Monday, December 16, 2013

Kimbell Art Museum's New Pavilion and Linnie Baird at our Library

The new Piano Pavilion on the left resonates, in a rectangular staccato way,
with the rounded galloping visual rhythms of the original Kahn Building.
Just after I posted my last blog about the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Museum started advertising on TV that it has just opened its new building. I've been wondering how any architect's work could sit gracefully beside the beautifully understated grand-ness of Louis Kahn's original building. The Kahn building is one of the greats of 20th century architecture and one of my favorites. Apparently the Kimbell's Board of Directors of the Kimbell felt similarly, because they hired esteemed Italian architect Renzo Piano to build what is now called the Piano Pavillion.

Renzo Piano has designed many art museums, two of which you might know. The Menil Collection building here in Houston is one of them, and the famous Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris is another. But it will be up to you to decide if this building is a worthy addition to the Texas art landscape. 

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Many thanks to all of you who have offered to show your paintings at OUR museum--or at least, our exhibition space--in the library. Room L-129 exhibition space is now booked until June, but we still have room for the paintings in the second half of the year. Linnie Baird hung her paintings today ahead of the Christmas rush; hers will grace the room all through January. 

Linnie works in oils and pen and ink. She's been painting for seven years, keeping up a legacy her father began. Originally from Alabama, she moved to Texas in her twenties and has been here since. You can feel the love in her Texas landscapes! Come and view Linnie's paintings. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Kimbell Museum has great art blurbs!

While traipsing along a random link-trail inside the Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum website, I came across a list of the artists whose work they have in their collection. If you click here, you'll find what I'm talking about:

Clicking on “C”, and then “Caravaggio”, I discovered that the Kimbell owns Caravaggio’s famous early painting, The Cardsharps. Fair enough. What followed was dazzling. First it had what you’d expect: the date Caravaggio painted it, the medium and support and size of the painting, and that this piece is currently on show. 

What followed however, in the "Conservation" section, was a marvelous description that put Caravaggio’s style in its historical context, explained how he’d originally painted the figures and where he'd made changes, his quirks of painting technique that were helpful to know, and the painting’s provenance. It had none of that esoteric art jargon that numbs my brain and did have loads of useful, interesting information that educated me; information that I think is useful to artists. Check this out:

Perhaps in lieu of underdrawing, Caravaggio used incisions to place elements on the canvas. In The Cardsharps there are only a few incisions in the wet ground, such as in the dupe’s fingertips and the edges of the cards, but this technique was greatly expanded in later works. Other innovative painting techniques in the Kimbell’s painting include the artist’s manipulation of the wet paint to enhance the realism of surface textures. When Caravaggio painted the silk brocade of the central cheat, he blotted the wet paint with his fingers or thumb. He also used the butt end of the brush to describe the black embroidery on the collar of the dupe.”

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE the internet?

If you're ever in Fort Worth with some time to spare, the Kimbell Art Museum is a wonderful museum to explore. Their permanent collection is delightful and they have marvelous revolving collections. The current one is The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago. It will be there until February 16, 2014. Go to

The image above: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Cardsharps, c. 1595, oil on canvas. Kimbell Art Museum. Used with permission

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Son-of-a-Nazi Art Dealer Story just gets More Amazing

The New York Times just published a further story about Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of the prominent Nazi-era art dealer who has been discovered to be living among a trove of art treasures. After the last article I've been wondering: how has this come out now? Who finally found this man? According to this second article, German Customs officials simply stumbled upon it while following their professional curiosity. 

The article writer likens Cornelius Gurlitt to Gollum, the shrivelled hobbit in J.R.R. Tolkein's classic fantasies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, whose life has been twisted and consumed by the magical ring he possesses. Cornelius Gurlitt has lived in a gloomy Munich apartment for all these decades, with no friends and no visitors except his sister, living for his art. What a fascinating tale. Here's the link: 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

More Hidden Modern Art is Found in Germany

The news this week is about the announcement in Augsburg, Germany that 1500 paintings have been found in Munich that were apparently either confiscated or purchased by the Nazis during World War II. Here's the link to the New York Times article. 

