I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
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Saturday, December 12, 2015


My boss looked at my flower photos on my office wall this week and told me to take a half day to see "Painting the Modern Garden:Monet to Matisse", a special exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  I like flowers, but impressionists?  Eh.  Yeah, I know, a lot of people love them.  It's just one way I'm a unicorn, but hey, paid time for art?  Yeah!  (Okay, I'm salary and work too many hours so it's not like really getting paid, but still.)

I parked far away because I'm too cheap for the parking lot, and a nice looking man who's originally from India, now from Chicago, asked me if the museum is really free.  It is too, but you've got to pay $18 for the impressionist exhibit.  We had a lovely conversation while we hiked to the front entrance where he held the door for me and soon disappeared.

I hiked more miles to get to the line for the exhibit, stood behind crowds of people standing in front of paintings who were glued to their museum-distributed hand-held devices.  I was getting cranky and my knee hurt.  I felt bad for the old people who had to get on and off the endless escalators in the vast emptiness of the newly, and expensively, remodeled museum interior.

More disgruntlement that they
closed access to the pond
and Rodin's "The Thinker"
I have long-held grievances against the museum.  I've considered lifting the feud since I'm the only one who knows it's in place and it only hurts me.  I even considered getting a museum membership.  Nope.  Feud stays in place.  I hate what they've done.

There's still lots of world-class art there, but somebody has been "fixing" eyes in portraits so they look wall-eyed.  I didn't see Edith Barretto Parsons' Turtle Baby, I don't like the organization, it feels like a mall with gift shops everywhere...

It wasn't always like this.  My dad was a cop in the area, and sometimes took me with him to work and let me loose.  He enlisted all the security guards and policemen as my babysitters even though I was blissfully unaware of this until I tested my boundaries one day and a cop showed up out of nowhere to say, "Miss Hensley, I don't think you're allowed over there."  Oops.

I followed the rules after that.  I sat by the pond and teased the giant carp.  I helped archeologists mend broken pottery.  I stared at the Rembrandts and felt my heart pound.  I fell in love with Jacques Louis David's Cupid.

Some parts of the museum were left intact.
This is the style I remember and love.
Sometimes I'm aware my childhood wasn't like other people's.  I lived in the lonely  woods which hid the remnants of an artists' community -- and once in a while I went to the big city without obvious supervision to bask in the glow of the Masters and listen to the Cleveland Orchestra rehearse for an audience of one.  I suppose it's no wonder I became an artist, but I suppose it's all part of why I'm a unicorn too?  An extinct, mythical creature with magical powers.

Somehow, I think we're all unicorns.  We just have to embrace that about ourselves and hope nobody tries to saw off our horn.  Or remodel our home against our will.

BTW, most people seem happy with the special exhibits and the remodeling.  If you come to town you should go to the museum.  I'll sulk quietly and smile at my memories of having the place to myself other than indulgent docents and archeologists.


  1. Linda, you are brave. For a long, long time it was not done to say you didn't like Impressionists. It was like...well...either you envied them or didn't understand them, because how on Earth could you not like Impressionists? They were in every bookshop, poster shop, on every notebook and dish-washing towel. Recently I heard another person saying that Impressionist didn't speak to him. We are entering a new era.

  2. The exhibit was very crowded because the Impressionists are still very popular. I guess I'll just keep swimming against the flow and hope others will appreciate the Old Masters with me :)

  3. I had never been drawn to the Impressionists because I had only seen reproductions and what I really liked was beautiful lines, especially Old Masters' drawings but when I was given a pass to the Monet Exhibit at the Art Institute in Chicago a decade or two ago, I was staggered and kind of got what the fuss was about. The reproductions just hadn't communicated.

    On another subject--I think there could be a delightful children's book about your museum memories. What unique opportunities you had!

    1. I felt the same way when I saw Van Gogh in person. Not all of his work, but some of it so spectacular. I like Monet's waterlilies too, but not on mousepads, umbrellas, sheets... So okay, I'll amend my statement. I like some of the Impressionists enough that I went to the exhibit. I just skipped a lot of paintings that didn't speak to me.

      I used to like the Madeleine books when I was little. She did a lot of things on her own too :)

  4. What amazing childhood exploits Linda...you must have had the best of times xx

    1. I certainly didn't realize I had so many stories from those times until I started blogging about them. I'm glad other people are interested enough to relive them with me :)

  5. Another great read. I do so love your blogs and art!

  6. New and improved isn't always better. That's for sure. It's cool to embrace our inner Unicorn. Rainbow poop and all.

  7. I can see you, "Miss Hensley", running around that museum as a kid. As for me, I'm also part of the impressionist rebellion - meh.
    Enjoyable post, words and photos mixing nicely :)

  8. Thanks! BTW, one of my coworkers told me she loves the renovations and Impressionists :)