“Get out of town initiative-update”
Mark and I made it to the opening of the “Reigning Cats & Dogs” exhibit at the Wayne Art Center last weekend. After spending the day at Valley Forge and eating at a local diner, we went to the art show- tired but excited. As soon as I walked into the main gallery, I saw Sophie perched on Mom’s big blue chair on one of the main walls. Much to my surprise, next to my piece was one by none other than Leslie Sheils. Ok, it’s a little more than ironic that the person I told you about in an earlier post (Get out of town initiative) was in this show. If it weren’t for her advice I would never have found this show, let alone entered and gotten in. So, it seems I was in great company for the show and that just made the night for me. I met a few fun and talented people. I met an artist from Delaware who picked up an award and I also met Garth Herrick, the juror for the show. He was most kind to take the time to talk about my work and also mention that he liked the other piece I submitted which did not get in the show. He said that size limitations kept both pieces from being accepted. I’m not sure if he was just being nice or really meant it, but, it was very nice of him to comment on the other piece-Greta. She feels much better about not being included.
I mentioned that we ate breakfast Friday morning at a local hangout- a diner. We sat at the counter and met a nice man whose wife is a professor at Villanova. I asked him what he would do on Saturday if he was a first time visitor to the city. He said most definitely he would take the train to the city and see the tourist sights and also visit the Barnes Foundation to see art. Well, you can’t beat the advice of locals, so that is what we did. The train was great although it was a bit daunting to find the right place to get on and exit. We found a cab that took us to the Constitution Center and we saw a movie that made you so proud to be an American. We are so lucky to live in this country and so blessed by our forefathers. We went to the Masonic Temple, a Quaker meeting place and then walked to the Liberty Bell and Freedom Hall. Unfortunately, we did not have tickets, so were turned away. That was a disappointment, but, secretly I was not too sad. I knew that would allow us to have more art museum time. So, we got a cab to the Barnes Foundation.
When we arrived, after a lengthy cab ride and conversation with a very nice man who was so proud of his city, we went to the front desk. There we were asked if we had ordered tickets online to enter the museum. No, “we did not know they were necessary,” we replied. So, we were informed that if we paid double the ticket price, we could enter. So, I readily agreed. The ticket price of $40 each was more than worth it- and I had no idea how worth it at that time. The foundation building is new and the rooms are made to look as the original rooms of the home of Mr. Barnes, the collector. His story is very interesting and I encourage you to google him and read about his love of art and art education. There was a lot of controversy when the collection was moved to this location. We really did not want to get into that… just wanted to see the art that was inside. When we entered the first room, I was totally unprepared for what was there. Bang- right off the bat- Cezannes, Renoirs and Matisses- all just hanging there with no fuss or fanfare. The walls were filled. Many of the pieces were paintings I have never seen in books. After walking around with a small crowd and few restrictions, I found myself standing in front of the most beautiful Van Gogh I have ever seen. I have always favored Van Gogh and am a huge fan of the painting “Two Figures in an Undergrowth” which resides in the Cincinnati Art Museum. I even wrote about it in last summer’s issue of AEQAI. I was not prepared for the colors in the portrait of the Postman that hangs at the Barnes Foundation. The colors are everything in this painting. The love he had for this man is flowing off the canvas. The spring green and pink floral background is extraordinary to say the least. I have never seen a painting I was so immediately in love with. I sneaked a photo… I just could not help it. I had to take it with me to look at for the next several days. (I appeased my guilty conscience by spending plenty of $$ in the gift shop and buying a larger than life poster to put in my studio as well as a book of the collection.) The Matisse paintings were also so different and gorgeous. If it weren’t for the Van Gogh, they would have been the stars of my day. But that Van Gogh will be with me forever. I am so blessed to have seen it in person. The fact that it is in such an intimate setting; you can literally stand 10″ from it, is so special.
I am very grateful that Mark and I took this little get away. It was so perfect on so many levels. What a blessing to clear your head and go do something fun and spontaneous. Best advice- meet locals when you travel so you can get the best information on what to see. Had we opted for Panera for breakfast instead of the local diner, we never would have met the man who encouraged us to venture out of our comfort zone and go downtown on the train. Thank you and I will think of you when I hear of Villanova in the future.