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Two Favorites

I visited the city on Wednesday, August 9, the city being my city, Philadelphia. My husband had a meeting at his downtown office and I decided to take the ride in and go look around.

It was a beautiful day. I rarely go into Philadelphia anymore, but for many years I was here every day – I worked in several different locations (for the same employer) in Center City and in the historic district. I also drove all over the place for my job, so I know a lot about the entire city; but it’s the hub of things I want to talk about today.

On this walk, I visited two of my favorite art pieces, both public art. I’ll show you a little bit and then, if you are interested, you can find more info on the internet or…you can visit Philadelphia!

All right. We’ll start with some relief sculptures on this building.

It’s the US Courthouse (now Robert C Nix Federal Building) and the William Penn Annex of the post office. The building is quite large – it extends a half block on Market Street and goes all the way through the block to Chestnut Street.

The reliefs I am interested in are along the 9th street facade. They were the work of Edmond Amateis and commissioned by the government through the WPA to ornament this 1930’s building.

They depict mail delivery and show it taking place in far-flung locations. I have always loved these sculptures for their style and beauty, and for the idea that mail delivery unites the world, with people working hard to get a letter where it needs to go.

Here they are: they are arranged in two pairs. You will notice a difference in the look of the reliefs – two were in the sun and two in shadow.

First, the cowboy and the city postman:

Next, mail delivery in the tropics and in the far north:

Every time I am in the neighborhood I stop to take a look. For more information look here.


 

Now, my other favorite. It’s Dream Garden, a huge mosaic located in the lobby of the Curtis Center at 6th and Walnut Streets, right next to the Independence Hall complex. I worked in a building around the corner for some time and when I needed a respite, I’d come over and visit the mural.

It was designed by Maxfield Parrish and created by the Tiffany studios. Many many small pieces of glass, iridescent, opaque, all glowing. It was installed in 1916 in this building, at the time the home of Curtis Publishing (Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post). The building itself is fascinating and beautiful, but I am showing you just the mosaic today.

As a note – there are a lot of pictures on the internet, better than mine – here is its official entry by its owner, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

The mosaic was almost lost to the city about 20 years ago, when its owner died and the heir proposed selling it to a Las Vegas casino. In a complicated transaction with public donations and the cooperation of other beneficiaries under the will, the mosaic became the property of PAFA and is now protected as a historic object.

I noticed some “band-aids” on the mosaic that were not there when I last saw it.

A bit of research told me that construction elsewhere in the building had shaken the structure a year ago and damaged the mosaic. I can’t find details on what the restoration plan is, except that it is being studied for repair. I feel better knowing it is in the care of a museum, at least. Anyway, my pleasure was not diminished by the “band-aids”.

All right, now you’ve seen them. My favorites.

The Boating Party with Claudia McGill

Take a look here – I was interviewed! And given lots of space and time to talk and show my work. I am very grateful for this chance and very flattered.

Thereisnocavalry

Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of Q&As with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are one of the most important aspects of our civilisation.

Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy.

Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society. To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

Perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where is the creativity that will solve the world’s problems going to come from? Including economic and scientific ones?

In this Q&A, I am delighted…

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Woman Wearing Glasses

These mail art postcards were made with found papers and two drawings from my little sketchbook of the head of a woman with glasses. I don’t remember where I drew her, or when, and she never knew it happened. Anyway, this is how it all ended up. I’ve put her in two new situations.

 

We Left Something of Ourselves Behind

These artist trading cards were created by painting a background on the cards in acrylics. Then I took the cutout figures, laid them on top, and painted over them.

Peeling up each stencil, the figure’s shape remained. Then I used NeoColor I crayons here and there as I liked.

Plein Air Paintings

I’m not sure if I ever posted these paintings done at the plein air event I attended in early June, 2017. If I did do it, well, here they are again.

 

Tinicum Arts Festival – the Third Day

Update on the Tinicum Arts Festival…

Claudia McGill, Artist

You saw the photos of our set-up at this show. That was on Friday, July 7. Saturday, the first day of the show, and Sunday, the final day, were pretty similar days. Except for the downpour right before closing time on Saturday!

Well, we got things closed up and everything stayed dry, and that is what counts.

The show turned out well. I’ve got a whole list of thank-you’s to people who bought from me – I appreciate it.

There are the art friends I caught up with – Pam, Aiden, Carol from Easton. We also had great neighbors at this show who I enjoyed talking with.

My sister- and brother-in-law (my husband’s sister and her husband, I guess would make things clearer) came by on Saturday, which I really appreciated. I also received visits from Missy and from John G (and his new little dog, Winnie…he brought her up…

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