In January 2010 contractors excavating to build a new subway station near Berlin's city hall found eleven bronzes in the rubble of a building destroyed in World War II. The bronzes are now being exhibited at the Neues Museum, amid Berlin’s archaeological collection. That story, written up in the New York Times, is available here.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Today I want to show you this mind-blowing video called "Box". At the end a quotation comes up  that reads "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That sums up my feelings, too. Enjoy!

And thanks to all the TAL Fall Exhibition and Show winners who graced our meeting room walls with their fabulous paintings through September and October. Please feel free to come in any time this week that's convenient to pick up your paintings. 

Painting Classic Portraits: Great Faces Step by Step by Luana Luconi Winner

After a summer blog vacation I can't wait to tell you about a treasure I've recently found. Luana Luconi Winner’s Painting Classic Portraits: Great Faces Step by Step is simply a book that cannot fail to build confidence and technique. She goes at the task of teaching how to create great portraits with personality by employing a variety of approaches, easy to follow instructions, and abundant color sketches, paintings, and photos. Winner shows you how achieve accurate facial shapes and proportions beginning with the skull and showing how facial features fit over them. She offers color charts for white skin that’s female, male, blonde, redhead, and brunette; for black skin using warm tones and cool tones, for Hispanics, Asians, and both native Indians and continental ones. She works in graphite, charcoal, oils, watercolors, and pastels, and demonstrates preliminary sketches, studies, and finished portraits. She gives detailed instruction about how the face and hands change from childhood through adulthood. And she shows you how to choose backgrounds and accessories that tell the story of the personality being painted. I believe this book is destined to become a classic and I urge you to pick it up at the library and give it your perusal. You may find you need to buy a copy for your studio. 

(And now I apologize. I posted this blog about a month ago--or at least I thought I had. After I posted it I was sure I had checked it--I usually do--and it was there. I went into the site last weekend and it wasn't there! Go figure. So if you came looking for this title and didn't see it, I apologize. Barbara)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Come to an Artist's Date at the Library!

Adult artists! Drop your morning chores, pack up your art supplies and your lunch, and come to the library to enjoy a day of sketching or painting with other adult artists--next Wednesday, July 10th, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We will provide easels, still life objects, clothed models, dessert and beverages; and after lunch, Judy Crowe, an accomplished local oil painter and instructor, will give a demonstration. We'll be in the library first floor front room and then Room L 129 for lunch and the demo. Call 823-559-4213 for more information. There's no registration and no fee.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Theatre, Dancing, Music, Dining: for you through Harris County

For your summer pleasure, Harris County Precinct 4 has an active and diverse program  of free activities for people 50 years and up. It includes
June 2013
"Sweet Deal" Party Bridge Tournament
June Bug Jamboree Dance
An Evening of Live Music and Dinner at Main Street Crossing Theatre
Houston Symphony performances at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion
July 2013
Houston Astros Games at Minute Maid Park in June & July
Jersey Village Luncheon
Godspell at Texas Repertory Theater
Wizard of Oz at Crighton Theater

If that tweeks your curiosity, here's the link for more information:
Link to Precinct 4 Senior activities

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Peihong Endris

Tomball Art League's Bob Trivers recently sent out an email about an upcoming Chinese Brush Painting workshop by Peihong Endris that the Northwest Art League is sponsoring September 6h and 7th. (By the way, she goes by two names: Peihong Endris and Peihong Dong.)
If you'd like to see more of her technique and her work, here are a couple of links. First, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston posted a series of YouTube videos of her work. You'll find them here:

Second, here's the link to her own website:

And now, this is a re-issue of the Northwest Art League flyer:

Northwest Art League  Chinese Brush Painting Workshop
Peihong Endris, Instructor
September  6th & 7th , 2013 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM 

Cost $110.00

Please join the Northwest Art League to learn Chinese Brush Painting from an expert Chinese Painter & Calligrapher. Peihoung  graduated from China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. She is a member of many Chinese Art Organizations and her vigorous style of paintings are rooted in Chinese traditions. She will teach us how to do strokes to make a  Bamboo Painting in the Chinese style on Rice Paper. Peihoung will bring all of the supplies needed for you to try the beautiful art of Chinese brush painting. All you need to bring is a pallet, paper towels, paper weights (stones or rocks), and water container.

