Tag Archives: Philadelphia PA

Would You Like to Visit this Location?

I took this photo of the Pencoyd Bridge in Philadelphia PA in September 2020.

I gave it a real boost in color saturation, just for fun, because even in the unaltered photo, I loved the color array – green, blue, orange, red. I thought it would look great in a stronger version.

The view made me think of postcards from the past – a local scene captured to show people who might never be able to visit the location, that would make you marvel as you looked over the card. Every place, big and small, has beauty spots and places of interest, and I enjoy seeking out the sites that local people feel are important.

And I love receiving postcards.

That’s why I thought of this as a great postcard image. If you received this item in your mail, you might examine it in detail, see what your cousins or your grandmother saw in the real-world version that caught their eye strongly enough to buy the card so you could enjoy it, too.

All right, here it is. Greetings from the Pencoyd Bridge, Philadelphia, PA!

Looking Back: Along the Beach Road

A post in an occasional new series – looking back at artworks or mediums I worked in from earlier in my artist years.

Here I show you a fabric wall hanging from 1999.

It’s called “Along the Beach Road” and I made it from my memories of various views of the New Jersey shore in the southern part of the state. As I remember, around this time, we did a show on the boardwalk in Cape May and took the opportunity to drive around and snap some photos. This wall hanging is purely from my imagination, though. It’s maybe 24″ x  28″ ,more or less? Or maybe a little bigger? Back then I did not keep records on these statistics as I do now.

Along the Beach Road small

This piece received a lot of attention, as I remember. For one thing, it won Best of Show at the Lansdale (PA) Festival of the Arts in August 1999.

Best in Show Lansdale 1999 Along the Beach Road small

In April, 2000, I entered three wall hangings in a juried show at the William Penn Charter School, a private school in Philadelphia that at the time had an art event to benefit the school. My work was accepted and I remember receiving very nice compliments from the judge, which really encouraged me. Here I am with my three pieces on display.

Claudia - Penn Charter Exhibit 4-00 small

 

 



To create my fabric work, I laid out a base level of canvas fabric and pinned the cut fabric pieces to it. I then machine-sewed them to the base, using either free motion stitching, (such as you see for the vegetation), or closely spaced zigzag stitching (for areas I wanted outlined, such as the roofs of the buildings). In neither case did I turn under fabric edges – they are all left raw. In this way you can see that I worked as I later did in paper collage.

Like pretty much all of my fabric work this piece was sold long ago. But I do have many good memories of it, as you can see, and it was art that I was proud of making.

 

Looking Back: Garden in the City

A post in an occasional new series – looking back at artworks or mediums I worked in earlier in my artist years.

Here I show you a fabric wall hanging from 2000.

I worked in this medium when I first started making art. I constructed appliqued fabric wall hangings, at first using hand stitching and later switching to free-motion machine stitching. My fabric work spanned the time frame from about 1995 to 2001.

This piece, Garden in the City, was made for an exhibit as part of Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA. I submitted an application to participate, was chosen, and was assigned a community garden in the city to portray. My location was Glenwood Green Acres in North Philadelphia.

I went out to the garden in June 2000 to take photos. The location was in a neighborhood that had been in decline for some time. It was a typical Philadelphia scene – factory building towering over streets of small rowhomes originally built for the workers. At this time, the factory in the photos was abandoned and the garden was on the site of another factory that had been demolished. The Amtrak rail line goes right behind the garden.

I created the wall hanging over the fall of 2000 and it was exhibited in early 2001, January, I think. Philadelphia’s City Hall is an enormous building in the middle of Center City and is a landmark location for us here. Now most of its functions are handled in more modern surrounding buildings, but City Council still meets there.

The exhibit area had large cases on two different floors. My artwork was about 30″ x 40″. I was also just starting to work in paper collage, and I included two collages with the fabric piece. I can”t find photos of them or I would show them, too. I do remember that one of the collages featured the lovely cabbages you see in a photo above.

Here is the piece:

Garden in the City small 2000001

Philadelphia has many community gardens and Glenwood Green Acres still exists. The surrounding area is changing as redevelopment amends the area but this garden looks pretty much the same 20 years later, from the pictures I can find.

