Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Art inspiration in NYC

Sometimes I travel far away and get inspired by the dream of a life time trip to an exotic destination of amazingly beautiful natural resources, or lifestyles so different from my own. Sometimes, however, I can find inspiration only 90 miles away in the most amazing city in the world- New York City- whose streets, people, stores and museums offer almost anything you can get anywhere else. I spent 2 days in NYC and saw some amazing art!

Here is a sampling from the Metropolitan Museum of Art...

El Greco in New York
To commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of El Greco, the Metropolitan Museum and the Hispanic Society of America are pooling their collections of the work of this great painter to provide a panorama of his art unrivaled outside the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The Frick Collection is displaying its paintings contemporaneously.

This is a unique opportunity to see this artist's work, which exerted such a strong impact on modern painting and especially appealed to New York collectors.

There are several fantastic masterpieces included in this exhibit! 


Cubism, the most influential art movement of the early twentieth century, still resonates today. 
Cubism destroyed traditional illusionism in painting and radically changed the way we see the world. The Leonard A. Lauder Collection, unsurpassed in its holdings of Cubist art, is now a promised gift to the Museum. On the occasion of this exhibition, the Collection is being shown in public for the first time—eighty-one paintings, collages, drawings, and sculpture by the four preeminent Cubist artists: Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963), Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887–1927), Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955), and Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973).

This amazing exhibit is worth the trip to the Met in and of itself! Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and Sigmund Freud's investigation of the unconscious, X- rays and aerial views challenged traditional notions of reality. Braque and Picasso offered new forms of artistic expression to represent shifts in hierarchy and perception.This exhibit helps you see how Cubism came into being and developed.  I personally loved several of the Légers at the end of the show.

Warriors & Mothers
The figures created by Mbembe master carvers from southeastern Nigeria are among the earliest and most visually dramatic wood sculptures preserved from sub-Saharan Africa. Created between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and striking for their synthesis of intense rawness and poetry, these representations of seated figures—mothers nurturing their offspring and aggressive male warriors—were originally an integral part of monumental carved drums positioned at the epicenter of spiritual life, the heartbeat of Mbembe communities.

When these electrifying creations were presented for the first time in a Paris gallery in 1974, they immediately caught the attention of the art world. That exhibition was a groundbreaking event that revealed a tradition unlike any that had defined African art until then. Dispersed internationally among private and institutional collections, these works will be reunited in New York for the first time in this exhibition.

These sculptures were monumental and beautiful. They are weathered and worn by the elements which makes them very textural.

Paper Chase
This exhibition of works of art on paper pays tribute to the esteemed connoisseur and brilliant curator George R. Goldner, Drue Heinz Chairman of the Department of Drawings and Prints since 1993, who will be stepping down in early 2015. Under Goldner's leadership, the Department of Drawings and Prints has acquired—through purchases, gifts, and bequests—some 8,200 works on paper from Europe and the Americas dating from about 1370 to the present. These acquisitions range from famous works such as Leonardo da Vinci's studies for a statue of Hercules to those more esoteric such as Hans Christian Andersen's A Whole Cut Fairy Tale. There are rare works such as the subtle engraving The Queen of Flowers by the Master of the Playing Cards and exceptional examples of an artist's oeuvre such as the majestic drawing Queen Esther Approaching the Palace of Ahasuerus by Claude Lorrain.

Upon joining the Metropolitan, Goldner set out to strengthen our extensive holdings of drawings and prints so that all important periods and schools were well represented. He undertook this mission with passion, instinct, and a shrewd knowledge of the art market, acquiring Netherlandish, German, British, and French drawings from collections, dealers, and auctions around the world. Goldner made remarkable discoveries, among them his first purchase for the Metropolitan—an exquisite landscape drawing by Pietro Perugino. Superb works by Titian (1999.28), Peter Paul Rubens (2000.483), William Blake (2011.448), and Paul Gauguin (1996.418) have also entered the collection under his stewardship. Presented here are highlights of the acquisitions made during George Goldner's twenty-one years at the Museum.

Beautiful prints and drawings- one by da Vinci too!!

