Thursday, September 24, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Fall is almost here, which means it's back to school.
Mr. Rogers once began a talk by saying, "Let's be quiet for a minute. Think back to a teacher who made a difference in your life." My friend, Jim Carroll, was there; he said it was a sacred moment.
Do you remember your teachers?
One I remember is Mrs. Brilliant--that was really her name. Doesn't she look like a kid?
I was a terrible math student but when she made me stay after school for extra help and I stood at the blackboard, algebra suddenly made sense to me. I aced the next test and when she looked over my shoulder to see that I had solved the extra credit question her face absolutely lit up.
I didn't realize it then but Mrs. Brilliant showed me what to work towards in my life--to get that much joy from my work. Not as an algebra teacher, but as something meaningful. I wish I could let her know how much she meant to me.
This year will be and is already especially hard for the teachers. How can we help them? Maybe hope for a Secretary of Education who's worked in a school? Who believes in public education? Can somebody tell me how we've let it come to this, that teachers have to buy their own supplies?
Okay, I'll take a deep breath. Here's a quote from Dorothy Parker I just happened upon. It's about New York City, but I want to apply it to us all.
"New York is hopeful; always it believes something particularly good is about to come through and it must hurry to meet it."
So be hopeful. Think about your teachers, send them good thoughts and maybe a letter if you have their address. If you can, do something nice, like this.
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Drawing faces with just lines is hard. I've studied many who succeed-starting with Durer,
Hans Holbein the Younger
Aubrey Beardsley, well, now that I look at his work, he does what I do--put in lots of texture and pattern so you don't notice that the faces are not all that great.
Mark Summers: This is a portrait of Dr. Seuss.
He won my heart with his illustrations of my edition of Dr. Spock's classic Baby and Child Care. Dr. Spock marched against the war in Viet Nam, saying,
Dr. Spock said, "Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do." that was a big help.
Here's a picture by Hilary in the chapter about when a new baby comes into the family. I think he captures the ambivalence of a big sister--and look at that poor baby brother!
Thursday, August 27, 2020
This week, as I reminded you, we saw the unveiling of the Women's Pioneers Monument in Central Park. An officer of the Fire Department, and I wish I could remember her name, sang America the Beautiful amending one line to be
"And crown thy good with sisterhood."
On a day like this, we can take a little license.
I'll give credit here as I should have done a few weeks ago; the Women's Pioneers Monument is by Meredith Bergman, Frederick Douglass is by Ivan Schwartz.
I began drawing New York's statues a long time ago. If I had to choose a favorite among my drawings this would be high on the list. It's the New York Chamber of Commerce with as many statues as I could fit in.
This combines my love of New York's beautiful architecture with its outdoor sculpture and I really had fun doing it. do you recognize anyone? There are some favorites and some you may not know. All but two reside in Manhattan. If you can identify all of them let me know and I'll send you a prize.
Right in the middle is Augustus St. Gaudens' Sherman Monument, no relation; William Tecumseh Sherman, led by the Spirit of Victory, with a branch of a Georgia pine beneath the horse's feet.
At the unveiling, a southern visitor was heard to comment,
"Well, isn't that just like a Yankee, to ride while the lady walks." Here they are in their close-up.
When we were expecting our firstborn I considered naming her Georgia for Georgia O'Keeffe, but my Kentucky friend, David, said, "You can't name a child Georgia Sherman, she won't be welcome below the Mason-Dixon line!" So we named her Jessie, after my great-grandmother, Jessie Lewis Brown, because of this story my mother told me.
Grandpa said to her, "I know you think of Grandma as an old lady who walks with a limp but you should have seen her when she was young...you should have seen Jessie running, with her long black hair flying out behind her."
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Last year I wrote about my neighborhood and this sign at 254 West 12th.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
This is a good time to Celebrate Wayne Thiebaud, American painter, born in 1920; that makes him one hundred years old; at least he will be on November 15. And he's still painting!
This was my first Thiebaud; I found it in the postcard rack at the Whitney gift shop. I couldn't believe it was a painting and I couldn't stop staring at it. Those patterns, the lush paint, those creamy pies. It was delicious. I loved that something so fun, so pretty, was thought of as ART.
Stephen Kinzer wrote in the NY Times,
"In other hands, these objects could easily become Pop Art or Kitsch. Mr.Thiebaud, however, paints them respectfully, without a hint of irony."
In February2001 the Phillips Collection in Washington DC held a retrospective of his paintings.
This is the Corcoran Gallery, also in DC, and they held a show of Thiebaud's prints. It's a handsomer building than the Phillips.
This is the page in my diary from the week I visited that show. I read about it in the Times and even though it was coming to New York in the spring I didn't wait. I made a date with two of my southern relatives, my sister-in-law, Donna, and cousin Kate. We met there and had a fabulous time.
Can you read the quote from Barnet Newman? It says about a painting of three gumball machines,
" Shiny objects of desire...This painting is hope and possibility...evocation of the American Dream...All those globes of colored beauty-and for a penny out comes something sweet and wonderful."
The Phillips Collection Newsletter says "the artist's colorfully modern style combines representation and abstraction, seriousness and wit, historical references and direct observations."
I bought the catalog.
He also paints humans and landscapes.
In the book, I've kept all reviews from that time.
Thiebaud says he steals from other artists. "It's hard for me to think of artists who weren't influential on me because I'm such an obsessive thief." He lists Ingres, Vermeer, Horace Pippin, Rockwell Kent.
I found something in Thiebaud to steal. He often gives his figures a heavy outline in a contrasting, or complementary color. Here I tried it with Mariano Rivera.
I'm not waiting 'til November to say Happy Birthday, Congratulations and Thank You,
(It's pronounced Teebow)
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