Tunneling our Way Through…Making Tunnel Books

Tunneling our Way Through…Making Tunnel Books

For the last class of our recent children’s bookmaking class at LACMA, we made tunnel books…comprised of two spines or sides, a back “page” holding them together.

To prepare for our project, we visited the beautiful LACMA Directors Roundtable Garden, resplendent with its Alexander Calder sculptures: mobiles and stabiles.

We observed how perspective is created by distance, saw how things looked smaller the farther away we are from them, and did a group exercise where each student in turn stated what they saw behind what the previous student said they saw…learning to see in “distance layers” (my terminology), I.E. in perspective.  We also explored the idea of scale seeing how large or small objects are in relation to each other.

Finally, we repaired to the lovely glassed in Plaza Studio, to put our learnings and observations into action, and create our books, exploring color, character, story and setting/environment in the process.

The results are…well, you can see for yourself why I called this class our “Seven From Heaven”!

Students of their own volition devised a theme,

such as this figure hiking,

and followed it through, in this case in silhouette form.

This young artist found images from magazines,

and created a scene with them.

Some created land, city and seascapes through cutting and shaping paper and cardstock strips, and adhering them to the spines,

to beautiful effect.

Students” individual color choices are always interesting…

and often very consistent…also with their clothing color choices, and probably more.

This innovative and well-traveled maker added the words, “Paris, London, New York” on these strips. her travels and where she has lived with her creative family is an important part of her identity.

The red spines on either side create a theatrical effect in this piece, that this bookmaker worked on with meticulous attention to detail, and tender loving care, as she did with all her projects.

I am so going to miss this class. It truly was heavenly to work with such motivated, thoughtful and devoted young creatives in the nurturing, inspirational and magnificent setting of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. May the “Seven From Heaven” ride LACMA art-mobile again soon, and may it be with me!

“Let’s Make Books” at LACMA

“Let’s Make Books” at LACMA

It has been wonderful to teach a family bookmaking class: “Let’s Make Books” for ages 5 and up at LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

Parents can attend with their children, and spend three hours visiting and drawing in LACMA’s galleries, grounds and gardens, walking through its architecture, and learning about its collection, before returning to one of the LACMA Art Studios to work together on art projects related to what has been visited and viewed.  A total experience of art immersion!

In this class thus far we have made accordion books with pop-ups, “folded fan” books with “windows and doors”, flag books, and tunnel books. A grand time has been had by all, including myself.  It is wonderful to work with families, see parents and siblings interacting, and the grown-ups getting a creative break which hopefully will refresh and rejuvenate them when they leave LACMA, and return to their daily lives.

Folded fan book with “windows” that open.

“Playing” with washi tape.

HeARTfelt…

The tunnel book can fold up, stand up, and stretch.

Using LACMA exhibition announcements and postcards as part of the artwork.

Doors closed….

Doors open…

In process…

A colorful collection of magnificent tunnel books!


The creative endeavor of our kindly assistant…who played imaginatively with the tunnel book structure!

Kindness, creativity, imagination, play…these are the hallmarks of our program, and were in abundance during our class. Hurray for LACMA!

We have a bookmaking class for children aged 10-13 starting in early April…check it out!  We would love to have your children in our class…making art together.

Magical Museums of LALA Land I

Magical Museums of LALA Land I

The holidays are a perfect time to experience the richness of LA’s art museum scene…and explore edifices and institutions that are storied in and of themselves.  Here is a small sampling of seemingly infinite adventures to be had…to be continued!

webyellow1 webyellow2Courtyard installalation at The Hammer Museum in Westwood near UCLA brightens a winter day.

webrivpic0116c webrivpic0116dExtraordinary works by Pablo Picasso….

webrivpic0116awebrivpic0116bExtraordinary works by Diego Rivera

“By placing 150 paintings, etchings, and watercolors in dialogue with each other and with singular ancient objects, Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time aims to advance the understanding of Picasso and Rivera’s practice, particularly in how their contributions were deeply influenced by the forms, myths, and structures of the arts of antiquity.” —LACMA

webalchemy0116a webalchemy0116bThe “THE ART OF ALCHEMY” show at Getty Center.

