Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


VanGogh in America

I got to see the VanGogh exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Art Wednesday, thanks to a friend who had tickets. Given the show is sold out I feel very lucky.

We’re here!!!

My husband, two friends and I drove down to Detroit in the morning, a few hours before our ticketed time to view the VanGoghs. We wanted to wander the rest of the museum first because there’s so much to see there.

Waiting behind the Q-line to turn into the parking lot for the DIA.

We saw a lot of really interesting and pretty stuff in the couple of hours that we wandered the other galleries.

Mother and child, one of several we saw during our visit.

There were a lot of sculptures, many of them were Mary and child. But there were others as well.

In the middle of a room, surrounded by huge paintings stood a pensive Abe.

And of course lots and lots of paintings, from different periods of time and from all over the world.

I loved the light in this, and his face as he looks at the image of someone he loved.

We visited one of my favorites, which turned out to be one of my friend’s favorites as well.

This is a wedding dance, with so much going on that you could stand in front of it for a long time and see more and more.

But we were there to see VanGogh, or Vincent as he signed his work, so I’ll show you a few of those.

This one, the Novel Reader, is involved in a court case to determine just who owns it. You may have seen that story in the news.

Most of his famous pieces were there, but I was just as interested in those pieces I hadn’t seen before.

This one, called The Picnic, reminded me of my parents who went on a picnic for their first date and have a photo very similar to this painting.

Some were small, in different mediums that his big oil canvases.

This was the only watercolor I saw in the show.

But of course there were a lot of large oils as well, including this one that isn’t what you think.

Called Starry Night, different than the other starry painting we’ve seen so often.

I loved the rows of trees in this one, they reminded me of the olive orchards in Italy. Turns out they were olive trees in France outside the hospital where he lived for a year.

I loved the blues and greens with the hint of red, all tied into the trees and shadows and movement in this one called The Oliver Trees.

I loved the faces he painted as well. I could sit and study them for hours.

He couldn’t afford to pay for models, so he painted himself, more than 40 times.

But of course we had to move along, there were plenty of people waiting behind us.

Another of my favorites, called A Pair of Boots. I have a photograph of my husband’s boots on the porch that I’ve thought about painting…

The whole thing was just so much fun.

So much to see…

Thanks to my friend for the tickets and to both friends and husband for the good company!

Called A Field of Poppies, this made me smile.


Remembering covid victims

A friend alerted us to a project happening now in Washington DC, where thousands of white flags are being planted near the Washington Monument, one flag for each victim of covid.

Getty image, found on NPR website

The installation will be there only until October 3rd, so we won’t get to see it in person, but you can see pictures at the project website.

You can also submit information for your loved one lost to covid at that site, through September 30th, so that they can be part of this event. We have submitted information about my brother-in-law, Denny Morgan.

It’s a beautiful way to keep their memories alive for all of us.

I encourage you to visit the physical site if you’re in the DC area, or online if you can’t get there. There are more images on the NPR site.


Edit: Go to the project website above, and scroll down to the Covid Lost Loved Ones map. You can click on any of the hearts on the map and see the story of the individual. Click on a few. You will see how this virus doesn’t discriminate. The loss is heartbreaking.


An arty evening

Our instructor in the beautifully painted art room.

Last fall I was looking for a local acrylic painting class and I stumbled across something called art journaling. That particular month the description included instructions for people to bring their favorite pair of old shoes to class.

I, not knowing what art journaling was, found the request for shoes intriguing.

I emailed the instructor and asked if she planned on having the participants walking or jogging or perhaps doing calisthenics while doing some sort of art project? She replied with a lot of lols.

No, the participants would be drawing their shoes and embellishing them with bits of paper or scraps of poems, maybe photographs, to describe memories or events that made these their favorite shoes.

Arranging bits of my holiday.

They do this in a journal, and month after month they meet to create different projects, explore different memories, all the while making art.

Well that sounded fun.

So I went, way back in September to one session and had a good time, and then travel and other life events interfered and I missed the next meeting. And then the holidays hit and I accidentally fell asleep the evening of the November session.

A little bit of Christmas.

So here it is January, and we met again, this time having collected bits of paper that reflected our lives. During the class we tore that paper up, doodled on it and glued it all back together again.

Well hello Dolly!

These photos were taken in bad light with my phone, but you get the idea. The whole two page collage represents what I did during the holidays. I saw the musical Dolly, I volunteered with Little Brothers at Thanksgiving, I wrapped gifts for Christmas.

It’s not great art, but it’s fun art and very relaxing. Plus the other women there are all funny, smart, welcoming and happy.

The finished project.

Just the perfect way to spend a dark winter evening in the middle of January.

Detail of the art on the wall.


Come visit the Detroit Institute of Arts!

Have you ever visited or lived in Detroit?  I know most of you have heard things about the city.  Probably not good things.  Heck our football team can’t even get us good press.  So let me show you something beautiful that resides in the city; a gem of a place that we are lucky to have.

