Getting back to art
Starting some DIY projects
My adorable fur babies
Walks in the park
An inspiring husband
A peaceful life
What are you grateful for today?
Getting back to art
Starting some DIY projects
My adorable fur babies
Walks in the park
An inspiring husband
A peaceful life
What are you grateful for today?
Those of you who have been here before know that I’m a regular old bookworm. I love reading, I’m passionate about books, and my biggest pet peeve is a badly-edited book. But, what does that have to do with altered books? And, some of you might be wondering, what are altered books anyway?
Well, an altered book is a piece of art created from an existing book that has been transformed by painting, collage, tearing, cutting, or any creative means. Some artists use a theme for their books others don’t bother with themes and some use old books to create art journals. The possibilities are endless.
Those of you who know me and who have followed my blog long enough would know that spirituality is a big part of my life. I believe in taking regular me time, in meditating, and in being creative – be it through art or photography, writing or cooking.
In the busyness of daily life, though, it is easy to let me time slide. But life, it can be simple again. Honest!
Just give yourself permission to take a break and play.
And what better way to do it than by using art and journaling as a means to relax and comfort yourself and to get grounded while dealing with the craziness of every-day living?Continue reading
I wish I could live in a cottage by the lake,
read, dream, garden, potter around.
I wish I could spend my time
painting, photographing, writing, cooking.
I wish I was surrounded by friends and loved ones,
talking, sharing, communing.
I wish life was simpler,
relaxed, carefree, joyful, abundant.
What do you wish for?
New York City is home to one of the most vibrant art scenes in the world. From the brilliant graffiti at SoHo to the many art galleries dotting Chelsea and the sheer number of museums across the city, art lovers are spoilt for choice. So when I was planning my trip, I knew I had to have some kind of a shortlist in place, or I’d probably go museum-happy!
The Frick Collection | Metropolitan Museum of Art | Solomon R. Guggenheim | The Museum of the American Indian | Madame Tussauds | Museum of Sex
First up was The Frick Collection. Founded by Pittsburgh coke and steel industrialist Henry Clay Frick, who bequeathed his New York residence and most of his art collection after his death, the museum has an excellent collection of early Italian gold-ground devotional paintings. Most of these are small panels depicting scenes from the Bible and from Jesus’ life, including Cimabue’s The Flagellation of Christ, Barna di Siena’s Christ Bearing the Cross, with a Dominican Friar and El Grecko’s Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple. Although some of these were quite interesting, and a lot were by painters I hadn’t even heard of, this style of paintings doesn’t interest me much. After a quick stroll through that room, I moved on to the Boucher Room.
This breathtaking room originally served as Mrs. Frick’s sitting room. Hanging on the walls are paintings by François Boucher, complemented with groupings of decorative art objects, including Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain, a writing table by Riesener and an elaborate dressing table by Carlin. And though this room was jaw-droopingly beautiful, I wonder just how comfortable it would have been in day-to-day usage. Surrounded by such exquisite works of art, wouldn’t you always be afraid of spilling or breaking something?
The other room that knocked the breath out of my lungs was the Fragonard Room. The dominant feature is The Progress of Love ensemble, which includes six floor-to-ceiling canvases — The Pursuit, The Meeting, The Lover Crowned, Love Letters, Love Triumphant and Reverie — four overdoors, and four slender panels of hollyhocks. For a while, I was dumb founded, my mind went blank, and my heart very nearly stopped beating. These were paintings that I had gazed at for hours in books. To imagine someone once having lived surrounded by these, and to be actually standing before the original canvases, was almost unbelievable.
The museum boasts other masterpieces such as Giovanni Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert, Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid, Degas’ The Rehearsal, and Monet’s Vétheuil in Winter; as well as a beautiful collection of sculpture, furniture and brick-a-brac. Overall, the best thing about visiting The Frick Collection is that it feels like you’re visiting someone’s tastefully done up private home with an excellent collection of artwork, sculpture and furniture that you can see in a couple of hours without getting overwhelmed.
