If you know me, you know I am a reader and a walker. When I looked through the books I read in 2022 (78 – not a record), I was amazed that less than 10% of the books I read were art related. So – 2023 is my year to devote more of my downtime to art. (more…)
Category Archives: about artists
WHAT I LEARNED IN MY YEAR OF WALKING DURING A PANDEMIC
How have I coped with this time of social distancing? I took a walk, then another one, and it turned into over 364 walks! From 3/29/2020 until 3/21/2021 I logged in 2200, the length of the Appalachian Trail. Walking daily is probably the best decision I never made! Things I’ve noticed are:
- I began to listen to nature, and my observational skills increased
- My concentration level increased
- I feel in better shape than I have been in decades
- I am eating much healthier
- I fit into all my clothes
- My most creative ideas have come while walking – and I’ve learned to take a notebook with me
According to a study done by Stanford University, walking can increase your creativity by 60%!!!!
If I had read this a few years ago, I would have laughed. But – it Is true. You can read about about this study HERE.
In looking back through history, many of the great creatives walked daily.
- Aristotle gave his lectures while walking. His followers were known as peripatetics – Greek for wandering about.
- Wordsworth walked an estimated 175 thousand miles during his life
- Dickens walked everyday after writing from 9a-2p – and 20+ miles was not unusual.
- Thoreau felt walking was a pilgrimage to his Holy Land.
- Beethoven took breaks throughout the day to “run into the open”.
- Virginia Woolf and James Joyce took several of their characters on walks that she took herself.
- Nietsche felt it was where he worked best.
- Mahler walked up to five hours a day. He had a jerky weird walk which his daughter claimed came from his shift in rhythms.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Nietsche
I have discovered a hidden world of treasures in my own neighborhood. I have collected over 80 bird feathers, I found a hidden beach, a hidden teepee, a hidden ampitheater – all in my neighborhood!
I have seen a gleeful boy and his father take a bike ride throughout the neighborhood every day after lunch. I have seen a neighbor taking her bird on a walk. I discovered there are three greyhounds (in different homes) on one street, and three standard poodles. There is a cat that likes to walk with her favorite dogs.
So, get out there and take a walk. Don’t use weather as an excuse, learn to dress properly. As Roger Miller said. “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”.
And, I know a lot of you will say – you just don’t have time! I have found I don’t have the time NOT TO WALK. As I said, I walk often these days – often working out a problem in my head while moving. A fifteen minute walk outside is better than no walk at all. Out of ideas? Again, take a walk!
One last observation, 99% of all dead-end streets or cul-de-sacs have a basketball hoop. I wonder what that means?
Do you have an walking stories to share?
THE RHYTHMS OF MEMORY – A DAUGHTER’S JOURNEY
OPENING RECEPTION APRIL 21, 2018; 5-9p
332 Ormond St. NE
Dementia and Alzheimers are probably the most feared incurable diseases there are. As the people are living longer and the population is aging, most of us will be affected by some form of dementia. This series is inspired by my mother’s journey into dementia.
I begin each painting with multiple layers achieving a tactile surface. The layers are symbolic of the abundance of plaques and tangles that are found in the brain of Alzheimers/Dementia patients.
Each piece represents a different aspect of what I observed during mom’s struggle.
The first is the isolation and the feeling of invisibility patients frequently experience. A figure is painted on a multi-layered textured background. The entire surface is painted out and with mark making the figures begin to emerge from the background, while still being faint and translucent.
Some paintings illustrate the confusion that comes with this disease.I make seemingly random marks creating chaos. Using pen and ink, the lines and dots are connected bringing order to the composition.
There are also a series of collages illustrating the power of music, which has been proven to be an effective treatment to help patients access their memory. As the grand-daughter of both a piano tuner and music teacher, this is close to my heart. Each collage included is based on a particular song that has been proven to be effective.
The inspiration for the piece on the right is a powerful story. A woman had been verbally unresponsive for a year. But, when we heard this song on the piano, she began humming along, ultimately singing the words. They found this was the song used in her wedding.
The work shows those with dementia can still be present and they still have stories to share.
For the opening on April 21, 2018, two pieces will be auctioned and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Georgia Alzheimers Association.
If you have any stories to share, please put them in the comments.
