Friday, October 29, 2010

The end of Summer

This morning I woke up to Fall weather - 53 degrees instead of the 73 of yesterday. I am so happy I took a long walk through Central Park yesterday with my camera before my drawing class. There were so many people there - 2 women were actually painting! - and the ice rink was up and going strong and the leaves were changing and the sun was dropping. It is the most beautiful park - full of huge, mature trees, wide expanses of lawn and giant, hard, black rock formations. It is so fun to see it through 3 seasons!


Wednesday I walked to the Guggenheim. Again, I live on E 64th and it is on E. 89th - another 20 miles in the OTHER direction from Macy's. It is right on Fifth Avenue though and it is such a great walk! I go straight west from my apartment at the corner of 2nd and 64th and cross 3rd, Lexington, Park, and Madison and I hit Fifth. It takes me about 12 minutes - the blocks east and west are much, much longer than the blocks that go north and south (these shorter blocks are numbered like 64th and they are STREETS while the others are AVENUES and they tend to spell out the avenues - like Fifth). The closer you get to Fifth, the grander the 'mansions' - the ones I have included pictures of in earlier posts. Once you get to Fifth, you are on the east edge of Central Park (who's southern edge is on 59th) so you can walk all along Central Park - with more mansions and fancy schmancy apartment buildings on the other side. Up around 81st you pass the Metropolitan Art Museum, which is actually on the west side of FIFTH, so it takes a piece out of the Park. It is SO huge I am thinking I will need to buy a membership to that one so I can come and go as I please instead of trying to cram it all in in 1 visit. The problem is, the tickets to these places are like $18 so you don't just want to stop in for a minute. I pass the Met and keep walking to 89th and the Guggenheim.

This building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright clear back in 1959, so I can imagine what people thought of it then. Oops, I didn't get a photo of the outside, just the inside, but it's round and modern and white and 5 stories tall. On the inside, it is open clear to the ceiling and this beautiful skylight which serves as the only source of natural light in the place. You buy your expensive ticket, you grab a free (yea!) audio tour, you act cool by placing it around the back of your neck instead of perching it on top of your head and you set off on the 5 story ramp that winds all around the exterior walls where the art is placed. Near the top you wonder why your ankles hurt and then realize it's because they have been holding your body upright on a slope for the past several hours. I'm not sure Frank thought of this.

These museums have so much great art, these smaller ones must determine 'exhibitions' so that they can show a limited number that fit a certain topic. For this particular exhibition, the Guggenheim chose pieces that were made during WW I and shortly after to show how fascism dictated what could and couldn't be produced and which artist could and could not survive and then what they produced with their new found freedom after it was all over. Keep in mind, these are guys like Manet, Picasso and Leger so it includes some gorgeous, famous things - even a room for Corbusier, who designed furniture.

Two things are happening here. One is that I am falling more and more in love with Picasso, which sounds a bit trite and expected - I mean, could I not have found someone new and obscure and mysterious? The more work I see of his in person, the more I realize what a genius he was, why he IS so stinking famous, how varied his work is (heck, if you don't like this one, just wait...) and how prolific. The guy must have hundreds and hundreds of masterpieces in NYC alone. The second thing is that I am realizing the importance of being able to really LOOK at them in person. Small reproductions in books have nothing on the real thing.

Walking, walking, walking, walking

So walking I did. Tuesday I walked from my apartment on E. 64th St. to Macy's on 34th St. I think that's about 20 miles. It took me 7 hours, with some stopping, looking, exchanging all along the way. I would say I exhibited a lot of self control but when I get home and see what I already have and the very few things I bought - nah. I simply LOVE the walking around here. It took my legs and my feet a little getting used to but this will be one of the things I miss most about living here. Everything is SO accessible, it is SO easy to walk to mail a package, buy some cereal, jeans or a very expensive designer purse (unfortunately). I will have a few pair of new shoes and boots when I get home - and none of them will have high heels, believe me!

Here are a couple photos I took with my phone on the way
home that night. This is pretty typical for nights around here in the Fall - misty, humid but so very warm (I didn't even wear a sweater!). Oh, and if you're wondering about my hair, it remains straight and smooth - not a frizz in sight. Wow.

I am really sorry about the layout here. These photos have a mind of their own...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Next Sculpture Class

I got b
ack to NYC on Sunday and went to my Sculpture class on Monday night. This is the finished product after working on it 2 - 3 hours classes. It's better. It looks more like the guy but holy smoke, the DETAILS are so extremely important. The teacher pointed out that none of us got the distance from his bottom lip to his chin right (I mean that indentation UNDER his bottom lip). It went in much further than any of us made it and dangit, it's THESE details that really make it right. Not necessarily that it looks like the model, but that the form is right.