Contrast this with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, arguably New York’s largest museum. Spread over more than 7 square miles and home to over 3 million works of art, you’ll need at least a week (if not more) to look at everything on offer. If you’re a tourist, and an international one at that, chances are you won’t have that kind of time. To squeeze everything into one day, the only piece of advice I can give you is this: plan beforehand.
Before I even booked my tickets to New York, I had started listing and refining the galleries that I absolutely had to see. I started with a list that was a mile long. But when I actually reached the Met and took in its sheer size, that list quickly dwindled to two, maybe three departments that I had to see or I would cry. These included the Egyptian collection and the famed Temple of Dendur, the European masters, and the impressionists.
Of course, I couldn’t just go directly to those areas. That would be sacrilege! I spent a lot of time gawking at the European and Greek sculpture and sighing over the gorgeous rooms – like the English State Bedroom, Wainscoting from the Chapel of the Château de La Bastie d’Urfé, and The Lansdowne Room – that have been recreated within the Met. I took a quick trot through the arms and armory section, ran through (yes, ran) the Japanese room. I also managed to squeeze in some Islamic art, American stained glass and pottery along the way.
I know there’s a lot at the Met that I did not see, but some of it was closed, and some of it was uninteresting for me. The opportunity to see canvases by some of my favorite painters, to walk through the Temple of Dendur, examine some fine Egyptian artifacts up close and personal…to just be at the Met, was enough. Of course, I’d better start making a list of the other galleries that I would love to see if I do go back to New York!
Speaking of European masters, the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s Tannhauser collection, which includes works by Pissaro, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet and Picasso, was the main deciding factor for its inclusion on my list of museums to visit. However, the collection is housed in one largish room and has only a limited number of paintings on view. Apparently, the Guggenheim never puts its entire collection on display, instead letting out most of its space to showcase the works of different artists.
During my visit to New York, most of the museum was given over to the Lee Ufran: Marking Infinity exhibit. Some of the pieces on display were interesting, but most of them left me unmoved. There were multiple canvases with one line painted either horizontally or vertically, in the middle of the canvas or on the side. It apparently shows the passage of time. But anyone – and I mean even my 5-year old niece – could have painted that line across a canvas and passed it off as the passage of time. I mean, really?
There were also numerous installations of boulders and metal sheets in different groupings and placements, boulders with cotton, with wire…I heard the audio commentaries on the pieces, but I still couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to pay good money to see something like this. Call me an ignoramus if you must, but I do not understand modern art. End of topic.
And so, when I came home after that visit, I moaned and groaned about the whole experience. And the wee sis made me strike MoMA off the list, saying that’s a lot more of the same stuff. I now think it might have been a mistake to not see MoMA, but I was running out of time, and didn’t want to waste money and time to go through another set of canvases and installations that I just wouldn’t get.
Far removed from the heady world of classical paintings is The Museum of the American Indian. The museum is housed in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, which is rich in architectural detail and is one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture in New York. At the main entrance are four huge sculptures of seated female figures representing America, Asia, Europe and Africa – the major trading partners of the US. Above the columns of the main facade are 12 statues representing the sea powers of Europe and the Mediterranean, while above the main-floor windows are sculptures representing the different races.
The exterior elegance does little to prepare you for the gorgeous interiors. The rotunda dome in the main lobby is decorated with two series of murals – one depicting early sea explorers and the other tracing the course of a ship entering the New York harbor. We scheduled our visit to coincide with the Building Tours (45 min.–1 hr. Monday & Friday: 1 PM; Tuesday : 3PM), which took us through the Collection room, where captains had to come in to pay taxes, and the gorgeous Collector’s Reception Room with oak-paneled walls and Tiffany lamps. This room is only opened up for this particular tour, which gives you a more in-depth understanding of the history and significance of the building.
During the time of my visit, the museum also had a special exhibition showcasing the work of internationally renowned glass artist Preston Singletary. Titled Echoes, Fire, and Shadows, the 54 glass objects displayed Preston’s interpretation of Tlingit myths and legends. There were some stunning samples of his work, including a huge glass scuplture titled Clan House, which shows the interior of a Tlinglit longhouse.
