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Loving Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Lagoon view, Cleveland Museum of Art, Clevelan...
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I’ve always loved art and art history. Beyond the art itself, I love to learn about the time periods and the life and times of the artists.  Museums are perfect for this and our day trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art in the University Circle area of Cleveland was superb.  We all left with our favorites from our first trip which I’ll entertain in this blog.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is huge and half-way through an enormous expansion, which will leave it even bigger in five years.  It was almost overwhelming to try to see just the second floor in 3 hours or less, especially because we wanted to appreciate each piece and read about all of them. I was trying to read the information cards on each piece to the kids and Emma had a barrage of questions that I was answering. I felt as if I was trying to teach 15 years of school in half an hour, because I was not just teaching art, I was teaching history, mythology, religion, culture, customs, economics, design, wardrobe…..

We chose a few of our favorites from this trip and we hope you enjoy them too:

Nassem loves Early American History and Colonial History. He enjoys the history of New England, the colonies, the formation of America. His favorite piece of art was an oil painting by Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865) called “Harbor in Boston with the City in the Distance (1846-47, oil on canvas).”  The electronic photo of the painting, below, was taken from the blog of Henry Adams, professor of American Art at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He writes that Lane’s paintings are now costly and very rare, but he was able to secure one from the descendant of its original owner who purchased from Lane.

You can also few the piece on the Cleveland Museum of Art website at : http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?type=refresh&csearch=Artist%20/%20Maker:Fitz%20Henry%20Lane

He also liked the painting called “George Washington at the Battle of Princeton (1779) by Charles Wilson Peale. He said that in all his research on the Internet he sees this one pop up frequently. He loves everything Presidential. Addie thought it was neat because Emma has been drawing all sorts of her own versions of George Washington since learning about Presidents on President’s Day.   Peale painted George Washington many times during his career. The Cleveland Museum of Art houses this in their colonial section.

When asking Emma what her favorite part of the museum was she just yelled a resounding “everything!!” She was partial to the Van Gogh paintings though. She knows he is one of my favorite painters and was very excited to learn about him this year in first grade art class where they were tasked with drawing their own “Starry Starry Night” by Van Gogh.  She liked the color that Monet and Manet and other Impressionists used in their oil paintings and appreciated the colors and dreamy look of the Van Goghs. She came home and drew her own rendition of some of the Van Gogh paintings they had such as, “Adeline Ravoux (1890, oil on fabric).”  Van Gogh painted this portrait of the 16-year-old daughter of an innkeeper where he was staying  just two months prior to when he died, and was quoted as saying that it wasn’t really a photographic resemblance but “wanted it to convey impassioned aspects of contemporary life through the use of the modern taste for color.”  She is a little green and blue, which Emma picked up on since her rendition of the lady looked a little like a blue person from the movie “Avatar.”

You can view Van Gogh’s painting on the The Cleveland Museum of Art’s website here:  http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?pid=%7B91ADCD8F-992A-45A5-8599-70835467DF5E%7D&coid=3526974&clabel=highlights and below is Emma’s version.

For me, Claude Monet is another of my favorites. I love the Impressionists. They have a lot of nice Monet, as well as other Impressionists at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  My favorite of the day though was “The Red Kerchief (1873, oil on fabric)” by Monet (French, 1840-1926). I love anything that is like the old fairy tales and it reminded me and Addie of Little Red Riding Hood.  In actuality, it is a painting that Monet did of his wife, peering at us through a locked door as she bustles by looking cold or scared. It was a few years before she died and many people interpret the painting as having been representative of the problems in their relationship (he was in love with another woman). However, it formerly was of a couple looking into the door, until he repainted it as his wife.  Other people find it representative of the Impressionist movement and their issues with being accepted by the art world at the time, as they were refused gallery shows and their work rejected frequently.  Either way, it was a painting that he kept with him till his death in 1926. I love the use of the brush, the texture of the stroke, the use of color so that the red just pops out at the viewer.