We started out this class with a handful of clay and we were supposed to make the model's head in our hand. It was fun! These things grow and grow - I need to start with the head about 1/3 the size smaller than it is so I can add everything ON it. I decided, since it's small to let this one dry and fire it - maybe I can bring it home as a momento!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nancy IN New York

Here I am again - Sunday night - and I flew back here today. I am dragging. I am not particularly excited to be here and am trying to figure out why. I spent the last week in Pasco working on plans to remodel the old Super Lube building but didn't get very far at all. I'm not sure what's happening with the architect, but she is taking forever to do anything and I was hoping to go home this past week and get things lined up to start tearing into it while I was gone. Now I am simply going to see how long it takes her to get me just a DRAWING of the outside so I can make up a 4'x8' sign board with the new exterior on it and continue to try to get someone to rent it seeing what it COULD look like. Probably a better idea.

Then I made the mistake of hearing about and checking out a monster of a house that was left half done that I had seen a year ago. It's about 20,000 square feet and the father, who was building it, died and left his 6 grown sons with the thing. A year ago, or more, they had visions of lots of money. Now, a year later, and no sale they are asking about $250,000 as is. Now THIS is a great deal and something that is so enticing to me - it would keep me busy for literally, YEARS. There is someone ahead of me interested and EVERYTHING in me says to forget it. I just finished MY house and I can finally relax, enjoy it and quit pouring money into it. I figure I can sell my house and simply spend what I get for my house on this one and be even. My house is in the perfect location and this one, though it has 5 acres, is not. No river in sight. But the chance to design and finish off 20,000 square feet and not have it cost any more than what I have now? Actually, 4,000 of that is a giant indoor swimming pool that needs tile work but everything else is there, so the house is only 16,000 and then I'd knock off half of the upstairs (there goes another 2,000). I mean, I'm down to 14,000 and STILL can't imagine how much it will cost to clean it. I can't help but imagine where my bed would be...

Then, I spent a lot of time with Flynn and Krista and Laynie, which is the best and went to dinner with my friend Marsha and I don't yell at Shawn nearly as much as I did before I left - life is GOOD at home! I'm so glad. My dogs were even great!

I know, when tomorrow comes and I've had a good night of sleep (which I'm sorely lacking) and it's time for my sculpture class and walking is the better part of the day and the opportunities of the Guggenheim and the Met (BOTH of which I have not even seen yet this trip) it will all come back. Why I'm here. I've got 4 uninterrupted weeks before heading to Nebraska for Thanksgiving. Then it's only 2 more weeks and classes end. Hmmm, that's not long at all. No time to complain!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nancy NOT in New York

I am home - Pasco - for a week. It was a good move in that I have a chance to do some work, see the dogs and SPREAD OUT! I think the things I most miss around here are: 1. The Sunsets. Holy smoke - no chance to SEE a sunset in NYC and it is one of the most wonderful things about where I live! 2. The Room. Holy Smoke - there's So Much Room here - from a house that's a thousand times the size of that apartment to the Yard to the View and Beyond! 3. My tendency to stay home - Holy Smoke, I work very hard at not having to go anywhere when I'm in Pasco. I work very hard at NOT staying home in NYC. I would miss too much, I would regret not spending every minute taking advantage of everything that is there. What does that say about Pasco? Hmmmmmm. There is Room, there is Peace and Quiet but there is not a darn thing to do.

If there's nothing to GO and DO, then I will STAY and DO. Yup. Isn't that the best thing? I can stay home and paint (but I like going to class because I feel that I learn so much and I can get better and better). I think I will work on that when I'm back home after the first of the year. I have the 509Artspace at Clearwater West that I will go back to working on the gathering of local artists. There is the best room for workshops and classes and I think I will try to put together at least one class a week for people to sign up and pay for (there are some excellent artists/teachers in the Tri-Cities) and that way I can continue to learn. It's also a great opportunity to build a 'community' where we can come together and DO something.

In the meantime, I will take full advantage of being home with the my kids, the dogs and the comfort of this great house. (Did I mention how COLD it is here?) How lucky am I that I can have the best of both worlds?

