I know there should be a picture, there should always be a picture…but in the way of unexpected happenings, I didn’t have my camera…that being about the last thing on my mind, these days. Though my mom is doing better, my days are truly taken up by keeping her things going…laundry to do, lunches to bring (she is getting rather crotchety about her meals), bills to pay, and just plain old time to spend visiting to help her days go better. (There is talk of sending her home soon…she has worked very hard for it…but, at the moment, it is a bit mind-boggling…how will we deal with that?) Then, there are the things here at the house to do…daily two hour painting sessions aren’t feeling much like progress…the boxes are getting to the point that they could use some dusting…I refuse to dust my boxes!!! or even to vacuum around them…”frustrated” doesn’t begin to describe my current state…think the “downstate” word is “tetchy”…
But, the other day I had a few hours “free” between places I was expected to be . I had seen a notice in the paper about a fiber exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum. I am hoping to find a group to join, and I thought to check them out. With one exception, their work was just beyond me: stitched saran wrap, gauze bags of tied wool balls laid out on the floor, a wall of mangled black plastic mesh…but, the art museum was an “old haunt” of mine…so I just wandered about, and re-discovered a very special place.
I think I was in the fourth grade when my elementary art teacher asked my parents if I could be a part of a Saturday program at the museum. One kid from each school…every Saturday…free rein of the upstairs studios…huge rooms, full of light, AND easels, looms, and potter’s wheels. Take your pick! Make some art! My father drove me in (it had to have been a forty minute drive each way) for years. I was still doing my “Saturday thing” in high school! What a gift.
The museum’s main claim to fame at that point was its collection of Howard Pyle paintings, especially those used to illustrate Kipling’s novels, Treasure Island and Kidnapped. These were huge (to a kid, anyway)… of pirates and mermaids and found treasure. I loved them. I walked through that gallery every week. They are there. STILL love them!
The museum has been renovated way beyond the little place I knew, with its wonderfully narrow stairways up to the second floor to galleries that always seemed more like someone’s library or living room…in fact, all those studios I remember so fondly are just “gone”. About all that remains is the old brick facade, now encased in green glass and steel. But the paintings are there! Old friends. It was a wonderful afternoon. I will be going back often.