Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The art of the exhibit

     Saturday was a glorious crisp, sunny day after the snow storms and dull grey skies of Friday. We zoomed in to Washington, D.C. revelling in the sparkly countryside and dry empty roads. Everyone stayed home thinking the inclement weather would continue all weekend.
     Parking was a cinch, right outside the Hirshhorn Museum and the cluster of the awesome collection of Smithsonian Museums. The Hirshhorn had a special exhibit by Ai Wei Wei, the dissent contemporary Chinese artist. I was particularly keen to see his Zodiac sculptures... they were in a circle in the outside courtyard inner-circle. They are big and uniform in colour, all situated in the circle according the the Chinese calendar and look dominant. And they are mesmirising, but - although I enjoyed each one individually, the whole didn't do much for me. They were cold and a little sparse emotionally as a group.

We wandered through the whole Ai Wei Wei exhibit, some of it very interesting or entertaining, and as with all exhibits, some we thought "How did that get in here?" But we both commented and were pleased to see how many young people were at the museum!
The Cube of Light was quite spectacular

I'll go in to the other art we saw in the next blog, too much to put in to one! It's a treasure to have these sort of worldclass museums just a drive away, changing exhibits. Living in D.C. would be a cornucopia of stuff to do, quite exhausting!! But so inspirational - art you like, art you're not sure about and art you just plain don't like - is all good, it makes you think! Go explore this wonderful world.

and please, keep up with my meager offerings at my website
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The art of memory

Last week when I wrote about my friend, Nana Berthelot - a wonderful sculptor in Mallorca, in the Balearics... it brought an avalanche of special memories of our time together for a couple of years when we lived there. Lee and I were living on our 30' sailboat, mostly anchored in the bay off Puerto Colom, a delightful small town with a big natural harbour and an atmospheric old town with high rampart walls and large cathedral dominating it's skyline.
Our mode of transport was 2 fold-up bicycles... old and rather rusty but they worked. Nana lived in a finca surrounded by olive groves in the tiny village of Son Prohens a couple of kilometers away. We'd often ride our bikes over with food in our front baskets. We'd prepare the meal while she worked away at chipping stone. When it was ready, we'd set the table under a tree away from her dusty work and we'd all enjoy a long leisurely meal and wine, talking and laughing.
Other times she'd drive by the harbour, hoot at us, we'd row over and hop in the car and go with her to the quarry to order stone. She drove a little Renault 5 and we'd go barreling down in to the dark mouth of the quarry inside a mountain. I was always sure we'd get lost down there but Nana drove with great panache and speed through dark tunnels, stopped at the right place, placed her order and we'd shoot out the mouth of mountain in to the sun without mishap every time. The day after placing her order a flatbed truck would show up at her olive grove and begin dumping the pieces off haphazrdly. She left them where they were and whether they were horiztonal or vertical, on their sides or flat it didn't matter ... the stone told her what do create.
This photo is of 2 pieces in progress - they weathered naturally as she worked on them since they sat out exposed to all the elements. The man's legs behind the tree are a friend of ours who is about 6 foot, so you can get some sense of scale. These were 2 of her smaller pieces.
Nana's real name is Anne, but everyone called her Nana - a beautiful, tranquil woman who makes beautiful things, we are fortunate indeed to know her. I can hear her lilting voice with her fractured English, mixed with Spanish and French as I write this. Such happy, treasured memories.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The art of plenty

