Saturday, April 26, 2008

Warriors among the Rhodies

Yesterday was a beautiful day that I spent roaming around town, with my particular sights set on the newly-re-opened museum at Dumbarton Oaks. Whoopee! What a GREAT space! There are dark and intimate rooms with textiles, a stark white museumy room with Byzantine pieces, an indoor columned court with ancient sculpture set against blood-red walls, a turn of the last century Music Room with ornate ceiling, a hallway where you are walking on an actual ancient mosaic floor (ouch!) and finally my favorite by far --> the Philip Johnson Pavilion, a cluster of "rooms" that so spectacularly displays the pre-Columbian material. Holy cow!

Per the Post: "
It consists of eight circular spaces with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, arranged in a circle around a fountain; light floods the space, which particularly flatters the gold artifacts. And the gardens surround you on all sides."

Exactly! You can hear and smell the ancient cities of Copan and Tenochtitlan right now, right there amid the blooming rhodedendrons in upper NW. The space is very finely done and is now one of my new favorite places in Washington. I look forward to visiting it in all seasons, to see and feel how it changes with the changing light and colors. (My interior sketch is above.)

At the very top is my sketch of a "Wari" mirror from the 'Huari culture' of Peru, from 650 to 1,000 CE*. The square mirror back part is about 6"x"6 and made mostly of Mother of Pearl but also turquoise, other colorful stones, and purply-pink Spondylus shell, all inlaid in a very intricate pattern. It was very lush. And very nifty. (And I finally found a use for these very skanky iridescent watercolor paint samples from DSmith: painting the Mother of Pearl parts on the mirror!)

*[The dating system that is used throughout the museum is the fairly new and politically correct 'CE' system. "CE stands for "Common Era." It is a relatively new term that is experiencing increased usage and is expected to eventually replace AD. The latter is an abbreviation for "Anno Domini" in Latin or "the year of the Lord" in English." The other side of that particular coin being BCE, "Before the Common Era", naturally.]

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fury for Nought

Here is gent in Metro. I think I am beginning to understand how to slightly exaggerate some aspects to get closer to 'character'. At least 'character' as I see it. He was a little rumpled and a little resigned to his fate, yet he had a "little black book" in his shirt pocket.

For me, the mental and physical exhaustion from the brutally abrupt end of the hockey season is just beginning to wear off. Despite all that, I was chipper yesterday in my colorful garb -- no black mourning duds for me!