It’s already that time of year when we must wish our current class of McDermott Interns farewell! We’ll certainly miss their smiling faces in the office next week, but we’ve made some lasting friendships and had some fun along the way.
Check out what they’ve done this year, and wish them well in their next adventure!
We’ve recently debuted a new space for inquisitive young Museum visitors. Check out the Young Learner’s Gallery on your next visit!
Last week the redesigned Young Learners Gallery re-opened after a month of construction, and we are so proud of the new space. Along with a complete overhaul of the color scheme, furniture, and design elements, the new space incorporates bilingual signage, an art installation, and a variety of activities focused on the theme of Line.
Windmills, by El Paso–based artist Adrian Esparza, serves as inspiration for children ages 5–8 and their grown-ups as they explore line through the activities.
These comfy cozy reading nooks are the perfect place to curl up with a good book about lines. Leah Hanson, resident children’s book guru and Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs, picked out a slew of amazing books for the reading area.
Visitors to the Young Learners Gallery can explore line through a variety of activities including building with lines, creating and transforming lines on our pegboard wall, transforming their…
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This month, we’ve been exploring the new exhibition Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty during our Access Programs. In the galleries, we took an up-close look at the extensive work of one of America’s most famous photographers. Back in the studio, we put ourselves in the place of Penn’s fashion models to create our own magazine covers. Take a look at what developed!
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching
Director, writer, and artist Jean Cocteau is famous for saying “An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture” (Newsweek, 1955). Though Cocteau suggests that artists are not the best verbal communicators, many artists include words, characters, and writing into their works. Here at the DMA, we have many examples of handwriting and calligraphy in our collection.
Last month I took an introductory calligraphy class with my friend and fellow intern Emily Wiskera at Wildflower Art Studio. I learned a lot from our teacher Emile, and have not been able to stop practicing since! I thought it would be fun to give you guys a quick and basic tutorial on brush pen calligraphy. You can add calligraphy to your art, you can address a letter, write your name, or make a fancy grocery list! For this tutorial you will need a brush pen in the color of your choosing (which can be bought at any craft store) and a piece of paper. I have used scraps of watercolor paper for this tutorial.
Pressure makes perfect. When writing, upward strokes require a light amount of pressure and downward strokes require firmer pressure. Practice using different amounts of pressure by drawing straight lines. Once you feel comfortable with straight lines, try drawing loops while applying the same pressure techniques.
Practice your alphabet. Brush lettering should be fun! I like to practice writing the alphabet using variations in the thickness of the letters, with assorted flourishes, and in different styles. Develop a style of your own or find a template (like this one) of a calligraphy style you like. Now practice, practice, practice! Whether you use a found template or your own, you can use tracing paper and pencil to trace over the letters.
Take your time! Calligraphy takes concentration, but it can also be very soothing. You want to write at a pace that is not too fast and not too slow so that your letters are nice and smooth.
Put it all together. Once you are comfortable with your loops and alphabet you can now combine the two! Try to write the alphabet with the brush pen calligraphy technique. Once you have gotten the hang of it, writing your name can be a fun way to practice your letters, too.
Make it your own! Keep it simple or add flourishes— it’s up to you. Your calligraphy style is as unique as you are! I went back and added a few little hooks at the top of my capital letters “R” and “M.”
Show us your samples by using the hashtag #dmabrushtips on your social media sites. I’ll-pha-bet they look great! Make sure to check out our C3 gallery and Spirit and Matter exhibition to see more examples of writing and calligraphy on display at the DMA.
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teachin
Earlier this week, we had some very special guests visit the Museum! Drew Daywalt, author of the book The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, will be coming to the Museum on May 22 for some family fun as part of the Arts & Letters Live BooksmART lecture series. We were able to snap some behind-the-scenes pics as Orange Crayon and Purple Crayon scouted out the galleries, and we even caught a glimpse of some of their top secret correspondence. If you haven’t already, get your tickets to see Drew in person and hear more about these crazy crayons and their colorful adventures!
