Friday, December 28, 2012

Walking in Maxfield Parrish



Do remember the moment when you first fell in love with art?


I do. 


I would have been around eight years old and my parents took me to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. 


My Mom had to finally pull me away from the paintings of Claude Monet as I was truly mesmerized, having never seen something that spoke so clearly to my young romantic self. The one who would hide in her oak panelled closet to read for hours, believe in ghosts and create imaginary worlds.


I was still unformed and uninformed. 


What I liked was because...well, just that. Chords were struck, simple internal music.


Slowly, I taught myself about painting and sculpture but with it came the pressure of snobbery. "Oh, I can't possibly enjoy *fill in the blank*." I would waiver, then abandon. Monet, Erté and Maxfield Parrish to name a few, all deemed entirely too commercial by the New York Citified version of me. 

And yet the other evening, it was Mr. Parrish that came to mind as I strolled outside of Les Baux with Remi and Ben. His colors entirely lit the hills on fire without the slightest hint of menace. Or getting burnt. And so his sweet stories of possibility wrapped around me. I let them.

How grateful I am to have doubled back in some way, almost to where I started. To see, to appreciate, to wonder without caring why.

Do you remember your first brush with art? What did it give you?


Wishing you all a very fine weekend...



50 comments:

  1. I am stunned by your comment, what an incredible experience, and acting -so many stones for me to unturn here, I love the comment son my blog too, if only we could all get together for cocktails somewhere.

    Most of my friend's mothers are artists so it was always around me, ( and my bf now owns a gallery) but I think Frank Auerback ( sp?) and Lucien Freud's work ranks amongst the most moving for me..

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    1. Tabitha, seeing the Lucien Freud show at the Metropolitan in 1993 absolutely blew my mind. I went back so many times. One of those amazing painters that you have to see to understand. I love that you chose such complicated artists--you never, ever cease to surprise me!

      And my experience in Russia really was quite something. A very densely packed experience. I remember one in our group found a Korean restaurant and we all were so desperate to finally eat vegetables again! For lunch, I would go every day to a busy underground workman's restaurant and get two blinis: one with butter trout roe, the other with apricot jam. I could go on and on...

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  2. Oh, this is you...Lost in Arles / Lost in Provence... duh. Like Tabitha I was mesmerized by your experience of acting in Russia. And yes, it would be lovely to meet up for cocktails.

    I came late to the world of art, although my mother's career was as a photographic colourist / photographer. She also sketched, did oil paintings, sewed beautifully, did sculpture and every craft she could think up to master. I grew up thinking that was just my mother, someone obsessed with beauty and with a lot of patience to develop skills, something quite apart from what was on offer in museums and galleries. I didn't start going to those until I came to Britain and Bill and I traveled in Europe. I would say that I began to love art when I stood in front of a Monet painting at the Louvre. I can't really cope with modern art, though I enjoy looking at it. For me, a painting I really enjoy is one that I can envision stepping into and experiencing what I see.

    Thanks again for your kind words about my comments!

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    1. Oh you're welcome! I always appreciate how you express yourself and it is nice to have one of your lovely comments here too. :)

      What a blessing to have grown up with such creativity--I imagine that yours was encouraged as well. And how interesting your idea of wanting to be able to step into an environment. It makes me think of the paintings Van Gogh did while he was in Arles...well, you would have been tossed and turned by the Mistral wind!

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  3. "Simple internal music."

    Simple in its entry, and for some of us, it does become internalized and we're rich for life as a result.

    Complex when we try to force it, and we've lost the openness to beauty of all sorts.

    The visual arts are an integral part of my life and I cannot even recall when it began. (Such a great question!) My mother was studying art history when I was a child and used to bring me to art history lectures at the university. Our home was filled with quirky art objects and sketches; my grandmother (my mother's mother) and I would draw together, always. I remember doing portraits of Baudelaire as a teenager, and being struck by a Jim Dine exhibition in Paris when I was a student there.

    It is modern and contemporary art that owns my soul; artists and poets who are most accessible to my knowing; my walls are crowded with works that are precious in their journeys regardless of price or worth to anyone other than myself.

    Fred Deux's graphite masterworks still bring tears to my eyes, as do the recollection and greater understanding of his work following meeting him and talking with him some years back. The whimsy of the CoBrA artists always makes me smile. De Kooning at MOMA renders me speechless, as does a stroll through Beaubourg when I am fortunate enough to get one.

