05 JAN 16 – Taliesin Visit
We visited Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin with some friends in October. The highlights tour was pretty incredible and gave us access to the main part of the complex of buildings. Since then, we have been reading several books about Wright which have revealed a deeper understanding of what we experienced. It’s an incredible place to visit and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in Wright, his work and philosophy. (Some images are from the web.)
05 MAR 15 – Influences
Today, I created a page called “influences.” There I list some of the artists who have had an impact on me and consequently my artwork over the years. I was surprised at how long the list is, and even at that, there are artists I did not post, for example Francis Lee Jacques, Dan Metz, and others.
27 OCT 14 – Painting the Coaster II
In August, we sailed for an afternoon with Niko on the Coaster II out of Marquette. The day was magical with three friends joining us on the 50′ boat built in 1933. Since sailing has been in my blood for a few years now, I took some photos of the boat and her sails in a nice little breeze. I am working on a painting of the deck and sails. Stay tuned!
15 FEB 14 – Visiting Claude and His Pals
Over the weekend we attended a family wedding in Chicago. While there, we took the train downtown to the Chicago Art Institute. Oh My Goodness! What incredible work! We spent most of our time in the Impressionist and American galleries, and saw many of my “old friends.” Incredibly inspiring to see Monet, Pissaro, Sisley, Kent, Cassatt, O’Keeffe, Remington, Benson, Benton, and the list goes on and on.
Oh my, what a surprise! Mimi gave me an early Valentine’s Day gift of a large Rockwell Kent book published by Knopf & Co. It is BEAUTIFUL! The book includes many of his illustrations, paintings, bookplates, and a great collection of his writings, letters poetry, etc. It is a treasure! Thanks gal!
A quote from Kent: “Fundamental to all consideration of art is its purpose. To be entitled to the honor that society bestows upon it, it must unquestionably have a social value; that is, as a potential means of communication it must be addressed and incomprehensible terms, to the understanding of mankind.”
02 FEB 14 – A Deeper Sense of Fulfillment
Occasionally, something really cool occurs, creating a deeper sense of fulfillment for an artist. I received an e-mail a while back from a person who found my paintings on-line as he searched for images of Michigan barns. His family has had a farm in the area since 1924, and their barn was built by the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. timber division in the 1890’s. His grandfather was a logging camp foreman and his grandmother used to cook for the lumberjacks. Several years ago, I noticed their barn along a lonely stretch of Alger County backroads when I was on my way back from buying horse feed. The person not only purchased the barn painting, but has donated it to the local historical society. He ordered two full sized prints of the paintings and several sets of notecards. One of the prints will hang in the farmhouse. It is very cool to have done a piece that will mean something to not only one person, but an entire family in future years.
26 JAN 14 – Emily Carr Book
Emily Carr was a friend of the Group of Seven, particularly Lawren Harris whom she corresponded with over the years. Reading (again) the “Collected Works” which includes her journals of field sketching trips in British Columbia. In 1935 she wrote…
“Sketching in the big woods is wonderful. You go, find a place wide enough to sit in and clear enough so that the undergrowth is not drowning you. Then, being elderly, you spread your camp stool and sit and look round. “Don’t see much here.” “Wait.” Out comes a cigarette. The mosquitoes back away from the smoke. Everything is green. Everything is waiting and still. Slowly things begin to move, to slip into their places. Groups and masses and lines tie themselves together. Colours you had not noticed come out, timidly or boldly. In and out, in and out your eye passes. Nothing is crowded: there is living space for all. Air moves between each leaf. Sunlight plays and dances. Nothing is still now. Life is sweeping through the spaces. Everything is alive. The air is alive. The silence is full of sound. The green is full of colour. Light and dark chase each other. Here is a picture, a complete thought, and there another and there…
There are themes everywhere, something sublime, something ridiculous, or joyous, or calm, or mysterious. Tender youthfulness laughing at gnarled oldness. Moss and ferns, and leaves and twigs, light and air, depth and color chattering, dancing a mad joy-dance, but only apparently tied up in stillness and silence. You must be still in order to hear and see.”
Words to live by.
08 DEC 13 – Phoenix
Mimi and I just returned from Phoenix to attend a family birthday celebration and gathering. While there, we were able to take in a few sites including a tour of Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s western winter residence and studio. This was an incredible experience. Just imagine residing in Phoenix in 1937, brim full of innovative architectural ideas.
We were also able to hike in the desert, near the old mining town of Cave Creek, and stood in awe of some really ancient saguaro cactus. The trail featured a very old Hohokam metate or grain grinding site. At a nearby preserve a migration petroglyph has been preserved. It had rained there a few days previously, and the desert was glowing. Sunrises and sunsets were incredible as was frost on the windshield two mornings!Another incredible experience we enjoyed was to see a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Heard Museum. What an inspiring thing to see so many (30 or so) of her paintings in one location, many of which I had never seen before. The Kachina paintings were very cool as were the landscape and architectural motifs. I could have stayed for many hours… One day we hope to get to Santa Fe and see her museum.
After visiting the O’Keeffe exhibit and Taliesin, I just had to get out and do some watercolor sketching. Mimi and I hiked up west of Jacques house and into the desert hills. Despite being surrounded by housing developments, they can only reach so high on the hills, and wildness prevails there. Javelina, Harris hawks, Gambel’s quail, Gila woodpeckers, coyotes, live there. The thin journal paper didn’t take the watercolor very well, but you get the idea.
I recently finished reading “Hunger Mountain – A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape” and would highly recommend it. Hinton takes the reader for numerous walks to a Vermont peak and along the way, discusses his reading and translation of ancient Chinese texts. He talks about the history of Chinese glyphs, and how our language (and subsequent treatment of the land) relates to the loss of this type of written form. His ventures into poetry and philosophy are intriguing as Ch’an or Zen Buddhism makes a bit more sense after having read the book. Many times have I wandered and thought about the things he notices and ponders – leaves falling into burbling creeks, the curve and turn of an eagle struggling with a strong south wind, the history of rocks we walk about on, how the landscape has been peopled for all these years, the meaning of art. Food for good thought.