Living in Key West has been an amazing experience. Island life isn't for everyone, but in the age of Amazon, I don't miss civilization very much. That said, we haven't spent hardly any time in the nearest mainland city except going to and from the airport. I've had a couple day trips to see Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and Monkey Jungle, but I haven't gotten to take in the art scene of Miami.
I sorely regret that three years of Art Basel have passed me by. Hopefully, I will someday make the trip to see the energy and excitement it offers. On an adjacent note, I was mildly aware that Wynwood was known to have lots of murals and street art. I had no idea about the scope of the Wynwood Walls project.
The first murals were painted in 2009 when Tony Goldman sought the help of Jeffrey Deitch as co-curator to bring foot traffic to his restaurants, Joey's and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (above) that he opened in newly purchased six abandoned warehouses near 25th and 26th Street. Deitch envisioned a "museum of the streets."
In 2010, the next ten walls were added and Wynwood Doors was born. The courtyard includes trees, grass and sculpture. It's a wonderful stroll through connected courtyards ripe with color and message. There are now more than fifty murals and public sculpture pieces.
Each year, a theme is announced and twelve chosen artists from around the world are encouraged to use it as a springboard for their creation. Artists start their art during the last week of November. Visitors to Wynwood can see them as they work. A few days before Art Basel begins in early December, the outdoor exhibit is closed to the public until officially unveiled. The theme for the newest walls during my visit was humanKIND and one of the walls says "human, kind; be BOTH!"
Both photos above are by NYC artist Futura 2000. This mural is one of the originals. I couldn't help but wonder if the cranes have been there since 2009, since they feel like they are an extenuation of the art.
artist: Futura (new york)
artist: kenny scharf (nEw york)
artist: shepard fairey (los angeles)
artist: e. Cooper (oklahoma)
artist: david choe (lOs angeles)
artist: faith 47 (south africa)
artist: Tristan eaton (los angeles)
artist: beau stanton (NEw york)
artist: vhils (portugal)
artist: lady pink (NEw york)
artist: case maclaim (germany)
Artists: pichi & avo (spain)
Artist: alexis diaz (puerto rico)(with mural by the london police in the background)
Artist: inti (chile)
artist: bardalo Ii (portugal)
Time goes by and in August there is a story on the national news that this little house had shown up in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana! Here is the story from the Miami Herald. I was so surprised. I hadn't noticed it drifting away. When I think of it floating through the channels of the Keys and out into the Gulf, I'm just amazed. All who wander are not lost! I have no idea if it will return to Key West, but it is a pretty little thing.
In April, I attended a workshop by Iain Stewart through the Potomac Valley Watercolorists. We painted several subjects including a shrimp boat, a French monastery or church on a hill with a river, a Southwest US scene, and two city scenes. At some point during the mostly landscape scene, Iain Stewart mentioned that green is not his favorite color to use and that he rarely puts it in his paintings.
One of the other attendees had a copy of the AWS catalog for 2017. During the lunch break, several artists looked through the catalog and noted that only three or four paintings chosen for exhibit in 2017 had significant green in them.
Once I got back to my studio in Florida, I had about a month to paint something to enter in the Florida Watercolor Society show (which I already knew Iain Stewart was jurying). I looked at the inspiration photos that I most wanted to paint and one of a juvenile green heron in the mangroves kept pulling at me. However, the leaves of the mangrove and the water were destined to have GREEN in them.
Would I be shooting myself in the foot to do a mostly green painting? The more I thought about it, the more I began to see it as a personal challenge.
Here is the finished painting. I found out that is has been accepted into the FWS show! Over six hundred paintings were submitted and one hundred were chosen. I cannot wait to see the show (and count the paintings with green in them!).
A few months ago, I went to a class on urban sketching. At this class, a new iPhone app was suggested. It is call Sktchy. Users post photos they would like for you to draw or paint and post along with the photo for others to see. I signed up, but was apprehensive because I have never been successful in keeping a sketchbook on any regular basis. I've long loved travel watercolor journals both with and without ink linework.
It just so happens that soon after joining the Sktchy community, I needed to purchase a sketchbook for a workshop. I ended up buy four in different sizes and shapes. My favorite is the 6" X 8" Beta Series book from Stillman & Birn. It is large enough to do a nice sketch or painting, but small enough to stick into my purse or backpack. (I wish I had gotten the bound version rather than the spiral one.)
For two months straight, I drew or painted in my sketchbook. It was life-changing! Why?
Because I made a commitment to myself not to tear out any pages (either because they are bad or because good enough to sell), I finally took to heart what a sketchbook is about... practice and experimentation. It's an opportunity to do a quick series or to paint from a scene or photo that you want to capture but not pressure yourself to perfect.
I want to be a better portrait artist, but I've done very little. It was too serious an endeavor to paint a "real" portrait. My first sketchbook portraits are only around two inches square.
I began to make progress in capturing a likeness, so I decided to go a little larger:
Then, I did a painting where I unintentionally elongated a portrait...
Which led to these, which I intentionally elongated:
Lest you think my sketchbook is ALL portraits, there is a smattering of other subjects too...
Somehow, amidst a busy Memorial Day weekend, a commission and another huge household project a few weeks back I fell off the daily sketch habit. I'm missing it. I think it's time to finish the last three pages in that book and order the next one! Follow me on Sktchy as nmdartist or Instagram as @nancysketchedthis to see what's next!