I finally got to Georgia O’Keeffe yesterday. The local art museum has had about 25 of her paintings as part of a Western art exhibit for over two months now and as the exhibit closes in one week, I figured I better get there. Who knew that going on Saturday, at noon, on Memorial Day weekend would mean encountering half of the cities senior population. I sort of thought that all those older folks would have packed up their RV’s and headed to some warmer outdoorsy spot in the REAL west, such as Arizona, or New Mexico, or Palm Springs.
It was jam-packed though, and trying to appreciate art isn’t easy when you are moving and standing among wandering hoards of art onlookers, just as puzzled as yourself over some of the pieces. Side conversations however, told me that a lot of these people knew a lot more than I did about Western art and the artists featured.
This was my first trip to the museum since they opened a new wing, which is large, and impressive and makes this small city museum seem now somehow a bit more grand, and citified. The O’Keeffe link above also provides access for you to glimpse a few of the pieces we found throughout the new space.
I have to be honest. Western art isn’t exactly my thing. There was a lot of oil on canvas depicting prairies, and mountains, and Native American tribes, and soldiers. There was quite a lot of bronze. Bison, and cowboys on horseback, and oddly enough a pair of squirrels. Alison was with me. We had our private comments of course. She is not terribly appreciative of contemporary or abstract art. She found that she could relate to the landscapes though, and actually came across a few of places that she has visited. As to the O’Keeffe pieces, I have mixed feelings. There were a few of the less suggestive floral paintings, and none of the landscapes that show deep, late day sun stroked mountain clefts, because this museum is decidedly conservative when it comes to any real or imagined erotically charged art. They played it pretty safe, which I suppose I should have expected. Her pieces were mixed into the gallery housing our northwest artists interpretations of Western art. This area is where I really lost Alison since their interpretations seem to be highly stylized.
We moved on, found ourselves to be starving and had every intention of having a late lunch in the museum cafe. It is small, and was packed with yet more of those seniors out for the day. I was all set for some Thai soup and a panini, but that wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately Alison suggested a small eatery close to her office. The city itself was deserted. I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to drive through those quiet streets that are normally loud and crowded.
So we ate at Happy Belly. They have almost as many smoothie and juice choices on their menu as food items. I think that we ended up quite happy, our bellies included, after a large cup of chai tea, roasted red pepper/kale soup, and a slightly spicy, creamy and veggie filled sandwich on toasted english muffin. Alison and I talked long about her job hunt. Some of it disappointing, like internal government jobs that she apparently CANNOT apply for, as well as her willingness to go back to her roots of archaeology**, or any science related field that would have her actually. We ventured into the area of college education benefits versus cost versus outcome and concluded that above all else, very few twenty-two year old people are realistically well prepared to begin a career, and that more doors seem to remain closed rather than swinging wide and welcoming.
I think that some of my angst and disappointment over her current search for a real job comes because it wasn’t all that difficult when I was searching for my very first job and I want it to be easy for her. My chosen profession at the time was very specific though. Time will tell in this case and life will go on, as it is destined to do.
**Dear feline friend Carol, if by chance you come across this post I mentioned LOUD mom some time ago to Alison, who would be very interested in any and all ideas LM might have on moving back to, and forward with, her original archaeology goals. Her trowels, brushes and picks stand ready.