Heaven and Hard Times

So it looks like this summer is going to be worse than last summer, and I didn’t think that was possible. Last summer sucked majorly for a couple of reasons; painful breakup with the boyfriend which still hurts over a year later, slow art modeling, and no vacation. This summer adds a new element of tension and troubles in the form of intra-family strife that only seems to get worse by the day. Isn’t that fantastic? The hits just keep on comin’. Ugh.

Coping mechanisms? Same as always. Hunker down among the good. Jettison the bad. Cling for dear life to that which gratifies and gladdens and edifies. Oh yeah, and blogging. Keep blogging ๐Ÿ™‚ Art and music are two of the best pathways to salvation, I think we can all agree on that. And I’ve got one of each to offer today. A striking linocut print of yours truly by the wonderful Christian Johnson, followed by music for Music Monday. Gospel is a dependable source of solace for me as most of you know. The track is “I’m So Glad (Trouble Don’t Last Always)” by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers.

A belated Happy Father’s Day to my dad readers. Hope you had a great day! I’ll see you all very soon, friends. And Christian … thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

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At School With Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Hellooooooo!!! Greetings darling Museworthy readers. We are a few more days closer to spring since I last posted here. Ain’t that grand? I thought I saw some crocus bulbs poking out of the ground the other day. :happy dance:

My friend Francisco Malonzo was recently profiled in The Palette Pagesย with a splendid Q & A interview and magnificent images of his work. One of them is a portrait of yours truly that also appeared in this Museworthy post. More of Francisco’s paintings of me can be seen here and here. He and I have known each other for some time through the National Academy, and I’m delighted that he’s enjoying exposure and success ๐Ÿ™‚

Here in the Big Apple our newly-elected mayor Bill de Blasio is waging a war against charter schools. The whole thing is a shitstorm of local politics that involves the teachers’ union, irate parents, and de Blasio’s personal vendetta against Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools. Lost in the midst of this imbroglio? The children of New York City, who deserve better. I was reminded the other day of an engraving I’d seen once by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Flemish painter and printmaker of the Northern Renaissance period. I found it on the Web. It’s called The Ass in the School,ย from 1556. The humorous scene depicts a classroom – more like a barn – of unruly children and a teacher about to discipline one with a spanking on his bare butt. A mysterious woman peers from behind a window, and a donkey, aka “the ass”, studies what appears to be sheet music from his perch. The inscription reads something to effect of “the ass goes to school but will never become a horse”.

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Bruegel could have been making a satirical statement about the folly of education, or rather certain aspects of it. Or perhaps a broad comment about human failings and our inherently flawed nature in the spirit of Hieronymus Bosch. If you enlarge the image and look closely, the faces of the “children” in the drawing don’t appear like true children but more like mini-adults. So Bruegel might be trying to suggest something there. Apart from the hidden commentary, the print is really great, in composition and character. Truthfully, I just wanted to post it because Bill de Blasio kind of looks like a donkey ๐Ÿ˜†

Click on this link for a nice gallery of more Bruegel prints. Have a great weekend everyone!

The Return

Aaannnnd . . . we’re back! It’s official. The fall 2013 school years have begun. Yay! Studios are open for business, students are ready to create, models are ready to pose, and instructors are ready to impart their brilliance and expertise ๐Ÿ˜‰

It felt great to walk into the New York Academy of Art for my first modeling booking there of the new term, John Jacobsmeyer’s printmaking class. The class created ink sketches of my nude figure which they would later make into prints. I’d love to see how they turned out. I may have to find those students and ask if I could take a gander at the final results, as I’m a huge printmaking fan.

Few institutions undergo a transformation as dramatic from first week to end of the year quite like art schools. Summer cleanups are very thorough. New coats of paint brighten things up, supplies are stored neatly away, and everything is scrubbed spotless. When classes begin, the immaculate surroundings transform into smudges, splatters, and spills. Ink, clay, and oil paint start to appear on chairs, stools, and the floor, stacks of rolled up papers and unfinished canvases occupy every corner, fabrics are strewn about, and unidentified sharp objects stick out from various spots. So to models and students alike I say enjoy the tidiness while it lasts, which is about a week!

