My alarm was set for 3:40 a.m. but as usual, my whirling mind awoke me long before the alarm did. Up at 2:30 meant I had time to check my email, recheck my workshop checklist, and get to the airport a few minutes early.
Sunday morning serves up very little traffic between my apartment and the Orlando International Airport, it’s an easy, auto pilot trip. I park in satellite parking at MCO and take the shuttle to the terminal. You know you travel a LOT when you start to recognize the shuttle drivers, and they you.
Once I made it through security and onto my three+ hour (albeit direct) flight, I closed my eyes for a while, with my headphones in. Big Head Todd and the Monsters have a new live album from their June concert in Red Rocks, which is just outside Denver.
After a while, sleeping wasn’t easy sitting up, so I decided to work on my art, as I typically do on long flights, with larger tray tables of course.
Lately I have been painting watercolor postcards for friends and loved ones in flight. The watercolor field box is versatile and portable, the results are immediate. I really like working this way, watercolor is a challenge and it helps me with my drawing and painting skills. After about four postcards I decided to brave it and pull out the collage materials.
“That’s my seat back tray table?” I overheard a woman say upon boarding “I thought it was a shelf in my medicine cabinet.” I couldn’t have agreed more, but I was going to make it work.
It was a tight fit for this 10×10 koi collage, but I managed to prop it up between my knees and the shelf. I had two flight attendants asking me questions about my art and what brought me to Denver. Liz took my card and offered me a cup of coffee, her co-worker shared with me about her daughter-in-law who was getting her masters in art in Texas.
With the early morning direct flight compounded by the time change, I arrived in Denver at 9:00am. (A wormhole supermassive black hole effect) After getting a full tour of the city (twice) via Super Shuttle (next time I am taking Über….) I was checked-in and ready to make the trek to the Denver Art Museum by lunch time.
Learning to Bloom
The special exhibit at the museum was IN BLOOM, Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism. This show runs through October 11 and I would recommend it.
“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.”
In Bloom explores the development of nineteenth-century French floral still-life painting, and features about 60 paintings by Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and others.
The colorful exhibition demonstrates how a traditional genre was reinvented by nineteenth-century artists, as the art world’s focus was shifting to modernism. Curated locally by Angelica Daneo, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the DAM. Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the DAM will be the last stop for this exhibition.
(courtesy Denver At Museum website)
One of my favorite pieces in the show was Vase of Flowers by Odilon Redon. I love his use of orange (a color that is reoccurring in his work). The warm tones of the background made me feel like I was standing in the sunlight.
There were several florals by Van Gogh that I have never seen before. The Van Gogh flowers are unique and beautiful in a style and a palette that is different for him. In 1886 Vincent painted two years of flowers, experimenting with complimentary colors. After living in Paris, he moved to the country, to Arles, for a closer connection with nature.
These Van Gogh florals are exquisite.
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” — Van Gogh
Another rare find was Lilacs in a Window, a painting by the American painter, printmaker, pastelist, Mary Cassatt. It is one of the few still-lifes she executed. Cassatt, who concentrated on portraying the human figure, rarely painted pure still life.
After I took this fancy iPhone photo, the guard told me that the icon of the camera with a line through it meant “no photography.” Not across the board, just for certain paintings. You know, the ones with the icon on the card?
Yikes, I didn’t mean it. Really.
Other heavy hitters in this exhibit include Bonnard, Sisley, Cézanne, and Pissarro, what a lineup. The Denver Art Museum presents the art along with installations that make the entire experience wonderful. The In Bloom exhibit had classical music playing directly under the text on the walls about each section, so that when you stood to read, you experienced music of the era. The gallery also included a scent garden where you could press a button and smell various types of blooms in Monet’s garden. There were wooden benches perched on top of grass carpets with books to read and footstools, throughout.
Some works of art had interactive iPads attached to the wall next to them where the viewer could watch a video about the art and an interview with the artist.
The sculptures by Gail Slatter Folwell reminded me of the work my absolute favorite sculptor, Aberto Giacometti. Folwell’s cast bronze sculptures had a rough, eroded surface much like Giacometti’s, and were life sized, gracing the bridge connection between the Hamilton Building and the North Building of the Museum.
One of my final favorites of the day was Waddell’s Motherwell’s Angus, an abstract expressionistic piece paying homage to Robert Motherwell. An abstracted background, combined with the pure celebration of paint, this piece really caught my eye when I came around the corner.
All I saw was bees.
Thankful and Mindful
After a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours at the museum, the time change and lack of sleep started to catch up with me (who, me?). I sat on the concrete wall outside the museum and put my face upward toward the sun.
What lovely weather.
I used my fancy iPhone app to secure an Uber back to my hotel, all the while thinking about just how lucky I am to have had such an amazing travel day.
for being a part of
My Art Journey,
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