Marathon Day 2014

For the first time in years I went to cheer on the Boston Marathon runners today. It’s a glorious day, and standing at the 23 mile mark I was amazed by the energy of the runners and delighted by the spirit of the crowd cheering them on.

The sounds alone were fantastic. A tuba and bongo drumming combined with the clangs of countless cow bells and loud whoops and encouragement from the crowd — who stood 3 and 4 deep along route. As I walked along in the direction of the finish line, the crowds got bigger and louder. Many people offered water bottles to the passing runners and a cute little boy held out a bag of orange wedges.

It felt wonderful to share the joy of the event. The resilient people of this city, and visitors from far and wide, needed this great day and made it a great day.

People everywhere wore shirts with statements of strength and support. But one shirt I saw said it all for me — Nothing is Stronger than Love. 

New discoveries at two very different museums

In the last 2 weeks I’ve been turned on by amazing art at the ICA in Boston and at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. I am happy to share some of the memorable pieces I enjoyed.

The ICA’s current special exhibitions are outstanding. Nick Cave’s sound suits and his newer sculptural works knocked me out. The inventiveness of materials and forms, his colors and concepts, were delightful and exciting.

I also discovered the incredible work of South African artist, William Kentridge at the ICA. His pulsing Refusal of Time installation was fascinating and mesmerizing. If you get to the ICA, plan on spending at least 20 minutes taking it in. Equally exciting for me was seeing his monochromatic and varied works on paper. Imagine my delight when I visited the Barbara Krakow Gallery a few days later and saw another group of wonderful pieces by Kentridge. I intend to continue to explore the work of this marvelous artist.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of taking a day trip to New Hampshire to spend time with a dear friend. She told me the Currier Museum would be a treat but I was surprised by their eclectic and impressive collection. My favorite discoveries included paintings done in the middle ages, including one portrait that looked amazingly modern. I loved walking through the gallery of modern art that included stunning works by Picasso, Matisse and O’Keeffe. And, we spent a lot of time in a contemporary gallery that included a standing mobile by Alexander Calder, a large Joan Mitchell painting and intriguing sculptures by Louise Nevelson and Marisol. Savoring a cup of tea was especially enjoyable because the dramatic cafe space was framed by a pair of enormous, colorful paintings by Sol Lewitt. 

I hope you can plan an excursion to a great museum or gallery soon. When you soak in the beauty I predict that you’ll start to notice and enjoy more of what is in your every day surroundings. And, your emotions can become fuel for your own creative expression.

Let me know if you come across wonderful new art and where you’ve found it.

Creative fun with kids!

I was completely delighted to do an Intuitive Painting session with a great group of children at the Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot School in Boston. The fantastic team of City Year corps members who work at the school invited me to be a guest at their after school enrichment program. I loved working with all of the kids — 15 second through fifth graders participated.

After having everyone do a few free drawings, accompanied by upbeat music, I gave the kids individual assignments. These ranged from ideas like drawing confusion, to drawing a great dream, to dividing a page to show both excitement and frustration, to drawing a fabulous morning. After doing two assigned topics, they finished the series of 5 drawings with a free one — and the results were a blast. The kids created with joy and enthusiasm.

After everyone completed their 5 drawings we broke into small groups and several kids worked to create a single large drawing together. Each group had a different theme. It was great fun watching them fill the large sheets with color.

I am grateful to the staff at YA and to the City Year team for the invitation and for their help to make this a great experience for a great group of kids!

Desert inspiration

It was a great treat to be able to escape Boston’s brutal winter weather and explore the desert of Arizona for a week. Nature provided an amazing array of inspiring visual treats that captured my eye and will surely be fuel for upcoming creative adventures. 

In spite of the cold air back home, looking at these photos brings to mind both the warmth of the desert and the pleasure of coming upon each of these spectacular moments of delight.

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7 minutes of brilliant creative inspiration!

On a trip to New York over the weekend I was tipped off by a friend to the Dance on Camera Shorts Program at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. I am a dance lover, but never knew about the emerging art of dance captured on film. That’s where the appeal of attending the program began.

There were 12 excellent films in the program, but one completely blew me away (and garnered the loudest applause from the packed audience). Boris Seewald’s short film, Momentum stole the show.

I was excited to find the film online and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you.

The film is 7 minutes of pure genius. It’s a great film creation, but the reason it excites me so much is the story it tells (and shows!) about how creativity can start from a moment as small and insignificant as picking up a tortilla chip. Really. Incredibly.

I hope I've peaked your interest, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

(I think you'll also enjoy seeing more of Boris Seewald’s work, which I was glad to experience.)

Wire and light — a magic combination

While on a wonderful holiday trip to Paris, we spent the afternoon at the Pompidou Center and nearly wore out our feet visiting the museum's amazing, enormous contemporary collections. Alexander Calder has always been a favorite, and when I came upon this wire sculpture, Josephine Baker IV, vers 1928, I was simply delighted. Next to the piece, an old movie clip was playing of Baker in performance. The sculpture, together with its shadow, creates a sense of Baker's dance moves and distinctive personality that we saw in the old film. 

Among the many other delights we came upon was a large work by Alighiero Boetti, an Italian artist, whose dramatic and varied work we first experienced in New York at the Museum of Modern Art in the summer of 2012. The scale, color and detail in Tutti (Everything) are fantastic. The 1987 work is part of a series that was embroidered by Afghan refugees in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of their own country. Boetti entrusted the execution of his design to the embroiderers, distributing 84 colors and a finite amount of thread for each.

And, seeing a marvelous portrait by Henri Matisse, Fillette au chat noir (1910), that was new to us, was a treat as well. Matisse was a master of color and this portrait totally charmed us.