Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘art’

northernhawkowl-jbalsam2I found myself really looking at a stunning calendar photograph of this Northern Hawk Owl for the month of November. I am the recipient of a large number of calendars each year, some from organizations I support, and others that are cold mailings from like-minded organizations. I have several of them posted around my home, not to remind me of the date but to enjoy the beauty of nature and animals, changing every month.

As December approached, and a new bird would arrive, I started to play with the idea of doing a watercolor of this owl. She is clothed in multiple shades of browns with large white flecks on her dark wings and a cap that looks like it has been dusted with freshly fallen snow. But ahh .. there has been a bit of a drought in these parts in terms of my drawing, so rather than tackle something I haven’t done in ages, why not do something I really enjoy, simple black ink. And so I drew.

Perhaps most surprising as I hunched over my desk, was that Jazzy, who normally would be meowing up a storm demanding dinner at that precise time, was utterly quiet. It was as if she knew this was something even she hadn’t seen in a while, and best not to disturb a woman at her work.

We never know what will inspire us. I, myself, was surprised that this owl had been calling out to be drawn for days. What I do know, is that when we’re inspired, it’s good to listen.

 

 

Read Full Post »

For those of you who enjoyed the art of Seward Johnson in a previous post, I am sharing a bit more of the sculptures (mostly) inside the gallery. It seems almost everyone is familiar with the iconic figure of Marilyn Monroe taken over the air blast from a sewer grate. Johnson has done a fine job of Marilyn in this lovely tableau …

SJohnson-Marilyn2

but many more people are actually familiar with his outdoor version of Marilyn …

SJohnson-MarilynOutside2

SJohnson-MarilynOutsideB2

And back to the gallery … perhaps one of the reasons I am drawn to Seward Johnson’s work is that we share something in common – our love of the Impressionist period of painting. Many of his sculptures based on famous paintings are inspired by artists of that time.

SJohnson--LaJaponaise2

SJohnson-LaJaponaiseHead2

Johnson’s study above is based on “La Japonaise”, a painting by Monet, the model being Monet’s first wife.

SJohnson-YoungGirlAtWindow2

He was also inspired by Mary Cassatt, an American-born artist, (Pennsylvania to be exact), who spent most of her adult life in France, where she soon befriended Edgar Dégas and exhibited with the Impressionists. Cassatt’s painting is “Young Girl at Window.”

Manet is another favorite of Seward Johnson, and there are tableaux of Manet’s paintings throughout the Grounds for Sculpture. Below is a small part of the installation based on Manet’s “Olympia.” My crop reflects what the entirety of Manet’s painting looked like.

SJohnson-Olympia2

 But Johnson took it one (huge) step further …

SJohnson-OlympiaRoom2

He created an entire room that one can walk into, such as he imagined this woman might have as her boudoir, historically correct to every detail, as are all the items she wears, right down to her shoes.

The last installation I’m featuring, which was actually the first room you walked into, was deeply touching to me, but I didn’t even realize its significance until I got home and looked at the photos I had taken.

SJohnson-Memorial911-2

There was a figure in the room just to the right of the sculpture, looking at it. As is often the case, we wondered if he was “real.” It soon became apparent he was not. Then we wondered about another figure a bit further away, who sat motionless on a museum bench. He was so still that it wasn’t until he flicked his finger to scroll down on his iPad that we realized he was not a part of the installation. Distracted by this, I somehow thought that this was a memorial to a soldier.

SJohnson-Memorial911Close2

When I looked at my photos at home, I had no idea how I could have missed that this was a tribute to those who died on 9/11. It is a deeply moving piece, with the helmets of firemen, police and EMS workers, the fire hose, the flowers done in bronze and cement, the figure’s head bowed behind two plaques above and below our flag. The marble plaque below says “Im memory of all those who lost their lives.” The piece above, looking as if it were written on paper, has scrawled on it, “In memory of those who gave their lives to try and save so many.”

And then I saw the two shafts of light in the background where our twin towers once stood, and was overwhelmed with sadness yet again. Thank you for this piece, Mr. Johnson.

Read Full Post »

As promised, I will try, as time allows, to bring you some of the amazing works of the sculptor Seward Johnson. He is the founder of the Grounds for Sculpture Museum, which is largely outdoors, and in his 80’s, he continues to work today. A retrospective of his work has been on display for well over a year now, and I feel fortunate to have gotten to see the many pieces that will soon return to their homes around the world.

