I want to thank my many, many readers who took the time to vote for their favorite pictures of Newfoundland. I asked last week which photos I should print up to display in our home. I couldn’t believe how many people responded on Facebook, by e-mail or on my blog. Since you voted for such a variety of choices I decided to make a whole wall of photos. Here it is! And thanks ever so much for reading my blog and voting.
Help Me Decide
Who’s Right My Husband of Me?
They Left Us Everything
It was gone! I was sad when I returned to my job at the Winnipeg Art Gallery after a holiday to find the most popular painting in our Group of Seven room was gone.
I loved Clouds by Lawren Harris. It is always a favorite with children on tours. I usually ask kids to walk slowly around the Group of Seven exhibit room looking carefully at all the art pieces. Then I have them vote for their top two paintings. Clouds was always a sure-fire winner. But now it was gone and had been replaced by Alfred Casson’s Morning Light.
Morning Light- Mazinaw Lake 1968- Alfred Casson
Imagine my surprise when on my first Group of Seven tour after my holidays Morning Light was the hands down favorite of the kids just like Clouds had been. Some said Cassion’s painting seemed strangely familiar to them. It reminded one girl of a mountain she had seen on cruise in Costa Rica. Another told me there were rocks like the ones in Morning Light at her family cottage near Kenora. A boy said he’d seen cliff jumping on TV and he thought the cliffs in the painting would be fun to jump from. Another fellow pointed out the monster’s claw he could see in the cloud formation. Someone thought the shadows on the lake and rocks looked a little scary.
I still miss Lawren Harris’ Clouds but I’m not as sad anymore that it is gone. Its absence and its replacement with the Casson painting means visitors at the gallery will be introduced to another great painting by a Group of Seven member; another great painting that stirs their imaginations and links them to personal memories.
Love My Job
The Horizon Line
Autumn at the Art Gallery
I was absolutely delighted when I found out the Winnipeg Art Gallery would be displaying Wanda Koop’s portscapes again. Never heard of a portscape? That’s the name a lively ten year old boy created last week to describe Wanda’s intriguing series of landscapes skillfully drawn inside faces. I was giving a tour at the Winnipeg Art Gallery to grade five and six students. We had been in the Group of Seven gallery looking at landscapes. We talked about what a landscape is. Then I took the students into another gallery where we examined portraits and tried to figure out what we could learn about the people in the portraits by looking carefully at how the artist drew them. Finally we visited Wanda Koop’s View From Here exhibit. “Are these portraits or landscapes?” I asked the kids. One boy piped up enthusiastically. “They are portraits AND landscapes. We should call them portscapes.”
“That’s perfect,” I said excitedly. “Can I tell other people who come to the art gallery about your new word?”
“Sure,” he said grinning broadly. We went on to examine each of Wanda’s portscapes figuring out how she had used things in her landscapes to create facial features for each portrait.
Then I had the students create some portscapes of their own. They did a great job.
One reason I love giving tours to children at the art gallery is because every single time I learn something new from them. This week I learned about portscapes. What are portscapes? Come to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to see Wanda Koop’s View From Here and find out!
Portraits or Landscapes?
Haunted by Ghosts
Through the Eyes of A Child
During my four year old grandson’s stay with us in Arizona we had so much fun creating art together.
We drew turtles using a ceramic turtle as our model. My grandson labeled his turtle in French because that’s his first language.
We created these masks together in the art studio at the Phoenix Children’s Museum during the afternoon we spent there.
We both like coloring. I knew my grandson was learning about Canada’s north at school so I brought an Inuit art coloring book for him. One rainy afternoon we spent about an hour coloring. He colored Bountiful Sea by Meelia Kelly while I worked on a portrait in my Women Artists’ Coloring Book called Portrait of Princess Belozersky by Marie Louise Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun.
We used the construxs building toys I’d brought along to make a bunch of different machines. My grandson made a gum machine and a toy machine. I made a music machine and a sandwich machine.
One sunny morning we both sketched the different plants we saw in our backyard.
Another morning we used stones to make three faces. My grandson labeled them George, Jean and Jack after the three main characters in a story about three coyotes which his grandfather continued each night. After it got dark Dave lit a fire in our fire pit wrapped our grandson in a cosy blanket and they created another chapter in their ongoing saga about the adventures of George, Jean and Jack.
Stones were featured in this art project as well where we used thin tipped felt markers to create faces and scenes on the flat sections of stones.
On Tuesday we decided to draw two iguanas sitting on a rock. My grandson drew and colored the little iguana and I did the big one. We colored the rock together. We discovered the spelling for the word iguana is exactly the same in English and French except for the last letter.
But my favorite art piece from our week together is this portrait my grandson drew of me.