The New York Academy’s printmaking room, a great space, on day three of the new semester. Not yet sullied from the dirty work of making prints.

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Actually, the Academy is one of the least disorderly art schools I’ve seen. It’s a spacious facility with a conscientious staff and student body. The atmosphere is terrific. Great vibes. The Art Students League, on the other hand, is a cluttered mess . At least it was when I worked there years ago.

Did I mention how good it feels to be back at steady work? Yes, I believe I did. Off we go!

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Linocuts by Lill

This week’s Music Monday is a special treat for me, although I’m sure many of you artists, creatives, and Museworthy darlings will appreciate it too. As you may know, my recent experiences in printmaking class have introduced me to the joys of making linocuts and woodcuts – relief printing techniques. As much as I enjoyed learning intaglio, relief really won me over. Imagine my delight – excitement actually – when I stumbled upon an image for Music Monday that is the work of a tremendous printmaker I never knew of until now. She is Swiss-born Lill Tschudi, and if she were still alive I’d write her a fawning fan letter. Tschudi worked primarily in lino, short for linoleum, which is a material commonly used for floor covering, made of linseed oil and cork. In printmaking it is carved into fairly easily with cutting tools. For color prints Lill Tschudi used multiple blocks, inking each one with a different color and printing on top of each other to achieve the desired effect. Very labor-intensive process.

Here are two music themed linocuts by Lill Tschudi:

The Cornelia Siegel FIne Art Gallery is the exclusive representative for Lill Tschudi’s prints. Visit their site for more images by this gifted linocutter. And check out this beauty from the Met Museum collection. As for me, I’m on my own now since class has ended and I’m without the guidance and instruction of my wonderful teacher Lisa Mackie. But it’s all good. I’ll buy a set of carving tools and some lino blocks from the art supply store and just let it rip and see what happens! My composition skills could use some help. But if I can create one decent, artistic print within a year I’ll be happy ๐Ÿ™‚

Goin’ to the Printshop

Guess what everyone? I registered for a printmaking class at the Lower East Side Printshop, and it starts today. Yay! I’m excited! We will meet once a week for eight weeks. Excellent ๐Ÿ™‚

This is an Intro class for beginners like me who know next to nothing about how to make prints. Emphasis will be on inatglio techniques like drypoint and etching, blocks, plates, and all that other cool stuff. Now I am fully aware that I’m a neophyte and therefore have no unrealistic expectations. So because I have no illusions about my ability, I’ve set very modest goals for myself. I’m thinking that after eight classes, I’ll be able to produce something of merely this quality:

Um, yeah, that was joke, in case you couldn’t tell ๐Ÿ˜†

The above image is a drypoint titled Holy Family with Saint John, the Magdalene, and Nicodemus, circa 1512, by master printer Albrecht Durer. One of the greatest printmakers of all time, if not the greatest. Although Rembrandt’s prints are pretty amazing. The Met Museum has an informative essay, “The Printed Image in the West: Drypoint”.

Besides getting my creative juices flowing and hopefully having fun, I’ve also been thinking about how long it’s been since I actually learned something new. Gosh, it’s really been a while. I don’t mean learning in terms of acquiring knowledge. That’s something I try to do every day by reading, asking questions, searching on the Internet, etc. I mean learn how to DO something – a skill or a technique. Wish me luck!

Before I go I want to give a quick shoutout to my friend Janet Cook who is having a solo exhibition, “Power and Beauty”, at Dacia Gallery. Way to go Janet!! And I’ve been informed that one of Janet’s paintings of me will be among the exhibited works. That makes me happy ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately I have to miss the reception Thursday night because I’m working. But I will definitely be seeing Janet’s show before it closes on May 11th.