WHAT I READ IN JUNE
June was an unusually light month for me. Partly, because the first selection took longer than usual! So, here goes:
CLEOPATRA, A LIFE by Stacy Schiff: Oh, what a life it was! Her story is told by Stacy Schiff, who previously won the Pulitzer Prize for Vera, Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov. But, be forewarned, this book will take some time. What did I learn? First of all, I learned I know very little about the ancient world. And, what did I know about Cleopatra? I knew the story Shakespeare gave us and the face Hollywood gave us (Elizabeth Taylor). However, there is incest, murder, wars and more. Cleopatra married two of her brothers, went to war with one and poisoned the other. Apparently that was not unusual behavior in those days (her parents may have been siblings.) She had children with the two most powerful men in Rome, Julia Caesar and Marc Antony. Speaking nine languages, read also read Homer and travelled all over the Mediterranean. In fact, as the author herself says, Cleopatra has one of the busiest afterlifes in history – and remember none of the early biographers actually knew her!
THE SHIP OF BRIDES by JoJo Moyes: Taking place after WWII, it tells the story of 600 Australian brides, and their journey by boat to reunite with the men they met during the war. Interestingly, the HMS Victorious traveled from Sydney with 655 brides, and the author discovered her grandmother was among them. This historical fiction novel tells the story of four women from different background that are forced to share a small cabin for the 6 week journey. Good story based on historical events I never knew happened
THE LAST OF THE HONKY-TONK ANGELS by Marsha Moyer: I realized after I began the book it is a sequel to THE SECOND COMING OF LUCY HATCH, but that doesn’t really matter. Lucy has married Ash after a whirlwind courtship. After three months, Ash’s ex-wife dumps their 14 year-old daughter on their doorsteps. Seems as if everybody has a secret in this small east Texas town. A little predictable.
DINNER WITH BUDDHA: A NOVEL by Roland Merullo: This is the third book in this fictional series and apparently there is another one expected to come out in a couple of years. Food writer Otto Ringling took his first road journey with brother-in-law Volya Rinpoche eight years before this novel takes place. Otto has had many changes to his life during this time, and now his sister has been having dreams about her seven-year-old daughter. Could she be the next Dalai Lama? Otto and Rinpoche travel through the west, visiting Native American reservations, diners, casinos and more, Not only is mindfulness an important lesson to learn, so is learning gratitude and compassion. Often humorous, always thoughtful, I look forward to the next installment, even though this had a fairly satisfying ending.
CREATING MOMENTS OF JOY FOR THE PERSON WITH ALZHEIMER’S OR DEMENTIA: A JOURNAL FOR CAREGIVERS – Jolene Brackey: I will keep this book and refer back to it, it is a great source of information, as well offering solace and comfort. I made some changes in the way I talk to my mother after reading this book. I have given my copy to other family members to help us with this journey and I’d recommend the book to others. It is very readable, with concrete stories that will make you laugh, cry, but also make you think.
So – now I have to get back to that other book I started over a week ago that I still haven’t finished. It is due back at the library today, and there is a waiting list for the book so I can’t renew it! I’m almost finished with it, and it too wasn’t the easiest read. I found myself rereading portions of it, but I’m finding the pay off if worth it! You have to wait until the end of July to know what book it is – but I will say it is often classified as scence fiction (written in 1997).
THE PROLIFIC SHORT LIFE OF NADYA RUSHEVA
This is the 17th installment in my on-going series WOMEN IN ART.
Nadya Rusheva may be one of the prolific artists I have ever encountered. In her short 17 years, (1952 – 1969) she managed to create more the 10,000 drawings, even though during the last years of her life she couldn’t draw more than half an hour a day.
Never heard of her? Neither had I!
Born in Mongolia, her father, Nikolai Konstantinovich Rusheva (1918-1975) was a theater artist. Her mother, Natalia Azhimaa-Rusheva (born 1926) was a prima ballerina in Tyva.Many of her drawings are at the National Museum of the Republic of Tyva, while most of them are located in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
She began drawing incessantly at the age of five, but her family didn’t realiy pay attention to them until she was seven. She had begun painting and drawing daily, and once drew 36 illustrations (or 40 according to her mother) for The Tsar of Sultan, a poem by Aleksandr Pushkin, in one evening while her father read her the story. (The story was immortalized by Rimsky-Korsakov with an opera).
It is said she did not do preliminary sketches and rarely, if ever, used an eraser.
“I live the life of those I draw. I first see them … they appear on paper as watermarks, and I need to do something to lead around them.”
She also made about thirty drawings based on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Her drawings were first shown in the offices of the magazine Yunost (meaning Youth), a literary magazine that appealed to the younger generation. They later published her drawings.
In 1966, the family moved to Moscow and the school she attended is now named The Nadia Rusheva Education Center No. 1466, where memorial dates of the Rusheva family are observed.
During her lifetime, she had approximately 15 exhibitions around Russia, Poland and the Ukraine.