Enjoying the art.

Enjoying the art.

The DIA as we like to call it, is at risk because the city of Detroit is in bankruptcy and everyone is looking for assets to sell in order to pay off debt.  Just this past election counties outside the city voted to increase property taxes so that funds could be sent to support the DIA, but even that is not enough to guaranty it is safe.



Let me show you a few of the treasures we found inside this past Sunday.  When we first arrived we joined a short tour where the docent explained a few of her favorite pieces.  It’s amazing what you can learn in a few moments listening to someone that understands the art.

Imported Photos 00054 (Small)

Even if you think you don’t like this sort of art it’s worth going to your local art museum and taking a tour.  You might be surprised by what you turn out to like once you know a bit about it.

One of the galleries had several paintings by Picasso.  I was struck by the progression of his work over time.

Melancholy Woman.  1902

Melancholy Woman. 1902

Woman in Arm Chair.  1923

Woman in Arm Chair. 1923

And this one I like a lot, sort of reminded me of my library days.

Girl Reading 1938

Girl Reading 1938

Seated Woman.  1960

Seated Woman. 1960

There were 4 or 5 of his pieces hanging together.  You could see them becoming more and more abstract.  I never knew I liked Picasso until I saw his work all lined up.

Sunday my favorite painting in the museum was this one:

Wedding Dance.  1566

The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel approximately 1566

There was something about the joy, the distribution of color, the movement.  Can you find the bride?  We couldn’t.  Turns out the bride is the only woman there without a headdress.  And she’s wearing black, which was the custom back then.  Do you see her now?  She’s in the middle left, about 1/3 way up.  See?  You learn something new all the time!

The DIA has lots of classical art but lots of modern art too.  Some of it was interesting, some of it was strange.  Some made you think…

Play ball!

Play ball!

…some made you think “why is this art?



But the other big thing we have at the DIA are huge famous frescoes depicting the auto industry done by Diego Rivera.

Over the top amazing.

Over the top amazing.

The art is beautiful; the two main panels show laborers working in the auto industry.  Other panels show advancement in sciences and medicine.

Working on the line.

Working on the line.

I enjoyed watching the people as they walked into the huge room and began to notice the detail, the stories that were being told, the history, the beauty of the place.

Look up there!

Look up there!

This museum is less than an hour from my house.  I’ve only been once before, and then only to see a special show.  I’ve never wandered around, never stretched myself to stand in front of something I didn’t understand and ponder, never checked the back of corner rooms or explored around the next corner before.

I’m glad we went.  Granted we went in part because there is a possibility that all or most of it will be gone, sold to raise funds for the strapped city.  We might have procrastinated for more years if not for the fiscal crisis.  Still, it opened my eyes to what is there.  I know we will go back.

Sculpture and landscape.

Sculpture and landscape.

Look around your community.  What has always been there that you take for granted?  What have you not visited lately?  Or at all?  Maybe you aren’t sure you like whatever is stored inside.  As a kid sometimes we’d say we didn’t like something.  My dad would always respond – “How do you know if you haven’t tried it?”  And that’s what I’m saying to you.  How do you know you don’t like classical art…or modern art…or sculpture…or the symphony?  How do you know if you haven’t tried it?

This new year make a decision to stretch outside your normal box.  Visit some treasure in your community.  See what’s there.  See what you like.

I bet you’ll be surprised.

See what's out there.

See what’s out there.


Look what came in the mail!

Katie and I got a box in the mail today.  She was very interested.  I told her I didn’t think there would be anything from her boyfriend Reilly this time, but she was sure Reilly wouldn’t ship a box to us without something special in it for her.  After all…Reilly loves Katie!

What's in here Mama?

What’s in here Mama?

And Katie was (of course) right!  Reilly’s Mom shipped us two beautiful portraits of Katie…but Reilly slipped a little present into the box for Katie too.  She got some bully sticks!  She’s never had any before and she wants to know if she can have one now now now now now now?  How about now Mama?  I told her she had to wait until I saw what else was in the box.  Becuase I had an idea that something very beautiful was in there.

And I was (of course) right!  Look at what Reilly’s talented Mom did for us! (Click on the pictures to see more detail.)

Don't they look just like me?

Don’t they look just like me?

She does these portraits and donates the proceeds to animal related charities!  Isn’t her work gorgeous?  You can go check more of it out at her online store.  She’s shown a couple of other portraits there that she’s done lately.

Katie thinks they are both very very wonderful.

I can look at these all day Mama!

I could look at these all day!

We think they’re pretty wonderful too!  Go check out the blog.  She’ll do your pet proud.  I can’t promise that Reilly will fall in love with your dog…I think he’s a one girlfriend kind of guy….but you’ll fall in love with the art!

Thank you Bree!

Sending kisses to Reilly!

Sending kisses to Reilly!