We returned from Chicago last Saturday after a 4 day whirl-wind visit with my stepdaughter and her family. Our 2 year old Aiden is absolutely adorable...very talkative and a little man who knows what he wants. He's really into Guitar Hero and watching him focus on the songs and attempt to keep up with the lyrics is hilarious. As we were coming out of the underground parking lot at Millennium Park, he joyfully exclaimed "What a beautiful day!" You just don't expect something like that coming out of a 2 year old. We went to see "The Bean," a large metal structure/sculpture (it's all yard art) showing downtown Chicago from different angles. That was fun, especially looking at ourselves and saying, "No deep-dish pizza for us!!" Actually, I don't like deep-dish pizza or sausage, so I didn't partake, but my step s-in-l's mother ordered this great thin crust pizza the other night while visiting them at their home...OMG, thought I had died and gone to pizza heaven!!! Funny, many of my memories to Chicago will be about the food we ate...typical!!
Well, we did more than just eat, I had on my "to do list" was to go the Art Institute of Chicago. Since my art history days, we studied many paintings that are on display there. I just love George Surrat's "La Grande Jatte," and of course, the American classic, "American Gothic." I was there for 5 hours, the first accompanied by SM, Jessi, his daughter and Aiden. Now Aiden did well for about the first 45 mins., after I showed him the cool ceramic bowls in the Greek and Roman areas, telling him Meema used to make big ceramic bowls, so he just had to point out all the bowls he saw, with great 2 year old enthusiasm. Well, after a while, a two year old's fancy turns to shear boredom, as it should, so at my urging, I suggested they go do some other sight-seeing and would call them when I was finished at the museum. So I spent the rest of my time, just gawking with amazement at the paintings and sculptures from all those people I read about, studied and probably missed a few questions about them during my testing on the material. As I was in the American section, I spotted a painting that looked so familiar, well, a lot of them were, but this one isn't all that well-known. Let me give you a little background. One evening my honey and I were talking and we got on the subject of Oscar Wilde's book, "The Picture of Dorian Grey." We normally don't have such literary infused conversations, but that evening we were actually talking about movies. We both recall a movie we saw as children on the boob tube based on that book. I had told him I did a book report on it in my senior year of high school and the teacher gave me a C because I mentioned the fact that Oscar Wilde was gay, YA THINK???!!?!?!!? She said it merited an A+, but I didn't have to mention that little tid-bit about ol' Oscar...hell, the guy went to prison because of it...well, there's more to the story, but won't go into it now. Anywhoo, (saw that little blond sassy witch teacher some years later and she didn't age well!! LOLOLOL) he mentioned that he flipped out when he saw the end of that movie, when Dorian put a knife through the self-portraits heart, hence, killing himself. I too remember the portrait, but even then, this little artist saw it as bloody neat-o!!
Well, as I was walking about that salon, there on the wall...THE PORTRAIT!!! AAHHHH!! I said to myself. However, since it had been several years since I saw that flick, I had to get closer to read the little info card next to the painting, however, there was a group of French tourists trying out their English by attempting to read the info card too. I patiently waited till they gave up and moved to the next piece of art work and I was right, it was THE PORTRAIT. The painting was by an American painter who was known for his macabre artistic sensibility...yea, my kind of artist!! His name was Ivan Le Lorraine and was hired to paint it at the request of Albert Lewin, the director of the movie, during it's making between 1943-44 and released in 1945 (yes, I Googled it). Well, slap me silly and call me Shirley...I just had to let SM know it was here at the Art Institute. I sent him a text with a photo of the painting and said, "Here's that portrait from that movie...hehehehehehe" He wrote back, "Are you trying to make fun of me?" Well, YEA, mwaha-hahahahaha!!! Anyway, if you can Netflix it, rent the movie...it's all done in black and white except for the end of the movie, there it is, it all it's bloody, splattered beauty!! And my children wonder why they're the way they are???
Since my return, I have been working diligently in getting my contract work out to the gallery in Phoenix. I felt so overwhelmed at the beginning of the week, but I can now take a sigh of relief and say it's all done. I shipped off two boxes on Thurs. for their opening next Thurs., even though I'm not one of the featured art-eests...I'm the contract one. I completed the rest yesterday and here is a sample of what I've made thus far.
There are more dolls, but I still haven't downloaded them from my camera. Thankfully, one of the guards at the Art Institute showed me how to turn off my flash in order for me to take pictures in the gallery...works great in my very well lighted studio. The majority are my Can-Do dolls, made with ordinary cans, and paper clay heads. Going to buy more popcorn from my grandson's boy scout troop to get those cool larger cans...and the popcorn isn't that bad anymore either.
Well, my friends, time to move on. I'll write more next week and hopefully, well have retrieved those photos of my remaining work and more that I'm doing now. Peace out.