Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
The tales Neil Gaiman weaves are often macabre and fantastical, The Graveyard Book is no exception. It is the perfect combination of suspense and whimsy.

My recommendation is that his book should be read by ages 8 and up. There are moments of very real danger in this book. And the lovely illustrations by Dave McKean enhance the moods, and the very visual style in which Gaiman writes. The beauty of his story telling is that it is visual, whimsical, dangerous, thought provoking, and it leaves much unsaid. The gaps in the story are gaps that could not be explained in a child's book, it would take volumes of folklore, religious texts, and cultural studies. Much of it is left for the reader to ponder and make sense of. Just as the main character, Bod, must make sense of his existence and place in the world.

Congratulations to Mr. Gaiman for winning the 2009 Newberry Award. I have been a fan of his work for a very long time, and am pleased to see it honored.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Adventures in Art: The Getty Drawing Hour - February

Sunday I waited in a 35 min. line of cars into a parking structure. $10 to park to visit The Getty Center. The iconic museum on the hillside. The most wealthy art establishment in the world, and the collection of the estate of oil barron, J. Paul Getty. Not only are the views of Los Angeles breathtaking. But the architecture and artifacts are some of the worlds greatest treasures.

I have been taking advantage of a structured monthly drawing lesson they offer for free entitled The Getty Drawing Hour. So far it has been a fun refresher course for me. Since I will be not attending school until Fall, I thought it best if I did something in the meantime to keep my drawing "chops" up.

The Getty Drawing Hour theme for the month of February has been Gesture Drawing. Gesture is generally used as a warm up or a way to get the overall action or expression of a piece down in a short amount of time. Or it can be extended and layered upon to create a more in depth study. For this particular session none of our drawing extended beyond a 15 minute study. Instead of using models and/or live studies as is the standard for most art classes, we got to draw from the Getty's exquisite European Renaissance gallery.

The one piece I kept coming back to was the lovely sculpture Female Figure by Giambologna, Florence, Italy 1571 - 1573. Although it was easy to be seduced by the lucious colors of Titian, or the melancholy angles of El Greco, it was the subtle light and shadow that played upon the lovingly carved marble that caught my fancy. I plopped down on the floor and spent a few precious minutes beneath her. Gesture drawing and building up layers. An exercise in structured freedom.

It was so nice to be in class again.