Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm home from abroad dahlinks! A 24 hour day of travel (no sleep), a day of yawningly walking through my first day back in this timezone, started the long process of uploading my travel pics, visiting with my mom before she goes back home (driving her to the airport this morning) and now hopefully I'll be around in blogsville more often for awhile. Except, there is more travel looming - this time to the middle of a redwood forest. Not a lot of wi-fi spots available in a redwood forest, although there are clearly other rewards of spending time amoungst the cathedral-sized, aboreal giants, including more photo opportunities.

There probably won't be much studio time for awhile yet, but I hope to be able to keep up with regularly posting all the new artful images I've taken in the last few weeks.

We found this amazing piece of work in a metro station in Paris. I think it was on the way out of the shopping mall entrance to the Louvre (yes, there is a shopping mall in the Louvre - I know, I know) and I apologize for not noting the name of the artist(s).


Isn't it gorgeous! I stuck my hubby in the photo to give you an idea of the size of the piece. It could be a very complex set of quilt blocks. It could be painted squares. Or fired tiles. But nope.


It's made entirely of seed beads! Now your jaw is dropping, yes? Who has this sort of patience!? Not me, that's for sure.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Long time since I've posted. I forgot to mention I was off to Paris. Okay, so I might have mentioned it once or twice or ten times. But I mean, I forgot to say I'd left and the blogosphere is empty where my posts usually appeared quasi-regularly. But, I've been literally swimming in art and museums and beauty. It's seeping in to every single pore. I'll have thousands of photos and stories when I return, which will be soon. One more day in Paris tomorrow, another day in London on Sunday, and Monday we return home. Long, cramped plane ride. But I'll spend the time musing on all the wonderful memories we've made.

A bientot!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Art from the Louvre comes in many sizes, from the teeny tiny all the way up to the very, very large.

These little statues would each fit in the palm of my hand.

This fellow wouldn't be able to squeeze inside the walls of my house.

Tiny bits and pieces of Egyptian art.

A life sized lady Godiva - well, I have no idea who she is, but she could be Lady Godiva, yes? Or maybe she's practicing for the roll of Nellie in South Pacific - "I'm gonna wash that man right outa my hair!"

This wee angel was very tiny - I can't recall exactly any longer but I don't think she was much longer from head - er, neck to toe than the length of my hand. What I do remember is she struck such a chord in me - I wanted to take her home with me so I could just stare at her for hours.

I couldn't get close enough to get the details and get her all in one shot, so here's the rest of her - look at the detail of her tiny foot!

And here's one of the most famous inhabitants of the Louvre and one that somehow I'd never managed to hear about before I met her in person. The Winged Victory of Samothrace. There were many, many moving pieces of art but some affected me more than others. It was pretty cool to see the Mona Lisa but the Winged Victory was the work I wanted to linger by for longer than William was happy about. I didn't manage to get a very good photograph of her. To get an idea of her size, check out the tourist photo below.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Louvre - May 2006

It was pretty apparent by the end of our trip that my camera was having focusing issues in low light. I finally figured out how to deal with this issue with this particular camera this last year. So what did I do? I went out and bought myself a new camera I don't know how to use for my upcoming return to the Louvre. I only have a few days left to practice with it before we leave. Anyway, moving on... or, rather, moving back (in time)....

I'm guessing this is Artemis. She's often portrayed hugging her "dear" friend.

Mercury, the god of communications, so it's interesting to see him apparently popping out of this head. I wonder what the head is trying to communicate? "Help! I seem to have lost the rest of me!" Or maybe "Get the *#!& off my face!" Mercury has been so co-opted by the florist industry, I expect him to be holding a bouquet instead of that sceptre thing.

The Three Muses?

William looking out a window, a fire extinguisher (in case all that marble suddenly starts burning?), a row of heads, and, finally, what I was really taking a photo of - the pattern on the floor. If you're a quilter, you can make this pattern and know it matches a floor in the most famous museum in the world.

Recognize this beauty? Striking resemblance, huh? Y'know, it would have never occurred to me to have my photo taken with the Venus de Milo but we saw other women posing with her so I figured, what the heck.

