"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Washington DC National Gallery of Art.



The Smithsonian National Gallery of Art - what a divine place! I will start with the post impressionists and impressionists as they are always my favorites.

A self portrait by Van Gogh that caught me by surprise. I had never seen this one before and it is so vibrant, so visually compelling that I could hardly take my eyes off of it. A mere photo could never do it justice. You must see if for yourself!

I adore Degas and seeing The Mounted Horseman was near to heart stopping for me. His drawing skills are so superb - each horse and rider exquisitely rendered.

Degas / Scene from the Steeplechsae: The Fallen Jockey. This painting is very large, about 71 x 60 inches and is totally mesmerizing with gorgeous color. Degas exhibited it at the Paris Salon in 1866 but was unsatisfied with it. He repainted it and the  original position of one of the horses can be seen in the sky on the upper left. Apparently  Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon loved Degas' work almost as much as I do since many of his paintings have been donated by them to the museum.

Woman Viewed from Behind / Degas. I would have taken this little gem home with me if I could have!
  

Toulouse Lautrec (another favorite) / Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero /1896

Toulouse Lautrec / Woman with Dog / 1891
 And then there were a few surprises! This exquisite drawing by Verrochio of Woman with Braided Hair.




 And a small, perfect Leonardo Da Vinci portrait!


A tiny masterpiece attributed to Vermeer 


  And a lovely Cezanne landscape.



I took dozens and dozens of photos and I wish I could show them all but I do encourage you to go and spend a day at this wonderful museum. 

I will leave you with a photo of a painting I did many years ago of Toulouse Lautrec in his studio with his dog , his model and his completed Moulin Rouge painting!

Artist and his Muse / 24 x 36 / oil on canvas

Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 Begins, a Bobcat and Part 3 of Washington DC




Fundamental Limit to Precision / oil on linen / 18 x 24

Hot off the easel - first painting of 2020. And a big surprise this morning as I was having coffee in my kitchen - a beautiful, bobcat walked right across the backyard! I was not fast enough to get to my camera for a photo but did remember this lynx  (cousin of a bobcat and very similar in appearance)  painting I did a while ago.


Canadian Lynx / oil on masonite / 14 x 18
We finally got to tour Mount Vernon on the next morning of our Christmas vacation. I have wanted to see the home of George Washington for  a  long time and was not disappointed. I was filled with a sense of awe and of history to be able to walk through the rooms and gardens where he and Martha hosted Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. I learned that following his Presidency, he was an avid farmer and was surprised to hear that he was the first person to breed a mule - a cross between a female horse and a male donkey. He wanted a big, strong animal with lots of stamina to be able to plow the fields!
Mount Vernon

Breathtaking view from the porch over the Potomac River

Bedroom where Lafayette stayed when visiting Washington.

George Washington's study with his chest from the Revolutionary War and his  chair with an overhead fan powered by foot pedals.

The working section of the farm - the laundry, ice house and stables.
We spent the afternoon walking the gentle hills and valleys of Arlington National Cemetery - a place I have no adequate words to describe other than to say I have never felt more humbled or more grateful for the sacrifice of these men and women. It is a still and quiet place of great yet disquieting beauty - a place for deep sorrow,  reverence and introspection .






I have yet to show you my photos from the National Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery. I will post those next time. I hope that this New Year is beginning with great promise and potential for everyone as we move forward into this brand new decade!

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Nation's Capital - Part 2



The next stop on our Washington DC trip was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. 

A lunar lander on the left - these vehicles made 6 successful landings and takeoffs on the moon between 1969 and 1972  with two astronauts aboard. Overhead is the single engine, single seat plane of Charles Lindbergh (the Spirit of St Louis). He flew it on the first trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

Neil Armstrong's actual spacesuit from the Apollo 11 moon landing! It gave me goose bumps to see it and realize the immense goals that human beings are capable of achieving.

The spacecraft that launched the US space program, this is Friendship 7, the capsule that John Glenn piloted into Earth orbit in 1962. I was astonished at how small it is. The astronaut inside could not be taller than 5 ft 11 inches and John Glenn joked that "You didn't get in it-you put it on".


The world's first successful airplane - the Wright Flyer - 1903.


