Ballet dancers in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya one of biggest slums in Africa. The ballerinas (ballerinos) are young students who study dance for fun, made possible through a program run by U.K.-based charity Anno’s Africa, which provides alternative arts education to over 800 children in Kenya. The classes are taught by Mike Wamaya previously worked as a dancer throughout Europe. His classes focus on both the physical and mental well-being, that promotes confidence-building. The children feel and see how much they can accomplish if someone gives them the chance, in turn improves their self-esteem and makes them stronger in their daily life.
Behind the scenes at major art museums, conservators are hard at work, keeping masterpieces looking their best. Their methods are meticulous — and sometimes surprising.
The painting conservation studio at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is filled with priceless works sitting on row after row of tall wooden easels, or lying on big, white-topped worktables.
The studio is where I first met Senior Conservator Ann Hoenigswald years ago as she was fixing the sky on one of Claude Monet’s impressions of the Rouen Cathedral in France. Bits of paint had flaked off over time, and Hoenigswald was carefully mixing her blue to match the old master’s. Seeing the painting outside of its fancy frame, it felt like being inside the artist’s studio. (I greatly wanted to try my hand at filling in some tiny bare spot in Money’s sky, which had once been covered by paint. Of course, the thoroughly professional Hoenigswald politely refused to hand over her brush.)
Conservators must take classes in studio art, art history and chemistry. Sometimes guidance comes from artists themselves. For example, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, asking for specific shades of paint — Prussian Blue, Ultramarine, Geranium Lake. Painters in earlier centuries rarely left such clues.
John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Domain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Diogenes was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy, and was known as Diogenes the Cynic.
Diogenes is also known for an interaction he had with Alexander the Great. Alexander, upon meeting Diogenes while he was relaxing in the morning sun, asked if there was any favor he might do for him. Diogenes replied, “Yes, stand out of my sunlight.” Alexander then declared, “If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes.”
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
“The Fall of Phaeton” (1604)
Oil on canvas
Located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, United States
Phaeton, son of the sun god Helios, asked his father for some proof that would demonstrate his relationship with the sun. When the god promised to grant him whatever he wanted, he insisted on being allowed to drive the sun chariot for a day. Placed in charge of the chariot, he was unable to control the horses. The Earth was in danger of being burnt up and, to prevent this disaster, Zeus was forced to strike down the chariot with a thunderbolt and kill Phaeton in the process.
My newest traditional artwork, “Sugar Angel” ! I made it exclusively for the “Sweet ‘n Low” art show. This and “Sweet Whimsy” are currently being shown at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA!💖 This cute show runs until August 27~ Check it out if you’re in the area! 💖