Friday, September 28, 2012

Yellowstone National Park

The Midway Basin with the Grand Prismatic Spring (left) and the Excelsior Geyser Crater pouring into the Firehole River

On September 6th, 2010, Bill hitched up the R-Pod and we set out on a 12-day road trip to see, for the very first time, Yellowstone National Park. It has five entrances (we arrived from the west) and a road system in the figure of eight. The Visitor Centres and Museums are very well done. We saw a great deal, but not all of the park.

The colour of some of the hydrothermal pools is remarkable!

To deal with the huge number of visitors it gets, Old faithful has its own overpass! The Rangers are very accurate in their predicted times of eruptions which happen anywhere from 40 - 126 minutes apart.  Along with 300 other people we saw her blow only minutes after the predicted time of 5:22PM.

Our shadows cast on a bacteria mat of one of the geyser pools at Midway Basin

Mammoth Hot Springs was just that

Odd and magnificent as they are we tired of the geysers rather quickly and went looking for something else.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River ranges in depth from 800 to 1200 feet. Climbing in the canyon is not permitted and for just reasons; it is steep, gnarly and dangerous. There are many drive up lookouts and descending trails on both the north and south rims - with steps, to take you down, about 500 feet, into the canyon. "Uncle Tom's Trail" on the south rim has 328 steps!

Stunning view of the canyon from Grand View Lookout, north rim

We loved the canyon so much we went back two days in a row! From the Red Rock trail on the south rim, this is as far down into it as you can safely get. And, as it was we were somewhat off piste here ...

The exquisite Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

For the entire photo essay please click here.

And then we went off into Grand Teton National Park ... that story to follow!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Guru Drops In

On September 4th, on her way home to Creston, our mixed media guru, Win Dinn, stopped in for a quick overnight stay.

Win demonstrates distressing a photograph

I made a bid for Win to spend an afternoon with me and a couple of students from her May workshop here in Claresholm. Kerry Hart joined us at Judy Dahl's studio for a few delightful hours of mixed media. Win gave freely of herself even though she was just plain tuckered out after an action packed, whirlwind week in Ottawa.

Judy is like a sponge, ready to soak up anything about mixed media

Playing with colour, we pooled and splattered paint, we stamped, stuck bits and pieces on here and there. While the three of us started one piece after another, only Win made a single finished piece. I neglected to photograph any of our work ... perhaps that was because we cracked open the wine?

The following morning Win showed me what she had recently learned about how to adhere a layer of paper napkin to bond paper or card stock. It's a wonderful little trick with plastic wrap, parchment paper and an iron which Win explains rather well here.

Notice that the floor easel is gone from The Anne Frank Room; more horizontal space is still being sought out!

And voila ... now we can cut, paste and alter this delightful type of paper imagery!

To be sure I knew what I was doing I had to give it a try!

Monday, September 3, 2012

NYC Art - MoMA

WATER LILIES 1914-26 oil on three panels each approximately 6' 6"  x 13' 11" by Claude Monet

I hadn't fully recovered from the stimulus at The Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before this visit to the Museum of Modern Art. Thank goodness it's a much smaller museum although this in no way diminishes the number of jewels they have in their collections. The Starry Night lives here!

THE STARRY NIGHT 1889 painting about the town of Saint Remy as Vincent envisioned it from his room at the asylum

With a major Van Gogh exhibition on in Ottawa, Canada, I went to NYC wondering if Starry Night was going to be on loan there at The National Gallery.  I was so relieved and excited that it was at home.  A crowd gathers around the almost-invisible-glass covered painting which has it's own personal guard to monitor that you keep your distance. They must have sensed my total reverence for this painting because the crowd parted for me and I came within inches without getting my knuckles wrapped.

THE OLIVE TREES at Saint Remy 1889 

It pleased me greatly to see the painting above as well for I have stood on the site that affords this view of the mountain with the twin holes, also seen from the grounds of the asylum at Saint Remy.

