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Last month my daughter Fraya and I drove past the Belting house on Brownfield Road, northeast of Urbana, Illinois. We were taking the scenic route back to Urbana from St. Joseph, where we had dropped off her husband for his long Sunday run. We pulled up in front of the house, placed well back from the road. A gate blocked passage to the curved gravel driveway. I had taken a photo several years back and was hoping to get a better shot. The house seemed more visible now, less obscured by trees and brush, and I set up to shoot over the gate.
Someone working in the yard 50 yards away looked up. She noticed our snooping and my camera. “I like your house,” I called out. “My father was the architect.”
She returned our greeting, dropped her work tools, and called out to a companion. I thought of the line from the Wizard of Oz: “That’s a horse of a different color. Come on in.” Elle and Rick swung open the gate, and we were soon learning how they chose to buy the house, what brought them to Urbana, how they were using the property. In turn, I provided some background on the original owner, Natalia Belting, a history professor who studied French Colonial period. The design of Belting’s house was inspired by the Pierre Menard House near Kaskaskia in southwest Illinois, which Dad visited, probably with my mom, brothers, and me in tow.
Elle and Rick graciously took us on a tour of their house and let us take a few photos.
This biennial exhibition is on display at the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport, Iowa, through May 20. The competition is open to artists living and working within 150 miles of Rock Island, Illinois. Patricia McDonnell of Wichita, Kansas, was this year’s juror. She stated that she was looking for works that both demonstrated technical skill and made a statement. She chose nine award winners in disparate styles. This was her first-place ($1,000) winner, Grey Matter, by Glenn Bodish of Dixon, Illinois, oil on panel.
Stacey and I viewed the exhibit yesterday. Although Grey Matter was OK, showing some interesting scraping techniques, I came up with a largely different set of winners, focused on landscapes, mechanical objects, and a turtle. But my first-prize award would have gone to the fantastic and disturbing The Arrow Head Motel Triptych.
A group of high school students visiting the Quad Cities from Blue Earth, Minnesota, gave us the background on the inspiration for the modern piece, Robert Campin’s Annuciation Triptych. In the right panel of the original, Mary’s Joseph is working with his carpentry tools. Above, his counterpart is making meth (I think). Sheesh.
Here are my other winners:
Our friend (and Stacey’s former teaching colleague) David Zahn is exhibiting his work at the Quad City International Airport the end of April. Zahn works in clay and bronze. Masterful oil paintings by Tilly Woodward, almost photographic in appearance, as well as work by other artists are on display as well.
Here are my favorites from Zahn’s collection.
This exhibition at the Quad City Arts Gallery in downtown Rock Island features exemplary works of art selected by high school art teachers in the region. Stacey and her Moline High School colleagues submitted their own work and those of their students.
Stacey is in her 20-somethingth year as a high school art teacher. She is forever revamping her curriculum—throwing out what doesn’t work and bringing in new ideas from her reading in the pedagogy of art. One method often used in art is the recipe-driven approach in which the students combine art ingredients and copy a successful composition to produce acceptable, even beautiful, pieces. The commercially successful Vino Van Gogh uses this approach:
Here is a sample of the kinds of images that participants might paint:
Of course, Stacey is doing more than that. She is asking her beginning and intermediate high school students to create their own art, in this case to illustrate a song. Here’s what she drew out last night for “American Pie.”
Daughter Zoe is performing her last show in the Quad Cities, at least for a while, this week. She plays a Jet girl, Pauline, in the Quad Cities Music Guild’s production of West Side Story. Although she has a small role in the ensemble, she’s enjoying her time working (playing) with several actors she’s appeared with before, notably Joseph and Noelle.
The Quad City Times recently published a portfolio of photos about the show, a few if which featured Zoe. The show runs through this weekend, July 12 through 16.
This post continues recounting of our recent (over the last six months) visits to art museums. This entry is the second about the art museum in St. Louis, which we visited in October 2016. The first describes landscapes; this second post focuses on another personal interest, abstracts. The paintings are ordered the date of their creation, from the 1930s to the 1980s.
I don’t know what the first piece is, but we had fun looking through it and taking pics of each other.
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