Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Between

What do painters do when they're not painting? Live. On Friday I took a day off from work and spent the day at the Morgan Library. The draw was an exhibition of an incredible illuminated manuscript--15th century Dutch--The Hours of Catherine of Cleves. More than 100 individual leaves from the unbound manuscript were on display in glass cases and in frames on the wall. The wall-mounted narrative that accompanied the miniatures and illuminations told the story of incredible contrasts--Catherine of Cleves was not a nice lady--yet she appears to have spent a lot of time praying--plus spent a lot of money on one of the most beautiful prayer aides I have ever seen.

Given my current role in the American Littoral Society, I was delighted to see the border on the suffrage to St. Ambrose illustrated with wonderfully lifelike images of mussels and crabs--a demonstration of the power of St. Ambrose's preaching to create harmony even between the worst of enemies--including the crab and the mussel upon which it preys. You can see the entire exhibit and commentary on line at the Morgan website.

An unexpected bonus was an exhibition of Renaissance drawings by Raphael, Michelangelo, and their contemporaries. How wonderful to spend time in such wonderful surroundings with no crowds. I ended the day on the 2nd floor in an exhbition about Jane Austen--her letters, handwritten manuscripts and even a brief film about her life.

The Morgan is a great place to spend a day--walking distance from Penn Station at Madison and 36th--unique and insightful changing exhibitions from its vast collections of books and drawings from all periods plus those on permanent display.

And the day was not over yet. A quick subway ride downtown and I was in MaGuire's Pub on Cliff Street. Great fish and chips, shepherds pie, and other hearty meals. Two of my sisters and my son Tom met to celebrate Tom's 23rd birthday--belatedly. Part of his present was something else I spent time working on when not painting--Back to the Future cookies--yes cookies in the shape of the famous Delorean Time Machine. I just can't seem to stop painting.

Afterward, we all took the ferry home to Atlantic Highlands and then back to Red Bank by car.

Until next time.