She is most well known for her illustrations of the book Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Originally banned in Russia, this work was begun in 1928, with a 2nd highly edited version published in 1966 and 1967. It tells two parallel stories, featuring a visit of the Devil to the atheistic Soviet Union, with the second part taking place during Christ’s final days in Jerusalem
Sadly, she died from a brain hemorrhage caused by a congenital defect of the cerebral arteries.
The name Nadya means “hope” or “living eternally”. Her art will live on forever, her name will live on as far away as outer pace – as there is Asteroid 3516 Rusheva named for her, as is also a pass in the Caucasus Mountain.
A gifted artist, a life too short, but stunning nonetheless!
If you can read Cyrillic – there is much more information about her on line! If you can read Cyrillic and find out more, let me know!
LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT FOR ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI
Artemesia Gentileschi (1593 – 1652/53)
This is my 7th installment in my weekly Women in Art series.
Why do we need to set the record straight? Artemesia fell into obscurity after her death, even though she was one of the first female artists to paint more than the traditional portraits – she actually painted major historical and religious scenarios. The Medici family collected her work. Michelangelo Buonnarti the Younger (the more famous Michelangelo’s nephew) helped her start her career in Florence. She was friends with Galileo. But, after her death, many of her paintings were thought to have been done by her father, Orazio Gentleschi, from whom she received early training.
Her technical abilities were beyond reproach. The following painting was done when she was but 16 or 17 years of age.
When she was not allowed to study in the art academies of the time her father arranged for a friend of his, Agostino Tassi, to teach her. In 1612 her father brought charges of rape against Tassi that resulted in a seven month trial. During the trial it was found that Tazzi planned on murdering his wife, planned to steal some of Orazio’s painting and was having sex with his sister-in-law. Can you believe that? He was sentenced to either a year in prison or banishment – neither of which was carried out.
After the trial, Artemisia’s father married her off and she moved to Florence. In Florence, she was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno.
This is a painting that was attributed to her father for awhile – but it is the first known signed painting by Artemisia. The story is of a virtuous Susanna being sexually harrassed by the elders in the community. Most male painters approached this with a flirtatious and coy Susanna. But, you can see Artemisia shows her scared, upset and vulnerable. Was she our first feminist painter?
This painting was possibly inspired by an earlier painting by Caravaggio. But Artemisia’s depiction is must more bloodier and graphic. (see Caravaggio’s below – not nearly as bloody)
To read the story of Judith Slaying Holofernes – click here
This is a scene after Holofernes is beheaded and they are attempting escape. One interesting thing that is very hard to see online – Judith has an ornament in her hair that is a picture of a man with a lance – was it possibly David, who decapitated Goliath? Scholars believe it is a homage to Michelangelo’s statue of David.
This is considered a self-portrait. In fact, alot of her paintings were self-portraits.
There is must more to know about her life – she even joined her father in London in 1638 into the court of Charles I.
For more information about her life – here are some more references:
The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
WOMEN IN ART WEDNESDAYS
“C” IS FOR INGRID CALAME
This is part of an on-going series Women in Art Wednesdays
When I first saw Ingrid Calame’s work, I was blown away. Learning about the process she uses changed the way I forever view the world!
What does she do? Along with assistants, she goes out into the world armed with mylar and spends days tracing the world. What do they trace? Sidewalks, graffiti on a river bed, tire marks on the street, an abandoned pool, the floor of the NYSE, or the Indianapolis raceway (yes, you read that right!) to name a few.
When the seemingly random marks are done, they are combined by overlaying all the drawings. This is what Calame uses for her paintings.
I think it is best in her own words:
Since the early 90s, I have been working with tracing. I go to specific locations to trace marks, stains and cracks on the ground on to architectural Mylar (polyester-based tracing film). From these tracings I make drawings and paintings. I clean the original tracings and layer them on top of each other. Once I’ve piled up the tracings, I place several rectangles of drafting Mylar on top of them. This determines the size of the drawings I will eventually make. I then start to trace the layers of rubbings that are beneath the rectangles, with a different colour pencil for each layer, peeling back the layers one by one until I reach the bottom of the pile. The final drawings are always a surprise.
I was recently invited to do a resency at the Albright-Knox art gallery in Buffalo, NY. I traced for three weeks with nine assistants for five days a week. We took tracings from a storage hall at the Arcelor Mittal steel plant, from a wading pool, a parking lot. This working process is important – going out into the world.
My journey through tracing different sites, working with and meeting people and seeing their reactions to the work – all this has changed my understanding of representation and abstraction.
It has been said the Ingrid Calame finds beauty in the grime, starting with markings from places in the world that are in plain sight, but of things very few people stop and look at.
