What a treat today was! Anita bought us tickets to Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience months ago, because we’d read about the exhibit when it was in other cities. Today was the day of our appointment, so I drove in to Austin and worked until time to go over to the Circuit of the Americas place where they do car races, concerts, and such.
At first, all I could think about was how easy the exhibit must be to transport, since almost all parts of it fold flat, other than the projectors. Eventually I got more immersed in the immersive experience.
The exhibit is well designed, like a grownup Disney World, where you’re in a queue but don’t realize it. I enjoyed all the quotes over extreme close-ups of paintings, as well as the fun empty picture frames.
The second part of the exhibit was a room with bits of paintings projected on the walls and floor. You could lie down in it, watch it, or stand in the light. There was theorizing that drugs might enhance the experience. Anita didn’t need drugs.
The patterns were so much fun!
The final part of the exhibit was a big immersive room with paintings and words and beautiful music. I really liked the patterns on the floor.
The paintings weren’t static. They transitioned in cool ways and there were very well implemented digital effects that made birds fly, water ripple, and clouds scut through the sky.
Most fun were the self portraits of Van Gogh. Every so often, they’d blink! And we slowly realized that his pipe’s embers were burning and very subtle smoke came out. It was not cheesy; it was cool. But, we were too busy watching to get photos, so here’s a beautiful illusion of cherry petals flowing.
The big room’s program lasted 35 minutes, so we ended up being there an hour. We both declared it unusual, but well worth going. Plus, there was a little humor.
I had to drive back to the ranch in bad rain and did one of my meetings from the car, but that was a small price to pay for getting to see ART in a pleasant, uncrowded environment.
I talked earlier about how fond I am of the color red and how much I enjoyed the session on cochineal, a red dye, last week. So, naturally, the first of the series of color books by Michel Pastoureau I just got that I’m going to report on is Red: The History of a Color.
The quality of this book is drool-worthy. Each book in the series is hefty and dense. The paper for the pages is so thick, and the printing is sublime. The illustrations are so interesting that I’ll go back to this book over and over.
While I did get lost in the photos, I also learned a lot about how red figured throughout European history. It was the most important color up until the last few centuries, when blue took over. Boo, blue (I guess I’ll be more on Team Blue when I read the blue volume).
The author teaches us a lot about how color has been perceived by humans, which I learned from earlier color books, but the focus on red and how it was perceived earlier than colors other than black and white made the history pretty memorable. it turns out names for many colors show up quite late, as the chapter on pink showed.
I enjoyed learning a lot about how people dressed through European history, and not just the royalty and rich people. Peasants always liked red!
Any book in this series would be a nice gift for an artsy or crafty friend. A high-quality book on your favorite color that’s also a work of art in itself—what’s not to love? And red’s the color of love!
Because I think I annoyed my family by reacting with a sad-face emoji to the news that the inspection of the new office building won’t be until Monday, let me say that I am ever-so-cheerful about how things are going, and am enjoying doing the things I can do. I also extra appreciative of how hard everyone is working and how helpful we’ve all been to each other.
That said, I’m still in the dungeon working away at the ole Agile Transformation and such. On lunch break, though, I went over to the shiny new office (which sure has a lot of spider webs to get rid of), and got to watch Chris put my desk together, so it’s all one piece now.
We still need to add the glass cover (very important to protect the delicate crackle job) and the keyboard drawer, for my typing pleasure. But, that can be done this weekend or Monday. I’ll use the small piece of glass on my current desk until the custom piece is made.
And while he had the drill in hand, Chris was kind enough to hang my art on the walls. That really helps the place look more finished! I have the cool glass hanging lamp I want installed, but it needs more chain, then all that’s left is the stained glass and shelves. These things take time! I’m honestly not trying to get it all done at once. I can work now, once we get the approval, and that’s what dounts.
It’s just nice to have something that makes me happy to focus on, if you know what I mean!
There’s lots to look forward to the rest of today. Trixie’s coming, so my hope is that Apache gets a clean bill of health, as well as Fiona. Hee haw!
Boom! I hit water yesterday, a long way from Texas. How convenient that the UU Lent word for today is water! Lee and I are both water signs, Pisces, and this year for our birthdays we got each other a trip to the ocean, carefully planned to be before the onslaught of spring breaks and such.
