The Musée du Louvre, pt 2- Paris, France

A continuation of my previous post, photos from my visit to the Louvre.

I know I usually write words upon words for my posts but the thing is, not to cop out or anything, it’s just that words really don’t do this museum justice and even my photos can’t quite touch on how magical it was to get to explore this building all the treasures it holds.

In total I spent around 5 hours here, just walking from hall to hall, and the further I got from the main central exhibition area the less people I saw, until I was sitting down somewhere reading an info placard and realized I hadn’t seen anyone at all in the last 20 minutes, unless you counted the museum attendants. Eventually though, I had to start making my way back to the main area as the time was approaching when I would be due to meet up with Rachid for whatever that evenings adventures would hold.

Of course I got a little sidetracked when I passed a section with Mesopotamian artifacts, because I mean come on,  how could I resist? And then of course I pass through what I think is the loveliest section in the whole museum, where it’s just sculpture after sculpture and you can’t help but lean in closer to catch all the details carved into the stone.

Eventually though, I got a msg from Rachid saying he was on his way so I knew I had to tear myself away from it all if I wanted to have time to hit up the gift shop (you know I had to). 

I exited the museum with a head and heart almost to bursting with all the beauty I had seen and a slightly lighter wallet, breathing in fresh air and getting hit right in the gut with the realization that I would be leaving Paris the next day and I wouldn’t be able to come back to this museum any time soon. But I shook that feeling off, promising myself I would come back as soon as I got the next chance and went off to find Rachid amid the crowds outside the Louvre and then finish up the day with a visit to the Sacré-Cœur basilica.

~m

 

Joshua Tree Sketches, Postcards and Travel Plans- Frisco, TX



First up- Travel Plans!

I’ve been a bit hush-hush about this since the end of March when I bought my plane ticket, partly because I had no idea where I was going and partly because I didn’t want to utterly jinx anything. But with less than a month left before wheels up and an actual workable itinerary on hand, I think it’s probably time to share the plans.

So back at the end of the last roadtrip taken to have adventures in Colorado , while we were waiting for the snow to stop falling enough to be able to actually leave CO and head home, a price alert came up on flights to Paris. And I remember sitting there on the couch in the living room of the cozy cabin we were staying at and deciding after two minuets of solid thinking, yes, i’m buying it. Did I particularly want to go to Paris? Not really, but I have a good friend there and Paris is an excellent gateway to the rest of Europe so that settled it for me and the ticket was snapped up.

Fast forward a good few months later and it’s July and I still didn’t have a single clue where I was actually going to go, never mind the fact that I had yet to apply for my Passport (I did have an expired one …but it was from when I was a minor and not valid for renewal, though it was valid to use a second ID somehow). And so last month consisted of me getting that ever so important task taken care of- shout out to that lovely lady at the passport office who waived the fee for my photo and who I believe is responsible for the near miraculous turn around time (considering I didn’t pay for expedited service)- and also figuring out my itinerary.

Two weeks was the allotted time I had to work with, and while I know plenty of people would choose to pick just one country and spend the whole time there, i’m that kind of person that loves to just exhaust myself trying to see as much as possible. With that being said, I did hold myself back from going too country-hopping happy.

The itinerary, as it is now (and trust me I wish I could say i’m 100% sure it’s not going to change anymore) is as follows:  leaving Dallas —> literally almost a full day of traveling –> Edinburgh, Scotland–> Amsterdam, The Netherlands–> Salzburg, Austria–> Bavaria, Germany —> Paris, France –> home to Dallas

More as to my actual plans in these places next month when I actually sit down and think through that part more, but at least for now, i’m glad to actually see the full scale of my travel ambitions written out and so close to coming true. This will by first time in Europe and to say i’ve dreamed of doing this for almost 10 years is only just a slight exaggeration.

Apart from setting down those plans, I finished up the Joshua Tree sketches I had mentioned wanting to do and also sent a bunch of postcards to a new penpal in Poland, as well as a couple to one in Germany that i’d really love to fill with enough wanderlust as to make her visit the USA for a roadtrip one day. It’s been a good end to the month and hopefully September brings more creativity, less storms and maybe some more interesting people to send postcards/snailmail to.

~m

p.s If you’ve been to any of the cities/places I mentioned above, feel free to leave me suggestions of places I should see in the comments, i’m very much still at odds as to what exactly i’m going to try and see or visit so it’ll be appreciated :)

 

A Dream of Canyonlands- Finished (Finally, dear gods)

Truth be told, i’ve had this finished for almost a month now…i’ve been just been procrastinating on actually posting about it. Why? That lovely thing that is artistic conceit that gets you thinking that if you just keep tweaking at it and adding just-one-more-thing, it’ll be perfect.

