Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Savoring the Last Day"

The loudness of thoughts keeps me awake, (At least it is not the loudness of 'joints afire'.)

This is our last day here in Washington, D.C.. Whatever we haven't accomplished that we hope to in this vibrant, bustling, driven, beautiful city must be done today.

I think there are still some things in the NGA that I need to see.

Meanwhile, I pause this morning for a drawing:

Persistence of Wonder

I'm answering those who value only "realism", "You didn't get the TOE COUNT right!" It's true, I didn't!

"Waiting for Spinach Pochettes"

Even though they were not ready, we ordered them anyway, in the small French bakery near the hotel, which plays enchanting international music...

They are so flaky, buttery and yummy, oozing spinach goodness...

"Notes Made at the NGA"

Notes to self:
Try 'pen and ink with WASH'.
Try midtone paper with white and black colored pencils.
Detail, detail. Use the .005 pen!
(Yes! Great decision to revisit NGA, many things missed in West building. More to report later...)

"Finishing the Stay"

Finishing the stay up with a second visit to the NGA was perfect! There was a great deal we hadn't seen in the West building. Several drawings, pen and ink and engravings impressed me. The detail they were able to catch is amazing. These drawings were from three different traveling exhibitions: Claude Lorrain—The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum - May 27–August 12, 2007, Private Treasures: Four Centuries of European Master Drawings -May 6–September 16, 2007and Fabulous Journeys and Faraway Places: Travels on Paper 1450–1700 -May 6–September 16, 2007.

There were more sculptures and vessels of every size and description, these from the permanent collection:

Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis
(gold and silver jeweled mounting - French 12th Century) (sardonyx cup - Alexandria, Egypt 2nd/1st Century B.C.)

"Neptune on a Sea Monster" c. 1500/1509
Bronze 45.6 x 26.7 x 20 cm (17 7/8 x 10 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)
North Italian, active in Ravenna and Padua 1496-1525/1538

And there were so many Chinese porcelains...

KANGXI REIGN c. 1662-1722
Famille verte enamels on biscuit porcelain

This piece is from the 13th century, but there's a modern feeling about it:

Aquamanile in the Form of a Horseman 13th century
Bronze, probably English or Scandinavian

In addition, we had more opportunities for fun with reflective surfaces. I was in the middle of trying to capture one of Julia and I behind a huge standing candlabra when the viewfinder went black. I tried different batteries, but still had a blank screen. I suspect I taxed the total storage capacities of the memory card. I'd been getting an unusual red flashing warning I'd not seen before. So the camera lasted nearly the entire trip. I'd have loved to get photos of the Calders in the East wing. An entire area was devoted to his fun. In addition to their intrinsic qualities, there was shadow play on the walls which added to the total effect.

There was another of those jeweled fish, one of which I'd seen at Smithsonian's American Art Museum, but this one at the NGA featured winged hands and was suspended from the ceiling. Two shadows from it appeared on the nearby wall, such that the onlooker sees the original piece, then below it a fairly detailed shadow and below that, a second shadow less detailed.

This Calder mobile was at the nearby Hirschhorn. Their displays did not take this advantage of lighting possibilities...

We finished our visit with eating gelato in the expresso/gelato cafe. I picked seats by the huge rushing water cascade and savored each tiny spoonful.

An evening pause for a drawing:

Julia in her white nightgown...

I did not take a pre-sketch, I just started in with the line drawing...

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