The gallery where the David-Apollo is being displayed is small, appropriate for the diminutive piece. The museum visitors, a small crowd of retirees, are all pressed closely around the ropes, murmuring to one another about the details of the work, an unfinished statue by Michelangelo. It is mid-morning on a Friday and I seem to be the only visitor playing hooky from a day job. I circle the crowd and statue slowly.
Three tiny gray-haired women are asking the guard for directions. He sends them to the other side of the rotunda and they set off. They each have walkers they wield with such speed and intensity that I imagine them moving down the great hall in fighter jet formation, scattering anyone in their way.
I ask the guard if photographs are permitted and he says that they are. I pull out my camera and manage just a couple of close up shots before I notice that the whole crowd has backed away and begun pulling out their cameras too. A silent agreement and suddenly we can each get a shot that gives the illusion that we spent the morning alone with the statue.
Now an elementary school group comes in with a museum tour guide. The children press closely around the ropes, murmuring to one another. The retirees and I remain ringed around them as the lecture begins. The guide talks about history. About who Michelangelo was and why he was important. He talks about the evidence that the statue represents David and the evidence that the statue represents Apollo.
The guide finishes and the children’s art teacher takes over. Now the names and labels don’t matter. He has them touch the floor and tells them that the material Michelangelo used was similarly hard and cold and yet with the statue he managed to convey the warmth and softness of the human form. He has them stand in the serpentine pose of the statue and feel how their muscles respond. He tells them to trace in the air with their hands the sinewy graceful lines of the statue. He asks them to inhabit the art. No matter its name.
Pebble Beach sunset
Funny discovery from an East Coast girl – until this trip all my ocean photos like this were tagged sunRISE. How convenient it was not to have to set an alarm!
Go explore. Be amazed at how beautiful our sun is.
My version of Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ would be something about Old Town. A day spent wandering in Old Town Alexandria always leaves me feeling better, whether or not I was out of sorts to begin with.
A visit to the Art League’s store for some supplies and some advice on how to use them.
A friendly chat in the studio of one of my favorite local photographers. It took some real willpower not to walk out with a new photo. And now I have to cross my fingers that he doesn’t move away!
The purchase of a handmade birthday gift for my sister.
Noticing the gray day has the Torpedo Factory packed and the waterfront behind it abandoned.
A listen to the one street musician braving the weather. He tells me he was the first to make an instrument like his – “like Les Paul only not famous and not dead.”
Pure nostalgia at Why Not, where I inevitably see the miniature tea set packaged in the picnic basket and wish I had a little girl to gift it to.
Stopping by my favorite art gallery and actually recognizing the work of two painters on sight.
And finally a stop at The Spice & Tea Exchange – purchasing some spices that were on my grocery list along with some tea and flavored salts that weren’t.
As the song could say – Old Town – forget all your troubles, forget all your cares. In other words, for me a little Old Town wandering and all is right with the world.
This is my second pink WIP. (The other is my nieces quilt). I need to get past my aversion to the color and finish these!
At this point I think the anti-pink thing is as much habit as anything. Because when I stop and look at it even I can admit that this soft pink is actually pretty.
I’ve been away from drawing too much this year. So much so that I’ve been astonished by the handful of things I’ve drawn in the last couple months. Not that they’ve been awful or great or remarkable in any particular way. Just that I’d forgotten exactly how astoundingly right it feels to put pencil to paper. Or charcoal. Or conte crayon in this case.
I keep an ‘Artistic Inspiration’ board on Pinterest. Images I want to study or draw. This one I found on a blog about hairstyles, of all things. The photo was of Mia Farrow. And black and white, which makes this drawing kind of an easy cheat.
I haven’t figured out if I love drawing the spine because its a graceful thing of loveliness all on its own or if I love drawing the spine because I’m obsessed with the status of my own back.