Baby Cylinder Person at The Clay Studio Small Favors 2020 Exhibit

Hello everyone, I have one of my small cylinder figurines in an exhibit – Small Favors at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. It’s one of these…

I’m very excited about this recognition, because it is the first time one of my clay pieces has been juried into an exhibit.

Take a look. You’ll enjoy yourself. The idea behind this exhibit is SMALL – each piece had to be able to fit into a 4″ cube. The main site to the exhibit is here, and you can access the whole array of items (they are for sale, too, and you can buy directly from the website and they will ship it to you). This year, to celebrate 15 years for this theme, they feature not only clay but also other media.

My piece is toward the end of the array. It takes some time to load, so I’ve given you the link to my page here so you can see which little guy is featured.

March 6-April 26 at The Clay Studio,  137-139 N. Second Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending August 10

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.


Art in all kinds of forms. Yes!

Sunday, August 5 – This week’s diary may be skimpy on information, I warn you. I plan to devote a lot of time to my secret project and I can give you only glimpses of it. I worked on it both days this weekend – here are those glimpses:

And here is what else I did. Odds and ends of clay work. I put my name and date on the backs of these sgraffito tiles. Now they are ready to be wrapped up and stored (soon as my ordered bubble wrap comes in…)

AD 8-5 #202

I started coloring these tall figurines. They will be part of my next firing.

AD 8-5 #103

And the small figurines I did late last week are drying. Notice how the color changes as the figures dry out.

Monday, August 6 – Some more work on those clay ladies…

AD 8-6 #116

More work on the secret project.

AD 8-6 #b

AD 8-6 #a

Tuesday, August 7 – My husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to drop off a painting for an upcoming exhibit at the Baum School of Art:

AD 8-7 #115

That took no time. So we decided to walk up the Art Walk to eat lunch at a restaurant we’ve enjoyed in the past, Queen City BBQ. Here are some pictures of the Art Walk:

We stopped at the Dick Blick store on the way home.

AD 8-7 #1301.jpg

Now I am a devoted Blick customer but I do my shopping through the internet – the nearest store to me is in Center City Philadelphia and that’s not easy to get to. So when in Allentown we often take the opportunity to stop in here and browse. I bought a tube of paint, a sketchbook with gray pages, and some white acrylic ink as a treat for myself.

Wednesday, August 8 – These two ladies are finally done. Ready for firing.

AD 8-8 #101

Thursday, August 9 – I priced these tiles and wrapped them up. Now they can be stored until I take them to a show.

AD 8-9 #112

I loaded the kiln with the work that I have on hand. I may try a firing as soon as I get a cooler day (the kiln should not be run on 85 degree F +/- days, it doesn’t like it). This load is tiny but I don’t worry anymore about packing the kiln fully for a firing – I mostly want to keep the work flowing. I’ll check the weather and see what looks good. Anyway, even if I add more work, I’ve got this amount already set to go, that’s always a nice thing.

AD 8-9 #211

Friday, August 10 – Well, this week didn’t go as planned, really – I have had ongoing family issues and some other hitches in the schedule. Hoping next week might hang together a little better.

This afternoon I did some work for my secret project – I can tell you that this aspect of it involved painting some papers. I used acrylic inks today, mostly:

AD 8-10 #b04

and I used acrylic paints, including the new one I bought on Tuesday in Allentown. I do love trying out a new paint. This one looks like I’m going to love having it in my paint workforce.

AD 8-10 #a05

I was painting at random to achieve my effects today – here are the things for the project:

AD 8-10 #d02

and here are some accidental byproducts that are extremely useful. I usually use a page from an old book to blot or spread inks or paint – today I used this one, from my childhood collection:

AD 8-10 #c03

Who knew the Bobbsey Twins could be so versatile as to still be hard at work solving mysteries and opening eyes right here in the art studio, 50 years after I purchased this volume? The paper is soft and absorbent but is not at the point of being so brittle that it crumbles. Here are the results. I’ll save them to use later.

