Art Favorites: Friends Edition

Did you know the Mona Lisa has her own mailbox? She gets thousands of love letters from fans every year! In this second installment of “Favorites,” I asked some of my favorite friends what their favorite pieces of art are. They aren’t sending fanmail to these artworks as far as I know, but we sure did have fun waxing poetic about our favorite pieces!

Kate: Kate verbalized a problem we all face with art, “I seem to love everything I see.” Same! The struggle is real. But when push came to shove, she was able to name a few pieces that hold a special place in her heart.

Kate saw each of these pieces in person. Don’t you think there is something about seeing art in real life that connects us to it forever? Kate said seeing David birthed her love of art. “Standing next to the beautiful marble sculpture knowing that one of the greatest artists in the world created it, evoked such awe and appreciation for me I will always remember it.” At the Vatican, upon seeing School of Athens, she noted that “next to all the other pieces of artwork the detail and brighness of Raphael’s paintings really spoke to me. They were just so much above the other artists.” And finally, one of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings. “The color that Van Gogh used in this painting evokes happy and even calming feelings for me and it means even more because of my passion for working with flowers.” Kate evokes happy and calming feelings too! To see some of her incredible flower arrangements visit her website here!

Suzie: Suzie knows a lot about art. She is married to an art teacher, has two artist children, and is an amazing artist in her own right. You remember her from the incredible butter sculpture at my birthday party last year.

Suzie emailed me the picture on the left, done by an artist I’d never heard of, but now love for all time (Bright colors! Animals! Yay!) She learned of Monika Forsberg from a puzzle Forsberg designed, proving art does not have to be a huge financial investment or hanging in a museum. Art can be in pieces on the kitchen table! The puzzle, for instance, is (in Suzie’s words) “colorful and fun and almost musical to the eye.” Suzie actually replicated one of Forsberg’s paintings in her kitchen so she can look at it every day. (I told you- she’s an artist!) She also sent a picture of this piggy she loves because it’s “simple and unpretentious.” We all agreed the pig is adorable (I told her I especially love its ear. So sweet!) Thank goodness Suzie rescued it from her parents’ “give away” pile!

Carla: You know Carla from other blog posts because she is always game for exploring art with me! Stay tuned for a post on ArtPrize when we visit later in September! I knew she’d rise to this challenge not only because she loves art, but because she is a champ at any version of “Favorites.”

Carla’s mom has a replica painting of Ginevra de’ Benci in her home, so she already had a soft-spot for the portrait. Then she was able to see the original at the National Gallery. She said when she spotted Ginevra, “it was like seeing a familiar face, oh- I know her!” She added that like her mom, she could stare at Ginevra’s glowing face and unique expression for hours. The Bean (and big, interactive pieces like it!) is also among Carla’s favorites. Cloud Gate acts as a mirror for different people all the time, so it’s constantly changing, which is awesome. Plus, who doesn’t love being part of an exhibit? Incidentally, the third art piece Carla mentioned as a favorite is also interactive: Patrick Dougherty’s Standing Room is a stick structure at WMU, where Carla often passed it, went in it, and admired it. Carla loves nature and art, so it’s no surprise she has an appreciation for the marriage of the two!

Moriah: I love that Moriah pointed out lots of people feel art is only for those with an “eye” for it, but art is for us all! It’s personal and important and not right or wrong. I used to feel this way about wine. It turns out the finest wine is…. whatever tastes good to the drinker! Likewise, the best art is whatever a person thinks is best! Isn’t that the beauty of it?

Moriah noted Monet’s garden paintings and how they make her want to breathe deeply, which made me smile because she is a yoga instructor and of course paying attention to her breathing. 🙂 I’m so happy she brought up Monet’s gardens, because I mostly remember his lilypads when I think Monet, but how stunning are the colors in this painting of his garden? The vibrancy makes me want to crawl into the canvas and stroll around. Moriah also noted da Vinci’s exquisite ability to draw the human form, and isn’t that the truth? Has anybody since da Vinci been able to capture humans so intricately? Incidentally, the hands pictured above are believed to be “practice hands” da Vinci drew for Ginevra de’Benci!

I have to tell you, I sent these friends a casual text one afternoon asking for their favorite artwork and the loveliest text thread bloomed. If you are looking for a great conversation with your friend group, let me suggest asking “What’s your favorite piece of art? PLEASE DON’T FEEL OBLIGATED!” If your friends are half as awesome as mine, they’ll deliver!

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