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Pin Me ~ Week Seven ~ from my Things To See at The Met Board

19 Feb

So for week seven of my Pin Me project ~ 52 weeks of actually doing something with my Pins ~ I selected a pin from my Things To See at The Met board.

My Sweetheart gave me a membership to The Metropolitan Museum of Art last year for Christmas and it was one of the best presents I ever received! Whenever we travel, we always go to a museum. My favorite museum abroad has got to be the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid. Beautifully arranged and filled with so many treasures. If you do nothing else, go to see the more than 140 paintings by Francisco de Goya.

I loved my membership so much that I asked him to renew it this year for Christmas (and squee—he did!)

It was very cold on Sunday and seemed like the perfect day to go to the museum (but really, when isn’t it a good day to go the museum)? I had wanted to see the current Matisse exhibit (through March 17, 2013) again. We had taken friends at Christmas time and I wanted a second round to enjoy.

Since we were there to see new stuff and old favorites, I decided to look up one of my pins: The French Comedians by Antoine Watteau (French, Valenciennes 1684–1721 Nogent-sur-Marne) currently on view in Gallery 616.

Comedians

The French Comedians

It is a delightful little painting that combines two of my favorite subjects: theatre and art.  It’s one of those treasures that if you don’t pay attention, you may walk past it. But it’s worth finding on your next visit.

John Singer Sargent ~ Madame X

John Singer Sargent ~ Madame X

Speaking of visits, I’ve had over a year to explore the museum and I still have yet to see all the galleries. The permanent collections have taken a back seat to the fabulous limited engagements. I try to see at least part of a permanent collection when I go but I have so many old favorites that I have to visit (such as John Singer Sargent’s Madame X) that trying to fit it all in a day can prove difficult.

The friends we took in December got a whirl wind tour of the Met. They want to go back (twist my arm) and take our time visiting about three galleries. If you allocated an hour to each, that gives you enough time to absorb the beauty and read the little stories behind the paintings. It also allows you a few minutes here and there to sit down on the benches to give your feet a rest.

If you’ve never been to The Met, it is a marvel. It can be overwhelming trying to decide what to see (Asian Art, Musical Instruments, Drawings and Prints, Egyptian Art, Medieval Art, Modern and Contemporary Art to name just a few). If you really can’t decide, my suggestion would be this.

Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco

Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco

Begin in the Patio from the Castle of Velez Blanco. You’ll find this larger than life size patio which was constructed in southeastern coast of Spain, made its way to Paris where it was sold to George Blumenthal who brought it back to his townhouse in New York and upon his death, was gifted to the Museum.

From there, make your way through the Arms and Armor section so you can see the suits of Armor on your way to The American Wing galleries which are three floors tall.

There are so many amazing things to see in this gallery including the entire room that was built around the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. This is the place where you will also find several John Singer Sargent paintings (the most important one being MADAME X).

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Washington Crossing the Delaware

While you are over there, stop in the gift shop on the first floor and pick up a copy of STRAPLESS by Deborah Davis. It’s a fascinating read about the painting of MADAME X. If you forget to get it here, no worries. You can pick up a copy in the main gift store where you came in on 82nd & Fifth. They recently put in a bench near MADAME X, so you can rest a bit before you walk across the entire building to the 19th and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture.

These are the 800-830 galleries that house many of the famous works you’ve come to know by Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Matisse. You can pretty much stand in any of the rooms and spin around and see paintings you’ve seen in books, magazines and movies.

There are lots of benches in these galleries so take the time to take it all in (especially Gallery 822 where you can view Monet’s Water Lilies).

Monet's Water Lilies

Monet’s Water Lilies

Then head down the stairs (or the elevator) to the first floor and take in the outstandingly, beautiful Greek and Roman Art gallery (150-172). Seriously, you can’t possibly go wrong with Greek and Roman statues.  Make sure you make your way down the hallway to the Cycladic Islands statues which you’ll find in Gallery 151.

