Last weekend, I was one of the workshop leaders at Design Ranch, the AIGA event held out in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, along with designer/artist Stefan G. Bucher, design shop Decoder Ring, Fossil Watch guru Tim Hale, designer Michael Osborne, designer and teacher Petrula Vrontikis, photographer Dan Winters, and the amazing team at Yee-Haw Industries. Around 150 designers from all over the country (and Mexico!) came out for some hands on experience and fun, and the weather couldn't have been better. My workshop paired folks off for portraiture, with a demo on acrylics and some tips for getting a great painting in under two hours. Most had done little or no painting before, but we provided Bloody Marys for inspiration, and the results were outstanding. In the evenings, the bands came in and there was much rejoicing! Snapshots below:
The workshop in action
The great accommodations at Camp Waldamar
Jane, Michael, Marc E. and Murbena
Stefan and Petrula catch the band
Fred Cisneros and Joel Nakamura swing the girls around on the dance floor
It's all work during the day, but at night things get fun!
Thomas Carnegie gets in the Ranch spirit (photo: Papa Carnegie)
On May 1st, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles will open a exhibit of works by Jean Baptiste Oudry (1686–1755), one of the most celebrated animal painters of his day. Among the pieces in the show are two works, Rhinoceros and Lion, that underwent a massive 5 year restoration and conservation at the Getty. These pieces will be included along with nine other paintings by Oudry, as well as many of his drawings.
The immediate artistic ancestor to George Stubbs, Oudry took conventional animal painting and elevated it to the level of portraiture. These pieces were part of a series commissioned to document the exotic animals of French King Louis XV, who kept these creatures at Versailles and occasionally toured them around capitol cities. The Rhino above is Clara, and she was something of a celebrity in eighteenth-century Europe, where the rise of Empiricism and an interest in natural history created a thirst for knowledge of the animal world. Oudry created the most accurate representations of the rhino to date - an animal that had until then been depicted in Western prints and paintings as something closer to a dragon or dinosaur than the creature we know today. He also was a master at capturing the sense of aggrandizement and nobility that was a significant reason to own - and have portraits made of - exotic and pure bred animals.
"The stars at night, are big and bright, Deep in the (he)art of Texas."
Monday and Tuesday were busy days here in Austin, with the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts ceremonies taking place. I was asked to create the art for this year's event, which was used on everything from posters and three-dimensional installations to tickets and gift bags. Janice and I attended most of the events over the last two days, and had a blast!
Grabbing my moment with Mr. Cronkite and Mr. Coleman
This year's honorees included Walter Cronkite, jazz legend Ornette Coleman, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, sculptor Jesus Moroles, and screenwriter Bill Wittliff. After a gala dinner at the historic Driskill Hotel around the corner, we were led by the dancing, drumming performance group Urban 15 over to the awards ceremony itself, held at the Paramount Theater, one Austin's oldest and most beautiful venues and a great architectural jewel of the city.
Presenters for this year's awards included CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, Tommy Lee Jones and piano great Van Cliburn, and bands Del Castillo, the Quebe Sisters(pronounced Kway-bee - check them out , they're amazing!), and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel fame kept folks entertained with toe-tapping Texas tunes. The night was capped off with champagne and dessert (and lots of dancing) back at the Driskill Hotel.
Some of the goodies
In addition to all this fun, we were invited to a few other special pre-event events, which included a luncheon at the Governor's Mansion, as well as a VIP 'Legislative" reception at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, which put me and my "plus one" guest, Steve Brodner (down for a Texas Monthly assignment) in close quarters with virtually every power broker and politico in the state. An eye opener for Steve, who has some stories of his own to tell from his visit to our fair city. And now, back to my quiet life again......
Party in the streets with Urban 15, in front of the Paramount and down from the Capitol
Inside the Paramount
Del Castillo, and the Quebe Sisters (these girls are terrific!)