"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Goethe

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Man Outside of Grand Central Terminal

I finally decided I was finished with this painting and posted in on A Day Not Wasted.  As I was working on all of the green in the background, I thought, "I've got to try to smartly use the complementary color theory to make this man stand out."  Red is the complement to green, and did you notice how well it works in Nighthawks?  But, how was I going to use it?  And then I thought of Corot and his red hats.

The Night Cafe also uses complementary colors--blue and orange.

Friday, January 27, 2012


This week I got to spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia with Joseph and Megan.  I just popped in and popped out on a Southwest flight--I guess that means I'm "living the life of Riley."  (Is that a familiar phrase to you?  I've said that to each of my children lately and they have all said, "What are you talking about.")  It is so fun to visit with them.  The first day Joseph and I just walked around, which is always fun in a big city--there is always interesting architecture, amusing city life, and time to talk and visit.  I haven't mentioned architecture yet, but I love buildings.  They are an art form that requires function, reflects their time and unites us with the people that have been here before.  I particularly love the juxtaposition of new and old buildings.  Here are some examples.

Philly also has some extraordinary murals on buildings around town.  Here is one that is a mosaic with the hidden "modern art" I found.

It was restaurant week in Philly while I was there (deja vu all over again--the last time I was there it was restaurant week).

This time we went to a little Italian restaurant not far from Joseph and Megan's apartment.  Here is a photo of it in the lights of the night.

It reminds me of a couple of paintings I like.

Night Cafe by Vincent van Gogh

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Wednesday, Joseph and I went to the Muetter Medical Museum--kinda creepy--but interesting because our South Carolinian grandfathers, uncles, etc. came up to Philadelphia for medical school before the Civil War.  Joseph is the first to come back for post-graduate training since the war. (He is a third year law student at the University of Pennsylvania.   Equal time to Megan who will finish her Masters at Temple this year.)

We went to Chinatown for lunch--noodles.  Since living in Okinawa, Japan, I love to see a torii.

And finally, I'll end with sculptures of Benjamin Franklin--Mr. Philadelphia.  He is seen in everything from a toga to scrap metal.

There is also a fabulous art museum in Philly,  The Philadelphia Museum of Art.  We went there on my last visit, and I'm sure I'll go again in May when we all descent on Philly for two graduations.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Don Hollinger is Mr. Knightly

Have you seen the 1960s TV sitcom, That Girl?  It is one of my favorites, and I figured out why while reading Emma.  Mind you, it has no truly profound insights, but it has a similar human element.  It revolves around personality and situations.  Ann (That Girl) is enthusiastic and naive, Don (her boyfriend--who lives in different apartment and a different building) is devoted and reasonable, her father is bombastic, her mother is emotional, her next door neighbor is flighty and they all come together in a very entertaining and wholesome way.  (It does not rely on sexual references or insults to amuse.)

Donald Hollinger holds things together much as Mr. Knightly does in Emma.  He sees Ann's foibles, but loves her all the same.  He tries to change her mind, but Ann has a mind of her own.  Sometimes he has to save the day, but sometimes he just needs to understand.

The Christmas after Joseph and Megan were married and Matthew came home from his mission, everyone came home for the holidays.  Meredith got the third season of That Girl as one of her presents.  One day I was upstairs and heard the That Girl theme music start, and then I heard running feet.  I heard a boy's voice say, "Hey, Meredith, don't be starting That Girl without me."  I went downstairs to see all four of them settled in to watch Ann Marie.  I looked at Joseph.  He looked at me and said, "Hey, I just watch it for Donald Hollinger.  He is always well dressed, and he is always right."  Mr. Knightly.

Other vintage sitcoms I like include:  Leave it to Beaver, The Dick van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Flying Nun and Hogan's Heroes.

I am currently working on another challenge painting that is making me a little nervous because it has a person in it.  I'll post it soon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Read an Exceptional Novel. . . Jane Austen

The stories and characters written by Jane Austen have endured over time and social mores because she was right about human nature.  She had a profound understanding of the fundamental truths that form desires, motivations and boundaries that, in turn, create personality and affect decisions.  She brings all of this together and writes stories that are suspenseful, surprising, satisfying and meaningful.  Even though she wrote in the early 1800s, her novels connect with readers today.   We don't just want to read them, we want to see them and hear them.  Luckily, there have been some exceptional big and small screen adaptations.

