Sunday, August 24, 2014

Road Trip August 23 to August 25 2014

"Travel is escape from all your pressing problems.  That's why we're so willing to give it our complete attention."

"I'm going somewhere.
It doesn't matter where.
The idea of leaving where you are for someplace else takes over...  Leaving is the important thing and everything in life is directed toward that end."
Andy Rooney from Sweet and Sour

Elizabeth and I finally got some time away from the eternally altricial.

It felt good to take a few days to be off by ourselves enjoying some of the area around home. 
So often we think we have to go long distances to find delightful travel experiences, but there is so much right near home yet to be explored.

Our travel this trip was to be in Massachusetts.

We decided to visit the Clark Museum and then to  go to Springfield for a couple nights and explore that area and then to Dana's in Boston for a couple more days.

We passed  Ioka Valley Farms.  We think this is where Robin and Bobbie love to go for pancakes and real maple syrup. At any rate it looks like a spot to look up again.

It was fine traveling in new Honda.  Elizabeth played music from her mini ipod, some of it recorded many years ago. 1400 songs in all. 
I'd forgotten them.
She had forgotten them.
The new Honda enabled us to play the ipod.
 It was just grand!

Memphis Minnie sang:
"Hold that deck!  Please...... don't turn that card!
I've got a love bone in my heart."

Little Milton sang Casino Blues:
"I done lost all my money, Now I'm about to lose my mind."

Readers should ignore the dates of posting dates. 
By clicking on any photo a reader can just review the photographs
However, to see all the posts, click on "Older posts" in the bottom right corner and another page will load which are not actually "older" until the reader gets to 2011 and 2012 trips.
I wanted the current trip reported chronologically.
Then at the very just for comparison are older trips from 2011 2012 to the Clark.

Clark Museum Bronzes August 23

Cast for Eternity

Here are some photographs

Here is an overview.

I could not use my camera in the Chinese bronze section, but these links will give some idea.  I was awed and delighted.  So many of the pieces reflected food and wine, and almost all were adorned with animals and birds, sometimes in relief and other times in three dimentional detail, built into handles, or seen climbing up the sides of the containers.

Many of the pieces in these photographs are similar to what we saw

Pieces included Ding
We saw one from the 15the century BC
He - This one had a fine dragon spout.
So many dragons appear on pieces in so many places, it is hard to believe they never existed.

Such interesting short names for various bronze.

One from 2000BC is in some of the posts.  It had seven yaks and Tigers climbing the sides.


Clark Museum August 23

I expected to be disappointed in the renovation because I am generally disappointed in "improvements" and change.  However, I was delighted.  We were so taken by the newly designed grounds and the museum itself that we upgraded our daily fee of $20 each to a $50 each fee for a membership.
And why not?  12 years and 145 million dollars ought to amount to something fine.
So we will be back to be strengthened and ennobled.
We arrived early so we had time to walk a bit around the outside. 

There is a fine reflective pool that has three levels.  In the clear water are stones that reflect shape and color.  I liked it although I am more drawn to water with fish and frogs and this was sterile.

We also managed a very good parking spot because we arrived before the volunteers began to usher folks into spots.

I used Elizabeth's camera to capture a few pieces of interest.  Most of them I remember seeing before.  She went on to see other exhibits, but I stayed for the most part in the permanent collection, meeting again old friends.
Homer always captures me.  The Undertow seems a bit overdramatic, but still grabs attention and reflects the power of the sea.
Homer is right in the door

This painting may be a bit overdramatic, but it remains one of my favorite paintings of all times.

This painting of a young bride caught my attention this trip.  I have seen it many times, but not reacted to it quite as deeply as I did on this visit.

I like this one. Saco Bay.   There is some controversy about the strawberry colored sky, but Homer liked this painting just the same. Check out the discussion here

In the room with the Homer is this fine sculpture.  It caused quite a disturbance when it was first displayed in Boston.  Too much of woman revealed, it seems.

There is a replica in Boston now

This painting below , called The Card Players was painted in 1646, three hundred years before I was born.

There seem to be other paintings, all by David Teniers on this subject.  I am trying to find how this one is related




Here is a great guide to this particular painting.  The artist is from Belgium.  In my uneducated mind, this is very much like what Goya painted.

Here is the one Goya I saw at the Clark.  It is a tiny one and not nearly as rich and dramatic as those in the Prado.  However, it delighted me to see it.

I loved this painting.  She is so attractive.  It is eirie how we look like this and then we don't.  However, this woman may have died looking much like this, birthing her second child.

This particular painting always has been one of my favorites.  I have it on a postcard at home.  However, here I can catch all the beautiful rich marble that is part of the way they choose to display it.

This is Perseus rescuing Andromeda by Cavaliered Aspiro

I have always liked this one.  Again we have a dragon.  Dragons are so prolific in the mythology of so many cultures, I always wonder if there is any basis to them or if they are simply imagination.
This blog takes an interesting look at dragons in three Parts

In addition, here is a site that collected ancient art on dinosaurs.

There is an extensive china collection in one room and it looked delightful.  Here is one I liked, probably for the birds.

It seems I have seen all of these once before somewhere but the place slips my mind.  I like it as well,  So narrative.

The link below shows a painting that I've always loved.  Women of Amphisa.  Who cannot love a painting full of wonderful women, especially when it is part of an antiwar statements.   Here is the painting and a discussion of the story behind it.
Here are details on the painter
I was surprised that I could rise to the impressionists Like Monet and I did.  I liked Tulip Fields and The Geese.  Usually, I need things to be more realistic.
I liked the idea that Renoir and Money were painters who often painted each other's families.  So this caught me

 Elizabeth showed me the abstracts.  One was this piece, sewed together in an unusual shape.  I thought the stitching seen in the second photo was much like what I do when I repair my pants, so I think they too are art.
In the hall I saw one that Billy Neuman would like.  I intend to send it to Bill with a note to save all his mathematical scribbles as one day they may too be art.


West Springfield meal August 23

Went to Lattitude for an upscale eating experience.

Elizabeth had ribs.
I had three "small" plates :   fried Brussels sprouts,   garlicky spinach, and a fine chicken marsala soup.

Two glasses of wine with the meal and I'm still a bit tipsy.
Some Spanish Tempranillo.  The price was down to $7.  Excellent wine. 

Then we stopped at Table and Wine, the most amazing wine store I have seen in many years.

We ended up with a large box of wine and with the Berkshire Brewery that Elizabeth had for supper, a most wonderful porter if perhaps less satisfying in the bottle than on a nitro tap.

Ironic that I wanted a photo of this English dog greeter.  I am very happy to be out of all of the drama we have to endure almost daily at home. 
Road trips are such a treat.

Note:  Harvey highly recommends we try this place on the next trip

Friday, August 15, 2014

Springfield Massachusettes Sunday August 24

We were late enough arriving at the Hampton Inn hotel that we did not do more than eat the meal I mentioned in the previously posted.
We did not get such a good sleep here because there was a party down the hall that went until midnight.  Old folks like us with their doors open and very loud.  They finally quieted some when we complained both to them and to the front desk.

In the morning we were slow to get going.  We went swimming in the pool which was as cold as Burden Lake was the day before we left.  I went out swimming there after getting the boat winched up and safe from filling with water.

The pool was small and the folks in it needed their length swims so space was at a premium, but actually it was the cold water that limited our fun.  I napped for a while in the warm sun.

Breakfast here was just great.  Eggs and sausage, fruit and yogurt with added nuts.  Plenty of other choices as well and a free Sunday paper to poke through.


The Springfield Museums cost twelve dollars and the ticket allowed us to visit as many as we wanted.  We paid an extra five dollars for the docent review of the current modern collection and found that well worth the price, especially because it also included a walk through the mechanized dinosaur exhibit.

I have read about the moving dinosaurs, but had never seen them.  It was an amazing experience. Some were very frightening. The Brontosaurus moved just a foot away from our faces as if it really could see us and was aggressively looking us in the eye.  The sound effects in this room were pretty frightening as well.  I'd like to bring Casey here, but I wonder if he would be too frightened.  Included was a wooly mammoth, saber tooth tigers, and other dinosaurs. 
I did not engage with the exhibit promising to recreate the smell of dinosaur poop, but thought that was pretty creative also.  I did mavel at the oviraptor egg fossil.

In another section was a huge plastic dinosaur and an actual piece of an Alamosaurus bone that was impressive by being so massive.
This bone was collected by Frederick Loomis

The museum itself was just packed full of fossils and artifacts.  One section had a beautiful collection of gems and crystals, one of the best I have seen.   Another had a collection of fish fossils.  Elizabeth was taken with this piece.

Of course, I loved the fish fossils, especially the one that looked so much like a bluegill

I was caught by a large scale scene of Indians in camp with buttons that offered a brief talk in the Indians own accented English.  I listened to the one who was a hunter and a fisherman talk about fishing the various seasons.
We walked a ramp around one area filled with large depictions of animals.  It was very well designed. 


The art museum was packed full of wonderful things as well.  We did the talk in the Modern Display  1910-1960 that advertised O'Keefe to Rockwell, but had very few of either of these artists and an eclectic showing of all sorts of things in all sorts of styles.
I could not use my camera in this section, but I've located pictures of the paintings on line and listed the sites to click to see them.

Fifty paintings depicted aspects of modern painting with subfocuses on five different themes: Cubism, Natural Elements, City Structures, Characters and Americana..  It seemed an odd group of choices but the overall idea of the collection was the forces that impacted art between 1910-1960. 
The docent talked about a famous art show created by artists themselves called "The Armory"
 The show became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished Americans, who were accustomed to realistic art, to the experimental styles of the European avant garde, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own "artistic language."
She felt this had changed the way modern art was defined.

The docent then spoke of how cubism moved to precisionism the city structures, how still life's and landscapes changed during this time with abstractions, and then the social commentary that came with certain character paintings..loneliness of women in changed roles, the shoe shine boy as a black representation of the paper boy who makes his way in hard times. 
Americana included Grandma Moses but the docent spoke about another very quirky painting with a dog/sheep and woman that was pleasant but not anatomically correct.  the brush strokes built up her nose on the canvas.
The docent took a long while to talk about it.  At first I was not impressed but up close I could see the unusual heavy layering of paint.  I liked it better up close.

