I went to Michigan last weekend. I had multiple reasons for going, and on that list was the Detroit Institute of Art. I've been hearing about how politicians want to sell the art to bail the city out of its financial distress, and I needed to see that art before they get a chance to do it. The museum is wonderful and I recommend it to anyone who can make it there.
It's a medium-sized museum that's pretty easy to get around in. The art is organized in a rational way, except I wandered around a lot to find one of the paintings that I especially wanted to see. And then... I had a moment. I started mentally hyperventilating over a painting I practically saw by accident as I was stomping around trying to find that other painting. This is a terribly crappy photo of the Titian painting that gave me palpitations. It doesn't even show the red stroke of paint that flopped over itself in such an expressive, Impressionist-inspiring way.
I studied Titian in college. Yawn. I knew he's listed amongst the greats, but you just don't get that feeling when you're subjected to endless slides of stuff to memorize in college. I felt a similar rush of understanding the first time I saw Van Gogh paintings in person. (Which they also have in Detroit.) I also saw a room entirely painted by Diego Rivera whom I had also underestimated in those endless slides of stuff I'm supposed to care about. I didn't get all jelly-legged in the Rivera room, but I do appreciate him more now. I've been reading about Rodin lately, and Detroit has a lot of his sculptures, including The Thinker...
And so on. I could rhapsodize about art a lot more, but I had people to see and places to go since I made the grand journey to another state. I was given the desolation tour after going to the museum. "Look, nice houses!" One block over, "Look! Destruction!" Back to nice houses, then over a block to see all the empty lots where houses used to be. My tour guide was funny and I had a hard time thinking that the revegetation of Detroit is all bad. They're even talking about bringing in goats as lawnmowers for all those empty lots. Who doesn't love goats?
Michigan people are very nice, and I got some pleasure out of the fact that my new car got a little attention. One guy asked me to pop the hood so he could look at the engine. I'm told this isn't that unusual in Detroit, but it was new for me. I bragged about my hybrid's gas mileage. My car tells me my mpg every time I turn it off. I've been averaging about 38-55, but so far my all time high is 104.9 miles per gallon :)
So with that kind of gas mileage, why not drive across the state and see Lake Michigan? Which looks just like Lake Erie except the sun sets wrong. I managed to cope by making sand animals. Okay, this isn't quite illustration, and I've been meaning to apply myself more for Illustration Friday, but I did make art of a sort. I also started a painting this week. If it works out I'll post it here so you can see how Michigan can inspire creativity.