I can't help wishing for my own NYC apartment. I have to remember though, if I spent one week a month there, I'd have to spend at least $3,500 - $4,000 a month to rent one. That's CRAZY! It's sure nice to have a place where you can keep your toothbrush and pajamas, but that's too much of an extravagance. I could find a hotel and go back to that same hotel month after month (I could probably even get some great upgrades and a free night here or there) and STILL that'd cost far less than $4,000/month! Maybe I should do that for a while and then, if the stays in NYC get longer - it might be worth looking into. Dang. For now - I'll just enjoy what I'm doing. (Maybe I could rent out my apartment while I'm not there...)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Painting Class IV

I left Flynn & Krista to head to Oil Painting and there I spent the full 4 hours painting. I didn't take ONE break - this is such a huge canvas and there is so much to get done. As you can see, there is still bare canvas and much left to do but this was the last day to work on this painting. Darn.

Today I learned that not only was I supposed to start at one place on the outside of the 'focal point' to paint, but as I went, I was supposed to be VERY careful about the color, the intensity and the place I put the paint. I wasn't just supposed to start at the door, go to the floor, go to the rug, then to the model's foot, etc. - I was supposed to actually put the right paint down all along th
e way. I was just trying to get there - to the model. It's a hard thing to do. I ended up with empty spaces to go back and fill in with better detail - with what was actually THERE. I discovered it was in these details of what was actually there, that made the painting so interesting. I am thinking there shouldn't be a bit of painting that isn't beautiful to look at. I need about 6 weeks...

Flynn, Krista and Laynie

I have not posted for several days for good reason - actually, I can't think of a better one. Flynn, Krista and Laynie came to visit me here in NYC and got here on Weds. night - late. We got to bed late and Laynie woke up early so we were off with not a full amount of sleep behind us. We walked to Central Park, went to the zoo and the children's zoo, the Apple store, FAO Schwarz and pooped out so we walked home. I was so tired, I skipped my drawing class (ah, darn) but it was so worth it to go to sleep at 9! It was a beautiful Fall day but rain hit us later as we walked a block to a great Italian restaurant for dinner.

Friday we decided to head to the Museum of Natural History which was great fun! Laynie did great walking around all day - we even pushed it and headed to Grand Central Station for dinner and 'the sampling of the cupcakes'. If you are ever in Grand Central downstairs in the dining hall, head to the Magnolia Bakery - their stuff won hands down in our cupcake contest! Laynie is sleeping with me on the futon, which makes for some interesting nights but she did especially well last night and it's SO stinkin' fun waking up and seeing that adorable little face so close to mine!
Saturday we had a late start, found a great bagel place, a Starbucks' and a Gap, went back to the apartment where I gathered up my painting class stuff and off I went for 6 hours of that. Flynn and family headed to Times Square and Rockafeller Center and we met up for dinner just a block away at the Asian Grill which is famous for their Phad Thai - $9.00 and it was GREAT! Laynie ate more of that than I've seen her eat the entire trip! She is laying in bed in the dark, next to Flynn at this moment talking to herself to try to stay awake - then I hear, 'Hi Grandma" and it's really, really hard not to turn to her and smile. I must not look. We spend the rest of the evening in the dark being very quiet hoping not to wake her up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On a Walk

On the way to Central Park I wanted to get a photo of the outside of the Frick mansion and couldn't resist this one of the dogs...

Tonight I went to Rotary for the first time since I got here. It was SO different! Their club has TWENTY (20) members - total! There were 12 people there and 3 of us were guests! They didn't have a speaker scheduled so we just had a nice dinner and chatted away. The other 2 guests were from Brazil - the mom was a Rotarian and she brought her daughter. It was very pleasant and I look forward to going again in 2 weeks because their club only meets every other week.

I also would like to share some photos of mansions just off Fifth Avenue. These are beautiful buildings worth $5-$10 million (okay, who knows the upside?) but this is probably 68th or something - each street off of Fifth looks like this (at least on the upper east side)!

Central Park

This will be a quick one but I got some of the most beautiful photos of Central Park today thanks to Hollywood! I will include a couple photos of 2 obviously famous actors as they are filming on the 'mall' at Central Park. They added some 'smoke' for mystery I suppose but MAN - did it ever make for some gorgeous shots! Unfortunately, I entered the park with a dead battery but I managed to grab a few!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Change of Heart

