Crystal Bridges

The city of Bentonville, Arkansas is home of the Walmart corporation. The community is supported in many ways by the corporation. One of the most popular is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, opened in 2011, and founded by Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. We visited recently on our way to another destination.

Crystal Bridges can accommodate up to 300 people at a gathering. Outdoor areas are available for concerts and public events. There are many nature trails on the wooded grounds. About 300 people are employed. It is within walking distance of downtown Bentonville. Admission to the museum and grounds is free except for any special exhibits such as Craft America which we attended.

Nature Trail Art

We arrived mid-morning before the heat of the day so we could walk the trails and see the outdoor works. Not many people were present. The natural areas are well-kept with many labels on the plants native to the area. Here are a few examples of the artworks we encountered.

Indoor Exhibits

Crystal Bridges has agreements with other museums to share collections. Their collection includes works from thee Colonial Era to Contemporary Art. Here is a link to some of their selected works. The works are housed in galleries in several buildings connected around a small lake. Docents are available for questions and direction. We also visited the Craft America special exhibit in a separate building. The following image gallery is from that special exhibit.

We enjoyed our visit to the museum and the community of Bentonville. The town still has some small town charm with a public square in the center. Restaurants are abundant and good. We suggest a visit if you are passing through.

Cyanograph Quilt

For the past year, Melanie and I have been making cyanographs. We bought a supply of pre-treated 8×10″ sheets of cloth and made sunprints with them. They’re available from Dick Blick art supplies. The process was invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel. He was experimenting with the effect of sunlight on iron (ferrous) compounds. He found sunlight turned ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide a cyan blue color. Artistic and practical applications of the process soon followed.

Our pre-treated sheets were placed on a firm surface. Leaves and grasses were placed on the sheet. Clear plexiglass over them kept the objects in place if there was a breeze. The arrangement was put in direct sunlight for 5 minutes. The cloth was then washed and rinsed by hand in the sink. It was then set out to dry leaving the shadows white or nearly white.  Click to embiggen.

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Where Sky and Earth Touch

This wood engraving by an unknown artist appeared in Camille Flammarion‘s 1888 book L’atmosphère : météorologie populaire (“The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology”). There are multiple interpretations of the engraving.

Flammarion authored more than fifty works, including those about astronomy, science fiction novels, psychical research and related topics. He also published the magazine L’Astronomie, starting in 1882 and had a private observatory at Juvisy-sur-Orge, France.

In 1907, he wrote that dwellers on Mars tried to communicate with the Earth in the past and that a seven-tailed comet was heading toward Earth. In 1910, he believed the gas from comet Halley’s tail would kill all life on planet Earth.

“A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch.”

The very popular web site Astronomy Picture of the Day featured this black and white engraving on 5 April 2020. Readers were invited to colorize the image using any method they preferred. I was happy to give it a try using Photoshop Elements. Many others before have done so as evidenced in this Google Image search result.

My Drawing Drawer

Last year, I took an online class on drawing techniques that covered the basics. I found that I enjoy creating more than just stick people. The skinny characters served me well illustrating physics situations in the classroom. But, I was ready for more.

As I progress and draw other things, they will be put in a separate blog for easy access. It will serve as my digital portfolio. If you are interesting in keeping track, go there and click follow. You’ll get the updates as they occur. I will be happy to see you. Comments and critiques are welcome.