A couple weeks ago I watched a small controversy unfold among some people at church. Good people of faith stood on either side of the issue. What ought to have been at worst a minor disagreement became extraordinarily heated and nasty, with online discussions escalating far past anything recognizable as Christian. More upsetting to me than the ugly words of strangers was the ease with which friends I know as thoughtful and kind were able to dismiss the pain of my friends on the other side. I see the sincerity of both camps, the desire to do what is right. The failure to treat one another with respect in a context of faith was so sad to me.
It’s my birthday today so I am thinking of who I am and who I want to become. I have thought about the flippant disregard some had for the feelings of those they did not understand and wondered how often I do the same. I have thought about the bumper sticker quoted here: “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you” and thought about how often I fail to live up to that incredibly simple request. Do I judge those who sin differently?
And beyond that:
Do I dismiss the feelings of those I do not understand?
Do I believe their pain is real even though I have not felt it?
Do I silently mock those who struggle with things I find easy?
Do I consider those who doubt what I believe to be weak or unworthy?
Do I consider those who believe what I find unbelievable to be foolish or naive?
Do I love those I do not understand? No really, do I love them? Not just think I love them or say I love them, but really love them in a way that is clear in my actions towards them and the words I speak to or about them?
Do I acknowledge the divinity of everyone, no matter how frequently or egregiously they fail to live up to my so-called standards? More than acknowledge – do I celebrate their divinity? Can I? Do I have it in me?
The old WWJD bracelets come to mind. What would Jesus do? More importantly, what would he have me do? I don’t think he invites me along to cleanse the temple in any way. That’s not my job – not my stewardship in the standard Mormon-speak. Mine is just to love God. And love my neighbor. Even the neighbor who at first glance appears to be not a neighbor but an enemy. Even the neighbor I have good reason to believe hates me.
And maybe remember that much of the strongest condemnation he issued was towards those who judged others from a complacent position of ‘obedience’ and faith.
Ah, the annual birthday assessment again becomes an accounting of all the ways I do not measure up. I’ve concluded that most ideals worth adopting are impossible to live perfectly. Still, a new motto to attempt to live in the new year:
Understand when you can. Love regardless.
I try to be a crusty cynic but my reading habits give me away, at least to myself. I rarely like romantic movies or romance novels but I always read the Washington Post On Love column and the NYTimes Vows and Modern Love columns. Real life love stories are so much more charming than the fictional ones.
This one is worth reading. It’s about love, yes. But mostly about how we have the power to free one another to be ourselves.
So, I’ve become a knitter. It wasn’t entirely intended. But regular exposure to some serious knitters (my cousins) and introduction to an amazing yarn store kind of wore me down. The raw materials of knitting are just so sumptuous. In the end I just couldn’t resist the colors, the textures, and the patterns.
This is the yarn I ended up choosing for my intro to knitting class. The sales clerk told me it would be ‘bouncy’ to knit with. At the time I had no idea what that would mean (though it sounded good) but now I’m really glad I chose it. The other yarn I considered was a creamy yellow. At first I thought this yarn was second best in color but I was compromising for a texture that would be easy to work with. Now I love the color. Sometimes it’s a light brown. Sometimes it reads as a mustardy yellow. Sometimes I read a green cast in it. Always the light plays across it with liveliness. This scarf is nearly six feet long and growing.
This project started out with a simple monotone blue worsted yarn that came with an intro to knitting kit. To liven it up, I followed the instructor’s suggestion and added a second strand of yarn. The second strand is a lace weight mohair and silk blend. All the fuzziness comes from the lace yarn. It gives the piece texture as well as color variation.
I tried a similar trick with the brown scarf, adding a chocolate brown silk merino blend to add interest. Unfortunately it dulled down the color. So I ripped that out and used the yarn plain.
This scarf is not so long. And it grows so much more slowly. Argh to small needles!
After I finished my three week introduction to knitting class I was tempted to take another couple of classes. But instead I decided to try the techniques on my own first, with the option to sign up if I couldn’t figure things out. This cable knit scarf was one of the first things that caught my eye. I had to start and tear it out at least 4 times but I finally started getting the hang of it. Now to just find some more time to finish it. The simpler scarves above are mindless projects. I’m not skilled enough to work on this while on the phone or watching a movie or anything like that.