Metal Sculpture

When we think of art we usually think of paintings or sculptures in bronze or marble of female or male nudes or perhaps even a mobile like Alexander Calder. But art has a wide variety and it can be for museums or for your back yard. For instance, the welder at Annapolis Railings and Stairs not only makes practical items like railings and stairs but also a variety of art pieces that are quite beautiful and are affordable.

There are many ways art can be incorporated into metal work. Even on a security door, it can not only be decorative, but can be artistic as well. Or something like a pergola can be not only utilitarian but can be made to be quite beautiful. In a similar vein, the Getty Museum building and grounds in Los Angeles is as much a piece of art as the pieces it houses.

Wide Variety – Traditional

There are a variety of metal sculpture in museums. Some of the best known are the pieces by Michelangelo, Rodin, Degas and Lachaise and slightly less well known are the exquisite animal sculptures of Barye. Of course, there are many other wonderful sculptors as well.

To Modern or Avant Garde

Some sculpture isn’t a person or an animal. At the Baltimore Museum of Art there is an outdoor sculpture garden. Some of the pieces look more like they were left over from a construction project. Others suggest human form but don’t represent it in the more lifelike way that Rodin did. An excellent example is The Prophet by Gargallo.


Then there are the tensile structures which are a lot of fun. There is a good example of one outside the Hirschhorn Museum on the Mall in Washington DC. It is made up of metal tubes and metal wires or cables. The wires run through the tubes and ultimately fastened back to itself or themselves. If you cut the wires the whole thing would collapse.

Straw Art

Actually, this type of sculpture was presaged by a Polish Christmas custom. Before the tradition of the Christmas tree spread from Germany, the peasants used to make elaborate Christmas decorations by taking different lengths of straw and putting string through the hollow tubes of the straw and creating a 3D design held rigid by the straw but held together by the string. They were quite beautiful.

Art Goes Down the Toilet

Then you have the strange sculpture. Although not metal, one of the first was the Dadaist sculpture of Marcel Duchamp which was also a bit of a practical joke and a comment on what is art. He took a urinal, laid it on its back, signed it and dated it and called it Fountain. Weird or dumb you might say but it is in a museum and is worth a lot of money. You need to think outside the box and then come up with a good story or rational to sell what you have created. Doing the same thing as everyone else unless you are exceptional won’t get you noticed. Even if you are exceptional, you might not get noticed if you are doing what everyone else is doing. The names we remember are often the ones who introduced change and weren’t always accepted immediately.…

Crabaret at the Museum

Each year the House of Ruth holds the fundraiser Crabaret at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Each year, a group of us go to support a great cause and have a great time. It is always a good party. We decided to take a limo this year and chose Baltimore Limo. They were phenomenal. They were great to deal with on the phone, showed up on time and the driver was a sweetheart. The limo itself had a bar which we didn’t use because of the free drinks at Crabaret. But the sound system was great and you wouldn’t believe the amazing led lighting system. It was like something out of a sci-fi movie. Since the drinks are free and flow freely, we were very glad our driver was dropping us off and we didn’t have to drive. But enough of that. More about the event.

House of Ruth

House of Ruth is an organization that helps battered women. They come from all walks of life. You can be rich or poor and still end up with a jerk for a husband or boyfriend. House of Ruth has counseling services and helps them find safe housing. If you don’t know about them, you should look them up and donate to them, or come to Crabaret next year. You will have a ball and be donating to a great organization at the same time.

Great Food & Wine

It is held at the restaurant at the museum, Gertrude’s, and on out into the sculpture garden. There is a silent auction with various items you can bid on. All the while wonderful hors d’oeuvres are being passed around such as miniature crab cakes. There are multiple bars with a variety of wines to choose from. It is always crowded, but the people are always friendly. There are many tall tables to stand at and eat all around the sculpture garden. Then there are the food stations where different restaurants and caterers in the Baltimore area give you a sample of their signature dishes. It will range from Southwestern, to seafood, to barbecue and more.

Periodically check back inside in the restaurant because that is where they put out the desserts. We have missed them a couple of years because they were decimated before we realized they were inside. They are excellent desserts too.

