Monday, June 16, 2008

Art&Sun Days - A Serendipitous Day - Part II

Part I of A Serendipitous Day is here.
Continuing our adventures with Dorothy, the Chronicler and the Bronzeman

Rock On, Norman!

When you grow up with Saturday Evening Post covers peering out of magazine racks, sliding across coffee tables and slipping from your sleeping grandfather's lap, it is difficult to imagine that they would be important enough for an art museum exhibit. Oh, I know all about how folks have decided that the illustrations created for these covers is now considered to be "Art with a capital A." I know how the painter is considered to be the Chronicler of American life -- the way we all wished it were and the way it often was. And I know that my friend, Starkey, respected both the work and the man.

But when it came to taking time to actually go to see an exhibit of Norman Rockwell's work, I wondered if it would be 'worth my time.' Linda and Karen seemed to feel the same way. We circled the parking lot, looking at the buildings of the wonderful complex where the Orlando Museum of Art is located.

Suddenly, Linda pulled into a parking place and we raced for the entrance in hopes of getting in before closing. Amazing how the decision fueled our desire! We paid our money and entered the galleries. We noticed a few other paintings and spotted some work we wish we had done. Then we saw the Rockwells. There were 41 originals just hanging there for an almost nose-to-glass look. There were 373 pristine framed covers. Technique, design, inspiration in an amazing legacy of painted stories; it was all there.

Oh my, I think my life flashed before my eyes. I think it did for others as well. I watched as a man with a familiar profile leaned in to get a better look. I pulled out my iPhone and captured an image or two -- mostly of the other people who seemed mesmerized by the art. (Linda and Karen told me the sign said, "No photos." I put the phone away.)

But what I think I saw and felt was just the same as years ago when I had a chance to see a Post cover peering out of a magazine rack or sliding across the coffee table or slipping from my grandfather's lap -- maybe hope, trust, faith.

Hope you are listening, Norman. Your Chronicles of our lives still rock!

The Bronzeman

We ended our day of serendipity with another unplanned stop. It was after hours but there was a caterer's truck . . . just unloading. . . . We knew we were on the grounds of a sculpture garden, but nothing about the sculptor. . . . Maybe we could slip in for a few minutes.

The late afternoon sun bounced off the bronze of a large nude figure and we began to wander in that direction. We suddenly realized that we were being followed and thought perhaps we would be asked to leave.

On the contrary, we were greeted by the horticulturist for the gardens who shared anecdotes and information about a place he obviously loves. We were properly impressed by the delicate figure called "Unfettered" which he explained depicted a woman reaching for her destiny and freedom from ignorance and superstition.

There on the shores of Lake Osceola, the breezes seemed to guide us along the paths and past the sculptures of Albin Polasek. The spirituality of his figures is strengthened by his ability and by his Czechoslovakian heritage, but it is in his "Man Carving His Own Destiny" that his spirit soars.

We almost missed it. We were blinded by the nude Bronzeman.

Serendipity. Indeed

Art & Sun Days
BushStrokes (c) AAB

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Color of the Week: Candlelight

We celebrated all week by the candlelight of Belle's First Birthday (along with an evening by candlelight when the power was out after a major thunder storm.)

Belle didn't really understand about blowing out the candles so wasted no time waiting for the cake to be cut before carefully tasting the frosting. She has become a delightful toddler exploring everything in my not-so-child proof house. She and sister Lucy will continue to live in our house for a few more months. What a gift for me!


JUNE 11, 20007 What a year it has been since I stood at my daughter's head and waited for the delivery of this little dynamo.

JULY 07 "Can you believe this was my mamma's dress?"

AUGUST 07 "This is my favorite dress."

SEPTEMBER 07 "My favorite things: swinging with a dolly and a snack. Well, the snack is gone, but. . ."

OCTOBER 07 "Come on down. The floor is great."
NOVEMBER 07 "I just LOVE shiny things!"

DECEMBER 07 "I think he's hiding something over there."

JANUARY 08 "Are you driving or am I?"

FEBRUARY 08 "Where did those things come from?"
MARCH 08 "This is a VERY good book."
APRIL 08 "They said this would make me get a tooth!"

MAY 08 "Lucy, where do you think this firetruck is going?"

JUNE 08 "Just give me a balloon and every day's a party!"

"I can't wait until my next birthday. Now that I have a tooth and can walk, just watch me grow."
BushStrokes (c) AAB

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Art&Sun Days -- A Serendipitous Day - Part I

Serendipity: When you unexpectedly discover something wonderful when on the way toward something else.

On Tuesday morning, Linda and I prepared to make the airport run for Karen's flight. The traffic was light and, as we drove through the area where we would eat that night at their favorite Greek Restaurant, Linda casually remarked that she had been told of a great little shop nearby, but had not located. There was the sign and there was a SALE going on with racks of goodies on the sidewalk. Serendipity!

We checked the time - enough! - and parked the car. It's amazing how much can be accomplished in such a few minutes. We filled several bags. I wonder what would happen if we acted that quickly in the studio. Could we fill several canvases with such delightful textures, sparkling colors and cool designs? Interesting thought. . . .

We hurried to the airport where Karen waited -- who would think her plane would be EARLY!?! That afternoon, we were able to find Karen's old house, make three unplanned stops where we discovered Dorothy, the Chronicler and the Bronze Man, and get to the restaurant where the waiter -- not-so-politely -- said, "No! you don't want the soup!" He finally seemed pleased with our selections and so were we. It was the proverbial perfect ending to a Serendipitous Day.

Keep Dancing, Dorothy

The sun was a white hot glare on the street when we parked at the Maitland Center for the Arts. We weren't sure we wanted to brave the heat for what seemed a boring little tour of Old Florida. We gently refused entry to the current exhibition, choosing instead to wander the grounds in hopes of uncovering the mystique of Maitland and the old artist colony. (Would the spirit still be there?)

Each of us paused just inside the compound as we passed through the opening in the white block wall with its cement carvings. The sun was captured by the trees, moss and foliage and, in the dappled shade, seemed only like the crisp white edging of a summer dress. Each of us was taken with the notion that here, in any one of these funny little white stucco houses, we could happily spend time and create marvelous things beyond anything we now dreamed.

We wondered if artists still come to this place (they do.) We began to move through the gardens -- together, yet separately -- peering in windows, checking the foliage, wondering about this place, and yes, catching a whiff of cigar smoke -- a sure sign to some that the creator of this fantasy is still here. We did not know the story of the old Research Studio, but we felt the vision of its creator Jules André Smith (1889-1959) through his carvings, his architecture and his courtyards. (Should we have known? Should we have planned more? Would it be better if we had come with preconceived notions? I hope not.)

And then we saw Dorothy's brightly painted pieces of metal shifting with the touch of the breeze. Her swirls of color shimmered in the shade, hung dizzily from tall trees, winked through the landscape, and floated in the koi pond. Dorothy Gillespie (b. 1920 - ) would be speaking about her installation at the Maitland later in the week. We did not plan to attend.

For us, finding the energy of Dorothy dancing with the spirit of André in these intimate gardens was, unexpectedly, enough.

Indeed, it was a serendipitous day!

Art&Sun Days
BushStrokes (c) AAB