As part of the Tranquilista Lifestyle course I’m taking, we had the assignment to plan a solo artist date. It could be anywhere (even your own home) that either inspires creativity or is just, well, artistic. For some of the ladies in my group, that meant browsing in a bookstore, gathering new art supplies, taking time to actually be creative, going to a movie, writing in their journals or spending time outside in nature just soaking it all in. So basically, anywhere where you can be inspired for about an hour or so.
I chose to visit a local museum.
I’ve lived in LA for nearly 8 years now. Many of those years, I either drive by the Autry (or as I call it, “the cowboy museum” – which by the way, turns out isn’t a very accurate description at all), the Norton Simon, the Getty or LACMA. I’ve been to both the Getty (the building itself is absolutely amazing!) and the Autry, so I decided to try something new. I’ve always wondered about the Norton Simon, so that’s where I headed.
I knew nothing about the Norton except where it was located. I headed out around noon figuring I’d get in an hour or so and maybe check out the visiting Divine Demons: Wrathful Deities of Buddhist Art exhibition. Turns out, I never did get around to seeing that exhibit. Actually, I never made it to the other half of the museum (the American side…not really a fan of early American art).
The first thing I noticed when I walked up to the museum were the statues…Rodin statues at that. Then inside, you see a Henry Moore. When you start on the gallery to the left, you are overwhelmed by the Degas statues. I mean TONS of Degas statues, resting throughout. There were also a few Degas oil paintings, pastels, etc.; who knew he was such a dabbler. I sure didn’t. I’ve always loved his ballerina works so I was in heaven.
I should say here that I happen to love, love, love impressionism (and I’m also a fan of some cubism when you get down to it – not that I’d ever see myself owning anything that modern and funky, but I digress). One of my fondest memories of art (in this case, Monet), was seeing one of his water lily paintings for the first time (I think I was at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, but I could be wrong). Being able to see a Monet up close, and then step back to see the image is just amazing.
My mind doesn’t work that creatively, so I can’t even begin to imagine how someone can paint nothing but dots at close range that later turn into a larger image when you just step back a few steps. Just wow. So being in that front room surrounded by works by Degas, Renoir, van Gogh, Pissaro, Cezanne, and so much more. I just loved it.
And I loved how at the Norton, all the paintings are covered by glass (a glass that you can barely see) and you can not only get right up close to it without setting off any sort of sensors (unlike other museums I’ve been to), but you can also take photos. I can’t recommend this place enough. Especially when you get outside and view the sculpture garden. Again, just beautiful.
I’m going to stop here for fear of this getting to be far too long of a post (especially with all my photos). But let’s just say that my artist date didn’t stop at the Norton Simon on Friday…it continued through the entire weekend (but that’s a future post).
To see more photos from the museum, feel free to check out my Flickr set.
Here’s a teaser from my Sunday night.
I took this photo towards the end of the night when a few folks were still hanging about. I loved this shot because he was just casually leaning against his collection of awards having a totally casual conversation with his piano guy, Pierre (he’s French…and single…and funny as hell!)