Just inside the Welcome Center is a large gallery of his works; all but two are based on famous paintings. Today’s post focuses on a few of the works inside the gallery.

SJohnson-BedroomAtArles2

What you see above is a 3-dimensional room created from Van Gogh’s painting, “Bedroom at Arles.” When you step inside the room, there are two shiny black footprints upon which to stand. I, (yeah, I know, shame on me), didn’t read any of the art notes provided, but obediently stood on the footprints anyway and photographed the installation. What I didn’t see until I got home, is that by taking the photo from that exact angle, the effect was that of the 3-D room being flattened to appear as Van Gogh’s painting.

SJohnson-InsideBedroomAtArles2

To me, the genius of this sculpture is not just in Johnson’s usual accomplishment of turning a 2-D painting into a 3-D sculpture, but in then finding a way to reverse it back to 2-D. Above is a photo I took inside the room where you can see that the bed is made up with a real blanket, pillows and sheets.

SJohnson-GirlWithPearlEarring2

Stepping back in time, we have Vermeer’s “Girl with A Pearl Earring.” Johnson sometimes uses a suspended real frame to perfectly surround the subject as he/she appeared in the original painting, while they sit in the proper pose.

SJohnson-MonaLisa2

In more than one example of his work, we see Johnson’s sense of humor, and his “Mona Lisa” installation is certainly one of them. Here she sits, nicely framed, as was our girl above. The guards you see below are, of course, part of the installation, but what about the other people in the photos?

SJohnson-MonaLisaGuards2

Maybe not so much! What is truly enjoyable as you tour the grounds and this gallery and see his work, is that you are frequently left wondering, “Is that person real?” In a world where only a base under their feet can indicate that the people might not be live, it’s not always so easy to tell. Sometimes you do have to come pretty close to be sure.

SJohnson-MonaLisaPhoto2

Who knew the Mona Lisa offered photo ops? I can’t help but think Da Vinci would have been amused.

SJohnson-MonaLisaBoots2

And who would have suspected that the Mona Lisa was a much more modern young lady than her rather serious portrait might indicate. Cheers to Seward Johnson! You put a smile on every person’s face that looked at this exhibit.

If these works appeal to you, I encourage you to go to Seward Johnson’s website where you can see all his works, often multiple views, and have a link to take you to the original painting upon which he based his sculpture.

More sometime soon …

Read Full Post »

In this third post on the Grounds for Sculpture you will see sculptures inspired by famous Impressionist paintings, and all are by one sculptor, Seward Johnson. As Impressionism is my favorite period of painting, I was beyond enamored while at the Grounds by each and every one. I also discovered, in perusing Seward Johnson’s website, that sculptures I have already included in previous posts are by him as well.

GfS-CoupleBench2

Entitled “A Thought to Consider,” this sculpture was inspired by Manet’s “In the Wintergarden.”

Johnson is 83 years old, and to say he is prolific is an understatement. His sculptures cover far more than those inspired by paintings, but giant sculptures of people, (see “American Gothic” in an earlier post), and people engaged in everyday activities. If you really want to see the amazing scope of his work, go visit his website.

Meanwhile, enjoy an initial selection of some I photographed.

GfS-SailingTheSeine2

“Sailing the Seine” was created after Manet’s “Argenteuil.”

GfS-TheRowersLunch1-2

GfS-TheRowersLunch2-2

Seward named this “Pondering the Benefits of Exercise” inspired by Renoir’s “The Rowers’ Lunch.”

GfS-OnePoppiedHill-2

Based on Monet’s “Woman with A Parasol,” Seward named his sculpture “One Poppied Hill.” The woman and her child are indeed high on a hill. You might easily pass them by as you walk through the grounds if your eye had not already been trained to look everywhere as the sculptural gems are displayed in every manner and place imaginable.

GfS-Monet1-2

GfS-Monet2-2

Created 3-dimensionally after one of Monet’s most famous paintings, “Terrace at Sainte-Adresse,” Seward titled this “If It Were Time.” The two photos above are close-ups; to see the entire installation take a quick look here.  (p.s. The child in the view immediately above is real.)

GfS-MonetHimself-2

And who better to show than Monet himself painting the scene, discreetly obscured in nearby brush. Seward named this sculpture “Copyright Violation!”

This is really just a handful of sculptures by Seward Johnson. When I can I’ll share more of his and other sculptures at the Grounds.