We had a nice visit with my cousins (Jan and daughter, Kendall) and my stepmother (Florence). Jan’s the cousin on my dad’s side who’s kept in touch with me the most. I think I’m too “out there” for most of the rest of them. She made us a nice breakfast and then she and Kendall and I took an excellent walk around her neighborhood, which was blooming with daffodils, but no redbuds yet. We even got to pet some horses!
After that, we had a short but good visit with Florence, who’s doing well for 84. She had forgotten we were coming, or had the wrong day, so we didn’t interfere with her day for too long. She’s so cute in small doses, and was so happy to show us her latest paintings. She kept telling me to approach them straight, or they won’t come out right (once a professional photographer, always a professional photographer.
Where Is That Water?
We got to see some new scenery on the way to Myrtle Beach from High Point, which was fun. Lots of small towns and pine trees. Yesterday I shared a picture of the rest stop with a living roof. That was so interesting. The view was amazing, too, and it had water!
We had an interesting time finding the place we are staying, because the GPS routed us to 1600 Ocean Blvd in NORTH Myrtle Beach, whereas our actual place was in regular Myrtle Beach. The check-in lady says that if we had been coming from the south, there would have been a third wrong way we could have been sent in the next town south. Great choice in naming roads. This place is trying to get their location fixed on mapping software, but it ain’t easy.
But we are here now, way up almost on the top of a big resort building, with a nice partial beach view. That’s okay, because the land view has a ferris wheel and other interesting things to look at.
Lee and I took a nice walk on the beach, enjoyed a tropical cocktail and mostly just chilled last night. We are having a very nice time, and it’s so nice to not have to rush around for a few days. This is a perfect birthday present for hermits.
And, don’t worry, we will not be attending large gatherings of any sort. I think we are going to go to State Parks, mostly, though I do want to do a small amount of shopping. Small, really.
As for Water
Water means a lot to me, as a symbol as well as bringing life to us all. The way water moves has always fascinated me, which may be why I love that arroyo on the ranch so much. I am amazed that the spring springs and sends water down that little stream. And there is nothing more beautiful than an area after an ice storm, all sparkly and dangerous at the same time. And water brings us clouds!
I spent more than a usual person’s time looking at maps of river systems, and love knowing where the water on my property goes on its way to the ocean. What a journey!
The one thing I asked Lee for in the quest for our permanent “retirement” home (yes, I realize we have failed at retiring) was some kind of water. I was so happy to have the cattle tanks, utilitarian as they are, and frontage on Walker’s Creek, even though Ralph said it was the worst land on the ranch, because it floods. Well, I hadn’t planned to build a subdivision there, and keeping it natural is just fine with me.
Water ties us all together, too. The water in us has been in many other people, in many other places. When they say we are all one, they aren’t kidding.
I went into a deep dive yesterday into one artist whose work graces my walls. Lula Moser is not the only talented individual who makes me happy every time I look at an object. And, of course, there are things by people I don’t know personally, but I’m surprised at how many of the objects in both my homes are by family members, friends, or acquaintances.
Today I share a few from the Austin house, like the one above, which I just got last month. I just had to have this plate by my friend Pamela Neeley, because it helps my house look like an extension of the woods, which must be the subliminal theme of both houses.
The beautiful print of violets was done by my former friend Renice at the time of my first wedding in 1990. It’s followed me around and been the base for many room color schemes since then.
While it’s a little abstract, this pod by one of my women’s group members from the UU church in Urbana, Illinois, still fits with the nature theme. I am so happy I have not managed to break it. I love the contrast between the rough bottom and smooth top.
I can’t forget fiber arts! Our guest room includes a lovely quilt made for me by Alice Sessions and her late mother, Jackie van Voris. I wanted a red and green quilt that didn’t look Christmasy and that fit with all my plant art. This one fit the bill perfectly (I won it in a services auction; what a prize!)
And at the bottom of the above image is one non-nature theme treasure, made by Carolyn Dower, which I always keep in my bedroom to remind me to keep my music in my heart. The bell makes the music real. If anyone wonders whether I appreciate hand-made gifts, the answer is a firm yes.
