Last Saturday, my husband and I went not only on a “date date,” but also on an “artist date,” as Julia Cameron defines it in her famous book The Artist’s Way. Our date destination was the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.
The objective of an artist date? To receive, says Cameron—to open one’s self “to insight, inspiration, guidance” and to nurture one’s “creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion…”
I’m finding it difficult to sum up the many ways that my experience with the Weisman exhibits spoke to my inner artist; after all, I took two pages of copious notes and no less than 25 unique photos. But there’s no time like the present to create a simple and somewhat systematic way to encapsulate the highlights of such excursions. For now, I’ll try to share my #1 top finds when it comes to a “new-to-me” techniques, terms, artwork and artists. Perhaps I’ll also include ideas inspired by my artist dates that I want to try or topics that I want to learn more about—I’ll call this part my “assignment.”
Without further ado, here are my favorite takeaways from the Weisman:
“Pixelated Bromide” by Richard Barlow involved taking a sepia photograph and using 36,000 spangles to replicate the image in humongous shiny golden form; the piece measures more than 10 feet tall and almost 20 feet wide, and it’s best to stand back about 30 feet to see the picture take shape. How fun would it be to emulate Barlow’s method in both small and large scale with a little help from Photoshop!
It was in reading about “Cañon Synchromy (Orange)” by Stanton Macdonald-Wright that this cool word came to my awareness. It’s defined as “a symphony produced with color.” To Macdonald-Wright, that meant creating “color harmonies around a central color,” in this case, orange. A leaflet about the piece offers a short bio on him crediting him as “the founder of synchromism, an art movement that emphasizes the importance of color.” Fancy that!
Artwork: “Green Woods” by B.J.O. Nordfeldt
The colors are vibrant. The depiction of a tall forest of trees is whimsical but recognizable. I fell in love with this oil painting immediately. Despite its so-called simplicity and playfulness, “Green Woods” carries a multi-dimensional quality that pulls me deeper into the woodsy scene’s center.
Artist: Marsden Hartley
There were about half a dozen works by Hartley that caught my eye for their richness. I also noticed his various techniques and subject matter, from vibrant still lifes to foreboding oceanic landscapes to light Southwestern scenes. His “Painting No. 2” also captured my attention. Embedded in it are numerous spiritual symbols related to his transcendental beliefs. I do not share in those beliefs, but I resonate with faith and spirituality offering much inspiration and energy in the quest to make art.
Assignment: A “synchromous” pixelation of an abstract
There’s a lot to try and I’m tempted to merge a couple of my learnings into one “synchromous” (I’m not sure if this is truly the right adjective) pixelated piece of art. I feel inspired to load an abstract painting like “Green Woods” into Photoshop to see what kind of pixelated instructions it reveals. I’m eager to experiment with the materials at hand—fiber and magazines in particular—to see what emerges.