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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Friday, March 15, 2013

There's a Little Swimmer in Mona Lisa

Tonight I attended the Studio Social art class at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  I have been a member of the museum since it opened and attended various events over the past year and a half.

The Studio Social art series kicked off with a class on collage making.   The museum is so peaceful and it didn't disappoint tonight!

 The inspiration for tonight's session was the contemporary artist Devorah Sperber.  She is best known for using common objects like spools of thread to create art works.  The museum owns several of her pieces including American Gothic and The Last Supper.  Here's a short video introduction to her work.

For our class, we were offered two choices for art inspiration pieces.  Starry Night and The Mona Lisa.  I selected to work with The Mona Lisa for my collage.  We began by creating our pixels or the grid to work from.  I measured my sample artwork piece and then drew a grid over it.  I drew a similar grid onto my collage paper.

We were given lots of choices for elements to work with including yarn, art paper, tissue paper, buttons, rhinestones, and magazines.  I had not realized that the class was going to be a collage around a specific piece of artwork so I had packed some of my training magazines.  I was hoping to create a triathlon inspired collage to provide me with motivation this race season.  I got on board with the new direction though and found that I needed a lot of black to work on Mona Lisa.

September-October 2012 Cover
Wouldn't you know that a copy of Swimmer magazine had almost an entire back cover in the color black.

I ended up using several photos and elements from the Swimmer magazine to incorporate into my collage.  There are some swimmer arms in the collage, a green Nike swimsuit, elements of a Chocolate Milk My After ad, and even the stubbly facial hair of a swimmer in an ad!  There are even some pictures of water in the background.  Bet you didn't know there was a pool in the original painting!  Maybe I took a little creative license with that!
The face wasn't working out and I realized that there was just too much neck.
A minor adjustment and I was back on track. 

Taking the overhead photo above helped me see that the neck was still not working the best so I quickly touched it up.
My finished collage! 

So with this collage I have definitively proven that Mona Lisa had a little Swimmer in her!  I love how Devorah talks about the work that our brains do to fill in the details in her video clip.  In her version of the Mona Lisa with spools of thread, there are no actual elements on the face like the eyes but because we are all so familiar with the painting we see them there.  Pretty cool and the more I see my collage I see a better resemblance to the painting.

This was a fun way to spend a few hours relaxing over art work and creating something.  I look forward to future art classes at the museum.

For those wanting a swim workout, here's one that would earn that cheeky little smile that Mona Lisa loves to give.
Warm up - 500 yds
MS - 5 x 100 yds free on 1:50
6 x 75 yds on 1:30 swim free, stroke, free within each 75.
7 x 50 yds pull on 1:00 for 1st 3 then 55sec for last 4
8 x 25 yds free on :30
Cool down - 100 yds

The times could easily be adjusted up or down as needed.  The number of reps increases for each decrease in distance.  The total is approx. 2100 yds which is perfect for a lunch time swim.  Enjoy!

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  1. This looks like fun. I am only swimming these days and rather surprised by how much I am enjoying it. I'm dying to run again but loving the swimming for now. Love your new header too. What is the story with the giant pink snail?

    1. The pink snails overtook our town this summer as 21c Hotel was being built. The hotel is a small chain hotel that is an art hotel and they are known for their plastic animal sculptures...each hotel has a signature penguin color and when you visit the hotel the penguin is prominent and lots of people get pictures with them. They had the snails all over our town center in various sizes and this one stayed around until the hotel opened over Valentine's day. I love pink and sometimes feel like I run like a snail so I snapped a pic with it after a long hot summer run!

  2. That's a neat collage! What an interesting idea!