Wishing You a magical 2017, and may the wonder never cease.

The Transcendent World of Agnes Martin

The Transcendent World of Agnes Martin

“When I think of art I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye it is in the mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection.
Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.
My paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind.” — Agnes Martin
LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art) hosted an exhibition of the paintings of the extraordinary artist Agnes Martin which closed in early September.

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Martin seemed to have painted her way though tremendous challenges into the realm of tranquillity. Her art was healing, for her, and for many of us who are privileged to view it.

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Although her work truly has to be seen live and in person to appreciate its indefinable combination of rigor and sensuality, I share here a few images of this true original.

Untitled #12

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The Sea

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i am looking forward to reading the first full-length biography of Martin:

Agnes Martin Her Life and Art by Nancy Princenthal

“Over the course of a career that spanned fifty years, Agnes Martin’s austere, serene work anticipated and helped to define Minimalism, even as she battled psychological crises and carved out a solitary existence in the American Southwest. Martin identified with the Abstract Expressionists but her commitment to linear geometry caused her to be associated in turn with Minimalist, feminist, and even outsider artists. She moved through some of the liveliest art communities of her time while maintaining a legendary reserve. “I paint with my back to the world,” she says both at the beginning and at the conclusion of a documentary filmed when she was in her late eighties. When she died at ninety-two, in Taos, New Mexico, it is said she had not read a newspaper in half a century.”

Incredibly intriguing.

As are these paintings.

“Reining Men’s Fashion”: The Texture

“Reining Men’s Fashion”: The Texture

The LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) has a sumptuous show entitled, “Reining Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715 – 2015“, on view through August 21, 2016. See this show! You will be enthralled and astounded and richly gratified by colors, fabrics, shapes,  patterns…and…textures!

I am fascinated by the use of texture, materials and the relationship between the two.  This show has some intriguing examples of such relationship.

WEBaSilk ribbons used to bundle cigars, transformed into a jacket.WEBb

WEBcEmbroidered hats, inspired by the “Fez“, apparently.

WEBdShowing the tailoring as part of the design…style which utilized rusticity  in the service of elegance.(Or is it the other way around?)

WEBeExtraordinary application of pearly buttons on garments…inspired by the “Pearly Kings and Queens” (The “Pearlies“)

WEBfGreen brogues, anyone?

Repeat: don’t miss this show. At the very least, it is pure fun, but so much more than that. not that fun should be at the bottom of our list of what to love in an exhibition, or anything, for that matter.

You will see here that fun, intrigue, history, sociology, costume and visuals are all intrinsically entwined.

And who would have it any other way?

Reflections on Calder at LACMA

Reflections on Calder at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a magnificent selection of outdoor sculpture, and one of the most enticing, is Alexander Calder‘s Three Quintains (“Hello Girls”), (1964), an amazing example of  his “stabiles“.

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Installed in the reflective pool in the Director’s Roundtable Garden, these wonder of these remarkable works is amplified by their softly rippling reflections in the water.

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These reflections enchant,  reflecting the ethereal yet whimsical wafting of movable parts through the space above.

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Kinetic yes, but in such a peaceful, natural way that one feels part of their creator’s universe and the universe they reflect in the viewing.

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Walking through the wafting air, by the rippling water,  amidst Calder’s gently moving creations may just help us to feel closer to our own creative force and a greater part of our own universe.

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Let’s celebrate one of LA’s treasures, a movable feast for the eyes, soul and spirit.

LACMA Treasures…California Dreaming

LACMA Treasures…California Dreaming

A Sunday visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art yields up varied treats for the heart, mind and soul.

