Sunday, March 17, 2013

Warm Memories for a Dreary Day

2008 Bath Abbey. This church is noted for the carvings
of angels that are climbing the ladders to heaven.
It's a bit dreary today in central Ohio, so a good day to revisit one of my favorite cities in England.


I first visited this lovely city in January of 1983, on my maiden voyage across the pond. I was traveling with the Ancient Studies Department of UMBC, and the city was a favorite of the professor that led this excursion. I had just met my future husband a month before my trip, and he advised that I look for a very, very strong cider called, Scrumppy. He made it sound very appetizing, with 'green bits' floating in it, but to this day, I have never tasted it.

25 years later, I made my second trip to Bath with my husband.

Sculptures line the upper ledge of the ancient Roman baths.
The Great Bath was once covered, and one of the largest buildings
that most people in the Roman England would have seen.
It is now open to the sky.
We were there for only a few hours, just long enough to take the self-guided tour of the Roman Baths. I was surprised at how organized and extensive the tour had become in the past two and a half decades. Martin, my engineer and Sherpa, was happy to see the workings of the baths and the heated flooring system exposed with full explanations on our audio-guides.

The King's Bath above, was and still is, my favorite part of the baths. The source feeding these thermal baths is located in this area. People would sit in the niches in heated water up to their necks!

From the Roman Baths website: "The pediment of the ancient temple carries the image of a fearsome head carved in Bath stone and it is thought to be the Gorgon’s head, which was a powerful symbol of the goddess Sulis Minerva."

I went back to Bath in June 2010 with my husband, my daughter, and our 10 year old granddaughter. This time, Martin and I went painting, while the two gals went in to see the baths. We found them later in the Tea Rooms having lunch. After a cup of tea and a scone, we paid for a cup of the 'clean bath water' from the source. It tasted awful, but supposed to have wonderful curative properties, and it seems that I've lived to tell this tale.

While in Bath, we saw a excellent exhibit of oil paintings by Neil Pinkham. I was given their last copy of the costly exhibition catalog for free by the enthusiastic assistant gallery owner when I told him that I was also an artist. Upon our return to the USA, I went online to research some things in Bath and learned about the Bath Competition, which was going on while we were there and was still underway.

Someday I want to go back to Bath and take part in that event, but until then, I just looked at all the paintings online and found for the first time the name Adebanji Alade. The link is to his blog. He had won the plein air prize the year before, and I read all about his plein air marathon during this competition.
Great Bath, Morning - Oil - 28" x 40"
        Peter Brown studio painting of the Great Bath, 28 x 40"

What marvelous work this man does en plein air and in the studio.

Here's a short but wonderful documentary video on two artists from Bath, England one of whom is Peter Brown.
Directed and edited by Liam Southall
Camera by James Trosh, Toby Dale and Liam Southall

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A stained glass image of the Saint, himself.

Wishing everyone a very nice St. Patrick's Day, and especially to the Irish relatives.
Martin wearing his FBI shirt, he is a 'Full Blooded Irishman'.

Dinner tonight in our house: savoy cabbage (my father-in-law's favorite, and mine too), carrots and red potatoes, and the corned beef is cooking away right now. Martin said in his Irish household, they ate boiled bacon and cabbage.

I was going to try my hand once again at Irish soda bread, from Aunt Kitty in Cleveland, but we went out last night to celebrate St. Patty's Day early, and were hitting the whiskey a bit, so . . . .

Friday, March 01, 2013

Figure Drawing with Dennis Drummond

Dennis Drummond drawings in soft black charcoal on brown and white paper.
It's almost a year since I enrolled in a figure drawing class with Dennis Drummond. Mr. Drummond is a Professor Emeritis of the Columbus College of Art and Design.

His reputation preceded him. Among other things, he taught portraiture at CCAD, while I was in the next studio studying under Neil Riley in a class called 'painting' (we were painting nude and clothed figures). His studio adjoined to Riley's, and I always enjoyed walking through Mr. Drummond's class before entering mine. The easels were covered in his students' paintings, and they were working on placing spots of paint in varying colors and values that would read as light on form? This was the 2nd semester of 1990.

Each week, Dennis would make two or three drawings of the skeleton: front, side, back, and sometimes a top view. As the classes progressed he would add the muscles in colored chalk over top the skeleton.
Fast forward to last year: I attended a meeting of the Collage of Women Artists, and Dennis Drummond was the speaker. I'd never spoken to him, I'd just heard him spoken of. He was interesting for sure. While some might consider his self-introduction and discussion of his skills as bragging, it wasn't. It was the truth. He really IS as good as he said he was! If you ever get the chance to study with him, don't hesitate.

Hernia anyone?

A month later, I was sitting in his class. In the 8 weeks that I was there, I personally never got a good drawing. He told us we'd have to forget everything that we had learned. I had no problem with that position, and I did try to erase my memory and my training in drawing. But I didn't have the time or the practice to internalize his method. He was teaching figure drawing the way that Michelangelo learned to do it; where my history had been with line.

We were to take copious notes, and make the drawings of the skeleton and muscles right along with him. One of the young female students brought her video camera and tripod each week and videotaped all of his lectures. At some point, I decided to also take a few videos. I hope that you have enjoyed them, even though they aren't the best. Mostly, this is just a thank you to this great teacher for his years of dedication to his craft, and to his students.