Art at the Art Museum

Of course there is art at the museum, you say, it’s an art museum, right? Yes, if we are talking about the Allentown Art Museum, where my husband and I attended the opening of a new exhibit yesterday But I want to tell you about something else we did on this outing – we made our own art in the art activities area, too.

The art session was part of the members’ preview event we were participating in for the exhibit Eclectic Collecting: Curiosities from the Vault. We went upstairs to the art room and found out there were two activities: linoleum block printing and making buttons (like the one they gave us at the front desk to show we were members). I was all set to get to work. I expected my husband just to watch, as he has never wanted to participate in this kind of thing, but to my surprise and pleasure, he said he’d like to do a lino print too.


We were given a small piece of paper about 3″ square upon which we drew our designs. Then we transferred them to our lino blocks (actually it was one of the versions of the easier-to-carve soft block, I’m not sure what brand). Then we carved and then we printed!

I’ll start with my work. You can see I printed several versions all together on this approximately 6″ square paper.

Now, here is my husband’s work.

I was so happy. I think it came out great and what’s even better, he enjoyed doing it. To the point where he said, yes, he’d like to do some printing at home. Now, remember, I’ve done art and art shows for 25+ years. My husband has never had any interest in doing art, even though he can build anything (including installing our kitchen) and repair anything from plumbing to electricity to, well, pretty much whatever you can think of.

So I am thrilled. I think we will really enjoy ourselves.

I am planning to get some linoleum for us to work on (the easy cut blocks are quick and simple to carve, especially good for an activity setting like this one, but real linoleum gives the best results for clear sharp lines and shapes, I think). At home, I have the tools and the setting in which to work with standard linoleum.

Here are some more of our efforts.

Next, we decided to try making a button. They had some premade designs we could have used, but we decided to draw our own on the tiny round circles of paper that start off the process.

After we’d done our work the instructor put them through the little machine to make buttons. You know, I was surprised to learn that if I wanted to make buttons at home, the machine was very reasonable in cost…no, I do not need to add on another activity for myself, though I do think they could be nice for art drop-offs…hmmm, I’ll put this on my list. Maybe someday…

But let me get back to results! Here is the button the museum gave us, along with our own efforts.

And, I want to say thanks! to the Allentown Art Museum and all the staff and volunteers who made such a nice afternoon for us.


On Saturday, February 5, my husband and I visited the Allentown Art Museum to attend the members’ preview of the exhibit Eclectic Collecting: Curiosities from the Vault. Here is what the exhibit is about, in the museum’s own words:

We knew we were going to see a lot of interesting things. And that turned out to be true, all right. I warn you up front, I will need to visit this exhibit again to get all the details, because lots of times I got excited about what I was looking at and forgot to photo the explanation cards so I could put some context to items in this post.

But maybe that’s a good thing, not having too much info for you to absorb. Let’s just go around the rooms the same way I did, marveling and exclaiming over the items set before me.

The exhibit is in two rooms. Here’s the larger gallery:

Did you see those giant clay vessels in the last photo? I was intrigued by these – they come from Pompeii and were set beneath the counters of ancient fast-food restaurants, accessed by a hole in the counter, and filled with wine or food items. I have just finished reading a book about Pompeii in which this kind of vessel was mentioned. What a treat to see them in person.

We spent some time examining these two cases:

You might be saying, “What are all those things?”, and that would be the point. They are all items that maybe are a bit mysterious to our modern eyes, their uses or functions buried or obscured in the past. The museum provided information via a video kiosk to help us figure out what what was.

For instance, in the second photo, see that red triangle in the back? As I understood it, a person would save the hair caught in their comb or brush and store it in this case, so that it could be used for other purposes, such as providing material for building up a puffy hair style.

And…maybe something else. Remember this topic for later.

Moving on. There was a collection of empty frames on the wall, reminding me of the kind of surrounds that the classical paintings downstairs in the museum are wearing.

But, I didn’t find out any more information because I was distracted by something I find enchanting: netsuke!

These little carvings are exquisite. An item of Japanese dress, they combine function with beauty. I can’t believe the delicacy and detail of the work.

Next we entered the adjoining room.

Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!

