Monday, February 21, 2011

Nasher Sculpture Center - Dallas Texas

I went to Dallas a couple of weeks ago to see the Exhibit:

Alexander Calder - Form, Balance, and Joy.

I feel myself quite lucky to have combined some very needed time off from work with the opportunity to see kinetic sculpture up close for the first time ever.  The exhibit was at the Nasher Sculpture Center right across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art.

I found out about the exhibit from an art fair customer in St Francisville, LA.  This customer told me about an exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art where the focus was the kinetic mobile, Alexander Calder's works, and 7 other artists inspired by his work.  I went home from this fair, where I didn't sell one mobile by the way, and was devastated to find that the exhibit was no longer an exhibit, in the back of my mind I was entertaining a trip to Chicago with the remaining crumbs in my pocket and an almost maxed out credit card.  A few days later I went back to their website, because although the exhibit was gone, there was some really cool stuff on their website regarding the mobiles and one in particular created with found wood and weighing tons!.  I happened upon a link that told me this exhibit was moving throughout the country and would land close to my neck of the woods, Dallas Texas.  I just had to go!  Work was  beating the heck out of me, it had been quite a while since I took a vacation, so I booked a flight (why spend 16 hours in a car when you can entertain yourself in an airport, on a plane, in cabs etc where everyone else does the driving) and enjoyed every bit of my 4 day trip!

The only disappointment was the fact that I was not allowed to photograph any of his mobiles.  There were guards in every gallery and around every corner.  They only had to tell me once "no photos allowed".  So, I just sat myself on the floor under or near every mobile and studied in depth.  I heard that someone made the comment that the Nasher Sculpture Center nailed their mobiles to the floor and they never moved.  This is totally contrary to the facts.  The guy who set up the displays took great care with the lighting so that the shadows would not detract from the sculptures and the mobiles were placed in areas where gentle air flow kept the mobiles moving at their intended speed at all times.  I spent 3 hours in that gallery looking at Sandy's work.  It was a magical morning.  Then I drug myself into the museum gift shop to purchase the book about the exhibit... $40 later I have every picture in the exhibit including all of the exhibits by the 7 other artists who were directly influenced by Calder's work.  Only a portion of the Chicago exhibit made it to Dallas.... almost all of Calder's work and only one or two pieces from each of the 7 other artists.  So, it is nice to have the book to view the entire exhibit in pictures.

I had also learned of a Master Class Workshop - Kinetic Mobiles which they would conduct the morning of my last day in Dallas, Saturday.  So, while I was at the sculpture center, I inquired, made phone calls and was told the next day that there were no spaces available in the workshop.  I was crushed. I had really hoped to walk away from this adventure enlightened with a new technique or skill.

Instead, I decided to wander downtown Dallas that Saturday morning photographing architecture.  I just love architecture!  Then I found myself at the sculpture center a little after the workshop began.  I inquired with the security guard and he told me I wasn't on the list and couldn't attend.  Hey, it was worth a shot.  So I went across the street to the Asian Art Museum where a demonstration was going on for the Chinese New Year and waited until the Sculpture Center opened to the public.  I thought, what the heck, I'm here, might as well see the sculptures again.  I walked up to the door and the receptionist I had talked to a few days before started waving and motioning me to come in.  She went on to tell me that she had gotten me a spot in the workshop and the 2nd part was about to begin and get a chair and I could participate!  Oh my! I was thrilled! and it shocked the personality right out of me.  I got to hear the lecture while sitting in the room filled with Calder Kinetic Mobiles, explanations of most of them, the thought process behind the creation of some of them, and the list goes on and on..... and yes, I did walk away with a new technique and skills which I have begun to incorporate into my designs.... I am so incredibly grateful to the Nasher Sculpture Center staff for treating me so kindly and making my perfect vacation just that.  They were just fabulous!

Next Posting -  Pictures from the Dallas Museum of Art - What inspired me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wonderful Waterfalls and an Education!

While I was in Dallas attending the Alexander Calder exhibit Form, Balance, Joy, I received a very charming note from Bob Lusk asking about the Waterfall Watercolor Kinetic Mobile Sculpture. 
He asked me if I could make a mobile in this design for him and I wanted to make something really special, something this very nice guy couldn't get just anywhere.  You see, he was nice enough to let me in on a little secret.  I had been asking prospective customers to choose paint chips from paint mfg websites in an attempt to create the perfect mobiles that my customers would just love.  Bob told me "I could go to look at paint colors, but knowing just how many choices there are out there -- even just for white" etc, etc, etc.  Oh my gosh, what a revelation!  I had no idea that I was asking prospective customers to go out and work for their sculpture!  Yikes.... and I have lost a few sales because of this color request. 

I love color... I can sit for hours and put colors together and enjoy myself.  But I never clued into what I was asking a customer to do.  So, I'm happy to present today these custom mobiles for his review.  I will also include a special gift with his order.... for accidentally telling me just what was going wrong with some of my prospective sales.  Thanks Bob!

This first one is fashioned very closely in size to the original Waterfall Watercolor Kinetic Mobile Sculpture featured on Artfire and ETSY
This mobile consists of 33 pieces which are 1 inch in size.  The entire mobile measures 14 inches wide x 18 inches tall and moves beautifully.  The colors used to create this mobile were Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Phthalo Blue, Cadmium Yellow, and New Gambouge

This second one is created with twenty four 1-1/2 inch components.  I used heavier wire and rings to give it a different look.  It measures 21 inches wide x 21 inches tall. 

 The painting on one side was done with the same colors as the 1st mobile.  The other side was a painting I did with left over paint from a brick study I did recently and includes burnt sienna, indanthene blue, alizarin crimson, yellow ocher and purple lake. 
This style mobile is one of the more difficult ones I make.  The reason it is difficult is as I cut each piece, I need to keep it in its same position as it was in the painting.  When completed, the concept is to have a moving picture.  But, due to the gaps needed between each component set the picture is lost due to juxtaposition.  But I still love the process :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

House on the Rock - Romania -

I told myself when I started this watercolor painting and blog journey to put it all out there... The good, the ugly, and the really really bad.  I attempted to do an elevation drawing, straight on shot of the House on the Rock tourist trap at Dracula's castle in Romania for the Virtual Paintout hosted by Bill Guffey (really cool concept for painters who don't have the coin to travel the world).  Everything was going fine until I decided this watercolor was quite boring without shadows.... apparently the Google Streets camera was at this location at high noon.  So, I decided to put shadows.  Everywhere.... BIG OOOPS.  So, I just laugh, and try again.... but not before putting it all out there.  Note to self... don't add shadows where there are none.  And if you like perspective drawings, don't do elevations.  I still enjoyed the process!  And still have a very long way to go!

Here is the link to the actual Google Streets web address for this attempt:

Romania, House on the Rock - International Cafe outside of Dracula's Castle

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Floating - A new style of Kinetic Mobile Sculpture for Skysetter Designs

I finally found myself with some free time and decided to bring a concept to fruition.  I haven't perfected this yet but I sure do enjoy the concept: