest convention hosted in Houston Texas and is probably the reason why the George R Brown Convention Center keeps expanding and why there are two new hotels going up with skywalks.
It is always a busy time with so many vendors and new exciting products, classes on nearly every kind of sewing thing you can imagine and then there are the quilts themselves. It is a time to meet people you know just from the internet or from their work featured in magazines and to hang out with friends.
This year I took two classes to improve my long arm quilting skills, a class in making a sloper for clothing–although why I did this and then ordered a dress form is beyond my comprehension as I primarily dress in long sleeve Tshirts and jeans from Academy, and then a fun day making a small fiber collage.
My Holus Bolus group—yes that is a real word and you will have to look it up–met to exchange our row quilts–I got photos of three–just not the one I did or the one that is mine–and then we went out to dinner.
I also managed to squeeze in a visit to the MFA for the Degas retrospective–a fabulous HUGE show. And as always there is usually something else I see that is interesting and unexpected. This time it was several woven Indian blankets–Navajo—and then a silk embroidery piece from India–
A fun few days—and now back to work.
No photos of the artwork was allowed at this event–the Dishman gallery was packed full of people for the annual Faculty Showcase and a local photographer’s work featuring local bayous in Orange County.
My husband agreed to come with me–and wandered about politely inspecting the works and declared he liked the work by Linnis Blanton, a ceramics instructor. I always enjoy Linnis’ work as it expresses his joy in his medium with no angst or struggles to reach some ethereal level of ‘art’–pronounced with a prominent H!.
Another selection featured Kurt Dyrhaug’s new work involving 3-d printing with overlays of metal–an interesting process he explored this past summer in Germany.
Keith Carter worked with the French 1902 science fiction silent movie based on Jules Verne’s book–a favorite of mine—and colorized still images. He likes to do experimental work to present at this opening while continueing his ‘regular’ work in black and white.
Other work by remaining faculty was on display but other than the oversize charcoal drawings by C. Troutman–were not so impelling.
Then to the bayou photos—unfortunately the majority were out of focus or poorly exposed or perhaps over-photoshopped. They were indeed a disapointment as that area is rich in visual delights as you can see in my photos of Shangrila, a garden in the center of Orange—Texas that is.
Here is a link to that movie—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNLZntSdyKE
and to some of my photos of the bayou.
James Houston Evans has made a career of photographing Big Bend for the past thirty years or more. He had a commercial studio in Austin but moved to Marathon, and took a job as a cook at the Gage Hotel–knowing little or nothing about cooking. He spent his days off hiking in Big Bend.
He also worked for Keith Carter, a local photographer who teaches at Lamar University–and was one of my mentors during my master’s degree in Visual Art at same institution.
McFadden Ward House Museum hosted the event and their first ever art show. I don’t really have permission to post his photos here–the above photo is one of mine taken minutes before we were deluged in a rain storm. Here is his website; http://www.jameshevans.com/
We have been to Big Bend several times–the first time thinking we would be done with it in three days and ready to move on—but it fascinates us and we have been back many times. Although James Evans thinks living there lets him have a special knowledge of the place and the light over the mountains—but the familiar can soon become commonplace and new eyes may take a fresh new look at it all.
Here are more of my photos from Big Bend—taken at a time when I didn’t really sort through them and delete a lot–maybe that will be a project in my older age.