Grounds for Sculpture I

Grounds for Sculpture II

Read Full Post »

People … there are lots of people in the Grounds for Sculpture, and they’re not just patrons of the arts, but statuary in many different styles and materials.  Here I’m featuring some random sculptures I particularly like. Let’s take a look at who’s in the garden … or on the way to the Grounds.

Something so enjoyable for me was the placement of sculptures all along the route from the highway exit right up to the admission gates. It’d be hard to get lost – just follow the sculpture! As you drive off the exit, there are two young people, pointing across the road …

And what they’re pointing at is a possibly 30′ tall sculpture of American Gothic, the famous painting, below.

What I found incredibly appealing is that there are life-size sculptures of people everywhere, presumably by the same artist. As you drive further towards the grounds, you see a dad helping his son learning to ride his bicycle in front of the town post office. And then as we walked the grounds …

We turned a corner and came upon this couple relaxing on the ground in some quiet shade. They, too, are sculptures, so lifelike it took a moment to be sure.

Tucked in a shady corner was a lovely bronze of a woman in the bath …

And along a path a more modern take of a person sitting …

As we approached the Grounds for Sculpture‘s restaurant, Rat’s, there was a pond to our left, with a sculpted head surrounded by mist, reflecting the slanted rays of afternoon sun.

As we walked further, we noticed another of the lifelike and life-size human sculptures, a woman bathing by the edge of a pond in the forest. The whole setting was just exquisite.

A close-up of the bather oblivious of all around her, also surrounded by soft mist.

The Grounds for Sculpture is its own world. What I also noticed is that every piece of art has lights in the ground at its base. I can only imagine how magical it must be here at night. Perhaps another trip back.

Next post … Renoir, Monet and more.

See Grounds for Sculpture I

Visit Grounds for Sculpture III

Read Full Post »

For many years, I drove down Rt. 295 passing this huge red and blue abstract sculpture of two faces in the greenery off to the side and the exit sign for Grounds for Sculpture. And for many years, I vowed I would get there. Finally, I did.

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of visiting this amazing sculpture museum – 40 acres plus indoor galleries – with two friends who’ve been before. It was impossible to see everything, but we took a circular kind of route to the right and saw many, many amazing works of art. I will present some of the photos I took in installments. Please know that the sculptures featured here represent my own personal tastes and interests and that the photo file names are also my own, not the formal names of the sculptures. I apologize to the artists that I have not included their names – if you would like more information, please visit the Grounds for Sculpture web site.

These two huge bulls were among our first sights as we left the parking lot and entered the grounds.

Another view

This sculpture of silver metal stands about 10 – 12 feet tall and was in the water garden. Clearly a king, he holds his robe with his right hand, (not visible in the photos I took), and looked to us like a Shakespearean character.

A closer view of his face.

This is another of the sculptures in the water garden section. Some were abstract, some literal, but all featured water below, through or around them. This sculpture reminded me of Alice, (or Wonderland), surely my own interpretation of the artist’s intention. What you see in this sculpture is a fine mist. Mist was utilized in numerous sculptural settings throughout the Grounds, always for an ethereal effect that I was very drawn to.

A view of this sculpture from the other side.

The landscaping of the Grounds was beyond amazing. The diversity of trees and shrubbery was fascinating, and often suited to the subject matter of the sculpture. Had there been no sculpture, I would have been perfectly happy to walk the Grounds as a botanical park in its own right. I’ve never seen a tree such as this … lovely.

Another example of how a sculpture was complemented by perfect placement in the greenery. This was a beautiful piece – trees, animals and people in harmony – a peaceable kingdom in three dimensions.

I will feature more in the future. It was quite an exciting visit and I did take lots of photos.

Visit Grounds for Sculpture II

Visit Grounds for Sculpture III

Read Full Post »

THE DAILY ROUND

Living From the Spirit Level

roughwighting

Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog

Platform Number 4

Becky Ross Michael: an author's blog

Letitgocoach

Never Settle. Don't even think about it.

Giving Voice to My Astonishment

Observing, Gathering, Gleaning, Sharing

JEANNE BALSAM GRAPHICS

BRINGING YOUR DREAMS TO LIFE

Salmon Brook Farms

Official Home of Lavinia and Rick Ross

Harvesting Hecate

Thoughts on life, writing, creativity and magic

Cynthia Reyes

The blog of Canadian author Cynthia Reyes

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

A Leaf in Springtime

"Be a dew to the soil of the human heart."

home, garden, life

home, garden, life ~ sharing a sustainable lifestyle

%d bloggers like this: