Saturday, November 26, 2011

ECST 2011 - Fifth Stop: Philadelphia, PA

Diana, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1892-94, located at the top of the interior steps of the
Philadelphia Museum of Art 

After Jeff dropped me off at the train station in Washington, DC, I journeyed up the coast a little until I reached Philadelphia, PA. My friends Sarah, Ashely and Eva (Sarah and Sean's daughter) picked me up at the Philly station and then we all went to Sean and Sarah's apartment.

Sarah, Eva and Ashley
James had flown in the day before and stayed with them.  Sean and James have been friends since the sixth grade, so they were having a great time.  After eating some delicious Philly sandwiches, we all loaded up in the cars and went to the Art Star Craft Bazaar. It was pretty darned cool.

That night the ladies (Sarah, Ashley, Tara and me) went out to dinner and let the boys have "Bro Night." We went to a place called, "Honey's," and it was yummy.  This restaurant is a southern cooking, soul food kind of place that gets its produce from a local farm.  Apparently I didn't think I'd had enough southern food in Savannah, Charleston and DC. Haha!

Tara, Sarah and Ashely - It was so nice to meet Tara and Ashley and to spend time with all three!
Afterwards, we walked back to Sean and Sarah's apartment and just happened to pass Architectural Digest's Home of the Year from 2010. The guy playing pool in the window stopped and looked at us for a while.  I'm sure he knew that we were taking a picture of the house, but I got the feeling that he was posing too.  That made us all laugh.

Architectural Digest's Home of the Year, 2010
I woke up early the next morning and scooted over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art before catching the train up to NYC! What a great morning that was! There was only one small problem.  The Philadelphia Marathon was taking place right outside the Museum!!!! 

I know it doesn't look like a thick mob in this shot, but I had to have a police escort to run in front of the racers.  It was so nice of them to let me across.  Had to explain to the police that I only had an hour and a half to look at the pieces I was researching for my thesis.  They were pretty sweet after that. :)

Rocky was pretty proud of me for joining in the race for a few seconds
and for doing what it took to get to the PMA!

Once inside the Museum, I located the Portrait Miniatures gallery, which was actually quite difficult because these American works were placed inside a European gallery. I understood the reasoning, keeping all of the portrait miniatures together, but I still think I might make the suggestion to move them in a "comments" area. The most I could hope for would be a response, explaining why the PMA would keep them there because I'd really like to learn and grow by knowing. While we're on the subject of the miniatures, can we talk about how dreamy ol' Edwin Martin is? It doesn't hurt to have your portrait painted by the leading miniature painter of the Federal era, but goodness. I wouldn't mind wearing that miniature around and showing it off to my friends. Haha!

Edwin Martin, by Edward Greene Malbone, 1802-3

After leaving the PMA, I needed to get back to my hotel, pick up my bags, pick up James who was eating with Sean and Sarah and then get to the train station so we could ride up to New York, New York! I only had an hour in which to accomplish these goals so when I walked out of the Museum to find the race was almost over and the post-party was just beginning, I started to panic a little. I couldn't find a cab because the streets were full and blocked off.  Help!

I called James in a very worried state and even took it out on him a little.  He was pretty strong and calmed me down. This is one of the best things about working with James.  He's positive, supportive, doesn't allow me to fall into a pity party and encourages me to affect the outcome of things hoped for by having a good attitude. I want this in my life and that's why I wanted James around for the last part of the trip.  I knew I would need it because I had the biggest challenge ahead of me. I was going to talk to Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank when I traveled from NYC to Yale in New Haven, CT. She's the author of the book which is most influential in my thesis. I needed to have my studies in order and to know my stuff before I felt comfortable taking one minute of her time.  I also needed to have confidence and I did! But that story will be in the next entry.

Oh! And p.s. I found a cab right after I decided to have a good attitude, be open to the idea that a cab could finally come along (after walking around for 30 minutes looking for one) and James and I made it to the train station just in time! We even had a little extra time to enjoy some breakfast sandwiches that he brought along for us.  Yay!

