Sunday, November 06, 2005

Getting All Cultural

While reading the Sunday paper, by the fire, with a cup of coffee, I discovered there is an exhibit of Dahlov Ipcar's recent paintings at a gallery in Freeport. You can read the whole article here.

Excellent, I thought. I love Ipcar and Freeport is pretty accessible. Gallery Hours 12 to 5 Monday through Friday, hmmm. No good for a kid-free outing. I'd have to stock up on creative parenting and patience to take the kids.

Then Claire came along and noticed the picture of Ipcar in front of her painting Chinese Calendar. She instantly recognized the whole "born in the year of the monkey" concept. (I know you've studied those placemats at the Chinese restaraunt.)

We talked a bit more about it. I asked her if the paintings reminded her of any paintings she had seen. She wasn't able to recall the painting in the Children's Section of the local library until I mentioned it, but she clued in pretty fast.

Side note: Joanne made a great quilt that is a companion piece to Dahlov's painting and they hang side by side at the library. I promise I'll bring my camera next time we go and post a picture. Or maybe Joanne will.

Looking more closely at the article I see that the opening reception is tonight from 4 to 6. Hmmm. "Would you like to go see the paintings in real life and meet the artist?" I asked Claire. "Um, sure," she answered. "Will that painting be there?" she asked pointing to the Chinese Calendar.

So off we went. This is a big deal for me. Benjamin is all of three and can be a handful. Gallery openings are not notoriously kid-friendly. But, hey, it seemed like all the arrows were pointing in that direction. Other than the weather. It was raining, like every other Maine weekend.

Here are Claire and Benjamin in the rain in front of the sign for the Frost Gully Gallery. I've driven by this sign many times and dismissed it. How could there possibly be a gallery up that long driveway with a house and a covered parking area under which a boat appears to be being built? And why haven't they freshened the paint on their sign? I was wrong. Apparently, it's a pretty hoity toity place for Maine artists.

Really I just wanted to post that picture so you could see the ridiculously cute (in a ridiculous way) skull cap Benjamin is wearing. It came with the sweater.

Dahlov is turning 88 this week. Oh that we are all so prolific and inspired when we are 88.

Claire enjoyed meeting her and getting her autograph on the gallery flyer. I wish I had some Ipcar books. I could have brought some for her to sign.

I think we liked the two alphabet paintings best. This one is the South American Animal Alphabet, a different animal (or two or three) for each letter in each of those triangle shapes. And tons of details in line and pattern. Of course, she would be an amazing quilter. How can she not have discovered fabric?! Benjamin recognized the three-toed sloth because we are big fans of Go, Diego, Go!

The African Animal Alphabet was equally wonderful. If you click on that link you can see the tree with the round purple and green blossoms that the snake is climbing in. I'm in love with that tree!

Claire was so delightful! She noticed the most interesting things about the paintings and asked very insightful questions. She noticed how this painting was so different from the others because it was set in a realistic landscape, not the graphic patchwork backgrounds that most of the others include. She also picked out the one watercolor from all the other oils. Smart kid, that Claire.

We were all entranced by the studio upstairs. I think it belonged to Laurence Sisson. There were in-progress paintings, wet piles of paint, brushes of every shape and size, photos, books from floor to ceiling and a stuffed raven. Actually, Benjamin wasn't entraced, but he did hear a door bell while we were there and that was intriguing to him.

Benjamin mostly did great. Squirmy and a bit crabby, but fine. The thing he really really wanted to do was take a picture of the Open sign all by himself. "I no need help." Ok, dude, whatever makes you happy. Kind of a cool picture, actually, with Claire's reflection and the legs on the other side of the door.

Then we went to Friendly's for dinner because, you know, one can only handle so much culture.


Sonji Hunt said...

You are such a good Mother, Deborah. Infusing all that culture in your children. Doesn't it make you realize (if you didn't already, duh), how absolutely brilliant they are! Kids are amazing. What happens to us when we grow up?

Jen said...

This is so fantastic! It's wonderful to see you providing opportunities for your kids to discover the joy of art. Jen

Deb R said...

It sounds like a fun day. And I love Benjamin's photo he took all by himself. Yay Benjamin!

Joanne S said...

Dahlav did start with fabric and made some very nice quilts. Try to find some of her earliest picture books to see some of her patchwork animals. She even made stuffed animals. They were on exhibit at the Portland Museum a few years back. The Chinese Wheel is spectacular! And Ben has quite an eye for an interesting photo. Let "me do it" more often!!

Elle said...

I love Benjamin's photo!

I'm glad the kids enjoyed themselves. My family always tried to take me to museums and historic sites and I really did enjoy them. It's so important to expose kids early like that so that they can develop an appreciation.

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Thanks! I'd never heard of Ipcar before...I'll have to go check the gallery on my next Mom's Escape Day. I am not so brave. In some ways the kids are LOTS easier to deal with as they get older, but in other ways.....

Isn't it amazing how some painters have a quilterly sensibility... there is one, Tony Abeyta, whom I came across for the first time earlier this year. Can't do a link on my own but surf on over to and see what I mean... the Magpies and Trio in the figurative gallery (click on online galleries) especially, and Anthem on the home page. Energizing! Thanks, and cheers, Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful outing. The kids look like they had a good time.

I take my kids to art shows and museums quite often. It's a lot easier now that they are older. When my son was around 6 I took him to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. He was in a rather obnoxious mood and wanted to leave so he touched one of the paintings hoping it would get us thrown out. ACK!!!

At 13 he's now quite impressed he's touched an O'keeffe work in real life.

Although you can be sure he has never done that again.

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for reminding me of Dahlov Ipcar. We had one of her books (autographed!) growing up and I had quite forgotten about her wonderful work. I had no idea she was still around (after all, she knew my grandmother who's pretty old by now) AND still creating. Wish I could have been there as I'd love to have a small piece of her work.

Karoda said...

Deborah how wonderful that your daughter made a connection with this artist. I get such a great vibe from seeing and experiencing intergenerational connections.