Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meeting Mr. Mennello

I went to the Mennello Museum to do a few more sketches for the mural. Genevieve and her husband Seth Kubersky posed for me in the museum. When I arrived at the museum there was plenty of activity. There were several large trucks in the parking lot and a mobile crane was moving around behind the museum. Seated inside the museum at the large bay windows in the Cunningham gallery, Mr. Menello watched as a large sculpture was being positioned over a cylinder shaped concrete podium. The artist, John Robert Wolfe was kneeling and trying to position the base of the sculpture on some small base support pads. One man held a rope to keep the large sculpture from spinning while the crane lowered it down gently. The process took several hours with a crew of five or so men. This bright primary colored sculpture moved in the breeze like a Calder mobile. It is an abstract representation of Mr. Mennello. He explained that the companion piece which represents Mr. Mennello's wife is in the front yard of his home.

Mr. Menello joked and talked as I was sketching Genevieve and Seth. Seth used his cell phone to check into the Mennello on Four Square. He was surprised that my wife was the Mayor of the Museum. Mr. Mennello inspected the overall plan for the mural and he decided he wanted to be sketched. Unfortunately Genevieve had arranged for me to sketch several children that afternoon for the mural so I didn't have time to sketch him right then and there. He would have been cutting in line. Isabelle, a young artist who helped me on the first day I started the mural, was next to pose. She stood with a dynamic line of action from her head right down to her toes. She looked just like Dega's "Little Dancer." The sketch I did of her was effortless. Her sketches which I saw that first day were nice. We chatted about art as I sketched. Her mom and younger brother watched all the activity around the sculpture being installed outside. Isabelle enjoys drawing animals and I insisted that she start taking life drawing classes.

The next day I sketched Mr. Mennello in his home. He has a wonderful art collection. It was a humbling experience beginning my sketch. Behind Mr. Mennello was a blue glass sculpture of a woman looking upward with her mouth open. On a thin glass table was a sculpted bust of a young Grace Kelly as a princess. A little jumping bean of a dog bounded into the room insisting I play ball with her. As I left I walked past the companion piece to the sculpture just installed at the Mennello Museum. Titled "Grand Dame" it abstractly and colorfully represents Mrs. Mennello. Her playful forms will dance in the breeze for eternity.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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