Monday, December 17, 2007

Arts Show, Family Friends, My Dad, Boring medical junk

Color is my day-long obsession, joy, and torment. — Claude Monet, 1926"The Dodge Palace at Venice", 1908 Claude Monet (1840-1926) Oil on canvas

This isn't going to be an actual recap of the Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism show I went to Sunday, at the NC Art Museum , which is a special ex
hibit of paintings from the Collection of the Brooklyn Museum. However, I will be including photographs of some of the paintings I saw at the exhibit, in this post. If you click on the title under the painting, that goes to an online jpg of the painting which are somewhat better than my photographs. The links above tell about the show, as well as have photographs of some of the paintings. There are more paintings from that collection on the International Art Treasures Site which also tells where the show will be going when it leaves North Carolina.

I believe the man who will go down to posterity is the man who paints his own time and the scenes of everyday life around him. Childe Hassam, 1892
"Poppies on the Isle of Shoales", 1890 Frederick Childe Hassan oil on canvas

I took photographs of photographs for this post because they don't allow photography or sketching in the special show rooms, although non flash photography and sketching are allowed in the permanent exhib
it rooms. Otherwise I would have brought my color pencils and whipped up some renderings to include. Yeah right, and I have some cheap land to sell you if you believe that. Actually, I wouldn't have photographed the show even if it had been allowed, as we had brunch at the museum with Mr. and Mrs. J on Sunday and then we went to the show. I'd have been too embarrassed to take photographs since it wasn't just me and Bill. I have known about this show for a while and it was interesting how I finally got there. When I first saw mention of it, my immediate impulse was, I should call Dad and see if he wants to go with me. My father died in 1998 so pretty quickly I returned to reality. However, it seemed fitting that I finally saw it when family friends who are my parents' contemporaries invited us to have brunch while the show was still here.
"Stream in the Val d'Aosta", 1910 John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) oil on canvas

My parents came up in the conversation over brunch since they were friends of the J's, and even after I got home I was thinking about my father. I d
ecided to photograph some of the art in the brochure/guide from the museum for this post. However, in some cases the paintings were cropped, and in others there were paintings, not in the brochure, that I wanted to use. I remember when my Dad took my daughter to the art museum and she was fascinated by the Impressionist paintings in the permanent collection. He immediately looked through his art books and gave her a book about Monet that was almost bigger than she was, as well as one on the American Impressionist's. She had enjoyed the Mary Cassatt they looked at and he pulled one with her art out of his shelves too. I remembered that and I also remembered that those books ended up on my shelves because the ones in her room weren't big enough for over sized art books. I'll have to find out if she wants them once she's in a more settled state since she's still in grad school. The painting above is from the book about the American Impressionist's. The jpg I linked to is on the museum site and is cropped. The painting below is from the same book and the jpg I linked is the full painting from an online source.
"White Tenements", 1913 Robert Spenser (1879-1931) oil on canvas

I was struck by the range of styles from early to later impressionism, the changes within an individual artist's work over time, as well as the range even contemporarily between the artists. Seeing so many landscapes together like that from the impressionists brought the variety home to me in a way I hadn't got before, and it made me want to spend some time with my father's books. Something else th
at made me think of my father besides the art was when I asked Mrs. J if she still played piano. She has a doctorate in French and taught French but I knew after she retired she became interested in playing piano again. She is 85 years old and before she gets going with her day, she plays piano every morning. She told me she has started taking a specific composer and focusing on learning a variety of pieces from their work. She said it helps her towards her aim at learning something new each day. She has so many different facets. Her husband does too and they make good pair. Very different but complementary which is always nice when it works. Her husband is not in very good health but she is doing well physically herself, so far as it goes. That ability to remain engaged and continue learning reminds me a lot of my father. He volunteered, took art classes, and always found something to engage in after he retired.
"Dolce Far Niente", 1907 John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) oil on canvas

