Saturday, February 18, 2012

Museum Tour

Recently I was privileged to go on a special bus trip with a friend to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We had special tour tickets for the Van Gogh exhibit. What was really special about the tour of the Van Gogh exhibit was that it took place during the hour before the museum opened to the public. We also had a human guide who talked about many of the paintings and about Van Gogh's life.

One interesting fact I learned was the reason he signed all his paintings with just his first name. He wanted his paintings to give the message that he was a friend and brother to all. Family and friends call you by your first name. There are also many paintings he did not sign but they are known to be his because he gave them to family and those paintings have passed down from person to person giving the paintings a provenance.

Winslow Homer's painting "A Temperance Meeting"
How incredible to be able to stand so close to these masterpieces! To be able to have my nose a bare 4 inches away from a canvas and see the individual brush strokes! Not just with the Van Gogh collection but all the rest, Monet, Matisse, Turner, Picasso, Pissarro, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, just to name a few. A very few.

I could have spent the whole day there but we only had a few hours. We took a break for lunch and discovered just past the cafeteria an interactive exhibit based on Van Gogh's painting, Rain. Visitor's were encouraged to write a Haiku inspired by his painting. So I had to enter my effort.

"Undergrowth With Two Figures" by Vincent
I want to go back. I WILL go back. It was expensive to go on the bus tour but it was definitely well worth the expense. I used my Christmas money for my ticket and to buy a souvenir mug with a Vincent painting on it. One of my favorites from the exhibition - no, NOT Sunflowers. But a truly French forest image called "Undergrowth With Two Figures". It is beautiful and slightly haunting. This particular painting is on loan to the exhibit from the Cincinnati Art Museum. I highly recommend everyone to go see the Van Gogh exhibit while it is still touring. There are paintings from many museums including the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands as well as others from private collections. The next stop on the tour will be Toronto.

Poem ~ Haiku: On Vincent's Rain

The Haiku I wrote, inspired by the masterpiece "Rain" painted by Vincent Van Gogh.

"Rain "by Vincent

On Vincent's Rain

Grey rain streaking down
curtains the lush green landscape
splashed by Vincent's brush

written 2/12/12 by mARTa weller

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poem ~ Snowflakes

 In honor of our "non-winter" and 
the forecast by Punxsatawney Phil 
for six more weeks of winter 
(or six more weeks for winter to arrive), 
I am posting this little poem.


                  Feather light crystals
                  float gently down,
                  Softly they blanket
                  branches velvety brown.

                  Barren grey landscape
                  now downy white,
                  Covered by snowflakes
                  twinkling diamond bright.

                                                 -mARTa weller
                                                               January 9, 2009
                    (snowflake photos from Google Images)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Groundhog Day

I am back... finally. I am really falling down on the job. My ideal was to post something at least once a week. But the problem is, I don't believe in posting something just for the sake of posting something. I don't want to waste my time or any potential reader's time. Be that as it may - I write....

You may notice from the date of this post that it doesn't really match the title of the post. (Groundhog Day occurred two days ago.) But I feel I am still allowed to comment on this recent annual event.

Punxsatawney Phil February 2, 2012
- photo courtesy of the Washington Post
I live in Pennsylvania, home of the internationally known Punxsatawney Phil. Granted, he is not the original rodent nor do I live in the town of Punxsatawney (I live on the other side of the state), but I woke up just before dawn on February 2nd and, as I normally do, tuned in to BBC America to watch the world news and what should I see? Punxsatawney Phil being hauled out of his pseudo home by the tuxedo-ed and top hatted town fathers of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania. Therefore, even though there are several other groundhogs out there in communities being watched each year to provide the weather forecast everyone anxiously awaits every February, it is Pennsylvania's own Punxsatawney Phil who has become an international star and rated a good 3 or 4 minute coverage on the BBC World News!

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when the groundhog comes out of his burrow on February 2nd, then spring will come early. If it is sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, then folklore maintains there will be six more weeks of winter.

Now, as I watched on BBC America (I could have seen the same thing on any local channel, too, but it was so very interesting to see and hear the British perspective), I noticed that with the dim light from dawn's early light, and because there were so many cameras flashing away, there wasn't any natural light to speak of. There were plenty of spotlights and flash bulbs and artificial light. OF COURSE the silly rodent could see a shadow. He saw MANY shadows! But I guess the town fathers were the ones who decided that there wasn't very much cloud cover, they could see the sun would be causing shadows so therefore - in their opinion - Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow and there would be 6 more weeks of winter.

So, this brought another irreverent thought to mind. We here in my neck of the woods have been having a very unusual winter. The calendar says winter, we are weeks away from the spring equinox, but we are in the midst of a non-snowy, relatively warm and rainy winter (it was 60 degrees F two days in a row last week!) - when we usually have at least an inch or two of snow periodically throughout January and into February!

The irreverent thought? I don't know about six MORE weeks of winter, but maybe six more weeks for winter to ARRIVE!