Tag Archives: Allentown PA

Scratch Art 3

More scratch art work inspired by a class I took at Woodmere Art Museum in spring 2021. Look here for the first post, which explains the origins of this inspiration and some general background on the medium.

This photo is of the side of a warehouse/factory building in Allentown, PA.

Here is the image. In retrospect, I wonder why I chose to do this image. I think I was visualizing it as I would handle it with pen. You don’t get the same effects with scratchboard as you would with a pen, of course, and I had just the plan to handle the bricks and shadows and so on…in pen, but I was doing a scratchboard image. I realized too late into the process that filing in the bricks to any extent would turn this into another mush of evenly-balanced black and white marks with no focal point. Oops.

Lesson learned: choose your image carefully. Visualize how you will go about producing before you dive in. Remember, once you make a mark, there is no going back!

I decided to let this picture be a practice-your-mark-making event and once I focused on that, I enjoyed trying out different ways to make different tones.

I do like how the door turned out. I learned more about creating details with the medium and the tools in this image.

Visit to the Allentown Art Museum 5/30/21

Our weather has been chill and pouring rain and clouds and more rain for this weekend. But my husband and I knew what to do – visit the museum. Off we went to the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, PA, on this date.

Two new exhibits have just opened and both were of interest to me. I’ll do a quick rundown and then show you how I participated myself into an exhibit. Sort of. Kind of. If you stretch the definition…

But I digress. Let’s go.

The first we viewed exhibit is called Roots. It focuses on art or craft made by community artists and what happens when the mainstream art world discovers it and appropriates it or redefines it.

The exhibit contained quilts, furniture, sculpture, beadwork, and imagery. Pieces made by the community artists were shown along with works inspired by or derived from, or in some cases made by the community artists to fit the tastes of the mainstream art world.

Upon entering the room I imediately saw the quilts at the opposite end and I knew right away what I was looking at – Gee’s Bend works.

It’s the first time I was ever able to see a Gee’s Bend quilt in person and I took plenty of time to examine the artworks from the standpoint of how they were put together, to their composition, to just enjoying the look of them.

Coincidentally, not long ago I used the Gee’s Bend quilt community’s works, as well as a set of Allentown rowhouses, as my inspiration for a painting. Look here for the post, and here is the painting:

The accompanying mainstream works were prints made by professionals in conjunction with the original artists. They did not compare to the quilts, hands down.

The rest of the exhibit was equally absorbing. Shaker furniture compared to works of Nakashima and Esherick. Native American works compared to work produced by these same artists for tourists, or, in an interesting extrapolation, designs taken from Native American works and popular motifs of the time and printed on fabric by outside designers.

It was a thought-provoking exhibit and an interesting juxtaposition of items connected in a way we do not often think of them – how one can lead to another and what does that process mean to all involved?

More photos:

Next we went to this exhibit.

This gallery featured bedcoverings of all kinds and from all over the world, as close as the Allentown area and as far away as Asia. Various time periods from the past were also represented, as were techniques: weaving, printing, embroidery, quilting, and applique stitching.

The exhibit made the point that in the past, especially before the mechanical weaving of cloth was possible, bedcoverings were costly and a family’s wealth could have a significant portion invested in bedcovers and assorted linens and accessories. Take a look:

I was especially taken by this tiny “bedcovering” for a baby, made by a Hmong artist. It’s meant to be a baby carrier (according to the placard long sashes would have been sewed to the top to wrap up and around the baby and secure her to her mother – and I am envisioning my granddaughter in this item, as you can see).

According to the information, the extremely precise and exquisite embroidery and applique pattern was deliberately made to be complicated and elaborate so that evil spirits could not find the baby in all the distractions of the wrapping cloth. Additionally, the pompoms at the head were to make the spirits think the baby was a flower and thus camouflaged she would be left alone.

I found this touching. I resolved that when I next make a garment or item for my granddaughter I will consider these factors in my design. It can’t hurt.

Finally we took a quick trip up to the kids’ area. Since we were at the museum so early, the area had just opened and no kids had arrived yet. We had never been in here since it has always been so busy in the past.

The ramp up into the space has a display of fiber art – Cocoons. There was also a display of felted vegetation-like forms inside the kids’ area. I hear they are having a workshop later on featuring the making of such items. Hmmmm…

What a great spot for kids and families to make art and reflect on what they might have seen in the displays by creating something themselves.

That’s not a man sitting over there, it is a statue. Yes.

On our way out, my husband called me back to look at the…bathrooms. Right. Well, they are a treat. The Mens’ and Ladies’ both feature murals incorporating some of the museum’s well-known works. I saw some friends in each room.

And…here is where I became part of the exhibit myself. Kind of. Look and see if you can find me.

Sure you can! And my husband, too.

Well, that’s it for the visit. I hope to return and take another look at both of these displays this summer.

Sometimes All the World is a Piece of Art

If you think of the whole world as a composition, then there are brushstrokes of color everywhere.

I found these in Allentown, PA, this last weekend. Look at them and enjoy this world where bright spots are everywhere just for the looking.

Some colors are muted or subdued:

And some are loud and clear in their message.

And then there are the combinations of color and pattern that catch your eye.

Go ahead, walk around. Take a look.

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 9

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos.

I realize that I can give you a little bit of a streetscape, now that I have gone through the drawings and photos, never mind what I said before.

Photos:

Drawings:

Hey, this project (and it did turn out to be a project, somewhere along the line…) was a lot of fun. I will certainly try something like this again.

 

 

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 8

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

Here I am showing you the last of this series. It is my favorite location, and that is why I have saved it for the end.

Lumpy Lou’s Bar and Grill. I just like the look of the place and of course I love its name.

It is located next to the twin houses that are then next to the apartments. You can see both the houses and the side of the apartment building to the left of the photo.

I think I especially enjoyed drawing the sign.

 

 

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 7

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

More twin homes. To get your bearings, these houses are on the other side of the apartments (you can see the building’s side wall to the right of the houses) from the houses I showed you in the previous post.

By this point, I am in the swing of drawing this neighborhood and have been taking a lot of time with each drawing. I really love these little houses and I am hoping I did them justice with my work here.

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 6

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

I believe I mentioned there is a mix of structures on this street. Here are twin houses next door to the apartments (you can see the right side of the property at the left of the photo).

I love this style of house. They are found all over older neighborhoods in Allentown, still in use as family homes or in some cases, turned into apartments (my son rented the second floor of a similar house when he lived in the city some years back).

Anyway, they are efficient in layout and yet roomy, and they all have plenty of charm. Take a look at the drawing and see what you think.

 

 

 

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 5

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

As I said in the previous post, I believe this apartment building is actually two separate entities owned differently, though built side by side. Clues are the difference in brick pointing between the two sides, the different front doors, the differences in landscaping, and the fact that the windows in this side that I am showing you today, the left side, have been replaced.

Just for fun here are the two halves:

and in my drawings:

I realize I left off the wavy ornamental ironwork under the windows on the right-side building. I remember thinking that to include it would take away from the paned windows, so I decided…to forget it!