Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Michigan Madness

Traverse City

After California, I was home for three days and then headed straight to Michigan to teach a collage workshop in Traverse City with the Art Center there. I had never been to Michigan before in my life and let me tell you, it's beautiful.

Grand Traverse Bay, swam here to train for my upcoming triathlon

Traverse City State Park, running here to continue my training

Kim picked me up at the Flint airport and even held up a sign with my name on it so I would not fail to recognize my online friend of over two years. She looked just like she did on Skype and in photos, so it was not hard to pick her out at all. We hit the road to Traverse City right from the airport and spent the drive catching up.

At Left Foot Charlie's, drinking wine with Kim 

The Workshop

The workshop group was amazing and we had a wonderful time painting papers and making collages. The monitor, Katie was incredible. SHE's the one who text me in LA and told me to go to Nova Color paint factory. She did an incredible job planning lunches, arranging the room, entertaining me and Kim, and keeping everyone happy. WOW!

At the Cantina eating Mexican food with Katie

Painting papers is always everyone's favorite part of my class. We get crazy with the paint and the papers and we make all kinds of textures and patterns and colors.

Getting crazy with my bare feet

You gotta love a mess to love this part of the process

blue blue blue, and the glitter resists the paint

On day two and three, we get rolling with collage and everyone is quiet in concentration. This is when I get the best photos. This class space was in an old museum, part of the zoo originally, so we had TONS of space for everyone to spread out at their own table.

Kim is deep in concentration

Jana is enjoying peeling glue off her fingers!

On Sunday night after the workshop ended, Kim and I hit the road to her home in Lake Orion, so that I could meet her family and hang in her hood for a few days. I was so fortunate to be able to take Kim's journalling class after she took my collage class! How cool is that? Kim's great at inspiring her students and getting the ball rolling with exercises and ideas on how to use words.

Visiting Lake Orion

Kim inspiring with colored pencil

One lesson was to write down a bunch of words that you had in your head or thought you could work with on your journal page, it was like a stream of consciousness. This was a great way to get the creative juices flowing and the ideas coming to the surface. We then made sentences with the words.

Words on my mind ...

Playing with materials I don't normally use was exciting

Listening to Kim inspire and watching her teach was a lot of fun. 

I really enjoyed being a student. I loved learning and trying something new. I used markers and gel pens and watercolor and it was lots of fun and I found it to be very relaxing at the same time. I was quiet and into creating my page. I did tend to go back to the techniques I am most comfortable with however....

My journal page! Collage and cows I can never escape it seems...

Spending time with Kim and Co. in Lake Orion and Detroit was stellar. I really enjoyed our day in Detroit at the farmers market and Henry the Hatter! Driving around Detroit was interesting as much of the city is in bad shape, but parts are coming back too. And the Detroit Institute of Art is AMAZING!

Detroit Farmer's Market

I can never get enough fresh fruits and veggies

Detroit Farmers Market offers much Michigan grown produce

The Heidelberg Project

Another place we visited was the Heidelberg Project. I had blogged about this before, after learning about it through some art photographs hanging on the wall in a cafe in Asheville, NC. The Heidelberg Project is an amazing outdoor community art environment. Recycled materials and found objects salvaged from the streets of Detroit tell stories about current issues plaguing society. Check out the video, it explains a lot!

The polka dotted house photo was the image that started it all for me

Sidewalk art 

Yours truly in the dotted car

Making a statement

Giving advice

Kim and I re-create the photo taken by Florence of Florence and the Machine when she visited a few months back

The Caped Crusader and I sign the yellow house

The burt timbers from a house reminded me of Alberto Giacometti sculpture

The Detroit Institute of Art

Another place we visited was the DIA. What an amazing collection of modern art! I couldn't get enough of the Picasso and Matisse current exhibition. We spent a lot of time examining the drawings of both great artists before wandering off for lunch in the cafe, an iPad tour of the Diego Rivera murals and being swept off our feet an amazing collection of modern art. Oh I was in heaven! If you get to Detroit, you MUST visit this amazing museum, and plan to spend all day. 

Kim and I and The Princess were even lucky enough to take in a glove finger puppet drop in workshop where we were able to bring out our inner artist!

