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Saturday, June 21, 2014


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.

Last summer was a blur for me.  I worked non-stop and I'm determined not to waste another summer like that.  Summer is time for trips and fun!


  1. Hi Linda, what a great trip...seeing art in the flesh is spine tingling isn't it. I am glad you are getting some time for summer fun and trips... I could not agree more that you must have a chance to explore and be inspired. Your fish is great - both as the sand animal and the sketch. Have fun! x

  2. Thanks Jane! You inspired me to get out and see more sights :)

  3. Who knew there was so much art in Detroit?! I'm glad for you that you got to see it, palpitations and all.

  4. I was told to try to stop mentally hyperventilating because it was killing off brain cells. I also thought of getting Diego Rivera to paint a room of mine once but he had died in '57 so that fell through.

  5. You always make me laugh Rand :) And I was happy to have that kind of palpitations Abby!

  6. Yes, enjoy it while you can! We went one state away to my favorite Stone Barn Pizza over the weekend. No one looked under our hood.

  7. Those Venetian painters really had the "value patterns" thing down didn't they? I can see why your heart would go pitter patter....restraint and design taken to a very high art!

  8. My companion at the art museum agreed that this was a terrible reproduction of the Titian painting because he remembered it as being much darker, but the lighting of the original had a wonderful sparkle against the dark shades. It's hard for me to realize that this painting happened hundreds of years before Rembrandt or the Impressionists. Thanks for the comments everybody, and let's all enjoy our summer!

  9. There's a pretty famous art museum here in Philadelphia, or so I'm told.