Grandma Moses. Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961), known by her nickname Grandma Moses, was an American folk artist. She began painting in earnest at the age of 78 and is often cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age.
I am okay. But the painting is pretty primitive. Is that fair? Maybe childish? Juvenile? Here’s my point. Look at the eyes. They are just painted dots. Dots. Not even an attempt at making them symmetric. I was kind of shocked. Because you start when you are old, it gives you a free pass on technique? I guess, I should get out my paint again. I did some mickey mouse watercolor work last year. I dispatched the efforts to the junk pile. Right place, right time, favorable critics – timing is everything.
The most iconic painting that equates Le Louvre to art is the Mona Lisa. And did you know Whistler’s Mother is owned by France. Don’t bother to go see the Mona Lisa. Its mounted under glass and crowded with people. You are stuck with the glare of the glass that prevents any meaningful examination. I did not know “Mother” was owned by France and loaned out across the United States. We were lucky to see it in Paris. What do I know? What I can tell you is that iconic paintings tend to be in accessible or hard to find. (they’re traveling.)
I’ve been to a lot of museums in the past several years. Am I making up for lost time? Who knows? What I can say is that I now try for a gestalt overview and then a detail of the brush strokes. It helps to include the label so I can identify the darned painting later. No, even though digital makes this easy, I don’t do it. There are a few painters I recognize. Mostly, I admire the technical prowess. I cannot tell much difference. It’s me. I can’t tell the differences in wine taste either. I’m missing a gene. No matter. I have other talent and am content to continue to look and try to be appreciative. It’s a work in progress (me). Ain’t educashun gran?
Yes, it’s free. But that is not the only reason we attended. It opened about two years ago. It was pretty moving. I learned more than I wanted to know. For instance, the ship model cutaway shows slaves stacked like cargo. Exactly. And it was assumed that there could be as much as 33% loss of cargo during the voyage. Really! I never knew the inhumanity. And it was not confined to a single country. Multiple nations took part and profited. The suffering was enormous. I can admit that this was not something taught in any school I attended. History is written by the winners. The losers don’t get much mention. I’m truly saddened and appalled.
Reflection – reflecting pool/waterfall. It was on the list of places to see in the museum.
This cutaway model shows how human cargo was stacked/arranged for the long voyage from Africa to the colonies. I was shocked. Somehow, i never realized the utter lack of regard for human life. I am ashamed at my ignorance of human suffering. I am sad.
It’s free! Well, no. I paid taxes. Therefore, my entrance fee is built in. Go figure. What if you don’t pay taxes (see President Trump)? It’s still free. These days if it were up to the Republicans, there’d be no arts, no museums…. Meanwhile, aside from the portraits, there is art – aluminum foil art, and steam radiator art. The atrium is cool with a flat fountain (remember it’s free). And then, our government thought enough to make two museums in the same building. So, half and half. You can do that if your patron is one and the same (our fearless government).
Biggs Museum. It’s the best little museum ever! Free food! Ha! It was a concert event for the artist. She painted with pieces of music in mind. Musicians came to perform pieces with her art in mind. It was a grand event. We were fortunate to attend.
I can read music! I followed the pianist as she played and read her score. I followed the measures. She had to play many redundant same notes following the measures as she read. I wonder? How does she keep track as she plays the same note over and over. I’m sure I’d lose track and miss a note here and there. Besides, if she did, would anyone know? Hey! I don’t read music that well. My only regret is that I never paid enough attention while my kids were in the same music theory class as Alicia Keyes. Nor did I bother to record her early piano concerts when my kids played too. But, I suppose something rubbed off.
The museum in Dover has been a bargain. We go for exhibitions. Openings are fun. They serve food! Free! Yum! I’m there for the food. Ha! Really, we’re there for the art?! In celebration of Black history month this exhibit was mounted. Free food! Ok, good art too. Fine art! Fine.
And the kicker? They had another “meet the artist” event a few weeks later. More free food! I guess old habits never die.
I was a moderately poor sleep deprived neurosurgery resident so so many decades ago. We were constantly trolling for food. I learned to sleep an extra ten minutes in the morning by drinking down Ensure or Sustacal instead of eating a proper breakfast. Yup! Yuck! But the chocolate flavor tastes vaguely like a “shake” if you cool it in the fridge. In the evening my chief resident would order seven dinners for the NICU patients – one for each patient. Mostly the patients were not yet cleared to eat. No matter. We would pick through the trays making a meal for ourselves as we prepared for evening rounds. He knew to go to the VA Hospital in the morning where we could get another free meal (breakfast). There, I learned that he ate scrambled eggs with ketchup. Nope, not me. But the food was always welcome. The old habits never die. I arrive at a buffet and get to eating promptly before the potions and choices dwindled. Yup! Free food!
If you stop often enough you might be surprised. Hays, Kansas. We braked for antiques. It was far enough along in miles that we needed a break. You try to pick something good. It wasn’t particularly (good). In this little shop off the interstate a Scottish woman gave us a whole story of this piece she had acquired and shipped from Scotland. Religious symbolism was all over the piece. She described religious plants, symbols signifying the books of the bible, the carvings, and even Celtic influence. Jesus had two right hands? There was a representation of the Pieta. She was looking for a museum to purchase her treasure. I would agree. It should find an appropriate home. I did not ask the price.
Richard Cleaver does some strange work. It’s unique. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is a bit out there for me. It would appear he liberally uses hat pins. No matter. The work is eye catching. And you would have to admit it took a lot of time to complete. Wondrous things are lurking in the minds of talented artists.
The last time I played with watercolor was in kindergarten. I was forced to paint something for parent teacher conference. My only goal/task during free time was to take out all of the wooden blocks. I never got to play. Just taking the blocks off the shelf used all my time. Insanity!? (doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different outcome) So, I sat before a paper clipped to an easel, took a single color, filled my brush, and painted a squiggly line, filling the page, and then sat back contentedly. Have I told you this before? When asked I responded to the teacher, “It’s a roller coaster.” She walked away counting to herself. I remember that part too. So, you’d laugh to think we signed up for watercolor lessons with an artist of considerable renown. To be sure my significant other wanted to meet the artist. Aha! But why take lessons? I fell upon the sword immediately and claimed to be a complete novice.
I mean there were folks there with some serious paint, brushes, and paper. Mission accomplished. We scored an invitation to visit the artist in his studio. I was complemented on my work (ha ha [but he really did – a good teacher]). The artist’s style complimented my own. He just threw the paint upon the paper and then closed in on the details as he went along. I had no details and was very good about throwing paint on the paper. Hey, there’s potential here. Oh, his frames were also art. He was a metal worker in the other half of his life. And, I work in wood. Hmm…..
What they never told me is that you can join a museum and get reciprocity at others. We have been to a lot of museums for free. And I mean in Chicago and in LA and points between. Of course, the exhibits are there to stimulate discussion. Hey! I just retired. Do we really need colored plastic heads strewn about? Humpf!! Gates!? Jean Claude and Christo – Central Park many years ago. It was about orange gates in the park for a few weeks. It was mesmerizing. The artistry is in the concept. The concept pictures and proposal sell for tens of thousands – enough to fund the project’s million dollars bill. I mean millions of dollars. So, the sales earn a lot of money. That builds a lot of gates. By the way, most of the proposals and projects never got built.