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The Art That Owns Me
Some people own and collect art. The art in my house, however, found, collected, and owns me. Come take a peek into one part of a private mini-art museum's captive visual mind.
As Light As A Feather
Facing my side of the bed, each day, I can't escape thinking about the weight of married love. Several times a day, it asks me:
"Is the weight of your marriage as light as a feather, or a ring of love weighing you down?"
Even after forty years of married life (and three different husbands), the answer changes -- sometimes daily, sometimes almost hourly. I wouldn't have it any other way in terms of keeping it real.
Black on white, with shades of gray, just seems more appropriate, than had the artist painted the subject matter in color. While marriages can be rich and colorful, the details of a relationship, always fall in the reality of black, white, and shades of gray. Framed under glass, the glint of sunshine at certain times of the day, plays with my detained mind
The relatively unknown artist to the rest of the world, from the Hebei Province in China, gained control of my purse strings the moment I saw this drawing.
Broken Hearted Piano
In our formal dining room, hanging out above Mam'maw's antique buffet and my little hoard of murano and venetian glass, that I made my husband hand carry from Venice, Italy -- is a bitter sweet oil canvas painting. It's arrested my heart, even though it's no great work of art, just an adequate rendition of one central great life-truth:
"Addictions can rob people of dreams and talent from the admiring world, and those who love them anyway."
I've lost quite a few people I loved the most to some of life's addictions. They'll never be who they were meant to be, or perhaps never know what they missed. The message of the oil painting will forever encapsulate the sadness that I feel for them. We who shared their world, or continue to walk with them, still miss the real person hiding behind the facade. Perhaps, the piano knows what I mean and all the names of those I'm talking about?
A Dream of Harmony
If it's possible that reincarnation exists, or that some dreams can be real events that happened to you in another life, then my Charles Lee's oil painting that dominates our informal dining room, taunts me with such thoughts.
This heart arresting abstract with a hint of traditional and neo-classical, combines a opulently gold foil textured wording, sheet music from Ludwig van Beethoven's Bagatelle Opus 126 and Ernst Christoph Dressler's Nine Variations on a March, with scenes from 19th century Pierre Auguste Renoir classics -- like Dance at Bougival, Country Dance, and City Dance.
A lifetime ago, I had the most vivid dream of being the woman in each of those dances and the wife of the artist. No dream, before or since then, has been remembered in my awake hours in such detail ensnaring detail. I awoke, not as if recalling a dream, but as though I'd finally found something dear that I had lost a long long time ago. The painting seized control of my bank account and was worth every penny I paid for it.
Even The Poorest of Us Has Sweet Dreams
Sometimes a subject in an oil painting can grab ahold of you, this is how I felt the day I came across a young Chinese street artist, who was painting the little girl with the smile while she slept on the street.
Having traveled to some of the poorest of poor neighborhoods in several countries, I can not help but look at that painting, and know a universal truth -- that even the poorest of us own sweet needful dreams.
I walk down our entrance hall and glance at the sleeping babe and wonder:
"What do you dream of little girl? Is it a pantry full of food? A home for you and your family? Do you dream of a toy? A way out of poverty? Where are you today, little one?"
My Butterflies Are Always Blue!
They wail not for me, but for your mother and you.
Breathing a dialect
Of a cryptic
Your twenty-first century
May not detect.
Clamoring for the
Nature of things that can only
Be felt Knowing you may
Look and know not
The name of all quintessence
That came before you.
The secret is out, I'm crazy about blue butterflies, as this early poem I wrote years ago indicates, and the painting by Alen J. Fox testifies. I've only met the artist once, at Pleasure Island -- but without a prelude of conversation, he looked me up and down, and to my shock said:
"Do what you love . . . .love what you do."
While his statement may not be an original thought, one that we haven't all heard many times before, it stopped me in my tracks. I was wrestling that very day with what I should be doing in life. What could I do, but shell out the price of his painting? Again, the art collected me, not the other way around, as I had gone there to go to escape reality at the movies, not buy art.
Where's Your Earthly Heaven
Sometimes this painting mocks me:
"Just where is home? Is it where you live? Where you come from? Maybe, it's where you've been? Or,is it just someplace in your heart that you'll never go back to again?"
Well, I've lived in and been to so many places, it's hard to know the answer. I guess for me, home is where the people I love are, so that may be many places -- all at the same time. Since I am only one person, that certainly presents a dilemma.