Here she is without the competition. Snort. And check the beautiful tile (quilting?) pattern beneath her.

A satyr trying to decide between grapes and music. He's not quite as Disney-esque as us Americans are used to seeing, eh?

I don't have the feet quite right - which might be why she (Isis?) manages to draw down the moon while all I could manage was a digital camera with a penchant for fuzziness.

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom. If my first grandson, Joshua, had been a girl, my daughter was going to name her Athena. I found that an interesting symbolic choice for multiple reasons. It would have been appropriate in many ways, but I admit I thought that it would be a difficult name to fill. More specifically, I thought it would be hard to be the mother of an Athena. So, perhaps it was better that it was Joshua who arrived instead. She did give birth to a daughter two years later, who she named Anastasia.

I have a lot more museum photos. Check back, I'll try to get some more up before I'm off to take even more, hopefully sharper, photos. And over on Beach Treasure there are photos of the Louvre's city - Paris.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I have this ongoing creative battle between words and images. Or maybe, it's more like a sibling rivalry between them, each one trying to get the most time and attention and love from moi, the mom. I know, I know, why does it have to be a battle? Can't we learn to compromise? Learn to share? Meet everyone's needs? All great ideas in theory. In practice I rarely find time for either, much less both.

Recently I coincidentally found myself, or, if you don't believe in coincidence, then I serendipitously found myself simultaneously reading two books - one on the craft of writing, the second on the lives and craft of visual artists. Usually I don't try to read two books at the same time. The irony wasn't lost on me, even trying to figure out how to share reading time between the two was challenging. The writing book had the edge in my interest level at first. Then I decided to keep track, carefully splitting the time equally and reading one chapter in each book every day. Eventually however I set the writing book aside and gave the art book my full attention. I'm one chapter short of finishing the art book, only a third of the way through the writing book. I'm not drawing any conclusions on the "meaning" of this uneven split except maybe that the art book was more appealing because of all the lovely eye candy, and because I have a lot going on in other parts of my life right now and I didn't want to think in as much detail as the writing book required of me.

In any case, this isn't leading up to any ephiphany, it's just a long path leading to a book review. I bought this book after my first serious attempt at doing a collage ACEO, discovering that collage looked a lot easier than it was to create some of the techniques I'd seen, any of the techniques I'd seen. I went to Barnes & Noble and spent an hour sitting in front of the technique books shelf, pouring over my choices, feeling overwhelmed. I finally decided to wait to buy any of the how-to's and instead bought this one that was more generally about creativity and specifically about the life and creative process of fifteen different artists.

I brought it home where it sat on the coffee table for months before I picked it up and gave it my attention. At first I thought it was just going to be mainly eye candy, like a glossy magazine that has a bit of story and some photo captions with each article that might enhance the article but, let's face it, you're really buying it for the photos. I was surprised to find the written chapters were just as fascinating and full of inspiration and beauty as the images.

The author did a fantastic job of covering all the facets of creativity and the lives of artists that I might have wondered about, posing questions and addressing issues that I've pondered either to myself or in conversation with other creative people. I particularly appreciated the fact that the lives of the artists were presented truthfully, no glorifying or glittering of the reality of living with the long hours, uncertain outcomes, and possibly unforthcoming financial rewards that are real issues for most artist's. It didn't present a glossy magazine persona of each artist that would intimidate as much as inspire. Instead it told about artists who have creative blocks just like the rest of us, and artists that refuse to allow themselves to stop working even when or if they do. It told of artists that, just like the rest of us, struggle to find space and time for their art. It told of artists who support themselves by their art and artists who realistically choose to find other sources of income.

It was both enthusiasm modifying and inspiring and it helped me to give greater definition to my personal relationship with my own creative urges. It helped me validate what seems obvious and yet slipped past my grasp almost because of it - that there's no one right way to be an artist, no one relationship with our muse, no one approach to art - as a business or a calling - that's more noble. It's more about what's right for each artist in the context of their whole life.

Cover Image

Living the Creative Life - ideas and ipsiration from working artists
by Rice Freeman-Zachery