Thank goodness we have Jane.  She keeps us tethered to who we are.  Since her time there have been too many confusing explanations of human nature.  Let's take Freud for instance. Over time his ideas have been questioned and have become more and more irrelevant.  Not Austen's version of  human nature.  Even though she precedes Freud by almost 100 years, we are still invested and interested in her characters because she was keenly perceptive about human nature.  She got it right.

I am reading Austen's Emma now, because when I visit family in Utah next month we are going to have a Jane Austen Book Club night with the girls.  I'm looking forward to it.  Even though I know the story, it is fun to read.  I'm still full of expectation.  The first paragraph in the book describes Emma like this:

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition seemed to unite some of the best blessing of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

With the punch of "very little to distress or vex her," you know it is going to be a bumpy ride for Emma.  I can't help smiling along with Jane.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What if Cezanne Painted the Bowl with Tomatoes?

This is what I think it might look like:

I took a picture of this painting when I thought I was done, but discovered that a couple of small details can make all the difference.  Can you see them?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

I just got back from a weekend trip to Houston.  Jeff and I went to visit his mother who is serving a welfare mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).  Ahhh, the warm breezes.  I love those.  We went to the art museum and it was well worth it.  I wanted to photograph the Singer-Sargent they have because I love to look at a Singer-Sargent painting.  He paints with complete confidence.  Whether he is putting down a slash of paint or defining a cheekbone, the application is perfect.  It creates a bold combination of the realistic and the abstract.  It, however, was in a "no photos" section of the museum (which seemed to be most of the museum) so I can't share.  I could take pictures in the European art collection, and I decided to take pictures of a game I often play in an art museum--find the modern/abstract painting inside a pre-modern painting.  I'll give you six examples and you see if you can find which realistic painting it came from.  Here are the found paintings:

 And here are the originals:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hmmmmmmm. . .

Yesterday I went to see a local art exhibit because--I'm interested--but also because I want local efforts to get a response.  Let me just say, we have done a disservice to young artists by letting them assume that artists are in an elite category and anything that they assemble is somehow mystically aesthetic and meaningful.  I signed my name to the book but did not add to the comments of, "fantastic, and "promising artists."

It doesn't seem exactly right to post a painting of mine after saying that, but here it goes.  This is the finished painting ready to post on http://paintanddrawtogether.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Last night I went to my first meeting of the Leavenworth County Artists Association.  They are an eclectic group of local artists that were happy to welcome me in. Every town needs an art group like this.  I found out about them in November when, while in city hall to pick up a form to protest my property tax, I saw a call for entries into their December holiday show.  I thought, "I've never done anything like that before."  And then I decided I ought to do it for the experience.  I choose a couple of paintings to enter and decided to offer one for sale.  I purposely priced it low, because I think art ought to be accessible to the average consumer.  I went to the opening gala and while I was looking at the hung art I heard a voice behind me say, in an excited tone, "Are you Jeneen Nance?"  I turned around and there was a young lady who started to gush about my painting.  What a feeling that was for me.  I had a fan.  She bought the painting, and I'm happy that she has it.  Financially, my breakdown goes like this:  I sold the painting for $80.00, but the association took a $4.00 commission.  It cost $40.00 to have it framed, and  it cost $30.00 to enter the show.  The total cost of entering was $74.00, so I cleared $6.00.  However, since I sold the painting for $80.00, I owed $8.00 tithing.  So there you have it, selling that painting put me $2.00 in the hole, but I'm happy with the deal.

I am now working on a painting challenge for http://paintanddrawtogether.blogspot.com/  I'll post pictures of my beginning sketch and what it looks like right now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Painting Posted.

I posted my finished painting of the bowls on rookiepainter  I had so much fun experimenting on it.  Recently I visited Chicago and saw the Impressionist/Modern paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago and was spellbound.  Then at Christmas, my son and daughter-in-law did some painting, and they were willing to try anything.  Joseph even put caulking on his and it worked great.  So, I thought, "Van Gogh.  I'll try it."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

. . . watch a decent movie. . .

Movies are not in Goethe's list, but it's 2012 and they deserve consideration.  I'm thrilled when I find an excellent movie and happy just to find a decent one these days.  I do not watch R rated movies and I'm very choosy about the other movies I watch because I am not desperate to be entertained by Hollywood, and I refuse to play the fool who will accept vulgarity for humor or amorality for intelligence.  I also find it hard to sit through cliches, cheap tricks and stupidity.  O.K.  So on to the movies I saw in December, when there are always more choices because the movie industry is dishing out their family fare and looking for last minute Oscar nominations.  It was a successful movie run for me, with one bomb and one exceptionally good experience.  I'll just take them in the order I saw them.