- Maurice de Vlaminck, Bougival, c. 1905, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.
- Martha E. Keech, Baltimor, Maryland, “Album” quilt, c. 1861, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous centennial gift.
- Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1908, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated.
- Egungun costume, Republic of Benin: Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York.
- Buddha, Thailand: La-na, 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation.
- Oli Sihvonen, Matrix – Red, Gray II, 1967, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, © Oli Sihvonen / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs
Audience Relations Coordinator
Whether they’re used as Weezer’s album cover or turned into emoji, Japanese woodblock prints have long been admired for their striking imagery and rich detail. At the Center for Creative Connections, we’re excited to welcome three Japanese woodblock prints from the DMA’s permanent collection by Hiroshi Yoshida.
The soft colors and fine details on these prints make them appear delicate or fragile, but the process behind each of these artworks requires some intensive labor. To illustrate a bit of the behind-the-scenes work that took place for these prints, we collaborated with Austin-based printmaker Daryl Howard to recreate a traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking station similar to the one Yoshida would have used to create the works on view in C3. Based on a diagram from Japanese Print-Making: A handbook of traditional and modern techniques by Rei Yuki and Toshi Yoshida (Hiroshi Yoshida’s son), the display case in C3 shows a few of the most essential printmaking tools used for this art form.
There are two essential steps to make color woodblock prints:
Carving the woodblocks. Each color on a final print image corresponds to a separate woodblock. For instance, creating a final image with black, red, and yellow colors would require a printmaker to carve three separate blocks-one for each color. Printmakers used a tō (knife), to cut fine lines into each wooden block, and various aisuki (flat scrapers) to carve out unnecessary pieces of wood. Chisels known as sōainomi and marunomi were used with wooden mallets to clear out large spaces on the wooden surface.
Printing onto the paper. After carving each woodblock, printmakers applied colored pigments directly onto the surface of the blocks using horsehair brushes called surikomi-bake. Softer mizubake (water brushes) were used to moisten sheets of paper before printing. To transfer pigments from the wooden block surface onto the paper, printmakers placed the paper on top of the woodblock and rubbed it with a baren made of coiled fibers and bamboo sheath. The artist would repeat this printing process, laying the same sheet of paper on top of each different woodblock to create a final image made of multiple color layers.
In the Interactive Gallery, we’ve developed a printmaking station where visitors can experiment with Step 2 of the printmaking process by making their own layered color prints using paper, carved linoleum blocks, and crayon rocks. Like the traditional Japanese woodblock prints, each of the carved blocks at the C3 table activity corresponds to one color that can be layered with others to create a final image. Yoshida often used 20-30 different color block layers in his prints, but our activity only requires four layers. The crayon rocks act as both a baren and an inking brush because they simultaneously apply color and transfer the impression of the carved block onto the paper. Take a look at the slideshow below to see a step by step run-through of the C3 printmaking activity.
My favorite aspect of the printmaking process is the way working with separate layers allows for countless color combinations. Yoshida used this facet of the medium to create vastly different moods and atmospheres in his prints—these kinds of prints focused on color variants are called betsuzuri. In his 1926 Inland Sea series, part of the permanent collection in the MFA Boston, Yoshida utilized the same set of woodblocks to create six entirely distinct images showing various times of day:
A small sampling of the prints visitors made in C3 this week demonstrates a similar effect using color variants to produce unique images from the same set of carved blocks:
If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of this medium, check out these DIY printmaking tutorials using styrofoam and soda (yes, the drink!). For a deeper dive into the intricacies of traditional Japanese printmaking, mark your calendars for the upcoming Late Night Art Bytes on May 20, and the C3 Visiting Artist Workshop with Daryl Howard, printmaker extraordinaire, on May 21. Happy printing!
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement
Last Friday, the McDermott Interns and I enjoyed a visit to AT&T Stadium. Did you know that, in addition to being home to the Dallas Cowboys, the stadium boasts a world class contemporary art collection? So the next time you’re there cheering on America’s team, when you go for those nachos, don’t forget to look up!