Posted on January 6, 2017. Filed under: Art, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , , |

synesthesiadsc02884I was inspired to get back to abstract painting again this fall.  The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) had a members’ show coming up and I scored a spot.  This would get me painting!  I spied a beautiful overlook on my way home from the office filled with joyous fall colors, each tree standing out.  It gave me the idea for this painting, Synesthesia.  It was one of only a few abstracts in the show.  And I think it was greatly misunderstood.  My sister said, “How did you get the circles so perfect?”  My methods impressed her not.  When posing for the above photo at the museum a passerby asked excitedly, “Did you do the tractor?”  When I said no and indicated the painting above the tractor there was no response at all.  Wow, really?  Couldn’t you muster up a lie?  Ah well, all the greats were misunderstood in their time, no?

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Museum of Wisconsin Art

Posted on January 5, 2017. Filed under: Art, Photography | Tags: , , |

The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) in West Bend, Wisconsin is well worth a visit.  The building alone is spectacular.  Yes, it really does come to this sharp of a point.  There was no manipulation to this photo!  The clouds reflecting on the building were especially striking this day…


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Museo Sorolla, Madrid

Posted on March 3, 2015. Filed under: Art, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Sorollahouse2On our last full day in Madrid we hiked from our apartment near the Prado Museum to the Museo Sorolla.  It took awhile and we had to ask directions from a parking maid as we got closer.  She was amazingly helpful and friendly.  She spoke almost no English so we limped along in my rusty Spanish.  She pulled out extra paper from her little ticket machine, turned it over, and drew a map!  After that we got there with almost no trouble.  It’s tricky because the building is the former home and studio of 20th-century painter Joaquin Sorolla (1862-1923) and so it is located right in the middle of a block in a residential section of Madrid.

This, of course, makes it very interesting.  I always like to have a walk amid the places the real people of a place live.  This lovely old home/studio was designed to the artist’s specifications with a huge ceiling of skylights in the studio.  There is nothing, afterall, better than natural light for just about any kind of work, but especially for artwork.  This whole little jaunt was a serendipitous affair.  We saw Sorolla’s masterpiece of boys playing in the ocean surf at the Prado.  Then we discovered this museum existed here and we decided to go!  Often, these jaunts make for the best travel memories/experiences.


It was wonderful to see so many of his works as well as the home in almost the same condition as when he lived here complete with Tiffany chandelier, sculpture and jars of his paintbrushes.  The property became a museum right after Sorolla’s widow’s death so it is very untouched.  And the tiny garden is as beautiful as the building itself.


I was most fascinated by how he captured light and water in these paintings.  There is also a small alcove in the studio where lots and lots of tiny paintings are displayed.  I really wanted to come home and experiment with tiny paintings after seeing this.  It’s still on the list, but I haven’t gotten there yet.


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Art in Madrid’s Streets

Posted on February 17, 2015. Filed under: Art, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Madrid street art 1

Yes, you are just walking along in Madrid and wham!  There happens to be some monumental piece of art right there.  Why not put an enormous lizard made out of CDs on the side of a building?  I wonder how they talked the people in those rooms to give up their windows.  Or why not install a bronze frog the size of a small house on the sidewalk? Madrid street art 2

Madrid street art 3Here we are on Calle del Arenal, a huge pedestrian corridor that hosts many live art performances.  Madrid loses its stuffy capital city ambiance when you walk the streets and observe the creativity that permeates this place.

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The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid

Posted on January 2, 2015. Filed under: Art, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza 1We didn’t know much about the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza before we got to Madrid.  We had no idea it is a private collection that was sold to Spain.  It’s quite a huge breadth of material, from very early medieval work like this famous Hans Holbein, the younger’s portrait of Henry VIII from 1543 to very modern work.  The beginning of the museum where there are many rooms of medieval work can make your eyes go buggy unless that is your thing, so we hurried through some of that.

We always play a game in art museums we call, “What I Would Take Home.”  My selection was the Degas pastel, “Race Horses in a Landscape,” from 1894.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza 2

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza 4

Vincent van Gogh, The Stevedores in Arles, 1888

Bill had a hard time as there were so many interesting artworks from which to choose.  The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is known as the museum which houses great paintings by lesser artists and lesser paintings by great artists.  We found this to be true as the Van Goghs and Monet were clearly not their best, but still very, very interesting to see.  These were, perhaps, experiments and you can still see the genius in such works, maybe more so because you haven’t seen images of these many times.

I was thrilled to see a few Georgia O’Keefe’s I’d never seen before.  I also got to see paintings by Magritte, de Kooning, Pollack, Mondrian, Hopper and the first time I’d ever seen a Clyfford Still.

The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is definitely worth a visit!

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza 3

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Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Posted on December 13, 2014. Filed under: Art, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

ReinaSophia1              ReinaSophia2

One reason we wanted to go to Madrid was for the outstanding art museums.  We started with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía,  an old hospital recycled as an art museum.  Just walking around the environment was very interesting; it’s hard to believe it was still in use in the 1960s as it seems very ancient.  This is where Picasso’s Guernica is housed.    They were deadly serious about not letting anyone take a picture of it as the no picture policy actually starts several rooms before the Guernica room.  Follow the link to see the image and learn about its history.  It is fascinating.  One has to see this iconic and world-famous painting in person to really appreciate it fully.  It really made an impact, I must say.  We had to wait for the Japanese tour bus to clear out as they monopolized the whole room for a time, but then we could get close and take it all in.  It is a painting which is difficult to view without emotion because it depicts the ravages of war in such an abstract way and in such an enormous size that it feels overwhelming.  One of the most interesting features of the room is along the back wall where there is a display of photos taken by Picasso’s girlfriend at the time he was painting it.  It shows his process, to a degree, as he changed his mind about several elements and it is fun to compare the photos to the finished painting.

