Museums/Galleries: the artist behind the artwork

How often do you go to a museum to marvel at the works of art showcased and wonder about the artist behind the art work? As I travel the world, I find it revealing to check out the museum listings. It gives me a sense to the cultural awareness and interest of a place. The museum may or may not reveal the actual culture of a given area, but more that the city has a healthy curiosity to the multiple ways people look at life in the world around them.

A museum is defined as a place where important things are preserved. This place may be created for the specific display to share with the public like The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Louvre. Or it might be a gallery in a private home. The medium can be anything from painting to sculpture to photos to artifacts. These pieces are the brainchild of an individual and their desire to create a tangible form of passion.

Passion is the catalyst of every artist I have had the pleasure of meeting, and others I have read about. Very seldom does an artist set out to create with the sole purpose to make money. Hence the starving artist mantra we so often hear. Even those who set out to make money from their artwork, create from a passion or deep interest in a process. An artist is born with an innate desire to craft something that speaks to them. It often isn’t until a friend or colleague see’s a piece of artwork, is wowed and convinces the artist they need to share their work with others.

Artists are often a school teacher or doctor by day and an artist by night. Or it’s their weekend anecdote to their hectic weekday life. Of course there are those artists who set out to be artists very young in life and are able to achieve a level of success early enough they can rely on the income from their artwork to live comfortably.

I believe there is an artist in all of us, and that is a major reason I am so drawn to museums or seeing artists in the throes of their passion. It is inspiring to see such commitment and desire and release of emotions into an object. And no piece of artwork has the same reaction to every person. I love watching people sit and ogle over a piece of artwork. If you ask them what they see it is often something that had not dawned on you as you looked at the same piece.

Evolution seems to be a constant for artists. One element of design leads to trying something new. Creating a new texture or color or light. Or even creating new tools to achieve a certain look or quality. I love looking at artists work tables to see everyday utensils turned into tools of the trade. Or going as far as designing and building equipment to allow the artist to take their craft to another level. I think it is all these elements why true artists are artists for life. It is generally not a passing fancy, even if you just “…dabble in it…” you usually dabble throughout your whole life.

Following are some artists I have had the pleasure of meeting and watch them create:

Seguin Poirier: born 1949; learned metal enamel artistry at age 17; designed the world’s largest kiln to bake his enamel on copper pieces. With exhibits in Rockfellar Center, NYC to collections at The Bank of Montreal, Montreal and a Royal Palace, Saudi Arabia, Monsieur Poirier has earned an international mark with his work.

http://www.seguinpoirier.com/?lang=en

https://nomadicnarrator.com/global-gallery/canada/seguin-poirier-gallery/

Seguin Poirier working on an original for our group

Seguin Poirier working on an original with ideas he got from the audience.

 

Seguin Poirier enamel original made especially for our group with our input

The Seguin Poirier finished enamel original from above.

Specially designed kiln, created by Seguin Poirier to fire oversized pieces. Only kiln like it in the world.

Kiln designed by Seguin Poirier so that he could expand his work to large format pieces.

Randy Strong: started off in photography, having worked with the likes of Ansel Adams, Strong moved on to glass blowing in the 1970’s where he has worked with Dale Chihuly. His work has been on display in The Corning Museum, in New York City and The Louvre, Paris. Strong still creates, designs and teaches this waning form of artwork.

http://www.rstrong.com/about-the-artist/

Randy Strong, world renowned glass blower, San Francisco

Randy Strong, world-renowned glass blower, San Francisco

Some of Randy Strong's masterpieces for sale at the demonstration.

Some of Randy Strong’s masterpieces including his famous flower where different colored petals are interchangeable.

Vicki O’Connornew to the world of public art display, O’Connor has been a passionate artist her whole life. But it was a bout with the often debilitating disease, Valley Fever, that Vicki gave a focus to her love of creating art on a level that finds her showcasing and selling her art with 500 other artisans (booth D-11) November 14th-16th at the Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts (http://www.fountainhillschamber.com/festival-of-arts.asp), Fountain Hills, AZ. Her works have found their way into public locations, Starbucks, Fountain Hills, and private homes.

http://vickioart.com

See more of Vicki’s growing gallery of artwork: https://nomadicnarrator.com/category/favorite-authorsartists/vicki-oconnor/

Budding new artist Vicki O'Connor may not have exhibits and collections all over the world - yet, but her passion for the art creates is no less passionate than those have achieved widespread acclaim.