    LOVING the art you create of your words and your images, Heather. And wishing you and Rémi a joyful 2013.

    So much beauty. So much discovery. So many questions in art

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    1. If I had any idea that this post would evoke such responses, I would have asked the question long ago, of that you can be sure!

      You are such an intensely verbal person (in my limited way of knowing of you) D that I love hearing that you grew up in such a visually fueled environment. But then again, the act of looking seems a large part of what you do so perhaps it isn't that surprising.

      And yes, I feel the same about both the art that surrounds me in my daily life and those that I visit each time I get back to NYC...they are old friends and treasured ones. I have been known to talk quietly to them.

      Thank you for giving me your support this past year, it has meant so much. I can't wait to discover Fred Deux and CoBra.
      Wishing you also a year ahead full of joy and peace.

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  4. Love this post... There has always been something about Maxfield Parrish's skies at dusk that has spoken to my heart and I too see the sky often and marvel at his ability to capture it. Beautiful- thank you!

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    1. Now I want to go back and rediscover his work all over again... :)

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  5. Ah Heather, I love this post for so many reasons. I love the description of the young you, sitting in her closet reading and creating imaginary worlds. No surprise, I think young you and young me would be kindred spirits, too. And I love the reminder of what it was like when our impressions, likes and dislikes were not filtered by the opinions of the outside world. And finally, this post touches me so because I am reading it while sitting in the kitchen of my childhood home. My dad is out of danger, something I celebrate each day, but is in a rehab center at a nearby retirement home getting stronger. Mom is having a tough time so I've moved back home for awhile. I'm thankful I can do this and for the time with them, so very thankful. But I'd be lying if I said all this wasn't extremely hard. But I'm grateful for the faith, love, grace, hope and strength that seems to find me every day even when I think I'm running out. And so today, your post. It reminds me of how my parents introduced me to art at a very young age - I can't remember a time when I didn't draw, color, and paint, they took me to art museums every chance they had, even when I dug in my heels and didn't want to go. I fell in love with portraits - Sargent, Reynolds, Gainsborough. I think I liked making up stories about the people in the paintings. Anyway, I thank you for this lovely memory and for the reminder of how much of who I am today comes from the influence of my wonderful parents. No matter what happens that will be with me always. Thanks also for the encouraging comment you left on my last post, it meant a lot. I'm keeping an eye out for little miracles and hope to resume my conversations with all my "blogland" friends very soon. Wishing you oodles of blessings in the coming year, and may art come to life for you every day! XOXO

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    1. Jeanne, this brought tears to my eyes. I wish that I could magically come to your house to sit and have coffee with you, talk about other things to distract you a bit. Make you laugh. But I know how strong you are. And I can only begin to imagine what it must mean for your parents that you are there for them now. Having already lost my Dad, I can tell you that this time is so precious and that no one can ever change that you are giving back to them some of what they so willingly gave to you. I was not there for my Dad's passing and it will always haunt me, Jeanne so I know with all of my heart that you are doing the right thing. But I understand that doesn't make it easy so I am happy that this post brought back some happy memories. Ah, those beautiful portraits! Sargent has long been a favorite but I didn't discover the fascination of Reynolds and Gainsborough until seeing them up close at the Frick in NYC. Have you been there? It is one of my favorite places in the world.
      Sending you lots of love and strength. If there is anything else I can do, please let me know. I know that all of your friends in blogland are sending the same.
      xoxo to you too,
      h

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  6. Hi Heather - I loved this post. I probably have passed many a Parrish scene and yet never thought to photograph it and write about it.

    My mother would take me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art many times, but I don't think that art took hold of me til much later in life. I did have an experience like yours when I went to see the National Museum of Art - when I finally got to the Impressionists' rooms. Wow - the light coming from those paintings was incredible. I also remember seeing Van Gogh at Arles at the Met. That was an incredible exhibit. After that I couldn't get enough of him. I wanted to paint like him - but who could ever be as incredible as he was?

    My visit to the Musee D'Orsay though was the highlight of my trip to France - I couldn't believe how close up you could come to a Monet (unlike the Louvre). What a beautiful museum.