AD 8-10 #e01

And, I’d like to mention, these papers were painted to the accompaniment of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, can’t say enough good about them – and then, my favorite radio program ever, Funky Friday on WXPN Philadelphia (Fridays 4-7 PM, just saying). You will always paint beautiful papers to the sounds of music that makes your feet move, believe me.

All right. I’ll finish up here and go listen to more music. Happy Friday!

See you next week! Thanks for following along with me.

Seen on the Street

I did these tiles from photos taken in Philadelphia, PA, at various times. The scenes are more or less faithful to the original, as I saw fit!

Clay tiles, Velvet underglazes fired at cone 06, January, 2018.

 

 

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending May 4

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Art! That says it all. Art!

Saturday, April 28 – Here’s a TV time artwork I completed last night – it’s the finishing of a page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook. Before and after: (I used the photo from an exhibit I visited at Arcadia University as my reference).

In the afternoon I worked on the various clay items again. I continue to add color using Velvet underglazes.

AD 4-28 #2006

Here’s the large squarish figure I worked on yesterday – I’ve straightened out his troubles as mentioned in the last post and he looks ok now.

I finished another little animal and another cylinder guy – the small square figure needs more work, but here he is so far.

And more tiles. Those rectangular ones are going to be people, once they get their eyes and some more work done on their faces.

AD 4-28 #7001

Sunday, April 29 – This morning my husband and I decided to take a walk. We started off at Norristown Farm Park and into the state hospital grounds, circled for a while, and came back – about five miles. I decided to leave a couple of stick ladies (like these) along the route. I remind you that I have decided to resume dropping off small art pieces here and there – something I used to do in the past. These small figures were made some years ago. It’s a new art goal to make items I can leave behind, but I’m starting with ones I have.

One was left in the wishing well near the parking lot:

and then we went through the park to the hospital grounds. I will not repeat information about Norristown State Hospital beyond saying the farm park and the hospital were once one institution; now the farm is a county park and the hospital is almost closed down, awaiting repurposing, and in the meantime hosting a number of operations besides the medical ones – community garden, social service agencies, etc. But most buildings are closed and many crumbling. For more info and photos, look here.

I set another lady here.

On the way home we passed a church near us with a new sign – Labyrinth. I love labyrinths and did not know this church had put one in. I left another lady in the center.

In the future I will write about my art drop-offs in my Confused blog, where I did so back in earlier days, but I thought I’d mention this new art resolution here in my art world. I have neglected this particular aspect of my creative life,  the writing about everyday things that are to me, not so ordinary, but spring is here. A new start for a lot of things.

At home, I worked on clay. I finished up the remaining square guy from yesterday:

AD 4-29 #14

some tiles, including these rectangular ones I’ve made into people:


and I put Jet Black Velvet underglaze on the remaining figurines so as to have them ready to color. Somehow the tall ones reminded me of nuns in old-fashioned black habits.

Monday, April 30 – More work on clay items. The pictures say it all.

Tuesday, May 1 – More clay work. I finished up a rectangle person and started on a cylinder person:

I also managed to knock over a jar of light green underglaze (no photos!) – just ugh. I then cleaned up my work area and reorganized my underglazes – a messy workspace has consequences. Once I got back into action, I colored these two tiny — whatever they are.

You may have noticed that I usually position my figures with uplifted faces. I think a slight uptilt makes the face a lot more visible than one looking straight ahead, especially since the items I make are pretty small and you’d likely be looking down at them wherever you put them.

I also finished up the “self-hugger” (thank you, Sharon Mann! for that great name). I had the idea to leave her (as I see it, she is a her) in a plain black outfit once I saw her in the initial black coat. She has plenty of visual interest with her crossed arms and I did not want to distract.

Wednesday, May 2 – at the risk of getting boring, more clay work. These two are done:

This large one is in process:

AD 5-2 #3

and here are small tiles.

AD 5-2 #4

The last couple of nights I’ve been drawing (TV time, again). This image is a page in my current Large Sketchbook. I combined two photo inspirations into one scene,  an image not necessarily making sense. The photo of Megabus came from Philadelphia last summer; I was fascinated by how the bus just pulled over on Market Street at about 10th, maybe, in the middle of the city, and then this roil of people getting on, off, suitcases, bags, went into action.