The other galleries in the museum showcase various objects of cultural, historical and aesthetic importance, such as tunics, chief blankets, headdresses, jewellery, shoes, and pottery. On weekdays, the Insider Tour (2–3 PM, except federal holidays) – an interactive session with a Cultural Interpreter – offers an insight into Native American life and crafts such as beading, music, textiles and traditional foods.
And finally, onto two completely different museums – Madame Tussauds and The Museum of Sex.
Located in Times Square, Madame Tussauds brings you up close and personal with the who’s who of celebrities. The Opening Night Party and Gallery are incredible spaces, bringing you face-to-face with Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Robert Pattison, Julia Roberts and more. The Gallery features numerous historical and political figures, including The Oval Office Desk with President Obama and Michelle Obama standing attendance, and the White House press room. The Spirit of New York is the newest interactive exhibit celebrating everything, well, New York! From classic movie scenes to daily New York life, there’s a little bit of everything in this space.
And finally, the Museum of Sex . Do I really need to say anything about what you can expect here? 😉 I’ll just tell you about two of the best exhibits I saw there: Action: Sex and the Moving Image – an audio-visual walk-through of the visual history of sex on the screen, from the first kiss caught on film through to the rise of the modern porn industry; and the Comics Stripped exhibit, which explores the limitless sexual imagination of comic artists from the 1930s through to the present using humor, scandal and fantasy.
Of course, there are so many, many more museums that you can explore in New York City. But if you’re pressed for time, these should certainly be on your must-see list!
Do you have a favorite New York (or other) museum not listed here? Let me know in the comments!
You might also like:
Marching to a different beat: the difference between India and the US
I’ve been checking out the Google Art Project, and it’s been fun! As I was browsing around the website though, I got to thinking about how much technology has evolved.
Remember My Space? It started as a place to hang out and make friends, for artists to get noticed, to upload their music. Then came Facebook, and now My Space is history.
In this constantly evolving technology scene, there’s a lot that’s being done to foster and promote creativity. There are places like Flick and Piccasa where you can share your photography and art work and connect with millions of artists from around the world. Your Flickr stream can work like a catalog for your photography, or you could start up a photo blog to showcase your pictures.
If you’re a musician, there are sites like soundcloud.com where you can upload your music for everyone to hear. If you’d like, you can even allow listeners to download your tracks.
Not to be left behind, even smartphones have some cool apps that allow you to create and share. There’s LaDiDa, a reverse karaoke app for people like me with limited musical abilities. Instead of forcing you to sing a song in a specific key, the app will automatically choose the key and change the chords for you so that all you have to do is sing. Here’s a demo:
Then there are apps like the Pudding Camera, that gives you a combination of different kinds of camera and film and allows you to click some really creative pictures. This picture was clicking using the Fantasy camera and a Noir film. Pretty cool, eh? That’s straight from the camera, absolutely no post processing involved!
If you’re an artist, there are a ton of applications for you, like Anatomy for Artists: Proportions, which that offers a high-quality reference guide for artist.
There are so many cool innovations and applications that are making it easier and simpler for people to create and share online.
What are some of your favorite places to share your creations, and which are your favorite apps?
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Think New York, and what comes immediately to mind? For some it’s Central Park, for others it may be Times Square, and still others may think immediately of the Statue of Liberty. Me? I’ve always thought of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The main points of attraction for me are its Egyptian art, European paintings and sculpture and medieval arts collections. I could spend a couple of days at the museum…wandering through the Temple of Dendur – a large sandstone temple that was given to the US in 1965 and was assembled in the Met’s Sackler Wing in 1978 – and examining the many Egyptian artefacts scattered through the Met’s 40 Egyptian galleries. Then there are the European masters – Monet, Vermeer, Cézanne, Van Gogh…the European sculpture gallery, with a reconstructed 16th century patio from the Spanish castle of Vélez Blanco, and the collection of Medieval art, divided between the museum and The Cloisters.
