August 26, 2012

From the Highlands

Somehow, I stumbled on the National Galleries Scotland website. In addition to a well chosen and rich collection, the gallery features local talent. Admittedly my knowledge of Scotland's art and artists is lacking but I was instantly taken with the paintings, the sort of paintings that would be easy to live with, reminiscent of the French artists, but more understated.

One of the ‘Scottish Colourists’ is John Duncan Fergusson. The street scene is, well, as street scene. But it is restful to look at even if not completely unique.

John Duncan Fergusson: Rue St. Jaques from National Galleries of Scotland

Another Scottish Colourist - and a friend of John Duncan Fergusson's - is Samuel John Peploe. The flat surfaces reminded me of Cezanne but more sober with grays and blues.

Iona Landscape Rocks Samuel John Peploe
Iona Landscape: Rocks. Samuel John Peploe
 Then there is this still life by William York MacGregor, one of the Glasgow Boys. The bounty is charming and very much reminds me of the modern day farm stand. X-rays reveal that the artist originally painted a girl next to the table of produce but then thought better of it and covered her up. Whatever his reasons, the painting is better for it.

The Vegetable Stall William York MacGregor Glasgow Boys
The Vegetable Stall, William York MacGregor
Lastly a more modern piece, a portrait that caught my eye with its movement and color choices. Learning that the subject is theoretical physicist Peter Higgs (yes, the elusive particle is named for him), made the piece even more intriguing.

Peter Higgs Portrait by Lucinda Mackay
Peter Higgs by Lucinda Mackay
 All the photos are from National Gallery Scotland website. They have comprehensive background on Scottish art (if not Scotland's National Gallery than who?).

August 19, 2012

August: All Things Japanese

As of late we've been admiring all things Japanese everywhere we turn. Take Hokusai's wave. Recently we saw this iconic image for the very first time in person. Despite the crowds clustered in the small gallery, we braved it. The print was diminutive for a work of this magnitude and, perhaps, better admired in solitude, yet it was a sight to behold. Sharp deliberate lines, still vibrant colors, and that odd mixture of two dimensional flatness with a hint of perspective.
Detail from Under the Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai. Published by Eiudo. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847). Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Photo Credit: Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY


By chance, I found myself reading about WabiSabi, Japanese aesthetic that accepts and embraces the beauty in transience and imperfection. The philosophy felt like a calming antidote to overwhelming  consumption and hallow cheap props. All about delicate and understated, rather than grand and showy. I imagine it is about rough linen, weathered wood, slightly uneven pottery. I find myself longing to simplify and declutter.


During the morning commute an unlikely subject came up: haiku. Realizing gaps in our own knowledge we put Siri to work. There is an excellent lesson plan on haiku if you are supplementing your tots learning at home. The itty bitty poems, often with a seasonal reference, pack a surprising emotional punch, a depth of feeling boiled down to three lines. How does one choose the right words to convey complixity and observe humanity?

First autumn morning:
the mirror I stare into
shows my father's face.

~Kijo Murakami

Packing lunches, lets face it, is a bane one one's existence. No doubt Klatch tots will not be opening cute bento boxes to the envy of their tot friends. For now, I will stick with sticking notes into their lunch packs.
Photo: Jason Miller in NYTimes
Until next time!

August 15, 2012

Wednesday: Virginia by Rodger Fry

I haven't posted a Wednesday painting in some weeks so perhaps it is time. The Bloomsbury Group still captures imagination today, a bohemian Olympus of sorts. Artists Rodger Fry by all accounts had a complicated life and was close to both Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf. So behold a portrait of Virginia by Rodger Fry.  He painted her likeness and she wrote his biography.

Virginia Woolf by Rodger Eliot Fry
Copyright:  © Bridgeman Art Library / On Loan to Leeds Museums and Galleries (City Art Gallery)


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