Saturday, August 25, 2012

Claude Monet's Waterlillies

Generally I am not an art gallery person. I went to the local art museum once about 10 years ago and remember being bored. I was confused as to how some of the paintings even ended up in that prestigious place. Heck, my daughter could have probably hung a painting there. I find her abstracts intriguing.

Aside from my rocky museum past I decided that it was time to give it another go. I was surely more mature at the ripe age of 31 now that I had traded in the late night bar scene for quiet nights with tea on the couch. I made it my mission to get back to the museum to see what it was all about.

The other day they were having a free admission evening, and I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to take the gamble with my husband in tow. We dropped the kids at grandma's and took the journey downtown. We about an hour to cover about 5 floors.

Now, I studied art in elementary school when I was younger, but I don't remember a lick of it. What I do remember was slide projector being brought into the classroom, and the lights being dimmed. The teacher would click through each painting by pushing a button on her corded remote. She would stop at each one and explain the details of why they were important followed by a mandatory review assignment. This forced learning probably resulted in my distaste for the subject.

Back to the museum...each floor was labeled a different period, and since I didn't recall their significance I was left to label the floors as I saw them. I quickly realized which areas had an abstract theme, or a blurry theme, or a literal theme. Some pieces bored me, some confused me and some made me stop. I was particularly intrigued with the dates the paintings were originated. When most people die they are quickly forgotten aside from genealogy records kept by family. A lot of these paintings were made by people who had long since passed, and yet they were still on display to inspire the present generation. I wanted to touch a couple of them, and got as close as I could to one in order to really see the raised brush strokes. Those brush strokes were literally created and handled by the artist who had died in the 1800s or earlier. Could anything I do in my short life last longer than me?

The only fact of art that I had remembered from school was famous names, and at one point I realized that some of the displayed artwork was from those famous artists; Van Gogh, Ansel Adams, Picasso. I couldn't help but loudly declare to my husband much to his embarrassment, "That is a Picasso! He is a famous painter!"

At one point I stopped in front of a large painting called Waterlilies by Claude Monet. It resonated with me to the point that I later went home to do further research. This is when I learned that Claude Monet had made a series of about 250 waterlily paintings towards the end of his life depicting the pond in his backyard. I also was intrigued to learn that he helped to start what is known as the Impressionist Movement. All of the artists prior to him only painted life events with strong lines and realistic pictures. He was one of the first to paint nature by using blending and contrasting brush strokes. No one else in my house cared to hear about my new found information, but I was excited to learn more about this painting that I had seen before me the night before. I was able to understand the significance of the Impressionist movement, and waterlily painting.

I also learned that art is many things. I saw artwork that confused me, made me angry, sad, happy and inspired. It is the ability to draw emotion out of its observer, and the emotion is not the same for each person.

Below is a picture of the Claude Monet's The Waterlilies.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sweats and sunshine.

Yep, it's that kind of day. I seriously got dressed, started my day and then at about 11 am gave up and put on my sweats. They just feel more comfortable, and frankly I am exhausted. As moms we never really have down days. Even on a Sunday we are cooking and cleaning for the gang. We live in a small house, so with 5 people a beautiful room can look like a tornado in 5 minutes. I can't stand the kitchen covered in dishes, but for this moment gave up. I am sitting underneath a tree in the backyard with a sweater unpurposefully and awkwardly tied around my neck typing on my iPhone. Maybe I have lost my mind, or maybe I have no other opportunity to get away since we have no babysitters or money to whisk my husband away on a beach getaway. For now this is my getaway. For a moment in between commotion from the kids I layed in the sun in my backyard with my sweater over my face, and I visioned I was sitting beside some distant tropical beach. Where is my piƱa colada? I am pretty sure I will get it together today and clean the house, make dinner and get changed before the husband gets hom, but for now it is sweats and sunshine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taking the Tattoo Plunge

Well, I did it. I jumped in with both feet and got a tattoo. A large one at that. It is a shoulder sleeve on my left arm. I was raised in a conservative Christian family, and am one of the few who is not with the particular denomination anymore. This last year or so has been a year of self discovery. I have been working to figure out my true self, and not be ashamed of it. I guess just giving myself permission to do that. I used to never want a tattoo on my arm, because it blares stigma and closing job opportunities. That changed about a year ago. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and a tattoo there would be liberating as I owned my identity. This is me, take it or leave it. It is a waterfall and forest scene that symbolizes my life. I am a water sign as a cancer, and have always been drawn to the water and it's calming effects. The water through the waterfall and rocks symbolizes life and how it is always moving even if over rocks and waterfalls. One of my favorite parts is a lady of the forest that sits beside the waterfall as a guardian observer. It is just the outline now with color to come. Below is a before and after of my arm.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm Bored!