Greek statue

Greek statue

This will also put you back next to The Great Hall where you began your day’s journey three hours ago.

Please let me know about your adventures at The Met and what pretty little treasures make your heart flutter.

Haven’t been to The Met? What is your favorite museum and why?

My Happy Thang: Anytime I step foot in a museum.

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Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolution Set You Up For Failure

3 Jan

My sweetheart and I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. We go for a very, relaxing massage, then it’s time for yummy Thai food and board games with our friends. Sometimes we host. Sometimes they host. But it’s a fun, casual way to spend the evening just enjoying one another’s company.

At the end of the evening (actually, it was the early morning), I asked what their New Year’s resolutions were. She shrugged and said, “I don’t have any.” He made a disgruntled face and said, “I don’t make them anymore because I never keep them anyway.” 

He wasn’t my only friend that wasn’t participating in this yearly tradition. I felt the same way a few years ago, but I think it’s because we set our goals too high. New Year’s resolutions have become extreme edicts whereby we promise to drop 50 pounds by June 1. Where we will no longer eat carbs, drink soda and we promise to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. We’re going to save $10,000 in the next year and we will single-handedly bring about world peace.

Well no wonder we feel defeated before we ever get started.

Two years ago I decided that my New Year’s resolution wasn’t going to be so specific and demanding. I wouldn’t put a strict guideline on what I was or was not going to do. I was going to  make it broad and general and when the moment presented itself, I would make that resolution come true.

In 2009, my new year’s resolution was a quote. “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

On January 1, when I made that declaration, I had no idea what that was. I only knew that in the next 365 days I was going to attempt something.

In August of 2008, a director/actor friend and playwright/producer friend and I sat on my patio furniture and talked about wanting to finally do the work we wanted to do. Yes, we all had success with other theatre companies, directors, producers, etc. and we had enjoyed the work we had done. But we longed to do the things we really wanted to do. The roles we hadn’t played. The shows that we wanted to direct. The venues where we wanted to produce. So in April 2009, I wrote a comedy about the pitfalls of social media. About the same time, the three of us got together again and decided to make it happen.  That year, I wrote, produced and starred in not one, but two of my plays in NYC. Could it have failed? Well, sure. But did it? No. Because I didn’t even let that thought enter my mind. We played to a sold out run.

In 2010, I decided to go the way of the quote again. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  – Harold Whitman

On February 8 of that year, I opened my Etsy shop.  I had been wanting to sell online and Etsy made it so easy. With them doing the nuts and bolts of having an online presence, I could concentrate on my artistic endeavors. This was also the year I was selected to be part of the Estrogenius Art Festival in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have three of my paintings in that art show.

It’s with no surprise, that I have decided to keep with my quote tradition. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution: “She decided to start living the life she had imagined.” (I believe this quote is taken from the book “She” by Kobi Yamada).

I’m excited! I have an entire year to do all the amazing things I have imagined doing. I’ll paint more. I’ll read lots. I’ll go to Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch. I’ll float in my pool and leave the dusting for tomorrow. I’ll wear more sparkles. I’ll learn to walk in heels. I’ll cook new recipes. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I learn to play the cello.

Happy Moment of the Day: That after all those holiday cookies, eggnog and delicious dinners out….I am still 40 pounds thinner than I was 2 years ago!

9 Things to Do On a Rainy Day

16 May

We’ve had so many rainy days these last couple of weeks that when the weatherman said two days of solid rain, I thought “oh joy”. BUT, then this is spring rain that brings May flowers and green! green! green! My backyard reminds me of the time I spent traveling in Ireland that’s just how GREEN the rain has made everything today.