The man leaning on his office window was from Pittsburgh in 2015.

I might color it. Haven’t decided yet.

Friday, May 4 – This week has been a difficult one to get to concentrate on art. I have had some family issues to deal with and that have taken time all week,  and today, we had a new front door installed (the old one was losing pieces off the bottom, so…) I did a couple of small things today – first, I gessoed some 6″ x 6″ boards with black gesso.

AD 5-4 #4

Two things. First, I wanted to try working with black gesso; I’ve always used white. I have the vague idea of doing a series of small paintings, different images but with similar colors, and see if I can tell a difference.

Second, I am using these hardboard panels that I buy from Dick Blick; these are the very most inexpensive ones (this size, they cost less than a dollar each) and I can use them as if they were paper, not worrying about the investment in the surface.

AD 5-4 #1

Also (now I’m on to three things and more, I know) – they do not take up much room, if I kept them – they are saleable as they are, as paintings on paper would not be – and, they are easy to give away or mail, if I want to do that. Anyway, here is the first set of them gessoed:

AD 5-4 #3

The door guys were still working so I got out some more of those ATC-sized claybords and turned them into future trees. I will need to do more to these, but there is only so much time you can put into something this tiny before you turn it into muddy colors. I set them aside to dry to finish another day.

AD 5-4 #2

Well, then the door guys left, I let the cat out of the basement, and I went there myself to continue clay work. I have these three figures almost done:

AD 5-4 #5

and here are some small tiles and clay “rocks”:

AD 5-4 #6

All right. That’s it for this week!

See you next week! Thanks for following along with me.

Multi-layered Postcards

I took a couple of pieces of recycled cardboard cut to postcard size and gessoed them. Then I painted over them with acrylics, in a random kind of way. Them I drew on them in ink, using a couple of different pens.

Both scenes were taken from photos I took at the plein air event I did in June 2017, in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The cards were done in September 2017.

Family Home

About a year ago, a friend of mine asked me if I would do a painting of his family home. Sure, I said.

Well, time moved on, we kept talking about it here and there, but finally this summer the stars aligned and the project was done. Here is the story, and it is special to me.

My friend, John, lives in the home where he grew up. It was built more than 100 years ago by his grandparents, lived in by his parents, and now by him. It’s an end-of-row rowhome located in what was a small town about 35 miles from Center City Philadelphia.

The area is now suburbanizing and there have been a lot of changes, but the house is still as it has always been, rising up from the street in a dignified way.

As well as a doing a portrait of the house, John asked me to include his dogs: Ava, Maggie, Nikki, and Winnie. Other than that, well, it was up to me.

Normally I won’t do commissions. I dislike feeling the future owner’s hopes hovering over my shoulder as I work. I extra dislike the idea that I could disappoint the recipient. In this case, I know that John likes my work; he has been a big supporter of me, always.

But I also knew that this house means more than just shelter to him. It is the embodiment of a lifetime of memories for him and the setting for all his family’s history for a century. I felt a lot of responsibility.

But, I figured, I’ll get to work, and if it doesn’t please him, well, I’ll just…just…try again!

I want to show the process of this project, and I will break it down into its parts. Because I decided there would be paintings rather than painting.

Here are my ideas. I would do a small portrait of each dog; I’d do the house; and I’d do a picture of the front door and steps. In this way I could represent all the parts that seemed important. The house, of course. The dogs deserved their own spaces; I felt they would be insignificant inside the larger painting and I didn’t like that idea, since they are so important to John. And I just liked the front steps; that’s the way everyone who’s ever been there goes in and out, all those years!

My husband and I drove out and took pictures of the house in June. John sent me pictures of Ava, Nikki, and Maggie; I took a picture of John and Winnie in July.

Now you know it all. Here are the results.


Let’s start with the dogs.

Ava:

Maggie:

Nikki:

And John and Winnie. I met Winnie myself; John brought her to the Tinicum Festival of the Arts and I took her picture.

Here is the close up of the steps and front door.

And now. The house!

Here are the finished pieces all together…

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.