Silent & Live Auction

Towards the end they wrap up the silent auction and have a live auction with trips or houses in France or Spain, tickets to Ravens games, jewelry and a variety of other things. All for a good cause. If you haven’t been, you should put it on your calendar for next year. It is always in July.…

Maryland Art Schools

There are several art schools in the Baltimore area that teach oil painting and other disciplines. There are colleges such as MICA, Maryland Institute, College of Art. And there is the high school made famous by the movie Step Up, The Baltimore School for the Arts. The high school focuses on all areas from dance to music to painting and sculpture.

Art Classes for Individuals

But what about for individuals who want to improve their skills. The best know of them are the Mitchell Art School, The Schuler School of Fine Arts, and Zoll Studios. Zoll is known for teaching the techniques and materials used by the European masters in creating fine oil paintings. The Schuler school developed from Hans Schuler who was a well know sculpture as well as a painter. The Mitchell School was started by a wonderful woman, Elizabeth Byrd Mitchell who was one of the top portrait artists in Baltimore.


A recent reception and show at Zoll Studios showed a range of talent, but also impressive talent. The teachers and the students displayed their work. Naturally, the teachers work tended to be better, but some of the students were quite good as well. Most amazing was the work done by children 8-12 years old. If they keep with it, they could be masters some day. These were not simple stick figures. Some of the work they did was quite impressive.


The Schüler School had a competition that they do annually and it just ended. They accepted paintings to the competition not only from their students but anyone who wanted to enter. All the paintings had to be of animals. Some seemed like they wanted to jump out of the painting at you.…

Why You Should Attend the ASMA Conference

The American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) has for the last four decades promoted marine art and history alongside other national and international institutions. In this spirit, the society launched the first National Marine Art Conference (NMAC) in 2016. Here are some of the exciting actions that make the event a must attend.

National ExhibitionASMA Conference

During the 2016 conference, there was the opening of the 17th National Exhibition at the Muscarelle Museum.  The display ran from 9th September to 11th November 2016 and then traveled to other museums. The rare opportunity allowed the attendees to interact with the finest pieces. The journey is expected to complete in January 2018 at the Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic CT.

Painting Demos from acclaimed artists

Creativity gets the better part of the programs. In the first conference, there were workshops, demonstrations, and technical art lecturers from among others, Leonard Mizerek and Neal Hughes. The year 2017 saw brought the magic of CW Mundy and Don Demers to the podium. Scott Penegar also gave an intriguing demonstration on stone carving.


Now, for the future of the marine arts, there must be an engaging discussion on the current trends. The highlight of this panel discussion is allowing artists to showcase their talent and relate their images to the society. The interaction is a great way to learn from each other and promote diverse views.


The ASMA members are environment conscious and understand the relationship between nature, human activities, and policies. The maritime management influences the future of marine arts. The conference cannot end without discussing climate change and what mariners can do to avoid adverse effects. During the 2016 event, the talks focused on the Arctic Ocean.

Celebration time

Play and work do great with artists! Toward the end of the program, members take advantage of the breathtaking scenery. It is not a wonder that the meetings take place in tantalizing places. Who can resist the allure of Williamsburg? From the historic sights, peaceful country, posh restaurants, to the unique shopping, there was something for everyone. The 2017 activity list included an evening cruise to Morgan Point on the historic Prudence boat.

Tips for enjoying ASMA Conference

  • Register early. The events take place in hotels which have limited rooms. Although the society tries to find alternative accommodation nearby, you might not get the best deal. In 2017, the first 95 registrants were rewarded with a cruise!
  • Take advantage of the discounts. The hotels offer group rooms at affordable prices.

Going by the fun-filled activities in the last two conferences, be ready to grab your place in the 2018 event so that you don’t miss out.…

ASMA Marine Art Conference

ASMA, the first National Marine Art Conference is at Williamsburg, a historic event

The ASMA, the American Society of Marine Artists will journey an innovative and new path in this year in 2016 for the first time in the history of four decades, by presenting the National Marine Art conference. The ASMA will open at the college of William and Mary its 17th National Exhibition in historic Williamsburg, VA at the Muscarelle Museum on September 9, 2016.  this exhibition will display up to November 11, 2016 and then travel to other museum venues for 16 months period with the exhibition coming to a closing in January 2018 in Mystic, CT, at the Mystic SEAPORT Museum.

