Let your mind wander with watercolors

Let your mind wander with watercolors

In this brief Museum from Home video, Mint staffer Leslie Strauss leads viewers through a simple painting and drawing activity, good for all ages. Don’t have paints at home? Grab some magic markers instead and get ready to be creative.

Supplies

  • Paper
  • Water cup and paint brush
  • Watercolor paints or washable magic markers
  • Sharpies, colored pencils, or any drawing tools 

The Mint Museum From Home is Presented By Chase.

Weave away the day with items you have at home

Get your weave on with items you have at home

All you need is a piece of cardboard and a few basic materials to create your own portable loom at home. This weaving project is inspired by John Garrett’s piece,  Tales Told on a Sunday Afternoon Between Los Cordovas and the Pilar Landslide, in which he incorporates found objects from a hike he took in his home state of New Mexico. 

 

John Garrett (American, 1950– ). Tales Told on a Sunday Afternoon Between Los Cordovas and the Pilar Landslide, 1997, fiber, metal, found objects. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Fred and Emily Gurtman. 1997.109. © 1997 John Garrett

Supplies

  • Cardboard 
  • Ruler 
  • Pencil 
  • Scissors 
  • Large-eye blunt needle (try finger weaving if you don’t have a needle) 

Gather your found objects. Searching your house and yard for found objects is half the fun! Look for things that can be woven with like sprigs of plants, twist ties, and rubber bands. Old buttons and beads are fun to thread onto yarn while weaving. 

Find your piece of cardboard. It can be any size. Your woven piece can be as large as your cardboard. Think about what you want to turn your weaving into. It can be a wall hanging, bookmark, coaster, or anything else you imagine.  

Use a ruler and pencil to make a mark every ½ inch along the top and the bottom edge of your cardboard. Then use scissors to cut a half-inch slit over each mark you made. 

Choose a piece yarn to wrap your loom with to create the vertical elements of your weaving, or the warp. Starting from the backside or your loom, leave a 6 inch tail at the back and wrap your yarn through the first row of notches. Continue wrapping your loom until all notches have a row of yarn sitting in them. Cut your excess yarn, and leave a 6 inch tail at the back of your loom. You can tape these tails to your loom if you think they’ll be in your way.  

Now you can start weaving. Simply weave your pieces over and under each strand of the warp. Under the first string, over the second, under the third, etc. If you have found objects that seem difficult to weave with, go ahead and start with those, and then fill in the gaps with your more manageable yarn pieces. 

When weaving with yarn, cut pieces to 10-12 inches. This gives you a reasonable length to work with while avoiding it turning into a tangled mess. Don’t pull the yarn too tight, as this can cause your whole piece to become warped. 

When you reach the end of your working yarn, tie a knot around the final strand of warp and either use a needle to tuck it into your piece, or just trim the tail off. To begin a new row, simply cut a new piece of yarn and begin again, leaving a 6 inch tail. If you have one, use a comb or a fork to even out rows. 

The Mint Museum From Home is Presented By Chase.

De-stress making a mandala

De-stress making a mandala

A mandala is a circular geometric configuration of symbols. With roots in Southeast Asian spiritual tradition, many today use these as a form of focused concentration, meditation, and relaxation. Art making also helps to identify and express emotion. This exercise uses symbols and colors to convey feelings.  

Supplies

  • Sheet of paper or paper plate 

  • Colored pencils, markers, or crayons 

  • A small round object such as a penny 

  • Ruler or measuring tape (or you can just eyeball it) 

Start by thinking of symbols that you like or that have meaning in your life. You can sketch some out on a separate piece of paper.

Next, think of a list of feelings and write them down. Decide which color best matches the feeling and make a mark for yourself so that you can look back at it as you create your mandala.  

Find the center of your paper or paper plate using a measuring device. Trace a small object over the top of the center point. This will give you a starting place. Working from the center, create patterns using symbols or colors that express your feelings.

