Thursday, August 27, 2020

Everyone's Talking About Statues

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 should have seen Jessie running, with her long black hair flying out behind her."

 Here are Sherman and his lady friend visiting the library.

Now I'm starting a new series I"ll call 
"Statues of People We Can Feel Pretty Good About"
and I'll be posting them for your enjoyment so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Walking Further on My Street

 Last year I wrote about my neighborhood and this sign at 254 West 12th.

It says,
“If we all do one random act of kindness daily
 we might just turn things around.” 
Martin Kornfeld.

A few weeks ago I noticed a new addition;

The new one says, 
"You don't have to love just don't hate."

I think that's setting the bar too low.
This week I noticed another sign.

It says, 
"Whatever your color you have certain feelings about the others. 
 Recognize them and get rid of them." 

Village people let you know where they stand.

Next, we come to the Village Den, our neighborhood coffee shop for years before it was remade into a vegan/vegetarian cafe. 
Eating lunch in midtown years ago I recognized the waitress and said to her,
"I remember you from the Village Den!  My husband had coffee there every day with our son before nursery school." 
She gave me a long look and said,
"I remember your husband--toasted English, butter on the side."  
Don't you love New York?

Next, in the triangle made by the intersection of West 12th Street, Greenwich Avenue, and Seventh Avenue we see...

The Aids Memorial, made of intersecting steel triangles. The Triangle is a fitting motif. In the Nazi concentration camps, gay people were forced to wear pink triangles, just like the yellow stars forced on Jewish people. 
Across the street is the late lamented St. Vincents Hospital, 1845-2010. In 1984 St. Vincent's opened the first and largest AIDS ward on the east coast and became the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic. 

The triangles make lovely shadows on the ground, where Jenny Holser has organized Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass into carving on the pavement.

this section says,

 to fetch me at first
keep encouraged, 
missing me one
place search
 another, I stop 
for you"

In 1911 the survivors of the Titanic were brought here.  And in 1912, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were brought here. It's a historic place of healing and solace.  
Contrary to Greenwich Village rumor, Edna St Vincent Millay was not born here; her uncle, very ill, recovered here and her parents gave her the name in gratitude.

Now the hospital is gone, replaced by yet another luxury high-rise and we have a beautiful park.  

The park is lovely, but I miss St. Vincent's.  My most vivid memory of September 11 is walking past and seeing a row of gurneys covered in clean white sheets, standing by the open doors, waiting to help. 
The hospital is gone, the victim of debt and mismanagement, but I hope our spirit of reaching out and helping each other is still strong.
Continue to stay safe, wash your hands, and wear your mask.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Another Artist I love: Wayne Thiebaud

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.

Who do you think is on the cover of the New Yorker this week?  A double scoop of Thiebaud! He's one hundred years old and he's still making art!
Here's a link to a short interview with Wayne and Francoise Mouly.

I'm not waiting 'til November to say Happy Birthday, Congratulations and Thank You,

Wayne Thiebaud!

(It's pronounced Teebow)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

How to make an etching

Back in March I wrote about my wonderful teacher, Roberto DeLamonica, and at the end I included how to make an etching, but did I tell you everything that goes into making an etching?


Take a metal PLATE

Do a better preparation job than I've done here.  That means, file all the edges and bevel the corners.  Sand both sides, top and bottom, with #500 sandpaper and water.
Choose the better side and sand that with #600 sandpaper and water.  Wash and dry.  Put a small amount of talcom powder in the middle of the plate, press with finger, fill the hole with alcohol, mix until a paste is formed, and rub it all over the plate.
Wash the plate and dry carefully, being careful not to touch the surface, as the ground will not adhere to any grease.

Cover  the plate with acid-resistant GROUND, a mixture of beeswax, asphaltum, and rosin

Wrap a wad of ground in taffeta, place the plate on a heater and, as the ground melts on the hot platespread it evenly around the plate with the Dauber, 

which you've already made.

Scratch your image with a sharp needle, exposing the metal. 

Remember that the image will be the mirror of the plate.  

Place the plate in ACID which will eat away (etch) the exposed metal.

Remove the ground from the plate with SOLVENT. (Be sure to rinse off the acid first.)

Now you're ready to print.  Rub INK onto the plated with a stiff piece of cardboard, being sure it gets into all the etched lines, then wipe it off with a piece of tarletan, leaving it in the etched lines.

Place the plate face up on a sheet of newsprint on the bed of an ETCHING PRESS, place a piece of ETCHING PAPER over it and a FELT BLANKET over that.  Because your hands will be full of ink, do not touch the paper--rather, take two pieces of newsprint and hold them between your fingers and the paper. Run it through the press.

Now you're ready to see your etching.

This is the nerve-racking part because so much can go wrong, despite all your hard work.  Are the lines in the plate deep enough?  If not, your image will be faint.  Did you wipe off enough ink or too much? Is the paper too dry?  It may not pick up the ink.  Too wet? It may stick to the plate.

Keep your courage up.

Pull the paper off and admire your ETCHING.

Christmas in July

I've been feeling a little uninspired and overwhelmed by papers and stuff, torn by needing to clear the decks and get rid of everything ...