November 24, 2009


New crayon boxes at the beginning of the school year were filled with anticipation. All those cool colors, did you want to have magenta and teal crayons or a red! The fun of looking forward to all the possible pictures that would be produced in the future. I actually, must confess to looking forward to using brown.

Why!! because when I used brown the most, it meant it was time to draw Pilgrims and practice making mysterious reaching tree branches. Did I mention I got to make Turkeys. I loved designing their feathers.

Now I have seen " Wild Turkey!" by James Audubon and my multi-colored birds need a little more refining.

When I finally saw Claude Monet's "Les Dindons" I thought them beautiful but he was
definitely missing my
brown crayon. Monet's turkeys are living the cultured life on the lawn of his pink home in Giverny.

These lovely brown birds are the type that could make Ben Franklin believe they should be our National Bird.  Here's to BROWN and childish anticipation for we are beginning the season of family fun, hope and dreams!

November 21, 2009

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato More!

I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving and thinking of a Menu. Of course potatoes are in the mix and lucky for me I have plenty of potatoes after my trip to the San Luis Valley in early October. Now I know that Colorado is the third largest producer of potatoes in the USA, also that they grow a variety of potatoes, Russets, Yukons, Butterballs and a host with Colorado placenames.

The San Luis Valley is at 7600 ft and is surrounded by mountains which reach 14,000 ft. Its a beautiful valley and potatoes were grown as a crop starting in 1875. This makes it one of the earliest potato growing areas in the States. The whole time we were being toured through potato fields and observing the sorting and processing of the potatoes I was recalling Vincent Van Gogh's "The Potato Eaters".
It ran through my mind like a melody which gets stuck and won't let go.

In 1885 Van Gogh painted "The Potato Eaters", this was 10 years after potatoes were grown as a crop in the San Luis Valley. When I got back I looked again at this painting and discovered the blog, which I have listed in my blog list. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam has been posting these blogs with regularity this year based on Van Goghs writing. The last three posts have been especially interesting, one on color creating change,drawing etc.

As I roast, mash and cream my potatoes I will be both thinking of Van Gogh and remembering a beautiful high mountain valley.

November 16, 2009

Falling/Seeking/Finding Autumn Colors

"October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky;November the later twilight." Henry David Thoreau

I had an interesting find in September. I was anticipating the colors of a Colorado fall, the leaves had begun early to turn their glorious yellows in the mountains. I was waiting to see the beauty of the colorful fall that was too come down here on the high plains. I found a book entitled "Autumnal Tints" by Henry David Thoreau. The book was written in 1862 and I read it looking forward to yellows, oranges and yes a few reds. But then we had early frosts and 18 inches of snow. Fall was hurried along and while other places at lower elevations had a slow langorous drift of color our leaves plummeted to the ground and were covered by snow.

I found the colors I was seeking but I found them INSIDE. I wrote in my October 14th blog, "Interior Twists and Turns" about the arrival of the artwork of Nigerian artist El Anatsui at the Denver Art Museum. This piece is part of the exhibit "Embrace" which includes 17 artists work which is site specific. The artwork which you can see being prepared for hanging in my former blog is now it its full glory.

It is an exciting large drift of metallic cloth made from recycled foil from beer bottles and caps, entitled "Rain Has No Father". You can see the influence of Adinkra cloth and Nigerian weaving on this current work.
Last week while walking around a corner at the Kemper Contemporary Museum in Kansas City I was as delighted as if I had stumbled upon the sight of a red leafed maple tree.

These are two works of art, in front is a piece by John Chamberlain. I believe it is "Apparently Offfspring"1992. The painting behind it is by Friedl Dzubas, "Augenblick", 1986.
My eyes finally experienced the dazzlement I was longing for this fall.


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