A view looking heaven-ward in the Hall of Missiles.

If you are interested in flight, space exploration or the history of aviation, I guarantee you will love this museum!

There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate the holidays but our evening at the Kennedy Center to hear The National Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis conductor perform the Messiah was an event, an experience, I will never forget and the absolute highlight of our Washington trip.



A view down the length of the entry hall.
Inside the concert hall as the musicians gathered

The Washington Chorus

 The music was extraordinary and performed with palpable emotion and complete excellence. Adriana Churchman sang the soprano parts and I am convinced her voice must come directly from heaven - it was a total joy to hear her flawless, soaring singing. Needless to say, this evening filled me with optimism and hope for all of mankind and I will try to carry that forth with me into the New Year. Hearing this performance was a Christmas gift I will always remember. It was worth the entire trip to the Capital just to be able to listen to this music.

More of our trip to come but I will also show you a recent painting I will title -  Happy Holidays Two Ewe!

Happy Holidays Two Ewe / oil on linen panel / 11x14

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Christmas Trip to the Nations Capital!

My husband and I just returned from a whirlwind Christmas trip to Washington DC. It must have been windy in Reno while we were gone as we returned to find a huge mound of tumbleweeds up against our front door. Our first order of business was to clean them up and restore the yard to order!

Eager to get back to the easel, I did two quick portrait studies for warm up.
Rosy Cheeks / oil on linen /  12x16

Practice /old corrugated cardboard / 12x8

Our trip to Washington was exciting, fun and jam packed! 

This is a photo taken at dusk from our hotel room overlooking Constitution Avenue.


The building with the tall clock tower is the old US Post Office now refurbished into the Trump International Hotel.

On our first day, we spent the morning touring the Pentagon. It was a unique experience - very high security  with no photography allowed. In the afternoon  we toured the Capital building, the Rotunda and Hall of Statues. 

Inside the Rotunda showing some of the iconic historical murals painted by artist John Trumbull, a Veteran and personal aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War.



180 feet up, the dome of the Rotunda features The Apotheses of Washington painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 showing Washington flanked by figures representing Liberty, Victory and Freedom . Amazingly the figures are up to 15 feet tall in order to be seen from the floor.

A closer view showing Washington with the lavender robe across his lap


An imposing figure of Andrew Jackson

In my next post, I will show you the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and inside the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Merry Christmas a little early!



A Quandary of Possibilities 18 x 24 oil on linen

MERRY CHRISTMAS 

and the warmest of wishes for a 

NEW YEAR 

filled with wonder, joy, peace and good health!

As this year comes to a close I find myself filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the life I am living and all the truly wonderful people that I have come to know and love.  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by this blog and given me the gift of commenting on my work. You have deeply enriched my life with your insightful thoughts and generous words. You, and viewing your work, continue to inspire and amaze me and have helped me to stay the course on this not always easy artful journey. With a grateful heart I thank you.

I will be traveling for the next couple of weeks and this will be my last blog entry until I return after Christmas. I will show you a practice piece that I painted on heavy brown paper this week - perhaps in preparation for a future work I may attempt on canvas. 

A Man and His Cats / oil on paper / 18.5 x 29 inches
 And a crop - perhaps this is a better composition? 



Saturday, December 7, 2019

New Paintings and a Trip to Hoover Dam


Some newer work


Distinct Levels of Energy / oil on linen panel / 12 x 24


Irina / oil on linen / 18 x 14


Snow Run /  oil on canvas 18 x 14

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a short trip to Las Vegas and had a chance to visit the Hoover Dam - what a wonder of engineering and what a unique experience . We took the tour and went down, down, down to the bottom interior level to view the actual turbine generators (17 of them) and walk through some of the original tunnels blasted out of rock with dynamite. It is an almost impossible accomplishment of engineering (built in 1930’s using slide rulers to do the math) and finished 2 years ahead of schedule. The dam has been in continuous operation and supplies hydroelectric generated power to a large part of the southwestern US, is pollution free and runs self-sufficiently using no tax money. I have suddenly become a big fan of hydroelectric power!





Looking toward Nevada and Lake Mead - the intake of the water is through these two large towers.

The outflow into the Colorado River.




The turbine generators.