Arting is a verb coined by my honorary granddaughter, Masego in Botswana. When we would go out to the verandah and draw or paint together, she called it “arting”. Perfect, and non-media-specific! Our recent visit to Dallas/Fort Worth provided several arting opportunities:
“Granite Bull” mixed media by Kerry McFall, copyright 2014
My favorite museum in Texas was the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), where they provide an arting haven for anyone who wants to participate – and it’s free! In a series of rooms there are easels with paper and pens and a sculpture to sketch, mirrors and tables and pencils for self-portraits, boxes of junk and glue to create collages – and the best part is, there are people of all ages laughing and chatting with total strangers as they make their art. I adored it! The Granite Bull piece above was sketched in one of the galleries, then finished with water color back at our lodgings from a reference photo taken in the gallery. It was a slightly ironic choice, given that the next day we went to watch a herd of longhorns parade down the street in Fort Worth…
I also really loved the DMA’s Edward Hopper exhibit where his original sketches were hung beside the finished paintings, along with explanations and quotes from Hopper. The take-away message was, “Simplify!” which I needed to hear, and it was even better to actually see how he had done it. Here, too, there were clipboards and pages for people to use as sketching prompts, which were a big hit with parents of wiggly small children. It is mesmerizing to watch a child draw.
Also at DMA, I have to say that I really did NOT like the Jim Hodges exhibit which was in the very next room over because – I’m sorry if I offend – squares cut from old nylon nightgowns, or chains of bedraggled artifical flowers, just don’t take much thought or effort. Do they really make a statement about “Give More Than You Take” (the title of the exhibit)? And since I’m a fiber artist, I think I’m allowed to hold fiber artists to a higher standard. He had one piece worthy of notice, and he didn’t even “make” it – he designed it, and someone else manufactured it. Maybe I just missed the point, or maybe it wasn’t fair to judge because I saw the Hopper exhibit first.
Across the street from DMA is the Nasher Sculpture Garden, where we sat outside in the gorgeous weather, wined and dined, and I sketched a Picasso sculpture of a woman’s head.
“Picasso in the Sculpture Garden,” ink and colored pencil, copyright 2014 by Kerry McFall
Next we drove to Fort Worth, and entered a completely different world down in the Stockyard District. This next pair of sketches was made on my wire-bound notebook, which doesn’t seem to attract as much attention as I draw as a sketchbook:
“Belly Up to the Bar, Boys”, ink sketch by Kerry Mc Fall
“Cougars”, ink and colored pencil by Kerry McFall
But Fort Worth isn’t all cowboy hats and tacky bar signs. There are some good museums there as well. The Modern Art Museum had an exhibit called Mexico Inside Out that was politically charged, thought-provoking and memorable. The Kimbell Museum had some well-known classics. After the night at the honky-tonks preceding our tour there, I was really quite amazed at what diversity there is in that community: from cowboy hats to pink bowties on museum guards.
“Guardian”, ink and colored pencil by Kerry McFall
Another great travel opportunity for arting is in airports and on planes. Again, I’m finding that a small spiral notebook goes unnoticed if you want to be the Stealth Artist.
“Flight Delay”, ink sketch by Kerry McFall
In-Flight magazines don’t usually have much content, but there are always some “not too bad” ad photos that are fun to do:
“Crab Pot”, ink and colored pencil by Kerry McFall
What I love about travel the most, apart from the fascinating people we meet, are the many opportunities and ample time for arting!