Monday, November 21, 2011

ECST - Fourth Stop: Washington, DC

After Scottie put me on a plane in Charleston, SC, I flew to Washington, DC.  My friend Jeffrey, a hilarious guy that I've known since the first grade, picked me up and was kind enough to let me stay with him while I was there.  We had such a great time catching up.  Like Braden and Suzy, we just pick up wherever we left off the last time we saw each other and it's as if no time had passed.

DC was not only a lot of fun, but it also provided a great experience at the National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and The Luce Foundation Center for American Art.  They are housed in the same wonderful building and I feel so lucky to have been able to visit.  In a few of the pictures below, the reason will be shown!

Jeff after he picked me up at the airport.  So great to see him!

Jeff took me to Georgetown for dinner at Thunder Burger that night.

The next morning, I went to Starbucks in Chinatown to plan my attack on a portrait miniature exhibit
 at the National Portrait Gallery.  

The National Portrait Gallery! When I got there, I realized there were only about 20 pieces in the exhibit, so I took down the info that could possibly contribute to my thesis and then took a tour with one of the employees and it was great!  
We ended the tour in the Luce Foundation Center for American Art.  It was such a find! There were thousands of works, not in storage and not on view in the museum, but viewable in clear cases and organized by period, medium or type.  Only their accession numbers accompanied the works, but one could take that number to a computer station and look up more information using that reference.  The portrait miniatures were organized into 32 drawers! Eureka!!! I'd found the mother load! (Of course, anyone can see this info on the website as well, but as I keep saying, nothing substitutes for seeing these pieces in person!)

This is what the interior of the drawers looked like.

In the fourth drawer, I found a piece by Charles Willson Peale, Matthias and Thomas Bordley, 1767.  This was one of my favorite pieces discussed in Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank's book, Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures. Reading her discussion of this work inspired me and gave me direction in ways to approach my own writing. It was as thrilling to discover it upon the door opening as it might be for me to see a movie star! I know. I'm kind of a nerd, but I don't care.  I'm grateful for the experience!

After spending a couple of hours in the Luce Foundation Center, I stepped out into the Kogod Courtyard and had a late lunch.  Check out the incredible glass canopy covering the courtyard.  This glass and steel roof, designed by Foster + Partners, refrains from touching the building and is hidden from site of those on the street, a requirement of altering a historic site. 

After leaving the museum, I took the metro back to the neighborhood where Jeff lives and I have to say that a good metro system is a dream! I have hopes that OKC will see a day when convenient and efficient public transit will exist.  It's just going to take some time to get to that point.

Jeffrey (in front of his portrait of old Beau) before we went out to Old Town in Alexandria, VA
that evening for dinner

On our way to Alexandria, we saw the Kennedy Center! I'd love to see a performance there someday.

Good morning! Haha! I stayed in the nursery and this is how Jeff chose to wake me. :)

Jeffrey took me to the Eastern Market on the Hill for breakfast before he took me to the train station.  It was fun to see the Hill because that's where I stayed with Jeff the first time I visited him in 1998.  Can't believe it's been so long!

Eastern Market!

Once on the train, I simultaneously thought about how grateful I was for my visit to DC, foot rests (short people will understand) and how excited I was to get to my next stop, Philadelphia, PA! James was going to join me there and we would see our friends Sean, Sarah and Eva. I was also hopeful that there would be time to get to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

On my way to PA!

ECST 2011 - Third Stop: Charleston!

The Gibbes Museum of Art
Charleston, SC proved to be a great decision in the planning for this trip.  I found 12 portrait miniatures that I could actually look at up close: 1 Malbone and 11 Faser miniatures. The Gibbes Museum of Art has a great collection and Charleston was actually a pretty big hot spot for this type of portraiture in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.  If you consider the wealth centered there during this time (and today) it's not really a surprise. I spent hours looking at these pieces and it was great to be able to stand right in front of them.  I wrote about my own observations with each piece and know that this notes will be more valuable than gold, because, as I wrote in a previous post, the detail I notice from each piece has to be what drives the scholarship.  Reading the book, "Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures" by Robin Jaffee Frank has really helped me to understand the best ways of looking at these pieces.