When my mother died we found a pair of shoes from the 1970’s that would have fit right in with this contemporaneous style:

I do not know why she kept her pair (it was a pair of green, blue, and fuschia pink shoes in a style very similar to this, including the chunky heels) for almost 50 years past their style date, but…obviously other people felt the same way about their footwear from that time, too. I will say the sight of these shoes really brought back the memories of a certain time all right.

I also liked these little cross-eyed child’s slippers.

Next, how about this? I liked the look of it. And reading the card, I think it’s a fancy lunchbox, if you get right down to it.

Next, bookmarks! As an avid reader, I was quite interested in these.

I’ve selected a few to show you. It is obvious that bookmarks were often made and given as gifts. Seeing this display I am prompted to want to make some myself…

Look at these exquisite tiny silver serving pieces. Just look. I was so taken by that silver chest full of tiny utensils. I also liked how they had some pieces displayed on what looked like to me a tiered tray piece meant for petit fours or pastries.

Next up, these gemstones, all polished up. There is quite an array (look at that giant amethyst, for example). And I noticed a moonstone, interesting to me because I remember, a long time ago in my childhood, a girl I knew had a moonstone ring she was allowed to wear to church. I wished so much for a moonstone ring like that for myself.

But…I looked for something special to me in this case and I found it. My birthstone, topaz. I love its warm golden sparkle. Always have.

Now. Remember when I mentioned the hair-saving container in the other gallery? And that I might want you to remember it? Here is why. This object is a wreath made out of hair. Yes. Way back in 1868.

It’s not to my taste at all. In fact I think it’s creepy. But there is no denying that in earlier ages people thought such an object was appealing and worth spending a whole lot of time making. Take a look at the work here.

Here is something more appealing to me – a collection of Scottie dog and poodle pins. I could have looked at this display for a long time. It just made me smile.

At the end of the gallery there was a display of vessels in different shapes and sizes. We were invited to find our likeness among the selection:

Guess what, with each item description there was a personality description as well. We didn’t know this when we chose our items – I only saw it when I reviewed the photos of the cards at home.

Either we don’t know ourselves very well or somebody picked characteristics at random, or…maybe we really are these people and just haven’t understood it to be so. Anyway, here we are.

My husband: (I need to mention that he felt none of the vessels truly fit his personality!)

And here I am:

I do like the part about how I am a good bet to make it through a zombie attack!


All right, I’ve shown you our experience of the exhibit. We plan to go through it again and examine our favorites more closely plus I am sure we’ll find some new details that will intrigue us in other pieces. I enjoyed seeing items that I did not know could exist (that hair wreath, for instance) and things I don’t come across in real life (netsuke; the tiny silver serving pieces; the bookmarks). I am once again amazed at all the variety and color and exuberant life that our world has to offer.

Thank you to the museum!

I’m feeling a vibe here…

It’s a simple story. My husband and I stopped by his office over the weekend to pick up some items and in the parking lot – there was this piece of art.

In fact there were a couple of them, similar but not the same. A series? But this one was my favorite.

All right. In real life, it’s a sun-blistered sign in the parking lot, affixed to a brick wall. The weather is freezing cold right now, but most of the year, this sign bakes in the light and heat, and look what happens! A nice color scheme, a pattern of craquelure, and that black pen section which differentiates this piece from the other one.

I really like the look of it. Thought you might too!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ardmore-sign-1-22.jpg

Washi Day

My husband and I are members at the Allentown Art Museum and I am sure you remember some previous visits I have described. They put on a lot of interesting exhibits as well as offering activities in which you interact with the collection (remember the Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt?)

We went to museum on Saturday, October 9, for the members’ preview of a new exhibit, Washi Transformed (which opens on October 10 and goes until January 2, 2022).

I also signed up for the members only art activity to be led by a local artist, Anthony Smith.

We arrived at our timed ticket reservation spot at noon and viewed the exhibit first. All I can say is, Wow! and that I will be returning to look at the art again. There is so much beauty and intricacy, it will take me more than one time to take it all in, I think.

I’m not going to write a lot about the art but instead show you some of the works. Although here is the introduction statement in the gallery, which can give you some background.

All of the art involves washi papers in one way or another, and as you can see, there are a lot of ways it can be used to express form, emotion, and just something beautiful to look at. The exhibit is laid out in two rooms upstairs, one larger than the other.

