Friday, November 15, 2019

What's New!! On Off the Wall Friday

Well its been a luscious, amazing, busy fall.  I've had a couple of big projects on the homefront that have taken up my time and energy.  Then there is work.  For what was suppose to be quiet little job that I could spend my menopausal years, its starting to get way out of hand.  Busy!  Busy!  Busy!!  Still I do love my customers and being busy in the retail world is not necessarily a bad thing. Little by little I'm throwing off the blanket of depression, and the old Nina is starting to emerge.

One of the things that has brighten our house  this week is our newest purchase arrived.  I'm not talking about the new front loader washer/dryer set I finally bought after 25 years of old one (amazing as they are ... OMG ... doing laundry is quick and easy now!).  No, I'm talking about the latest acquisition to the Sayre art collection.  My husband, Paul, came back from his week at Marc Adam's School of Woodworking in Indiana this year all excited by some paintings he saw displayed. Apparently one of his fellow woodworkers is an accomplished  artist.

Gabrielle Lehman is self taught painter who lets light be his muse into the surrealist world of his imagination.  I'm not quite sure what I was more surprised with.  The fact that Paul was introduced to Lehman's work at woodworking school or that he actually said to me why don't we buy a painting.  Well Aduh!!  Of course we need to buy a painting.  I myself was drawn to the bright colors, the use of light and curves and motion.  Paul on the other hand, picked a piece that was quieter, mostly monochromatic and mysterious.

As it Lept Off the Page that is relatable and mysterious all at once.  It brought memories for me when I first started indulging my love of books and now it reminds me of my daughter reading on our Victorian porch by lantern light. It really has captured my heart and looks amazing in our family room.  I know that art doesn't necessarily need to match the couch but it always good when it fits in well with it surroundings!  All week, I've caught my family stopping to look at the painting being drawn in by it.  Yes we are in love!  His site has his original art, prints and cards if you want to get a bit of the magic!!

Let's See What Else is New..

We are all starting to get  ready for the holidays.  This week we discovered the Giftster site where it makes it easy for a family to get together gift lists!!  If you're looking for ideas to add to your Christmas list take a look at past Gift posts!

And finally....I got a nice email from Vanessa over the VISIONS ART MUSEUM.  Its time for the

Quilt Visions 2020
Call for Entry: January 1st, 2020 to February 9th , 2020
For details please visit

My friend, Emily Richardson is one of the jurors this year, so I'm excited to see what gets juried in!!

I will endeavor to get some of my own work that is in progress up next week!!  I swear I just need to shut the world out and create!!

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Off The Wall Friday

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Friday, November 1, 2019

Michael Sherrill at the Renwick Gallery on Off the Wall Friday

We've all been to them.  Exhibits of  artist's work that we say interesting...and then move on to the refreshments.  Now that's not to say that their work is boring, it just doesn't reach you to your core.  Then you see someone's work and think ...OMGosh where has this been all my life.  With each new piece you take a little intake of breathe and start wondering how long can you just sit and stare at it before it gets creepy.  That's the nature of art....its uniqueness....the viewer's uniqueness.

I was blessed enough to see an exhibit at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery that literally touched my soul.  I know how that sounds ,,,,but the cliche is true.  Michael Sherrill Retrospective took you on a tour of the man's 40 year creative journey and how he evolved as an artist. As a sculpture Sherrill  marries metal, glass, and clay into the most alluring organic forms that hint at reality but then takes much further.    He makes my favorite kind of art...the kind that that is interesting, pretty and touchable.  

I loved walking through all 73 pieces and watch how he went from one series to another.  You could still see his voice in his work but you could also see him exploring new ideas in shape and form.  Also you could see how his work could present different differently depending on the lightening. It really is an exhibit you would want to see more than once.

The Exhibit runs  through January 5, 2020 and I highly recommend you see it if you are anywhere near the DC area.  The Renwick Gallery does not sit on the National Mall itself but its a short walk away and very close the Meto's Farragut West/North stations.

Next week, I will continue on with our tour of the Renwick which really was amazing!

  So What Are You Up to Creatively?
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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Art .... DC Style on Off the Wall Friday

So I'm quite sure that most of you know that Washington DC is known for its expansion National Mall, majestic monuments and first class museums.  But did you know that the city is also home to some the best art museums in the country?  For our fall adventure, we decided to take a long weekend to visit these amazing galleries.  It turned out to be more low maintenance and affordable than you might think.


