March 28, 2013

Timing is everything.

“A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and twenty years later, on the exact day, a Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish - but there was no diamond inside. That’s what I like about coincidence.” 
― Vladimir NabokovLaughter in the Dark

Occasionally I hone in on some superstition thinking it a coincident. For instance, every now and then I stay up late, work past midnight, sleep late and wake up to emails or messages about sold work and think, " I should sleep late more often." And on more than one occasion I've gone out of town to return to similar good news in my inbox and think, I should go out of town more often. Logically I know that leaving town, or sleeping late have nothing to do with selling work or invitations to exhibit, (okay, so there is a direct correlation with leaving town and being invited to show) but I still enjoy a little magical thinking every now and then. 

Before I left town I was mentally paring down my possessions to a tidy sum like 200 or something insane. After I came back, even more so. Meanwhile though, I am splitting my time between the paint studio and the watercolor studio in preparation for some shows. 

Spring is good. 

The last sketch.

Flight leaves at 12:20p out of Dusseldörf. No time for watercolor. Here are some sketches as a group.

March 27, 2013

Wednesday Day 5: Ramagen, Bonn

Highlights from Wednesday Day 5: Woke up in Bonn. I did a watercolor sketch of the view out the window.

Took the train to Ramagen to see the Hans-Arp Museum. Had coffee at the museum cafe. The museum was designed by Richard Meier. There was a Winter Impressionism show tied in with a bit about climate change. I'm still figuring out  how I feel about he motivation behind this. Corporate ploy, educational gimmick. or interesting juxtaposition? Matters not. It was lovely. Cameras were not allowed. I spent about (insert lost amount of time) doing quick sketches of about half the works in the show. No one noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Lunch back in Bonn at a vegetarian cafeteria. I'm beginning to lose track of the order of things. I think we stopped at AIB next and then through a graveyard on the way to the Auguste Macke House, and the Kunstmuseum.  Unfortunately the cafe was closed for dinner by the time we got there (6pm) so it was marzipan torte for me. The museum was open until 9 pm.


California: The Huntington Beach surf cam at the Hollister Store in Germany. 

 Gabriele Münter.  
vintage Polke




March 26, 2013

Tuesday Day 4: Brühl, Cologne, Bonn.

Tuesday Day 4: Woke up in Bonn. I did a watercolor sketch of the view out the window.

Jane has meetings all day, so I'm on my own.

Train to Brühl.
Max Ernst Museum. I am the only person touring the museum at that time of day. There were 4 guards and me. It was raining, wet, and cold. I could not have been happier. At lunch at Chez Max, the museum cafe, I had a moment of bliss acknowledging that this was my life as an artist and at that moment it was perfect. Exhibitions come and go, sales help fund the work, reviews create a sense of critical success, but eating carrot and ginger soup and having a cappuccino surrounded by wilting tulips in a warm museum cafe on a cold wet day in Brühl was Nirvana.

Schlösser Brühl. Rococo castle. Over the top Baroque. I was forced to tour the castle with a group of high school students from Italy. It took over an hour with the guide. I listened to headphones explain the rooms in English. It was fairly empty with very little furniture. Opulence was never so cold.

 I missed the train to Cologne and had to wait on the platform. 

Cologne/Köln. I could have gone back to the museums. I could have explored new museums. I could have had another cappuccino at a museum cafe, but by 3:30 pm I felt pressured to fill the role of the American Consumer. I speed-raced window shopped in the center of Köln, until I got lost and had to find my way back to the train station to catch the train located by The Cologne Cathedral.

The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second tallest spire in the world. This was to be my landmark, but  the shopping district in Cologne city center is so dense that I could not locate the spire. I finally made my way back to the tracks, took the train to Bonn,  met Jane at the statue of Beethoven and found refuge at the First Flush tea room. I should have spent the remainder of the day looking at art. Window shopping made me grumpy.

March 25, 2013

Monday. Day 3: Bonn, The Rhine.

Monday. Day 3: Woke up in Bonn. I did a watercolor sketch of the view out the window.

All museums are closed on Monday, except the Beethoven House, which sadly did not make triage. First stop was taking care of some business at the American Institute in Bonn.

