I visited my cousin yesterday and with her permission photographed some of their art. Then I asked if she minded if I posted it on the blog. My cousin and her husband have travelled extensively and their collection is astonishing. The first image is made of small glass pieces. Even the hair and eyebrows are glass.
I didn’t get the names of the artists and I’m sorry for that. They offered to find their list but I was already being overbearing. This couple is all handmade clay, fired and painted. It has a real impact when you stand in front of it. All these pieces are quite large.
Hard to see that this is layered and etched glass.
Some comic relief.
This one knocked my socks off. Probably six feet tall and very imposing yet soothing.
This was by a student of Robert Arneson. The bowl holds faces of this artist’s teachers. There’s also a face on the back.
They have a lot of great painting too. This is a closeup of one I wanted to tear off the wall.
I hope you enjoyed the brief tour. There was so much more but these were some of my favorites. Have an A-1 day!
My words repeat. Nothing. Your ears are closed like frozen air. You always move away, shrinking me, disappearing me into invisibility.
My words repeat. I am naming flowers. I am calling the names of birds. They remain unretrieved, hesitating on the edges of sound.
My fences are broken. My guard is falling deeper and deeper into the ground. My map shows no return.
Whispering, I stand
trembling with the elements,
my cells unmoored.
The currents swim without me,
expanding the gulf between.
Jilly at dVerse asked for an unconventional haibun this week. That was easy–all my writing seems somewhat alien to me right now (or maybe my poetry is just always strange and I’m only now noticing it….)
The drawings are from photos of ancient Roman sculptures that have been broken by time. Amazing how much depth and emotion hidden inside the stone was revealed by those artists.
like the Fool’s card—zero played
I’ve been neglecting the Secret Keeper’s prompts the past few weeks for lack of time, not interest. They are always like a puzzle for me, coming together in unexpected ways when I start to write. The appearance of the Fool, after a few drafts of ideas, was definitely a surprise. But serendipity is always part of the work I do. The end is never where I thought I was going.
I took the photos of Japanese ceramics with the beautiful window light reflected on the glass display cases at the Metropolitan Museum last spring. I was reminded of them by Marcy Erb’s post a few weeks back of a photo with reflected light on a Buddha, and I think they fit with this poem.
And I’ve resurrected a few Fools from past posts. The Fool (Zero in the Tarot) represents for me a capacity to be surprised and delighted, to leave an empty space to be filled by life. Wonder is everywhere; we just need make some room for it occasionally.
My next door neighbors are very cute kids. They asked to see my art studio this morning (which is a mess). The middle son asked to borrow my hot glue gun and a little while later came over to show me what he had made! I offered him some paint but he said he liked it as it was–natural. I am happy that maybe I inspired him with my crazy skulls and stuff made out of wood to make something of his own. Made my day!
I love picking up rusty junk, odd pieces of wood and other detritus. While waiting for the paint to dry on the next painting, I started playing around with some objects.
It’s not glued down yet. Here’s another version. I think I like the one with the skull better.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
This Sleeping Shojo was drawn with a Sheaffer Viewpoint calligraphy fountain pen with a 1.0 nib. Good for a loose and bold drawing I think.
Shojos are sea spirits with a red face and hair, who often wear skirts made of green seaweed. They love to brew and drink sake. If a good person drinks this sake, it will be delicious and healing; but if a bad person drinks it, it will be poison and kill them unless they repent at once. It seems Santa is not the only one keeping track of your naughty or niceness!
The fox mask netsuke was drawn, in contrast, with a .3 nib. Here the details are easy to produce, but solid darks not so much.
You many remember that Kitsune the fox is a shape-shifting troublemaker that likes to disguise himself as a nun. This mask definitely seems to take the frightening side of Kitsune seriously.
With my quill pen I drew Oni Nenbutsu, a demon in the guise of a Buddhist monk. These Onis have horns and fangs, and often wear tiger skins as they wander the country banging the gong on their chest and begging for money. My advice: be generous.
Another Oni, done with brush and ink.
You can see my other netsuke drawings here.
I was on the east side yesterday, and having a membership to the Metropolitan Museum (a yearly Christmas and birthday gift), I stopped in for the Members Preview of the new Egyptian exhibit.
The museum was really crowded! Lots of groups…not just children, but adult groups.
The Egypt exhibit itself was very crowded at the start, but the crowds tapered off as I moved along. It’s huge! Lots of great and interesting pieces.
I decided to focus my camera on hands.
The guards weren’t sure if photography was allowed, but everyone seemed to be doing it, so they said OK.
I did get a chance to do some sketches, too, near the end when there were less people looking, so I wasn’t blocking the view (or being blocked).
a mummy mask
two views of a mourning figure
a repaired statue head
a crocodile god
and a bovine diety…lost the horns somewhere, though
On Wednesday, I joined the NYC weekday urban sketchers in lower Manhattan for a few hours drawing the “Real World” sculptures of Tom Otterness in the playground in Rockefeller Park. It’s an amiable group, and I hope to join them again.
Otterness has his own unique vision of the world, and his animals definitely have personality. They are also joined, surrounded and covered by little creatures, a challenge to draw so that they “read” as separate beings.
I spent the most time working in pencil on the apes. Each sculpture has so much going on; I only managed to capture a small piece of it.
The children played all around us, and included Otterness in their fun. Some of the pieces incorporate water…a necessity for enjoying the playground on a very hot day.
It was mostly shaded, though, with a view of the river and a breeze, so not too unbearable for the sketchers either. I also did a quick drawing of the New Jersey skyline…can you see the sailboat? Lots of building going on over there.
You can read more about Tom Otterness here.
Enjoy the last gasp of summer…back on Tuesday for Draw-a-Bird Day.
After I posted drawings of a Japanese mask and netsuke a few weeks ago, A-wing and A-way asked me if there were any Tengu masks in the book. There were a few netsuke, but no masks, so I looked some up online to draw. The samurai mask above was one of my favorites…quite imposing on top of the armor too.
Looks a bit like angry birds, no?
Tengu is an interesting character, and there seem to be many different sides to his mythology. He is a shape-shifting trickster mountain god, and always has a bird-like aspect: wings, talons, hatching from giant eggs. In fact, Tengu hatching from an egg is the most common form of his representation in netsukes.
Karasu tengu, “crow tengu”, is the one with the beak. He seems to be the more malicious cousin, a herald of disaster and war. Konona tengu, the mountain monk, has a human face with a long nose. He is a skilled warrior, and is more often helpful to humans.
Because of the cross-fertilization between the culture, religion, and mythology of Japan with both China and India, many think Tengu is derived from Garuda, the bird-like mount of Lord Vishnu. There is certainly a resemblance.
You can read A-wing and A-way’s post on birds in Japanese culture here.
And you can see my other drawings of Japanese masks and netsuke here.