This museum also houses some of the most famous Dali paintings, a beautiful courtyard with a Calder stabile and a covered atrium between the museum and library with the enormous Lichtenstein, “Brushstroke.”


Towards the end of our visit we got a little tired and decided to “interact” with the art:

ReinaSophia4                    ReinaSophia3

Bill decided to get into “Shout No. 7” by Antonio Saura, and I liked the way my outfit complimented Jose Guerrero’s “Green Encounter.”

DSC06881Lastly we enjoyed the Richard Serra “Equal – Parallel:  Guernica – Bengazi” which are just huge hunks of iron so indestructible they don’t have guards anywhere near them!

What a great first day in Madrid!  Some tapas and beers were definitely in order after all this art fun.

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Week 1 Abstract Painting Class – Color Wheel

Posted on July 20, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , , |


I started an Abstract Painting class at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center in Brookfield, Wisconsin last week.  We played with black squares and a circle to communicate words.  We looked at the color wheel and started quilt paintings by blending the different colors.  And here is my homework assignment, a color wheel.  It’s been about 30 years since I’ve made a color wheel and I think it had always been with watercolors before.  With this configuration I could use primary colors (red, yellow, blue) to create secondary colors (orange, green, violet,) tertiary colors (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet,) and quartenary colors (russet, buff, citron, sage, slate, and plum.)  The quartenary colors were new to me.  I was intrigued that you can get them by mixing the two adjacent colors or by using the closest outer triangle with a little of the opposite triangle (example:  russet = violet+orange OR russet = red + a little green!)

I was amazed that the 2 1/2 hour class flew by and I can’t wait to go back again this week.  I’ll post my completed quilt painting (I’m calling it that, but I’m trying to make it not look like a quilt!)

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Museum of Wisconsin Art

Posted on June 29, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun | Tags: , , , |

museum of wisconsin art

I visited the new Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, Wisconsin the other day.  I was quite impressed all around.  The architecture is beautiful with light streaming in this razor-sharp angle which holds these spectacular glass lanterns.  There were some startling things to me about this museum:

* When you pay to enter ($12 per person) you have automatically become a member with privileges to enter again for the rest of the year for free as many times as you want (brilliant!!)

*The museum, like all art museums, has way more material than it can possibly display at any one time.  The storage area, however, is behind glass where you can actually see the holdings in storage on a rotating basis.

*We were immediately invited back within a few days for an opening of an exhibit of artist John Steuart Curry’s works from the 1940s.  This event had live music, refreshments, some baby farm animals in the parking lot and a very interesting exhibit of works.  We attended the event and we had a very enjoyable time – all for free!  I was quite impressed that my glass of wine ($4) was served to me in an actual glass wineglass.  This seems more and more rare as we are usually drawn to the convenience of disposable plastic for such events which, in my opinion, spoils the wine so then I pass.  Kudos to MOWA for putting on such a great opening while being both environmentally friendly and food-snob friendly at the same time as they provided enjoyment and education.

If you have occasion to get to West Bend, Wisconsin, about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, I would say a visit to the Museum of Wisconsin Art is definitely worth the stop.  If you live in the area, it’s quite a boon to be able to enjoy it all year for the one-time fee.  For those of you coming in to the state to see the Calatrava architecture at the Milwaukee Art Museum, a little jaunt north would be a nice addition to your trip!

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Fascinated by a Skeleton

Posted on February 15, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , |


I was extremely fortunate – good timing and pricing on my side – to acquire a full human skeleton recently.  As a massage therapist and massage therapy educator I have been a student of human anatomy for many years now.  I thought I knew my stuff.

But now I have spent a few hours with this specimen because it was very dusty and in need of cleaning.  As I swiped over much of the surfaces of these bones with a swab soaked in hydrogen peroxide, I had a chance to fully examine a real skeleton from head to toe.DSC05904



I am humbled by the real thing.  These bones are such beautiful natural sculptures.  They are so much more intricate than any copy I’ve studied before.   It’s hard not to be moved in some fundamental way.

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New Year – Actually Doing It Already

Posted on January 12, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , |

deer drawing

I have wanted to draw more and use my kettlebells at least once a week.  So the time?  Where does it come from?  I’m going to try to get it from less blogging and time on facebook.  Also less shopping.  I find drawing about the most relaxing activity, but it does take effort, probably more than those other things that have been eating up my time.  Once I start, though, I’m absorbed so that’s the trick.  For now I’m going to try drawing on the days I don’t exercise.  That block of time will be for one or the other.  I’m going to see how it goes.

This deer needs a lot of work, but I see them almost daily very close to the house so I get some great shots of them from which I can work.  Since the landscape is pretty bleak right now they add some interest.  I love their ears!

By the way, the kettlebells have been used 2 weeks in a row.  Today was the first day for drawing in 2014.  We’ll see how long it lasts!

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