Saturday, February 28, 2009

Milwaukee-Rignac Reunion

I came up to Milwaukee from Chicago for a reunion with past Wisconsin watercolor stagieres- art teachers and librarians who came to Rignac for my painting class. No painting today, but plenty of eating, very much in keeping with southwest French tradition. Wisconsin style brunch chez Jeanine consists of fresh orange juice and champagne Mimosas, fluffy spinach/egg omelette, potato au gratin, chopped fresh fruit, and French pressed coffee. Yum.

To read Carol Surges's account of the watercolor class in Library Media Connection, click here:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sweatin' Bullets

Ten portraits in Chicago in five days... Nearly cracked under the pressure but I pulled it off. The worst thing is that, to the uninitiated eye, these portraits probably look effortless. These photos were taken with my digital camera, so the quality is pretty ropey. Click on individual portraits to see larger images.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bean

When I first saw British sculptor Anish Kapoor's sculpture Cloud Gate in Chicago, I wondered why locals referred to it as The Bean. It looked more like an egg to me. But as I moved around and closer to it, I discovered the beaniness of the sculpture. When I walked under it and looked up into its navel, the sculpture became even more mystical and magical... I first saw the Bean here on this video.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Parsley Cresswell

Parsley Cresswell was a good friend and neighbor when I lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She has written a cookbook that includes one of my recipes. I am going to do a few sketches for the new edition, so pulled out my sketchpad when I was there last week for tea and got started. Here is Parsley's blog.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Before Dinner

For a while I thought Bonnard's paintings were a little on the mushy side, but I saw his exhibition at the Met in a new light. Bonnard worked from a stockpile of scribbles, sketches and small watercolour studies to produce his paintings. Samples of his reference material was on display. He never worked directly from life, not wanting reality to overinfluence his highly personal creative process.

I have often said that I am disappointed with typical watercolors per se. But just look at the richness of the medium in the hands of the master! Admittedly, there is a bit of gouache in the sketch below.

Beautiful Day, Beautiful Bridge

Why did I have to move to France before deciding to stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge on a beautiful Sunday after brunch?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Small town girl makes the big time

Rushing for the F train yesterday evening, I sprinted past a poster in the subway station for an exhibition of paintings by Marlene Dumas at MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Marlene Dumas was at the Michaelis Art School with me in Cape Town in the early 70's. Now apparently her paintings sell for more money than those by any other living woman artist.

I was a bit anxious about seeing the exhibition, as I haven't really responded to reproductions of her work thus far, but in real life I was quite blown away by the imagery and beautifully executed painting. Some of the tableaux almost seemed to be submerged in water, with parts clearly defined but other parts covered by a filmy wash. Nothing overworked, everything fresh and stark and stripped of pleasanteries and non-essentials.

Here is a virtual tour of the exhibition:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New York, New York

I have lived in four apartments in New York- none of which was above the second floor. Now here I am staying with lovely friends Roger and Rachel, floating high above the city on the seventeenth floor of their building on the Lower East Side. My bedroom is a gondola. Every morning we arise before dawn, make coffee and settle down to greet the sun and awakening day.

I'm here to execute some portraits, but managing to see old friends, visit galleries and museums, attend dance performances and concerts and chow down lots of ethnic food.

Quite a break from Rignac hibernation mode...