THREE MUSICIANS just of the 1000 pieces by Picasso at MoMA

We waited a long time for someone, anyone, to stop in front of the painting below. Call me an unenlightened boar but I refer to it as a painting about nothing. The didactic panel read "... he reduced his painting to the strict minimum: the square format and the colour white ... permutated and varied these constants by manipulating scale and texture ... all sorts of media were applied to a variety of supports so that the results were always different".  Well, I'm sorry, it didn't impress me much.    

TWIN 1966 oil by Robert Ryman

This, on the other hand, excited me ...

I STILL USE BRUSHES paint brushes embedded in plastic in an acrylic box by (80" square) Arman (1969)

The panel describing the painting below listed wonderful, amazing ingredients ... gouache, metallic paint, tinted lacquer, metal foil, celluloid, fiberglass, glass beads, metal objects, cut and pasted painted paper, gesso and cloth (all on paperboard). Sure sounds like mixed media to me!

PORTRAIT OF BERNICE ABBOTT c. 1922-26 by Baroness Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhaven

We visited one other haven of art in NYC. At his death, the Pittsburgh coke and steel industrialist, Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) bequeathed his New York residence and the most outstanding of his many art works to establish a public gallery.

They aren't kidding when they say "The Frick Collection includes some of the best-known paintings by the greatest European artists, major works of sculpture (among them one of the finest groups of small bronzes in the world), superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs, and other works of remarkable quality".

You may think so, but I am not naming all the artists represented; we saw significent works by Constable, Carot, Degas, Gainsborough, El Greco, Hals, Holbein, Ingres, Lawrence, Manet, Millet, Rembrandt, Reynolds, Rubens, Titan, Turner, Van Dyck, Velazquez, Vermeer and Whistler.

Unfortunately photography is prohibited, so I bought the book! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NYC Art - the MET

August 3rd and the sands of our time in NYC were running out. In the evening of the same day we'd been to The Hispanic Society of America we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had to choose just what to see in the few hours before your eyes undoubtedly bleed and you become completely desensitised. We opted to race around the European Paintings in favour of spending the bulk of our time in the 19th and Early 20th Century Paintings.

Admiring Rembrandts

If I thought the 35,000 pieces of art at the Louvre was an astronomical number, I was stunned to learn that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has over two million works divided among nineteen curatorial departments. Even if I lived in NYC and visited every day, could I ever see it all?

I've been a fan of Renoir all my life.  Here I'm admiring how very black his blacks are

People say an artist should burn their inferiour works because one day they just might show up in a prominent museum and what would the world think? As my friend Linda says "We should be so lucky to have any painting in the MET!" Well I take comfort in knowing that the masters, like all of us, have bad days too! What painter would not want to know that? And so I thanked him for it, and did a happy dance, when I saw this horrid Manet ... 

THE "KEARSARGE" AT BOLOGNE (1864) by Edouard Manet 

Ah Degas, you master!

It was thrilling to find familiar works by Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Cezanne, Degas, and Picasso, to name a few, but there was complete delight in seeing paintings I didn't know existed ...

Detail of JOAN of ARC (listening to The Voices, 1879) by Jules Batien Lepage

The impact of the above painting is profound. Bill and were both strongly drawn into it and it seems we are not alone. If you have the time and the inclination this is an excellent review. Batien Lepage was a much lesser known artist of the Impressionist era (I'd never heard of him) likely due to his untimely death at age 37.

A couple of the many other paintings which caught my attention ...

SALOME by Henri Regnaualt

STUDY OF A FEMALE NUDE (1840) by Henri Lehmann

Racing against the clock, in the half hour before closing, we tore to the American Wing expressly to see the John Singer Sargent's.

MRS. HUGH HAMMERSLEY 1892 by John Singer Sargent

And managed to view other, stunning, familiar and unfamiliar works by Whistler, Homer, Mary Cassat, a Russell and a Remington. And then, I was amazed to see a painting I have long admired in reproductions ...

REPOSE (1895) by John Alexander White