View it on the Museum’s website at: http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?type=refresh&sliderpos=2

Addie said her best time of the day was seeing the big horse and knight dressed in armor. She takes after her mommy and daddy!  Their armor room, called the Armor Court, is amazing. It is full of all kinds of Italian, Spanish, British and more armor pieces and the top of the room adorned in beautiful tapestries.  Tim said this room was his favorite as well.  Though the museum has a great medieval collection located on the first floor, this Armor Court is up on the second floor with the European art

View an up close and side photo of the knight and horse in armor on the Museum website at: http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?type=refresh&sliderpos=2&searchoption=1

We also had the opportunity to view their new exhibition “The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art” which just opened today and will be on display until August.  It consisted of beautifully light and airy ink drawings on screens and cloth, as well as gorgeous bridal gown that Addie liked (but felt it might be too big for her) because of its vibrant colors (still vibrant though many hundreds of year old).  Emma was enthralled by how whole words were drawn using one calligraphy symbol.  Their poetry was not just words, but art flowing onto paper.  The Museum writes, “The show features every art form, including painting, calligraphy, and craft, that transformed Chinese lyrical aesthetics in the Korean Joseon period and in the Japanese Muromachi, Momoyama, and Edo periods.”  You can view more info here:  http://www.clevelandart.org/visit/Exhibitions.aspx

All my children are little budding artists and I hope trips like these inspire them even more. Here’s some bad camera phone photos of the kids with several Van Goghs:

I can’t wait to let you know what our favorites are from our next trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art of another art museum! Who is your favorite artist or the best art museum you’ve been to?

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Love is Universal!

“The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.” ~Henry Miller

The day for LOVE, more commonly known as Valentine’s day, is upon us. I try to not look at this day as “only for lovers” but make it about sharing love with many of the people in your life that your value and hold dear.  Of course, we should do this everyday, but planning it in is always a nice way to make sure we really are showing the ones we love that we care.

Below are some images that exude romance for the one that you truly love in your life….your spouse, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend. Let them allow you to meditate on that person and be reminded of your inner most love for them.

Possibly, you might just think of your parents, or your dear friends while taking a moment with the photos. And that’s ok too. There are many other people who we love in our lives. Love is universal and can be a language we all speak.

Love is intertwined emotion,
balanced by the sands of time,
ever increasing in meaning,
forever grasping life and soul.

Love is the reality for living,
it guides us like ebb and flow,
it is the only thing to save us
when the whole world seems to
leave us alone.

Love is the ageless friend,
always churning newness and hope,
our best assest for peace and giving,
our only real reason for living.
~by Erin Al-Mehairi, 02/11/11

 

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Finding the Missing Socks to Make Pairs of Socks in 2011

I know that everyone is writing the proverbial “what I plan to do in 2011” blog, but truly, it’s great to get goals down on paper. It holds you more accountable for trying to get them done. I have a few things on my mind, but I’m not going to take up this blog by listing 1-10 of New Year Resolutions. Only God knows the real plan right? I just want to get my life straight. I’m willing to be flexible and take it as it comes.

2010 was the first year of me being solely self-employed/full-time Mommy. It was a year of inconsistencies and struggles, but to my delight, many people found me “very put together” and “accomplished.” Not really, I’m just great at PR and try to stay up beat. I think 2010 was a happy year for us for many reasons, but also a very hard and emotional year.  We have a lot of family issues, we have financial issues we are still trying to clean up from our divorces, my abusive marriage (abuse includes financial abuse) and Tim losing 3 jobs in 3 years. I quit my job because I became very ill even though many chose to not believe just how ill I was. We continued to raise 3 children the best we could, wiping many tears and potty training one.  We tried to form and run 3 different businesses, and Tim started to write several novels.  We made a lot of mistakes along the path of 2010. Mostly we were just trying to clean-up our life.

