Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lace Makers

Terry and I returned to the Mennello Museum of American Art for the second day of the Folk Festival. Our first order of business was to go in the museum since admission was free for the day. On display was "Style & Grace, which was a magnificent collection of paintings from the Michael & Marilyn Mennello collection. There was a large golden statue of Marilyn in a gorgeous long flowing dress in the room to the left of the entry. I felt a bit sad since she had passed away, yet this sculpture was beautiful as was all the art she collected. There were so many paintings from artists whose work I love and respect. There was a whole wall full of John Sloan landscape paintings and a Robert Henri portrait right in the entry. Robert Henri was a fantastic teacher as well as a painter. I studied his color theories in detail and he is still teaching me today.

On display in the gallery to the right of the reception desk was, William H. Johnson: An American Modern on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. Arranged chronologically, the paintings begin when he was a student in France as he experimented in different styles. His later work, started in Harlem, New York, showed his hard edged maturity. As Terry and I walked around, I pointed out how some of the paintings focused on important details in certain spots while letting bold brushwork fill the remaining canvas. This is something I'm just beginning to learn with my sketches. A lesson learned over hundreds and hundreds of sketches. She let me know that it is this kind of insight into the process that she appreciated me sharing. I need to learn to share my thoughts verbally more often.

Before going to the Mennello, I brought Terry to Avalon for a couples Valentine Tarot Card reading. My aura was bright yellow with a candle flame flickering. Terry's aura was filled with presidential figures. Between us stood a totem pole. Two column of Tarot cards were dealt out with one card between at the top. Terry picked the column of cards closest to her. She was blown away by her reading. Things said about her mother were spot on. My column had the death card in the mix. That implied change is coming my way. The common card between us was a heart pierced by three swords.

In college, I copied a painting of a Lacemaker by Vermeer in the first painting class I took as a freshman. Perhaps for this reason I decided to sketch Peggy and Anne as they clicked their small wooden bobbins, creating intricate lace patterns. A small lace pattern was started on a red pillow on a card table and occasionally Peggy would coach someone on the intricacies of the craft. A young Spanish man sat down and tried his hand at the Mundillo process, Peggy coached him calmly. She said, "I've been doing this longer than you have been on this Earth." When she saw my sketch she said, "I've never been sketched before doing what I love to do."

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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