Step 1.  Pick where you want to stay.  We stayed in Arlington, VA in the Ballston, MU area at the
Westin Arlington Gateway.  They had a family get away special going so we got our rooms for about $110/night which was great for a 4 star hotel.  I loved the area.  We parked our car and really never moved it all weekend.  There are plenty of restaurants and stores close by with the metro stop about 3 blocks away.

Step 2.  Pick the museums you want to see.  We saw the National Gallery, the Renwick Gallery, and the American Art Museum.  We also wanted to take some time to walk the mall.

Step 3:  How are you going to get around.  We used the CityMapper App to get us where we wanted to go.  You just put in where you're going and it tells you how to get there  - via a bunch of modes of transportation - how long its going to take and how its  going to cost.  We took the Metro Orange/Silver lines pretty much everywhere.  For $2.40  you could get to the gallery quickly and easily.  If  you've never road the the metro - its super easy. It was clean and I felt safe the whole weekend.  

Step 4: Enjoy the gallery or museum to the fullest and don't rush!   The National Gallery is made up of two buildings.  The West  Building houses art up to 1900 where the East continues on with 1900 to the present.  It took me a full day to go through it.  With that I took several hour long free tours which feature some fascinating information on the more prominent pieces.

Step 5:  The practical information. Most galleries are open  till 5:00 or 5:30 seven days a week and are free.  The American Art Museum is open till 7 which is nice so you can do the Renwick and 10,000-15,000 steps of walking so wear comfortable shoes!!
it in one day.  Most galleries feature really nice museum shops which also have online sites.  The National Gallery is quite amazing and probably one of my favorites of all time.  We tended to eat a big breakfast at the IHOP by the metro station, maybe have a small snack midday and ate dinner back in Arlington.  Even with the Metro there was a lot of walking ... like

We only got to see three art venues and there are so many more!!!   The Renwick is not to be missed since it houses the Arts & Crafts collection of the nation and for me the most exciting pieces I saw all weekend.  I will share what we saw in a later post.  What I want to stress is don't just rush through these museums.  They have so much to offer - tours, audio tours, short drawing classes, great shopping - even good food.  Plus where else can you get up close to a Van Gogh, Di Vinci and a Hopper all in the same day??

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Off the Wall Friday

Sorry this is late, I'm traveling the next couple of weeks.  I will make sure though that OTWFri is posted next week too!

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Saving Sadie on Off the Wall Friday

15 years ago, I started a piece in a class taught by Cynthia Corbin.  Now we all know that not all pieces started in class merit enough to be finished.  Some are started with bad ideas  and bad design, some are just samples to learn a technique, and some are just techniques that you just don't like to do.  But not this one.  I've  written about Sadie before because more than once I said I was going to save her.  

In the past, people have offered how to save her... change her initial shape since its not realistic
enough, add more thread painting to give her more definition, add shading to Sadie to make her more realistic, take out Sadie all together etc. etc. 

I knew there was something wrong but I didn't quite know what and Cynthia whose work is mostly abstract thought that Sadie just detracted from the great complex background.  But I love Sadie and I wanted to save her and have the great background compliment her.

I think now after all these years I can make my own critique and finally save Sadie. 


                 Things That I Like
  • The subject matter....its a woman walking home toward a town on a hill at dawn...after a long night of dancing
  • The interesting non realistic shape of Sadie....its not suppose to be too realistic
  • The complex background she's walking toward

Things That Need to be Resolved
  • The two elements are fighting against each other  - Sadie and the Town
  • The over all intensity is the same  - all saturated 
  • The focal point is not defined enough and there is not clear path for your eye to move
  • There is no quiet space in the piece
  • There isn't enough texture and needs a stronger line

Just writing out this list gives me a better idea of what needs to be done.  Most times, when a piece is not working it needs things to be eliminated rather than added. I am still intrigued by Sadie and want to get her home. 

This is from my daily Bible study that popped up this week that got me thinking about Sadie again...It seems just as relevant today as it when it was written.  And yes it is from Ecclesiastes 3 and not The Byrds (grin) ....This is The Message Version

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

I'll keep you apprise of where Sadie really ends up!! 

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Friday, September 27, 2019