For 2011, I wish for God to truly lay on my heart, or continue to lay on my heart when I get sidetracked, just what I am supposed to be doing. If we need to stay in Ashland awhile longer, I wish for the ghosts of my past to go away. I hope for friends who truly are a part of your life and I wish for family to see what awesome kids I have and they are missing out on.  I wish for small town small businesses to understand PR and the nature of what I do. I wish for clients that we could help without giving 24 hours of our day away to them to not be paid or for them to decide to do something else instead, or as in the case of many Tim met this year, to just disappear. I think in 2011, we’ll just focus on writing. Writing articles, novels, and an occasional press release. My goal for this year is to finally get my children’s book underway and maybe even completed! The rest of my time I’m going to devote to my Breathe Beauty Art and Photography business. I’m going to continue to take photos and make them beautiful. Find ways to sell more prints and notecards without being spammy and continue to love this as being what I can do to help my family. I want to keep painting more and doing art with my kids. And speaking of kids, I am going to continue to put my kids above all other work or functions. Everytime I start to step back into the rat race right now, God reminds me that He needs me here with them. He needs me focused on them, and time for the other will come. He reminds me of my burnout on social activities and ladders, functions, etc. I will continue to moderate my time in 2011 until I see where our life is going.

I hope and pray that in 2011 Tim can finally decide or have his life take a turn to where it needs to go for our family. He’s searching for a full time job where he can get out of the house every day and I hope that he finally lands one, while still finding time for his part time business writing job, writing his novel to completion this year, and finding time to help me out at home and spend time with us. I know there are big changes coming for him, and this is another major reason why I need to be focused at home until we know where our life is headed or how our schedule will be.

Have I quit dreaming? No. Coming up with idea after idea? No. Less enthusiastic about making a difference in the world? No. It just means that my kids need me and I’m diligently doing what God has asked me. It also means I am balancing my time so that I can keep feeling healthy and not struggle again to the point of debilitating myself. I am excited to spend time with the kids and continue to work with photos. And more than that, I am excited to make time to start writing again! I’m excited for time to be creative!

Wish me luck. Tim has done a lot of the laundry for the last few years as I struggled with my health but it is time to finally find all the mates for all the single socks floating around the house. I feel they’ve been away from their partners for much too long of a time.

Happy 2011, and don’t stop following your dreams….but listen to God and listen to your soul. Sometimes it knows best!


Ashland University’s Miller Hall: A Rememberance

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As soon as I heard that my alma mater Ashland University, in Ashland, Ohio, was going to remove Miller Hall from campus over their Christmas break, I knew I needed to head over to take a few last photos. I’ve been on a mission lately with my photography to not only capture nature in all its splendor, but all the history that the outdoor world brings also. Another passion of mine is history, so coupling that with photography is natural.  The beauty of historic houses and buildings, finding the small pieces of them that exude vintage and have remained fairly untouched over the years, is such a passion of mine. Photographs  are the only visual window into our past and assists our memories in the future.  Something untouched now may be invisible tomorrow. 

I went to Ashland University, graduating in 1997. I really only ever had some business and economic classes in Miller Hall and a few English courses in the basement.  Mostly I walked by it every day and night on my way to or from the Arts and Humanities building, which housed many of my communications, art, and foreign language courses.  However, I thought about my mom, who went to Ashland University and graduated in 1960, all those older alumni who may have a more ingrained remembrance. I thought about the bustling of the campus in 1922 when the building was built and housed the library and some classrooms and offices.  I thought about the alumni’s memories of the campus and the beauty of the way buildings were built back then.  I imagined Ashland University in the late 1800s to 1920s and how the stone buildings looked spread over a larger area with lots of land. 

With Miller being the oldest building on campus, it still holds on to some of that history, with the stone above the front doorway, and the top turret.  In taking photos of the major historical parts of Miller Hall, a great nostalgia was preserved for life. 

This post is in no way written to chastise AU for their decision. It is completely understandable when a building would take over $6 million to just renovate for usable classrooms, not offering a chance to even expand it. It will open up hopefully a great new space for a building to complement their wonderful art and humanities courses and professors.  I’m just glad that I took the photos to sustain its memory and offer little pieces of the building, immortalized in archival photo paper, glass and frame, to those who want to hold on to some part of its history.

With all this said, look for more post in the future talking about older buildings and houses and capturing their memory in word and digitally.  If you’d like to order any of my various shots of Miller Hall, please e-mail me at breathebeautyartandphotography@hotmail.com for options in price, size, and framing.

 To view ALL the Miller Hall photos, go to the link below to my Facebook fan page, you can still view even if you don’t have a Facebook account, and if you are on Facebook please “like” my fan page.

Photos:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/updates.php?id=114104011984418&sent=1&e=0#!/album.php?aid=18365&id=114104011984418