Thankfully work, life in general and planning for my upcoming trip to Europe (more on that soon) has kept me from turning the finished piece into a messy jumble trying to achieve unknowable perfection. I’m actually…pleased, with the way this turned out. When I first started it, i’d never done a landscape drawing that wasn’t just mountains, mountains and more mountains but I was so enamored by the landscape of Canyonlands NP that I knew I just had to try my hand at it.  It started with the rough sketch of graphite, then entered the inking stage I love so much and thats where I paused because I didn’t know if I dared to dip into color, and if I did dare, what route should I take? Bold reds and oranges, what you would expect of this Utah landscape? Muted browns and greens for a more traditional feel? Those all sounded like good ideas but they weren’t me, and after I had done color sketch after color sketch, I finally found myself at the completely other end of the spectrum I had started on, holding purples, blues and pinks in additional to the predictable browns.

I’ve already started sketching out some ideas for the next project, either an Arches NP one or a Joshua Tree one (i‘ll post those a little later) but for now, i’m happy with the way this one turned out and I like that every time I look over at it i’m reminded of the way I felt when I first saw this park- like I was on another planet, a whole otherworldly experience of pure wonder.

~m

A Dream of Canyonlands- WIP

There’s a fair number of National Parks i’ve visited at this point now and even more that I plan to visit soon.. but I think Canyonlands NP in Utah will forever remain in my top 3 favorites. I visited last October and there are still days where i’ll be at work or getting ready for bed and some memory of it will flash across my mind and i’ll want to drop everything to go visit again now, soon. This is where the inspiration for this piece came from, the memory of my visit and the photos I took there.

I want to say I started this in…mmm….middle of March?And it was meant to be a weekend project but then that didn’t quite happen and now it’s July and i’m still not done with it. Which i’d love to say isn’t what usually happens but that would be a terrible lie. To be fair to myself though, I generally only get to work on any art projects of mine every other weekend or so and by “weekend” I mean about 4 hours on either Saturday or Sunday after I chugged my iced coffee and am feeling productive.

Materials:
Faber-Castel PITT artist pens
Prismacolor colored pencils (currently debating on splurging for some Faber-Castel colored pencils but haven’t decided if i’m feeling that artistic just yet)

I’d very much like to finish this one up soon so I can start on another that i’ve in mind- this time from a photograph that I took in Arches, but we’ll see how that actually goes. For now i’m just hoping the weather keeps giving me sun filled weekends and the bf keeps making me excellent iced coffees.

~m

p.s Don’t mind the fantastically low quality of this iPhone photo, I just didn’t feel this work in progress was worth hauling out the actual camera for, not yet.

The Gem Carvings of Konovalenko- Denver, Colorado

Following up on my last post regarding my at times overzealous interest in geology and pretty much all subfields therein, it’s only fitting to admit the #1 reason we decided to visit this particular museum over any others. We (and by that I mean ‘me’) had been undecided on which museums in Denver we were going to try and make it around to, since there’s a fantastic abundance of them (the Denver Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Byers–Evans House, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Museo de las Americas, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art and of course the the historically interesting Molly Brown house museum) but a quick google search through the current exhibitions they had going on at the Denver Museum of History and Science had me 100% decided this was the one we would definetly have to make time to go see.

Specifically, it was the exhibition regarding the Russian folk life gem carvings of Vasily Konovalenko that caught my eye. I didn’t know it at the time, but the museum is home to the most significant collection of these gem-carving sculptures in the world- actually the only collection on public display outside of Moscow. I could probably wax poetic about these amazing works of art for pages on end but the thing that struck me the most when I first saw these carvings in real life was not only their beauty, but the sheer mastery of skill displayed in each of them. These are sculptures carves from gems, and not only are are they wondrously- almost magically-  gorgeous, they’re also engaging. Each carving tells a story and there’s not a single one that doesn’t draw you in with the magnificent play of colors and the forever frozen flexing of stone hands and candid features.

– a short video regarding three of the sculptures displayed at the museum and the background and history behind their beauty: A Stone Live On

– this is one of my favorite quick reads for a little more information on the artist behind these wonders.

The exhibit is in a very quiet part of the museum, tucked away in the back of the second floor, just off the Explore Colorado area, easily overlooked if you weren’t determined to find it. While we were there, people shuffled in, wandered around the glass cases and then shuffled right back on out, few really taking the time to look at each display or read the placards beneath them. On the one hand I was glad to have the room pretty much all to myself, to get the chance to look for as long as I wanted to at each carving and take photos from all angles….but on the other hand, I really wanted to rush up to each person that just walked away after a quick look-see and beg them to appreciate the beauty of each sculpture, to linger just a little bit longer. Of course, i’m not that big of a weirdo and eventually I too shuffled out- though I did end up buying a book at the giftshop below, called Stories in Stone , which I would very much recommend if you’re interested in the carvings but can’t quite make it out to Denver just yet.

And if you do get a chance to visit, I hope you give yourself the time to really enjoy this room and all the beautiful and compelling work it holds.

~m