Monday, April 30, 2018

April 30 IFJM Gala Opening

The Gala Opening
Monday April 30th, 2018

I painted this one from a photograph of last night just before the party got really rolling.  And what a magical night it was! Cindy and I are on the left guarding the opening doors to make sure no food or drink goes into the exhibit.  Becker is in the front waiting for his friend, the art critique, Tony. Daphne from the White Wash Barn is here talking to Zoey and Fiona. The Strickland Kid is on the right mulling around with Chris waiting for their friends to arrive. The place started getting really crowded and when the chamber musicians arrived, everyone got in the mood for a sipping wine under the stars and musing about our short lives here on this planet. What kind of mark shall we leave? Like the Masters of the Renaissance, what sort of friendships and connections will help us be our very best selves? 

And now look at our mystery guest! It's Enid!!! 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 29 IFJM The Inventory

Here is the inventory of paintings that are now hung in the Olmsted Wing of the Bjorn Museum. I am hoping to get to sketch our visitors sometime soon.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April 28 IFJM The Red Carpet at the Bjorn

The Red Carpet

Here are all the photos of my rock star supporters as they were arriving at the Gala tonight!

Here is Zoey


Fanny Pancake




Strickland Kid





Now here is Becker

These actual illustrations are by Natalie Charlesworth (Cindy's avatar)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

April 27 IFJM Off to Cindy's for a fitting.


I have got to have the greatest friends! Cindy is an extrodinary fashion designer and offered to make me an outfit with my very own Bjorn Museum Logo.

Here she is just making some last minute adjustments to the sleeve. This weekend is going to be the most exciting ever. I have not only learned a ton of Art History and gotten some great painting practice in, I am also going to be able to gather together the greatest community ever!

This painting is NOT mine by the way. It is Natalie Charlesworth's! She is Cindy Avatar and quite talented in her own right. Some day I will have a museum exhibit featuring her work.

Izzy 2018

April 26 IFJM Luca Pacioli

This painting was a special delivery from Fiona. She picked it up in from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. She has a thing for Luca Pacioli and believes this painting painted by non other than Leonardo da Vinci! And there is much evidence to back up the theory as Luca and Leo were good friends. Luca was a mathematician wrote a book using the Gutenberg press, containing the cutting edge latest mathematical studies of the time.

The book is called "Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria. Proportioni and proportionality." The last section includes the latest methods of accounting called Double Entry Book Keeping.

SO what is Double Entry Book Keeping and why is it so important.

For every financial transaction has equal and opposite effects in a least two different accounts. Liability and Equity

Assets = Liabilities  + Equity

Each entry is recorded to maintain the relationship. Allowing for ledgers to balance. But the end of the 15th century, bankers and merchants i Italy were using this system widely. This was a very practical bit of mathematics that contributed to a growing merchant class.

This red book featured on the right side of table.

Also portrayed in this painting is Slate, Chalk, Compass, and dodecahedron.  A rhombicuboctahedron which is half filled with water and suspended from the ceiling. Luca himself is shown demonstrating a theorem by Euclid.

The character on the right is was the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro to whom the book is dedicated.

 My sketch started out as gouache but finished up with a lot of colored pencil. I rushed through the robe and draping ant it look terrible. The colored pencil helped at least add some dimension. I need more practice with gouache. How I wish I had one of the masters to help me! And a whole lot more free time.

Izzy 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 25 IFJM Michelangelo

Wednesday April 25th

April 25 Wednesday

“Man paints with his brains and not with his hands” Michelangelo

Before he painted the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo created studies of various scenes. This is one such study. The figure is Libyan Sbiyl, named  Phemonoe, the daughter of Zeus. She was the first woman oracle during the time of the Greeks.
Even after her death she “ceased not from divination.”

Here is the first line of  her Oracle:
“I am by birth half mortal and half divine”
Sounds familiar no?
Izzy 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April 24 IFJM Vasari's self portrait

Vasari's Self Portrait
on loan from the Uffizi gallery
Circa 1568

April 24 Tuesday
One more acquisition and a real feather in my Cap! This iconic self portrait of Vasari will be perfect for my exhibit. He was the man who started art history by recording  the lives of the masters.  The rest of the painters are his picks. This is the man from which our exhibit circles. Here are some more facts :

1. He dedicated his art history book to Cosimo  de’Medici 
2. He was responsible for the coining the terms Gothic and Renaissance (rinaseita).
3. His book includes a section on technical issues; making the paint, brushes, charcoal etc. 
4. He tells a funny story about young Giotto in 1280AD  painting a fly on the surface of a painting his teacher Cimabue that was so realistic his teacher tried to shoo it off.
5. And he was the architect of the courtyard called the Piazza della Signoria which is next to the famous Uffizi Gallery. 
I for one am booking a flight to Florence this summer. I can’t stay away a minute longer!  Izzy 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23 IFJM Self portrait

Izzy MacDougal's Self Portrait

Doing great. Living the life. 

