Probably no one will notice that I’ve been put under house arrest. I’m not Lindsay Lohan or Aung San Suu Kyi. All I want to do is go to the studio and paint, hang out somewhere and draw or take some photographs, even try writing a poem. My studio is neater than my room at home. There are three paintings at the studio waiting for me to complete. But, here at home there are bills to be paid, forms to be filled, magazines to be read or to be thrown away and piles of papers, books and ‘stuff’ waiting to be put someplace. We’ve moved a bookcase into my room. It’s empty. Books are in bags, piled on the floor. Papers are stacked in the bathtub. There is a tower of art that is about to topple. A soft white rabbit ready to pop out of a soft black top hat, sits by my computer. Legacy by Linda Spence is open on my desk.
Michael Ondaatje’s book, Coming Through Slaughter is on top of a pile of books somewhere in this room. Ondaatje wrote about Buddy Bolden a New Orleans cornet player in the early 1900’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fezzxFjcf This book is my all time favorite. It’s as if you are reading a poem, or going in and out of jazz improvisation or wandering through an abstract painting. Today and until I finish this room, time on all technical devices shall be limited (after I finish this post.) Permission is granted to go out to buy food or get some exercise. Maybe I’ll listen to some jazz while I get this place organized.
This one is worth clicking on to see drawing detail
Pros and Cons of Online Collaboration Between Grandmother and Granddaughter
First of all there are demographic variables. The participants are from England and America. The 8-hour time difference causes havoc when it comes to connecting with each other. One is asleep while the other is awake. Data collection is difficult to achieve. This depends on scheduling of family activities, school functions, business meetings and painting sessions in the studio. Unforeseeable circumstances such as email addresses not working or, well, life intervenes. The reliability of the posted message is important. The blogger needs to post with some sort of regularity otherwise followers will lose interest and move on. (There is a little tongue in cheek here.)
According to our outline Megan was going to begin this section of Carla and Megan’s Blog It’s Sunday night in America. Megan is asleep in England and about to wake up and go to school. It’s time for me to post a blog for Monday morning.
Collaboration between grandmother and granddaughter must be flexible so I’ll start. We are soul mates when it comes to drawing. It’s fun to be together because we are both used to sketching all the time, usually with someone patiently waiting for us to finish so everyone can move on. In New york we just followed our path to wherever it lead, with a little advanced planning. When I was back at home I found my first ‘official’ sketchbook started at the suggestion of an art teacher when I was almost 18. I wonder what she will be creating when she is 18?
We went to an exhibit about the role of fashion in Impressionist art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Displayed next to some of the paintings were manikins in dresses of the period. Megan whipped this out in about 5 minutes. Here is another one worth clicking on to see the detail of line.
Last night I went to a solo concert by Brad Mehldau, a young pianist in jazz. I decided to leave my crazy mind, my business mind and my mind that is crammed with issues from ‘the other world’ and go back to my world – art. I had planned to bring a small moleskine notebook and a tiny box of watercolors. But Mehldau is big, bigger than a little moleskine notebook so I bought a larger book, one that could still fit into my purse. I bought some neocolor watercolors, soluble caron d’ache crayons. (I could draw now, later add water to them if I wanted.) I had an aisle seat at the SFJAZZ Center. I wouldn’t distract anyone if I sketched during the performance.
How was going to paint sound? The concert started – I listened – tentatively, I started to sketch what I was hearing. Interpreting the concert in a whole new way, I made one drawing after another listening to the notes build and fall, soften and sprinkle. It was like being on drugs. I was full of music. One time I came out of that world and looked at Mehldau sitting there, playing the piano, my mind drawing what I saw. How different. How much richer my experience of drawing and listening had become.
Sketch made at Yoshi’s in 2011
At the beginning of the concert I was just using crayons, but some drinking water was by my feet. Rubbing a little of water on my paper in the dark, I put crayon to paper.. Oh how nice! What neat effects! Needless to say I kept going, pouring more water on the paper, hunting for a tissue to mop up my drawing and my lap!
Before going to bed I couldn’t wait. I looked at my drawings and worked on them a little knowing his music was still fresh in my head. Waking up this morning thinking about the sketches I started planning a big abstract painting about sound. I remember Ralph DuCasse, my mentor, saying, when you are into your painting the first thought in your head when you wake up is about your painting. You want to go see what you did the night before. Leigh Hyams would have said the same thing. She was there on my shoulder when I was drawing. I think the following painting was made while I listened to ‘Holland.’ Do any of the sketches remind you of a particular piece Mehldau plays? Click on images to see details of the drawings.
Megan discovers an original Rembrandt work of art on paper.
Albrecht Durer’s engraving of Adam and Eve was there. So were works by Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Leon Bakst and Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel who sketched all the kids, toys, dogs within a whole outdoor scene.
Megan, my grand-daughter always has a drawing pad in her hand. When she came to visit in 2011, I arranged an hour appointment for the two of us in the Achenbach foundation collections room at the Legion of Honor where she could view privately, about a dozen original works from the old masters. A young lady brought us into a room where she had set up original prints and drawings by artists I thought Megan would like to see. The woman showed us around, then said, call me if you have any questions and left the room. Megan looked at me, hesitantly. I said, go ahead, look, draw, do whatever you want. Don’t mind me. She sat down with each print and sketched them all. Afterwards, we ate lunch in the museum cafe where we just kept drawing. It was a great day for two people who love to draw. Megan is almost thirteen now. One of her favorite painters is Cezanne. In Categories on the right under Carla and Megan’s Blog there are more examples of Megan’s work. Scroll to the second page, too. We received comments from all over the world. http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/legion/collections/achenbach-foundation-graphic-arts
I felt like I was in Westminster Abbey in London when I was looking around the small apse of the cathedral where we were sitting. The dark wood carved walls were the backdrop for the men and women I was drawing. The Cathedral was full. Branford Marsalis, walked out, said a few words in that wonderful voice of his and the lights dimmed. Except for applause the audience was absolutely still and quiet while they listened to the sounds of his saxophone fill the space around them.
No drawing or painting here, but making pictures was my creative outlet last week. I was trying out point and shoot cameras. The Band was taken with my iphone. Lots of sun added to the drama of this shot. The photographs of the bikes and the wildflower were taken with a Canon S100 that fits in your pocket. Early Morning Reflection was taken with my Canon G11. This camera takes beautiful pictures, but is heavy when I carry it in my purse. If I decide to take this one, I’ll probably put the strap back on and just keep it over my shoulder. I changed the strap to an UP strap. This strap has a nice thick piece at shoulder level which eliminates slipping. The new Sony cyber-shot digital camera RX100, won’t be released in time for me to check it out before I leave on a trip to Europe. This is probably a good thing. The camera is rather expensive. Anyway, you don’t need the latest and the greatest. What’s important is your eye, your knowledge of how to take a good photograph.