I took a lot of photos, more than usual. With my eyesight problems, I cannot always take in the details well. I thought if I had photos of the works, I could study them better at home, especially when it came to small details, that I could enlarge.

Here are some items from the larger room.

This large structure featured indigo-dyed paper panels suspended as you see in the photos. You could go inside. To me I felt as if I were in a sky full of stars.

This is a detail of a framed work in which the artist had pleated the paper and then dyed it indigo so that there were patterns left by the pleats – then cut the paper into squares and sewed them, like a quilt.

These large panels are a traditional Japanese form. The lamp in the second one is also constructed of paper.

This grouping was my favorite of the show. I love the colors. And the array looks like a school of happy fish to me.

These two pieces were made by the same artist who did the “fish”. The orange one is quite large and made of attached repeating sections; the little green one (that looks like a building to me) is at the opposite end of the scale.

The soft glow and the gentle shapes of these rounded lamps gave me a feeling of peace.

Here is a view of the second room:

And here is a close-up of one of that group of red sculptures to the right.

The same artist made these bowls; the paper fibers start off at the bottom as being in a braided pattern, very tight, and then blossom out into the free-form look at the ends.

And here is my other favorite in this show (yes, guess I had two favorites…) – this group of white organic forms, also made by the same artist (as the red group and the bowls). The forms are made int the same fashion – braided and woven tightly at the bottom and relaxing into their wild-haired personas at the top.

I loved looking at this group. It’s just beautiful and I liked the idea of restrained growing into free.

To me it was a metaphor for my life – when I was younger I was held in by many restrictions and responsibilities. Now—I let go, or things drop away, and though it is not always a happy process, it is a freeing one, too.


Then it was time for the art activity. My husband did not attend – he looked around at other exhibits for a while and then went out for a short walk around town.

I went into the activity room right off the main exhibit room. We sat down at tables – here is mine (including my purse, it looks like).

I’m going to be honest, I am not exactly sure how the activity fit in with the washi exhibit (though we did use some washi tape). But it did not matter, because I had a great time and so did everyone else.

Essentially, I believe the link was that we were working with paper and using it to create art, in this case, collages. The instructor had some people templates for us to use as figures in our compositions (one of whom looked like Carl Sagan, as the instructor pointed out, and after that everyone who used that figure referred to their character in that way) – setting them in an environment, clothing them, etc.

Everyone fell to work and found it absorbing and fun, I think.

I tried very hard to follow directions but I was unable to do so, and since I have reached my antique age I feel less and less worried about the implications when this happens (though I do try not to disrupt the class, because I know from teaching classes myself, it is hard to cope with a student who goes off on a tangent and is loud about it). I did stick with the theme of a figure, but I got drawn away by the magazines we were using – Bazaar, and all its clothes and people! Here is the final result:

Then, since I had some time left, I went on to the second suggested activity, a vertically-laid-out landscape, loosely following Japanese landscape principles, maybe or maybe not…

At the end we displayed our work – here is some of it:

Thank you to the Allentown Art Museum for this exhibit and all that it brought to me. I found the exhibit works to be beautiiful and prompting reflection. And, for the activity group, I just really enjoy being in a group that has the hum and buzz of people contentedly creating art.


The other day my husband and I were driving around and we ended up in Collegeville, home of Ursinus College. You may remember a visit we made to the Berman Art Museum, which is located on campus, earlier in the summer.

While we were there we noticed this large smokestack with what looked like writing all over it, but we didn’t have time to eaxmine it. On this day, though, we did. Here is what we saw.

It’s the creation of Katie Merz, serving as artist in residence at the college in 2020, and the work was done in fall 2020 to commemorate the class of 2020, whose year was cut off so abruptly by the pandemic. I won’t go into the process: the museum has a very complete site on the work, its meaning, and how it was done, plus info on the artist. Look here.

I’ll just show you the photos I took, instead. You can enjoy the graphic look of the chimney and then you can delve into examining the symbols and deciphering their meanings. It’s something to see, all right.

Museum Visit – the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College

A nice summer day on June 27, and what to do with ourselves? My husband and I spent part of it on the campus of Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, about 30 minutes from our house. We visited the Berman Museum of Art and toured the campus to look at the sculpture collection that fills the grounds.

This small liberal arts college has a big art presence due to its benefactors, Philip and Muriel Berman, who donated art and facilitated the founding of the museum in the 1980’s. If you want to know more, look here. I’ll keep moving on to our actual visit today.