Here is a link to an article about the tracing of the Indianapolis Speedway.
Who wants to go exploring Atlanta with me with a couple of rolls of mylar?
FINDING INSPIRATION FROM THE BBC
This is part of the Flying Sister’s Blog Circle – follow it around to find out what movies other women found inspirational. Mine is not a movie, but a documentary series that I have watched more than once!
POWER OF ART is a BBC documentary series by Simon Schama, a professor of art and history at Columbia University. In his own words”
“This is not a series about things that hang on walls, it is not about decor and prettiness. It is a series about the force, the need, the passion of art –
….the power of art.”
“Great art has dreadful manners”
“The hushed reverence of the gallery can fool you into believing masterpieces are polite things; visions that soothe, charm and beguile, but actually they are thugs. Merciless and wily, the greatest paintings grab you in a headlock, rough up your composure, and then proceed in short order to re-arrange your sense of reality.”
He then takes us on an amazing journey, highlighting eight masterpieces, from Caravaggio’s David and Goliath to Picasso’s Guernica. He takes you into the lives of eight great artists, each who faced a crisis and created masterpieces that changed the way we look at both art and the world.
Sometimes told in a “wink wink, nudge nudge”way, you feel as you really get to know each artist and thus understand their world.
Each of the eight episodes examines the biography, the world and a key work with some reenactments:
Carvaggio – David and the Head of Goliath
- Bernini – The Ecstacy of Saint Teresa
- Rembrandt – The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis
- David – The Death of Marat
- Turner – The Slave Ship
- van Gogh – Wheatfields and Crows
- Picasso – Guernica
- Rothko – Black on Maroon
Why did I find this series so inspirational?
Take a look at the works below. With the first installment, it begins with an artist – Caravaggio – leaving Rome because he killed a man, I was hooked. The “wink wink” style of storytelling even called Rembrandt “Mr. Cleverclogs”.
This series simply made me want to learn MORE! Below is a small snippet from the Rembrandt episode.
Now, follow the Flying Sisters blog circle around to see other inspirational works. Next up is Lulu Bea – click here to see her inspiration movie! Enjoy your journey.
PS – this is available on Netflix and YouTube
TIME TO CELEBRATE
August 13th is Left Hander’s Day!!! and since I’m part of this fascinating group – I think it is time to celebrate by sharing some fascinating facts about left handers. It is only fair, we are discriminated against the other 364 days of the year!
Left hander usually draw figures facing to the right.
Between 10-12% of the world’s population is left handed, and surprisingly this hasn’t changed over history.
Most artistic representations of the Devil show him as left-handed.
Left handers see better underwater.
Left handers excel in tennis, baseball, fencing and swimming.
One in four Apollo astronauts were left handed.
Four of the five original designed of the Macintosh were left-handed.
Research has show that more people with IQ’s over 140 are left handed. Scholars include Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Benjamin Franklin.
On the other hand, the Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper and Osama Bin Laden were left-handed.
The right hand is mentioned 100 positive times in the Bible, while the left hand is mentioned only negatively 25 times.
Lefties are higher at risk of schizophrenia and ADHD.
Lefties excel in language, math and music. A study of professional orchestras found a disproportionate number of left handed musicians.
Of the last seven US Presidents, 5 are left-handed. (Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama)
Left handed artists include DaVinci, Michelangelo, Albrecht Durer, Escher, Paul Klee, Raphael to name a few.
Click here to listen to Lefty’s Lament.
SOME FUN FACTS AND TRIVIA ABOUT ARTISTS
I don’t know about you, but little facts and trivia about artists make them seem more human to me. Here are some of the more interesting things I have found.
DaVinci became a vegetarian for moral reasons. He even bought caged birds at outdoor markets and set them free.
Caravaggio murdered a man, fled Rome and eventually ended up in Malta, where he was knighted.
The Pieta is the only work Michelangelo ever signed. While delivering it, he overheard someone say he couldn’t have done that – he was too young. He went back that night and signed it. He was 23.
Rembrandt filed for bankrupcy.
Picasso had his first artshow at age 13 – showing paintings in the back of an umbrella store. In his 90th year, he produced 200 paintings.
Duchamp deliberately accumulated dust to use in his artwork. He also perffected a system of winning at roulette and was on the French team at the International Chess Olympiads. He eventually married Matisse’s ex-wife.
Matisse’s painting LeBateau hung upside down for 46 days at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Paul Gaugin worked on the Panama Canal.
Rodin died of frostbite.
George Braque was the first living artist to be exhibited at The Louvre.
There is a silhouette or a self portrait of Dali in all his paintings.
It is said Da Vinci invented high heels.
Anything you want to add?