The Road To Being Amazed

Go past the moon and turn left down the hallway,” were the directions I was given.

I looked into the face of the nice lady who spoke those words to me and replied, “And you are probably the only person on the planet who can give directions like that.”

I was at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for “The Art of the Brick” exhibit by artist Nathan Sawaya. This is the picture that is shown in most advertisements for the exhibit. I wasn’t sure where the exhibit was in the museum so I was told to go past the “Moon” exhibit by Luke Jerram. As you may have guessed there is a giant Moon hanging from the ceiling. I first saw this exhibit several weeks ago, but it was still impressive to walk past just the same.

Then my Dear Friend and I arrived at “The Art of the Brick” which is essentially art work created with Legos. Yes, you read that correctly, Legos. I must admit, my expectations were warm at best. Dear Friend is an engineer and has had a life long excitement for anything that you can use to build and create. I thought I would be amused at all of the bright colors.

Was I ever wrong! Before you get to enter the exhibit you watch a short video with the artist explaining himself. I won’t give you any spoilers, but I found Sawaya’s motivations and inspirations for his work quite interesting. Then we entered the exhibit.

It begins mildly enough with some Lego representations of famous works of art. Of course my favorite is The Scream. Some of the works are 2‐D, some are 3‐D, and some are life size. This is almost the look I had on my face as I began to let the artistry around me sink in, but my look was from amazement rather than from distress.

After touring the first room, then you get to see the pieces that fascinated me the most. What absolutely amazed me was the fact that the artist was able to evoke such emotions. Here are three examples:

These are just a few examples. If you have not taken the time to go see this exhibit, then please stop reading now and go.

At the end of the exhibit is a room where the kiddos can play with the Legos themselves. Be careful walking through this room, because there may be a few Legos pieces on the floor.

Of course what is a visit to the Museum of Natural Science without strolling through Hermann Park? My Dear Friend and I decided to stroll around the duck pond. We were serenaded by this friendly and vocal group of water birds that included several geese and one duck. A variation on the theme of “duck, duck, goose” maybe? If you have never been serenaded by a group of geese, then your life is still missing something. Apparently this group has received much positive attention from the humans strolling through the park and they are not shy about showing off.

If you have not stopped reading by now, I will again strongly suggest that you get yourself to Hermann Park now. Go now while the weather is cool and sunny.

You’re welcome.

Until next week.….

There’s Always Another Art Road

This past Tuesday, I walked into the Anderson‐Clarke Center on the Rice University campus pulling a cart filled with collage supplies. This building is home to the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies where I am enjoying taking a course on collage art. I am learning quite a bit from instructor and artist Ellen Orseck. I got on the elevator and thought about the day’s assignment on the way up to the second floor. However, as soon as the elevator doors opened, I saw a group of people working on an art installation. Actually there were two different works of art being installed. I quickly learned that this was part of The Sol LeWitt Project. This particular piece is called “Wall Drawing #869A.” I found out that the people working on this line drawing include both Rice University students and faculty, as well as Glasscock students and faculty. Also contributors to this piece on the second floor will include Susanne Glasscock among other patrons. I heard that this is the first time this particular work has been installed anywhere in the world.

After leaving my supplies in the classroom, I returned to the ground floor, where I observed draftspeople working on another Sol LeWitt piece, “Wall Drawing #1115: Circle within a square, each with broken bands of color”. While the line drawing is scheduled to be completed this week: the larger circle mural will be completed by the middle of November. The artists who are reproducing both of these conceptual creations are following detailed instructions left posthumously by Sol LeWitt so that others can continue to enjoy his work. Except for the fact that both of these works are going up on white walls, the process involved in each is quite different.

Returning to the second floor, I looked down at the work space being shared by the the draftspeople. Very organized and very well laid out.

Observing from this vantage point, one could almost reach out and touch the draftspeople; however, there are signs asking you not to do that. Take pictures and observe all you want, but don’t interrupt creativity in process.

As my collage class began, Ellen Orseck explained the project to us and told us about the conceptual artist, Sol LeWitt. We even walked down to look at the processes involved. Ellen explained that later that evening she would take her turn working on the line drawing.

She also has a painting in the lobby of the second floor. It is included in a collection of art works by instructors for the Glasscock School.

It is a real treat to take an art class in this building. I get inspired just walking through to get to my classroom.

The Wall Drawings Installation Opening Reception is scheduled for November 18th, 5:30 — 7:30. I can’t wait to see it. To learn more about the Sol LeWitt Project you can go to glasscock.rice.edu/lewitt. Or you can visit the Anderson‐Clarke Center and see it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Until next week.…..