Showing off our creations

My finger puppet, glue sticks are tricky 

Kim and The Princess take a minute to pose for a pic

Hanging Out at Home

After a lot of running around, we had a lot of fun baking pies from fresh cherries and blueberries as I demonstrated my MAD crust making skills for the family. Behold, it's not as hard as it looks, folks say "easy as pie" for a reason... Except for the "over / under" of lattice work, I needed The Princess to keep me straight with that challenge!

I felt right at home!

Cherry pie with vegan crust

Blueberry pie with very confusing lattice work

The life of the artist is not all fun and paint, no! I ran carpool to football and dance with Kim, and we took her kids to middle school and high school orientation. I was happy to tag along with similar activities to what we have at our house! It's a balancing act, being a working mother.

The Caped Crusader at High School orientation

The Princess getting her photo ID taken

Yours Truly and the Caped Crusader at the HS pool

Getting in a Workout (or two)

Through it all I was able to maintain my training for the upcoming October triathlon. I couldn't have done it without help though. Kim was up very early one morning to watch over me and make sure I did not drown in the Grand Traverse Bay. The Caped Crusader took me to the high school pool for lap swimming. A borrowed bike entertained me on the bike trail for 20-miles, twice! And they let me run on my own, nobody wanted to join me for that, I asked!!!!

Michigan has a great bike trail network

I was able to run and bike through some beautiful vistas

I'll be back...

I had a great time in Michigan, and would safely say I'd do it again. Oh! I am doing it again. I'll be back in just about three weeks for Art Prize in Grand Rapids where Kim Santini and I are exhibiting our work together at the MVP Metro Club in downtown Grand Rapids. That story will be next, stay tuned. You never know where life will take you, it's a journey and you have to be willing to ride.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

From New York to LA - A Day at the Getty Museum

Yours Truly outside the J. Paul Getty Museum

Today I was lucky enough to take in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and what a day it was! First off, the architecture and presence of the Museum itself is absolutely stunning! I could walk around the indoor and outdoor spaces and take in the amazing architectural design all day long. Stunning combinations of glass and tumbled marble floors and walls make up this mesmerizing home to some amazing collections. 

Stunning architectural creativity

Amazing outdoor spaces

A perfect setting
Plenty of sculpture spaces

Gardens, overlooking LA and the ocean

Of course for me the crown jewel of the Getty visit was the Klimt Exhibition. Gustav Klimt has been my favorite artist since my semester spent in London while attending SU. Klimt's depiction of human suffering combined with a longing for love and happiness has always appealed to me. His geometric and organic balance (natural modeling combined with patterning) in his gold period is my favorite. 

The Exhibition consisted of prep oratory sketches for some of his most prominent works

As a graphic designer and fine artist myself. I can relate very closely to Klimt's combination of design and painting. The exhibition presented "Fish Blood" which is recognized as Klimt's greatest work of graphic design, and I felt honored to be able to see the original. Klimt worked on design for "Ver Sacrum" the art magazine published by Klimt's group The Secessionists in the mid to late 1800's.

"Fish Blood" Klimt's greatest work of graphic design

Another gem was the Alberto Giacometti sculpture in the entry lobby of the Museum. Giacometti is my favorite sculptor, I was first introduced to his work in the Tate Gallery of London in the late 1980's. He has remained my favorite and had an influence on the figure style of some of my earlier paintings. Seeing a Giacometti sculpture on my way into the Museum was a sign from the Universe that this was going to be a great day for me!

Alberto Giacometti, my favorite sculptor

The Klimt Exhibit focused on his preparatory sketches for some of his most prominent works (including The Kiss and his portraits of Adele Bloch Bauer). It is the first retrospective fully dedicated to his drawings. Klimt practiced his drawing from life every day, having models pose for him in his studio on a regular basis. This exhibition is part of the celebration for Klimt's 150th birthday on July 14, 2012. Learn more about celebrations on the city of Vienna's website.

Of course, the exhibition had its own gift shop where I did have to purchase a gold embellished coffee cup with the image of "Tree of Life" on it, to remind me of my visit, and the inspiration behind my Klimt tattoo every morning. 

