Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Springfield Museums: Sargeant, Seuss and Snow

Having learned the limits of our walking and viewing attention spans, after a full day of Model Railroad Expo, we explored a bit more of Springfield.

The street lights on Memorial Bridge still seemed to have illuminated celestial  halos. They were very attractive.

It took us a while to find the Springfield Museums quad, even with the GPS. Springfield is the second largest city in Massachusetts after Boston.  One of its founding family had a strong sense of community and civic pride and deeded a large parcel of land for cultural organizations:  The Museum of Springfield History, an Art Museum, A Seuss memorial plaza and another building for special exhibits.

We enjoyed the art exhibit called "Intent to Deceive."  There were forgeries and side by side examples of "real" and "fake" works by Matisse, Modigliani, Raphael and others.  Most forgers seemed to start forging because they couldn't sell their own works.  One fellow who was actually honest about painting "copies" was quite successful (especially after having gotten caught, served time in a London prison, and then going straight).  The ones who tried fooling auction houses and collectors didn't fare so well.
The Art Museum's collection represented many very well known artists.  The poster of the peasant girl above (and the painting itself) was larger than life. 
It was overcast and the light was bland, but I did like the patterns of the column, brick arch and wrought iron gate.

A contemporary sculpture by Phillip Kitchens.
A nifty marquetry bench by the elevator.
If you click on the image below and embiggen it, you can get a brief history of the museum.  I'm glad I took this picture BEFORE I went in to look at the forgeries because it was all covered with snow by the time I came out.

Theodore Geisel was one of several well known artists who spent a long time in Springfield.  Below is a bronze statue of The Lorax. Horton, the Who, the Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two were nearby..

I don't remember which book the fanciful shrine/pagoda represented.
Each room had a theme.  There were American Paintings, Impressionist Paintings, and so on.  I wasn't famiiar with Dwight Tryon, but I liked his impression of an October Sunset.
I couldn't decide whether the Lady or the Cat looked crabbier.  The overall image struck me funny.
There was quite an impressive collection of relatively modern work.  The room is apparently often used for lectures and demonstrations.  Some of the artists were "old favorites" even if I wasn't familiar with these particular paintings, and others were new.
I was quite taken with John Grillo's Odalisques.  He was apparently associated with the Pioneer Valley and influenced by the Fauvists... (no wonder I liked this!)
Seeing paintings is person is SO informative.  Below is Helen Frankenthaler's "Cave."  It was HUGE.  Even if you see it in a giant coffee table book, it's not the same as having it fill your entire field of vision.
There were some mischievous construction paper dogs cut out by Keith Haring.
And a classic oil painting by John Singer Sargent... While his portraits are probably best known and most loved, after seeing his water colors of European rock quarries, I realized I had learned to appreciate his skill at defining three dimensional space on a flat surface.
There was also an inviting atmospheric pastoral landscape by George Inness.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Heaven for my Inner Child (Or why you should be friends with a children's literature specialist)

 If you ever get to the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, be sure to go to Amherst and the Eric Carle Museum of Children's books and Illustration.  SO FABULOUS!

I forgot to actually take a photograph of the exterior, so I snagged the one below. (Thank you Hampshire College graduates).  The building is exquisitely scaled.  Open.  Light.  Reasonably sized exhibitions.

This little girl looked as awestruck as I felt.

Below is a bronze cast "under sea world" gifted to the museum by Leo Lionni, author/illustrator of Swimmy. It was fun and reassuring to realize that many artists experiment... and in ways few people know about.

 The museum, wisely, had a large snack bar with LOTS of space.  It would probably hold several classes of children, but on a Saturday, it also provided room for toddlers to walk off their energy!  (Loved the minimalist Scandinavian birch high chairs, too.)

 There were two special exhibits in the museum, but photographs there were prohibited.

So I took pictures of part of the mini exhibit in the library:  Pictures books based on illuminated manuscripts.

And there was one of my favorite illustrators:  Trina Schart Hyman in Jean Fritz's book, The man who loved books.

Double click on the image to see a larger format.

The reason you must get to know a children's librarian, or at least an Indie Bookseller who loves children's books, is that there are so many wonderful ones that never make it to the shelves of your local book store.  (or if they do, are only on the shelves for a month or two when they are first publiched.

