Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Little More Art

I'm very much behind in my online "Composition for Collage" class with Claudine Hellmuth, but I am enjoying it tremendously. I wanted to share the two pieces I did for the "Horizon Line" assignment.

Claudine explains basically there are two horizon lines, high and low. She also said it was sometimes harder to find examples of high horizon, so I decided to do both of mine that way. (I still want to do low... someday. First I need to work on "vignette" and "grid.")

Above is a high-horizon snow scene. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the white paper is quite textured. I added a bit of gray watercolor for shadowing and to make the "hills" stand out. The paper for the sky is more navy than black, with flecks of gold and silver. The small moon doesn't show up so well -- it's gold foil. I'll probably rephotograph this in better light. I liked its stark simplicity.

This one needs work, I think. But not much. I basically like the uneven high horizon and the flow. The paper has lots of gray/aqua metallic elements and looks like a stormy sea. Overall, the eye seems to move well. But there is one spot where my eye, at least, seems to get stuck.

The little cat hanging outside the boat is bothering me -- enough that I think I'll cover him up with paper. My intent was that he was in the boat eyeing the "fish" stamp, but it looks more like he fell out! And the art style isn't the same, which in some cases is fine, but in this one might be jarring.

The class has two slide show lectures -- one about the various composition form, another called "From Cluttered to Clean" where she takes elements and moves them around or swaps them out to organize the piece. I will have missed both of the online chats due to work, unfortunately, but the transcripts are printed (though reading a chat transcript is disjointed at best.)

Best of all are the 20 pages of downloads she supplies every week. There is a nice variety -- color, black and white, vintage, photos. For $30 (indefinite use of class materials; feedback from Claudine is done at the end of this week), it has been well worth it!

Don't forget to check out what I've been reading on Chopsticks and String!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Disabled Listener

Over the winter holidays, Rick and I went to see "The King's Speech."

If you didn't know about it already, you surely know about it now, with a stash of Oscars, all well-deserved, for telling the story of King George V and how he conquered his stutter.

The film opens with the then-Prince Albert (Colin Firth) preparing to make a speech in front of an enormous stadium crowd. He is clearly frightened before he begins and when he speaks, his stutter is halting, challenged.

The woman sitting behind me in the theatre started to giggle. She kept giggling throughout the opening. I turned around and gave her the dirtiest look I know and decided if she didn't shut up, I'd say something. As I did, I thought, "If my friend Sharon was here, I'm not sure that woman would stand a chance!"

Fortunately, she stopped laughing.

But did the film make an impact on her? Would she laugh again?

She would be well advised to listen to my friend Sharon. And you can, too, in this fourteen-minute video of her speech at the recent TEDx Lansing. Listen HERE (Sorry, I'm having trouble embedding the screen, but the link will take you there.)

A little bit about Sharon before you start. I've known her for a number of years now as part of my great group of women (which I call the GGs). When I met her, she was an editor at Booth Newspapers Lansing bureau. She moved on to be a vice-president at TruscottRossman, one of our area's best known public relations firms focusing on policy. This is a woman who deals with high-profile and issues on a daily basis. And when she's not doing that for work, she is warm, funny, and giving.

Sharon Emery has a lot to say.

Sometimes it just takes her a little longer to say it. She chooses her words carefully. We should all take a lesson from her on that one.

I hope you will find time to listen to this and to share with others who could benefit from Sharon's words (couldn't we all) -- or to those who might find inspiration from them.
Thanks, Sharon. You inspire me every day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Last of Chicago

Lots of pix in this post -- not much text!

After Di and Kerry went their respective ways, I had time to kick around Chicago. Here are a few things that captivated me.

This could be a post in itself.

It's Chagall's Four Seasons, a mosaic located in the Chase Tower Plaza on Dearborn and Monroe streets.

It was a gift to the City of Chicago by the artist, made in his French studio in 1974 and finished on site.

It cover four sizes of a long rectangular panel, 70 feet long and 14 feet high. It's about 10 feet on each side.

Wikipedia tells me it was renovated in 1994 with the protective glass canopy installed. It was the subject of a 1974 documentary by Chuck Olin called The Gift: Four Seasons Mosaic of Marc Chagall.

The it was off to Macy's.