Figurine of "Fulfillment" the inspiration behind my tattoo of over 20 years ago

Klimt ink on my left ankle

"Fulfillment" from "Tree of Life" by Klimt

Another featured exhibition that was quite interesting was Messerschmidt and Modernity which explores the astonishingly modern series of Character Heads created by the German Baroque artist Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736-1783). The exhibition demonstrates how Messerschmidt's heads have inspired the work of contemporary artist in Austria, UK, and the US.

I took in some major impressionists including Monet, Manet, Pissaro, Cezanne, Degas, and Gaugan as well. Some insanely huge names all in one room. incredible. 

A photography exhibit well worth seeing was Herb Ritts: LA Style, fashion photography that modernized the nude and transformed celebrities into icons. All black and white images, these photographic works of art were truly amazing in their creativity that went beyond just capturing an image of a pretty face.  

Hoping to make it to LACMA and a gallery or two while I am here, through the red eye back to Orlando on Saturday night. 
Stay tuned!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wish You Were Here - New York State

My view from the cottage at Sunny Point

The cottage at Sunny Point

As many of you know, I earned my BFA from Syracuse University in up-state New York. It has been a long time since I lived there and I had forgotten just how beautiful it really is. Last week I had the absolute pleasure of teaching at the Arts Center of Yates County.

On my way to work with change of clothes and some supplies in back pack

The bike and the easel in the cottage, total heaven

The folks at the Art Center were so wonderful to me, I have to take a minute to thank them. Not only did they put me up in an amazing cottage right on the Keuka Lake in the wine country of the Finger Lakes, but they also rented me road bike so that I could continue my triathlon training and bike the 9-miles to and from class every day. 

The Art Center of Yates County is in an old bank building on Main Street

The art exhibition space is downstairs with classroom space upstairs

Classroom space at the Art Center

Sunny Point was an amazing place to stay, so serene and quiet. The adjoining studio barn was incredible, we held a one-day workshop there with six students on Thursday.

The studio space at Sunny Point

Along the road that I biked, which followed Keuka Lake, were several wineries. I had to stop and do a tasting at Keuka Spring and Rooster Hill, since I had a backpack and they were along my route! The folks at Keuka Spring were so nice that they even extended a "visiting artist discount!" 

Keuka Spring tasting room

The town of Penn Yan itself was lots of fun to explore and walk around, looking into little shops and having lunch at Lloyd's Limited pub and Millie's cafe.

A large Mennonite population in Western NY

Pub lunch

Main Street

There are some incredible Victorian style homes all over upstate NY, I always appreciated this on my ride from Western Massachusetts back to Syracuse. The homes and professional offices on Main St. Penn Yan were kept up very nicely. If only I could have gone inside to see the wood work!

Main Street, private home

Main Street, professional office

On Thursday afternoon after my one-day class had wrapped up, I made the 13-mile ride to Hammondsport, NY at the end of Keuka Lake. Let me tell you this small town was well worth the ride! It was voted the Coolest Small Town in America 2012 by Budget Travel. And this town truly stood up to that, I stopped in the park to listen to live music, had an ice cream, and enjoyed the architecture. 

Great live music on the town green in Hammondsport

26 miles of biking allowed for some ice cream in Hammondsport

I couldn't stay for dinner as I had to get back before dark

I prepared most of my own meals at Sunny Point rather than go out. I grilled chicken on the BBQ grill for the first time ever and it was actually fun! I had a great pairing of chicken, grilled veggies and local wine with a view!

Grilled chicken and veggies with salad greens, local Pinot Noir 

The lake never ceased to offer stunning views

The breakfast nook in the kitchen at the cottage

I have been asked to return next year to teach. I might try to combine it with a triathlon, cross lake swim, or around the lake bike ride, all endurance activities that the area hosts in the summer. What could be better? I hope you will follow the right hand column of my blog and keep an eye open for the Art Center of Yates County next year. Come out and paint and tear paper with me, drink wine and enjoy all that the Finger Lakes region of beautiful NY State has to offer!

Painting papers in the classroom at the Art Center
sporting my heart rate monitor watch