Starting the Year & Ending it With Hope

HOPE sculpture in Manhattan by Robert Indiana

At the start of 2021, I shared art from a visit to the MOMA in “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” and I’m ending the year with a similar feeling of contemplation. Hon, here are three masterpieces that invited me to stop and study, think and feel, and to hope.

This is the last of the “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” at least for now. I hope to get back to the MOMA, the MET or any other place where creativity, inspiration and peace of mind resides. Shout out to Lyn Sirota who shared a September 13, 2019 program on TED Radio Hour NPR called “How Art Changes Us.”

Marc Chagall, The Lovers, Oil on canvas.

Gustav Klimt, Hope II, Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, Oil, sand, and paper on canvas.

Sorbet for the Soul, Hope

HOPE sculpture in Manhattan by Robert Indiana

This is the last of the “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” at least for now. I hope to get back to the MOMA, the MET or any other place where creativity, inspiration and peace of mind resides. Shout out to Lyn Sirota who shared a September 13, 2019 program on TED Radio Hour NPR called “How Art Changes Us.”

Marc Chagall, The Lovers, Oil on canvas.

Gustav Klimt, Hope II, Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, Oil, sand, and paper on canvas.

Sorbet for the Soul, Modern Art

Big Blue Man statue by French artist Xavier Veilhan.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done was volunteer to teach Art Appreciation in my children’s elementary school. Before I entered kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, I thoroughly researched artists. I learned so much about Modern Art, and came to appreciate work I hadn’t understood before. The students and I discussed artists, examined paintings and sculptures, and worked on related projects. Fun? Being called “The Art Lady.” Fantastic? Getting a call from a mom who said that when her family visited a Chicago museum, her son remembered learning about Rene Magritte from an Art Appreciation class.

Stanley Whitney, Fly the Wild, Oil on linen canvas

Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, Oil on canvas

Piet Mondrian, Composition, Oil on canvas

Sorbet for the Soul, Henri Matisse

Taking in The Swimming Pool by Matisse, MOMA.

Henri Matisse is one of my favorite artists. His paintings and cut-outs, along with French Impressionism, were among the first pieces which stirred my emotions. I love how he played with two and three dimensions, placed his own artwork in scenes, and used lines and shapes to create movement. And the colors! His vivid colors create backgrounds that both emphasize the main subject and give my eyes and mind a place to rest while taking in the whole scene. You can view his work at the MOMA and the MET. Want to know more about his cut-outs? Click here.

Henri Matisse, Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance”, Oil on canvas

Henri Matisse, Lilacs, Oil on canvas

Henri Matisse, The Cut-Outs, paper and gouache

Sorbet for the Soul, French Impressionism

Me and Morgan after visiting the MOMA.

As the inauguration nears, my mind is cluttered and my heart feels heavy. This on top of a global pandemic. One of the things that’s cleared away dread of more bad news, even for a few hours, is art. If I study a painting, I can imagine myself in it. Or I might focus on brushstrokes, color, composition, historical context, and meaning. Recent visits to the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art were much needed respites. Art is sorbet for my soul.

Hon, what helps you?

Claude Monet, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, 1899, Oil on canvas

Georges-Pierre Seurat, Peasant Woman Seated in the Grass, 1883, Oil on canvas

Paul Signac, Setting Sun, Sardine Fishing, Adagio, 1891

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

Frieze of Dancers, c.1895
Frieze of Dancers c.1895, Oil on canvas

Good Impressions

I’ve always loved Impressionism, so I felt compelled to visit the MOMA to see the exhibit on Edgar Degas before it closes July 24. Maybe it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when a quote by Degas spoke to my experience as a writer. I write, revise, begin again, write, revise, repeat. I just finished listening to the audio version of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. In the Afterword, Gaiman says he waited until he was a good enough writer to write this book. Maybe writing, revising, beginning again and repeating the process is practice until my writing is good enough to bring my stories to life.

Just maybe.

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Two Dancers, c.1898
Two Dancers c.1898, Pastel on eight sheets of pieced paper

The Road in the Forest, c. 1890
The Road in the Forest c.1890, Monotype in oil on paper

Pathway in a Field, c.1890
Pathway in a Field c.1890, Pastel over monotype in oil on paper

Three Dancers, 1900-1905, charcoal and pastel on tracing paper
Three Dancers 1900-1905, charcoal and pastel on tracing paper

Dale Chihuly in Denver, Glass in the Garden

Monet Pool Fiori, 2014, Blown Glass and Steel
Monet Pool Fiori, 2014, Blown Glass and Steel

Monet’s Garden Re-Imagined

Last summer while visiting relatives in Denver, Colorado, we saw exquisite colors, smelled fragrant blooms, and heard busy birds and insects. The Denver Botanic Gardens featured an exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s organic blown glass.  (June to November 2014.) The sculptures were vibrant, iridescent and sensual.  

In 2001, Chihuly started his Garden Cycle, exhibitions within botanical settings. Many sculptures stood on their own, while others were set amongst existing gardens.

I love color, texture and the juxtaposition of the natural and manmade, and try to capture that in my photographs.  

Enjoy this “tour” of the gardens, the first of many posts inspired by an artist.

Royal blue and turquoise glass accent the more traditional Impressionist colors.
Royal blue and turquoise glass accent the more traditional Impressionist colors.

Claude Monet is my favorite artist, and there are many whose work I love.  When I sit in front of his enormous canvases in the MOMA or MET, I find that elusive thing I search for every day…inner peace.  I am transported to Giverny, lost among the flowers, and walking in the forest forever…just for a moment.

Organic creature grows out of lily pads.

Where does the glass end?  Where do the reflections begin?

In this photograph, reflections of green swirls become Lily Pads roots.  Purple glass spikes grow out of the water and erase it.

Victoria 'Longwood Hybrid' Water Platter
Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ Water Platter (from Longwood Gardens)

Glass or Creature?
Glass or Creature?

“Glass itself is so much like water. If you let it go on its own, it almost ends up looking like something that came from the sea. ” (quote by Chihuly)

Hon, have you seen Chihuly’s work before?  Where?  What did you think of it?

Me and my Plus One.
Me and my Plus One.