WEBa“ANGER” (My husband said he loved this piece and that it reminded him of me. Hmmm…)

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A Klee beauty….WEBcUntitled“,  (1929), Paul Klee

Living for the Moment: Japanese Prints from the Barbara S. Bowman Collection

“Included are examples of rare early prints of the genre known as ukiyo-e (oo-key-o-eh, pictures of the floating world); superior works from the golden age of that art form at the end of the 18th century by Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, and Katsukawa Shunshō; and 19th-century prints by such great masters as Utagawa Hiroshige, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and others.” –http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/living-moment-japanese-prints-barbara-s-bowman-collection

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Here comes  the monk….

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A “Floating World” indeed.

Like LACMA…

The Art of the Samurai…Layer upon Layer

The Art of the Samurai…Layer upon Layer

There is an incredible exhibition at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) called Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.

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These works employ an extraordinary use of layering: materials, colors, forms, shapes, textures.  They are a visual feast, steeped in history. Below is a selection of highlights…please take the tour!

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There is another wonderful exhibition at the Pavilion for Japanese Art entitled Art of the Samurai: Swords, Paintings, Prints, and Textiles, which showcases Japanese swords, samurai robes, battle screens, and woodblock prints depicting legends and battles.

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This beautiful installation complements the exhibition Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection at LACMA.

BOOKED (4)

BOOKED (4)

“The world is so full of a number of things,
I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Robert Louis Stevenson

WEB3f“Only that which is truly old is forever young.” —Carl Larsson

About a week ago I serendipitously stumbled upon a sale at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) store.  What luck! Despite the fact that I had just reorganized our books to make room for them all, I found myself perusing the bins of books on sale, and choosing four at $5.00 each. It can take just but this kind of experience to make us feel rich. In this and my previous post, I share them with you…dear Readers and fellow Passionate Pursuers.

WEB3a Carl Larsson and Karin Bergoo Larsson were a Swedish husband and wife artist team who created an amazing home for themselves and their children, depicted in this book, Carl Larsson-garden, (Carl Larsson’s House”).  This book will light up anyone moved by color, decorative painting, art, interior, surface and  garden design, architecture, or just the concept and expression of “home”.

WEB3bEndpaper…depicting “the good life”…

WEB3cLooks like someone is drawing on the dining room table in this watercolor by Carl. Karin embroidered the family tree  depicted below it.

WEB3dA Day of Celebration“, watercolor by Carl Larsson. The Larsson family celebrated Names Days with gusto, and costuming to boot.

WEB3eKarin Larsson’s bedroom…Carl’s bed seen through the doorway. Carl painted the garland of flowers over the door, and the border around the ceiling as a name day present for Karin. Karin wove “Love’s Rose”, the drapery hanging between the two rooms.

WEB3gThe Reading Room…a watercolor of daughter Kersti …reading. Appropriate.

WEB4aWEB4cThis book, catalog  really, is copyrighted 1977.  That must have been when this show was mounted at LACMA. Intricate designs, whimsical figures of animals and people, and rows of heads with open mouths and earrings are some of the intriguing delights to be found within.  I wish I could have seen this exhibition curated by the late Mary Hunt Kahlenberg,  an authority on antique and ethnographic textiles and a former curator and head of the Department of Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The images above are of/from the front cover, and depict “Palepai“, Sumatran ship cloth.

WEB4dWEB4eKain Panjang“, Skirt Cloth, Jogjakarta, Central Java. Wonderful images integrated into a coherent design in this piece.

WEB4gWEB4fTapis”, Skirt cloth. Lampong, South Sumatra.

WEB4hLau“, Woman’s Skirt, Pao, East Sumba, late 1940s. The “Katipa” above is a beaded band that here contains bird and snake motifs.