We walked across the quiet campus (I can recommend it for a nice peaceful experience), looking at some of the sculptures. Sculpture was an important art form to the Bermans and evidence of this is all over the campus. There is a map and guide to the sculptures alone and a tour of the grounds to look at them is worth a trip in itself.

On our way we stopped at the labyrinth and did a walk.

This labyrinth featured a pattern I had not encountered before. Additionally, the lines of demarcation were not high contrast with the body colors. It was therefore necessary to pay close attention to the experience in order to follow the pattern. I liked how that worked out in practice, and I also enjoyed looking at the pattern the spirals made as a whole.

We arrived at the museum.

I had to wait outside for a few minutes while my husband went back to the car for his mask (turned out he didn’t need it) and noticed this face looking up at me:

Was it meant to be a work of art, underfoot? I don’t know. A companion a few feet away had no such personality:

I choose to believe that however it came to be, the little face was meant to be noticed, and I am glad I did.

Once inside we chatted with two students who were manning the information booth and learned about the exhibits currently running. I will show you my favorite one.

It’s called MAPPING CLIMATE CHANGE: The Knitting Map and The Tempestry Project. It’s a two-part experience, but both sections involve the use of knitting/fabric/tapestry to map out a visual picture of time and the environment. Here are the materials used.

In the first section, The Tempestry Project, knitting is used to depict, through colors, the changes in temperature/weather over periods of time. Each knitted strip represents a different time frame. Some strips covered decades and some one year. Others showed the changes over a large geographic land mass, the US, and then moving down to our state, Pennsylvania.

I found this concept fascinating and I began to wonder about doing something along these lines myself. Not just weather/climate change, but also, how this concept could make a visual diary of all kinds of subjects that evolve over time. Hmmm…

In the next gallery, the exhibit continued with The Knitting Map, a project done in Cork, Ireland, about 15 years ago. In this enormous textile, the variables are the weather and also the time of day. Weather conditions and the level of activity in the city were broken down into knitting stitches and colors, so that a rainy cool day at rush hour was depicted by a certain combination vs. a hot sunny day at the quiet time of dawn would be another combination. About 2500 knitters participated to make this fabric.

It’s truly monumental, isn’t it?

Taken together, the two rooms gave me a new way to envision the passage of time and how things change, and it is a way that I myself could take and apply to something in my own life or experience. I found the idea very exciting. I also took in the message about the environment in a way that I had not before, as a continuum that unrolls as time goes on. A lot to see and think about here today.

For information about the exhibit from the museum’s website, look here.

A Visit to the Delaware Art Museum 4/24/21

Well, the title of the post tells you the topic. Now, let fill in some background and then…I’ll give you a tour.

The pandemic has jolted me into action. What do I mean? Well, before March 2020 many patterns in my life were ending and I had not had much success in picking up the threads and beginning new ones. Flip the calendar pages to April 2021 and without going into the tiresome details of all the thinking and reflecting I have done in light of the severe shaking the past year’s events have given to my emotions and worldview, what has come out of it is this:

Stop wasting time. Get busy and get moving.

Maybe I have oversimplified it a bit but believe me, you’re happier with the short version of the plan rather than a line item discussion. Suffice it to say, my idea is, if I can get out there and do it, and I want to, well, then get moving. We don’t know how the future will shake out. Maybe things will get a lot worse, maybe they will be fantastic. I will do my best to enjoy the right now.

Luckily, I like doing all kinds of things. I’m especially interested in the everyday details of … almost anything. It’s just a matter of focusing my attention and looking around. Something will come to mind. It always does.

For this Saturday, April 24, the idea ocurred to me – let’s see what’s happening at the Delaware Art Museum. I’ve had the thought in the back of my mind for a while, prompted by a couple of other trips to the area in recent months.

So we hopped in the car and zipped down to Wilmington, DE.

Beautiful day. Here is the front of the museum, the central portion. It has a wing to the left I didn’t show –

and a studio school to the right and…

a pleasant sculpture garden (you could walk around it for free, if you just wanted a nice stroll)…

and there is also a labyrinth. More about that later.

