The images of President Obama and the First Lady for the National Portrait Gallery were painted by African American artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, who were chosen by the Obamas. The artworks manage to create compelling likenesses without sacrificing key aspects of the painters’ signature styles.
I was moved at once, upon seeing the paintings of Pridon Goisashvili, to say to James, “We are making a purchase.” In the end we chose two paintings to be mailed home to have framed. The artist comes from the country of Georgia and now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area. We discovered his work at the Eastern Market located at 225 7th St SE. This artist uses brisk colors to make his work lively and certainly conversation pieces. (You can see why he was an instant hit with James and myself.)
We loved the Eastern Market in this neighborhood, which is stationed in a long established brick building dating back to 1873. From the start it was a place for local food to be sold. Even now local vendors sell fresh cheeses, fish and a wide array of seafood freshly caught, homemade pasta, and vegetables. All this fresh food is sold 6 days a week. Each Saturday local vendors who make embroidered drying towels, paintings, or a wide range of other products set up a stand near the market.
The first painting is highly representative of the area in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood where we stayed in an AirBnB. We wish to thank Goisashvili for his work and also the time to chat with us. In addition, I wish to thank him for the kindness he took in making sure the two paintings were mailed safely. I highly recommend his business to others who seek something special from the nation’s capitol.
Within thirty seconds I knew the painting of Lake Monona by Lynn Lee was going home with James and myself. There was a quality to the color, the mood of the sky as the sun starts to rise, the clumps of clouds, and the shoreline that hugs the blue of the water instantly spoke to me.
I absolutely love this neighborhood, our home, and the lake. So when I saw the piece of artwork for sale it was really only a question of whether it was wired in back so to be hung, It was, and with that we opened the checkbook.
While Lynn Lee is conversational, friendly, and neighborly he is not one to loudly advertise his talents. It was the longest time until I finally knew he had abilities with a paint brush and some type of ‘canvass’ which allows for wonderful moods and representations to be created. There are many creative people in this city, but not everyone is lucky enough to know one of them.
So when I walked past a booth at the Willy Street Fair that had a number of Lee’s pieces for sale, and saw the mood I feel about Lake Monona cast in a large colorful style there was no doubt we were buying it. James at once started to talk about where it would hang in our home. Within minutes of its purchase it was hung on a wall.
Those who now visit us will be welcomed from the front entry by Lee’s painting.
To the left of the painting, and over the old radio is a painting from the late 1970’s of a lighthouse done by James Mom, Marion.
Posters proves that the American people have always looked for the same qualities in a presidential candidate: Someone who is at once supernaturally gifted and noble (Andrew Jackson is a “Protector & Defender of Beauty & Booty”) and yet still an everyman (Ulysses S. Grant and Henry Wilson are shown dressed in worker’s clothes under “The Working-Man’s Banner,” and Grant is described as “”The Galena Tanner,” with Wilson as “The Natick Shoemaker”). It’s a duality that’s plagued every man in office; they’re supposed to somehow be smart but not an intellectual, folksy but not too common, and honest but not a pushover. Most of these portraits show the candidate looking right at the viewer, with honest, smiling eyes. Sometimes, they go too far in this personal direction. One Gerald Ford poster puts the candidate in a leather jacket and white t-shirt, with flowing hair and a thumbs-up, in an amalgamated version of Ford and the Fonz from Happy Days. Below that striking image, the poster reads in large print: “FORDZIE: Happy Days are here again!”
The old saying about Madison’s Art Fair On The Square taking place during the hottest weekend of the year does not work this summer. Any weekend seems to be the hottest.
On Saturday James and I strolled about, and had a very enjoyable time. With the aid of breezes that cooled us as we rounded each major street corner, along with ice-cold lemonades we made it through the whole fair, including Art Fair Off The Square. There were fewer people than previous events, and I saw only one major purchase taking place. That was a metal art piece being taken off the display area, and prepared for taking home. It was a very modern type of design, and nothing that I would care to own.
While there were many items that stood out and even beckoned, the prices were prohibitive. That however did stop me from thinking where I would place certain items if they somehow landed at our home. That seems to be the case every year, and yet this fair remains a summer tradition for us. I love to walk and look at all that is offered.
One such item that is always for sale at the fair, and always draws my attention is the ‘whirly gig’. Made of metal (and in a few cases glass) these creations are able to blow in the wind at endless directions with high rates of speed. They were priced at only $6,000 to $16,000. (Order me two, please.) I have no real problem with such prices as they are truly remarkable creations, and the artist should be compensated.
The other item that made me smile, and take a photo was the banjo playing baby kangaroo. The amusing part to this story was that on Saturday night about 8:00 P.M. as James and I were heading out for a late dinner this piece of art was loaded on a pickup truck and going home with someone.
In an interview to be aired at 6:30 p.m. today on WJLA ABC 7, President Obama tells Scott Thuman (@ABC7Scott), senior political reporter and “Capitol Thoughts” columnist, that he likes to sketch people and faces between his meetings. The interview was held Friday afternoon in a driver-ed classroom at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, where the president addressed a crowd of 1,400, plus 700 in overflow, with Sen. Mark Warner and senatorial candidate Tim Kaine at his side.
Artist Tim Sprengelmeyer emailed this message regarding Earth Turtle. (Highlight is mine.)
First of all I want to thank everyone for your kind words and encouragement! It is truly appreciated! Unfortunately, I am going to have to remove the sculpture from the park when I return from my work trip early next week. Upon consulting with the Madison Arts Commission, they brought it to my attention that allowing a piece of art that is displayed through the Blink Grant program to stay would have a negative impact on the Commission. They said that some would see it as a bait and switch to allow something to remain after the blink period expires and this would harm the integrity of that program. There is a process of permanent art display that the commission will walk me through after the piece is removed. I will let everyone know as soon as I find out what has to happen to re install Earth Turtle. Thanks again for your support and allowing my artwork to reside in your neighborhood!
Lovers of Mother Nature who have strolled thorough Orton Park on Madison’s isthmus have surely seen the Earth Turtle.
The metal sculpture from artist Tim Sprengelmeyer is prominently displayed near the Spaight Street entrance, and welcomes everyone with a metallic gaze. The turtle, made solely from recycled materials, landed at the park in late winter. The creation was made possible with the help of the Madison Arts Commission, and Parks Division through the commission’s blink grant program.
When considering where the artwork should be placed Sprengelmeyer chose Orton for the beauty of the park, and the people who walk through it.
I chose Orton Park as the location for Earth Turtle because of the beauty of the park itself. Also Orton Park is located in a neighborhood where the majority of people there share an appreciation of artwork as well as a commitment to recycling and taking care of the environment.
There is now some talk, in the initial stages, of trying to find a way to keep the turtle in the park. Artist Sprengelmeyer says the turtle was scheduled to be moved on June 21, but is trying to find out the level of support that exists for the city to buy the sculpture.
As a resident of the isthmus, and one who walks through the park almost daily (with James), I would strongly endorse the purchase of this amazing piece of art. It has never failed to produce a look, a smile, and comments such as “hasn’t moved very far today.” This sculpture blends so nicely with the surroundings of the park, and after only a few months is harmonious with those who live in the neighborhood.
Art defines us in so many ways, and this unique sculpture, located at Orton is truly special by reminding us why we appreciate the planet, and need to work for environmental ends.
Earth Turtle deserves to call Orton Park home.
Lets make it happen!