Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"What happiness feels like"

Last week, wonderful art: at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, there was a Wayne Thiebaud retrospective. He turned 90 on November 15, and he still paints AND plays tennis every day! Maybe the most satisfying museum show ever: most delicious paint. In 2001 in the NY Times, Michael Kimmelman wrote: 
"If the world were a perfect place, the Wayne Thiebaud retrospective ... would be nailed to the walls for good and we would be free to stop by whenever we needed to remind ourselves what happiness feels like.” 

The next day, I went to the de Young Museum in SF with John Dabney (who, it turns out, is related to the painter Daubigny!). Many post-impressionist treasures were visiting from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, including some I didn't think would ever leave Paris: Vincent's Bedroom at Arles, Starry Night, a roomful of Cezannes, and more. I turned the corner and there was "my" Toulouse-Lautrec, "La Rousse," that I copied in pastel a few years ago, studying it inch by inch over 5 weeks. It was such a thrill; I ran back around the corner to share the news with John, who was basking in the glow of the Renoirs.

On Saturday, before heading for the airport, I went to the Museum of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in SF for a show of Japanese prints and western prints they inspired in the 19th century. I arrived just in time for a woodblock printing demo, HANDS ON, yes! A beautiful tiny martial-artist woman with shaved head and dangly earrings and work boots showed how the traditional woodblock prints are made. Then, along with a couple of dozen others, I got to carve my own little woodblock. I carved a turtle: had just seen a dignified turtle in an old print, reminded that it signifies longevity. 

I have just seen the portrait of me that Beth had told me about! How she sees me is interesting to me: I don't quite feel like that's the face I inhabit, but I like the look of that person, and I think she should go mix up some colors. 

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