Sometimes, however, a little painting is more than what you see with your eyes. This small picture is eye candy to me, in part because I see one of the most peaceful places I've ever lived in. To me, it's just a common scene of a typical West Virginia stream, with nothing to distract you from the older-than-dirt mountain sounds of forest and stream. There are some days when I wish I was in just such a place, even if it's just for a little while.
I'm also sure it's a statement about missing our West Virginia farm, a feeling which occasionally surfaces for this country girl gone city. True to my Pisces birth sign, I'm a fish swimming in both directions, because I love both the wild outdoors and city life, and understand that I can never be wholly content in either.
The artist is well known to me, as she is Ginn Navarre, here on hubpages, and writing great hubs is not her only talent. However, I might be prejudiced, because after all, she is my, and my brother Den, and my sister Ryanobie's mother.
Pink Roses on Red
When my son, living over twenty thousand miles away in Hong Kong, first married, there was a dream that he, his lovely wife, and I all shared -- when they announced their engagement in a visit -- the future babies they'd bring to the family.
Both the large oil paintings above and below, were a daily reminder of what possibilities the future would hold. For me, back then, they represented some questions:
"What kind of life would my future grandchild have in a world split between two cultures? What would that child look like, considering the dramatic differences between my six-foot-four angular blond son, and our not even five-foot tall exceptional beauty of a daughter-in-law?
From the beginning, the seed of knowing that I wanted to commission a painting using the same theme of the pink roses on red blanket, for any children born to them, took me into custody. Now, that Afia Maxine Elizabeth has arrived last year -- that seems more a possibility, than just a grandmother's wishful dream.
So, the paintings have taken on new meaning. They are now a daily reminder of why I need to continue plodding on in learning to speak Chinese, which is no easy task. The other grandmother, who lives there speaks only Mandarin. With Afia's birth, we are tied together for generations to come. Being the older and better educated, it is my responsibility to learn to speak her language.
The End of the Rubber - 1934
The newest painting to take custody of my mind and heart, is an unlikely one, that I found for a couple of bucks being sold on the roadside. It was sitting outside of a pickup truck being sold by a woman who was destitute, trying to sell off personal possessions to make her rent for the month.
It was so dirty, that it was almost impossible to distinguish the subject matter. There were two things that spoke to me in making the purchase -- the fact that the frame appeared to be as old as the painting, and the fact that beside the author's signature was the date -- 1934. For two dollars, knowing nothing about the artist, the oil painting gained control of my day.
The artist appeared to be Frank Moss Bennett, an artist of considerable note, whose paintings can fetch several thousand dollars. However, after researching it, in reality, I believe it now to be the genius of a Timothy Eaton Company reproduction.
In order to verify that fact, I would have to separate it from the original frame, as below the fake copies, on the rim of the painting I should find the words, "Printed in England." These are really good and old reproductions from the mid-1900s (worth about $300.00). It makes perfect sense that one would have made it's way to Florida, as they were widely sold in Canada, and we have a tremendous number of French Canadians who winter here.
The painting to me represents the fun I have lugging home art from odd places, researching them and the artists. You never know what you'll find, and along the way you learn a lot -- sort of how life should be lived -- open to the possibilities of new surprises and new knowledge.
Collecting art doesn't have to be expensive. The least I've paid for a painting was a mere twenty-five cents, for a fishing scene, that someone unknown painted on the back of a piece of throw-away cardboard.
Of the paintings I've featured here in this glimpse inside my thoughts and art collecting world, most of which are of museum size -- I've only paid a few hundred dollars for only one of them. In fact, in most cases, I've got more invested in the frames, than I do the actual paintings. In all, the art that owns me right now, consists of about thirty pieces, all clamoring for my attention to their ever changing inspirations.
I look at art as an investment that may not pay off in my life time. It's also about investing in the artists, who may not be well-known, but deserve the encouragement of a patron. I rather like the idea of having an art collection, knowing that once home, the art makes our family's world a lot more colorful and thoughtful.
If You'd Like To Know More!
- Analyze This! Renior - Wet Canvas
- Frank Moss Bennett Artist Biography - Rehs Galleries, Inc.
- Murano glass galley Art of Venice: vases, vessels, sculptures, goblets, venetian crafts
Murano glass gallery. Goblets, vases, vessels, sculptures. High quality glass made by venetian master glassmakers