NYC is shopping and fashion and Fifth Avenue and flagship stores and major designers and it is a place where you feel out of place in jeans - let alone a pair of sweatpants (oh no, they must be Lululemon black work out pants - with a yoga mat strung across your back). For the second day in a row I went shopping. I missed Macy's on Sunday and I have this coupon... I really need this blanket and figure, heck, 20% off a blanket, and I KNOW they have them. It was Columbus Day and that means SALE and the place was absolutely crazy. At first I could not imagine all that STUFF but then I realized there are a heck of a lot of people here frantically buying it all and I don't think they'd like to hear 'we're out of that' much around here. Which is EXACTLY what I heard over and over again with every darling boot I found to try on (30% OFF!). The nicest part of the day was lunch on the 8th floor - butternut squash and apple soup with an asiago cheese bagel - while I watched the havoc all around me. Empty handed (ME - at a Macy's sale) I headed home to lay down before my sculpture class. I threw on not only a pair of jeans (actually, I already had those on) a long sleeve t-shirt and flip flops and felt like a true renegade walking to class. Or an artist.

This sculpture class is a little confusing. On the surface, it all seems so easy - I mean, put a little blob of clay here and take a little blob of clay off there and make a head. It does take 3 hours to get to the 'head' part and when you get there you realize his chin juts out too far so you scrape off his face and then you realize his forehead is higher so you pile more clay on the top of his head. I believe, what I am learning, is the relationship of things to each other. If his ear is this far from the back of his head, it needs to be this far to his eye. Funny, but that is what I am learning in every single one of these stinkin' classes. My oil painting teacher asked us to start somewhere else in the room - not with the model - and use the distance from the wall to the door to the floor to the rug to the vase to his foot, etc. to see the relationship of everything to each other and get those distances right to get all the proportions right. I think it just takes longer sculpting a head than drawing a head because there are so many SIDES! I still struggle to visualize the model's head volume-wise like my drawing teacher is trying to teach us. It is a different way of seeing and I understand what it would be like to be able to see space around you in the way he is encouraging us to do but it's tough. We usually don't spend so much time measuring distances as we flit around all day.

It is a little hard to believe that I will be in Pasco and not at sculpture class next Monday - it's already been a month! The school has some fund raiser all week and there aren't any classes so I am heading home for a week. Flynn asked if I was moving here and I pretty easily told him no, I'm coming home. I will so much miss all the walking. Around here, if you want something, you walk there and I have lost a few pounds and my legs ache but I have found I just have to wear low heeled shoes that fit well (I will fill a suitcase with shoes not worn to take home with me next week - and there I was, buying more!). I will also, so much, miss walking to these fabulous museums and staying there until my feet hurt. I will miss Central Park and all the fun stores and the yummy pizza and bagels and even the subway where it is so darn convenient to hop on and save yourself a few miles of walking! It is also really fun to wander thru the different areas of Manhattan and try to time the lights at the crosswalks and be the first one to step out (that is so weird that you feel so triumphant that you timed THAT one so perfectly and beat everyone else to it!). I'm sure this list will continue to grow but I miss my house - I need a little more room if I'm actually going to live here - I am so squished! And that would mean expensive and I don't want to be so far from Flynn & Krista and Laynie - I really, really miss them. If only I could have every single one of my kids so close as they are where I could just drop in for a minute any time and I could babysit for a few hours and give them back and we could have dinner together once a week and they could cook... Hmmm, I'm sounding a little lonely! Yep - can't wait for F&K&L to get here tomorrow night! Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Shopping

I headed out today to buy a blanket. This apartment came with one thing besides a sheet on the bed - a big, heavy, fat, hot comforter. When I first got here, I took the comforter out of the cover and just used that - basically, 2 sheets sewed together. Now, it's cool enough out that I switched it for the comforter minus the cover. I have to leave the window open enough to cool the place down to be able to use it, but Flynn & Krista are coming in a couple days so that means someone will be cold and someone will be hot. Maybe, if they are reading this, they will find room in their bags to bring a blanket with them...

I left at 11:00, walked 3 blocks and found a purse. After much consideration, I walked out without it. It didn't take long before I found this incredible long, curly haired sheep vest - 10% off! When that didn't clinch the sale, the girl pulled out a $50 coupon. Again - mercy! - I walked out without it. Five hours later, I had returned more than I bought and I was really really hungry, so I went home at 7:00 and ate cold chicken and cole slaw leftovers in my fridge - heck! I didn't even buy dinner! I am awesome.

I never did find a blanket. Hot again tonight and I'll try again tomorrow...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oil Painting Class III

I was really concerned last night (Friday) because we are supposed to bring a new canvas to Painting Class today. This is quite a feat, if you remember 2 weeks ago when I carried one for quite a while through the streets (along with my rolling Zuka COVERED with large sketchbooks and pallets). I had a plan - I even wrote it all down, timing, directions, etc. - laid out my clothes for the morning and tried to sleep.

