Last night at the de Young Museum a friend and I and a lot of other people of all ages wandered around taking in "Bouquets to Art 2013" a yearly show of flower arrangements inspired by works of art we've seen many times before. Flowers imitating art, imitating flowers. Fun, fresh, lively, a sure sign that Spring is here. And a chance to see old favorites in a new light.
The painting, "November in Nevada" by Maynard Dixon never held my attention until I saw it in relation to this simple selection of delicate flowers, tall and short, and parted as if blown by the breeze. Now it joins the long list of favorites that will be visited again long after the flowers have left, and the memory of their presence swallowed up by Dixon's painting for the rest of time.
Along with the sailor dress, my friend's mother saved this blue wool coat. Also beautifully preserved for 50 years, now it is having a new life as the subject of a painting. Not only that, but the whole episode has sent me on an investigation of the past, and holding on to things, and the meaning of things, and the fragility of life, and the passage of time, and missing my past, and oh so many memories. The present is the sum total of all of that, which might be why Life seems so full and precious at the moment. Surely my friend's mother had no idea that hanging on to her daughter's wardrobe would have meaning to any of us out here. But there you go. Ripples make ripples make waves. What we do matters beyond our wildest dreams.
Windows give the illusion of giving us access to the unknown, but in reality we only get a tantalizing glimpse of the interior. As much is reflected from where we are standing as is revealed deep inside. And if we aren't careful, we just see ourself reflected back at us. Kind of like a lot of people we think we know. There is always more to be discovered.
By the time my friend and I met at the bridge this morning the fog was beginning to lift its blanket over the Bay, revealing a warm Spring day. Tourists, runners, photographers, bikers all had the same idea. It was a day for walking across the glorious Golden Gate Bridge and am I ever glad I did. Life is for living and if not today, when?
That would be Mel Ramos' "Superman" at the De Young Museum. Watching figures stroll by this powerful little painting could keep me entertained for a good long time. Just the other day I painted "The Man in Yellow Suspenders Encounters Superman," and I am proud to announce that "Man Admires Superman," painted in 2010 is included in the Falkirk's Annual Juried Exhibition, March 22-May 25. Reception is March 22, 5:30-7:30, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael. See you there. Everyone's favorite College of Marin teacher, and accomplished artist, Chester Arnold, juried the show, so there is sure to be an interesting array of Bay Area Art represented.
Another thing that struck a chord with me recently was NPR's Science Friday program called, "Getting the Springtime Buzz on Bees." Entertaining, educational, humorous, and as always a little thought provoking on the side. I just love how passionately research scientists present their subject matter. They manage to shine a light on the natural world around us in a way that makes the most mundane seem miraculous. Be sure to listen to the part about what happens when bees drink alcohol.
This was my friend's dress worn in the 50s. A memory of a beloved daughter's childhood treasured and perfectly preserved by her mother who died recently. There it hung, cleaned and pressed and covered with plastic, hanging in the back of the small apartment closet, as if it might be put on and worn again any day. This is a tribute to a mother's devotion and love and the sweet memory of youth.
There is nothing like sleep. I heard Matthew Walker who is the Principal Investigator at the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley speak on the subject. He is very engaging and knowledgable. Bottom line: Sleep is essential. Life blood for the brain and our well being.
I would add that an afternoon nap on a summer afternoon in Maine will make one a better person in every way.
NPR did a Science Friday program called "The Science of Slumber" the title of which I like a lot, and Walker is interviewed on The Science Network, although I had trouble streaming it. I heard him on a rebroadcast of City Arts and Lectures but unfortunately, they don't post audio online. If you get a chance to hear him, do so. Or better yet, take a nap.
Things are just things except when they carry the memory of a special person. When I went to see "The Girl with A Pearl Earring" this week I wore a single pearl my mother gave me the morning I graduated from 8th grade. It was like carrying her with me to the exhibit that had she been here, we would have shared. These earrings in their bright orange silk purse come from a dear friend and they will always remind me of her. A gift that keeps on giving.