Thanksgiving Art

 Happy Thanksgiving! Here are three things I’m thankful for today:

1.     1. Hotels are finally sanitizing the tv remotes between guests. Or at least making us think they did.

2.     2.   Road trip games. You know the ones: the license plate game, I Spy, etc.

3.     3. Chocolate chip cookies from Penn Station Eastcoast Subs. My husband boldly declared it was his favorite food in the world. I get that.

Oh, and my family, friends, health, blah blah blah. Also, in the grand scheme of life, hand turkeys on brown construction paper have to make the list of things I’m thankful for too. They are such sweet reminders of little patties. Bonus points if they have sloppy, misspelled words of things kids are thankful for. (i.e. fod/food, nutla/Nutella, hoke/hockey, undrpats/underpants).

If your taste is a little more refined, let me offer you these pieces of Thanksgiving art:

Claude Monet’s The Turkeys. I never see white turkeys! And I see a lot of turkeys. Not just the ones I live with either.

Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want. This one makes me cry. They’re all so happy! Sniffle, sniffle.

Norman Rockwell’s Home for Thanksgiving. Another tearjerker. Good grief, Norman! You’re killing me!

I’m thankful for ART this Thanksgiving. And time with my family. Which I’m going to take advantage of right now with our highly sanitized remote control. Have a lovely Thanksgiving, friends!

One For the Monet

Are you guys into the Enneagram Personality Test? I’m a little obsessed right now. Rather, I’m anxious to become obsessed with it, but haven’t quite taken the time to learn all the jargon. For my birthday I got a Barnes and Noble gift card and I am anxious to get over there and find an Enneagram book I can understand. Something with a chart. If it’s a chart in crayon that’s even better; I really need this broken down to something I can comprehend and bright, waxy colors help.

Anyway, I’m making all my family and friends take the test (you know who you are) and report back to me (I told my family I want their results by the holidays so we can discuss around the Christmas tree. What could possibly go wrong?!) My daughter is an 8 so I was reading about her personality type. It was spot on. There was a section about the likelihood of falling into addiction and I was happy to read 8s aren’t very susceptible (they like to be in possession of their faculties.)

Then I read my own addiction section (I’m a 9). I fell asleep before I could finish reading the ENORMOUS LIST of addictions to which 9s are prone!! Lethargy, for starters (haha), sex, drugs, and rock and roll; all alcohol, undereating, overeating, caffeine, gnomes (just kidding, but seriously… I can’t stop buying gnomes.) The list went on! All this to say, Friends, I was in good company. Because there was also a list of famous 9s (or so somebody assumed). I was delighted to see none other than Claude Monet, whose birthday would be TODAY! 

I specifically Googled “Claude Monet addiction” and the internet agrees: he did not suffer from any drug or alcohol addiction. It’s pretty apparent he was addicted to lily pads and haystacks, but that was most definitely to our benefit! Here is one of his famous lily pad paintings on exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art.

This puts my little pond to shame. I mean, where’s the algae?

Claude Monet (his real name was Oscar!) was rich and famous by the time he started painting the lily pads in his garden. He had them brought in and his team of seven gardeners cared for them, though Monet always had an active role in his garden, particularly the architecture of it. Some of the lily pads were native to France, but others were brought in from South America and Egypt. The lily pads occupied much of his painting for the next twenty years.

This is one of his less famous lily pad paintings, but one of my favorites:

“Flowering Arches” Don’t you just want to attend a wedding there?!

Bon Anniversaire, Mr. Monet! From one neuf to another!

On the Count of Tree!

So, I have to know. How are you celebrating National Love a Tree Day today? I know, I know, you thought I was going to write about National Sea Monkey Day*, which shares this day with the trees, but alas! The art world is sorely lacking when it comes to sea monkeys. But trees? Ohmygoodness, artists looooooove to paint trees! And I love them for it. Here are a few of my favorite tree paintings:

To be Baby Theo and have an authentic Van Gogh hanging in my room!

Van Gogh was a beautiful artreest. He painted tons of trees, but Almond Blossom is my favorite. He painted it for his nephew and namesake. Can’t you just see this hanging in a baby’s nursery? It’s so sweet and hopeful. In fact, most of Van Gogh’s trees have the same soothing feel. It’s hard to believe his mind was in such turmoil as he painted them.

Piet Mondrian: all about the funk.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I would not have guessed Piet Mondrian painted this! I only knew him for his funky cubes. Don’t you love when an artist surprises you with a wider range of talent than you knew they had? This tree looks like it wants to be in a spooky forest, with its foreboding branches, but Mondrian was like, “Nope! I’m giving you a jazzy red trunk and psychedelic blue background.” Boom. Not spooky anymore!
Poplars on the Bank of the Epte (1892): it has curves in all the right places.
How could we possibly talk trees without touching on Monet’s poplars? This is my favorite of all his tree paintings, I think. The curve of that treeline? I swoon. He painted these poplars at least eleven times. They must have left quite an “Impression.”
In celebration of National Love a Tree Day, I took an extra moment to admire the trees in my own yard. Here they are this morning:
We purchased those pines for a quarter each when they were just inches tall, and now they’re taller than me! If you squint, you can see our sugar maples behind them in white tubes to protect them from the very hungry deer that visit our field. Jim spends hours carrying buckets of water out to them in the summer, and his hard work is starting to pay off as we can see the tops of them starting to peek out of the tubes! 

Happy May 16th, friends! I’m going to celebrate “Love a Tree Day” with a glass of wine. But don’t worry, I won’t get trunk.

* I feel like you don’t believe me about Sea Monkey Day, so here is my source:

A Visit to The Art Institute of Chicago

The girls and I recently tagged along on one of Jim’s work trips to Chicago. He loved having the four of us there as he worked. He acted like he didn’t love it, but I know he did.

One of our first stops, naturally, was the Art Institute of Chicago. Dreamy! I had only been there once before (in high school) to see a visiting Degas exhibit, and that was all we got to see. I didn’t know that ALL the amazing things were there!!! Name an artist. Go on and name one. Not DaVinci. Another one. That one had art there!! Thankfully my daughters’ art teacher is incredible and has introduced them to artists I didn’t have the slightest clue about at their ages. Picking a favorite is too overwhelming, even though I forced the girls to do it (sometimes motherhood means being a hypocrite) and here are their picks.

Molly picked Monet’s Water Lily Pond, because duh. Last year this was their main art project at school, so she was pretty familiar with it and pumped to see it in real life. I sang Jessie J’s “Price Tag” the rest of the day. (“It’s not about the Monet, Monet!”)
Adrienne was super excited when she learned the museum was home to The Wave by Katsushika Hokusai. Unfortunately, it turns out it’s almost never on display it because it is so old and so fragile. I’m going to write about it more tomorrow because it really is beautiful. Happily, A is also a giant fan of Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte because ohmygoodness, how can you not be?!

CeCe loved the Degas ballerina statue, (Me too. That ribbon in her hair about does me in, I love it so much.) but somehow, we didn’t get a picture of that one so here are the girls playing air guitar in front of The Old Guitarist by Picasso.

This last one is a pictures Mols took on the sly and later showed to me proclaiming this is what I look like before my coffee in the morning. Funny girl, that one. 

We can’t figure out who painted it though! Do you know? If so, clue me in!