Learn many  beautiful strokes for Chinese Brush painting.
Call Mary Friday at 713-443-2675 or ( more information.
Class will be held at The Pearl Fincher Art Museum  at : 6815 Cypresswood Drive, Spring TX.
To reserve your space in class, send a $50.00 non-refundable check to Mary Friday at: 10710 Bowden Chase, Drive Spring, TX 77379

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sarah Simblet: Graphic Artist

At the April Tomball Art League meeting I passed around two fabulous art books written by Sarah Simblet, a graphic artist, writer, and broadcaster, who teaches anatomical drawing at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford. Called Anatomy for the Artist, this book has fabulous photographs of the body in motion, in poses, and at rest. It also has diagrams of the bones, musculature, and circulatory system, many of them on clear mylar overlays so you can see how the systems fit inside the skin. If you'd like to see a copy, you can request it from the library here.

The second book is called Botany for the Artist. I am hoping that one day the library will have a copy of it, also, because the drawings are breathtaking and the text, inspirational. In the meantime, here's a link to the publisher's description and images. I bought the copy I couldn't resist at Texas Art Supply.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Picasso at Museum of Fine Arts Houston

If you haven't yet made a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston to see  the Prado Museum exhibit and/or the Picasso Black and White, I encourage you to go. Both exhibitions are amazing. Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado ends March 31st; Picasso Black and White will be there until May 27th.

On Saturday, March 23rd at 1 p.m., the Museum is also showing a documentary movie about Picasso.

Here's the blurb, which I'm quoting from their website:
"Unavailable for more than a decade, The Mystery of Picasso is one of the greatest documentaries on art ever made. The film received the Prix du Jury at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, and the French government declared the film a national treasure in 1984.
Like a matador confronting a bull, the artist approaches his easel, his eyes blazing. As he wields his brush, we see through the canvas as the artwork unfolds, erupts, dances into being before our eyes. Pablo Picasso, the most influential artist of the 20th century, is making a painting, and the famous French director Henri-Georges Clouzot (​Diabolique and The Wages of Fear) is making a movie.
In 1955, Clouzot joined forces with his friend Picasso to make an entirely new kind of art film—"a film that could capture the moment and the mystery of creativity." Together, they devised an innovative technique: the filmmaker placed his camera behind a semi-transparent surface on which the artist drew with special inks that bled through.
Clouzot thus captured a perfect reverse image of Picasso's brushstrokes, and the motion-picture screen itself becomes the artist's canvas. Here, the master creates, and sometimes obliterates, 20 works (most of them, in fact, destroyed after the shoot), ranging from playful black-and-white sketches to CinemaScope color murals—artworks that evolve in minutes through the magic of stop-motion animation.
"When we are all dead, you and me and everyone," promised Clouzot (1907–1977) to Picasso (1881–1973), "the film will still continue to be projected."
If you go to their website, you'll see both the trailer for the movie, and after it, some links to other very interesting Picasso videos, including a BBC program."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Delores, Muril, and Lesley

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. I've been tracking a new art website that I've been hesitant to advertise until I was sure it was a good thing, and I stopped posting while I considered it. I've decided it's a genuine article, so I'll get back to you you on that very soon.

Two things today: be sure to see Delores 'Moon' Smith's paintings in Room L 129 before the end of the month. Next month, Muril Wilson will be hanging her paintings there.

Also: if you haven't checked out the online art lessons of Lesley Humphrey, who gave a spectacular demonstration at the Tomball Art League a year or more ago, they really are worth your while. Here's the link.