Before I go on, here is my history with this museum. Back in my art career, in the late 1990’s, the museum sponsored a wonderful outdoor art fair on its front lawn (the other side of the building than I have shown you). The museum was much smaller then – they’ve done a lot of additions since then.

I loved doing this show. We participated for several years and stopped only when the show was discontinued when they began construction of the new wings.

Now I’ve got to admit something. In all those years the only time I stepped into the museum was to visit the bathroom and pick up lunch in the cafe. Well…I was working, and I couldn’t take time out from the booth to take even a peek inside. So…this was my first official visit to the museum.


All right. Our first stop on this tour was the Collecting and Curating Exhibit. As the photo shows, it is a selection of new items arranged in themes. I loved this exhibit – the juxtaposition of objects and hanging art from different times but having a common thread – what a great idea. We really enjoyed comparing and examining the items in each section for their thematic connections and that in turn focused our attention so that we enjoyed each object rather than skipping along, as I tend to do in collections when the items are similar and I get tired.

I forgot to take photos of any items, except for this one pair of hand-embroidered shoes (from the late 1800’s, I believe.) My goodness, what intricate needlework, and what pointy toes!

We next visited the American Contemporary collection. In three large spaces we were taken through realism into abstraction. Realism first. We spent time look at the Edward Hopper painting with its intriguing characterization. And then –

My husband and I were both really taken with this painting, called “The Bouquet”, by Hughie Lee-Smith, 1949. There is a story (or more than one) to this painting and it drew me in, my imagination working…

The next two spaces progressed into more abstract works. Take a look:

Next, we went downstairs and took a quick look at a section devoted to John Sloan. The painter’s second wife, Helen Farr Sloan, was a major benefactor of the museum and her donations of her husband’s art and papers make this museum very important in the study of his work. She was an artist herself. I plan to look up her work. I was not much interested in that of John Sloan, I confess.

Finally, we looked through the Pre-Raphaelite collection, which came to the museum through the donations of a wealthy benefactor, Samuel Bancroft.

I have little interest in this style. It seems to me that most of the paintings are of women who have a lot of hair and are feeling droopy and depressed or else in such a daydream that you want to snap your fingers in their faces and get them moving again. So I focused on the extraneous details in this area, I admit it.

I was taken by the colorful walls in the exhibit (to fit the aesthetic of the artists’ movement, which included William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rosetti.)

I was also very interested in these two chairs. Look how low they are to the ground. Now, they are not on display – they are meant to be a rest stop for patrons with tired feet. Oh my. I just loved them.

I did see these clay objects that made me smile. A lot.

All right. One more thing to show you. On our way out, we walked over to the labyrinth. You may remember that I love labyrinths. If I visit a place with one I want to walk it. This labyrinth was very special. Look.

It’s located in a former reservoir. Here it is, with my husband walking the path.

When we arrived, there was a woman meditating in the center. She was happy to talk about the structure and it was clear she came here often. Then a young couple came in. Together we all walked the labyrinth. I have never done one with other people in it. It was a cheerful experience.

And…the woman told us to listen as we neared the center of the pabyrinth. Because of the circular walls, voices carry and echo. You might feel that a person across the circle is speaking just behind your shoulder, it sounds that close. What a nice effect.

Well, that is the end of our trip. We ate a picnic lunch near the car and got on our way home. What a nice day.

Hope and Healing, 2021

This weekend my husband and I visited the Hope and Healing exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum.

The exhibit features artwork by high school and college students with the theme of providing hope and healing through art to those who are ill or injured or facing health issues. After the exhibit the artwork is offered free to any health office, hospital, or other healing site, so that the images may comfort and calm those people who are in need of it at difficult times in their lives.

The exhibit is an annual event of Healing Through the Arts, an organization founded by Heather Rodale after her encounter with cancer. Here is the exhibit’s explanatory statement:

This exhibit is very meaningful to me. If you have followed this blog for some time, you may remember that back in 2013-2014, I had a series of health problems, surgeries, and difficulties that honestly almost sank my ship. With the help of doctors, therapists, and most importantly, friends and family, I recovered, but it was a very long journey.

I first visited this event in 2014 and it made a deep impression on me. I was probably at my lowest point around that time and the messages of the art’s hopeful images and the written artist statements came back to me in later weeks as I struggled to manage each day.