The Road To The Moon And Beyond

I traveled into space twice this week! Okay, so they were virtual reality trips, but they felt and looked real. Good news! You can too! All one has to do is visit the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. From now through December 21st they have several exhibits that have to do with traveling to the Moon. One part is actually called  Moon Shot. There is one multi‐media exhibit that I will not even try to describe, but trust me you will be fascinated. Then there is one large gallery with works from several artists including Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. There are also several newspaper articles from July of 1969 and one even touted that we would be colonizing the Moon with the decade.

The entire exhibit shows not only the historical significance of the time and Rice University’s part in that history, but also the lasting effects on art, culture and society.

And, of course, I mentioned Virtual Reality trips into outer space. One of the VR trips is located in the big gallery. The other is in a gallery all by itself. Look for a door that looks like this:

Both VR experiences are great fun and each lasts about 15 minutes. I was somewhat hesitant considering that I have a serious fear of heights, but easily tolerated both adventures. Oh yes, there were times when I was floating in space. Yet I could feel the floor beneath my feet even if I couldn’t see it. I also walked on the moon and even landed on the sun.….without getting burned!

All of the exhibits in the Moody Center are free, however, there is a nominal fee for parking in the lot directly across the street. Well worth the time and money to be sure.

Also, today is Halloween and I would be remiss if I did not mention my new annual Halloween tradition. It involves both me and my Dear Friend going to lunch at 100% Taquito which is located at 3245 Southwest Freeway here in Houston. The food is really good even for a vegetarian and they really know how to decorate for the season. I’ll just post my pics below and you will see what I mean:

Until next week.….

Women Artists On The Road Together!

On Wednesday of this week, I finished an 8‐week collage course at the Art League Houston. It was taught, lead and inspired by Sasha Dela. Here is my final 3‐D art piece which of course shows Halloween art, because I love Halloween! As much as I love it, it pales in comparison to the works of my classmates. We were a class full of women all interested in expanding our artistic knowledge and experience. They were all wonderful and I learned so much from every one of them. So, in honor to my wonderful classmates and artists, here is the work they showed on the last day of class. All of the pictures were taken by me. They were sometimes taken at weird angles during our class critique. Please forgive my photography and I hope you enjoy the art as much as I have.

What a great group of artists! What a great group of women! I was so fortunate to spend my summer with them.

Until next week.….

3 Days, 3 Roads, 3 Adventures

Tuesday. Drove to Hermann Park with Dear Friend (DF). We wanted to spend some time outside on a beautiful cool day with art, squirrels and ducks. This particular park is a wonderful place to go for a walk. There are concrete paths, gravel paths, and lots of grass to walk on. There are also many trees, benches and picnic tables. DF and I walked and sat and walked and sat some more. We absorbed as much of the park as we could and committed it to memory. I took pictures with a real camera (as opposed to the camera on my phone).

This particular sculpture was a topic of discussion last year when I took the Women In Art class at the Glassell. The artist who created this piece was sculptor, Hannah Stewart. The title of the work is Atropos Key and is located on top of the hill at Miller Theater.

Since it was a weekday, there were not too many people. Foot traffic did pick up during the lunch hour with several people escaping an office setting to commune with nature. Some folks just walked and others sat on benches and visited with the ducks. Some folks walked alone, some in pairs and others in small groups. The squirrels kept an eye on everyone who wandered through.

Wednesday. DF was in the hospital getting ready for some surgery. Nothing major or life threatening, but necessary. Sometimes a road trip involves being wheeled around a hospital (or accompanying someone who is being wheeled around a hospital). From admitting room, to pre‐op holding room, to operating room, to recovery room, to hospital bedroom. I spent the day either by his bedside or sitting in the waiting room. Surgery was scheduled for 11:30 a.m., but he was not wheeled into the operating room until 1:00 p.m. He pulled through the surgery like a champ. Only a 5 hour wait in the recovery room before DF is moved to a private room. Once I was assured he was comfortable in his room and tucked in for the night, I left with the promise to return the next day to transport him home. Nurses checked on him every hour.

Both before and after surgery, we spent time in curtained cubicles where we caught some strange snippets of conversations.

A doctor said, “Your wound is safe. You could put WD40 on it and it still wouldn’t get infected. You won’t have any problem with a shower.”

A nurse said to a co‐worker, “No, it’s an hour and a half. Do not try to add another 1/2 hour to my life.”

A nurse said towards the end of the shift to someone we could not see,“I don’t like coffee. I don’t like the way it looks. I don’t like the way it smells. I don’t like the way it tastes. I don’t even like the look of coffee beans. Coffee is not my friend.

Thursday. DF and I had hoped for a hospital discharge by 11:00 a.m. No such luck. There were no more road trips around the hospital. Lots of waiting in the room. The nurse continued to visit every hour. Finally by 3:00 p.m. DF was sitting in a wheelchair on his way to the front door of the hospital.

