Linda Halcomb's Blog

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April 8, 2017 April 12, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:41 am
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What a wonderful Closer Look session on Saturday! Fifteen curious, interested, questioning art lovers in attendance. I used Ruben’s oil sketch of Constantine’s Triumphal Entry into Rome.


Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), about 1621, oil on panel,

Collection Indianapolis Museum of Art

Rubens used oil sketches of this type to gain final approval before doing large commissioned pieces. This sketch was made for a series of tapestries covering the career of the Emperor Constantine and sponsored by the French king Louis XIII who presented the first seven tapestries (including this one) to Cardinal Barberini. A sketch like this is very special because it is entirely by the master’s hand unlike most of his finished paintings that were prepared from sketches by artists in his workshop. Rubens was a fair man and kept meticulous records charging based on his own contribution to a work of art.

An interesting question came up during the session.  One of the attendees asked why Rubens gave Constantine red hair. I thought that was a very interesting question and did
some research.

Apparently a large portion of the Hellenic and Roman nobility originated from
Northern Europe. The most beautiful women and bravest men were frequently
depicted as having fair skin and blond or reddish-brown hair. Cicero the great
Roman orator is said to have had grayish-green eyes and red hair. The term “blue
bloods” comes from the bluish veins showing through fair skin and started during
the ancient era. Homer sings praises to the light-haired Achaean nobility:
Achilles, their greatest warrior, has “red-gold hair,” Odysseus, their greatest
strategist, has “chestnut hair,” his wife Penelope has “white cheeks the color
of pure snow,” Agamede, a healer and expert on medicinal plants, is “blonde,”
and King Menelaus of Sparta, the husband of Helen, has “red hair.”

Interestingly this is supported by paint samples removed from ancient sculpture
and by the facial features seen in ancient statues of many great beauties and
important men. It seems reasonable that Constantine might actually have had
reddish hair or that Rubens, with his classical knowledge and collection of
ancient busts and statutes, may have colored Constantine’s hair reddish-brown to
link him to other conquering heroes and famous warriors.

Late in his live Constantine lived a life more indulgent and had wigs in several
colors that he wore with richly colored silk robes.


March 7, 2017 April 7, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:04 am
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Second tour for the week is today. I am a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the museum includes, as its largest work of art, the Lilly House. The Oldfields estate, which includes the house is part of the Country House type and was donated by the children of J K Lilly Jr (Lilly Pharmaceuticals family) to the Art Association of Indianapolis in the late 1960’s. The Association had outgrown its museum and needed a space to build a new museum. The bequest included 52 acres and an intact house with many rooms still furnished as they had been when the family lived in the house. What a gift!

Today the Lilly House is a National Historic Landmark and a group of dedicated docents do tours at the house. My tour today is for a group of high school students that are home schooled. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to share information about the architecture, furnishings, families (2) that built and lived in the home, and the history of the period and of Indianapolis. The photo below shows the front of the home and some of the surrounding landscape. Today Spring in Bloom is underway and the grounds are graced with over 250,000 blooming bulbs.




April 6, 2017 April 6, 2017

My week has been busy preparing for tours at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where I am a docent.

I will be doing three different tours this week and they are back to back on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My Saturday tour is a Closer Look experience. I facilitate an hour long discussion using only one painting. It is not a lecture. I facilitate and keep the discussion moving forward by asking questions.  It is like driving somewhere without a map or information about rest stops and food and gas stops. Only the person sitting beside you knows where you will be heading. As you can guess this requires ALOT of preparation but I love it. Today I am doing “Impressionism and Beyond”. Love that tour too! Here is one of the paintings I will be using. It is in the permanent collection of the IMA.


                   The Channel at Gravelines, Petit Port Philippe, George Seurat, 1890; France,
                   oil on canvas, collection: Indianapolis Museum of Art


Needless to say I haven’t done any drawing or painting yet this week…next week will be better!




October 27, 2013 October 27, 2013

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 6:14 am
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I have frequently mentioned the fact that I am a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and I think you can read between the lines – I am very proud of this volunteer effort and the benefit we bring to the community. I thought you might be interested in hearing more.

The first National Docent Symposium was organized by a group of docents from the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1981. We continue to be recognized at the Symposium for our early efforts to bring docents from all over the United States and Canada together every two years! In 1985 docents from all disciplines became eligible to attend the Symposium. The NDS is divided into 8 regions – Indiana is part of the Midwestern Region. The National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC) was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1988 and functions as the governing body of the NDS. The NDSC’s purpose is to provide an ongoing forum to promote docent education and the exchange of ideas. They have a website, which can be found at Docents from art museums, natural history museums, science museums, botanical gardens, children’s museums, history museums and historical sites come together at the Symposium to participate in dialogue about the role and mission of docents. The NDSC calls itself “A volunteer organization dedicated to increasing the public understanding of museum collections.”