In Williamsburg, during the opening ceremonies, there will be the lineup of nation’s premier authorities on history and maritime art.  There will be technical art lectures, workshops, share knowledge, demonstrations and expertise through painting and special tips will be shared through various mediums. John Stobart, the Founding ASMA member and Fellow Emeritus will be the keynote speaker.

The society has taken the lodging contract at two local hotels through the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The Woodlands Hotel and Suites has lodging in standard rooms for 2 double at $128 per night + tax or a King suite per night is for $158 + taxes.  This rate is inclusive of continental breakfast daily and free internet service. This lodging hotel is in the primary location and the hotel provides shuttle service for nearby pickups and takes its guests to the Colonial Williamsburg Historical museums and area. People during the stay can enjoy these facilities such as:

  • Complimentary access during regular hours with the Shuttle service to the Historic Area, though the operating hours may differ with the season.
  • Group discount on passes
  • Complimentary use of The Woodlands pool and fitness room.
  • Discount coupons to use in operated and CW owned stores
  • Wireless internet complimentary in the meeting space and in all the guest rooms.

Located in the historic village is The Williamsburg Lodge providing at $198 per night + tax for deluxe accommodations.  Room rates at the Lodge do not include breakfast as complimentary, but wireless internet is a complimentary service.  Self-parking is complimentary for attendees. The booking code for the ASMA Reservation is 33218. Individual lodging reservations may be done by paying a deposit of one night room and tax charges. Check-in is at 4:00 pm and check-out is at 11.00 am. Get ready to join at Williamsburg!…

Walters Art Museum Has 2 New Exhibitions

Walters Art Museum (formerly Walters Art Gallery even though it was a museum not a gallery) has two new exhibitions.

Carlo Crivelli

Who? That is the point of the exhibition. There are many very good artists who never became famous because of various historical flukes. Leonardo Da Vinci was a contemporary who had the good fortune to be in Florence which was a center of Italian art because of the sponsorship of the Medici family. Other artists were doing good work in other parts of Italy such as Italy’s east coast where Crivelli did his work, but their work was never promoted in the same way.

As Joneath Spicer, the curator of the exhibit and the curator of the Walter’s Renaissance and Baroque Art, says, you can have someone exceptional arise anywhere, not just in the major cultural centers such as Paris, New York or Florence.

Madame de Pompadour

Not someone you would normally think of when you think of art exhibits. Besides being the mistress (and a very influential one at that) of Louis XV of France, she was an artist. Most people had thought of her only as a patron of the arts. However, Susan Wagner, the Walters Art Museum curator for the exhibit, was doing research in the Walters’ collection and found etchings that had been done by Madame de Pompadour. It had been thought that these etchings had been lost.

Prior to this, art historians had doubted that she was a serious artist. These prove that she may not have been one of the greats, she was very good and should be considered a serious artist. In addition to her work, there are vases and porcelains that quite likely were owned by her. One is probably created by Crivelli, the focus of the other exhibit.

The exhibits run through May 22nd and 29th respectively.…

Zoll Studios

Zoll Studios is an art school in the Baltimore area. There are a couple of others, but it might be considered the best of 3 good schools. They have some very talented instructors. One interesting one is Palden Hamilton, whose mother was a princess from a small kingdom of Sikkim that is now part of Nepal. He recently gave a talk about his travels there, showing photographs and pictures of the paintings and drawings he did while there. It was very entertaining and interesting.

They teach portrait painting, sculpture, landscape painting, still lives, almost anything you can think of, and in a variety of mediums. Carol Thompson is another teacher there who does very nice work.

The students are quite impressive as well. Of course they have beginners but many rapidly progress. They also have classes for children. You would not believe the work that these kids are doing. It is quite impressive.

Annual Show

Dog Portrait Scotty & Oreo

Each year they have a big show where they show off the works of the instructors and the students. The paintings and sculptures are for sale and usually a good number of them get sold. Considering there are usually something like 700 paintings hung, this means a fair number of paintings sold. And it indicates that they must be fairly good or they wouldn’t sell.

In 2015 it is going to be November 20-22. They always open with a reception on Friday from 6 to 9 which includes free
wine and a buffet table. There is usually a good crowd, in fact sometimes it is hard to move around. But a good time. What more could you ask for, good art and a glass of wine in your hand.