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007) executed drawings by hand throughout his life; in 1968 he extricated his work from the confines of the frame and transferred it directly to the wall. The wall compositions were designed for limited duration and maximum flexibility within a broad range of architectural settings. Initially executed by drafters, these works in their finished state were most often slated for destruction. A seminal practitioner of Conceptual Art, LeWitt emphasized the creative idea that generates a work of art, as opposed to the work's material existence. "For each work of art that becomes physical," he wrote, "there are many variations that do not."

Sol LeWitt's 1982 Wall Drawing #370: Ten Geometric Figures (including right triangle, cross, X, diamond) with three-inch parallel bands of lines in two directions was installed at the Museum over a period of four weeks. The drawing (a detail of which is at left) will be on view in its complete state through January 3, 2016, when it will be painted over.

I love Sol LeWitt and am sorry this wall will be painted over. It is gorgeous!!! Big, graphic, stunning!!!

Madame Cézanne
This exhibition of paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) traces his lifelong attachment to Hortense Fiquet (French, 1850–1922), his wife, the mother of his only son, and his most painted model. Featuring twenty-four of the artist's twenty-nine known portraits of Hortense, including Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891) and Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress (1888–90), both from the Metropolitan Museum's collection, the exhibition explores the profound impact she had on Cézanne's portrait practice.

The works on view were painted over a period of more than twenty years, but despite this long liaison, Hortense Fiquet's prevailing presence is often disregarded and frequently diminished in the narrative of Cézanne's life and work. Her expression in the painted portraits has been variously described as remote, inscrutable, dismissive, and even surly. And yet the portraits are at once alluring and confounding, recording a complex working dialogue that this unprecedented exhibition and accompanying publication explore on many levels.

The depictions of Hortense in oil, watercolor, and graphite provide the only material clues to her partnership with Cézanne, which began in Paris in 1869, while she was working as a bookbinder. Although the circumstances of their first encounter are unknown, an early portrait from 1872 (now lost) suggests that she was modeling for Cézanne by the age of twenty-two. Cézanne took great pains to conceal his mistress and their only child, Paul, from his family, fearing his authoritative father's disapproval. This complicated subterfuge led to separate residences, frequent and often desperate appeals for funds, and long periods of living apart, even after their marriage in 1886. Despite this seeming neglect, the portraits attest to the constancy of a relationship that was critical to the artist's practice and development. Their story is a compelling one indeed, perhaps all the more so for the absence of its particulars.

It was interesting to see so many versions of the same subject.

And at the Museum of Modern Art...

 Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
In the late 1940s, Henri Matisse turned almost exclusively to cut paper as his primary medium, and scissors as his chief implement, introducing a radically new operation that came to be called a cut-out. Matisse would cut painted sheets into forms of varying shapes and sizes—from the vegetal to the abstract—which he then arranged into lively compositions, striking for their play with color and contrast, their exploitation of decorative strategies, and their economy of means. Initially, these compositions were of modest size but, over time, their scale grew along with Matisse’s ambitions for them, expanding into mural or room-size works. A brilliant final chapter in Matisse’s long career, the cut-outs reflect both a renewed commitment to form and color and an inventiveness directed to the status of the work of art, whether as a unique object, environment, ornament, or a hybrid of all of these.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is a groundbreaking reassessment of this important body of work. The largest and most extensive presentation of the cut-outs ever mounted, the exhibition includes approximately 100 cut-outs—borrowed from public and private collections around the globe—along with a selection of related drawings, prints, illustrated books, stained glass, and textiles. The last time New York audiences were treated to an in-depth look at the cut-outs was in 1961.

This show was a knock-out! Colorful, magical, full of energy and passion. The size of some work was grand! The joy and fun with color is contagious! I loved the compositions.

The color, shapes, movement of the art seen at these exhibits will be inspirational to me as I work in my studio and create my prints and mixed media works. Learn from the masters!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Antarctica: Still In My Mind's Eye

Resilient Retreat 1- mixed media

Resilient Retreat 2- mixed media

A few nights ago at a Main Line Art Center Professional Artists Members gathering, I was speaking to  fellow artist Deborah Leavy who is going to Antarctica soon. We were discussing her trip and mine. She asked me if it influenced my work and I said it had and still is. I just finished these 12 x 12" mixed media pieces for the Da Vinci Art Alliance ARTFUL GIVING Small Works Members' Show. They are based on my recollection of the icebergs in Antarctica- the brilliant, glowing turquoise blue, the shining white, and the orange to remind us of the melting that is occurring because of global warming.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Circles in Life and Art

I was reading the blog of artist Mary Lou Dauray (http://www.maryloudauray.com) where she was discussing her recent trip to Japan.