WEB4iKain Panjang“, Skirt Cloth, Atelier of E. Van Zuylen, Pekalongan, North Coast, Java. A Javanese take on “Little Red Riding Hood”, shows the European influence on Javanese batik. Dutch and other European studios created “batiks blending local and imported motifs….”Mary Hunt Kahlenberg

WEB4kWEB4lPua“, Borneo.  I love the seemingly screaming moths, repeated patterns and dangling earrings here…

Two extraordinary documents, and extraordinary in their diversity, yet also also extraordinary in their pursuit of a passion. How lucky we are that the Larssons, and Mary Hunt Kalenberg remained in passionate pursuit of  what moved and motivated them so deeply to the very end, leaving behind for us their legacies. We can continue to become richer in soul and spirit, through their gifts and efforts

 Gratitudes to LACMA for making these works accessible…bravo.

BOOKED! (3)

BOOKED! (3)

WEB2a“The world is so full of a number of things,
I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Robert Louis Stevenson

About a week ago I serendipitously stumbled upon a sale at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) store.  What luck! Despite the fact that I had just reorganized our books to make room for them all, I found myself perusing the bins of books on sale, and choosing four at $5.00 each. It can take just but this kind of experience to make us feel rich. In this and the next post, I share them with you…dear Readers and fellow passionate pursuers. My choices included discoveries and a “visit” from an old friend…

WEB2 I had not heard of art historian Alessandra Comini, but now that I have her book, I hope to passionately pursue her writing.  “Her lively revisionist work in the history of women artists was acknowledged in 1995 by the Women’s Caucus for Art with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. –http://www.alessandracomini.com/biography.asp#

WEB2bIn Passionate Pursuit, by Comini.

Booklist: “This erudite, mostly engaging self-portrait charts the making of an art historian and
professional “seer,” whose passion and wit enabled her to become a noted teacher and scholar at Southern Methodist University. Comini helped unearth centuries of overlooked women in art and wrote landmark studies of the Austrian painter Egon Schiele and of musical iconography. For someone engaged in a life of the mind, she has lived much of it in motion, and the art of travel and close consideration of cultural context have been her keys to learning and teaching. She is at her riveting best when she reveals her discoveries about Schiele in his Vienna prison cell, Winckelmann in Rome and Trieste, the composer Edvard Grieg in Norway, and the painter Akseli Gallen-Kalella in Finland. Her short essays dazzle the most when they reveal her keen eye, such as when she discerns how the German artist Kathe Kollwitz, in a bust of herself, “used the resolute features of her own aging face as a spiritual topography for courage and resignation.”

WEB1I gave away an over-sized  book on Georgia O’Keeffe that I had for years before moving, in an effort to downsize. This little gem on Georgia will be easy to have, hold, and refer to. Written for children(?), it is easy to read, and packed with word and image.

WEB1aPerhaps everyone’s (artist-identified or not) “old friend”,  O’Keeffe never ceases to be magical and inspirational.

WEB1bAs well as mysterious…

WEB1cHer environment.

WEB1dHer work.

Written in simple language, punctuated by photographs and images of O’Keeffe’s wide and  wondrous  work through the years, this find by Susan Goldman Rubin will ensure that wideness and wonder stay close at hand.

WEB3a  Carl Larsson and Karin Bergoo Larsson were a Swedish husband and wife artist team who created an amazing home for themselves and their children, depicted in this book, Carl Larsson-garden.  This book will light up anyone moved by color, decorative painting, art, interior, surface and  garden design, architecture, or just the concept and expression of “home”.

I will explore this book, and the one below, in greater depth in my next post.

WEB4Intricate designs, whimsical figures of animals and people, and rows of heads with open mouths and earrings are some of the intriguing delights to be found in this LACMA publication from 1977!   I wish I could have seen this exhibition….

These are just a few of the rich treasures these books offer up.  They are the gifts that keep on giving…revealing more and more as they are perused, and revisited. I am looking forward to sharing further in the next post, though there is never enough time. Perhaps that is why many of us remain in “passionate pursuit”…