Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday couldn't have come at a better time because apparently I've forgotten how to paint! #feelingperturbed
This was a portrait I did in 2011 of a young Pierre Elliott Trudeau. 6"x6" / oil on canvas / sold

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Glass Flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Glass botanical models by the Blaschkas. Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Yes. The roots you see there? ALL. GLASS.* (see further

All the fine leafy fern bits? Glass!
One of my highlights from our camping trip was visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A few years ago a German friend of mine told me all about the glass flowers created by the insanely talented Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka from Dresden. The Blaschkas were unparalleled masters in glass model production. In the late 1800s the Blaschkas were commissioned by Harvard University to create botanical models for research purposes. What they created over the next 4 decades was truly remarkable. The Blaschkas never took on an apprentice and when the Leopold, the father, and later Rudolph, the son, passed away (in 1895 and 1939 respectively), so did their secret techniques. 
My son took some photos for me at the museum with his phone (which was permitted) but to truly see the exquisite detail of their work it would be best to type:  into your search engine. They are so exquisite and realistic I could not wrap my head around it. I went back out the doors and said to one of the staff:
So, the enlarged botanical details are glass? The ones laying beside the preserved (or plastic I thought) models?
Staff member: Nope! It's all glass.
To which I stupidly continued, Yes, but the branches and diseased fruit for example....

Staff member: All. Glass.
Me: The flowers, yes, but the roots and...

Staff member: ALL. GLASS. And you can take pictures. And people won't believe it. Everything is made of glass. I know. It's amazing.

From The Corning Museum of Glass (October 18, 2011): 
The Blaschkas eventually agreed to create a few plant models for Harvard. Another hurdle arose, however, for these first precious models were shattered in shipment. Always inventive, the Blaschkas ended up devising a mode of shipping so fail-proof that Dr. Goodale was quoted as saying that the packing of the flowers was “almost as wonderful as anything about them.”
...For 46 years, everything the Blaschkas made went to Harvard: nearly 850 sets of models, with more than 4,300 enlarged details, were commissioned.
Thank you Iris for introducing me to the incredible Blaschkas! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New sketches and an East Coast surprise!

Hi folks! So the past week and a half I was camping in New England, hence no posting. It was really relaxing and although I did not bring my paints I brought my sketchbook and got a few good sketches in. Here are my three favourites. The first two are from one of our campground in New Hampshire and the third is from a beach in Cape Cod. As we were touring about I hopped on FB at a wifi hot spot and saw that Kelley MacDonald was having an Open Studio Tour. Well, as luck would have it, we were driving right by Rhode Island on the last day of her tour so my family and I stopped in and completely surprised her! And I even met little Paco (just as cute in person : ) Sadly I couldn't fit the huge gorgeous donut canvas (you see behind Kelley) in our camper : ) but I did come home with this little gem:
"Sweet Trio" by Kelley MacDonald
Now I'm all rested and ready to get back to work!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Joyful Rebellion - SOLD

"Joyful Rebellion" Because hey, who doesn't need that?
30"x30" on gallery wrapped canvas
For further details, please see this painting on Saatchi.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Branch Sketch #tbt

This is one of my favourite sketches from my art school days. I was cleaning up and spotted it in an old college portfolio. Memories!