Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This Summer in Raisin Studio

The studio is the best in the summer. With the doors and window open, the garden with birds splashing in the bird baths, the ceiling fan whirling, it is my favorite place to be. The garden might have that title but for the hordes of mosquitos patrolling the area, a result of a wet summer.

Half Edgy Plates

I have had joy and sorrow this summer in the studio. There have been glaze problems - blistering mainly - that I have had to do detective work to solve.  I think I may have - the last two kiln firings were successful.

Experimentation is my reason for living. Not satisfied with just Edgy Bowls, I have been making what I call Half Edgy Platters, plates with uneven edges on two sides and round on the other two.

Also new are Princeton Edgy Dishes which are small footed dishes with "Princeton, NJ" scrawled underneath (for the Princeton tourist with not much luggage space).

Glazing which was once a hurry up and get done operation has become as important and exciting to me as the making of the clay pieces.

I have so many glazes though, that I am overwhelmed with choices, and it's impossible to test all the possible glaze combinations. I take chances, often they work, and if not, they get reglazed and fired again.

Salt cellars for the Savory Spice Shop are waiting for some reorganization at the shop to be delivered.

Meanwhile, all of these and the other pieces pictured here are available to anyone interested. Email me for more information.

Happy summer days and nights to all!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Travel Sketchbook

For travel I have made it a habit to bring with me a small sketchbook, mini colored pencils, and markers and other drawing tools, and when time allows, capture a place or person in its pages. Words find their way in too, when I come across a poem or quotation that speaks to me in the moment.

This year so far has found me traveling more than usual. I take photographs, but my sketchbook is a more personal response to the world. I know the world all the better for the extended, intense looking that is needed to make a sketch.

So here are a selection, in date order of my travels so far in 2017.

A view from my window, Reykjavik, Iceland

Duluth, Minnesota

beach detritus, Spring Lake, NJ

pedestrian bridge, Spring Lake, NJ

In a botanical garden, Sarasota, Florida

sculpture by Juan Munoz, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.

one corner of a fountain enclosure
by the Capital Building, Washington, D.C.

Atlantic City, NJ

Monmouth Beach, NJ

hillside, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

view of Lake Tahoe

sun worshipper, Lake Tahoe

waterfall with snow below, Lake Tahoe

Where to next? Vermont, New Hampshire, Cape Cod are on my calendar - more opportunities to study trees, waves, people and all the other challenging subjects. I can't draw every leaf, the wave will not hold still to be drawn, and each person has their own individual features. I must miniaturize and simplify. The challenges of drawing are many and the sketchbook is a learning tool. The sketches are that, and they are also a souvenir for me of pleasant day beyond my "little world."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

One Day in D.C.

Site a l'homme assis, by Jean Dubuffet, 1969-1984

It was a long, hot day in D.C., but inside two art museums it was very cool and often thrilling.

Yet more from the Hirshhorn. I have to say, my senses did NOT thrill to this next exhibit, maybe because I'd just seen so much already that was so intriguing (see the last post). Yet I think it is worth showing a few examples of work from 50 years ago by Berlin artist Markus Lupertz.

Take the first painting you see at the exhibit, called "Donald Duck's Wedding" (detail) from 1963. What do you make of it?

Westwall (Siegfried Line), by Markus Lupertz, 1968

Lupolis - Dithyrambic, by Markus Lupertz, 1975

I know I did not give it the time it deserved. There is beauty here, even a message in some paintings, but at the time I was in visual overload. Yet I forged ahead, saw work from the permanent collection at the Hirshhorn, and after a break for lunch, headed for the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.

Here are the "Masterworks" from the Hirshhorn that peaked my interest:

Venus of the Rags, by Michelangelo Pistoletto, 1967

Seer (Alice II), by Kiki Smith, 2005

A big surprise in this room...

Untitled (Big Man), by Ron Mueck, 2000 (with my friend Dotty)

A painting worth looking at closely...

afro. died, T., by Iona Rozeal Brown, 2011

Moonrise Kent England, 30 September 1985, by Hamish Fulton, 1985

The artwork above is a conceptual piece. Very large, it conveys the immensity of the sky and the length of the long walk the artist has taken. It is one of a series of artworks about the artist's walks, this one being, " ALL THE PACES BETWEEN MOONRISE AND MOONSET."

I think the East Building of the National Gallery of Art is an exhausting place. It is a multi-level building designed by I.M. Pei. The stairs, towers, lack of seating were not conducive to a late afternoon visit for me. Go yourself, but go when you are fresh.

Hahn/Cock, by Katharina Fritsch, 2013

The sculpture here and the sculpture at the top of the page were the best moments at the National for me.

Everyone who saw it, while I was lingering on the rooftop, loved this bird.

My last words are not really art related, but patriotic. I felt proud that our country has erected, collected art and artifacts and staffed these fine museums and made them free to the public.

Happy 4th of July everyone!