Tag Archives: Art

The Art Institute of Chicago

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I have a habit of taking lots of pictures in art museums of all my favorite pieces. I’ve dragged my husband to more art museums than I’d like to admit. If I am ever in a new city I always try to make a stop into new, or favorite, museums.

I thought it would be a fun addition to the blog if I shared my reviews of art museums as I visit them throughout the year! I’ll start with the Chicago Institute of Art.

artinchicagoA personal favorite – the Chagall window

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Where: The Art Institute of Chicago

When: Open daily 10:30am–5:00pm, Thursday until 8:00pm

Highlights: “American Gothic”, by Grant Wood, (seen above, farmers) is one of the more popular pieces in this Chicago museum, as is the “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, by Seurat (seen above with children sitting on the floor). The Art Institute of Chicago has a sizable Impressionism collection, and a wonderful Modern collection as well. It unfortunately was under construction during my last visit, but opens this month. The museum reconstructed the Chicago Stock Exchange Room (from the 1890s) in one of it’s wings. It was beautiful and, away from the popular pieces, it’s quite quiet! It’s located near the Chagall window, which, is one of my personal favorites.

Things to Know: Mornings can be quite busy with field trips (which can be quite annoying, as they tend to hop to and crowd out the most famous pieces in the museum). One of museum’s cafes is located in the courtyard, which is both quiet and beautiful!

Admission: $23.00 for an adult (Admission is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5-8pm)

artinchicago2If you go, be sure to check out the outdoor installations in neighboring Millennium Park. Chicago can always be counted on for fantastic public art.

Have you been to the Art Institute of Chicago? What’s your favorite art museum?

LACMA Gets Dressed Up: Diane Von Furstenberg Exhibit

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Fashionista I am not, but even I am familiar with Diane Von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress.

My dear friend I was visiting had been to the Journey of a Dress exhibit at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and thought I would enjoy it – she was right! The exhibit celebrates the 40th anniversary of Von Furstenberg’s brand.

The exhibit is made up of three halls – one central hallway features large-scale photographs that tell the story of the dress and its inclusion in pop culture throughout its lifetime. (Everyone from a 1970s Sharon Stone to modern-day First Lady Michelle Obama.

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The second is an art gallery where Diane Von Furstenberg served as a muse to many famous artists. Many of you will recognize the famous series done by Andy Warhol. Fewer of you will recognize the haunting series of portraits done by Chuck Close (one of my personal favorite artists).

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The third is the Wrap Room – a large room where many dresses are displayed, organized by theme. The dress truly transcends time, as many of the original patterns I could easily see women wear today. Only the size and shape of lapels and cuffs gave any indication of decade.

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The concept of the wrap dress is simple, yet revolutionary. Truly a sign of the times when it came to the changing culture of women in the workforce. The dress, which wraps around the torso and ties at the waist, featured no tricky zippers, easily transitions from day to night, and work to play. A piece of fabric that is symbolic of the modern woman.

“For the women of the land had gone to work. Heigh-ho! It was the 70′s, and en masse, they left their sculleries and their hearths for careers in finance, law and other fields that had been the province of men… They went straight from the office out to dinner, they went around the world, washing the dress at night in their hotel room’s bathroom sink.”  – Holly Brubach, Fashion Historian

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The entire hall itself is attractive and exciting – from the hot pink walls of the entry way, to the funky floors mimicking the patterns from the textiles.

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The Journey of a Dress exhibit will be at the LACMA until April 1, 2014 and should you be in the L.A. area I’d certainly recommend checking it out!

Entrance to this particular exhibit is free. Parking at the LACMA is $10. For parents, if you register your child with the LACMA, your child and you (one parent) can get into any exhibit for free.

Don Gorvett and Staying Inspired

This beautiful print is from the talented Dana Tanamachi and is for sale in her online shop found here.

Over the summer I met Don Gorvett, a printmaker in Portsmouth, N.H. We fell into a lengthy conversation about making time for art and, although a complete stranger, he was extremely encouraging to me as an artist and I left his studio quite inspired.

I had mentioned how I took a printmaking class in college and how much I enjoyed/missed it. He said that artists often don’t give themselves time to create because they don’t feel it’s a “valuable” use of their time when there are so many things “to do” – when it’s actually invaluable.

By the end of our conversation he and my husband were discussing the specs of my artist studio shed. (Is this not the ultimate dream of every writer/artist?!?)

I have another friend who constantly asks me what I am working on. (Hi Audrey!) And I keep having to say nothing! I’ve been thinking a lot about reincorporating the arts into my free time again. I haven’t dedicated time to art since school. The same was true of writing until I ran into another old friend, and since then I’ve been writing here. Who knows where this push will take me?

On another note, Don Gorvett is an incredible woodcut printmaker whose pieces often feature New England landscapes. Maybe one day one of his pieces will grace our home.

via Don Gorvett Gallery

Between my design work, photo editing and all my DIYing it feels like I’m in my creating world a lot – but that’s not necessarily true.

Another thing that Don said to me that has stayed with me is that if I’m not pursuing my art, I’m leaving a part of myself behind. He encouraged my husband to make me stick with it as well.

Now about that artist shed… Ummm yup, I think I could make do in something like this:

photo via William Wright Photography

Whether I’d be inclined to let paint fly in a beautiful shed like that is another story.

What personal passions have you been ignoring? How do you make time for them?

DIY Kitchen Word Art: What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

Easy DIY Word Art Tutorial - Design Lively

Last week I posted on my latest adventure with beadboard wallpaper – my kitchen backsplash. Well, I got inspired and decided to re-do the art above my stove.

About a year ago I made a word-art sign that hung above my stove that said “What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’” because it’s not an unusual occurrence for someone in this household to burst out singing this song.

While I loved the pop of yellow, the text didn’t read well from far away, so once I had my new backsplash I was inspired to give it another go! This time around I choose a higher contrasting blue and white letters and a chunkier typeface – Helvetica.

As a reminder of how I transfer my letters on to my wood board, see below!

The EASIEST Way to Transfer Fonts to Wood Boards:

Easy DIY Word Art Tutorial - Design Lively

1. Choose a font and what you’d like to say – and print it out!

2. Turn the paper over and rub it with chalk

3. Tape the paper (chalk-side down) and tape it into place. Trace over the outlines of the letters with a pen or pencil.

4. The pressure of the pen should leave a chalky residue behind, transferring your type.

5. Begin painting! Start with the outlines and then fill the letters in. I used craft paint and a tiny paintbrush.

6. After the paint has dried, the chalk residue will just wipe away.

Easy DIY Word Art Tutorial - Design Lively

You tell me, what’s cookin’ good lookin’?

(And on that note – I need to cook some dinner!)

I submitted this project to Beneath My Heart’s “Best of DIY October” Link Party