Reflect on your finished piece. What colors are you drawn to? What feelings did you assign to those colors? Did you notice any change in your feelings as you progressed through the activity?  

‘I feel an impulse to be bolder, more direct,’ says artist Damian Stamer

Photo by Katrina Williams/Fifty Two Hundred Photo

‘I feel an impulse to be bolder, more direct,’ says artist Damian Stamer

Damian Stamer is a North Carolina native whose art is influenced by his Southern roots and rural landscapes. Though he’s painting the same subject matter, Stamer says he’s finding a different energy and urgency to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Studio location: Nestled in the woods of northern Durham County, North Carolina


Describe the artwork you create and medium your use

I paint architectural remnants that dot the rural landscape of the Carolinas. These are mostly oil paintings on panel, but I also love printmaking.

Who are artists that inspire you and your work?

Anselm Kiefer, Beverly McIver, Neo Rauch, Matthias Weischer, Cecily Brown, Willem de Kooning, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cy Twombly, Dana Schutz, Adrian Ghenie, Kerry James Marshall, Vincent van Gogh, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Gerhard Richter, and Robert Rauschenberg.

What is your favorite piece or artwork that you created and why?

I appreciate different pieces for different reasons, but if I had to pick one at this moment, I’d say St. Marys Rd. 8. It depicts an abandoned house on St. Marys Road just a few miles from the studio. In addition to enjoying how it turned out visually, it’s one of my favorites because I wrestled with it for over two years before laying down the final brushstroke.

St. Marys Rd 8

How does your environment influence your art?

In a way, my environment is my art. I paint my everyday surroundings. These are the places of my childhood. They allow me to explore memory, with all its faults and fictions, and investigate the tension between personal and historical truth.

Tell us about your new morning routine, including when you start your day and how you spend the early hours.

Before this all started, I was waking up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. to paint, but then I decided it would be a good idea to sleep in to make sure I get enough rest for a healthy immune system. So now I’m waking up around 8 a.m. and beginning the day with meditation and exercise.

Are you finding new inspiration for your art during this shift of perspective in the world?

Although I continue to paint the same subject matter, I’m finding a different energy and urgency to the work. It’s hard to describe, but I feel an impulse to be bolder, more direct. To quote my favorite musical, “no other road, no other way, no day but today.”

Tell us about your afternoon. Are you working from home, going to your studio?

My studio is a short walk or very short drive from home, so I’m back and forth between the two quite a bit. In addition to painting, I have better wifi at the studio, so I’m usually on that computer if I have a Zoom meeting. I’ve also been taking a walk with my parents every afternoon. We stay on opposite sides of the road. We talk about our fears and what makes us anxious. We talk about the latest news and our plans for the day. We walk by the farm and say hello to the steers or take a moment to appreciate the redbuds’ blossoms or songbirds’ calls. We say what we are thankful for. These walks have been an incredible gift.

What positive perspective changes in society would you like to see come from the pandemic?

This pandemic definitely has a way of putting things in perspective. Although it can bring up a lot of fears, it may also help us realize the many things in life that we are grateful for, the precious nature of every present moment.

How are you winding down your day? Have any recommendations for stress relievers to settle after another day done?

We started watching movies every night, which seemed like a bit of an indulgence compared to the normal schedule, but it has been a fun way to relieve stress and relax.

What are you cooking? What’s your comfort food of choice?

First off, I feel very privileged to have ready access to food during this time. I’m fortunate to live with a partner who is an amazing cook, so I’ve been washing a lot of dishes to do my part in the kitchen. Red lentil dal is a favorite, but I’m pretty spoiled because everything is delicious. It’s like a gourmet quarantine.

What are you currently reading?

Interviews with Artists: 1966-2012 by Michael Peppiatt and a lot of digital NYTimes.

What is your favorite music choice?

The Avett Brothers

What is your favorite podcast(s)?