Yesterday I was thinking about it and realized that, for me, writing is a lot like singing. By listening and observing the ways in which other artists have approached certain pieces of music, I decide for myself the best way to sing a passage or what works within my abilities.  By reading different scholars' works, I learn about relevant issues and multiple methods of discussing or discovering information.  I'm so grateful for the guidance of my professors.  I've realized while reading and looking at these miniatures that my thesis advisor gave me such a great background on ways to look at American eighteenth century portraiture when I took Dr. Kenneth Haltman's (my thesis advisor) American Art History class last year. When I've looked at the "notes" section of books, I've recognized most of the referenced authors and it's so helpful to have had the preparation!

In addition to all the great research, Scottie and I had a wonderful time looking at old buildings and eating even more great southern cooking.  (Have I mentioned that I'm going to have to go on a huge diet when I get home?) Here are some images!

King Street in Charleston has some great shopping.

Love this building!

Still on King Street...

Meeting Street

Old Customs House

There was a great jazz band at the Charleston Grill our last night in town.

Scottie was such a fun travel buddy!

Last Day

Who could get this lucky? Haha! Just kidding. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ECST 2011 - Second Stop: Savannah

After spending a great weekend with friends in Jacksonville, my friend Scottie and I drove to Savannah, GA! It was quite a drive from North Carolina to Georgia, but we were both so excited to get to our destination and we sang so much in the car that the time seemed to fly! We stopped in Myrtle Beach, SC because neither of us had been there before so we wanted to stop and put our toes in the water. 

Palm Trees on Myrtle Beach, SC

Toes in the water!

The beach at Sunset

Scottie checking out the jellyfish!

Don't touch these! The Jellyfish can sting! I know from experience!

I love these waves!

Myrtle Beach = the Land of condos and surf shops.

Back on the road and viewing sunset clouds.  We could only stop for a minute because
we had to get to Savannah!

After we arrived in Savannah, we met with Suzi!

The next morning, Scottie and I visited a cooking store.  I think this mustache is awesome!

Cycad City!

Me and Suzi! Great friends!

Forsyth Park Fountain

Scottie loves that Spanish moss as much as I do!

Wedding Cake Mansion

Suzy and Scottie in front of Colonial Park Cemetery

We found Edward G. Malbone's grave in Colonial Park Cemetery.  He is the central figure in my thesis! After visiting the cemetery, we walked over to the Telfair Academy Museum and the Jepson Center to see if they had any portrait miniatures on view, and alas, they were in the vault, but I still found some great info on what they had in their collection so I didn't feel that it was a total loss.

Later we went to the Telfair Academy Museum and it's sister site, the Jepson Center.  At the later, we found a wonderful children's area called, ArtZeum.  There were so many wonderful and enriching activities for kids.  I took away some exciting ideas to incorporate into what we can do at 612!

How about a lesson on the orders of architecture anyone?
What kind of capital does Scottie have on his head?
(answer: Doric)

Therman Statom's Untitled (Glass House) inside the ArtZeum. So cool!

Last night SAS (Scottie,  Amy, Suzy) went to dinner at Sapphire Grill in Savannah and it was delicious! I highly recommend it! 

Prahhhhhhlines for desert!

Jepson Center!

I love that you can walk down the street in Savannah and peak into other people's gardens!

We visited Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room for lunch today and it was my first time.  So glad we got in. The line was just too long yesterday, but it would have been worth the wait.  Sooooo deeeeelicious!

12 hours later and I'm still full!

Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room

These downspouts are all over Savannah.

Sweet Scottie

We drove out to Bonaventure Cemetery today because I thought Scottie and Suzy had to see it.
It really is beautiful.

We found Johnny Mercer's grave! He's a famous Savannah man and
was a brilliant musician and songwriter!

I just thought this was a beautiful funeral sculpture.

Little Gracie is a little spooky!

On our drive from Savannah to Charleston, Scottie and I stopped in Beaufort to find the house where my grandparents lived during WWII.  Paw-Paw was stationed on Parris Island and this is where they lived before they had my dad. The name of the home is the "Tidal Home" and the Big Chill was filmed here, along with the Great Santini.

What a view from the Tidal Home!

It's been a great day but now it's time to call it a night! Looking forward to tomorrow.  Research at the Gibbes Museum is the first order of the day!