Dog Portrait Springer

If you go, you will be impressed by the one room where they show the works of the children. Some of the students in middle school and high school are so good that they are shown with the works by the adults.

To give an idea of the quality of the work, to the left are a couple of paintings done by one of the adult students, Carol McClees. These are quick photos that don’t do justice to the paintings. Come and see the wide variety of work on display.…

Holographic Museum

Holography is different from 3D or Imax. Remember back to the very first Star Wars movie. Luke gets the two droids and he is playing with R2D2 when suddenly a holographic image of Princess Leia is projected. It was also used in the Iron Man movie.

3D vs. Hologram

With a 3D movie, it looks more 3 dimensional than with a regular movie. If you move around though, you still see the same thing. With the holographic image as you walk around it, you see different sides of the image. So in the Star Wars movie if you were to walk around the projection of Princess Leia, you would see for example first her left side, then her front, then her right side and then her back. It would be like you were walking around a real person.

It works by recording the light scattered from whatever you are creating an image of. You take a laser beam and split it and shine one part at the object or persona and the other part at the recording medium. The light bouncing back from the object is also sent to the recording medium and creates an interference pattern. This is then used to create the holographic image.

New York Holography Museum

There was a museum in New York City dedicated to holograms. They had a display space that was very small but very worthwhile seeing. It was somewhere near FAO Schwartz. In looking online there was apparently another museum or the main location for this one in Soho.  Unfortunately it wasn’t able to raise enough funds to survive. It closed in 1992. The collection has been placed in storage.

There were some amazing images and walking around them like you were walking around the real thing (although without the correct colors) seemed like something out of the future.

Amazing Microscope Hologram

The most amazing image of all was the microscope. As I am walking by it, I thought it was interesting and then I had a brainstorm. If you can walk around an image like it is real, could you walk around the microscope and look through it like it was real?

I moved my eyes so that they were lined up like I was really looking through the microscope. Sure enough, you could see the image through the eye piece just as if you were looking through a real microscope.  Once I did that and commented on it then everyone around me came to look through the microscope. I looked for other similar tricks in the other holograms but that is the only one I remember.

It turns out there was a holography museum in Chicago as well and it also went under but one anonymous donor paid to have the collection kept intact for future posterity.…

Impressionist Ring Master – Paul Durand-Ruel

If you have never heard of Paul Durand-Ruel, you should have. Without him you may never have heard of the Impressionists. They may have been a failed sideline in art history. There is an amazing exhibition right now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art dedicated to this gentleman and the exhibit is well worth the price of admission.

Why? Because he was the first person to believe in the artists who became known as Impressionists and promote their work, an extremely large number of paintings went through his gallery and the paintings on display all were in his gallery at one time or another.

Why? Because museums around the world loaned paintings for this show and also private collectors. So some of the best impressionist paintings in the world are gathered under one roof so to speak and a number of the paintings that are in private collections have never been shown in public before.

Durand-Ruel’s father was an art dealer and gallery owner. Paul Durand-Ruel started working in the business and when his father died, he took over. The gallery dealt in the best establishment painters of the time. These were the painters who typically exhibited at the Salon, the large exhibit each year for the best painters in the country.

In the 1860s Durand-Ruel championed the works of a group called the School of the 1830s: Corot, Courbet, Daubing and Rousseau. Their work wasn’t yet accepted by the establishment.

Some of the Impressionists submitted paintings to the Salon, but were laughed at and rejected. Then in 1870-1 there was an uprising in Paris and Durand-Ruel took his family to London and opened a gallery there. In London he met Monet and Pissarro  who were also avoiding the turmoil in Paris and France. He became convinced that they were on to something and that it was going to change the art world.

At this point, Durand-Ruel took a large risk. He agreed to buy all their current paintings and their future paintings. He also provided a number of them a stipend to live on so they could concentrate on their painting. When he got back to Paris in 1872 he also bought a lot of paintings of Sisley, Degas and Manet.

1874 Show

Since the establishment wouldn’t accept them, the Impressionists put on their own exhibition in 1874. The establishment came, but to laugh and ridicule. The term Impressionist was actually used at this time as a statement of derision and only later came to be seen in a positive way.