On the same wall was "Welcome Home" by Jack Levine.  This seemed ironic.  There was no joy here.  Clearly it was after WWII and the welcome was a little less than wonderful

Here is an interesting discussion of the author's work

Also on that same wall was this delightful Grandma Moses piece. What contrast!

Elizabeth enjoyed that there were so few people there that she could back away from the impressionist's paintings and see them become clear from a distance.

Our docent guide was simplistic, but pleased both of us.  In each of the sections she chose one or two paintings on which to focus her talk.  They were not always what we might have chosen, but interesting none the less.
The O'Keefe were two large paintings.  One was very abstract looking and had been inspired by a view of the land and rivers from an airplane.  I thought it was interesting that she would have that sense of beauty.  I am always taken by the views of land from the air and love watching the shapes and colors pass as I fly.
The other was of two yellow leaves
I am not a great O'Keefe fan, but the two ffeatured were fine.  I was more taken by Fishhook in Hawaii

Contrasted was a sea painting by the illustrator of Moby Dick, Rockwell Kent
I really was not attracted to either of these.  They did not capture the sea of Winslow Homer.

The docent also talked about this painting.
I am not a great O'Keefe fan, but the two ffeatured were fine.  I was more taken by Fishhook in Hawaii
comparing the shoeshine boy to the newsboy as American symbols of young people making their way from simple beginnings.

I did respond to this painting mentioned by the docent.
and the angles and shapes.  I have an angle and shape view looking out my bedroom door and I love it.
I also loved the angle and shape view I had when teaching at Harriet Gibbons when my room opened on to an old fire escape that looked out over Albany buildings and once in a while included church chimes.
She thought it was clear the author painted this when depressed, but both Elizabeth and I thought that was a stretch.
She did point out the interesting issue of light coming from many directions.

I do tend to gravitate toward paintings of ocean and forest, fishing and boats, and beautiful women.


The rest of the museum included all sorts of small collections of art and many pieces that grabbed my attention.  Once more I found that I could appreciate the French Impressionists and I best liked a view of the Seine. (left below)

Here I was able to take photographs, so I could better record what we were seeing:

Another exhibit was of Currier and Ives prints and it was fascinating.
Here were even some framed old calendars with prints.  And in the exhibit was a research room with reference books  like

  and a couple computers.  A person could easily sit here all day, surrounded by all the framed prints, and see and read about others.  We saw one representative wooden block too with all the letters and shapes in reverse.
The collection is permanent and every so often they have a larger showing of selected pieces. 
Even in Currier and Ives there are fish.  Here is trout and pickerel, although not a chain pickerel as we have here.

And yet another focused humorously on incidents in the kitchen, many depicting the adventures of "Gladys."   These were cartoon like constructions of bright colored shapes all presented at different angles.  I could not photograph, but here is an example and overview


Here are some of the paintings that caught the attention of my camera.

This boy is fishing.
Here is Paul Sample's "Church Supper"

This one is done by William Adolphe Bouguere in 1886.  It is called "Young Girl"  He painted many young women and girls in sweetness and innocence.


This painting by Adolphe Jourdan was just across the room
In this one a young girl is singing into her mirrored reflection.
Young Girl Singing into a Mirror
Jean Etienne Liotard, 1702-1789

This is a Winslow Homer.  Swinging on a Birch Tree

The painting inspired a poem






Still Life With Duck, 1764

Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin




Here is another:
Glouster Harbor by Glenn O Coleman

And there is a mural inspired by the work of Diego Rivera like the one we saw in Cuernavaca.  This one won a 1940's contest.  Next trip I'll catch the name and artist.

We had a quick lunch at the cafĂ© and found the prices very cheap.  Twelve dollars got us each a sandwich, bag of chips, and a drink.   We ate indoors, but there was a delightful picnic table area and I wished we had gone there. So we did to finish Dewey's tea.  The day was perfect for temp and humidity.

I was inspired here to duplicate O'Keefe's two yellow leaves

And I got carried away and also did one I call "Striped in color cup."

It was great to walk around the outside on such a wonderful day. 

Also outside in the park is what is called the Seuss sculptures.  They were interesting.

Casey would certainly like these.

Then we went back to the museum, but we were pretty tired and did not have the focused and energetic attention that we had experienced earlier.
One great thing about joining the Clark museum is that we can go for just an hour. We don't have to try to get everything in one visit.  No matter how wonderful the exhibits are, after a while our minds get jaded and unreceptive.

The second morning we went swimming again.  It was still cold but uncrowded and more comfortable, but I got too cold quickly and went back to the room.  My poor packing at Burden Lake needed an upgrade, so I rearranged and reduced for an easier pack.  Actually, at Dana's I was to just take some bare essentials to get me through the last day, so it probably was all unnecessary.

71st Birthday visit

NOTE:  At the end of this post it seems sometimes to repeat itself.  I can't quite figure how to get that out of the post.  My intentio...