It was my father who showed me the way by painting in oils himself. I observed his capturing what he saw in art from an early age. My mother never took a particular interest in art; she preferred reading or vigorous exercise as activities. Of course, I took on all these things both of them did, but by sharing an interest in art with my artist/architect father, I developed a powerful secret pull that helped my appreciation of art to flourish. Why secret, my writer friends ask? My father had my brother Stephen earmarked for the artist; I was the dancer, possible musician. My sister Krissie, the horticulturist and so on. It was secret because, while Dad never said, “This is your calling,” I gave myself permission to follow his interest and love it.
The next part, I think, was beginning to observe my surroundings and the things in them with care. This was long before I thought rationally; perhaps what I see is particular to me?
Then there’s the education. One gets educated in art history in college; one learns how to identify the art of particular artists and place them in historical context.
But then, there’s what you do with your free time after college. I chose to go to art museums in cities to see exhibits. This I did in many cities over a long period of time.
I still do this. Whenever I go to a city, the first thing I want to do is see art. I know what I like right away and with a little time and care I can explain what I see and what I like in writing.
Seeing is an art in itself. I think it means you think about what you see and you have developed the ability to define it. For me it begins with colors and shapes, then proceeds to line and form and design.
Recently I re-read Edward Hopper by Lloyd Goodrich. I was struck by the words of Hopper’s wife saying about her husband to a friend, “He’s been studying that empty canvas all summer.” The empty canvas became Sunlight in a Cafeteria.
You could say it took me a long time to develop an appreciation for the Kansas landscape. It also took me a long time to develop a seeing eye for art.
A few weeks ago, from April 5-26 of this year in 2017, I went on an art tour with my husband Paul to Barcelona, Antibes, Florence, and Rome…just the two of us.
“The Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani([fun.də.siˈo ʒuˈan miˈɾo], “Joan Miró Foundation, Centre of Studies of Contemporary Art”) is a museum of modern art honoring Joan Miró located on the hill called Montjuïc in Barcelona, Catalonia.”
Paul and I spent a beautiful clear blue sky april morning walking through Montjuic park to the Joan Miro museum. We got there shortly after it opened so it was not crowded. We got our headphones and took our time listening and looking at the exhibits.
Toward the end of our visit Lovers playing with almond blossom caught my eye. The primary colors are vivid. The lines curve, necessary to the “playing” aspect of the forms. The designs are simple, childlike–two lovers bend in harmony toward each other in their own private universe. They are large in size, as lovers always feel larger together than when they are separate. Nothing stands between them in the way of their intense, happy communication with each other. Simple, playful, colorful, arresting, fun. The viewer will not forget this Joan Miro sculpture: Couple d’amoreux aux jeux de fleurs d’amandier.
…To be continued and developed with other art I saw and liked in Barcelona, Florence, Antibes and Rome.