The Daily (NYTimes)

Artist Anne Lemanski talks life in the mountains, ‘gin and tonic season,’ and her epic life-size tiger on a ball

The inimitable Anne Lemanski talks life in the mountains, ‘gin and tonic season,’ and her epic life-size tiger on a ball

Multidisciplinary artist Anne Lemanski, based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, creates everything from two-dimensional collage to three-dimensional sculptures. An artist of the natural world, she focuses on the complex, sometimes tense relationship between humans and animals, and her work is part of the Mint’s permanent collection. Here, she shares her favorite creation to date, how her mountain life influences her work, and the way Mother Nature always “will take care of business.”

Studio location: Blue Ridge Mountains, NC


Describe the artwork you create and medium your use

I make sculpture that is constructed by hand stitching a skin, often paper, unto a copper wire framework. I also transform small hand-cut collages into large format digital prints.

 

Who are artists that inspire you and your work?

Joseph Cornell is always a go-to when I need a pick me up. Contemporary peers whose work I greatly admire include Adonna Khare, Josie Morway, Walton Ford, Hilary Pecis, Alex Dodge. I also find kindred spirit in quilts and folk art.

 

What is your favorite piece or artwork that you created and why?

To date, it is Tigris T-1, a life size tiger balancing on a ball. It was an engineering feat. I wanted it to be freestanding, and it is. I also love the color and pattern of the skin, which consists of a print that I created using straws. It has many cultural references without being specific.

How does your environment influence your art?

I live and work in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I see something in nature on almost a daily basis that is beautiful, surprising, or even tragic. I am hyper-tuned to my immediate surroundings. There is really no separation between the way I live my life and my artwork.

 

Tell us about your morning routine right now. 

My morning routine is the same: coffee and the New York Times.

 

Are you finding new inspiration for your art during this shift of perspective in the world?

No. I have been raising alarm via my artwork regarding environmental issues and the exploitation of resources and man’s impact on the earth for years. Eventually, Mother Nature will take care of business.

Tell us about your afternoon. Are you working from home, going to your studio?

My studio is right next to my house, so my routine hasn’t really changed. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate.

 

What positive perspective changes in society would you like to see come from the pandemic?

I’m a bit of a pessimist, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself for now.

 

How are you winding down your day? Have any recommendations for stress relievers to settle after another day done?

In my house, gin and tonic season has officially started.

 

What are you cooking? What’s your comfort food of choice?

My cooking habits haven’t changed. Last night I made a delightful asparagus and mushroom risotto. We make everything from scratch, and that won’t change. My favorite comfort food is fettuccine alfredo with homemade pasta.

 

What are you currently reading?

The news. I listen to audiobooks when I work, but I am not currently listening to any.

These documentaries will help you get your art fix from home

These documentaries will help you get your art fix from home

Movies are one sure-fire way to pass the time in our new don’t-leave-the-house era. And because our passion for art doesn’t fade away in a crisis, here are a few art and design documentaries to help you get your art fix until we are able to open our doors once again.

Craft in America

The Peabody Award-winning series on PBS explores America’s creative spirit through the language and traditions of the handmade. The series takes viewers on a journey to the artists, origins and techniques of American craft. Two artists in our collection, Diego Romero and Cristina Cordova, are featured on the episode “Identity.”

Where it’s streaming: PBS. https://www.craftinamerica.org/episodes

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Talk a stroll through the ever-evolving world of street art. This documentary follows Thierry Guetta, a French native living in Los Angeles as he explores his own work, and the work of famous street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey (whose work was featured in the Mint’s Under Construction exhibition). Street art also plays a huge role in our special exhibition Classic Black, which combines the work of local mural artist Owl with the basalt sculptures of Josiah Wedgwood.

Where it’s streaming: Amazon Prime, Google Play and digital rental services.

Abstract: The Art of Design

A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world.

Where it’s streaming: Netflix. 

Out of the Fire: The Art and Science of Ceramics

Join Dr. Alexis G. Clare, professor of glass science at the New York State College, Alfred University, on a journey of ceramics from past to present. 

Where it’s streaming: PBS.