    Thanks for your post - I will be on the lookout for a Parrish sighting!

    Linda

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    1. Van Gogh at Arles?! Oh my, I will have to look that up, Linda. So you have seen quite a bit of my town then. Things haven't changed. Don't you love the Met? I think that you have to come here to understand those paintings though, at least I did.

      And yes, the Musee d'Orsay always makes me deeply content too.

      Let me know if you have that sighting!

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  7. My father's (an architect) numerous art albums were among my favorite children's books as long as I could remember myself, and even misused sometimes as coloring books. I was introduced to great museums collections very early. Later it distilled to a few loves at first sight and for life: Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir, Modigliani. The list has increased with time of course but these are the greatest...There are great Russian artists like M.Vrubel, V.Serov, K.Korovin late XIX-XX, less known in the world but the dearest to my heart.

    A couple of years ago I stopped near one portrait by Perugino at Uffizi and couldn't move for a long while. As if those boy knew all what will happen to the mankind in the next 500 years. He was so much alive! http://www.virtualuffizi.com/uffizi1/Uffizi_Pictures.asp?Contatore=176.
    That's the power of Art.

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    1. Oh my. I could have stared at him for hours too. Wow. Natalie, I am speechless! And you know how very rare that is. ;)

      How amazing that you grew up surrounded by so much art--that it served you from such a young age--no wonder you have such an incredible eye! I have not heard of a single of your Russian painters and can't wait to go searching...
      Bisous,
      H

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    2. I've made a special post for you Heather about one of them http://jewelyettofind.blogspot.ca

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    3. Merci, Nat! Hopping over to read it now, hooray!!

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  8. dearest Heather

    we don't remember the first.

    but we do recall the one that cracked our heart open.

    it was 1998 and we had just made a momentous life decision and everything was new and tentative and frightening and exhilarating and someone we then loved took us to the Wallace Collection.

    and we cracked open into a tiny shattered pieces in front of the Fragonards.

    this was beauty. and gloriousness (and early teamgloria, in all probability although we didn't start writing as her until 2011) and flesh tones and palest pink Dior satin shades and silkiness and cherubs and we couldn't breathe.

    we had been living in such Darkness for a long time (another story for another time).

    and here it was.

    Light.

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    1. There is nothing that I can say to such beauty (and clearly I am not alone in this) save, merci. And I understand. I really do.
      Travel safe.

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    2. Dearest heather

      Just re-reading all the vibrant responses to your wonderful original post and realizing why so many felt compelled to read and write.......you told us a little more about who you are and in return we shared an intense revelation or two as well. Books and art are easier ways to reveal oneself and talk about identity (and love and regret and inspiration and......all the bits that make a Life) than personal details or persons, come to that.....

      Back in nyc! 29decrees. Eek.

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    3. Oh dear, that must be quite a shock to the system, please stay warm--bundle up in that fluffy looking duvet of yours!

      And yes, that absolutely makes sense to me--this opening via art to share--just as we look at the books in someone's apartment to pick up clues as to who they are the first time we visit. The response to this post has truly surprised me to no end nonetheless and has rendered it one of my most treasured. To think that I wasn't going to post it at all because I thought that the photos weren't quite up to snuff. I am so glad that I did.

      My memory is terrible so I tend to not give credit enough to all of those pieces of the puzzle. So many have been let go or swallowed up by the ether. I feel as if I have had a nudge here to cherish a bit more. Thank you for that.

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  9. Beautiful post!
    Both my parents were artists but in music, my father a composer and magnificent pianist and my mother a lyricist. My sister paints, another sister is an actor as is my daughter, and my brother is an amazing musician as well.
    Art, literature and music was always a part of our lives growing up, and I couldn't tell you my exact first brush with art but I always wanted to be able to paint against my lack of talent for it...so I studied photography. To me, capturing life with my camera was the closest way I could find to express what I saw.
    I never did much photography and pretty much abandoned it when I got into TV production and later music production.
    Nowadays I don't do anything artistic and my creative side misses it...
    Your photographs are amazing and I repeat, you use words beautifully, have you ever written a book with your photos? You should!
    Happy New Year!
    Sylvia S.