April 23 Monday

 Here is my self portrait. I am  waiting for Fiona to deliver the Vasari self portrait, due in tomorrow. So in the meantime, I thought I would try my own selfie. I  like my smile and think it is pretty good for a 50 year old! Like everything practice is key. I am still just using watercolors and ink, I am gathering courage to give the gouache a try.
I will have the full 15 items for my exhibit after tomorrow. "Wikki Peters" is helping me with each painting's  description. At this point I am completely in love with each one and might just sleeping over under the paintings tonight.  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22 IFJM Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci's 
The Vitruvian 
Circa 1490
on loan from the 
Gallerie dell' Academia 
Venice, Italy

The title Vitruvian Man comes from a Roman architect who studied the ideal anatomical proportions of man.  Leonardo adds to this Roman's work by raising the arms and placing the second pose on a circle. Containing man into both a circle and square is an implied symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body. When I copied this sketch I started with the circle and square and then it was pretty easy to sketch. That is a great tip for future drawings. Sketch the large shapes first and then move inward. 
Below is a translation of his notes having to do with basic proportions. Even today there is much variance about how many heads make a man, 7.5 or 8 etc. But the basics are still here. 

Come to the gala opening on the 29th to see the real thing!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 21 IFJM Gutenberg

Saturday April 21

April 21 Saturday 

Vasari’s book was published in Bologna in 1647 and was one of the first books printed instead of hand written. What a revolution that must have been!   190 bibles could be printed in the time it would take to manually transcribe one copy, which was about two years. Vasari’s 10 volume set would not have been possible before this time. The International Printers Museum in Carson, California has created a replica of this press and agreed to send it to me for the exhibit.  To see this piece amongst the renaissance paintings will be key to highlighting the  importance of making all art forms accessible to everyone. Now and then!
Izzy 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20 IFJM A Sampling of Giorgio Vasari's Most Valuable Players

April 20 Friday 

Through the eyes of our first Art Historian, Giorgio Vasari.

Every painting in this exhibit was viewed, admired and critiqued by Giogrio Vasari almost 500 years ago. This sampling is just a small number from his 10 volume book called THE LIVES OF MOST EXCELLENT PAINTERS, SCULPTORS AND ARCHITECTS. He himself was not only a painter, but a sculptor and architect as well. He is considered not only the father of art history, but a a true 
renaissance man.

Well this is the beginning of the writing for the introduction essay to this exhibit. I have lots more writing to do. But at least I have the first paragraph started. And then on the next wall I want place a time line.

I can't decide if I am going to use this graphic above or a less readable but more detailed version like the one below. What do you think? On a huge wall I could make the fonts way bigger and more readable. What really struck me in the chart below is the variety of life spans. Some people live twice as long as others. And in the context of hundreds of years....well my own life spans feels kinda irrelevant. I so much want to make the most of it.  Izzy 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19 IFJM The Marriage of the Virgin

This is a sketch from The Marriage of a Virgin

The Marriage of the Virgin 
by Raphael
circa 1504
on loan from the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

This painting is part of an altarpiece created for the Franciscan Church of San Francesco Citta di Castello, Italy. I thought it an interesting choice to paint people milling around in the background while this famous union takes place in the foreground. While the characters on either side seem to be calm they also seem somewhat resigned that they are not the ones getting married. 

The pointy hats in the background beg for more research? I colored them so we could see how they point towards the heavens. I don't know if that was a new style or is steeped in meaning.   Joseph is the only one who is barefoot. Is there a hidden meaning to that as well? If I were in art school I could type ten double spaced pages on this one! Back and front!! But there is much to do and my visit and so study on this new acquisition will be short. Perhaps in May, during the exhibit I can revisit and sketch some more. 

My personal take on this particular marriage symbolic. Marriage is a venue in which we can experience the melding of the divine and earthly. Like the animal kingdom, we mate, yes, but the ultimate promise is to love one another in the hopes of opening that love to others, and all of life.

