Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Visit to the Clark Museum

When I found out over a year ago that John Singer Sargent's 

"Fumée D'Ambre Gris

was in Massachusetts and so is my family, I knew I would get there one day.

A three hour drive for someone who lives in Alaska is nothing and thankfully I have a cousin who also loves a good road trip and museum!

This blog will be mostly visual and I have to leave out so much but here is just a taste of the incredible artwork tucked away in the little Berkshire town of Williamstown, MA.
There is so much culture and arts in this community, it would be worth a longer stay someday.
The enormous rock and steepled buildings fill the center of town with history and grandeur.  There doesn't seem to be a moment there where the world of Walmart and Home Depot have filtered in.
Totally refreshing.

Then there is the approach to the Clark Museum.  Nestled in landscape of rural homes and trails, the deer grazed the land and the reflecting ponds brought peace.  The museum itself however looks like it was before it's time being architecturally modern on the outside but carried the allure of age and wisdom inside the permanent collection walls.  
A must see.

Where to begin....
When you first enter you are surrounded by at least 7 of Winslow Homer's works.  
A favorite for me and a little different from his typical work was the Sleigh Ride piece.

Skipping some and following through I was enamored by the work of George Inness...again.  
His landscapes bring such peace.

With a well laid plan and map to understand I knew what was around the corner and couldn't wait to see!  Thank you Degas and thank you Clark Museum for this wonderful collection.

With any great collection, Monet was not to be missed.  
One very usual piece and another that surprised me! 
An earlier seascape that spoke directly to my heart.

Jules Breton...  
The light, the strength and the sliver of ocean and a glimpse of a ship 
telling the story of where this lovely girl spent her days.

Surprise!  For me anyway... Another absolute favorite painter.
William Adolphe Bouguereau

After seeing his work in person in San Fransisco years ago I have been studying his book and falling deeper in love with his work regularly.  Thankfully my cousin poses so you can see just how enormous and powerful this piece is.

Another corner, another surprise!
Tucked away off one of the main galleries owning it's own room...
Turner, Rockets and Blue Lights.

Now this one was a new one for me but WOW!  
I could stare at this for hours.


And then at exactly 11:11, I turned around from this magnificent piece and my eyes fell on her.

Fumée D'Ambre Gris
(Smoke of the Ambergris)

She stood there enveloping her senses from the very expensive substance extracted from whales. 
There are stories of religious rituals and was also said to have some aphrodisiac qualities.  
This being known stirred up talk for such a magnificent but sensual pleasure.

More from Sargent
Neapolitan Children Bathing
A Street in Venice
As for me, my trip to the Clark is done, for this trip anyway.
I hope you get a chance to visit or download the app to hear narratives for most of their collection.

I hope you enjoyed my blog and memories of a wonderful museum visit  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Learning from the masters. Daniel Gerhartz Workshop

What can I say about a week painting with Daniel Gerhartz?

It is hard for me to decide what I was most impressed with during my time at his studio.  
Of course there are the countless, incredible works of art surrounding his studio and home, 
(which he welcomed all of us into for an evening meal) 
but most impressive was his humility towards his work. 
Every compliment and wow towards him was answered with a lowering of the eyes and subtle thank you.  His words delivered, without preaching, that he truly feels his gift is a gift to be shared and refined to the best of his ability and his goal is to reflect the beauty that God has poured out.  
He is certainly a success because you certainly feel all of that when 
standing in front of one of his paintings.  

He is also a very good teacher, with boundless energy making the rounds to each student and meeting  them where they are.  He offered just the right advice at the right time bringing each of us a step closer to reaching our next level.   

I am a true believer that when I'm at a workshop I'm not there to impress anyone.  
I'm also not there to do my best work ever.
I think this is the time to push and explore new approaches and observations.  
If I am there doing what I always do, I have wasted my money.  
A workshop is a time to pour in, later it will pour back out.
That being said here are a few pieces that I started.

We studied under various lighting.  
Warm and cool lighting, warm lighting and even north light for just a while when we waited for the generator to start up.  Yes the high winds caused an afternoon power outage.  
Nothing kept us from continuing on.

Painting Torrie.  What a gift.

Setting up Ashley for a 6 hour pose.  She did fantastic!

Instead of one 6 hour pose I painted 2 three hour poses.  I wanted to capture color notes of her skin tones and also the entire setup.  I look forward to getting into this more in my studio. 

Dan and I next to his incredible painting of a girl with a horse.  
I can not post photos of it but you'll know when you see it! 

The gang at dinner at the Gerhartz generous home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Growth and Thankfulness. A Daniel Gerhartz Workshop.

Growth and Thankfulness

The opportunity arose and it was possible it might not again.
Only a small number of students per year are able to get a spot and I was one of them. 
Students are chosen by lottery and many have tried for quite a few years to get in.  
I was incredibly lucky to be here on my first try. 

The long, delayed flights and landing at the wrong airport due to fog was totally worth it.

The subtle to heavy fog made the drive there quite beautiful as the countryside of Kewaskum, Wisconsin is dotted with barns and silos.  The desire to stop for a plein air piece might overtake me one of these days but until then portraits from life are on the ticket.

Daniel Gerhartz Portrait Workshop
March 2016

Entering the timber framed studio did nothing but take my breath away.  The beautiful airy light, model stands, many copper and silver pots along with florals and fabrics of assorted colors and sizes tell stories of paintings that have been and those to come.  


I'll post an occasional shot of his studio but he prefers his work be posted by his galleries and I fully understand that but I highly recommend a visit to his website.  You will be swept away.

On to the painting....
The first day started with a demo and new information. 
 I've taken enough workshops to think that I've heard it all and realize that each instructor has a different emphasis and I appreciate that but truly day one was packed with 
insight I had never heard before.  

Of course there was focus was on value and structure but also on turning form with shifts of temperature as he demonstrated so beautifully on the morning demo.   He is more interested in teaching us to see certain things rather than teaching us simply formulas.  

With permission to post, here is a glimpse of a demo start painting the lovely Ashley.

Day two I had the opportunity to paint Joel!  Daniel has wonderful models and we rotate around the room as the week goes on so that we all are able to have every perspective.  

As Joel was mostly in shadow I had to stretch my abilities.
A value check of my final painting.

Many lessons learned.

Visit Daniel Gerhartz here.   You will be amazed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier is just a short drive from the Ernest Gruening State Historical Park.  It is massive in size and easy to get to.  Ken and I hiked a mile to get as close to the base as possible by foot.  I am so happy to have him with me.  Today he took on the role of "Artist Sherpa".  I must say, every girl should have one :)  

Believe it or not, it was a tough decision trying to figure out what to paint.  I know that seems very odd standing near the base of Mendenhall Glacier and not knowing what to paint, but let me tell you (and show you) why.  Nugget Glacier is about 5 miles away and it's run off turns into an enormous waterfall just feet from where we were standing.  In this reality the falls were much more commanding than the glacier.  I always remember the observation of perception in life and this was a sure example.  I probably "broke" a few compositional rules with this one but I decided to paint both purely as a reminder of how "it's all relative".  

With Ken's help, while I painted and visited with some of the onlookers, we handed out at least 50 cards explaining the Artist in Residence Program and the Ernest Gruening State Historical Park.  People from Asia, Australia and places in between were made a little more aware of the partnership with the state and the arts.  

A few more photos to share the grandeur of sites not to be missed in Juneau.