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    1. Sylvia, there is so much to respond to here, I wouldn't know where to begin! Of course, thank you for your wonderful compliment, that would be a start. I was an actress before I moved to France eleven years ago, then a travel writer as a partner to Remi taking the photographs. It was amazing. When the economy went bust, we stopped getting assignments together and so I started this blog because I HAVE to do something creative or I get too depressed! I have been working hard on my photos over the past year and am really enjoying it.

      Ok, back to you. Ah, see I love that because I actually meant all of the arts. Wow, what an incredible way to grow up. Your house must have been filled with music!! Your family must have been so proud of you that you became a music producer, non? I can't paint either but to capture a bit of music and pin it down for forever, that is a wonderful quality...
      Will wish you Happy NY when it is time--I am superstitious!

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  10. Your photographs are beyond stunning, Heather. I want to print them out, frame them and hang them on a wall devoted to your art (photographic and written). You are so generous to share them with us!

    The Van Gogh paintings in an exhibit that came to the Portland Art Museum when I was very young were the first visual art that "cracked my heart open," as teamgloria so beautifully put it above. Although I had studied those paintings at school in preparation for the field trip to the museum, I was stunned by how deeply I was moved by seeing them. That started my lifelong habit of taking advantage of every opportunity to see art that human beings have created.

    Happy New Year! Leslie

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    1. Please don't ever think that I take your kindness and support for granted, Leslie--I never, ever do. Thank you!!

      And if you think that you understand Van Gogh seeing it in person, imagining seeing what he painted--ooh, we might have to find a way to get you here...
      xo,
      h

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  11. Maxfield Parrish. Wow. He was the first artist I took an interest in when I was a wee lass. I still have a book of his art on my shelf that my first boyfriend gave me on my birthday in 1976. Fast forward to 2001, Hubby and I (ahem, not the first boyfriend) were in New York and we stayed at the St Regis Hotel. I almost had a stroke when we walked into the hotel bar for cocktails. The room is dominated by a stunning mural of Old King Cole by Maxfield Parrish. Having cocktails surrounded by that painting is etched in my memory and heart. After reading your post with your beautiful snaps, I pulled out that book and floated back to the happy, innocent, wide-eyed past. Thank you for that.

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    1. That made me go "Oooh"--first outloud imagining you walking into the amazing Old King Cole bar and then silently, in gratitude that I brought back some happy memories. That makes me feel grand.

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  12. Dear Heather,

    Oddly enough (given thatI make my living these days by painting and drawing), I never paid the slightest attention whatsoever to graphic art until I was almost thirty. I should emphasize that my only (and LAST, to be sure) "education" in art was in the fifth grade. That experience culminated in my receiving the lowest grade possible, and the agitated teacher's summoning my parents for a prolonged meeting during which my parents and the teacher and the principal all told each other what they thought of each other. It was all fairly thrilling for me at that age (I was in the room), but it also confirmed my opinion that art was for boring, not-very-bright folks. I'm not exaggerating a bit.

    My great sin was that I had "no class spirit" (still don't, so I guess she was right on that score) and didn't sufficiently help to clean-up the room before the next class came in each day. I was also bored shitless, at age 8, by all the "crafts" projects; the fact remained that, like almost everyone in my family (none of whom do anything remotely "artistic" for an actual living), I could draw perfectly well......better, I recall considering, than that inane (not to mention enterprisingly insecure), plodding teacher.

    I did spend 15 years furiously (read "obsessively") studying piano (I suppose that counts as "an interest in art"), and I went through a brief, late 70's phase of weaving and macrame-ing any number of "wall hangings", appalling belts and vest which my relatives would pretend to enjoy (but never wore), and pot-hangers while I listened, over and over again, to Carole King's "Tapestry". That said?...My brief, "fiber-arts" period merely placed me among the 130 million or so other americans doing the same thing at that time.

    In high-skool, I happily discovered Andrew Wyeth, so I bought a set of drawing pencils and made large copies of two of his drawings that I liked. Doing so was cheaper than buying the posters. These drawings were pronounced perfectly suitable by my parents and were the last things I made/did (other than carrying them through a series of dorm-rooms in college and my first gradskoolz) until I was 29 or so.