We walked along the Rhine for about 2-3 hours. Coffee with condensed milk at the micro coffee stand along the Rhine and through a Japanese Zen Garden. Back in the city center, First Flush tea room. I could live there. My next grant app may very well be for spending time in Bonn doing watercolor studies and having coffee at the First Flush tea room every day. Civilization.
Jane led a Kundalini yoga class for her students in the evening.

"Grave of the Artist". Very old. 


You didn't think I'd leave Germany without going to an an overpriced old school art supply store, did you? I bought a professional grade watercolor travel set and felt guilty because I could have bought it online for less. After I used them, I was guilt-free. I'll never use student grade watercolor cakes to travel with again. Speaking of supplies, I need new paint. 

March 24, 2013

Sunday. Day 2: Cologne: der bedeutungslosigkeit des bildgegenstandes

Sunday. Day 2: Woke up in Bonn. I did a watercolor sketch of the view out the window.

View from Jane's apartment, Bonn. watercolor on paper.

We spent Sunday in Cologne.

Museum Ludwig, Köln.
  • Modernist Masterpieces. The Haubrich Collection at Museum Ludwig
  • Andreas Fischer. Your time is my Rolex
  • Man Ray. Renate and L. Fritz Gruber archive.
  • Gerhard Richter. Elbe, November, and Other Works
  • Saul Steinberg. The Americans
  • Art of the 20th Century 
and presence
  • Cappuccino at The Ludwig Museum restaurant. Jane and I concur that museum cafes are elegant refuges and kind of a home away from home. I feel this way no matter what city I am in. Almost. 
I love this painting. ^
This is rather nice too. 


Max Ernst. These look nothing like this in person. Again, photography kills the radio star.  

The thing about the Richters is that that are so deceptively about paint that photography kills them. Next time someone tells me they are painting like Richter, I will slap them. I thought the line on the floor was quite dangerous. I could have fallen into a painting if I wasn't aware of my Lean Forward: Tilt Over ratio. Geometry. 


Fantastic show of Andreas Fischer behind the curtain. Busted for trying to snap pics. 

 WALLRAF-RICHARTZ-MUSEUM. 4 floors (?) It's getting little intense now.
A bite to eat at the Wallraf Museum cafe-I think- before heading in. Flowers everywhere. 

If you are an artist or a collector and if this is your life and work, you know that looking at art can be pleasurable but grueling. It requires some degree of mental concentration, random access to your memory database and physical stamina. Even works I'm apt to dismiss take up space and energy as I silently note why they are not working for me. Other works I strive to imprint in my mind pretending I'll be able to recall subtle nuances on demand. After awhile, it becomes pointless. I mean that in the best possible way.

Max Lieberman

Manet,  A Bunch of Asparagus

Asperagus, [from the musee-orsay in France]
Okay, so I'm cheating here so I can include this anecdote:

L'asperge [Asparagus]

The delightful story of this painting is well known: Manet sold Charles Ephrussi A Bunch of Asparagusfor eight hundred francs. But Ephrussi sent him a thousand francs, and Manet, who was a master of elegance and wit, painted this asparagus and sent it to him with a note saying: "There was one missing from your bunch".
The "mother" canvas was painted on a black background, rather like the Dutch still lifes of the17th century. Here, Manet creates a very subtle interplay between the mauves and greys of the asparagus and the colour of the marble on which it lies. He paints freely, and purely for the pleasure, demonstrating in this spontaneous work his formidable skill, his perfect taste and his humour. "This is not a still-life like the others", wrote Georges Bataille, "although still, it is, at the same time, lively".

Thus, increasingly throughout the 1880s, Manet produced small still life paintings with a few flowers or a limited number of fruits. It was as if he was producing extracts, examples of the pure essence of painting. Often they were sent to friends, personal gifts that always contained humorous asides or signs of affection and tenderness.

George Bataille. Small world. I should re-read Story of the Eye. At the time, I was a bit creeped out by it. 
 Irrelevance of The Subject. aka The Insignificance of the Picture Object. Thank you. 

Drawings by Bosch

I opted to take numerous pics or sketch, and am doing a reverse image search on Google to look up names and titles. Efficient.

For day #1 go here.