And as for me
Most of my non-knitted projects (I used to knit A LOT) have flowers in them, like my beautiful petit point project, which is even in a frame hand-made by my ex and a good friend. It occurs to me that art is not just in my house for beauty; it’s also there to keep the memories of the people I have loved in my life close to me and alive.
I guess I’m not much of a person who picks art and accessories to match the house! The house has to conform to my art. And it’s not clutter. It’s beloved treasure. So there.
I think I have too many reference materials. But I tell you what, I like that I’ve become so curious about the things I run across that I look into lots and lots of details. Today I’ll share what I learned about a humble painter of ceramics. And hey, if you know anyone from Gainesville, Florida, ask them about her.
I grew up in a house full of china with flowers all over it. My mother had a really impressive collection of decorative plates, cups, and saucers displayed throughout our home, and many sets of china, which my sister and I split. I can’t believe my brother and I didn’t break things, but I think we had a deep fear of touching breakable objects instilled in us from an early age.
Mom had a strong set of likes, and those likes were very much like her embroidery themes: flowers, leaves, and more flowers. She had ONE plate with a person on it, this haunting blue scene of an 1890s style woman looking off in the distance. Of course I still have that. The blue lady originally belonged to my grandmother, so I know it’s old, but my limited French has stymied my attempt to pin down dates based on the back of the plate.
So, where did Mom get all those flowery items?
The mysterious Lula E. Moser
My mother really liked hand-painted china (ceramics, really). She especially adored the work of one of her friends in Gainesville, Lula Moser. I can remember driving to her house more than once to get ceramics and painted china from her. I had a white bunny with blue eyes for years, which I think is the only non-flower item they ever got.
Mom had many, many plates with painted pansies or violets on them. The photos I’m sharing are NOT all of them by any means. As you may have guessed, I got most of them, because I happen to also like pansies and violets. This has led to all of my houses having something to do with flowers in their theme, since that’s what I have and I love it. When I see all those Lula E. Moser plates, I think of Mom, just like with the embroidery she did.
I always wondered who Lula Moser was and why they were always visiting. So, who was Lula E. Moser? Good question. She was not a famous artist, but she sure loved painting ceramics. She was of my grandmother’s generation (born on my birthday, March 5, in 1903, in Ohio), and my sister tells me she lived in one of those lovely old houses across from the duck pond (also known as my favorite place on this here earth). Canova also said Lula was a beautiful woman with very white hair.
From my sleuthing I discovered she was briefly married to a man named Frank Parker (an Austrian, originally named Frank Joseph Paukert), who was a television camera operator way back in the 50s. I actually found this info on his naturalization form when he became a US citizen.
Most of her life, though, Lula lived alone in a big house, painting ceramics and talking to my grandmother and mother. My sister says that on most visits, they came home with a new object.
Lula died in 1989 and is buried in Ohio, where apparently the rest of her family lived. Why did she stay in Gainesville all those years, alone? A woman of mystery. Maybe I’ll name the woman on my blue plate Lula.
Sunday I needed to play tech support for my Master Naturalist and artist friend, Pamela. I love the detective work aspect of figuring out why a computer doesn’t work.
I’m happy to report that I got her frozen computer unfrozen and set her up with WhatsApp so she can talk to her friend in India.
Then I got to have fun looking at her art-filled home and garden. One highlight was verifying that yes, you can see the Hermits’ Rest from her house.
You can also see the huge black scar across the land that a new pipeline is making. That thing goes through the whole area. At least land owners get compensated. As I recall, these companies make big efforts to put things back the way they were, judging from Lee’s dad’s old farm.
After looking around outside I toured Pamela’s art studio and gallery, where there is much clay, tools, and a kiln where she makes beautiful pottery. Her work has both humor and grace to it. So, of course I love it and had to get some.
I’ll let you all know when her gallery re-opens! She’s renovating it now. You can find her work in the cute shop in Rosebud, too. Yes, Rosebud is a real town near Cameron. (Aside: I write much shorter sentences on my phone, so this text seems a little disjointed. I promise to use my computer for the next post.)
Like I was saying yesterday, it’s never dull around here! The people are both fun and fascinating. I’m so glad to be at the Hermits’ Rest.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