Arthur Christmas  Who decided it was a good idea to take the magic out of Christmas?  The command space ship with high tech elves run by a frustrated son who is desperate for the power of Santa can only hold a story together for so long.  I ran out of interest before the movie ended, and I did not like that the current Santa and Grand Santa were not at all endearing.  This is at the bottom of the list, but not the bomb.

Sherlock Holmes  Robert Downey Jr.does great dead-pan comedy, which helps keep an underlying giggle going as you try to follow the intrigue of the story.  You have to really concentrate on following the story, however, because there are extended interruptions for explosions, shooting, fighting, and general mayhem.  It became fighting for special effects sake and detracted from the film, but it is entertaining and has a few surprises.  It was clean.  Good. 

War Horse  This is beautifully filmed with an interesting, although sometime fractured story.  It is held together by the audience hoping that a young man from England will find his horse that has been taken to fight in WWI.  The horse finds its way into the most sensational events of the war (like the battle of the Somme) and is used as the reason for a cease fire in no man's land.  There are true stories about such cease fires and I am moved when I hear them, but this seemed a little cliche--but just a little.  The ending brought things together unexpectedly (I'm not referring to the final ending with the slo-mo handshake).  I enjoyed it, but expected more.  Once again, it was clean, and I appreciate that.

Tin Tin  A fun movie.  I loved the early 20th century setting and the comic book adventure.  The graphics were fantastic.  Once again, however, there was a lot of action for graphics sake to stretch out a comic book story into a full length film.  I think we are having some genuine story telling difficulty in film.  One cannot be entertained by graphics alone.

We Bought a Zoo  The bomb.  A dead mother and animals are a lazy way to create interest in a story.  I have to admit, however, it was interest in the handling of the loss of the mother that carried me through to the end, and I liked the last scene.  It was a flimsy story with stock characters and a predictable outcome.  The profanity was a problem.  It is a pathetic ploy for laughs that is desperate storytelling.  And it is definitely NOT cute for a little girl to be vulgar, even if the set up is that she doesn't know what she is saying.

The Lost Prince (BBC)  Finally the gem of movie making and story telling came in a box from Amazon.  This is the story of the two youngest sons of George V.   (The two oldest sons are Edward who abdicated and George (Berti) of The King's Speech.)  The youngest, Johnny, has epilepsy and learning disabilities and his parents are advised to isolate him from the rest of the family.  It is a compelling story of love, discovery, perseverance, loneliness, human value, misunderstanding, war, monarchy, wonder and loss.  World War I also figures into this story, but it is told from inside the palace as the monarchs of Europe fall.  Fascinating.  It is also juxtaposed to Johnny's world, which finally brings a moment of peace and acceptance.  Two thumbs up. We followed this with the BBC's Berti and Elizabeth--the George of The King's Speech, and it was a nice complement.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Joy in the Morning?

 When I woke up this morning, my first thought was, "There are no children in the house."  It was not a happy thought, so I just stayed in bed.  Not too long, but long enough to feel sufficiently sad.  When I got up, there were, however, plenty of the remains of children all through the house.  We had a fabulous Christmas, but now it was time to vacuum and wash and put things away.  Oh yes, and carve out a painting spot in the basement.  Then it was time to work on my challenge painting.  This blog comes at the suggestion of my children during Christmas, and as we did a little research in the blogosphere, I stumbled across a couple of painting challenge blogs.  The blogger posts a photo, and painters submit their artistic version by a deadline.  I've decided to start with a challenge from http://rookiepainter.blogspot.com/ .  I'll post what my painting looked like this morning and then in the evening.  I want to use these challenges to experiment with painting techniques.  This time it is outlining.  That will come after I'm sure I've finished the rest.

 And a note to my "followers,"  WHAT A SURPRISE!  It all feels so friendly now.  If you have a blog, I want to follow you, too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Turn Around and They're Gone

Today my nest became empty.  Twenty-five years ago when I was handing out peanut butter sandwiches and cleaning up finger paint, this day was unimaginable.  But today, I need something new to do.  I'll start by blogging.  

I will also paint.  I will post some of my work here, and I'd love to hear your comments.  I am also willing to paint something for you.  If you are interested, contact me at <jeneenhnanceart@gmail.com>.

And if I read a good poem or see a fine picture, I'll blog my two cents worth and hope it is a few reasonable words.  Thanks Goethe.