Sunday, June 26, 2016

Live drawing at the art museum

As part of the centennial weekend of the Cleveland Museum of Art, I took part in the live drawing event on the museum's front lawn. Live drawing is definitely NOT my bag, but it was a beautiful day and what's not to love about artists gathering to make stuff?

My assignment was to re-imagine a favorite piece of art from the museum's permanent collection. It was an easy choice, George Bellows' "Stag at Sharkey's." I first encountered this painting when I was a teenager. I was mesmerized by it then, and it still fascinates me. That's it (above).

I re-interpreted it by placing the painting in the upcoming GOP Convention here in Cleveland!

I'm a big fan of Bellows, the best known artist in the Ashcan School of the early 20th Century. Not only is his work incredible, he's also an Ohio State grad, like me, and drew illustrations for various campus publications, including the Ohio State Lantern, the student newspaper where my cartoons were first  published. After college, he moved to New York City and fell in with the leftist radicals there. He contributed drawings to The Masses, the only publication ever shuttered by the federal government, under the Sedition Act, which basically eliminated the First Amendment during WW1. Bellows had split with The Masses by then, when he disagreed with their anti-draft position. He stopped doing political work and concentrated on painting scenes of his grimy Lower Eastside neighborhood. Sharkey's  was right across the street from his studio.

It's ok, for a live drawing done with a Sharpie! Should have placed another sign on the left to blance the weight of the composition... and I forgot the referee altogether. Could have made him a Dead Breitbart reporter live streaming the floor fight. Oh well, like I said, live drawing ain't my bag. I had fun though, even if I inadvertently swallowed about 20 mayflies, who just had their giant Spring hatch and are pouring off Lake Erie by the billions. Lucky I had a Great Lakes draft (pictured below) to wash down the bugs!