Mitchell Family Favorites: Art Edition

One of our favorite games to play around here when there’s a lull in the conversation (almost never), the girls have a new friend over (all the time!), we’re trying to distract somebody (usually Charlotte, usually from pain caused by some injury), or long car rides (pretty much daily) is “Favorites.” You know the game: one person gives a category and the others say their favorite. It might be something like “Favorite boy’s name” or “Favorite breakfast food” or “Favorite summer activity.” Sometimes the categories are a little obscure. Here’s a conversation we had just today:

Me: “Favorite kitchen utensil!”

Charlotte: “Spatula!”

Adrienne: “Tongs!”

Jim (pulls out a spatula): “This exact spatula. It’s the perfect width, all its proportions are just right.”

Me (pulls out a different spatula): “What about this one? I put it in your stocking because it’s perfect for flipping pancakes.”

Jim: “It’s not though. It’s too short.”

Me (glaring): “Girls, Dad is losing at ‘Favorites.’”

You can see how much fun we have!! Anyway, I’d like to start a Nice and Easel installment of “Favorites” for a few weeks. Each week I’m going to select a few friends’ and/or family members’ favorite pieces of art to feature on the blog. Because I have easy access to my immediate family and they’re well-versed in how to play the game, I’ll start with them. Presenting… Mitchell family favorites (art edition!)

Jim: Unlike with the spatula situation, this time I accept Jim’s answer: Country Road by Terry Redlin. Jim grew up bird hunting in the country, so this reminds him of his childhood. I love it when art so blatantly evokes emotions. Tons of art makes me happy on a surface level. But every now and then something hits a little deeper, as this painting does for Jim. Do we have “Take Me Home Country Roads” stuck in our heads now? Maybe for eternity? One hundred percent. Bonus points if you can name the singer. (Answer below.)

Watertown, SD is home to the Redlin Art Center. SD also boasts the highest pheasant population in the world!

Julie: I tease Adrienne for struggling with our Favorites game. She hates picking a favorite anything, but I make her because I’m a good parent who forces her children to make decisions against their will. My point is, I don’t want to pick a favorite art piece because that’s impossible! I’m a gamer though, so I’m saying Da Vinci’s Last Supper. I know, it sounds like a cop-out. But that fresco has it all: perfect technique, mystery, religious symbolism, a fascinating story of love, betrayal, and sacrifice. How can I not pick it?!

I never, ever get tired of staring at this one.

Molly: Molly is a stoic person, so I wasn’t surprised when she picked a stoic piece of art. You know it and love it… the Statue of Liberty. Molly explained she likes the idea of immigrants coming to Ellis Island and being greeted by the statue. She also really likes “The New Colossus” on the statue, which I’ve included because the written word is art too, right?!

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Adrienne (aka “A”): A couldn’t decide on a favorite, so I let her pick two and promised that these don’t have to be her favorites forever. Don’t say I never do anything for my kids! First, she named Rebecca Humes’ dictionary dresses from last year’s Art Prize. I agree with A when she says, “It’s a neat way to do art!” (And, FYI, I see you can now book a photo session wearing one of the dictionary dresses! Click here for info!) Adrienne’s second choice is a classic: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. Again, she appreciates Seurat’s innovation at a time when most artists were painting with strokes, to experiment with a new technique. And “I made a pointellism butterfly once. It’s hard.”

Charlotte: Charlotte immediately recalled her favorite piece from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Fire (United States of the Americas) by Teresita Fernandez. It is one of the first pieces visitors see and takes up a huge wall- it’s hard to miss! I like it because of its largesse and am impressed with Fernandez’s ability to make the blurred charcoal states look 3D. Charlotte said she likes it because, “It makes me wonder. Like how did she make it? How do they move it around?”

There you have it! Our family’s art faves! *Subject to change at any moment.*

Answer: John Denver sings “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”