Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lily's Top 5

Thank you, Bethany, for posting on my birthday! I've finally made up my mind on my own favorites from ArtPrize. Here they are:

The photographer took this shot of a horse and some pack mules stopping for a water break in Little Lake Valley, California. They are framed by the crystal clear stream, beautifully textured grass and trees, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the dramatic sky. I think it's breathtaking! Wow, how I'd love to have been there to witness this scene in person!

Cycling Guide to Lilliput
In Gulliver's Travels, the island of Lilliput was inhabited by tiny 6-inch tall people. I'm not sure what cycling has to do with anything (who would be riding their bike in the dark through snow?) but this oil-on-copper painting is indeed tiny like the Lilliputians. It's only a few inches across, as you can see when it's compared to paint brushes. The detail in this winter scene is incredible! 

The Bag

At first glance, this may not seem very exciting. One side has objects in white; the other has objects in black and white. But look closer, and you'll notice that this is actually an impressive before-and-after. The artist started with two sets of white objects and then colored one set with graphite, and he did an incredible job. It looks like a 3D version of a black and white photograph.

Reflections of Nature
Water Night

Winter's Breath
Fox Hop
This entry was a collage of the artist's work, and all of them were of animals. As you can see from the four I chose to show you, she is highly skilled in a wide variety of mediums, from photography to graphite to scratchboard to watercolor. My favorite is Fox Hop.

The Orchid Tree

This is a 3D sculpture is about 12 feet across, 8 feet tall, and 7 feet deep. On the forest floor and attached to several real tree trunks and their branches are tons of orchids. About 130 species of wild orchids from around the word are represented. All of the orchids are made out of pieces of pop cans, which have been carefully cut, formed, and painted by hand. It sure is hard to tell! They look so real!

And now to look back on my birthday, October 15. Our aunt, Nala's owner, knows that Nala was born sometime in October. She has arbitrarily chosen October 15 (halfway through the month) as Nala's birthday. So I now share my birthday with a dog. Lucky me.

Here is my (and Nala's) beautiful birthday pony from Mom's page-a-day calendar:
<3 I think I may win the prettiest calendar page horse prize.

I was not very hopeful that I would flute a similar horse on HI2, however. And, unfortunately, I was right. Vixen and I fluted a horse that wasn't pale in hue at all.
They both have big white marking on their faces, though. ;-) And check out the Frenchie's personality distribution! Its symmetry all on the most desirable side of the scale should get a prize. 

Now that my sisters and I have all celebrated our birthdays for 2017, we'll have to do a recap post soon, where we'll decide on the winners and award prizes. That should be fun!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bethany's Top 5

Before I get to the art, happy birthday, Lily! She's still deciding on her favorite artwork from ArtPrize, so I decided I would go first. (This way cool art will still be posted on her special day.)

So here, for your viewing pleasure, are my top 5 ArtPrize entries.

The Salvere Hitch

The two draft horses and the foal are sculptures made from barbed wire. They are cool enough when taken at face value, but the artist had more in mind: he wanted to illustrate a strong parent-child relationship. The two adults decked out in full harness represent two parents that are harnessed with the responsibilities of everyday life. They lead the foal (their child) through the journey of life. 

This is the one photo from this post that doesn't come from the ArtPrize website, since usually the photos there are better than any Mom could take. (The encroaching crowds make photography difficult.) Mom saw these horses at night once, and she got this interesting shot when she used the flash. 

This too shall pass
This is one impressive storm and one impressive photograph! The photographer took the photo from a Lake Michigan beach in Muskegon, Michigan. And yes, he got away safely. (I hope that V of birds was as lucky!) This monster storm packed 60 - 70 mph winds when it hit the lakeshore, toppling trees and causing widespread power outages in the West Michigan area.

Mommy Look what I Caught!

This is a life-size fiberglass and mache sculpture. Well, the grizzly cub is life-size. I don't know if salmon really get that big! It apparently looks even more realistic in person. 

Morning routine

This was created using pastels. (I never have been any good using these in art class, but this person... wow!) Not only is it beautifully done, but the subject matter also makes me smile. These 3 gray drafties don't seem particularly keen on going to work - especially that middle one. I wonder if they are Percherons?

Monsters Go

Kids throughout Michigan drew and colored monsters using one of the four prompts above. The artist selected 100 of them and created her own interpretations in colored pencil. Here are 3 of my favorites:

(Of course, none of the ones I chose are particularly scary.)
During ArtPrize, visiting kids could also participate and submit their own monsters. I think the artist added about 50 more to the collection in the 3-week stretch based on 50 of the new submissions.
It's so entertaining to see how the artist chose to interpret the various creatures. They remind me of the monsters in Monsters, Inc. =)

Finally, I have one unrelated piece of news to share with you: our new New Forest Pony on HI2 finally has a name! Meet Sassafras!
We have some sassafras trees in the backyard whose leaves are turning more red than usual this year, and they reminded us of this rust-toned pony. We're still deciding who will be her owner, so until then she is still tackless. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

ArtPrize 9 Public Vote Winners

The winners of ArtPrize 9 were announced on Friday night! The jury of art experts and the public each got to vote for their favorites from this year's 1,348 entries. I'm not going to bother telling you about the winning entries from the jurors. Being a casual art appreciator who tends to shut down when things get too "out there," I'm usually not on the same wavelength they are. I find the public vote winners more interesting. So here we go:

Time-Based Public Vote Winner ($12,500):
Red Dirt Rug Monument by Rena Detrixhe

Yes, this is indeed a rug made out of red dirt. The artist brought over 200 gallons of sifted red Oklahoman soil to Grand Rapids and created the rug during ArtPrize. All of the designs you see were formed by her carefully pressing chunks of shoe soles into the dirt. Pretty impressive, right? Mom didn't get to see the rug until it was already finished, but on the plus side, this meant she got to go inside the roped-off area and see it up close. The artist says that her work "embodies the complicated history of our relationship to nature, particularly in [her] state of residence, Oklahoma, where human presence has deeply altered the landscape." The jurors apparently were as impressed by Red Dirt Rug Monument as the public voters were, because they also chose this entry as their time-based winner.