So you can imagine my delight when I read about the Google Art Project, which brings together over 1,000 works of art by more than 400 artists. Using its Street View technology, Google has mapped 17 museums from around the world, including the Met, allowing you to take a stroll through the museum from the comfort of your own home. Each of these museums has selected one image that Google photographed using some amazingly advanced technology so that you can zoom into it in great detail – maybe greater detail than would have been possible if you were seeing it hanging on the museum wall! You “can zoom in to see Van Gogh’s famous brushwork or watch how previously hard to-see elements of an artwork suddenly become clear – such as the tiny Latin couplet which appears in Hans Holbein the Younger’s “The Merchant Georg Gisze.” You can also create a collection of your favourite works of art, add comments and share it with friends and family.
I clickety-clacked my way over to the site immediately and immersed myself in the beautiful works of art available online. As I slowly work my way through the site, I’ll start sharing my collection of favourite artwork, so stay tuned!
You can read Google’s blog post announcing the project or go straight to Google Art Project.
Excited? Hoping to find a particular museum or a favourite artist? Tell me about it in the comments!
While browsing the internet at office one day about 7 years ago, I came across some fantastic altered book artists. A little research and digging around on what altered books are and how to create them threw up one interesting statement for me — when it comes to making altered books, there are no rules! At that time, I didn’t consider myself to be creative…I had repressed those instincts deep inside. But as I went through some altered artists’ websites and read about altered books and how to make them, I was in love!
– Altered art page from Life 101 by Modern Gypsy. See more pages on Shutterbug.
|An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. They may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture. – Wikipedia.com|
Sounds interesting? Then why don’t you try making your very own altered art in just 60 minutes!
As you learn more altered book techniques, or how-tos for any other form of collage or paper arts, you might find it helpful to create a techniques book to list out the process and experiment with the technique.
If you need some inspiration for more altered projects, Ink Stain Roni has a fabulous theme list that is sure to get your creative juices flowing.
And if you’re like me, you’ll love the eye candy on these two artists’ websites:
You can also take a peek at some of my altered art book spreads on my photoblog, Shutterbug.
Hope you enjoyed this little altered book tour!
Do you do any paper arts or other art and craft projects?
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
I love that song from Sound of Music! Which is why I decided to name this latest series after that song. I got this idea from Misadventures with Andi, and thought it was an excellent way of keeping track of some of the things I love and sharing them with you!
I was contemplating if I should make this into another of my regular features, but then decided against it. I want this to be a totally fun post, without having to worry about missing out a day, so I’m going to post these whenever I have a few new things to share with all of you.
I was looking for the Now What? magazine this morning, which used to be published by Jessica Wesolek over at crea8it! While browsing through her site, I came across this lovely luminara. It would look beautiful on my sidetable! The best part? You can make it yourself at home! Click to know how to make a luminara.
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself loathe to throw out wine bottles, hoping I can alter them in some way to use them as showpieces around the house. Don’t these painted, stamped and wired treasure bottles look absolutely divine?
Inspired by all this craftiness, I headed over to Karen’s Whimsy, my favorite altered book artist, to have a look at her beautiful relinquaries. For some reason, this particular relinquary has been one of my favorites since a while.
Well, that’s it for this time! Hope you enjoyed looking at these beauties as much as I did while putting them together!
Today’s Friday Frame is a spread from my Life 101 altered book.
An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. An altered book artist takes a book (old, new, recycled) and cuts, tears, glues, burns, folds, paints, adds to and collages it. The artist may add pockets and niches to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects. – Wikepedia.com
The spread features a window through which a girl looks out into her garden. The curtains were created by sandwiching some sari fabric between the pages. One part of the left page was ripped to create a “pocket” for the collage elements — bird, flowers and a butterfly. The rest of the page has been layered with paint and rubber stamping, with a dragon fly stitched on with gold thread and sequins.
Click on the picture to see more spreads from this book.
Liked this spread? Let me know through the comments!
If you have any artwork or photography to share, please leave a comment, a link back to your blog and your e-mail address, and I’ll feature it on an upcoming Friday Frame!