Here is a calligraphic copy of one of venerable Thich Nhat Hanh's circle meditations:

"In Zen Buddhism, an ensō ( , "circle"?) is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.  The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics". (Wikipedia) 
Mary Lou was very recently was in Japan and experienced first hand the art and simplicity found in Zen Buddhist monasteries.  She saw circles in many designs, but none so important as in the calligraphic circles drawn by Zen monks.  Interesting to her is that even before visiting Japan, the circle had begun to appear in her art work referencing the consequences of coal burning, mining and transportation.  
Below is a photo taken of her most recent piece which decries the black holes in mountains destroyed by coal mining.  Let there be peace, healing and regrowth returning to these areas.
Mining In Them Thar Hills by Mary Lou Dauray

I also have been using circles in my work for quite some time in various forms. All of a sudden they started to appear and become an important element in my visual vocabulary.
House On The Hill by Linda Dubin Garfield

Resilient Retreat 3 by Linda Dubin Garfield

Far From The Familiar 5 by Linda Dubin Garfield

Ebb and Flow by Linda Dubin Garfield

And now, Thich Nhat Hanh,  beloved Zen Buddhist monk, author, teacher, poet and peace activist is very ill with a brain hemorrhage.  He has been a significant force for peace in the world.  I just ordered his latest book No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering through Amazon. Please offer healing thoughts for him.   May he be in a circle of healing love and peace.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Departure from the Familiar: Art Inspired by My Alaska Trip

Believe Your Eyes 1- Mixed Media
Believe Your Eyes 2- Mixed Media

Glacier Sparkle- Monotype with Collage

Northern Lights 1- Mixed Media

Northern Lights 2- Mixed Media

Northern Lights 3- Monotype

Resilient Retreat 1- Monotype with Collage

Resilient Retreat 2- Monotype with Collage

Resilient Retreat 3- Monotype with Collage  
Travel is about departure from the familiar. whether it is in the Antarctic or the hills of Rome, the point is to get away from your everyday existence and be in a new environment, to give up your everyday self to the new surroundings and the new context.

Alaska is a place of space.. vast and beautiful space... the eye can see further than it can on Fariston Drive on anywhere else I usually go in my regular life. The land, the water, the ice- all contribute to the unforgettable beauty of Alaska! The vistas are large, colorful and exciting. I bring all these elements into the works on paper that I made inspired by the many images that linger in my mind's eye.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ALASKA- Summer Hours Bring Lots of Flowers

During the summer months, there is lots of sunshine. The longest days in June are 17 hours plus. We got around 15 with sunset after 10 PM. Great for traveling! Of course, the downside is in the winter when in December there is less than 3 hours of daylight. All that darkness! Ugh!

I guess that's why there are flowers everywhere now. Here are some of my favorite examples of the beautiful flowers I saw around Alaska. Capture and enjoy the light while you can!! The flowers are adding to the beauty of the scenery...


Monday, September 1, 2014

ALASKA- The Pipeline and The Fairbanks Ice Museum

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) includes the trans-Alaska crude-oil pipeline, 11 pump stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. TAPS is one of the world's largest pipeline systems. It is commonly called the Alaska pipeline, trans-Alaska pipeline, or Alyeska pipeline, (or the pipeline as referred to in Alaska), but those terms technically apply only to the 800 miles of the pipeline with the diameter of 48 inches that conveys oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska. The crude oil pipeline is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

The pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977 after the 1973 oil crisis caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States. This rise made exploration of the Prudhoe Bay oil field economically feasible. Environmental, legal, and political debates followed the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay in 1968, and the pipeline was built only after the oil crisis provoked the passage of legislation designed to remove legal challenges to the project.