I visited again in 2016, when things were better, and I wrote a post about the experience. As I read back over it I am reminded of those dark days of my life and the hopeful thread that this exhibit has represented for me over all the years. Even being able to go to the exhibit in 2016 was an act of recovery for me, something I very much appreciated.

Now here we are in 2021 and the entire world is in need of hope and healing. When I saw the notice for the exhibit I made it a priority to attend.

Here are views of all the art:

And now I will show you some that struck me. Let me say up front that each artwork in the show is heartfelt and outreaching. Each artist put obvious care and thought into the work, and all the images speak to the viewer. The artists also presented a short statement about their pieces, and I was struck by the emotion and the personal nature of the inspiration that went into these pieces. I would welcome the sight of any of these images as I waited for a medical procedure or in a doctor’s office visit.

Cats always make me feel better. Here are a couple that caught my eye.

I think I missed getting a closeup of this artist’s statement for this next one but it involved the calming effects of wrapping the twigs and sticks with the yarn, which were then arranged in this composition. I am planning to try this myself because of that I saw and read here. It struck me as a meditation and art, all at once.

I read a lot. I have done so all my life. This next artist captured what for me is the magic of reading – you truly can be lost in a book, or travel, or be enlightened, and all of it takes you away from the cares you may have, including those associated with illness. As they say, priceless.

in this colorful piece, I did feel happier looking at the colors and designs, and I think the artist’s goal was met!

The colors and the intricate shapes of this next piece were to me, very calming, as my eye followed not only the overall look of the image but also traced through the spirals of the quilled paper. I would like to try this myself as once again I would imagine it to be a meditative calming process.

This piece was my Viewer’s Choice. From across the room the image pulled me over to look at it – something about it really spoke to me. When I read the artist’s statement, I wished I could tell her in person that her painting has a great message and it visually called on me, loud and clear, to look at it with enjoyment and to reflect on what it was telling me. I am so hopeful that in this year we can all maybe remember more of this emotion.

Butterflies express hope and transformation. I especially liked the one that was just emerging into the world. A small start of a new life, a small beginning that will grow. And I like it that the person is paying attention to this little event. As the artist says, appreciate the simple things in life.

I’m ending with another cat. I was very struck with the softness of this image in contrast to the inspiration of the ceramic figurine. And I really liked the idea of the stillness of the cat providing a way to still the spirit in the middle of a chaotic situation. I had never thought of things in that way and I feel it will stick with me.

Well, that’s just a sample of what I saw. I am very grateful to the Healing Through the Arts organization for this event. It was more than just looking at art, for me. I came away with a sense of rebalancing myself in this very confusing world we are in right now. Thank you.

Valentine’s Day at the Allentown Art Museum

Valentine’s Day, and what do you do? Well, if you are my husband and me, you go to the Tour Of Love at the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, PA.

You may remember a couple of weeks ago we visited the museum to see the recently restored and reattributed Rembrandt painting, but today we were going to focus on the theme of Valentine’s Day with an art scavenger hunt along the lines of the Mystery at the Museum we attended here back in October.

In that event the artwork came alive via a character or theme in each artwork who stepped out on to the museum floor in human form. Today, the artworks spoke for themselves through their depictions of love. Let’s get going and I’ll show you what we saw.

We arrived in Allentown on a cold day. There is still a lot of snow on the ground. I’ve shown you a view of the arts park across the street. Not a place anyone is going right now!

We entered and checked in for our timed ticket. Museum volunteers were there to greet us, and we learned we had won a prize in the raffle. We received our prize bag but I decided not to open it until after we had done our tour, so we checked it, and we picked up info that would help us on the Love Tour. Excuse the crumpled look of this paper! I did refer to it often and it suffered a bit.

Between this info sheet, a map, and an activity sheet, we had what we needed to find the artworks. Even more helpful, they were marked with a heart on the wall next to them. I’ll show you what we found and what we thought.

Untitled (Man and Heart), by Keith Haring

I’m not a big fan of Keith Haring but I always like seeing this sculpture. It reminds me that sometimes love is heavy lifting, but keep a good attitude and you will find a way. Or, that love can fall on you and you can catch it, just be ready. Or, bend your knees, flex, and toss your heart into the world to add your little bit of love to it. There are a lot of meanings to this image and that is why it is always illuminating to see it – I think it changes each time with every new outlook I can find in it.

