Post Humous Portraiture and Epitaphs at the American Folk Art Museum

In search of some quilt inspiration, I decided to visit the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. I hadn't been in many years, in fact, the last time I was there it was located next to the MOMA. Turns out the new space is much smaller than the last, and there were only two exhibits on display. Also, I was wrong to assume that they'd have quilts on display!

The first exhibit I saw was called Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America. It was extremely depressing, but somehow I was compelled to keep looking. The portraits were mainly of children, rendered as they would have been in life. What I found most interesting were the various toys, objects and flowers they were pictured with, and attempting to interpret their meanings (before reading the accompanying description). Some of the paintings for instance, had a piece of dangling cut thread or unspooled thread. In my mind, I've always associated thread with repair and healing, but in these paintings it represented a life cut short.  

The second exhibit was the epitaph project. It was basically a singular blackboard in the shape of a tombstone with some chalk set nearby. Visitors were invited to write their own epitaph, which I did after viewing the posthumous portraits of children. Even without a post-viewing heavy heart, I would have written this....

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It's just the first thing that sprang into my mind.  

After that I NEEDED to go to the gift shop. Had to perk myself up, plus, I never miss a museum gift shop - I look forward to them almost as much as the exhibits themselves. Bought myself a little book called The Language and Sentiment of Flowers. Originally published in Victorian times, it's a dictionary (more like a listing) of flowers and their meaning. In those stuffy times, rather than speak their feelings, suitors gave flower arrangements which the women would then interpret - all through the use of this book. (Looks like we're coming full circle with the use of emojis.) Although I'm all for expressing yourself with words, as an illustrator I can't resist the idea of a visual language.... may have to work this into my illustration somehow!

 

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A LOOK BACK: Grayscale Series

This little series of drawings was a sophomore year assignment when I was a student at RISD - interior scenes of the house I was living in at the time. I love working in black and white and shades of gray, so comfortable and easy. I guess I think in black and white.

Watercolor Painting a Day - Day 5

This is the 5th day of my "watercolor-a-day" challenge, the theme of which is 'inspired by architecture'... but this painting has a second source of inspiration.

I was in temple services the other day for Yom Kippur, and one of my boys was bored out of his mind. I searched through my pocketbook for something he could entertain himself with, and found our High Holiday Pass (a small rectangular piece of paper).. In the past, he would fold origami for hours at a time, so I thought he might enjoy playing around with it. He made some sort of expanded pocket that looks a bit like the one below (which I came home and folded out of graph paper). I was inspired by his little paper folding because it brought to mind those amazing models that architects make of their building designs. I liked the idea of using graph paper (rather than our temple pass) because the lines help define the form. 

Tomorrow I'd like to do the same sort of thing, but with the addition of house parts like doors, windows, stairs - all that good stuff.

 

 Day 5

Day 5

Watercolor Painting a Day - Day 3

I like this color combo, may use again tomorrow... but I think Stair Land looks a bit sterile. Guess it needs a little park space like they have in the city - a couple trees and a bench in between some tall buildings. I love those spaces when I find them. I'm the person you'll find sitting on the bench, with my ice coffee and sketchbook. 

 Day 3

Day 3

Watercolor Painting a Day - Day 2

This is really fun. Lately I've been LOVING watercolor, so the idea of making a quick painting every day is very appealing. If nothing else gets done, at least I've had about a half hour of peace in my studio. I especially love working with a limited color palette. I like to have a dark, medium and light color, and sometimes throw in black as well. Looking forward to tomorrow!

 Day 2

Day 2

Watercolor Painting a Day - Day 1

We're doing construction on the house and have been living here while it's built around us. I've never been that into drawing architecture, but lately it's been growing on me and working it's way into my sketchbook.

Since today starts a new month, I thought I'd give myself one of those daily sketchbook challenges that I tried a while back (but never reached the end of the month). This time I'm hopeful that I'll stick to it! I've given myself a theme - houses, or house parts, or anything architectural that inspires me. One a day.

I've started off with my house. It's not my house EXACTLY, because this is supposed to be fun. So I guess I should say that my house is the starting point, and this is where I went with it....

 Day 1 - My house

Day 1 - My house

Water Color Paintings

I was on the Cape this past week and had some amazing downtime. I mostly collected and drew on the smooth, oval rocks I found on the beach, but also found some time to paint. My friend Tina gave me a cute little water color  pad of blank postcards. I found the  small size of the paper to be somewhat liberating. Each painting was so quick, I had no time to stop and judge... can you feel my peace? xo v