Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roses, Flags and Art

Roses on the square
Now with spring the season of festivals begin in the mountain towns near me. The past couple of weekends I‘ve enjoyed hanging out in Dahlonega’s art scene. Last weekend it was the Mountain. Flower Art Festival. A misty day with off and on light rain, filled with enthusiastic artists showing their arts and crafts under tented cover. It was fun to be welcomed back by many local friends and chat with the artists a few of the artist belong to the art group that I belong to, the Chestatee Artists. It was a day of running into people I know, getting lots of hugs and being inspired by what other artist are doing. The rose bushes around the square were blooming, which added to the charm. The town of Dahlonega is a mountain in north Georgia not far from me, where I go to church and belong to an art group that meets once a month at the chamber of commerce.  Dahlonega is a very popular local tourist destination, only an hour from Atlanta, with it’s wineries, restaurants and unique shops around a quaint town square where often mountain music is played by local musicians. In the center of town there is a old courthouse that now houses the gold museum and is the heart of a very picturesque old southern town square. Dahlonega is the first place that gold was discovered and had a working mine for 1828 years, 20 years before the Calif. gold rush. 
Mtn.Flower Art Fest

Letty and Oscar Rayneri-Chestatee Artists

This weekend we enjoyed sunshine, so a friend and I decided to poke around in Dahlonega’s shops and galleries in the town square; then enjoyed ice tea on the patio of Shenanigan’s. The southern tradition of ice tea is one of things I have come to love about living here, something I really missed while living in Baja.  For Memorial Day weekend the courthouse and square was filled with American Flags. I came of age near Berkeley during the Vietnam War and joined my fellow students in protest marches against the war. As much as I would like to say I am proud to see the ol’ red, white and blue flying, I can’t really say that. I’m very saddened by the fact this country is still at war in parts of the world and young people are still dying in the name of servicing this country. I was born on the 3rd of July so, there was always the big 4th of July celebration right around my birthday with lots of flag waving, as a small child I thought it was for my birthday along with the fireworks.  In Baja every town center has a giant Mexican flag waving and the most popular presentation of Mexican food is to have the colors of the flag on the plate, green, red, and white, which is kind of fun. My hope for our future Memorial Day Celebrations is that we are Celebrating Peace.

In front of a shop

Fudge Shop

Dahlonega Square-Old Courthouse
Gallery on the Square

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Celebrating Mother’s Day

Sunday Afternoon in Decatur

Since my mother died a number of years ago I tend not to celebrate Mother’s Day, but it so happened that the art museum in Atlanta had the last day of the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit on Mother’s Day and was invited to go with my friend. Atlanta is only an hour and half easy, (when not commute time) drive. I don’t often go to Atlanta, I have never learned my way around …thank goodness for GPS now days. We started off on a bright sunny Sunday morning driving down our local country highway and then on to the freeway for our day’s adventure enjoying the scenery of lush green trees and green fields with memories of my mother.  I remember the first time I went to the High Museum which was many years ago when I fly from California to Atlanta to visit my parents in their new home. They had recently moved to Atlanta suburb from Tampa. My mother and I explored Atlanta and enjoyed the High Museum. So it felt very fitting to be returning to the High on Mother’s Day. It has been many years since I have been there. The High Museum, which is a fine very modern built museum with a nice courtyard entrance where there was a long row of red rosebushes all in bloom giving off a wonderful sent. Most of the courtyard was filled by a early morning yoga class with a women speaker into her headphone mike, what posture the participants should be doing. The participants where on there mats lifting parts of the bodies in odd ways, which was a kind of living impromptu sculpture garden, as we walked past them on to the entrance.

We needed to take an elevator to the exhibit and as the doors opened we were greeted by mural of extreme close-up faces of Frieda and Diego from an old black and white photo. Their thoughtful faces helped to set the tone for the exhibit, titled "Passion, Politics and Painting", which started with Diego’s early work, when he was sent to study art in Spain by the Mexican Government. Then continued with examples through out his career, including full wall poster of a mural he was commission by the Rockefeller Family to do in NYC, but they decided not to have it shown do to its political contain. It was very interesting to view this in the scale that it was painted. Growing up around San Francisco I have seen a number of his mural.  I would have liked to see more of Frieda’s paintings, the exhibit covered Diego’s career more than hers and did really focus on their politics. She was really a fine painting and created the most beautiful skin tones in her painting. What she most remembered for are her self-portraits. I really enjoyed seeing the gallery of black and white photos of them taken by famous photographers of the day. The photos where journalistic and told more of the real story behind these talented complex artist couple. 

On to a pleasant lunch in the museum cafe with floor to ceiling glass windows and a view of gardens with purple iris in bloom, lawn and a few high rise buildings, perfect place for people watching and thoughtful conversation.   The sunny afternoon stretched out before us and so we decided to go exploring a near by neighborhood/town of Decatur where we heard there were interesting shops and galleries.  At first driving in we wondered if it really did have nice shops, all we saw were office type buildings, but then we found the street with the shops, galleries and sidewalk cafe's. It was great fun exploring each place and finding interesting treasures, then drinking ice tea and eating yummy deserts at a sidewalk cafe on the tree lined streets, a perfect way to enjoy Mother’s Day. Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. 
Entrance to the High Museum

Square Trees- Courtyard of the High Museum