Tuesday, July 31, 2012

renewing Art, part 2

Visiting museums and galleries was a highlight of renewal leave. I can't capture it all, but here are some highlights.

The Danforth Museum (Framingham): Bob, our drawing teacher took us on a tour of the exhibits – primarily a juried show of local artists in many media. It is so inspiring to see where the creative spirit takes people.

The Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park: (Lincoln): this is one of my favorite local museums, and our drawing class enabled us to spend focused time over three visits with some of the outdoor sculptures. This was one of my favorite multi media, indoor installations.

The Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton): Since I love Contemporary American craft, this is my very favorite local museum. I visited twice during renewal leave, once on my own in May, and then again with 3 friends who came for a four day reunion in early July. Fuller currently has an exhibit of contemporary blacksmithing,

and an exhibit of the glass work of Dan Dailey has been there a while. His work is amazing, luminescent (he worked for a time with Dale Chihuly ) and has a sense of humor.

Fuller has a good outreach program with local schools, and on display is the result of a school’s work on quilting the theme of “America, the Beautiful.”

I’m surprised how many people in this area haven’t discovered the Fuller. It’s a hidden gem in Brockton. Go there.

The MFA (Boston): I spent most of a day at the MFA, primarily in the American wing and the contemporary wing. Even though I have been to these wings many times, there is always something new. Again, one highlight was student work. Under the guidance of artist Hannah Burr, students from eight after-school community organizations in the Boston area responded to works from the MFA’s collection, in very original ways. Though I don’t usually do it, this time I took a tour of the contemporary wing, which helped me to see some of the familiar work in new ways.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: I went with my sister, Beth, and a friend, Paulette, for my first time to see the new wing. It’s bright and beautiful, with an expanded restaurant, gift shop, a 300-seat performance hall with three balcony levels. I hadn’t read much about the wing, so I was a little surprised to find that it contains very little actual art. Since nothing can be moved from its original location, the art is still all in Gardner’s magnificent home. There is so much crowded into the galleries that I always find something surprising. I wish there were better access to the dozens and dozens of amazing sketches and drawing on the hinged panels in the Long Gallery.

The Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston) is another favorite – Stewart and I are members here as well as at the Fuller. I visited twice during my renewal leave. My favorite visit was with Jane, my “museum buddy.” Jane is an artist (http://www.janeblake.org). She and I love to talk about the works we see, and during our last visit, one of the staff engaged us in a discussion about a particularly obtuse (to us, at least) piece of work. There is great energy at the ICA. Since I do not know much about art, I’m always challenged by what I see there.

When we were visiting Helen, we visited the Berkeley Museum of Art and saw some very interesting photographic work by California artists. Helen and I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (one of the places where Helen is doing installation work).

Katarina Wulff was their “new artist” – her paintings of figures and landscapes are strange and beautiful. I was overwhelmed with the work of a photographer whose name I can’t remember (argh, I hate that). I’ll have to ask Helen.

Renewing Art, part 1

One of the hopes that I had for my renewal leave was to spend time making/learning about/ seeing art.
I took a wonderful drawing workshop at the Danforth Museum in Framingham with Bob Collins, a local artist. I also took a series of classes on drawing with colored pencils at the Decordova Museum in Lincoln. What I'm enjoying most is a class I’m still taking in collage/mixed media with Gary Nisbet at the South Shore Arts Center. I’ve enjoyed doing collage for many years and I’m excited to be learning some new techniques.
I’ve also continue to work on my rug making – though at a slower pace. On the way home from my visit in Burlington, VT with my sister and brother, I took a detour. I stopped at a barn somewhere in mid state Vermont (forgot the town) where Amy Oxford, the grande-dame of punchneedle rug hooking, was having a barn sale of rug material and equipment.

And, this week, on our way home from Stewart’s bike/camping adventure, we stopped in Bath, ME at Halcyon Yarn, a major distributor for yarn and yarn craft materials. It was like walking into a rainbow – a converted old shipping warehouse, filled from wooden floor to high ceiling with wooden bins of yarn of every description – rooms of it. Stewart had a great conversation with the friendly clerk there about spinning. We’ll see if that becomes his new winter hobby. If he spins it, I will hook with it.

Renewal leave reading

As it turns out, I was not very disciplined about keeping my reading list updated during renewal leave. I did a lot of reflecting in my journal, but it didn't make it to this spot.
But I've kept a (mostly complete) list of the titles I have read. One indulgence I allowed myself is that I did not finish any books that I didn't like. If it didn't capture my imagination within 50 pages, it went into the library return slot unfinished. I recently came to the awareness that if I read 2 books a week, that's just over 100 books in a year. There are too many good books out there to get bogged down in those I don't like.
Here's my list for May - July, 2012.
Non fiction
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Riso and Russ Hudson
Self Compassion by Kristin Neff
The Province of Joy: Praying with Flannery O’Connor by Angela A. O’Donnell
An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
Practicing Resurrection by Nora Gallagher
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That? By Henry Alford
Below Stairs by Margaret Powell
Lady Almina by Fiona Carnavon
God is not a Christian by Desmond Tutu
The Man who Loved Books Too Much by Alison Bartlett
God’s Hotel by Victoria Sweet
Still Life with Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer
The House in France by Gully Wells
The Best American Travel Writing 2010
The Best American Spiritual Writing 2012


Best Love, Rosie by Nuala o’Faolain
A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman by Margaret Drabble
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Gourmet Rhapsody and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry
The Drop by Michael Connelly
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: my year of magical reading by Nina Sankovitch
Louise Penny: all seven of her mysteries set in Quebec
Jonathan Kellerman: 3 detective novels
Faye Kellerman: 2 detective novels
Clive Cussler: 2 thrillers
The Best American Short Stories 2010