Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter has arrived!

We have, up until this weekend, had a dry, warm approach to winter here in Colorado. But, just like washing your car is bound to bring rain, scheduling a trip over the Rocky Mountains here makes snow a certainty at this time of year!

Our oldest grand-daughter (soon to be 9) was in a concert this past weekend that no amount of snow would have kept us away from! It was the holiday concert of the Denver Pops Orchestra, and they had invited the Colorado Flute Association to join them for the second half of the concert. The Pops concert was excellent, but when the flutists joined them (especially when the youngest ones came in for the last four pieces) excellent became Spectacular! There were 30-40 flutes, ranging from advanced adults to beginners like our Katie, joining the 100+ piece full orchestra. Katie is the darling little blond with the large red bow on her headband, and the curved piece on her flute (to make it shorter.)

Before the concert we had gone with our son's family to get their Christmas tree, and for the kids to see Santa (lest you think they look 'grown up.) After the concert, we went with them for a bit to skate - them, not us this time.

When we knew we would be going for our grand-daughter's concert, I also purchased tickets to go see the "Becoming Van Gogh" exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.

As always, his work takes my breath away. I discovered two very small paintings I had never seen before that I absolutely love! The first one below is "Sprig of Flowering Almond Blossom in a Glass." It is just about 8x10 inches. It looked like it was lit from behind; the light in it absolutely glows!  The one below it, the "Lane at the Jardin du Luxembourg" was 10x20 inches. It also was filled with light. Having recently been in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, I loved the Paris light and the familiarity that this painting had for me. As always, these images do not do justice to the actual work. They were framed and lit perfectly to show the glowing light that Van Gogh's work often captures. 

As a painter, I know I stood and looked way too long at these two works, trying to see how he captured that glow. All I could figure out, was that he used paint straight from the tube, without mixing colors at all. Then, as a fiber artist, I was thrilled to see a little side exhibit, showing how Van Gogh used yarn to see how colors would look side-by-side, without mixing them. The museum had a basket of his yarns in a case to show them wound together in balls, just like a tapestry weaver would wind them! He then painted the colors side by side in strokes, to look like the yarns looked wound together, with both colors showing separately, yet blending visually. This effect was more visible in his later works, like the almond branch painting. Both paintings were from the years Van Gogh spent in Paris. The exhibit included work from every stage of Van Gogh's much-too-short career. (These images are from the internet. Photos were not allowed in the exhibit.)

While at the Art Museum, we went and saw the El Anatsui exhibit, there through the end of the year.
His work, mostly done in Africa, is very fiber-like, though it is made of found objects. I especially loved the large quilt-like pieces, made of old labels and can parts.


We had a beautiful view from our motel window. The Cherry Creek Reservoir is in the foreground, with the Denver skyline and the mountains behind. In spite of the wintery road conditions on the way home, it was a lovely beginning to the  season!

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