The other thing that reminded me of my father was when we took Mrs. J home (her husband drove home in their car after brunch because he wasn't up to walking aroun
d the show), I made some reference to the fact that I was glad she had so much going on that interested her but I hoped she took care of herself too. The point I hinted at was I know that as we all get older (and I'm 35 years younger than she is) that it's not always easy. She is in much better health than her husband but no one gets to be 85 without some health problem. I didn't say that but she acknowledged that it wasn't always easy without me having to say much, and made the comment that she wasn't sure I'd understand but she knew my father would have understood, and that sometimes it comes down to will. She said she's determined to get something new from each and every day. I know exactly what she meant and it's true that my father had that kind of will. It's not a put down on myself when I say that I'm not sure if I do or not. I know I could do a lot more than I do and make more of an effort. I also know that people who are able to do that have a better quality of life even if it's hard, and they aren't always feeling great physically. I'm working on it.
"Early Spring Afternoon - Central Park", 1911 William Leroy Metcalf (1848-1925) oil on canvas Note - The colors are not at all true to the painting in my copy above so if you want to see what it looks like click on the title.

Before I knew that Bill and I were going to have brunch with the J's and see the impressionism show with Mrs. J, I had considered trying to go to the art museum Thursday after my oncology appointment. My idea was that might be a time I could take, if the appointment wasn't too long, to see the impressionism show. I may still go to the museum since it's close to the cancer center where I see my medical oncologist,and spend some time looking at a few of the permanent exhibits. I like the idea of doing something fun after these appointments when I can, to get the medical taste out of my mouth. I'm not overly worried but I keep having things crop up which make me feel like my immune system is out of whack. First the colon polyps which certainly isn't unusual at 50, then the tongue lesion which will be biopsied in early January (again not that unusual to have lesions on the tongue), but in combination with my symptoms it's hard not to have a little voice which is not certain that I'm done with melanoma. I had hoped that this regular follow up appointment could be straight forward and I could avoid talking very much. I'm sort of talked out with doctors but something or another keeps popping up to annoy me and make it hard to avoid discussing it with my doctors.

For the tired dwellers in cities, Long Island holds in waiting every variety of beauty.
— New York, Sunday Press, 1892"Bathing at Bellport, Long Island" 1912 William Glackens (1870-1938) oil on canvas

As far as the tongue goes, someone wisely said, who ever heard of melanoma going to the tongue. That's for damn sure. If anyone up to speed on melanoma is reading this, yes I know it can go anywhere but the odds of my tongue being the place it were to come back is highly unlikely. It's not so much a fear of any one place or issue that weighs on me. It's in part the issue I've had for a couple of years now. How would I know if I were symptomatic. I have too many symptoms due to lingering problems I've had since my lymph node dissection whether directly or indirectly related. I'm probably a little anxious because this is the longest I've gone between scans but I don't want a scan before the planned one in March. My company is changing health plans in January and my fingers and toes are crossed that it will be as easy to get scans approved with them as it was with the old health plan. I mostly want to get past this constant feeling of being alert to my health. The fact that my current pain management managed to make me ignore problems with one side of my jaw until a doctor figured out I had an abscessed tooth worried me a little. The point being that I take medications for ongoing issues and they masked, to an extent, the issue with the tooth which will need to be pulled along with the tongue biopsy. I think, perhaps, it would help if I decided to learn something new every day like Mrs. J does. Perhaps that will be my loose New Year's goal.


jmb said...

What a nice visit you had here Carver. The Impressionists and a friend of your father.
Her aim is mine too, learn something new every day.
I hope all goes well healthwise although I'm sure you can't help be concerned.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

Thanks for bringing us along with you on your visit to the museum. We saw a Mary Cassatt at the Huntington Musuem in Pamona. My daughters best friend works there and we were given the grand tour.

It would be nice to have the security to forget about health issues for awhile; you are right about that!

I am passing you the 'true blue' award; for those on the net being true blue to others - through thick and thin. (ok I am paraphrasing). I bet that you already have a collection of these; but if not you can read more about it here:

Carver said...

Thanks JMB, I've picked up on your ability to continue learning which is one of your many qualities I admire. I loved reading about your time in Italy or I guess it was Cicily and how you have continued learning Italian. I also hope you make it to Africa at some point.

Hi Ascender, I bet the Huntington Museum is a great place to visit. I've never been there. Thank you so much for the 'true blue award'. You surely deserve it as you are someone I count as a great blogging friend.

ellen said...

very beautiful paintings!.... have a nice day to you carver!

Carver said...

Thanks GBX and I hope you have a good day too.