True to treating Miami as an exotic local, Michael and I took a salsa dancing lesson last night, and then, after dicing up the dance floor, we chopped up freshly dropped mangoes for a little home-made salsa a'la K Pasternack. (You will have to ask her for the recipe). Couldn't get enough of it!!!!
At www.apartyhall.com on SW 186th street by the turnpike, the cost was $15 for a single lesson, (cheaper bundles available). While Bobby worked with the beginners class, that was not so beginners, he assigned an instructor to teach Michael and I the basics. Manny was a superb instructor, he had us doing the cross body twirls before we knew what hit us. Michael and I laughed a WHOLE lot and have decided to try it again next week! Meanwhile we practice, practice, practice.
My aunt in Southampton just reminded me of how sweet it is to bring in fresh flowers and a handful of fresh veggies. That is the pure joy of summer (assuming you have access to a plot of land). I feel kind of far away from the rural country of my last home in NY. But in the city of Miami, in June, perhaps you might avoid your neighbors if you don't want mangoes! They are all over the place. And such a variety I could never have imagined. I can't wait for Fairchild's Mango Festival June 14 & 15th
Setting aside time each morning to journal. It's really a sketchbook. I think I have to spend at least 45 minutes at it, and use every thing at my fingertips and in my eyes as a resource.
Started with an old book in the library discard pile. I use leftover paint to "prime" a page , and if the collage gets thick, I rip out pages in between so the book will eventually lay flat again when closed.
Last night I checked out the Fulwood Press shop on NW 23rd Street. The place is run by Louis, a master printer with YEARS of experience. He was encouraging, insightful, helpful, and quite funny.
For $25 you walk in and can play on anything, from etching to mono-printing, from 6pm to midnight! Last night while I was there three others came in...Two were working on dry point and acid etchings.
I am used to roller presses, but I loved playing with the lake Erie 800 ton hydraulic press.
Since I hadn't been in a print shop in years, I started by mixing inks and working off a Plexiglas sheet, capturing ghost prints off the press. I really didn't have a preconceived idea, so these prints reflect my profound joy and gratitude for finding this place, and this time!
This guy, Gabriel, was also a first time player last night. His mono prints were off of cardboard, and very dramatic in nature. He is a video artist, but worked in Lithography at FIU where he graduated in 1996. I think he said he has a show in South Carolina coming up.
I have three days to get it done. It is to be given as a gift from my neighbor to her new husband on the eve of their wedding, which is in Ireland this weekend. The dog is his, and the cat is hers. The animals all keep wiggling on me- their tails going first one way and then the other. I had to move the moon to the other side from the initial sketch, and that, of course, changes the highlights and shadows. And the words!!!! She wants all the sounds...So much sound.
I was asked on the last day of school, to paint a portrait of the security guard's girlfriend by... Monday, the 25th. It's for her birthday. I've been so busy I only got to it now. Two versions are on the easel, but the one on the left is definitely better. (Doesn't the right one sag? I'm talking about the eyes!) The guard is Haitian so I hope he doesn't mind that I added a veve from Erzulie the voodoo goddess of Love. I might have to make it more bold and prominent in the good one.
Jo Davidson's 1938 bust of a frustrated 70 year old Barcelona man he ran into during the Spanish Civil War. It is called Refugee from Palencia, Old Castile. The civil war was the idealistic cause of the era and Jo was there capturing the major and minor (wannabee) players.
And Lucas Cranach the Elder's Portrait of Duke Henry the Devout of Saxony, 1528. I see it was a gift to the museum from Mrs. Irma N. Strauss in memoryof her husband, Jesse Isidor Strauss. Hmmm.
Two of my great grandfathers! I don't know if I can describe how humbled I feel to be visiting these works of art as an art teacher. I can see the touch of Jo on his bust. The surface is fairly frenzied with his imprints. Lucas seems only to have painted the face in his painting, and maybe the hands, of the Duke. The rest of the painting, such as the coat's fur collar and the olive background is fairly dead in treatment and most likely were done by assistants.
Not only is he the most awesome AP teacher's teacher, a table leader at the AP judging, and working a full 6 course teaching schedule, but Kevin is a diligent studio artist with a prolific output. Right now his work is on exhibition at the MOCAga. In addition he has a colorful glossy hardcover book that I just bought and just wait to devour. All the pieces were shot by Tom, of course.
It is a retrospective of sorts, with art pieces that sample from several different series. Most pervasive in all the work are the necktie shapes. As a child his grandfather told him to stand under a certain tree.
The tree made Kevin "feel weird". Then he was told that that tree was where black voters were hung by their neckties. It is a visceral experience that Kevin has carried through all the work. Another experience encorporated into the works is 911 and Katrina. Friends of his at ground zero the day of the attack described the flying sheet metal and tar paper. Most of Kevin's work is made of that material now. And a lot of the forms move in relation to the storm path of Hurricane Katrina.
With the somber basis for all the work, I was struck by the colorful treatment of the surfaces. It is very decorative and lively. A lot of the work reminded me of music. And the shaped constructions recalled Elizabeth Murray and Frank Stella. The work is lovely. There is something to be said for taking in the world's tragedies, digesting them, and serving up a palete of beauty.
Today we had a visit from the famed photographer Tom Meyer. He shoots a lot of artist's works and demonstrated the set up of a budget/cheap yet expert resulting shoot.
All the supplies he used are available at local hardware store. (white duct tape, map pins, Gater-board, tungsten utility bulbs, clamps, etc). This was perfect for us art teachers. We will have to shoot almost a hundred pieces before the AP judging. He told us how, when shooting flat stuff- like pastel pictures and glossy painted panels, to think like a pool player and angle the defusing foam boards to avoid hot spots and glare. And then make sure the lights aren't shining into the camera lens...which creates flare and "ghost spots".
The new toy we HAVE to have is a Pantone Huey device to calibrate our monitors so that what we see on our computer screens looks like the same thing the AP board sees on their screens! Imagine that! Some are on ebay for $60.