The Eric Carle store obviously had a knowledgeable and well informed book selector.  I can hardly wait to read and compare LonPoPo (a Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood) to the more vamiliar version illustrated by another favorite, Jerry Pinkney.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales are new to me, having been out of the biz for a while.  But they are fact checked AND funny! What a fun way to learn history.  Donner Dinner Party, indeed.

Doesn't every child deserve to be introduced to the misfit/genius Einstein before he has had to struggle with calculus (or even algebra)?
 Below is the cover for Jumping Penguins.
 Can't believe I had the discipline to not buy 10 copies of Extra Yarn.
 For more great pictures click here:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Art, friends and foliage in Pepperell, MA

 Saturday, a friend from the Nashua Artists' Breakfast Club had an opening reception at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell, MA.  It was kind of a dreary day, although the Fall color may well have been at its peak.
 Peter's love for drawing, painting and art apparently began in childhood and continued through his military assignments in Viet Nam, San Diego, Hawaii, and post-military work in Massachusetts.
 One section of his show was devoted to paintings inspired by his time in Hawaii.  I wish these photographs didn't look like the dragon boat was trying to devour him.

 He made several sales!  I think he's closing a deal here.
 His sister came for the festivities.  He posed in front of her favorite painting.

 I was happy to find myself in a REAL library atmosphere.  (The sign in the upper left hand corner says "Think for yourself and let others do so, too."
 I found a couple of nearby scenes that I might paint one of these days.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Carried Away at Cider Hill Farm (mostly)

 I saw a big sign in Amesbury this afternoon that said:  THE PUMPKINS ARE COMING! Sure enough.  and I believe there will be plenty for everybody!

 Cider Hill Farm is an active farm that does sells produce throughout the year and encourages picking your own fruit from Spring through Fall.  They keep plenty of chickens (for the egs) and a few sheep and goats.  I took a LOT of pictures for painting references. 
 Can't wait to do this red/orange rooster AND his goofy shaped shadow!

 I don't think most of the toddlers knew THEY were bugging the chickens.  One apparently lost it's egg.

 While the goats LOOKED pristine, they still smelled bad to this city "girl."

 I don't know if this one had indigestion, was trying to sing or what.  NOISY!

 The temporary "lake" in the grass left moss on the duck breasts.

 Sparrows (or maybe Finches) were well camouflaged in the sandy dirt.
 Searching for food was as good UNDER the feeder as in it.

All of the chickens were mesmerized by a man walking by with a (tiny) Boston Terrier.  They stopped picking, clucking and running.  HIGH ALERT.
 I enjoyed watching a group of siblings picking "special" grass and clover (?) for the sheep and goats.

 The "lake" from recent rains.  There were lots of ducks!  And when the children scared the chickens, about half of the ducks would lift off, too.
 A couple of long views of the orchards.  Corn, apples, peaches still.  And there were onions, garlic heads, and eggplant in the barn.  Not sure where those were growing.

 Varied pumpkin display.
 View toward the East with shed and tractor and shadow.

 Pumpkins for selecting, segregated by size.  Kids always gravitated to the hugest ones, parents seemed less enthused, although the prices were reasonable.
 Pastoral scenes on the way home from the farm.  I hope I can turn these into pastel or oil paintings.

 This farm had probably sold most of the eastern acreage to a newish subdivision.  I loved the chain of buildings:  homestead, barn, silo, more barn, more shed, another house, etc.

 Sunflowers at Heron Pond Farm.  I hadn't seen ruddy sunflowers before.

 Church adjacent Kingston Town Hall.  I don't know how I can make this into an interesting painting.  Suggestions welcome.
 View toward the street from the church.
 Farmstead on the far side of the Town Hall.
 Farmstead's weathervane.
 One of many local Christmas tree farms.
 Re-paving some more roads before the plows scrape them up in winter.  This was a VERY sophisticated looking asphalt paver.
 Plans around the fresh water marsh, with its beaver den, below.

Tomorrow we're going to Newbury Street in Boston.  I'll be looking at paintings.  Who knows if they'll let me take pictures.