I am quite grateful that my Zoeland friends will have an opportunity to visit these masterpieces. It will be a wonderful conversation starter


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18 IFJM The Baptism of Christ

Sketching Verrocchio Today

My sketch was fun to draw  I can see that I didn’t have John the Baptist leaning enough inwards. But I do like the way his wrap turned out.  I used a light pencil to get the proportions correct before diving in with the black pen. The pencil really helped. I know I was going to try to give up on the pencil, but with these later period pieces, I feel it is a must to try and get the proportions correct. 

The Baptism of Christ
By Adrea del Verrocchio
with help from his student Leonardo da Vinci
circa 1472-1475
On loan from the Uffizi Museum in Italy

Leonardo da Vinci was in his early 20’s when asked to help paint this one. He is thought to have worked on the back ground landscape, the trees and the young boy on the far left of the painting.  The boys pose was usual for paintings during this period but will be seen more as Leonardo continues to blossom into a master painter.

Meanwhile, the f RSVP for the Gala Opening are coming in!  The excitement is building! Cindy is working on a special design for my outfit. I have no idea what she is up to. We plan to meet early next week. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17 IFJM Did I plan for everything?

Julio is just finishing up the glass display case for "Visconti Semideus." He thinks I should have a few blue viper sculptures in the case as well, lest anyone forget about the tactical recommendations delineated in the book. I'll have to get Zoey in on the project!

I have also sketched out the layout and flow of the exhibit which is going to be in the Olmsted Wing. This wing was a generous endowment of the arts by great philanthropist, Steven B. Olmsted. He was an  admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright as well as old and rare books.

Now I really have to get to making a long list to make sure this exhibit doesn't flop.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16 IFJM An Invitation to the Gala Opening!

Through the eyes of our first art historian...Giorgio Vasari

The invitations to the Gala Opening are in the mail! At very least Zoey, Julio and Cindy know about the up and coming exhibit. And although  know word travels fast in a small town, I don't know who else knows about this. So invitation are in going to each and every person with an address in Zoeland. Something tells me that people need to be invited personally. 

Cindy and I worked on the concept but then Cindy created the post card. Isn't it scrumptious? I love the soft colors and very bold eye that just draws you in. She is such a love!

And Cindy, who also designs the dresses in town has offered to help with ball gown orders. I think I am going to ask for a green and yellow dress that matches the eyes of the post card.

 I am not sure how to tell my friends to dress up! But it's time to make a fuss. This exhibit is the best thing to every happen in this town. To pull this off , I am calling Chris the newspaper reporter start a rumor about what I am wearing. Maybe it is time for a plunging neckline! Nothing like a little town gossip to stir up interest.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 15 IFJM The Visconti Semideus

 Fed Ex delivered today's package directly from Russia! It has quite a history and I am so excited it can end up in my museum for a few weeks.

Julio is coming over to construct a glass display case that can sit in the middle of the room. Then, I will need to choose which page to leave open. Argh, that will be tough.

Here is a sketch of the cover. The actual book will remain in the packaging until the glass display case is built.

I first read about this manuscript from a book by Christopher de Hamel called "Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, Twelve journeys into the Medieval World" circa 2016.

The Visconti Semi Deus is a practical treatise for princes on armaments and warfare, composed by a humanist and lawyer. His name was Cantone Sacco and was from a city near Milan called Pavia. He wrote it for Filippo Maria Visconti who was to become the Duke of Milan.

In it he explains methods for doing battle on the high seas. A handbook that is quite useful for the princes studying about how to keep their kingdom safe from invaders. One such story is about putting venomous snakes in pottery and then throwing them on to your enemy's ships in the hope that the pottery breaks and the snakes go about biting the sailors! 

This book made it into several hands over the years and I have taken the following notes to detail the books journey's over the centuries finally arriving to Russia. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 14 IFJM The Nativity

And here is my sketch of the visiting angels

 found in

The Nativity
circa 1460
Piero della Francesco
B 1416  D 1492

On loan from the National Gallery, London

This was most probably his last work and it might be unfinished at that. Also, some damage may have occurred during a cleaning in the 19th century.

Here places Jesus in humble surroundings and includes both a landscape and cityscape in the back ground. It sits in great contrast to Lorenzo Monaco's Adoration of the Magi in 1422, where opulence was the order of the day. 

This painting was completed decades later and you can a new style emerging.

Here is a wonderful write up on this painting