Art Museum Wanderings

Architecture is the thoughtful making of space.

Louis Kahn

Inside the Fort Worth Modern

Inside the Fort Worth Modern. Photo by Joe Mabel

Waking without an alarm clock at 7:40 Sunday morning proved to be the commencement of a stellar day for me. The sun was bright, breezes high, and temperatures cool as the morning greeted me with its gentle caress. Saturday was spent all day at the Kimbell Art Museum, participating in a writing workshop. Today, I decided to visit the neighboring Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Thjis beautiful piece of architecture, designed by Tadao Ando of Osaka, Japan, has become to me a cathedral for art. Every time I enter the premises, I feel a hushed state of expectancy. I just know that epiphany will occur.

Rooftop Scultpure Garden

Rooftop Scultpure Garden

After lingering in the galleries featuring the Abstract Expressionist, Minimalist and Pop artists, I decided to venture upstairs to the rooftop Sculpture Garden and enjoy some time outdoors in the shade, sketching the Henry Moore Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 2 gracing the lawn. I cannot explain the serene contentment I feel when I render something three-dimensional in pencil, whether it is a scullpture of piece of architecture. But I enjoy taking it all in, pondering it, and attempting to express it in the confines of a two-dimensional space.

Sketching the Henry Moore Sculpture

Sketching the Henry Moore Sculpture

Stephen's Iron Crown, by Robert Motherwell

Stephen’s Iron Crown, by Robert Motherwell

Gazing at the Henry Moore sculpture made me think of the contours of a Robert Motherwell painting inside: Stephen’s Iron Crown. Returning indoors, I spent some time in front of this large painting and sketched its compositional contours in the small sketchbook I was toting with me, finding ways to relate it to the sculpture outdoors.

Feeling an urge for coffee, I returned to the serene space I visited last week–the outdoor patio of the Modern Cafe, and read from my small Robert Motherwell: Works on Paper. I had managed to find the perfect time, space and climate for journal writing–no appointments, no responsibilities, just free time and great art around me.

Returning home I found myself now in the mood to pick up the brush and work further on this Union Pacific caboose I photographed years ago in the historic Handley neighborhood of east Fort Worth.

I find many reasons to delight in our era of improved access to information. Over a decade ago, I collected historic railroad manuals in order to track down information on diesels and cabooses, based on their road numbers. Now, I find nearly everything I need to know online. Thanks to donsdepot.donrossgroup.net I learned that this particular Union Pacific caboose was built by International Car Company in June 1967. After cabooses were removed from the freight trains, no longer needed for communication with the engineers in the locomotives, this piece of history was donated to the Old Towne Handley Railroad Museum. It now sits on the corner of E. Lancaster and Handley Drive in Fort Worth. I can see by photos of it online that it today sits on refurbished, gleaming trucks, whereas the photo from which I’m working still has the dark rusted wheels and undercarriage showing. I don’t recall how many years it has been since I took my photos of this caboose.

The day has been a genuine inspiration, and I think I can return to school Monday with a renewed spring in my step. Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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