22. October 2013 01:03
Some works of art take people's breath away. They stick with you long past your short visit. Our staff relate pieces of art that spoke to them while on the road.
"The Pieta by Michelangelo leaves me without words. Housed in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome, this marble sculpture does not speak to Jesus’ role as savior as much as it speaks to a mother’s loss of her son.
The artist purposely distorted Jesus’ size as a full-grown man to illustrate that he was still Mary’s child and always would be. Her grief is human, not heavenly, which makes this sculpture all the more compelling for me."
— Mac Lacy, publisher
"As an artist myself, the expression of various artists has always fascinated me. But nothing compares to literally having my breath taken away upon seeing one of Monet’s many large water lily paintings on display at the Denver Museum of Art. I was in high school at the time, and the calming impact the painting had on me was astounding. I stood there looking at it for at least 20 minutes. It was so spellbinding, I didn’t want to leave the room. It was a moment I’ll never forget."
— Donia Simmons, creative director
"I’d studied Mark Rothko while I was an art student in college. Later, while in grad school at the University of Arizona, I fell in love with two of his paintings in their collection.
So, while visiting long-time friends in Houston, I made plans to see the Rothko Chapel. We entered the chapel with very different expectations. My friends were probably expecting to see pretty pictures of bucolic landscape or perhaps beautiful women or historic tableaus.
It quickly became clear that they weren’t expecting what we saw as we entered that large open room. I was immediately transported to that aesthetic region of my imagination by the large dark canvases. My friends — not so much. We stayed an hour or so, while I was absorbed by the power of Rothko’s work and my friends looked for something they recognized — anything they could call art.
They decided that I was seeing Elvis or perhaps Amelia Earhart — it was plain to them was that, clearly, I was seeing something they weren’t.
The moral to this story is that art is a personal thing. It is intensely personal for artists, and it is always a personal thing for us when we experience it. Even when we’re with people we love and share everything with, the experience of great art reaches places within us that only we and God know."
— David Brown, art director
"I have seen many famous paintings in my lifetime, but the one that stands out the most to me is “Washington Crossing the Delaware” at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although I've seen this photo in many history books through the years, I was in awe of the shear enormity of this painting once I saw it in person. The painting stands over 12 feet tall and 21 feet wide!"
— Kelly Tyner, director of sales and marketing
"I encountered one of the most recognized works of art in the world when I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. I'll never forget my surprise at the small size of the portrait. Instead of being disappointed, I felt impressed such a small painting had inspired so many people and works of art."
— Eliza Myers, online editor
8. August 2012 19:35
The author with his motor home in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX
In no particular order…
1. Learning to drive a 36-foot motor home, towing a compact car behind, and avoiding as many “big city” traffic hazards as possible by parking the motor home in the outskirts and using the car to get into and around town
2. Having the ability to avoid snow and cold last winter, as well as oppressive heat this summer by taking my motor home to Phoenix and the Seattle/Tacoma areas when the times were right
3. Eating (real) bear stew at the 53rd Annual McCleary Bear Festival in Washington
4. Meeting a fellow at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery (outside Seattle) who saw my Cardinals baseball cap and introduced himself, then finding out that he grew up just a couple of miles from where I did in suburban St. Louis and attended both my elementary and high schools
5. The Cardinals’ end-of-season surge to a surprising World Series victory last October
6. Enjoying a warm, cloudless early May day at Oregon’s breathtaking, deep-blue Crater Lake, at the time still surrounded and enhanced by massive amounts of last winter’s snowfall
7. Being amused by watching locals at a Burger King in Barcelona, Spain, trying to figure out what to do when they were handed empty cups and directed to a brand-new “self serve” ice and soda dispenser of the type that we take for granted in the U.S., but had never been seen before in Europe
8. Lamenting how incredibly rude, self-centered and aggressively hostile American tourists can be when a fistfight was narrowly averted in an elevator I was riding aboard cruise ship Carnival Magic (Please be assured that I was not involved in the confrontation!)
9. Attending thrilling, virtuosic symphony concerts performed by the resident orchestras of Berlin, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco and Oregon
10. Spending the Christmas holidays at remote but magnificent Big Bend National Park in West Texas
My $2 plate of bear stew in McClary, WA
My May visit to Crater Lake National Park, OR
The New York Philharmonic following a concert in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center
8. August 2012 19:33
Wild mushrooms in Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Regular readers of my monthly, electronic ramblings are probably already aware that one of my passions is hiking in our national parks and other public lands. Needless to say, along the trails I do encounter a lot of interesting and inquisitive people, yet I continue to be surprised by others who, even though totally surrounded by the majesty of Mother Nature’s handiwork, still seem unable to “see the forest for the trees.”
I don’t quite know what drives individuals to be in such a big hurry, or the attraction of simply getting to the end of a trail and return to the point of origin as quickly as possible, seemingly in order to embark upon yet another perfunctory adventure. In the tour industry, we’ve all heard stories about international visitors to the Grand Canyon, who, after a brief look over the rim at Arizona’s awesome gorge, have apparently seen as much as they want and are ready to press on to Las Vegas.
My point is simply that there is beauty to be found almost everywhere. Nevertheless, if one does not pause along the way to look for that beauty, or to bend over for a closer view, then he or she is missing out on a whole world of fascinating discoveries. I’d much rather make just half of a given trail and know that I experienced as many of the wonders encountered along the way as possible, than be able to boast that I made it all the way to the “bitter end.”
Hopefully the accompanying, recent photographs provide an idea of the type of sights that many people seem to just rush on past. I sat on a rock in Mount Rainier National Park for at least half an hour to take in the splendor of the glacial lake and mountain ridge shown. Even though this rock couldn’t have been more than 100 feet off of the “beaten path,” not one of them paused along the way long enough to see what they were missing while I was there! So please, do yourself a big favor when you’re out in the wild and stop to smell, see, photograph or otherwise experience the things that are just beyond comprehension with a cursory glance.
Flowers after a rainstorm at the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Eatonville, WA
Glacial lake and Goat Island Mountain in Mt. Rainier National Park, WA