Through seemingly countless buyouts over the years, Macy's took over Marshall Field's and the historic Marshall Field building with its elegant ceiling and beautiful column architecture.

Of course, the store has lots to check out -- and I showed great control, capturing only photos!

I was impressed by the Chicago skyline in chocolate...

...the criss-crossing of escalators...

...and the fashion, which seems to look great on the mannequins and not so hot on me.

The clock is one of the long enduring features of the store.

I have a passion for theatre architecture, from the marquee to the interior.

I couldn't take a peek into the Chicago theatre, though I loved the sculpture on the facade.

But the Oriental (Ford) theatre was just closing doors for a show. They wouldn't let me past the ticket taker, but from the doorway I could catch a couple of photos.

Oh, they don't make them like this anymore. I felt all gorgeous and glam even in my tennies, shooting from the doorway!

I loved the geometry of the stone buildings (this above the Garrett's popcorn shop where I bought Rick some of the famous Chicago mix).

But time was running out. And my only my art friends will appreciate this.

As I hurried back to the hotel to get my bags and make it to the station on time, I happened to pass by a window with art supplies. It was Dick Blick. Can you imagine the frustration -- Dick Blick in only ten minutes, max?

I know where I'm stopping first next time!

NEW AT CHOPSTICKS AND STRING: "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot. If you've ever had a polio vaccine, you should thank Henrietta. Fascinating!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Few of my Chicago Favorites

Before I wrap up the Chicago posts (there's one more after this!) I wanted to share a few of my favorite views and art from my time with Diana and Kerry in the Windy City!

Starting close to home, the interesting flowers in the planter outside of our hotel. We never could figure out if they were real or not!

Loved the take-off on the Paris Metro signs for Chicago's Metra System.

These Segway guys -- never seen so many segways in my life. (Have I seen any?)

Art Institute favorites -- it's odd, taking pix of masterpieces, but I have to say it saves on the postcard purchases!

Love Renoir. Period. This is called "Two Sisters," but they weren't really sisters.

Love this of the poppy fields near Giverny by Monet.

The religious art dazzles. So many lovelies to share, but I'll show you this detail. I don't remember the artist.

While we're on the subject of art, an unexpected stained glass exhibit at Navy Pier intrigued all of us.

I loved this Tiffany...

...and was entranced by these four panels by Mucha depicting goddesses of the four seasons.

Here's a bit of detail. Simply gorgeous.

This couple we named "Twister." They were on the same bus as we were en route to Navy Pier, though they got off much earlier. The girl clutched a "Twister" game box and when they left, the guy asked us for a quarter. We never thought we'd see them again, but on the way home, our bus pulled up at a stop and there they were!

Loved the rapt attention of this fellow watching Carl Weathersby at the Chicago Bluesfest.

And this sculptural addition to the fountain was handsome in the light.

Next time I'll share a few things I saw in Chicago after Di and Kerry headed out! Meanwhile, stop by Chopsticks and String for a look at "Home is Where the Wine Is," a very funny book that includes knitting patterns!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Little Bit of This and That

What to do on a summer weekend? A lot!

Claudine Hellmuth's online collage composition class. Here's my first piece -- asymetrical composition. Enjoying the class but running in place to catch up!

Enjoying dinner with friends Mark and Jan and watching their big boy P.T. watch the birds!

We saw an interesting play that I didn't particularly like or understand at our Summer Circle theatre festival. (The set was nice.) It was called "Boom."

Rick said, "Didn't you do things like that when you were in college?" To which I replied, "Yes, but we picked interesting and not totally weird plays when we were going for a general audience." (Am I getting old?)

Afro-Cuban music at the East Lansing Jazz Fest. Love this stuff!

A Father's Day walk with Rick at Lake Lansing park, Rick and me -- This is what our walks look like -- Rick is way ahead.

I pick my way over the roots. A woman with lung problems, a week ankle and torn up knee shouldn't be dahsing through the woods.

But, it was a perfect day!

More Father's Day, with Greg's arrival.

It was good to see him again, just back from a trip out west. And of course, Rick was in seventh heaven.

Here's to dad's everywhere -- and missing mine.
If you haven't stopped by Chopsticks and String to check out "Home is Where the Wine Is" (which is less about wine and more about life), give it a look! The book is delightfully funny!

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