It wasn't quite that bad - I slept fine - but I left my apartment at 10:30 to haul my Zuka (it's just a little fancy rolling suitcase with my paints, brushes, etc. in it) straight to school. Now, class doesn't start until 2 but I had a schedule. I am not sure why an 'M' train was in my 'F' train slot, but I figured I'd get on it anyway. Bad idea - they have letters on them for a reason. So I got off at the next stop, walked a ways to my 'F' train and got on the right one this time. Don't mess with the system. I ended up at school on schedule, somehow and dropped my Zuka off instead of hauling it around. They don't like you to do things like this at that school - it's very small and space is at a premium - but if I am the only one doing it... I was so early, I stopped and ate a cinnamon scone and a glass of fresh squeezed OJ. I would have taken them with me but the top of the cup had no place for a straw and that could mean a disaster, so I took some deep breaths, sat and ate. I walked 15 minutes to Dick Blick and bought a canvas - that took 5 minutes - and then walked back to school. Hmmm, still plenty of time. Then I took off for Utrecht Art Supply and got a refund on the 3 4' canvases I purchased from them 2 weeks ago but had not picked up. The ones at Utrecht costs $104 and the ones at Blick cost $55. That took another 20 minutes and it was noon. Hmmmm, 2 hours early for school. So I went shopping.

When it was time for school, I took my Benetton purchase, and headed back, early enough to set myself up in a nice spot with plenty of room - until everyone else shows up and I have no room left to back up to survey my painting. It's 4' square - it's HUGE - you HAVE to step back, it's like painting on top of the opposite of a pin. I had some time to run upstairs, pull my last painting down and take a photo of it, put it back and be back in my spot in time for the teacher to start. I am going to include a photo of this first painting. Mom and Dad - you may not want to look (I hope I'm not too late) but I can see many flaws but then, it was 2 class periods of 4 hours each and I'm not done. I'll bring it home and maybe work on it some more or start again.

I am truly hesitant about including the photo I took of the painting I did today. I am having a great time with the format but there are some glaring problems and I am a bit embarrassed but I will work on it again next week and try to fix them. My drawing teacher would have my head... Hey - if I could step back far enough to see the stupid thing I could have caught these things!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Drawing Class III

I am thinking that I need an editor - I caught the beginning, 'So...' on this one but man, it was hard to do without...

I went back to the Frick and bought the book, "The Spanish Manner - Drawings from Ribera to Goya" because it is FILLED with all the drawings in the exhibition and they are fabulous. I'm going to just empty off this little desk of mine that looks out my large, one and only window to the building across the street (with the constant street traffic noise below) and copy them, one by one. It'll reinforce what I am learning in my drawing class, it will be excellent practice and it will keep me occupied instead of wandering the streets of this tempting shop-laden town.

I will include some drawings from last weeks' class because I went through my sketches before class last night and took photos. They are all very loose and flowy and last night, the teacher said he is trying to get us to look at our surroundings tactily instead of literally because it is the emotion of a drawing that draws people in - not the outline of it. (Great examples in this Spanish drawers book.) I am struggling but slowly catching on to the idea that no 2 points are ever on the same plane and if they look like they are - move them. Is it coming toward you or away from you? This variety of points in space will create a tension that pushes and pulls and creates the movement and the emotion instead of it being stagnant and flat.

I think I am doing it on my sketches but the teacher comes and says, 'no'. Finally, he said, 'you are getting it'. I about jumped in the air. Wait, I think I did - at least pumped my fist and cried, "YES!". I love this man. He is so calm and quiet and learned and you KNOW we are just scratching the surface of what this man understands so completely. He is trying to get us to see differently - to see things in space, in volume, on planes or plains, and recognize the tension created from the lines pushing in and pulling out of the model. We had to go back to drawing the figure, making sure we had the points on different planes before we could go on to the lines around the figure. We are all slow. I may never get it but I am getting closer.

Yesterday, in all my running around, I stopped for a salad. They are really yummy around here and everyone does it the same way. You choose your bowl of greens (my favorite is spinach) which they dump into a big stainless steel bowl. Then you tell them what to throw in it - tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, peas, mozzarella cheese - then they toss it all with your choice of dressing (basalmic and oil) and stick it back in the greens container they started out with. About $7.50 later - your favorite salad! Add a toasted cinnamon raisson (ah, come on - how do you spell raison?) bagel with walnut raison cream cheese and a large cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (for another $7.50) and you've got the perfect meal! Yum!