Here’s some rainy day ideas:

1. Put on some really (and I mean really) upbeat music and dance wildly around your house.

2. Curl up under a warm blanket with a GOOD book.

3. Make a cup of coffee or tea and watch the drops fall and think of nothing at all. Great stress reliever!

4. Take a “cat nap” with your cat, dog, fish, chincilla, snake (err…ok, maybe not that last one).

5. Visit a museum.

6. Drag out those boxes of pictures you are going to put in an album or scrap book one of these days. Smile and laugh at the memories.

7. Clean your closet. You know you need to do it. And a rainy day means you won’t be tempted to go play in the sunshine.

8. Shop online! Especially on Etsy where you can support the endeavors of artists worldwide.

9. Write a letter to a friend or family member. An actual letter. Not an email, not a text, not a sticky note. Get out some paper or a card and grab a pen. Getting a letter in the mail is a thrilling experience.

What do you like to do on rainy days?

Happy Moment of the Day: In honor of today’s launch of Endeavour, Flutes From Space http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=61427791

Random Fact #314

31 Mar

Flamingos are naturally white. They get their pink coloring from the food they eat (such as shrimp if they are in the wild). Zoo flamingos are often given feed that has food coloring added to it.

I don’t know that this is actually the 314th random fact that I know. I just thought it sounded cooler that way.

I am full of random facts thanks to my one summer of teaching an art class to five-year-olds. When it came time for their nap, they always wanted to hear a story. The only reading material that was available in the room was National Geographic. It put them right to sleep, but it filled me with all kinds of tidbits of information that I have carried around with me, like the aforementioned flamingo fact.

I’ll probably share some others in future blog posts. In the meantime, enjoy the pretty picture of the Florida flamingos. And should you be on Jeopardy and asked about their pink coloring, well, just make sure you give props to me…well, and National Geographic, of course.

When Are You Most Creative?

25 Mar

I was out really late last night at a concert which somehow managed to mess up my sense of which day is was–surely today was Saturday. Right?  I suddenly had the urge to paint. 

Funny, I hadn’t thought about painting all week. During the week, I think about writing. Something about Monday-Friday makes we want to edit my second novel and get my game plan together for Script Frenzy, which begins in (gasp!) a week.

But when the weekend rolls around, my creative juices take a sharp right and they want to leave the laptop behind and dig into material, ribbons, paints, jewelry findings and glitter.

The rules are wee bit different for my photography. Inspiration for that seems to come when I see it. Even when I venture out to specifically find it (like this past fall when I went leaf peeping). I drove around for hours but only stopped the car a half a dozen times to capture that look or moment in time.

Things that make you go hmmmm…

When are you most creative? Is there a particular day of the week? Time? Environment? Do you listen to music? Need a big cup of coffee? Do you schedule your creative time or do you just let it flow organically?

I shall be putting my computer aside this weekend for my paintbrushes. So I leave you with this quote from Mahatma Gandhi:

“Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you.”

Get Your Sunshine In A Photo

23 Mar

We had beautiful weather on Sunday, the first day of spring. Now just three days later, we have six inches of snow. Sigh.

It’s actually really beautiful clinging to tree branches and gently falling in that way that just makes you want to make a cup of cocoa and stare out the window. But we’ve had quite a lot of this winter so it feels more spirit dampening than anything.

GeorgeMichael tweeted today: “It’s 18 degree in London. If the sun is shining where you are send me pics of your gardens…beauty can be healing.”

By golly, George! You have something there.

I jumped on the computer and started opening all of my photos from travels to the Caribbean. And something miraculous happened. My snowy blues went to sunny smiles.

I have a plethora of photos that show white, white sand and blue, blue water. Palm trees. Hammocks. Sand Castles.

A Window With a View in St. Croix

But this one stuck out. The colors are vibrant and eye-catching, but I really liked it because I was seeing that view through a window. 

How often we glance out a window and never stop to appreciate the view.  So I decided to look out my window again today.  After all, if I could love the white, white sands couldn’t I also love the white, white snow? 

It’s the best of both worlds. Enjoying my current view and then, when I need a little pick me up warmth, enjoying the view through my lens.