Installation Public Vote Winner ($12,500):
Oil + Water by Ryan Spencer Reed
The artist took this photo during last year's protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He presumably then printed the image on these panels, only he modified it to look like it's sort of an oil slick. When the panels are suspended just under the surface of the Grand River, it does indeed resemble an oil slick floating on the water's surface. According to the ArtPrize website, it symbolizes the importance of clean water, the struggle for native rights, climate change, and fossil fuel dependency. That's all fine and good, but I was not overly impressed by the piece itself because of the way the panels clumped up on the sides.

3-D Public Vote Winner ($12,500):
Lux Maximus by Daniel Oropeza

I could hardly believe that a horse sculpture was the public's favorite! It was one of my and my sisters' favorites too, of course. He is made from metal and glass fused together in intricate patterns. Thanks to the glass and some lights within, he becomes even more impressive at night. Mom was fortunate enough to get to see him both in the dark and during the day.

2-D and Grand Prize Public Vote Winner ($200,000):
A. Lincoln by Richard Schlatter

This is an 8 x 12 foot portrait of Abe Lincoln made out of 24,000+ pennies, which are all heads up, of course. His "white" shirt is made from steel pennies from 1943, and the rest are various shades of copper pennies dated from 1909 (the first year pennies started having Lincoln on them) through 2017.
The combination of this piece's impressive size and its prime location in a well-visited fancy downtown hotel definitely boosted its chances, I'd say, so I was not super surprised that it won the whole shebang. It is pretty cool, and I am happy it did so well. (Obviously, I would have liked to see Lux Maximus win the grand prize even more, but at least my least favorite of the 4, Oil + Water, didn't snag it...)

I'm eager to share my favorite entries with you - there was so much great art on display this year! Like it or not, I think all 4 of us sisters will be posting about our own personal top 5 in the near future.

While we're on the topic of art, HI2 recently introduced a new horse breed, the Dutch Tuigpaard, to the game. It's a harness breed I didn't know much about. According to HI2, they have been bred to be "uphill," which means they have proportionately longer forelegs than other breeds. I don't find it dramatic enough to look weird, but yeah, they do have long forelegs. Their hind legs seem quite long though too.

The first person I talked to about the new breed on HI2 called them "hideous." While the art doesn't exactly wow me, I definitely wouldn't go that far. In fact, the more I see them, the more they are growing on me. Here are my sisters' and my favorite Tuig colors as seen in the BBB:

my pick: honey roan

Julie's pick: liver sorrel roan

Bethany's pick: dark dapple gray

Felicity's pick: smoky cream sabino
If we ever find a nice one of these in any color, that would be totally fine with me!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Before and After

Fall is officially here. There's no denying it anymore. I don't care for it much myself, as I find the waning daylight, the falling temps, the dying leaves, and the overall drabification (that should totally be a word) of the landscape depressing. But it's not all bad, and it's still way better than winter. *Cringes at the very thought.* Let's move on, and I'll talk about some of the positives, alright?

This past weekend, Mom finally got around to switching out the stuffed animals on display on the window seat in her bedroom. This means carrying down one group of stuffed animals to the basement, putting them back on their shelves, selecting another group, and toting the new group up to her room. (She does this 5 times a year: at the beginning of the four seasons and also the Christmas season.)

The fall group this year is all of the stuffed ponies, and this makes all of us equine lovers extra happy. Sadly, the basement has gotten more damp in recent years. It's not a very good place for storing stuffed animals, but that's where the storage space is, so there they stay. (Maybe it's time to invest in some big plastic bags to keep them more protected...)

The effects are most noticeable on pale stuffed animals from the bottom shelf.

Poor Pal the white and blue pony. :(

Luckily, the brown I-don't-really-want-to-know-what-it-was came off pretty well with a careful washcloth bath. The little guy looks much better now.

Clipper suffered too, and her brown yuck didn't come off of her nearly so readily.

Still, she definitely looks better post-scrubbing:

Here's a before-and-after of her from the front:

It's hard not to feel more cheerful after taking in an eyeful of these guys.

The beginning of fall also meant a decent sale on summery garb from American Girl's website. We were able to talk our way into 3 new outfits. Thanks, Mom!

And because it seems wrong to leave Julie out, here we all are enjoying one of the last warm days of the season:

Positive #3 of fall so far has been ArtPrize 9. Tons of art is scattered around various venues in downtown Grand Rapids for its 3-week duration, and Mom's gotten to see a lot of it in person this year. We'll share our favorites in future posts, but for now I will leave you with this odd but entertaining rendition of Beethoven's 5th as performed by the Grand Rapids Ballet. (Yes, that's the Grand River in the background. It does indeed flow through downtown Grand Rapids, but it does not actually have any impressive rapids.)