I love that art can describe my mood better than any words I could ever muster. This is my Saturday morning. Thank you to artist, Dennis Perrin.
My sister-in-law told me last week that instead of listening to her audiobooks when she and my brother go for their daily five-mile walks in the foothills of the mountains, she now listens to music. She says that when she started doing that, instead of being engrossed in story, she became much more aware of the beauty around her, and it expands the joy of her walking tremendously.
Our conversation came to mind when I listened to an Audible Original book written and read by Yo-Yo Ma, called Beginner’s Mind. It is a lovely thing to listen to, part memoir, part music, and part exploration of what “beginnings” mean.
Beginner’s Mind continues Ma’s passionate exploration of culture’s role in helping us to imagine and build a better future, asking each of us “to strip away preconceptions and reclaim a beginner’s mind…one open to new questions, new connections, new explorations, and unexpected answers.” As Ma tracks his own profound journey through “four stories of beginnings,” listeners gain insight into his past and discover how the cultural visionary continues to find hope in the endless possibility of human curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.
So this book really is the perfect combination for those of us who love to walk and listen at the same time. Its combination of story, music, and thought-provoking ideas is wonderful.
Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i , was an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden of her work created during nine weeks spent in Hawai’i in 1939. This accompanying book, edited by Joanna L. Groarke and Theresa Papanikolas, was a very interesting chronicle of O’Keeffe’s time spent there. She was hired by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Food Company) to visit the territory and create a series of paintings that could be used in print advertisements. During the nine weeks she spent in the islands, she created numerous paintings that were very much in her style, took many snapshots, and wrote wonderful descriptions of her experiences in letters sent home to her husband, Alfred Steiglitz.
Also included in this book are interesting background essays about the culture and ecology of Hawaii, and of how the territory of Hawaii was perceived in the 1930s as a tropical paradise, an “alluring fantasy.” It was all very interesting to read, as a view of Hawaii through the talent of an artist I love and through stories about what life was like at that time on the islands.
I read this book for my personal challenge, “WANDERLUST: Reading the States,” my effort to read books that are from or take place in each of the 50 United States. This book took place in Hawaii.
Kadir Nelson is an artist/illustrator whose work I just love. I became aware of him first as an illustrator of some children’s books I’ve been reading. Then I discovered that his work is also featured frequently on the cover of the New Yorker magazine. His painting “Harlem on My Mind” is a wonderful expression of his tremendous talent. His statement on the painting is below.
“The New Yorker cover painting Harlem on My Mind celebrates the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the civil rights movement, and Harlem’s rich history in the visual, literary and performing arts. I created a stylistic montage of images as an homage to great Harlem renaissance painters Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson, Norman Lewis, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Horace Pippin, Henry Tanner, Archibald Motley and Palmer Hayden; performers the Nicholas Brothers; writers James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston; and activist Malcolm Shabazz.”
One of my favorite artists is Jacob Lawrence, and this is one of my favorite paintings by him.
One of the positive things about our extended time of quarantine for the Covid-19 virus, is that there have been so many excellent online events and experiences to lift our spirits and remind us of the beautiful and special things in life. I found one of those online events and enjoyed an amazing performance serial of the classic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I read it once long ago (in high school), and probably wouldn’t have read it again until I found this link. It’s a MUST experience, because each section is read by a different performing artist, and the artwork that accompanies it is phenomenal. It’s a completely immersive art experience, and is incredibly powerful. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the experience!