The boredom blues hit our house this morning. Reading a book staved them off for a bit, and then my 3 year old was growing restless. I decided to pull out my new handy book, and wanted to share it. I stumbled upon it at a thrift store the other month, and thought I would give it a whirl. I am not organized, and do not have large gobs of science kits and supplies lying around. If it takes more than a few minutes to put together I lose interest. This is probably a weakness that I need to strengthen, but it is what it is. That is why I was skeptical to buy another project book that would probably get thrown by the wayside. I am excited to say that this book is a breakthrough lol! It is called, "The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions 2." Here is a link for it on Amazon. There is a whole series of these books, and they use ingredients that are in your kitchen. Two that we have done are super soap dough and coffee dough. Coffee dough is made up of 1 cup coffee grounds, 1 cup flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup water. The super soap dough is 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 tbs liquid soap and water.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flying high and running fast

Life is passing this momma by so fast. They always tell you that your kids will grow fast, and it of course is right. My oldest baby is 5 years old and experimenting with er independence while my youngest baby just took his first steps. I am excited for them, but also sad.

My real momma moment came today at the fair. My 5 year old daughter wanted to ride the ferris wheel. It was her major goal of the summer. I was excited because I always loved the ferris wheel and hadn't been on it for maybe 15 years. We loaded into the seat, and I was dumbfounded to not find a 5 point race car style harness strapping my baby in. It was the simple old school metal bar that didn't even reach her waist. I an iously insisted on holding her arm the entire ride as I looked over the side to see the world below. She insisted that I did not need to hold her and actually got quite frustrated at one point. I told her that as a mom I needed to for me. She then informed me to not be scared and that when she is a mom she won't be scared with her kids. Yeah right to that one lol!

I do not apologize for my holding her arm because it really was high with a flimsy bar, but It did teach me that our roles are constantly evolving, and slowly I am learning to let go of my hold in their lives. They are still quite young, so I have a lot to learn. Balancing the desire for them to be strong and independent, but doing my job to keep them safe.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Swallows and Dragonflies

Tonight was a good night. I love little moments that life surprises you with. My husband is an owner of a roofing company, and is in charge of job completion and labor. With it being summer he puts in long weeks and hours. Tomorrow will be his first day off in 3 weeks. We are planning on going to the local fair. Today after he got home from work and scarfed down his dinner tired and hungry he agreed to go with us to take the kids bike riding. The kids and I were ancy to get out, and I was ecstatic to have him with us. My 3 year old son is really into riding his bike, and is getting too fast for my legs. I found a middle school track down the road that is perfect. The gates are closed for summer, but we walk through the pedestrian opening. The track is in the back behind a hill with nothing all around. I was sitting on the track enjoying the night summer air, and noticed a ton of dragonflies and swallows darting all around me. I realized that they were catching their evening meal of bugs. My husband didn't seem phased, and continued on with his interests, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. The birds were amazing, and I had never seen dragonflies eat like that by zipping all around with the birds. The kids weren't as excited either, but did find their first grasshoppers. My daughter followed one all around for a bit until it's camo did it's job. We left as the evening sun on the track was replaced by setting shade. It made me remember that the beauty and wonder of life cannot be predetermined and planned. It is often found in the most unexpected moments. I also learned that everyone finds their amazement in life in different things.

It's a gardeners life for me!

I am not classified as what would be called a green thumb. My non-plant nurturing skills even resulted in my mom giving me a cactus for my office when I used to work, because it should be a pretty fail safe specimen. It did stay alive for about a year or so, and then sorry to say it eventually died. Despite the odds I have always had the desire to have a garden, and learn more about landscaping. We live on a quarter acre, which used to house a fruit orchard. We are one of the last remaining lots with fruit trees, and though they are on their last leg they still produce fruit. We have apple trees, pear trees and cherry trees. One year I picked some cherries, and made a couple of pies from scratch. I was so proud of myself, but after hand pitting a bucket of cherries I haven't done it again since. Well, this year was a fresh start, and I decided to give it a go. I found the spot in the back and began tearing up the grass. I enlisted my husband for help to till out the ground. He did it, but knowing my previous lack of follow through figured it would not get watered and quickly die out. I was determined. We fenced it for protection from curious kids and wandering dogs, planted the seeds in the ground, watered and waited. After many weeks of seed gestation, Eureka! It has been so exciting to see how foods that I have always bought in the store grow. I had no idea that most plants flower first and then the vegetable grows off of it. When I found my first green bean the kids and I were jumping up and down shrieking for joy! My husband was surprised, though did not share in my level of enthusiasm which is okay. I have learned a lot about what to do the same and different for next year. This year our peas and radishes did not make it due to bugs and other stuff. We did grow green beans, zucchini, lettuce, carrots and gourds. The gourds were kind of a waste of space but fun. I also planted flowers in the garden, and I would put them in their own area next time.