Budding new artist Vicki O’Connor may not have exhibits and collections all over the world – yet, but her passion for the art creates is no less passionate than those who  have achieved widespread acclaim.

The key to Vicki's works of art are her one-liner or one word messages. She says what we all think, or what we should all think more about.

The key to Vicki’s colorful works of art are her one-liner or one word messages. She says what we all think, or what we should all think more about.

Following are the listing of museums I have visited and artists I have learned about because of these visits:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York City; classic architecture; one of the expansive and diversified exhibits in the world; historical to modern. Check out the Cloisters in Harlem.

The Guggenheim Museum: New York City; modern architecture; exhibits displayed from the ceiling and/or along walls of this multi-tiered spiral walkway overlooking an open center; modern and contemporary art.

The Frick Museum: New York City; Frick residence turned into a museum; Renaissance to the late 19th century artwork.

The Neue Galerie: New York City; once a Vanderbilt residence; now a museum to early 20th century German and Austrian art and design.

Museum of Modern Art: New York City; modern architecture; the name says it all – generally showcases some the most thought proving exhibits in the city.

American Museum of Natural History: New York City; classic architecture; natural exhibits and scientific collections; great place to take the kids.

New Museum: New York City; modern architecture; new work by living artists; five plus floors of open floor plan that encircles the freight size lime green and mirrored elevator.

The Morgan Library and Museum: New York City; classic architecture and once private library of Pierpont Morgan, father to J. P. Morgan, Jr.; collection of rare printed manuscripts and works of art, Egyptian to Renaissance to Chinese art and artifacts.

Whitney Museum of American Art: New York City; modern architecture; 20th and 21st century American art – many living artists. Whitney is presently closed while they prepare to move into a new building in 2015.

Brooklyn Museum: Brooklyn, NYC; classic architecture; diverse collection and exhibits ranging from ancient Egypt to cutting edge modern.

Walker Art Center: Minneapolis; modern architecture; modern concept art pushing for creative expression of art, some with audience participation. Check out the outdoor Sculpture Garden.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Minneapolis; classic and modern architecture; one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country – from Matisse to Monet, from Africa to Asia, 40,000 year old artifacts to world-renowned pieces.

SmithsonianWashington D.C.; classic and modern architecture; inclusive of 19 museum and galleries – what doesn’t it include? Obviously a great place to take kids – of all ages.

Montreal Museum of Fine ArtsMontreal; classic and modern architecture; diverse forms of art from antiquity to today.

The Louvre: Paris; classic with a small touch of modern architecture; one of the world’s most renowned museums because of it’s history and collection of Masterpieces such as: the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and King Louis XIV.

Musee de l’Orangerie: Paris; classic architecture with simple oval interior galleries. Claude Monet designed this museum to showcase the huge panels of his Water Lilies collection.

Belvedere Museum: Vienna; classic architecture for this one-time palace that is a piece of artwork in itself; Austrian art dating from Middle Ages to present day, most notably Gustav Klimt.

Some of my favorite artists are: Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Renoir, Dale Chihuly. I’ve always been drawn to the traditional painter whether from the Renaissance era or Impressionist era, but I am learning to appreciate some of the modern forms of art that really make you think and imagine. So turn off the TV and head to your local art museum or gallery and expand your horizons! And take time to get into the passionate mind of the artist!

Washington D.C. – not just for politicos!

The political happenings in Washington DC generally make your skin crawl can make you think twice about visiting our nation’s capital, but this city is an absolute must to put on any travel itinerary. A destination spot for all ages. From the natural beauty of this lush, heavily tree-lined historical mecca, to the impeccably clean streets and subway systems – D.C. is a joy to walk around. And the way it is laid out it is easy to do just that.

