Journal of My Work-in-Progress: Painting and Photography
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.
"Sunrise"is a young woman standing on a rock celebrating the sunrise. This is the second "Little World" oil painting. (The first was "Remote Island.")
It is a small round oil painting mounted on a collage of origami and invalid currency from past travels. These little worlds are places I have invented to take the viewer on imaginary trips and experiences.
I put "Sunrise" in the window in the "NEW" spot.
And moved last week's "Spring Narcissus" to another place in the window.
It is nice (and a relief) to have some new work to show.
Trying to get "in the now" instead of always working on my backlog. Hence, the Spring flowers. I felt much better working on something in season instead of something I hadn't finished and "should have." It was good for my sense of well-being and attitude. A good lesson learned.
I used a photo reference from last year. Spring is so late this year that the narcissus haven't even bloomed yet in our backyard.
fyi -This weekend is the Arts in Bloom open studio art trail in our area. I am going to be open and painting (after I go to the library used book sale.) Please stop by and say "hello."
As part of my Spring migration, I have been thinking about what inspires me. And what can get me out of my funk and back to work at painting and printing.
Hakone Open Air Museum
Sculpture gardens are high on my list of inspiring places. One of the best ones I have ever been to was the Hakone Open Air Museum, in Japan near Mt. Fuji.
Recently, we ran across one when we took a trip in March to New Orleans, when we took the street car to the end of the line to NOMA, which is the New Orleans Museum of Art.
It is adjacent to the museum on 5 acres of mature oak trees, draped with Spanish moss and nice landscaping. And has 64 sculptures donated mostly by Sydney and Walda Besthoff.
by Robert Indiana
It has a "greatest hits" of sculptures from many popular 20th century artists. Mostly post -1960. There is a Henry Moore, Jacques Lipchitz, Louise Bourgeois, Rene Magritte, Rodin, Joel Shapiro, Barbara Hepworth, just to name a few. And Louisiana-born George Rodrigue.
by Deborah Butterfield
Including Deborah Butterfield's "Restrained" from 1999 which stands near the rear entrance to the park.
by George Segal
But what I really enjoyed was the interaction of the people with the sculpture. Some sitting on benches integrated with the art.
Or having conversations with kinetic sculptures moving nearby.
by Do Ho Suh
And the finger pointing by people and children when circling the works. The amazement exclaimed about some of the works, especially this one of an "infinity" of men standing piggy back on each other's shoulders as it reaches towards the sky.
Side 1 of George Rodrigue's "We Stand Together", 2005
And how you get to wind around the path and see them from many views. Experiencing them from many viewpoints. Large and small.
Side 2 of George Rodrigue
Here are a couple of my favorites:
by Jaume Plensa
This sitting figure is constructed completely of letters of the alphabet.
And a water sculpture which upon closer inspection is made up of a tower of metal cello parts.
by Anish Kapoor
But this one was amazing, and hard to capture in a photograph. It is a highly polished large cube, sitting among the trees. You don't know until you reach the front of it that it has a deep, time-warping cavity, which reflects back to you, in a kind of Edvard Munch ooooohhhhh-way. The reflections of the opening vary with the conditions. It is super cool.
"The feeling of awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions--a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art-- have a direct influence upon health and life expectancy, " Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, a co-author a recent University of California study published in the journal Emotion magazine in January 2015. (source: Huffington Post)
April is national poetry month. Over the years, I have gotten out my poetry books during April and tried to read a poem a day. Out loud. I enjoy poetry and find it complex and inspiring. And reading a poem out loud to yourself is a great way to bring a poem to life.
This week I pulled a book of Mary Oliver's poems from the shelf. The first poem I ran across was her popular " Wild Geese" poem.
I thought to myself -- what a perfect poem for my own "spring migration."
She is a very popular and not avant garde poet. Mary Oliver is American, was born in 1935, and has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She has published at least 20 books of poetry.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
I thought it would be a great art project to work in tandem with other artist, to create a show, inspired by her poems in this book. But, after corresponding with her publisher, I realized that nothing is simple. There are copyright laws and I would need special permission to use her poems if they were shown in conjunction with the show.
For years, I kept holding on to the extra book, thinking it was still a good idea, but now I have decided to let it go. Take that idea off the list. So, I am going to give away the 2nd copy--- to someone who comes into my studio or maybe to another artist --- as part of celebrating poetry month.