Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A portion of Dale Chihuly's glass garden on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA
You may not normally think that "gardening" and the Christmas season go hand and hand. But, in the last couple of days, I've encountered two spectacular gardens -- both art-related -- and my favorite presents received.

Boats filled with glass on black "water"
This weekend included a pre-Christmas visit to son Sam and daughter-in-law Michelle's -- to have fun celebrating together and see the snow village, tree and decorations put up for the first time in their new house near Richmond, Virginia.  My mom and dad came, too, with Dad enjoying seeing how well Sam handled his hand-me-down snow village construction. (Every year prior, Dad has built a village under the Christmas tree -- replete with train, town of stores and houses, trees and fences, ice skaters and carolers.  It was tough for him to give it up -- but he found just the right successor in Sam.)

Chihuly's Persian glass as a ceiling
On Sunday, Sam took Randy and me to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit (garden #1 -- made of glass) and wander some more after wherever we wanted before heading off to a family brunch.  It's been a few years since visiting the VMFA and in the meantime, an addition has transformed it into a not-to-be-missed destination museum.  The collection is as fantastic as the architecture -- but it's a tough competition.  I loved the American collection -- the only extra area we had time to explore -- and may revisit those treasures on this blog.

All of the Chihuly exhibit was extraordinary.  He shares his influences -- such as his Northwest Native American blankets and baskets collections inspiring entirely new forms in glass with marking and colorings that share hues from those art pieces included in the display.

His garden of glass was put together just for this exhibit.  His art has often been installed in gardens.  This time he thought why not make my own garden ... entirely of glass. Gorgeous and my iPhone photos clearly don't do it justice.

The Chihuly exhibit is on view at VMFA through February 10, 2013.

"Garden Girl" work in progress day one, oil, 42"h x 36"w, copyright Jill Banks 2012
Garden #2 was brought to me by my Dad. Those of you who have been following my work for awhile know that my Dad has set up a number of large-scale, elaborate (generous, gorgeous, jam-packed, etc) arrangements for me to paint.  I asked him to set up another one -- before he headed off on other holiday visits.  These collaborations have resulted in some amazing still lifes -- and it was time for a whole lot of inspiration.

My mom sent me a photo of a beautiful (drop-dead gorgeous) setup -- before Dad packed it up to bring it to my home studio to paint.  It's hard for me to take my eyes off of it -- and fortunately, while painting it, that would be inadvisable.  I don't want to show you too much of the set-up until the painting of it, "Garden Girl" starts to live up to reality.  While at first my Dad was trying to make it more manageable by using mainly non-perishables. This is the opposite -- with real orchids, cut hydrangeas, tomatoes on the vine, strawberries, a pineapple, mangoes, and other plants and flowers -- all waiting to see how quickly I can paint my now largest still life at 42"h x 36"w.  I went for those objects most likely to fade the quickest first.  Come back tomorrow to see how far I get on day 2.

Thank you, Dad!!!!

Registration is going on now at the Great Falls School of Art for classes that start mid-January.  Make 2013 an artful one! Sign up now. Go to my web site: www.JillBanks.com, classes page for more information on my offerings.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that many treats and inspirations surround you this holiday season.


Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
100 Faces in 100 Days Project
Phone: 703.403.7435

Events and Exhibits
Register now for Winter classes.  See my web site: www.JillBanks.com, Classes page for Still Life Painting in Oils and Draw, Paint, Sculpt the Portrait -- offered through the Great Falls School of Art, Great Falls, VA.

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