October 30, 2011

Up to date Spoutings about Ballet and Architecture in KC MO

I visited Kansas City, Missouri this month and was struck once again by the influence, salutation and importance of water in this mid-size American city. A city which is in the middle of vast prairies but actually settles into arching bluffs and glacier made hills. The confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers was what brought that region to the attention of early French trappers as early as 1714. The city, now known as Kansas City, began to arrange itself on those bluffs and ridges in 1838.
JC Nichols Memorial Fountain

Today Brush Creek is tamed and made people-useful in the beautiful Plaza area. The creek looks like a cement lined canal and when I was there, Bonfires were artfully arranged in the center of the canal in the shape of a long serpent. Bridges over the creek were closed to traffic and live music was performed while restaurants spilled out onto the streets closest to the Creek offering outdoor dining. Brush Creek is a tributary of the Blue River and becomes a part of the Missouri and then part of the watershed which is the Mississippi River.
Johanna http://nativemoments.blogspot.com 
KC plays homage to the water flowing through it by being a "city of fountains". It is second only to Rome, Italy, in the number of fountains erected. There are over 300 fountains. They can be found in parks, outside of buildings, shopping areas and marking the entry of neighborhoods.http://www.kcfountains.com/
Designed by Moshe Safdie
I was in KC MO to visit my daughter Johanna. I was also there to see the completed Kauffman Center for the Arts and to attend a brand new ballet. My daughter works as a costumer for the Kansas City Ballet. The ballet which was performed was the premier of the first ballet ever based on American literature. It was "Tom Sawyer", this piece of literature is based on events which happen in the small 19th c. town of Hannibal, Missouri. A town, novel and now ballet heavily influenced by the rolling Mississippi. So it was appropriate that Kansas City Missouri a city influenced also by the flow of water was able to premier this amazing event.
But first, the new building in which the ballet was performed also seemed to have a watery connection to my eyes. Because I think it looks like 2 giant conch shells left there in some primordial time to be repurposed into an Opera/Ballet Theatre and a Symphony Orchestral Theatre each nestled beside each other. See photos of these which my daughter took on her blog. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/us/kauffman-center-for-the-performing-arts-set-to-open-in-kansas-city.html , This is what I saw as I came to the Ballet performance.

To be in this brand new building was pretty exciting in this time of debt crisis. I love that private donors were the main donors for these buildings. 135 million came from the Muriel Kauffman fund. The city gave a parking garage. Now I think if you build it they will come. The horse shoe arrangement of Opera/ballet Theatre provides the sort of sight line an auditorium built for theatrical or symphonic performances cannot provide. We set high up in the balcony but easily felt an intimate of the performance. The sets were beautiful and minimal.  The simple cross beams which were raised and lowered to indicate the individual homes of Hannibal, the lanterns which were suspended in the Firefly scene and the spooky graveyard tombstones all created believable settings without taking away from the choreography, dancers and story.

Lobby at intermission

The music performed by the Kansas City Symphony and Choral group from the Liberty High School Concert Choir and composed by Maury Yeston was wonderful.  The costumes gave a sense of time and place and magic. They were primarily designed by Holly Hynes and put together by the wonderful costume department which includes my daughter. The company has been working on this premiere since January. Now that is while they have kept there regular performance schedule and moved to a new building.
Kudos to  Kansas City. Do read this review from the New York Times its a good read.

October 26, 2011

Two Views!

Just had to show you a photo of my back yard where I worked on a pastel of this view of my neighbors glorious red leaved tree.
               "Autumn, the year's 
last loveliest smile."                                                                                       
                      William Cullen Bryant

Below you can see what we have today here on the Front Range. It is down to the studio to paint in between knocking the snow off branches. Warm weather will be back again by the weekend.

Check out my new website, it is in process and is being 

created by my niece. What do you think? I am excited.

October 17, 2011

Raisin D'Etre

I  have been asked " What draws your interest when you decide to make a painting? ". I do know I am very interested in repeated patterns, light and color. I know  also that I love the challenge of creating the mood or temperament I felt when I saw something just out of the corner of my eye. I believe we see so many - honestly I don't have the words for it and that is why I paint it. I am a visualist.
For instance my husband and I were visiting friends near Crow, Oregon outside of Eugene. It is in the country and the air is full of moisture to my Coloradan nature. So we walk in the morning up this road, which we have often walked before. Each time I walk it, when I get to this bend in the road I begin to think about how and where, from which position could I paint it. This summer morning the sky is pink and the buildings are sinking into the moist grass. But most important is the sharp pungent odor of an herb. What is it- I wonder?And then my cooking sense turns on and I recognize it as the herb chamomile. Later when I am walking around my friend's pond I notice a field of wild chamomile growing. From those experiences which I carried back home to my studio, my memory, some photos and my desire to share came this painting.

"Chamomile Path"

If you can smell the chamomile and feel the moisture of that July dawn this painting is for sale at the AUM Gallery this weekend and until November 26th. The opening is 5:00 to 8:30 PM Friday, and I  look forward to seeing you there.

October 16, 2011

The True Size of Things

"The Goldenrod near the Garden Chair" 14 1/2" x 8"
This clear soft air of autumn has given me time to ruminate about this and that. One of those, thises or that's is how technology has made the relative size of stuff equal and has that affected our judgement or not. I thought of this when I reproduced this rather small plein aire painting I did of my friend's August garden. On the computer screen it suddenly had a larger presence. Then last week while I was visiting Fredricksburg, Texas I got to see Scott L. Christensens painting "Winter Light". It is 70" x 70" but when you look at it on the site of Insight Galleryhttp://www.insightgallery.com/searchresults.php?exhibitionId=18&start=10  it appears to be one painting among many. You cannot begin to be as amazed as I was at the sheer weight of the accomplishment of painting such a lush and fresh painting so large. The joy of that painting was certainly in the real seeing as opposed to the virtual seeing. You can see it again on Scott Christensen's web site http://www.christensenstudio.com/3/artist.asp?ArtistID=15825&Akey=TVKNT9F5 If you hit on Galleries it opens with "Winter Light" alone on the page. It is a treat to see.
I don't know quite where I am with this ruminating but perhaps a small orchestral crescendo should be played with paintings like "Winter Light". Or perhaps going to galleries and museums have real solid value and understanding toward accomplishment. I encourage you to get out and see real art whether small or large!


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