Once out in the sunshine, we drove off in my car. We went to a drug store for meds and then to Brasil’s for an early dinner. I drove slowly through tree lined neighborhoods. Classical music played on the radio. Now life began to return to what can be considered normal.

Until next week.….

Rocking B’s

At the entryway to Oyster Creek Park, I spotted them.

Grandmother and granddaughter sitting on a park bench, bonding over books.

The thumbnail photo of this bronze sculpture caught my attention when I scanned Sugar Land’s Public Art brochure. Of the ten such sculptures in the city, this is the only one I really cared to see.

Something about young and old, innocence and wisdom, reading and sharing. And the precious grandchildren in my own life.

When I arrived at the park entrance, I found no hints—maps, signage, arrows, etc.—of where this pair sat.

On instinct, my eyes swept to the ten o’clock position.

How did I know to start at ten? Why not eight, or three or…

Intuition? Silly girl, I thought. Be grateful and walk toward them.

Along the way, I spotted alligators and paint‐can art. A dog learning to frisbee. A baby taking its first steps.

Picture taking and future blog posts. Of course.

As I walked, the bright‐shining sun and a clear blue sky sparkled on my shoulders. Seventy degrees, the phone tells me. Mid‐December? Winter begins in four days?

When I finally stood before the Grandmother and Granddaughter sculpture, B’s assaulted my vision: binoculars. book. bear. backpack. birds. bun. bench. braids. boards. buckles. blouse. buttons.

Twelve in a single shot. Why all the B’s? And why did I notice? Is that what real writers do?

I took a second picture of the sculpture.

Clean shot, I thought.

Only at home do I spot the next B. As in sunBeam.

The ray of sunlight was not there when I snapped the picture. I promise. 

When I saw the light, the word followed: Beam.  

My, that sounds like a song. Or a Bible verse. Egad. I digress.

Back to a photograph. We’re up to a baker’s dozen of B’s.

One final B surfaces as I stare at the image. It’s less obvious, but more special.

Bonding.

What happens when grandmothers and granddaughters Be together.

(Offered with heartfelt apologies to my writing teachers).

And now, we’re up to 15 B’s in a single Blog post.

Oops, that’s 16.

What a day for frisky, frivolous fun.

You’re lucky.

No F quiz follows.

Tis the Season for…Orange!

In these days of red and green, I cringe. Orange is My Color.

Orange orbs over Sugar Land.

Imagine my delight when this little orb danced into my line of sight. 

Its mutant reflection calmed concerns about aging handwriting.

Triple bonus came upon realizing this is my first‐observed orange Christmas decoration.

If this is the wave of future noels, I’m all in.

The exploding consumerism of the holiday season sickens me. I avoid malls and stores. I toss every catalog as it arrives.

Our house decorations are deliberate and minimal. Fireplace nutcracker. Santa moose. Seven‐inch white ceramic tree. German music box.

Red and green candles atop the dining table remind us this is the season to slow down, offer light, pay attention, and breathe deep. Ignore what does not enhance Life.

I call it a season for the senses: see; listen; smell; touch, taste. No cash required. No purchases needed. Only savory observation.

Like an unexpected orange Christmas decoration.

Selfie of “Selfie” — why, of course!

I’d gone to Sugar Land’s Town Center to observe our infamous “Selfie” sculpture.

The bronze piece outraged many people at its unveiling. Even Good Morning America featured the art. Why the fuss?

Selfie” is fun, engaging, and contemporary.

If we want to engage more people in appreciating artwork, we must experiment, modernize some creations.

Is that not partly why Lin‐Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” still shines?

The same answer applies to painting, writing, dancing, etc.–name your art form.

One of the models for “Selfie” is Morgan, the niece of fellow RoadBroad Kay Cox. After my traffic box post last week, Kay enlightened me about the prevalence of public art in Sugar Land.

My cosmopolitan pride needed the education and the reminder: it’s never too late to learn. And so, I returned to the road.

Since, I’ve wandered across Sugar Land’s parks, streets, sidewalks, plazas and bridges. A wealth of public art surfaced. Color‐filled traffic light boxes at 13 intersections. Another 18 installations of bronze, iron, granite, and glass in sculpture, mobile, monument, and tiled form, all encircling an old Brazos River sugar town. 

What about where you live? Is there public art? Please tell us more!

In seeing how other communities create their art spaces, we each learn. As we share with each other, we enrich both our communities and our own lives. Thus, change gains wings.

It’s not just stories we need. We need art. In all its forms.

P.S. Notice the orange shirt in the “Selfie” picture?

Unplanned for this blog post. 

Like that orange orb, floating katey‐cornered from where I stood.

Ah, another synchronicity of the season…