    I was writing a dissertation on Thomas Hardy when a friend of mine, who'd recently opened an Indian restaurant, showed me the 3000 dollar advertising bill that'd been proposed to her. I told her that was stupid....ANYONE could draw. so, I drew the ads (which came out in the weekly independent newspapers and quickly became a sort of cult-item, with folks wondering "Is this a REAL restaurant?...or just a series of politically-incorrect cartoons?"). The state's largest newspaper picked me up to illustrate the weekly book-review section (remember when those still existed?), and the Washington Post Book Review followed suit. I occupied, after four degrees in literature, the enviable niche of being able not only to draw the authors, but also knowing how to pronounce their names, etcetera.

    All in all, I can't say that I ever had one of those "Ah-hah!" artistic-moments, unless you count the time (this was during my final, grim&dreary dissertation year) I got a big (by my standards, back then) advance-check in the mail for a bookcover, and I realized "Oh, drawing the outsides of books is a lot more fun and makes more money than writing/discussing the insides of them...".

    I've been happily and productively doing the same for something going on twenty years now.

    And that is the decidedly unsentimental story of my "Discovery of Art".

    Level Best as Ever,

    david terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. You know, it breaks my heart to think of all of the squished, broken-hearted aspiring artists out there. Those that weren't able to believe that inner voice and to say "well, I am going to do it anyway." Dancers, singers, sculpters, painters, writers, musicians...I could go on. Because who hasn't been told "Oh, you can't *fill in the blank*" at some point or another? The most naturally talented person I have ever met became a fire-fighter like the rest of his family because ballet was something that girls did.

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  13. You always make me relive a memory Heather and yes, I remember my first brush with art. It was literally a brush in the third grade when I first started painting and found I am a little talent and that led to my fascination with art. I don’t worry about what others think I should like or not since art is a very personal experience.

    Your picture taking has come a long way since you first started posting and I’m guessing that’s Remi’s influence. Your images and words are like a concert that I look forward to hearing again and again.

    I hope you, Remi and Ben have a wonderful and bright New Year’s!

    XXX
    Debra~

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    1. That is one of the lovelier compliments I have ever had, Debra. Thank you with all of my heart.
      xoxox!

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  14. Masterpiece Theatre. . .that's what your blog is! I am taking a different approach to a comment (although your words and photos were again fabulous) but today I wanted to thank you for sharing such a fabulous group of blogosphere friends with me. On other blogs, I simply scroll to the bottom, add my comment and I am off to other stops. Here, it is like being at a cocktail party where I stop and chat with others -- I read each comment -- and am actually beginning to feel like I know others. Maybe I will one day as Veronica (French Girl in Seattle) are planning a rendezvous as we've discovered we don't live far from each other but we 'met' there in Provence ... our mutual friend Heather brought us together. So thanks to all of your readers - I've been enriched by both your comments and theirs.

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    1. Oh, that is amazing!!! Jackie, I am sure that you and Veronique would get along--and have MUCH to chat about! That just makes me so thrilled to hear. And I am so grateful for everyone that leaves messages here or sends emails. I agree they all have their unique character--glad to know that I am not the only one that looks forward to hearing from all of you!!!

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  15. Wonderful post to read with equally wonderful responses

    If I had to say when, the it would be...from white metal bars on my crib, past the umber brown and sienna gold wood of the attic beams, moving down the stairs to warmth, upholstery, carpets, indoor plumbing, and doorways to the outdoors where grass, gravel, dandelions and a smoke bush lure me into the art of this existence episode. Since then Art and I have been trampling out a bit of space in this world like a deer in a field of tall grasses.

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    1. Loved this, Maywyn. No difference or seperation between you and art.

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  16. P.S. coming back a few hours later?.....I should emphasize that I was scarcely traumatized by that art teacher; I ended up happily being a teacher, myself, for something around fifteen years and, after that, an artist.

    I was/am markedly successful at both jobs...primarily, I suppose, by NOT emulating my first, ill-fated (she got fired) "art techer" role-model.

    As the novelist Muriel Spark once wrote of another woman: "I was dotty's best friend. I didn't regard her as my friend at all. I regarded her as one of those people whom one can know well, and from whom one can learn a lot of principles which one can later usefully reject."

    Not surprisingly, that's from Spark's autobiographical novel "Loitering With Intent"....which is entirely "about" a young woman's becoming an artist in her own right and certainly/completely on her own terms.

