Posts Tagged ‘BPL’
It’s been a little tricky to get to work these days so I’ve been trying different routes. This morning’s route took me through Copley Square, so in between getting squished on a bus and getting squished on a train, I got to breath some fresh air and snap a few photos of some of my favorite snow-covered Boston landmarks before work. It’s refreshing to look up from massive filthy snow banks to see gorgeous buildings like Old South Church, trimmed in lacy snow.
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Anyone who has been to my house in the last few years has perhaps noticed one of my paintings, which was hanging in our living room as if it was a finished painting (I don’t have enough storage space for my paintings, so works in progress are often ‘stored’ on our walls). That painting wasn’t actually finished until today.
Bates Hall is the majestic main study room in the Boston Public Library in Copley Square (click here for the BPL’s page about this room). On one of our many field trips around Boston, I took Brian to the Boston Public Library when I realized that he had never explored the library’s many art and architectural treasures. (photoblog post from that day in ’08 when we had only been together about 4 months).
It was an eye-opening experience for Brian because it was his first real glimpse of his father as a teenager, starting his lifetime career in the library industry with his first job shelving books in the spectacular halls of learning at the Boston Public Library. This past summer, Brian recalled that first visit to Bates Hall in his father’s eulogy.
I started this painting in Summer 2012, after getting a good photo of Bates Hall during my wanderings on a gorgeous day off (photoblog post from that day). Yes, it somehow took me two and a half years to complete this rather small painting. I guess I got distracted.
Also, this was probably one of the most challenging paintings I’ve ever done … partly because of the tricky perspective, partly because of so many little details, partly because it had become so important to us, but mostly because I tried two very stupid experiments with this painting. I thought it might be ‘fun’ to challenge two basic steps in starting a painting, and I now know better.
First, I didn’t sand the canvas. I usually use a very fine sandpaper to sand the gesso primer, and that gives you a nice smooth surface to paint on. I thought it might be interesting to paint on a rough texture, but it just made it hard for the paint to cover the surface. Basically, it felt like my paintbrushes weren’t working right the whole time.
And second, I didn’t start with a ground color. I usually start every painting by covering the entire surface in a basic color like yellow ochre (mixed with white) or cerulean blue (mixed with white). I thought it might be interesting to start with white, and then just simply not paint the windows. This did actually work well for the windows, but it made the rest of the painting really hard to paint. This, combined with not sanding the canvas, meant that it was just plain hard to paint in all of the details, and cover over every trace of the white canvas surface. For the longest time, I felt like I was getting nowhere with this.
But then I look back at the photos I took along the way, and I remember that this one really did come a long way! Brian worked hard on this too, providing incredibly valuable observations, suggestions, and coffee. It’s quite amazing how many of my paintings are starting to feel like our paintings.
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I took a nice long walk around Boston, starting and ending at Symphony Hall. I walked through the Christian Science Plaza, passed the reflecting pool, passed the Prudential Center, down Huntington Ave, and left on Ring Road at Copley Plaza to Boylston Street. Left on Boylston, right on Fairfield, straight down Fairfied Ave to the foot bridge over Storrow Drive and down to the Charles River Esplanade. At that point, I realized that there was some kind of walk for something going on because there were TONS of people walking along the river in blue t-shirts. I took a closer look, and realized there were tons of little kids walking. Their t-shirts said it all: Boston Children’s Hospital: Raise funds, Save lives, Repeat.
As I crossed the little bridge to my favorite part of the esplanade, the little island that gives you a great view of Back Bay, I was so moved to see so many families walking together on such a gorgeous day and raising money for sick kids. There were even a bunch of what looked like high school cheerleaders cheering everyone on. From where I was, I could see two long streams of families in blue-tshirts, some coming towards me along the island, and some crossing back over to the Storrow Drive side and walking in the same direction as me.
Later, I looked it up and learned that the event was NStar’s Walk for Boston Children’s Hospital, and that there was a 2-mile route and a 7-mile route, both starting and ending at the Hatch Shell. I was right at the turn-around point for the 2-mile route which I why I was seeing walkers in both directions.
I continued along, and crossed back over Storrow Drive near Clarendon Street, then walked down Clarendon towards Back Bay Station. As I passed through Copley Plaza, I was pleasantly surprised to see rainbow flags and an American flag flying from facade of Boston Public Library (it’s usually several American flags). Not sure if there’s some occasion I’m not aware of, but I don’t care – it looked absolutely amazing! I stopped to watch some street performers, then continued on down Clarendon.
Across from Back Bay Station, I took a right into the Southwest Corridor Park, and walked through the gorgeous tree-lined park that runs through the beautiful residential neighborhood of the South End. That brought me back to the Prudential Center, and then again through the Christian Science Plaza and back to Symphony Hall!
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I took a personal day for an appointment and spent the morning in Copley Square. The sun was shining, it was the Red Sox home opener (always a sign that Spring is finally here), and the Boston Marathon is in a few weeks. New Balance had great ads all up and down Boylston Street, right near the finish line. It was a gorgeous day, and it warmed my heart to see Copley Square gearing up for the marathon.
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With three months to go before the wedding (and six months of wedding planning behind us), we finally let Maureen talk us in to an engagement photoshoot. Thank you Maureen!! She did a wonderful job capturing us at some of our favorite landmarks in Boston’s Back Bay: The Boston Public Library, the Hancock Tower, Trinity Church and a recent favorite – the holiday lights on Commonwealth Avenue. Then she surprised us with a wonderful video slideshow!