Wednesday, January 2, 2019

31 days of posts Print making at the art museum

We went to the Denver art museum yesterday afternoon. What a hassle to get there. It's okay but nothing compared to the National Gallery of Art... it's hard not to compare them since we spent the last 24 years going to the National.... I know this is our new normal.
thick fibers woven
That said, it was fun to see a new museum. While DH waited in the long line (at 2:30 PM for Pete's sake! I thought we'd be the only people still buying entrances) I looked around the shop. It's a good shop for artistic gifts.

They had Chilhuly glass chandeliers just hanging in there. Not show cased or spotlit...and these are scarves for sale.I wanted this cool flexible bracelet but the catch kept popping open...
I bought nothing... whew! 
The day before I went to the local quilt shop sale, and purchased 6 yards of various prints averaging $4 a yard. As if I needed any more fabric... only how can a quilter/collector resist that price??? 
a sketch of faces before doing the etching  No I'm not touching it! It's about 3" X 4"
We took our time going through the Rembrandt exhibit, most of which was from the collection of France (originally Louis the 16th before the revolution) I learned so much about printmaking, and about the artistic journey of one man in 1600's Holland.
tiny and detailed, lines etched through wax, then acid poured in to etch the metal
There are people who say an artist should only work in one medium, and style. Bosh! I have always careened from one form to another and each informs the others. I went through a doll making phase and learned to paint faces. Then a watercolor phase that led to fabric painting... beading (still firmly in that) that led to embellishments, knitting, weaving, macrame and pottery, silk painting, photography, languages, cross stitch and embroidery (still enjoy that) and well you get the idea. 
Rembrandt did prints. He also did pen and ink drawings, oil paintings, and three forms of printmaking all at the same time with the same composition. He might even make a tiny 2" x 3" copper plate, cover with wax, use a tiny stylus to etch itty bitty lines to create the small detailed portrait, pull a print, then correct the plate, pull #2, correct, pull #3 etc til he was satisfied with the piece. 
the start to a 17th century joke??
He must have worked non stop throughout his life as he left an enormous body of work. It was fascinating to see the same composition done by sketch, oil paint, etching, printing, etc. hanging side by side. And so very tiny and detailed. I began to wonder if his eyes were those of eagles not older humans like mine. 

Did he have a wife and life? He must have been obsessed with art. He was apparently really good at self marketing as well, and business of art. I feel good at making art but not so good at marketing my work. 

They gave us sheets of magnifiers to better see the tiny lines he etched. I'd look at a piece, see a vague landscape, then see tiny dogs and deer, hairs, when I looked through the magnifiers. 
I liked this Native American woman's art
We visited the hands on area after, to try our hand at print making.

note to self: Next time reverse the word's letters
Luckily there were children there to explain the process to me. I did a very simple hand with spiral, and a word. Forgot to reverse the word so that when I spread a thin amount of paint over the styrofoam stamp I got an abstract print of a word.
Drew's print, upside down because I think it's cool this way
 Drew's etching was lovely, tiny thin repeating lines to make a pine tree and fence. I might frame that.
the way he meant it to be
It certainly made me want to try my hand with stamp making now. We are always learning. How you apply the ink/paint makes a major difference in the image. Rembrandt inked his plate so that ink filled the tiny grooves and wiped off the surface ink. Our prints are the opposite, ink on flat side not in etched grooves.
I once made a baking tray of gelatin,  to make  monoprints on fabric and loved what came out... I hope I locate those this year.
After the print making we walked through the other floors for an overview of permanent exhibits. 
Interesting mix. I liked the interactive nature of some areas... encouraging us to try our hands. A mother and son were at an easel, drawing the horses here.
There is a Dior exhibit up til March, so we decided to return to see that with fresh eyes. It interested me to see a few peacocks among those of us dressed comfortably for 20F weather... those tall women with bored faces, clacking along in heels on hard floors, draped in scarves and designer clothing, hair and make-up done. They would sweep past me as if I were a squirrel in the park. Not looking at me, not noticing they shoved past a human, bored look in their eyes. 
As a sociologist, it intrigued me. They had more important things to do than notice mere older women in stretch chords. Or so it seemed to me.
I did not feel less than, I merely observed behavior... from more than one fashionista there.
ancient pot with flamingos painted on the neck

Isn't that grand!!!
Sometime at the 5:30 mark, my eyes were full. I said, uncharacteristically (I stay til the end, ignoring physical needs) I said, "I'm tired... let's go and see more next time" so we made our way back to the parking lot and out of the city one more time. The drive was stressful to me, but we followed the breadcrumbs back to our suburb and our quiet house with the poodle waiting for us. 



PaintedThread said...

Neat stuff. I love places that have hands-on play areas.

Sara said...

I think that was fascinating, especially the hands on print making activity. How fun! I used to do a lot of pen and ink drawing, but totally lost interest in it. My youngest daughter has one of old drawings framed and hanging in her house. I'm not sure any others survived.

Mary in Peoria Handmade said...

Thank you for taking us on this journey. I almost felt tired and ready to go home too. HaHa. The exhibits were so cool but it can be exhausting. Rembrandt sounds so interesting. I hope to see one of his exhibits here someday.

Mary in Peoria Handmade said...

Thank you for taking us on this journey!

Sandee said...

Sounds like it was difficult all around and at 2:30 in the afternoon. I did like the one piece with the lady in high heels. That had to be difficult to make.

Have a fabulous day and rest of the week. Scritches to Milo. ♥

sonja said...

Yes, thanks for word painting as well as the visual ones. Neat observations, neat hands on printing, too! Oh, i bought a sketch journal at the gift shop last time i went to the contemporary museum in hono, that had a cover of just such a horse on the clear cover! At 2:30 in the afternoon i am usually ready for a piece of chocolate or a nap. Now i have to go look up the woman's name that creates the wirey horses!!

Tails Around the Ranch said...

The Dior exhibit is a big deal and the first major retrospective ever to be put on display in the U.S. and it will offer a look, played out across 15 different sections of the temporary gallery. Should be quite the deal.

Jeanna said...

I can identify with moving from a bigger city to a smaller one but on a much smaller scale than you. You went from D.C. to Denver? That would make a good podcast or YouTube channel. The only thing I really missed when I lived in La Crosse was a decent hair stylist, but then again I still don't have a one. I'm just letting this mess grow in the hopes it will provide me some warmth in the winter.
Nice museum photos, that's not easy to do. The woven fibers piece smacks of The Wizard of Oz.

DianeLoves2Quilt said...

Thanks for the tour. I love Chihuly glass. Seattle has a great collection of it in a museum near the space needle see
I find it interesting what catches other people's eye in a museum. I too liked those bracelets and necklaces. Dan Klennert does metal sculptures like those horse ones. There is an outdoor display near Mount Rainier. (see

Claudya said...

Wow, thank you for taking me along. I love the way you write.