    Advisedly yours as ever,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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  17. P.S.(2)......that phrase "art techer" (sic) is a direct quotation from the "report" which that "techer" put in my "file"....presumably to insure that folks would be forewarned about my awful-self before I entered middle school.

    I still have that "report". I should have it framed for public display.

    ----david terry

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    1. I do believe you should--and take it around to local schools to say "be warned"!

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  18. Heather, you write on a myriad of subjects that certainly elicit a response from your readers, which are interesting and varied and reveal their own personalities. I read what each has to share with enthusiasm and interest. David throws in interesting tidbits and always makes me giggle.

    I've been racking my brain as to what would have been first introduction to an art experience. I remember being in a ballet concert at age five, sure that I was going to be the world's next prima ballerina. Sadly that never occurred, or perhaps for the world that was a happy outcome! I recall my mother giving me a beautiful book on Degas ballet paintings and sculptures. It was treasured and I have it still.

    I remember in secondary school art classes, being full of admiration for the technical skill and fine detail of Albrecht Durer's pencil drawings, especially his animal series. Just after leaving school, I recall going to an art exhibition with many of Pierre Bonnard (contemporary of Toulouse Lautrec's) works. I remember being struck by his beautiful bold pairings of colours, borrowed from the Fauves. Also at the same time, being reacquainted with the work of Arthur Rackham, and his exquisite fairy tale illustrations. which I remembered seeing as a child but thinking at the time that they were old fashioned, and hadn't seen with the appreciation of an adult's eyes.
    At design college, I fell in love with Erte's fashion illustrations. I was in awe of the beauty and elegance of his spare and delicate drawings that graced the covers of Harper's Bazaar for 20 or so years. The influence of his illustrations on the art movement of the time must have been significant.

    In fashion drawing classes at college, I was introduced to the work of Antonio Lopez,
    a fashion illustrator, with a racy edge and confident water colour brush strokes. Finally, also while still a young student at college, I was so excited when one of my more admired fashion designers, Zandra Rhodes, came to town. It was the late 70's and I was a starry eyed fashion student, about 18, and Zandra had travelled from London to Sydney to promote a fashion line that for which one of the stores in the city had secured her services. I had two or so minutes with her afterwards, where I asked her about her pattern making training and how she had started out. Her answer being in equal parts disappointing at the lack of sage advice, and making me in awe of her raw talent that had seen her through. She said "Oh, I didn't train in that, I was self taught!"

    However, she was perhaps being a little disingenuous, as I know she had studied at the Royal College of Art and I later discovered that her mother had been a fitter for the Paris house of Worth. Some skills are just inherited from constant familiarity!

    Thanks again for your interesting post, Heather! Beautiful sunsets and wooded scenes!
    Cheers, Deborah from Melbourne

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    1. Cheers right back at you, Deborah! Wasn't it Antonio Lopez that worked with Karl Lagerfeld in the beginning of his career? I am more old-school in my choice: Rene Gruau! :)

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    2. Oh, I totally agree! A much more elegant style! But then, so were a lot of different artists' works from that period. Some of the black and white photographs of 1950s models striking graceful poses in Dior's New Line collection. And going back further to Schiaparelli and Jacques Fath and even more so, Madame Vionnet's designs of bias cut silk satin or chiffon. Some are just achingly beautiful! Would love to have lived in that time! Deborah

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    3. Could not agree with you more, D!! :)

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  19. Heather, what a very interesting topic. The pictures above look more like paintings than photos. They make me want to be there taking a walk in the trees and lights. My taste in art is all over the places from Reuben, Rembrandt, Goya, Georgia O'Keefe, Andrew Wyeth.... more mongrel than refined. My approach to art is the same way I do with music. If it appeals to me, I like it. I don't stick to a certain genre. Years of taking classes in art didn't make me excel in painting or drawing but I was good in etchings especially in woods. My mother was quite artistic and had done some beautiful watercolors which were hung in our family home. I have two of them with me. Your blog got my attention at first because of the name and the tie to Van Goth. If at anytime I'm ever going to be lost anywhere, it might as well be in Arles...:)

    Amelia XO

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    1. Ahhh, I obviously feel the same, Amelia. :) When Remi first suggested we stop by Arles on a whim, all I knew of this little town was its link to Van Gogh. None of the Roman monuments meant anything to me...And I just reorganized our massive cd selection last night and there are many, many genres present!