The task of building the pipeline had to address a wide range of difficulties, stemming mainly from the extreme cold and the difficult, isolated terrain. The construction of the pipeline was one of the first large-scale projects to deal with problems caused by permafrost, and special construction techniques had to be developed to cope with the frozen ground. The project attracted tens of thousands of workers to Alaska, causing a boom town atmosphere in Valdez, Fairbanks, and Anchorage.

The first barrel of oil traveled through the pipeline in 1977, and full-scale production began by the end of the year. Several notable incidents of oil leakage have occurred since, including those caused by sabotage, maintenance failures, and gunshot holes. As of 2010, the pipeline has shipped almost 16 billion barrels of oil.

The pipeline is checked and flown over several times a day

We stopped at a checkpoint near Fairbanks

The Fairbanks Ice Museum is downtown in a former movie theater. The temperature of the ice sculpture area is 20 degrees! They have many creative sculptures and a demonstration of an ice carving. It's a fun place to go!
Norman in the ice house

The ice bird carved in front of the audience

ALASKA- Fairbanks

We took a cruise on the Riverboat Discovery into Alaska.

We took a guided walking tour of an Athabascan Indian village. You’ll see an Athabascan Indian village with cabins made of spruce logs, a cache used for storing supplies, a primitive spruce bark hut and fur pelts. Our guides explained how the wolf, fox, martin and beaver were used to provide food and protection in the harsh Arctic climate. They will explained how the Athabascans skillfully survived for over 10,000 years and how they adapted to village life and Western culture in the past century.

We saw an Alaskan bush pilot takeoff and land right next to the boat!

We visited the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher as we pass Trailbreaker Kennels along the Chena River. We learned first hand about kennel life and the challenges that go into making a champion dogsled team. A senior handler at Trailbreaker Kennels shared stories of life on the trails as puppies play in anticipation of joining the team. We saw a dog mushing demonstration!

At the end of your guided tour, we explored the village on our own, interacted with our guides and visited the dogs from Susan Butcher’s kennels.

Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Scenery along the river

Learning about the culture
Champion dogs!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ALASKA- Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve is a national park and preserve located in Interior Alaska, centered on Denali (Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in North America. The park encompasses more than 6 million acres, of which 4,724,735.16 acres  are federally owned. The national preserve is 1,334,200 acres, of which 1,304,132 acres are federally owned. On December 2, 1980, a 2,146,580 acre  Denali Wilderness was established within the park. Denali's landscape is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, including deciduous taiga. The preserve is also home to tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, rock, and snow at the highest elevations. The longest glacier is the Kahiltna Glacier. Today, 400,000 people visit the park annually. They view wildlife, climb mountains, and backpack. Wintertime activities includes dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, and snow-machining.

The name of Mount McKinley National Park was subject to local criticism from the beginning of the park. The word "Denali" means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. The mountain was named after newly elected US president William McKinley in 1897 by local prospector William A. Dickey. The United States government formally adopted the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the bill creating Mount McKinley National Park into effect in 1917 [5] In 1980, Mount McKinley National Park was combined with Denali National Monument, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act named the combined unit the Denali National Park and Preserve. At that time the Alaska state Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to "Denali." However, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not recognize the change. Alaskans tend to use "Denali" and rely on context to distinguish between the park and the mountain.

We took an 8 hour bus tour through to park! Gorgeous scenery but too cloudy to see Mt McKinley aka Denali. We also saw animals but from very far and too far for my camera to take decent photos. Bears looked like dots on the landscape. So enjoy these photos of the beautiful scenery we saw in the 6 million plus acres!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ALASKA- The Alaskan Railroad

The Alaska Railroad extends from Seward to Fairbanks (passing through Anchorage) and beyond to Eleison Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of the state. Uniquely, it carries both freight and passengers throughout its system, including Denali National Park. The railroad has a mainline over 470 miles (760 km) long and is well over 500 miles (800 km) including secondary branch lines and siding tracks. It is currently owned by the state of Alaska. The railroad is connected to the lower 48 via three rail barges that sail between the Port of Whittier and Harbor Island in Seattle.

We took a four hour ride north through beautiful wilderness to Denali National Park. An amazing ride!!

All aboard!

En route to Denali by train

Awesome scenery on the way to Denali via Alaskan Railroad

Every turn provides another beautiful scene on the Alaskan Railroad!