Sep 2, 2011

Pissarro, Williamstown and Friday.


Yesterday was the first of my Adventure Friday's. I have had Clark Museum written on my calendar for several days and was so excited for this day. All summer long there has been a billboard on the Mass Pike and this billboard told everyone heading west on the Pike about a special exhibit at the Sterling and Francine Clark Museum in Williamstown and I would stare at it longingly every single time I drove by, which is way to often :) The exhibit was called Piasarro's People and I was going to die if I did not get to see it. I easily convinced my dear friend Gail to go with me and we chose yesterday for our fun.

The drive in itself makes it so worth it to go. It was a beautiful clear day with a hint of Fall in the air. The trees are getting ready to change color. The entire drive there are trees and mountains in every direction and I could see hints of fall colors on the tops. We passed several beautiful lakes. We saw enormous wind....oh dear what do you call them? They are so amazing. They are huge and they look like giant pinwheels that are plain white and they make energy out of wind. They look so out of place yet mesmerizing when you see them peeking over the mountains turning around and around. I wish I had a picture to show you what it looked like. I could have watched them for a long time. The New England towns are so beautiful to drive through. And a few times the road would just happen upon an amazing view that would fill my heart so full it would nearly burst. The conversation with Gail is always fascinating and I had not even arrived at the museum yet and I could confidently declare it was a perfect day.

I did my research and the library in our town had a free pass to the Clark Museum so we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves that our day was going to be free.....oh, alright, gas and some food :)

I have to admit I did not know much about Pissarro so I did not know what to expect. It continues to amaze me as I look at art and read about the paintings how confidently people can declare what the painter was feeling when he painted the picture and how his political views, his personal relationships, and his profound social and economic concerns can all shape what he choses to paint. I guess if I would have sat still and thought about it it does make sense that your work would be much better if you were trying to make a statement and cared deeply about the topic and that you would need a strong motivation.

So the scoop is that Camille Pissarro was an impressionist painter. Often referred to as the father of impressionism.....what does being an impressionist painter mean? If you are an impressionist painter you use small, thin, yet visible brush strokes and your emphasis is on the accurate depiction of light. Also you paint common ordinary subject matter. And there are some other guidelines but these seem to be the basic ones :)

Pissarro painted his family, friends, and farm workers. Lots of the pictures were set in his home, out in fields, or market places. Of course one of my favorites was painted in a garden. Pissarro had eight kids so he had lots of options for subjects to paint. He apparently was a family man but not conventional in any way. He encouraged his kids to read and draw and to question the values of the time. Pissarro himself had anarchist beliefs. I had heard that word before but I had never had a cause to really focus on what it meant. As I read about him at the museum and talked with Gail I came to understand what it meant and to form my own opinion of anarchist beliefs. Pissarro's anarchist beliefs were a huge part of his life.

We looked through part of Pissarro's paintings on the main level of the musuem and then we wandered through some other exhibits. A fascinating concept if you think about it.....wandering through a museum staring at things other people painted, wondering what they were thinking about when they painted the picture. Amazing how much of art celebrates the human body. There were also lots of portraits and landscapes. I felt a little disappointment at some of the titles of some of the pictures....."Man in a Hat"....really? I could do so much better even just a few more words would have made a world of difference.....Man in a Hat Thinking About His Day" would have thoroughly satisfied me and given me lots to think about.

We eventually found our way to the rest of the Pissarro exhibit on another floor of the museum and then sadly we had to get going. I hate how your real life reaches out and grabs you and you can not ignore it. We ate at a cafe in the museum that was truly amazing. I had quiche with swiss cheese and ham in it and an amazing salad with all sorts of fresh lettuces. It was so fabulous and yummy that we both did not even hesitate to order the chocolate mousse for dessert. I NEVER order dessert but the lunch was so light and perfect that I was surprised that I actually had room for dessert. And it was oh so decadent. I wanted to stay there all day. It was such an amazing day that I still feeling the after effects of it today....have you ever had a day like that? That the feeling and impressions of the day are still with you the next day? As I am sitting in my cozy bed in my flannel pajamas. I am sincerely longing to go back to Williamstown.

On the way home we passed a beautiful green, wood door sitting in the "free zone" :) Gail needed that door and so we stopped. We laughed and laughed as we got it to fit in my little Subaru. And then we stopped down the road to re-adjust the door so the back hatch could actually be closed :)

I am planning another Friday adventure for next week now that the kids are back in school. I do adore the freedom. And I am continually amazed at how much there is to see around where I live and I am determined to see it all :)

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