My husband and I took our kids to DC years ago, when they were 12 & 14-years-old. At this point in their education they had learned about a lot of U.S. history, so it was an intriguing time for them to visit an area so full of U.S. history.

We stayed across the street from the White House, at the Hay Adams Hotel – hoping for a sneak peek at the President. We took turns watching out the window, but all we ever caught a glimpse of was the security personal stationed on top of the roof. We saw lots of black Suburbans come and go through the side gate to the White House, but things were all quiet on the front porch of this magnificent national home of all homes.

White House with the Washington Monument in the background

White House with the Washington Monument in the background

It was a hot and humid summer when we visited D.C. After taking the obligatory pictures in front of the big white fence that surrounds the White House, we walked down Pennsylvania Avenue making our way towards the stately U.S. Capitol building, with the Statue of Freedom standing tall upon the dome of the rotunda. Along the way we took detours to walk by the Ford’s Theatre, the offices of the FBI and the International Spy Museum – where, at present, there happens to be a Bond exhibit commemorating 50 years of Bond villains.

U.S. Capitol with Statue of Freedom reaching high up into the heavens

U.S. Capitol with Statue of Freedom reaching high up into the heavens

Tucked behind the U.S. Capital is the Library of Congress. If anyone has seen National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the interior of the Library of Congress is as architecturally beautiful as the books it showcases. It is a reminder of how revered libraries once were as being a place where deep and important learning took place and hopefully still does. For this avid reader, it is a thing of beauty to see history displayed in row after row of leather-bound narration.

The architecture in the Library of Congress is as beautiful as the books it houses

The architecture in the Library of Congress is as beautiful as the books it houses

After walking along the front of the U.S. Capital, we worked our way back towards the Smithsonian museums and the other major national monuments. Needing a break from the sweltering temps we ducked into the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. A huge building showcasing several planes from over the generations hanging life-size from the high ceilings. The line into the United States Holocaust Museum, 12 years after it’s dedication, was blocks long – obviously a must see that our itinerary unfortunately was not going to allow us time to visit.

We moved on to the very serene setting of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial that sits looking out over the Tidal Basin – a pond that is fed by the Potomac River which we walked along up to the Lincoln Memorial. Nothing prepares you for the magnificence of the stately President immortalized in his famed relaxed sitting position. The famed Reflective Pool sits at the base of Lincoln Memorial – you do just that as you sit upon the steps feeding into the pool – reflect upon the visions from historical events like the Martin Luther King‘s location for his “I Have a Dream” speech to Forrest and Jenny embracing in the pool in Forrest Gump. Flanking the other end of the Reflecting pool is the National World War II Memorial with each state showcased.

Even in a relaxed sitting position, this stately and stoic President looms large at the Lincoln Memorial

Even in a relaxed sitting position, this stately and stoic President looms large at the Lincoln Memorial

The stately Greek architecture of the Lincoln Memorial is an appropriate match to the statue of the stately President it houses

The stately Greek architecture of the Lincoln Memorial is an appropriate match to the statue of the stately President it houses

Finishing off this historical walk took us by the awe-inspiring Washington Monument – that stands at 555′, ten times the width of its base. Recently re-opened after repairs made to it after a 2011 earthquake, the Monument was the tallest structure in the world at the time of its dedication in 1885.

The Washington Monument all lit up at night and reflecting in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

The Washington Monument all lit up at night and reflecting in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

If one wants to learn about the history of this wonderful nation of ours and the connection we have with the histories of so many other nations, than this is the place to be. Set aside another day, and hop across the Potomac and experience the pageantry of the service men and women who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; pay homage to the final resting places of JFK and RFK; and so many others that make up the mind-blowing view of never-ending rows of white crosses that make up Arlington National Cemetery. I salute you all and thank you for our freedom. The statue of Iwo Jima at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and the Pentagon sit at either end of the famed cemetery.

The eternal flame burning at the final resting place of JFK and JKO at Arlington National Cemetery

The eternal flame burning at the final resting place of JFK and JKO at Arlington National Cemetery

Washington D.C. proves that history does not have to be boring, despite the boring politics that often overrides the beauty of this magnificent city.