Tag Archive | haggin museum

Shifting Sideways: 13 Nekkid Ladies

First off, mind out of the gutter. This is fine art, folks!

Nymphaum by William-Adolph Bouguereau

Nymphaum by William-Adolph Bouguereau

Shifting Sideways: 13 Nekkid Ladies

“One naked lady, two naked ladies, three naked ladies, more. Four Naked ladies, five naked ladies….” My son cooed in his sleep, snuggling into his stroller. Sunday afternoon, and it was time for The Haggin Museum, where we were sitting, and sleeping (respectively), in front of the Nymphaeum by William-Adolphoe Bouguereau. (For the record, there are 13 of them, along with a boy peeping at them and a satyr. Yes, I’ve seen this picture. A lot. If you follow the link, the boy and satyr are on the far right, but are not really visible. Hidden.)

Back then, the Haggin was my refuge. Me time away from my crazy life, moving from place to place. No worries about roommates, a crazy husband or what to do with my life. Instead, it was my infant son, me and the quiet of the museum.

Being surrounded by art allowed me to breathe again. My weird, shift to the side mentality started kicking back in. Some mothers count blocks, some sheep. We counted (almost) naked ladies.

I probably should not have been doing it out loud.

The Princeling and I came to the museum so often that the security guard knew us. At the time, the elevator was operated by Ray, the security guard. I ended up buying a year pass, because we were in there so often.

Now, not so much. Instead of cooing softly from his stroller, my boy has grown into a rambunctious nine year old boy. He’ll tolerate the large machinery, the jeep, the boat… But his heart was captured by the hall of swords. That’s what he calls it now. He thinks the life sized dioramas are creepy, the paintings are boring.

My meandering days are over.

I miss them.

Once again, my life is in turmoil. My mind is scattered, thoughts being tossed like litter in the wind. Art calms the windstorm, settles the thoughts. Whether it’s the Nymphaeum, a storm tossed sea, a piece of porcelain… it reminds me of the beauty in life. Even the potato farmer painting hanging in the same room as my nymphs. They are care worn, they are trying hard… but there is beauty in that struggle.

Walking through the halls, my heart start to slow. My breaths deepen. The soul relearns that it can fly.

##The End##

Music at the Museum

Different segments of the arts often intertwine. Music, paintings, sculpting, words used in both poetry and prose… they all influence each other. Many times an author has a “Play List” included in their Author Notes, and our words are often bound with a work of art on the cover.

The Haggin Museum often has a music program held in the room with the thirteen naked ladies. (I don’t know the name of the painting, but suffice it to say that it is a hallmark in my life, is much prettier than “thirteen naked ladies” implies and I have postcards and the magnet of it.) The first time I went with my father, it was for a talk on the Stockton Opera by Jaffe, with musical selections on the piano as well as a soloist.

My father cried. Happy tears.

We went yesterday to hear the Divertimento String Quartet. The first selection that they played was everything I imagined: so light and airy that if you closed your eyes you could see the pretty girls dancing across polished wooden floors.

The second piece…not so much.

The piece was played well, but I have to say I’m glad that Velickovic gave a little talk about it  before hand, explaining the strife and anguish, the political climate of both the country and the composer at the time it was written.

Because that piece took my anger and amplified it right out of context.

Have I mentioned lately that I have anger issues?

We ended up leaving, right after the second piece was finished. It had nothing to do with the performance, but I had to pick my son up from his other grandparents and quite frankly my father could tell I was ready to pop a cork.

At the first movement washed over me, I thought of scenes such as to be found in swords and sorcery. As it escalated, so did my pissed-off-itude. I started thinking of the piece I kept starting to write, what I wanted it to be and what it keeps ending up being. And until yesterday, I have to tell ya, I had no intention of every really writing it.

It’s a rock opera using Bon Jovi songs. Originally intended as The Mommy Monologues,  I was going to talk about raising my little ray of sunshine.

The best intentions…

It keeps coming out as the Meth Monologues. As in my husband was a meth addict and I’m still pissed off not only at him but also at myself and want nothing more than to beat the crap out of something. I have always dealt with my anger through my writing. Always.

Still, I have tied my fingers into knots, trying *not* to write that story.

There are a million reasons why it’s not a viable project: I’ve never written a play, could never in a million years get the permissions needed to stage it, and even if I did it would be too hurtful to ever allow my son to see it.

It’s not a viable project.

But apparently, it’s what I need to write. I’m tired of keeping the crap  inside, battering at my fingers every time I sit down to write.

Maybe then I can start to forgive myself.