Stopping By Woods- A Children’s Masterpiece
I Love My Job
When Did You Stop Drawing?
Filed under Arizona, Art, Family
“If there was a blah option on Facebook I’d be pressing it,” said one of my blog readers after my recent post about the puzzle my sister and I started during her visit. For some reason that post drew a fair bit of feedback from my readers. Some people agreed with the ‘blah’ comment while others offered to help finish the puzzle and told me they enjoy puzzling and find it relaxing. A couple of readers said they suffer from a kind of dyslexia when it comes to puzzling.
Well as it turns out the puzzle is done. My husband Dave stepped in to take my sisters’ place and together we got it finished.
Yesterday Dave started another project. He wants to label all the birds on the puzzle. So he’s been trolling bird websites looking for names. I was hoping the company that made the puzzle would have the names listed on their site but they don’t. We think we’ve already pinned down fourteen of the birds. Can any of our birdwatcher friends out there help us with the rest? Here’s a link that lets you look at the birds closely.
Dave Driedger Bird Detective
Dave Driedger Nature Photographer
Dave Driedger Wildlife Photographer
A young black man is praying in a cathedral. His portrait is framed like an altarpiece. I saw this work by Kehinde Wiley at the Phoenix Art Museum. Turns out Wiley’s model is posing in the same stance as Flemish nobleman Maarten Nieuwenhove did in 1487 when artist Hans Memling created his portrait. Memling was a bit of a rebel in the art world, one of the first artists to create portraits of people who weren’t royals or clergy and also one of the first to put his subjects in natural settings rather than portray them against single color backgrounds. Maarten Nieuwenhove was 23 in this portrait. He served as mayor, councilor and captain of the guard in the city of Bruges. He was married to Margareta Haultin and died at age 36. In the stained glass window behind young Maarten is his namesake saint, St. Martin. Martin was so dedicated and persuasive when it came to negotiating the freeing of prisoners that kings and nobles refused to give him an audience because they knew he would request mercy for someone and they would be unable to refuse.
Kehinde Wiley might be considered a bit of a rebel in the art world too. He often places anonymous and disenfranchised young black men and women in paintings of historical importance. I wish we knew more about the young man who posed for the Kehinde portrait. I’m curious about the two insignia on his jacket and the branch decorating one side of it. I wonder about the bracelet he is wearing. Do we see this young man differently because he is posing in a pious and cultured setting than we would let’s say if we encountered him on a city street? Apparently Kehinde sometimes allows his models to choose the portrait from the past they want to pose in. Did this young man choose the Maarten Nieuwenhove portrait and if so why?
A writer named Andy Beta says portraits like this challenge the largely white male history of Western art and give Kehinde’s little known subjects a sense of power and presence. Is he right?
Getting To Know the Southwest Through Art
Let’s Talk About Our Parents
On our visit to the Phoenix Art Gallery I wanted to concentrate on finding art that told the story of the southwestern part of the United States. This stunning piece called Majestic Cat is by Tom Palmore. He specializes in paintings that include wild animals and look almost like photographs. By putting the animals in a setting that has connections to the human world he wants to remind the viewer that we share our planet with other beings. The southwest Sonoran Desert is home to many mountain lions. Artist Lew Davis was born in the copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. The Phoenix Art Gallery has a whole series of his paintings which depict life in a copper mining town including this rather haunting one of a young boy called Little Boy Lives in A Copper Camp. Georgia O Keeffe is probably the most famous artist of the southwestern United States. She lived and worked primarily in New Mexico and painted many pieces that depict canyons. This one called Canyon Country was painted in 1965. Although the Grand Canyon is the most well-known of the southwest canyons there are an abundance of canyons throughout the area. Like Georgia O Keeffe artist Paul Pletka lives and works primarily in New Mexico but he studied at the University of Arizona. This piece of his called Our Lord The One Who Is Flayed shows a group of Mexican people reenacting the passion of Christ during Lent. The painting has images from the biblical story of the crucifixion as well as the story of the Mexican deity Xipe Totec the god of renewal. Dave, my brother and our art gallery guide check out a recreation of the Colorado River by artist Maya Lin. It is called Pin River and made up of thousands of metal pins pushed into the wall. The artist digitally mapped the topographical lines of the river and then recreated it. Part of the Colorado River flows through Arizona’s Grand Canyon before emptying into Lake Mead on the Arizona Nevada border. I was particularly interested in Phoenix artist Ed Mell because he taught for a time on the Hopi Indian Reservation just as we did. This piece of his is called Sweeping Clouds.
The Phoenix Art Gallery provides a good introduction to art of the southwest.
Getting Into Art
Are You Sure They Aren’t Photographs?
Sleeping in an Art Gallery