This year three of our docents attended the Symposium and shared our development of a multi-faceted Docent Website and the work we are doing to integrate use of the iPAD and other leading edge techniques in our tours. The docents at the San Francisco art museums that participated as sponsors for this year’s NDS went above and beyond in extending hospitality to attendees. They created wonderful opportunities for learning in their breakout sessions, arranged for inspirational keynote speakers, and provided memorable evening experiences at their museums.  The docents of the IMA continue to be recognized as the original organizers of the NDS – and as on-going providers of inspiration to docents throughout the U.S. and Canada. The next NDS will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2015.

The Indianapolis museum of Art is one of the nation’s largest encyclopedic art museums. You can learn more here.


October 14, 2013 October 14, 2013

Yesterday we held the opening ceremony for the Watercolor Society of Indiana’s annual juried exhibition. I was lucky enough to be accepted for the third straight year and am really humble because the acceptance was so unexpected. The show includes some incredible works of art. My painting is titled Convergence 2 and is on Arches watercolor board.

Convergence 2

Convergence 2

This was painted early in 2012 not long after I lost my brave man to cancer.  I was thinking about the merging of his energy, his lively, lovely spirit with that of the universe.

This show hangs at the very generous Indianapolis Museum of Art where I am a docent.  For the last five years I have trained a pool of docents so they can use pieces from the show during their tours. For the first time I will be doing tours of the exhibit for the public. Thank you IMA for your tremendous support of the artistic community in Indiana!


January 8, 2013 January 8, 2013

Happy New Year to everyone! As you probably realize, I have been on hiatus. During November I was chairman for a 125 person, 17 vendor luncheon and bazaar for the Association of International Women and during November and December I was touring at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at about 5X our normal rate. Usually we do 1-2 tours per month and I was doing 8 or 9 tours each month. The museum is built on an estate that was owned by a member of the Eli Lilly family (as in Lilly pharmaceuticals). When the Art Association of Indianapolis needed a home for a new museum in the late 1960’s the estate was donated by the Lilly family. The original home is now a national historic landmark and the museum’s largest work of art. The family donated the home with most of the furniture and decorative arts on the first floor in place so we have a unique and special situation. The home is always decorated for the holidays with designs from 1920-1940. It is very popular and quite beautiful. We had huge crowds this year and I am always glad to see so much interest in something so historically important to the area. If you’re interested in learning more click here .

I wanted to share a photo of the Best in Show for the Watercolor Society of Indiana’s Juried Show. The painting is a watercolor collage done by Peggy Brown.

Peggy Brown - WSI Juried Show Winner

Peggy Brown – WSI Juried Show Winner

I took a workshop from Peggy several years ago and she is universally respected and admired. The link to her website is in my blogroll. Peggy has a very unusual process that she also uses to create marvelous art quilts.   I hope you will check it out.

Wishing everyone a great Tuesday, happy New Year and success in 2013.



May 8, 2011 May 9, 2011

Filed under: Abstract,Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 6:53 am
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Yesterday was lovely and sunny. I had a great Mother’s Day and today is supposed to be sunny and warm so I am very cheerful this morning. To add to my blessings my youngest daughter is getting married in July and after much talk we start the real work today by holding our first meeting with the site and the potential caterers. (Since she’s a chef, I pity them! Picky, picky, picky!) She is going to get married at my cherished and exquisitely beautiful Indianapolis Museum of Art. Most of you are probably not familiar with the museum but it is on the grounds of an estate that was previously owned by a member of the Eli Lilly family (Lilly Pharmaceuticals). The estate includes a recreation building that was built for the children. It is spacious and elegant and is now used for special events. The museum is currently renovating the gardens at the end of the building. The wedding will be in the garden and the reception in the “Garden Terrace” building. My daughter has her 40th birthday in June and this is her first marriage. It will be small, casual and intimate but very special.

Now back to the world of art! Yesterday I told you about my paper disaster but good things come from bad. I flipped the paper over and did a little playing around with a new idea I’ve been thinking about. I have been considering how to use the idea of cells gone wild. This is really what cancer is and Ken’s form is very aggressive and hard to contain and fight. This is just rough but a start…

Playing around with the Cells Gone Wild idea