Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Art lessons

Several well-known artists have been connected to the Zámek, but perhaps the first to give art lessons was the sculptor, Vaclav Icha. In WWII universities were closed, and students sent to work camps. So, you'd offer students important jobs, such as on a farm. Vaclav Icha, a sculptor, had been my father-in-law's roommate, along with Prince Karel Schwartzenberg V, at cavalry school in Pardubice. He sculpted George's grandmother and sketched.Mostly Icha is remembered for making "bathtub gin" and partying. However, he did teach my husband, then a small boy, to sketch. My husband still draws in the style Icha taught him!

Other artists connected somewhat to us are Jan Autengruber, painter, who courted Zdenka, a family member, but didn't marry her. He died of only 33. I found a few of his paintings on internet.

Another artist was Vilem Pistorius, an especially excellent painter of horses. He lived at a nearby zámek with his wife. Many of his paintings were on our wall.. After they sold their estate, Mrs. Pestorius often came from Prague to visit my husband's grandmother.

Today, Ivan Smilauer lives nearby, painting and sculptiing. In summer he sculpts great, beautiful pieces in one of our barns. He is a friend of Zoubek, doing some exhibits with him.

Two of Karel Simunek's paintings are on the walls. One is of the chapel dome and the other is the zamek from a hill. He spent some time here, but no one today knows when he did. His dates are 1869 - 1942.

Our son's brother-in-law , Petr Hempl has done much work here. There's a formal portrait of a Polish officer, a lovely sketch of the Zamek, posters for a nearby 400 year celebration, a contemporary portrait of my husband and me behind the chapel, surrounded by impressionistic foliage. The Grand Dining Room features his painting of General Helidor Pika who came to the last hunt in 1947. Hempl has done some restorations here, also - a large painting of the Prague skyline, sprucing up St. Florian in the chapel, some work on the library fresco. For that fresco it was tremendous watching him, with a few brush strokes, bringing out a face.

Our young artist friend,
Michael Loughlin, stayed here one summer, Petr showed him how to restore the Saint Jan Neponuk fresco in the chapel. Petr restored the painting of The Fourteen Auxilliary Saints in the chapel. It was full of
The artist who gave lessons here this summer is not as yet famous. She worked here on vacation from art university in Prague, mostly working in the kitchen. Grandchildren arrived. What a great opportunity! The boys, Sam, 6 1/2 and Ben, 8 1/2 and the girls, Charlotte, 9, Maisie, 7,and Taylor, 3 1/2 were all very, very interested in art lessons.

We thought that outside at a big table was the ideal spot, but it was not comfortable, as it was quite cold that day. After breakfast and the workers coffee break was cleaned up, the art teacher and her translator, another college student who's worked here seven summers, covered the long table in the kitchen with newspaper, laid out art paper, and set out leaves, grasses, a few flowers by each paper. Each painted his/her bits of nature with acrylic paints, using the leaf or grass to make a print on the paper. There was still another step. These prints on the paper were then made into animals with paints or crayons. A small leaf might be an eye; a flower might be hair, a long grass might be legs.

The next project was covering a piece of paper with crayon in stripes, or circles or as one wished. Then, this was painted completely with black ink. When the ink had dried, a picture could be scratched on the black paper, letting the colors show. Again the teacher suggested animals. The younger boy, Sam, drew a dragon made of cotton-candy. It looked as if the dragon were leaving puffs of himself, everywhere he went.

Two days later the girls went home to America, but the boys begged for another art lesson, preferring the black ink on crayon. It was interesting - the girls packed up their pictures, but when the boys were finished, they were finished.