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  20. My first brush with art gave me time with my grandfather. He had a little studio off the bedroom he shared with my grandmother, and to this day, the smell of oil paints recreates images of that room with its beautiful dark wood furniture, a mexican blanket that I used to take a nap under and still own (sadly, it's full of holes) and just the best man in my life until I met my husband.

    So first there was the aroma of paint, and then there was the time he gave me, sitting at our kitchen table where we sketched together. I still have some of his paintings. He died when I was only 11, but he has been a big influence on my interest in art and people who make art. Here's a link to a few artists I have profiled, including our co-commenter, David Terry. http://talkingwriting.com/category/column/talking-art/

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    1. Now it makes more sense to me, Judith, your link to the art world. And what wonderful memories you evoked.. I remember your wonderful piece on David but will look forward to discovering it again.

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  21. My first brush of art actually came in the form of music which I always found strange because I'm such a visual person. Shamefully, I don't have a romantic Monet or art gallery story, mine is the first time I heard the B-52's 'Rock Lobster' at the thrift store Love Saves the Day when I was 6 that I knew I wanted to live a creative adult life. Pop culture is one of my passions and to some it wouldn't be considered art (and I can respect that), but to me it is.

    I hope you enjoy a happy, happy new year! I'm sure whatever you and your family have planned for tonight will be lovely and cozy. I do hope you share with us. : )

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    1. Are you kidding? That is a great story!! Although it made me nearly choke on my coffee that you were only 6 when you heard "Rock Lobster"...And don't you miss when vintage stores were actually fun like Love Saves the Day? Sigh. Music influenced me huuuugely growing up too.

      And we are just staying in as we always do--all invitations are refused! Every year it is the same: we cook something adventurous, it takes hours, we talk and clink glasses and dance around the living room. :)
      Gros Bisous, Ella and a verrry Happy New Year to you too!!

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  22. Ah, who knows which piece of art first made me fall in love. Perhaps it was the simple spiral motifs on one of our neolithic temples. Whatever it was, I admire art in all forms although I especially love the Impressionists. I am no art snob. It if moves me, then I appreciate and like it. Have a wonderful new year Heather.

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    1. Oh Loree, you make me want to visit Malte so badly!! We BOTH live in amazing places...Wishing you a wonderful New Year too...

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  23. I'm embarrassed (maybe) to admit I didn't even scroll down to see you talking about art ... I just took that first sentence and ran. It was a great writing exercise.

    But, yes, my first experience of art -- well, there were two at the same time. About age 5, I discovered the encyclopedia entry for "theatre" which also had a mini-play in it about a haunted castle and I would read that entry over and over again. And then around the same time I found my great aunt's Underwood typewriter tucked away behind the desk in our toyroom and I was enthralled. And then I had the privilege of seeing Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof in London, no less. Those are my art touch points.

    I finally found a picture of us. Enjoy!

    --------- http://misspinktwins.blogspot.com/2013/01/then-and-now.html --------

    My darling walker-of-Ben friend Heather posted a fascinating query a few days ago: have you changed much over the years and how much of your past has stayed with you?

    I'll admit, the query was partially responsible for derailing my write-every-day resolution. I had to really stop and think. (I also had to teach six classes in 36 hours and get a website to go live.)

    Ironically, I have also been staring at probably the only picture I have of us two, taken circa May 20th, 1989. I threw a 25th birthday party for myself. I had finally been able to afford my own apartment in posh Park Slope, above Al's Toyland on 7th Avenue and 4th (a rent controlled one bedroom at the low, low price of $436.03) and was studying for the Series 7 and have finally found a really, really great boyfriend named Jim.

    I think the biggest difference two decades has brought is that I am much more of a fretter than I was back then. I demanded to take the Series 7 and when I finally got Bear Stearns to pay for the classes ... I do remember, vividly, that first night thinking "Whoopsy, in over my head here." I was the only girl in the room. And the terminology was so entirely over my head. And the instructor kept using football analogies. I was brassy and raised my hand and demanded a shopping analogy, I insisted he make the class relevant to me, too. He pshawed my request at first. But I kept asking until I received. To this day, the only way I understand puts and calls is with his great shoe shopping analogy.

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