1876 Show

Durand-Ruel than took a very large gamble by organizing a second exhibition of Impressionist artists in 1876, but this time in his own gallery. Meaning he was now even more directly tied to this new art movement and the patrons who bought the more traditional art from his gallery could have stopped coming which would have ruined him financially. Few if any paintings sold from this second show

1883 Monet Show

In 1883 he hosted an exhibit of 60 Monet paintings and not one sold. On top of this, there was a financial downturn in France around this time and Duran-Ruel was on the brink of going under.

1886 – United States to the Rescue

Durand-Ruel was saved by art lovers in the United States. He did an exhibition in New York in 1886. It was so successful and he sold so many paintings that he immediately organized another one. He then opened a gallery in New York. Durand-Rule and the Impressionists had turned the corner and were heading for success.

1891 Monet Poplars

Durand-Ruel held an exhibit of 15 of Monet’s poplar paintings in 1891. This time, the French and European art world was beginning to appreciate this style of painting and all sold out.

Marketing Inventions

The prices of the paintings were now beginning to rise and because Durand-Ruel had purchased them at low prices, he was now becoming wealthy and no longer had to worry about money. He could also control the market because he owned such a large percentage of the most important artist’s paintings. The artists could now make more money on their new paintings as well.

But, there are questions as well. This was the industrial age and these artists turned out art at an amazing rate. Durand-Ruel bought 1,500 Renoir’s, 1,000 Monet’s, 200 Manet’s, 800 Pissarro’s, and for Sisley, Degas and Cassatt, 400 each. While people consider the Impressionists to be romantic individualists, they were exceedingly productive in a way few artists are today. Plus, the works were of a size that met the demands of the time and maintained a style and were brandable.

This is one of the best exhibitions we have seen in quite a while. Go see it!…

Digital Art Permanence?

Digital Art Permanence

There are two aspects to this. One is whether digital art is art and the other is how it will hold up physically over time.

Is Digital Art Art?

We have looked at a lot of digital art. As with any art form, there is a lot of bad digital art, although even that is in the eye of the beholder. But a lot of digital artists take preexisting images or photographs and then manipulate them. That works great for advertising but is it art. It seems more in line with a collage or perhaps a Dadaist piece. It can sometimes rise to a very good work of art but generally not.

Then there are the original creations and some of these can be quite exquisite. Also, because it is a different medium,it is possible to do things that can’t be done on canvas or in sculpture.

Will it Physically Hold Up?

Art in general has tended to degrade over time. Paintings fade with exposure to light, or the paint cracks. Sometimes the top varnish layer yellows and sometimes restorations are done poorly. Even sculpture has problems. Sometimes a piece gets chipped or broken off when moving or when a tourist wants a souvenir. And then there are the problems with war. Paintings and sculpture don’t do well with gunfire and bombs. And then there are the atrocities like the horrific Muslim sects in Syria, ISIS, and the Taliban in Afghanistan who have blown up centuries or millennia old sculptures and buildings. A crime against humanity. These items can never be replaced. It would be like someone white washing the Neanderthal cave paintings because they were blasphemous for some reason known only to these pig headed idiots.

But, what about digital art? It is going to have even more problems. It is much more ephemeral. You could say that once it is in the cloud it is there forever, like the revenge porn pictures that are so much of a problem. Also, Brewster Kahle’s Wayback Machine which takes snapshots of websites at different point in time will maintain a record of some pictures even if the website no longer exists. But often times, the pictures on websites are of lower quality so that they can load quickly and the high quality pictures / images reside only on a person’s or company’s computer. As with any type of file, an image, a text document, a spreadsheet, because of the rapid change in technology, many of these have been lost forever. They exist only on recording formats that can be read only by machines that no longer exist. Also, it has turned out that some of the recording formats that people thought would record things for decades or centuries are less stable than previously thought. In some ways it is like when the change came from making paper with cotton to making it with wood. The older cotton based paper is quite stable but libraries are racing to preserve the older wood based paper books because the acid in them is causing the paper to deteriorate. Given the huge growth of content in digital form, the problem of preservation of digital records is likely to dwarf the problems of the wood based paper which is taxing the limits of libraries abilities as it is.…