Right next to it was this picture below, Chicken Coop, by Greg Weaver. It wasn’t part of the love tour but both my husband and I were really struck by it. I’m not that interested in chickens, or farms, or sometimes even scenery, but this scene is lively and fresh and really drew me in. I love the interplay of the colors. And look at the thickly-applied paint. You know, I might not have noticed it in such detail if we had not stopped for the adjacent piece. Maybe a little bit of love spilling over?

Next up, Pilgrim’s Grace, by Henry Mosler. This picture illustrates the love within a family. I do believe there are a lot of emotions among the various members of this family, and some of them look even a bit despairing, but they are here together and that is something, isn’t it? I will admit I was most taken with the cat sitting over there on the stairs. That detail tied it to today for me – a cat could be found looking just like that in any home from today, and it reminded me that people feel and think much now as they did then, no matter what the clothing or setting changes.

These next portraits depict a married couple, a very well-off pair. It’s easy to get caught up in the clothing and accessories again here – I think these outfits are ridiculous and the ruffs in particular make my neck itch to look at them – but…the people are individuals with strong personalities that shine through, past the fashion distractions. The portraits make me wonder what their voices sounded like, or if they laughed at jokes with a giggle or a belly laugh, or if they liked to travel or were happier at home. That is the magic of portraits. A little window to a past person, long gone, maybe, but here and alive in front of me.

Strick Wedding Portraits, by Paulus Moreelse

I showed you this picture in my previous post – it’s Mother and Child by Thomas Hendricksz Keyser. The title tells you all you need to know – this image depicts the love between the two. I like this picture very much. The pose is one that has been repeated in innumerable baby/mother portraits, isn’t it? And it makes the scene feel fresh and familiar.

I do think the baby’s outfit is wildly impractical, but then, this is a special occasion, isn’t it? I also like the details of the baby’s cradle and the wicker basket.

I’ve walked by the next picture in the past, giving it a quick glance, but today, I focused on it, and it came to life for me. It’s called Mary and the Studio, by Sidney Edward Dickinson, and it depicts young love – the protagonists being the artist depicting himself here, and the sitter, Mary, first his subject and muse, and then later the woman he would marry. What a romantic story.

I also noticed the portrait of the older couple in the back. I thought of how that couple was once a pair of young people in love, too. My husband then read the information card on the wall and told me the older couple were the parents of the artist. So there are two generations of love here, or so I choose to believe. I know I will be visiting this painting again, now that I have an insight into it beyond its deatiled depiction of an artist’s studio of the 1920’s.

These two paintings are a diptych by Kay WalkingStick, called Blame it on the Mountains III. I can’t say the image appeals to me at all, but I was interested in its story – it commemorates love that was later broken, showing a location where the artist shared a romantic getaway in a relationship that later failed.

What I found most interesting is that this artist often pairs paintings that show different viewpoints or aspects treating the same memory, feeling, incident, or idea. I found that concept interesting and it gave me something to think over for later.

The last work on the art tour was this one, Dona Negra, by Rigo Peralta. It depicts his beloved grandmother, illustrating the love of family and friends. This painting is very detailed – my photo does not do it justice – and you feel this lady’s big personality and presence from across the room. I would have liked to meet her.

We finished up the day by visiting the Rembrandt portrait again and then we went upstairs to see again the New Century, New Woman exhibit of dresses from the era 1890-1920. I love this exhibit and we spent quite a bit of time examining the dresses. Again, I am amazed at the workmanship and style this clothing has. (If you want to see photos, look here at the post from my previous visit – please. You will really enjoy these dresses!).

On our way out, we talked with Museum staff and then I opened my raffle prize. I was thrilled. This glass heart paperweight! I love this iridescent green color. I’ve brought it home and set it on my desk; I am looking at it right now.

That wraps up our visit. I am appreciative of all the work the Museum puts into these events. I enjoy them, I learn, and I relax and escape into many different worlds in just one afternoon’s time. Thank you, Allentown Art Museum! We will be back soon.

Art Drop-off 1/7/21

Here we are again at the Pennypack Trail, this time near the Moredon Road crossing.

I left the array of tiles on the info kiosk there.

With this drop-off I’ve given out all of the approximately 200 tiles I made back in the summer, I guess it was, of 2020.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.