I always enjoy getting the art supply catalog from my favourite art supplier, Cheap Joes, I leaf through it wishing I could just buy whatever I like. I buy online but searching through the actual book is more fun for me than surfng the website! I received the 2013 one a few days ago and started my ramble through it. I had gone a few pages thinking "Ooh, wouldn't that be nice..." when it dawned on me... this year I, happily, CAN make up a wish list, and probably buy it all using my award money... art supplies are allowed. I guess the reality hadn't properly sunk in yet... it sure opened a whole new way of looking at the catalog. You can't believe how many pages have been bookmarked with a sticky note.
That led me to thinking about the "further education" option attached to the award. I can use the money for... classes? workshops? but not degree-related study. What media/subject/style shall I go after? I really don't have much interest in taking painting classes, but I have always fancied trying my hand at sculpture.
So, I thought.. why not? Take a couple of sculpture workshops and incorporate sculpture in to my one-woman show I have to have by the end of the year. It would give it a good texture and the 2 and 3 dimension appeal.
For the past couple of days I've been searching the internet, and really, there is surprisingly few workshops on offer, but I am finding some. Even with a grant some of them are a bit steep $-wise, but I've already sent off a couple of queries. This is so exciting. Another new world opens up to me.
Sculpture makes sense. I've always adored it, during my travels I've tried to see the all time greats from the David to the Burgher of Calais... some multiple times. Whenever I see any work by Rodin or Michangelo, Claudel or personal friend - marvellous French/Spanish scupltor in Mallorca, Nana Berthelot, actually, if truth be told, just about any good scuplure, in front of me -  it just takes my breath away.
Getting stranded in a small rural French town during a blizzard led us to a free tour of Matisse's (one of my very favourites) home, now a museum. The lady was so happy to see visitors in this appalling weather, she let us wander at will. We saw paintings, sketches and sculptures we'd never known about. It was in the same town the very large dog at the auberge ate our cars tail lights... but that's another story.....that whole blizzard episode remains one of those unplanned marvels of  travel.
Maybe my new interest in figure sketching... abstract and free form, are the first steps in a new direction... or at least, an added dimension to my art. Ain't life grand?
© Anne Jenkins   A couple of 5 minute scribbles, January 2013 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The art of sketching what you see

I went to the fun sketching group last Wednesday evening at the Mispillion Art League Gallery - we were lucky to have a great model, Christopher Clawson ... he is a dancer and so good at posing and holding the pose. He's relaxed which adds to the fun. Everyone does their own thing - some do bits of him but all pretty much paint in a realistic style. I just can't... I look at the pose and a lightbulb goes off in my head and out comes something more abstract...sometimes charcoal with watercolour, sometimes just chalk... whatever, that's the fun of sketching I am discovering. Sometimes 3+ figures turn up on the page. But that is what I see, I have no interest in attempting to paint realistically... because I can't. I admire the talent and discipline it takes to paint this way but I can't do it myself. Christopher understand this a dancer and writer he is an artist himself and his partner, David Rule is a fabulous artist, especially in figurative work, so Christopher is used to artists and how we see things. He liked one of mine so much I gave it to him. Next day I took them dinner to make up for the fact I forgot money to put in the tip jar for the model. Brain like a sieve. Here's my sketch now happily residing in the Towers Bed  Breakfast!
© 2013Anne Jenkins

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The art of lists

Sorry if I sound like a stuck record, but I've just had the best start to 2013... I made some very impressive lists (hear ye! I bang me drum loudly....)
The official notice came out today from The Delaware Division of the Arts and I'm the in the top list. I usually get irritated if my name is not spelt correctly, but this time I don't care... I'm in awe and it's such an honour to be on this list at all!

Then I made the renown artist, writer, teacher and more good things, Annie Strack's, list of top 10 artists to watch in 2013. Thank you so much Annie Strack ... .

so... no pressure, just think art. HA! My feet are hitting ground after all these accolades and it's starting to sink in. oh dear, the pressure, the pressure...I'll start to feel it once I've wiped the smile off my face!

thank you and I hope I can do these honours justice.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The art of a brand new year

I have been so up in the air about my wonderful award from the Delaware Div of the Arts, I've pretty much forgotten to do a whole lot of stuff. Including write this blog weekly. But I do wish you a wonderful art-filled year of joy and peace.

I came across this blog/article today and I think it is very interesting - an insight to cultures, how art can affect your thinking, cross-cultural exchanges and how more people need to meet more people from other cultures, religions and race to broaden our outlook. It will build tolerance. The world needs this right now, more than ever it seems. Travel is one way to do this - I encourage everyone to pack a small bag and go... you will grow because of it. Bon voyage!