Archive for February, 2010

What is Africa Time?

February 18, 2010

Last week I went dumpster diving at the Bicycle Village across the parking lot from my office.  In class on Tuesday Michael was impressed with my large cardboard box and on it I produced yet another large sketch of my flower which is nothing too different from last week’s.

My friend Kim contacted me last Friday about her upcoming baby shower and mentioned that she was painting her daughter’s nursery.  “No cutesy cartoon animals for my gal!” she stated about the room’s modern design.  Her statement prompted me to finish up this cartoonish painting that I began several weeks ago, and includes none other than a group of grazing giraffes!

This image is a compilation of my South Africa trip photographs of Cape Town’s Table Mountain and my safari, as well as an internet image of the BazBus.  The new approaches I am learning in class helped me revisit its composition.  To sum up the story behind this image is a snippet from my November 13, 2009 journal.

“My journey from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay was a classic tale of African humor, chaos and charm.  My childhood neighbor Dagmar Davidson drove me in her compact Volkswagen Golf to the Backpack Hostel well in advance of my early morning departure.  Dagmar is German and very prompt.  We were both more concerned with arriving early so that I did not miss my scheduled BazBus pickup, and failed to realize there were two hostels in close proximity to each other on Church Street in Tamboerskloof.  BazBus is a hop-on and off bus service touring between backpacker hostels in South Africa.

Minutes ticked by, then an hour, as I waited in the hostel’s entrance.  I felt guilty about my growing impatience…  I do live in America where similarly scheduled activities do not typically occur far from their mark.  I reminded the hostel’s receptionist several times that I was still waiting before she contacted the bus company who told her I was at the wrong hostel!

I begged her to have the driver turn back for me.  Fortunately the bus was already running late due to some malfunctioning mechanics and would soon be picking me up, so I had not missed my ride out of Cape Town.  I began waving and running with several wheeled bags when the bus drove right by me outside the hostel.  The driver was only parking the bus and I thanked him profusely for picking me up while he loaded my bags into the trailer.  What a classic example of Africa time.”

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A Flower That Touches My Heart

February 10, 2010

“A flower touches almost everyone’s heart,” stated Georgia O’Keefe about “The White Trumpet Flower” that she painted in 1932. It is week two of my abstraction class and this flower touches my heart.

Last week I rebelled and failed to take all the required supplies to class simply because plans change and for the most part, artists can do what they want. However this week I did pick up the supplies that Michael requested, only to find out that his plans had changed and I wouldn’t be painting on a masonite board but on a large piece of cardboard stashed in a dusty corner of the Art Students League. After creating several small sketches I produced this enlarged rendition of Georgia’s flower with my trusty palette knives.

Next week we are to bring in boards no smaller than 30 x 30 inches – the largest I have ever worked on.

Another Flower…

February 4, 2010

I attended my first abstraction class on Tuesday night and am hooked. Tired of generating my own subject matter, I am glad to once again have some refreshing direction and inspiration. I actually have an assigned project to work on, think about and prepare for. The teacher Michael Gadlin launched into a short lecture about dissecting paintings into their basic shape compositions, and then instructed us to sketch a few deconstructed compositions on paper.

My recent encounter attempting to “marry” three South African flowers prompted me to dissect just the very thing. When asked, Michael suggested Georgia O’Keefe as an excellent flower painter. I had never spent much time examining her work because flowers and gardening do not interest me that much, however after completing my recent “bouquet” I realize how difficult they can be to master.

Ironically, the O’Keefe painting that was my least favorite out of the four I began with turned out to be the one I connected with most and grew most excited about during this “deconstruction” exercise. At first I thought Georgia’s color choice in the painting was dull, but this black and white image brings it to a different light. I mapped out these sketches with a palette knife and acrylic paint on pastel paper. The second sketch may be fun to look at but did not excite me nearly as much as my first. Next week I get to work on this flower again, and the week after, and the week after….


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