Yesterday, I took the older three kids and Caleb to the art museum, to see “In Monet’s Garden: The Lure Of Giverny”. The exhibit not only includes paintings of Claude Monet, but also works of art by people who have been influenced by Monet and his garden in Giverny, France. Ever since I heard about this exhibit, only being shown in Columbus and Paris, I wanted to go see it. Plus, it would log the girls some art credit for school. At first, I thought I would try to arrange a group tour for other students in our school, too, but I decided to just take mine, and see how that went.
We got parked and went into the building (“Look, Mom, these stairs are made out of rocks!”). While I payed for the tickets and tried to console a screaming Caleb (boy, babies sound so much louder in a big empty space!), I happened to glance past the desk at this painting, one of the pieces inspired by Monet’s garden. I’m not normally interested in contemporary art like this- I mean, it is just a bunch of boxes, right? But I found myself really liking the colors in this work, and immediately thought of what a terrific quilt it would make. That’s the way I roll (wink).
We proceeded to the stairs, and right at the foot of them, still in the lobby, was this giant painting, another Monet-inspired piece, of two women, and one of them was- how shall I put it- not fully dressed. This surprised me. Not because it was in an art museum- I expect a little of that- but because it was right there in the lobby. Maybe I am getting over-sensitive in my advanced motherhood, but please. Is nothing sacred? We went up to the exhibit, and there was a twenty minute film showing in the first room. I had Caleb calmed, so we went in and sat down to watch. The kids were prepped on how this place was like a library, or church, where they needed to be quieter than normal. This filmstrip would be our first test to see how they would do. The girls did fine, and sat relatively still through the show. Sam, on the other hand, tried out four or five different chairs (it wasn’t a sold out show), developed a new habit of sucking on his shirt collar, rolled his ticket into a gun and made shooting noises at the screen, and was generally restless. I wasn’t surprised, but when he started kicking the chair beside him and it was filled by an elderly lady we didn’t know, I had to rein him in to stand beside me. In the upper corner of the screen, it counted down the minutes until the next viewing. By the last eight minutes of the film, I was watching the ticker more than the film itself. I wanted to see it all, and hoped the kids could hold on for me to do that. One of the things that is difficult about motherhood- their needs are more important than my wants.
An interesting thought from the film-one of the reasons Monet moved to Giverny was to get away, to distance himself from the busy-ness that was his life before. He immersed himself in building an expansive garden, and painting it. He was noted to have said he was good at “nothing except gardening, and painting.” Ironically, other artists from around the world heard about his garden, and began to invade his space to “learn” from the master, thus making it not so secluded, and turning it into what he was trying to escape.
One of our desires in buying the land was to raise our family in a place that was removed from the hustle and bustle, a shelter from our destructive culture, a home to encourage creativity and beauty. Our land isn’t far from civilization, so we aren’t certain that surburbia won’t ever take over there, too. But right now, it is surrounded by well-established farms and the Amish (they’ve been around awhile, too:), so we have some confidence that it will remain “out in the country”. I thought it was neat that Monet desired a home away from it all, too.
Before we left the exhibit, there was a station set up where you could look at flowers through a magnifying glass, and draw what you saw with colored pencils. Finished drawings were tacked to the wall above the station. The kids loved this, and each drew two pictures. Sam’s pictures were both reproductions of another kid’s drawing he saw on the wall. I don’t think he quite understood the instructions, but he wasn’t there for art credit, anyway. His work required a lot of red (as the previous child’s did, too), and was elated to find a small pencil sharpener sitting beside the pencils. I didn’t know he’d never seen a pencil sharpener like this one- just your standard small box with a cone for cutting. He sharpened, and sharpened, and sharpened some more, having a great time accumulating all those shavings. If you were to ask him how he liked the museum, I’m sure he would mention that, before he got to the part about looking at some paintings.
There are a few other things I want to share about our excursion, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.
(to the tune of Mony Mony)
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