If I thought that yesterday (Tuesday) was a busy day, I hadn’t yet been introduced to today.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Today was our most extensive “Mentor Week” event. We all met at a van rental garage at 96th street and Broadway. That worked well as it’s right on the 2/3 line, and not inconvenient to reach. I first had a bite of food at McDonalds, which isn’t my choice breakfast (that would be yogurt and Belvita crackers) but it was warm and convenient.
The morning was a bit chilly. While Tuesday I chose the “black leather” look for the day, I decided to go with my “brown” or more subdued (and perhaps more suburban) look. I wore my other new Doc Martens — the brown ones — which I ended up regretting, which will be discussed later.
About twelve us us piled into a white 15-person van, driven by one of our classmates. That fact, in and of itself, made me vaguely unsettled. How could I trust a wan, emotionally fragile art student to drive us safely up and down the highways and by-ways of New York state? Well, I felt compelled to go to this event, given that our group leader — a successful artist — organized the trip for us. In any case, we all shoehorned ourselves in the van and we were on our way.
We drove for not a very long distance and I was struck by just how quickly the landscape changed from urban to pastoral. Driving north of the city, along the Hudson, introduced one to the pleasures of the red cliffs and green undulations of the land besides the river. Although I felt hemmed in and vaguely uncomfortable, I settled in and enjoyed chatting with the Mentor and my classmates.
After a bit of time we took a brief break at a place called Bear Mountain, which featured a seemingly old and charming lodge, the Bear Mountain Inn. The group enjoyed the mid-morning view of the mountain, symmetrically reflected in the lake that lay right before it. The yellows, oranges and reds of the fall were beginning to show, as well.
We piled back in the car and drove to a compound called Manitoga, which is the constructed residence of famous 20th century designer, Russell Wright. The entirety of the place reminded me of the residence of state senator S. I. Hayakawa, in Mill Valley, California, or at least how it used to look when I would visit my aunt Daisy, who worked for the Hayakawa family as a nanny and housekeeper. The Hayakawa residence was designed by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the place was built to meld naturally into the landscape, with a strong Japanese influence. So it was with Manitoba, which even featured a fully functioning waterfall, created with the help of a diverted stream.
I found myself a bit annoyed, mostly with myself, because we were walking along dusty trails and through dewy grass, as we traversed the compound. Of course, I was trying to look cute in my new shoes, and didn’t think about where we’d be, that day. I simply got in the van with nary an idea of where we’d be heading, so I spent a good part of the time thinking about how to effectively clean the shoes.
After Manitoga, we were off to another residence of a famous artist. This time, we went to the even more beautiful Hudson, New York, to visit Olana, which was the residence of Frederic Edwin Church a major figure in the Hudson School of painting. The place was a lovely 19th century mansion, designed to show off the magnificent wealth and success of this, the most famous American artist of that time. The views of the Hudson, as artistically rendered in many of his paintings, were breathtaking.
In between the two locales, the group stopped at a diner for burgers. I did’nt want to eat that much, and neither did I want to wait for a burger to fry, so I found a nearby Japanese restaurant and had some sushi rolls.
After a long ride back into the city, we arrived back at the school at about 6:30 pm. From there, I went right into my Group Critiques in the other studio hall, which mostly houses first years. Unlike the previous two weeks, this session involved three visits, so I was pleased when we finally finished about 9:30 pm and I jetted home, just so I could rest enough to be back at school for an 11 am meeting with the Tasker, for a new video.