Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back to Work

Vacation is over...David is back at his university.
He left this morning.
Before he left, we took a little weekend away with my family in Whistler, B.C.
(The company for which Gregg works closes before Christmas and re-opens after New Year's, so he had time off to spend with David & me.)
My brother & sister-in-law found a wonderful condo where we could all stay together. This is the view from the living room - gorgeous!
Morning coffee, breakfast and dinner, evening laughs and conversation, hot tub chats:
good times.
Our nephew came up from the Bay Area with his sweetie, so we got better acquainted with her. She took snowboarding lessons.
The weather was perfect: crisp, cold and blue-bird skies.
The skiers & snowboarders had a great time.
 Caroline, Gregg, Jim, Phil & David on top of Whistler Mountain.
 We ate New Year's Eve dinner at a French restaurant, owned by a friend of our neighbor, Kim.
Though they were in California, our parents treated all of us to dinner.
Thank you, Mom & Dad!
 Getting ready to hit the slopes in the morning. I loved the heated floors in this condo!
 Our nephew, Phil, and his sweetie, Rachel.
We spent a day together, exploring the village and neighborhoods on foot.
Thank you for lunch, Phil!

I didn't ski; I drove the skiers to and from the hill each day, read, wrote, did a bit of artwork, walked in the snow, and loved it.

Yesterday, we went to Seattle. You might have heard that there was a little sporting event in town (football) that upset some people's playoff hopes, yet lit others' hopes into a huge flame. A sea of blue & green jerseys flowed onto the ferry in the morning, heading for Qwest Field. But we weren't among them.
We went to the Seattle Art Museum to see the Picasso Exhibit!
We're not his greatest fans, but when Picasso comes to town, it's worth a look.
Now, I am going to sound like an old lady:
I majored in Fine Art in college. I have spent a fair amount of time in museums, galleries and with my nose in books, studying works of art and architecture, as well as furniture and decorative objects.
BACK IN MY DAY (that's the old lady part), when one went to a museum, one encountered a work of art with respect.
One stood before it, open-minded, and allowed the work to speak. Sometimes it was a familiar piece, due to study; sometimes it was a new encounter. But always, I remember peace and a personal experience with the work of art. Even in a huge museum, like the Louvre in Paris.
It's not that way anymore. I saw this in the Louvre in the summer of 2009, and I saw it at S.A.M. yesterday. Present-day museum-goers move in dense crowds, without any sort of order, with camera at the eye, snapping away (Louvre), or with audio-guide at the ear, listening to information about the artist, the piece or the exhibit (Louvre & S.A.M).
The peaceful, personal, contemplative encounter with the work of art is gone, apparently.
I could hardly stand it at the Louvre in 2009, and I felt the same way yesterday. It made me sad.

When I was in college, I was fortunate to be able to study in England for a term. One day, in London, we were exploring the Tate Gallery. I remember few people, and silence. Turning a corner, I encountered one of my favorite pieces of sculpture: The Kiss, by Auguste Rodin. I had read about it in Janson, studied its photograph and learned about the sculptor in Art History class. Seeing it in person for the first time, larger-than-life, was a life-changing experience. I could have wept, it was so powerful, filled with passion and tenderness.
This photo doesn't do it justice. It should be seen from all angles, in the round.

I wish that people would treat artwork with the respect it deserves, and be present to it - bring their presence to the moment, and let the work speak. Let the artist speak through the work.

Back to yesterday: we left the museum, had a bite of lunch, walked through the huge mall in Bellevue for some exercise, and went to meet David, my siblings and their spouses for a delightful dinner at a simple but great restaurant.
Today, Gregg and I took the Christmas tree and decorations down, and put them away. He worked in the yard. I vacuumed, and we re-arranged the living room furniture. We went for a beautiful, long walk together. Our house is in a bit of a mess from all of the holiday partying, and this week, I will clean it and get back to work. It's been a great vacation. I hope yours was, too.


Mary Potts said...

Hmm... I think those guys with the blue and green jerseys and helmets are coming here to Chicago this Sunday!
Sounds like you had a wonderful week, Karen. B.C. looks gorgeous. So glad you had some great family time.
Hugs from this Midwesterner on a cold morning!

Karen said...

We had one beautiful Christmas at Whistler with Joey and Rachel and Joey's second family. It was a joy and now a cherished memory. I doubt I will ever go back, but I do love that beautiful place. How lovely for you to live so close and get to gather with family there. I loved the picture of you at dinner together. You are so cute!

We have become Seahawk fans via a deep admiration for coach Pete Carroll. He was the USC coach, my son's alma mater, and is still revered (and mourned) in LA. Great game the other day!

And I agree with you on museum-goer behaviors. The Louvre is a nightmare--worse than Disneyland. We live in an age of incivility, I dare say.

Glad you are back to your computer!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Your family vacation time looks just beautiful. We have often dreamt of visiting Whistler. (but in the summer!)
Love that you had so much time to unwind and enjoy. It looks like a beautiful part of our world.
Sorry to hear about your museum visit and having a 'bad' experience. I wonder if people just don't appreciated art anymore, or if everyone is getting ruder?

deb said...

so much love as always.
My son returned this weekend as well, my daughter this coming Sunday ( quite a long break actually, strange).

My brother was going to go to Whistler and their plans changed, just talked to him last night, so it was funny that this is what you were posting about.

Ellen said...

Looks and sounds like you all had a wonderful holiday. Such great photos!

I do miss skiing as I have not done it in about 16 years. However I would have enjoyed the quiet and the view while the others were skiing. Make some soup or read.

Museum's have changed. Aside from going in the morning on a week day you may be stuck with people on a cattle call. I think that is why I have not been excited when big exhibits come to SF. I dread the crowds and pushing or those who stand within inches of a piece of art meant to be viewed way back.

karen gerstenberger said...

I should add that the sculpture is at least 8 feet tall, possibly larger.
And yes, Mary, the Seahawks are coming to ChiTown! Good luck to both teams! Will you be watching?

Karen, if you ever do decide to return to Whistler, please stop by here on your way. You, too, Suz!

deb, I hope you have had a wonderful time with your kids at home. I am love your card - did you take the photo? -and LOVE the verse you put in it MB once gave me a book with that title!

Ellen, your Legion of Honor has wonderful exhibits, doesn't it? I recall seeing a great collection of Rodin's sculpture there when visiting with my Nana - she was born and raised in S.F.!

Elizabeth said...

I can take museums only in small bursts. Otherwise, they make me crazy -- I feel dazed and confused, actually, the same as if I were shopping in a mall. It's different, though, in small ones -- so I try to stick to those. Or just go visit one or two rooms.

Lovely post -- I always enjoy seeing your beautiful family!

Kay said...

That is so sad about the museum. We visited the Smithsonian a while back. A guy stood right in front of THE HOPE DIAMOND...texting. ????

Glad you had wonderful visits. And wonderful food. Looks beautiful there. : )

AnnDeO said...

Oh the "Kiss" Did you ever hear of the controversy when the gorgeous sculpture came to BYU and they censored it and did not display that particular piece? It was disappointing. What a lovely holiday you seem to have enjoyed. Happy New Year full of blessings.

Mary said...

The Whistler pictures are beautiful!! Great to read about your vacations -- there are always so many stories and pictures of friends and family sharing good times!!