Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chuck Close

Yesterday we went to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio, to see an exhibit of portraits by Chuck Close. We also enjoyed exploring the museum's permanent collection. Three years ago, the museum tripled its size (new addition pictured above). The expansion makes this museum well worth a day-trip to Akron.

Self-Portrait by Chuck Close (above)

Familiar Faces: Chuck Close in Ohio Collections demonstrates why Chuck Close is one of America's most important contemporary portraitists, capturing his subjects in exacting photo-realism by employing the grid method. His monumental portraits in a variety of media are fascinating to study in person. Across the room, the image melds together to depict the texture of skin, hair, etc. Up close, you may find the image is no more than a grid of painted circles, or of torn paper, or just made up of the artist's own thumbprint, varied perfectly to create a pixelized image of staggering accuracy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Juliette Aristides

Two good instructional art books by Juliette Aristides that are a pleasure to read:

These instructional books which emphasize classical techniques using examples from the old masters and contemporary realists, are quite well written. I would recommend them to anyone who is a student of drawing or painting. I bought the painting one a few months back, and just checked the drawing one out from the library. In my opinion, the painting one (which is Aristide's most recent) is superior, but both are excellent. She reminds us that the history of art is always today's artists' greatest resource.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cy Twombly

Hero and Leander (To Christopher Marlow), oil painting on canvas by Cy Twombly

"The painter paints the appearance of things, not their objective correctness, in fact he creates new appearances of things." - Cy Twombly

Sunday, September 13, 2009


A few of the works by local artists on view at 709 Penn Gallery, just a small sample of Pittsburgh's talent that will be on display during the G-20 summit:

Fern, glass by Gary Guydosh (above)

Gary Guydosh's glass works are like something out of a wonderland-- flowers as tall as people, exotic birds, and other forms abstracted from nature. See more on his web site:

The Boy Who Could Fly, sculpture by Vanessa German (above)

Vanessa German is an inspiring performance artist, poet, and visual artist -- another star in our midst here in Pittsburgh.

These works and more are on display in soulpurpose, up now through November 6.

(show postcard image by Susan Constanse)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

National Museum of Women in the Arts

I have a lot of catching up to do with this blog. I'll start with our visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. I hadn't been there in years, and it was great to see it again. Just look how beautiful it is:

Pinkish marble and chandeliers set the stage for a feminine aesthetic. The museum is the only in the world dedicated exclusively to women artists. Its permanent collection hosts over 3,000 works by women artists, including a small Camille Claudel sculpture, an etching by Mary Cassatt, lithographs by Elizabeth Catlett, a portrait by Cecilia Beaux, and this wonderful self-portrait by Frida Khalo:

Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky by Frida Kahlo, 1937 (above)

Historically, women artists didn't have the same education or opportunities as males, but nevertheless they created wonderful works of art. Strolling through the museum, you can gain insights about the female gaze, a distinct perspective.

p.s. note - In the car on the way home to Pittsburgh, we saw this rainbow:

Nature is a wonderful artist!