outdoor sculpture exhibition

9.3.22 ~ Avery Point
“Chameleon” by Helena Chastel

Saturday morning we visited Open Air 2022, an outdoor sculpture exhibit hosted by the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art on the beautiful UConn Avery Point campus from July 14-September 29. This idea started in 2020 because of the pandemic, when the gallery had to remain closed. It was so popular with the public that they plan to continue with a new installation every summer.

“Noon” by Myles Nurse
“Piles” by Jack Henry

Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its own focus.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Experience)

“Stand Up” by Margaret Roleke
herring gull with feathers ruffled in the breeze
“Silent Vanishing” by CoyWolf Collective
(Elizabeth Knowles, Steven Phillip Harris, Debra Vilen)

Silent Vanishing was my favorite sculpture, depicting melting icebergs and the snowy owls who breed in the treeless arctic tundra. Where will they go if/when the environment changes too fast for them to adapt?

one of many cairns on top of the seawall
northern mockingbird

I stopped by my beach rosebushes to see if the song sparrow was still there but a mockingbird came out to greet me instead. He posed for quite a while and I took many pictures of him.

beach rose hips
lonely little beach rose
“Movement Study: Wave” by Margaret Parsons
purple coneflowers and stone wall
“Bubbles” by Brian Walters
“And Only Its Hands Are Left Pleading for Life”
by Thomas Pilnik

For an interesting explanation of Pilnik’s crumbling sculpture (above) and a picture of what it looked like when he first created it in July follow this link: Thomas Pilnik

And now we’re getting some much needed rain!

outdoor art festival

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

I’ve been a little sad this week, stumbling across a few painful reminders of losses in the past. One reminder was a deeply moving blog post, Silent Death-Alzheimer’s Disease story-1988, with striking photos that hit so close to home, bringing back memories of my grandmother’s decline and reminding me of what my father is going through now.

The idea of crowds and heat and humidity gave me a bit of pause, but today we ventured out to the 54th annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. We were lucky to find a parking spot we didn’t have to pay for and it was not too long a walk to the first booth.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

The festival is a professionally juried outdoor art show, with booths for over 250 artists and over 60 crafters to display their works lining the streets of historic Mystic. One must cross over the Mystic River on a bascule drawbridge (above and below) to get from East Main Street to West Main Street in Mystic.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Before we got too far I fell in love with an oil painting of a cat sitting on a chair looking out the window, called “Oliver’s View” by Kimberley Scoble. The artist told me she painted the scene first and then Oliver cooperated by jumping on to the chair and sitting there for twenty minutes looking at something intently, the way cats do.

Because we were at an art show I was totally unprepared for a booth a few spots down for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation. As a kind breast cancer survivor was explaining about the Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut coming up on October 1st I got all choked up and then the tears started. I explained to her that my mother died of breast cancer twenty years ago… I don’t know if this is menopause making me so sensitive… I’m kind of surprised that it hit me like that.

Tim took me away and comforted me as I collected some pamphlets. It took me a while to regain my composure. Now that I’m home I’m thinking maybe the universe is telling me it’s time to get involved in a cause that is obviously so dear to my heart. The woman said if we couldn’t walk the quarter marathon (6.55 miles) we could take part by being in a cheering section. And in October heat and humidity probably wouldn’t be a reason for concern…

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Anyhow, we went on to see many beautiful oil paintings, watercolors, photography, pastels, sculpture, acrylics, pottery, metalwork and crafts. Most were way out of our price range, and many had signs forbidding the taking of pictures. But we did buy some very refreshing all-natural frozen lemonade!

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

On March 6, 2000, there was a fire at the shops on 18-22 West Main Street in Mystic which burned them to the ground. Every plan proposed to rebuild the site has been rejected for one reason or another and it remains as the fire left it. A wall was erected to hide the empty spot, but there are some holes cut out of it for people to look through. For the festival, the wall has been decorated with children’s art.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Another treat was some lovely music we heard before we found the source. This woman was playing an ancient Chinese stringed instrument, a guzheng.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

We stopped at the local free-range chicken farm on our way home, and at a farmer’s market for tomatoes, eggplant, squash and cherries. I’m looking forward to autumn and apples – I’ve had enough of summer!

a life story

“Symphony in White No. 3″ by James McNeill Whistler

Gather up your telegrams
Your faded pictures, best laid plans
Books and postcards, 45′s
Every sunset in the sky

Carry with you maps and string, flashlights
Friends who make you sing
And stars to help you find your place
Music, hope and amazing grace

Maybe what we leave
Is nothing but a tangled little mystery
Maybe what we take
Is nothing that has ever had a name

~ Mary Chapin Carpenter
♫ (Your Life Story) ♫

art?

Is graffiti art? I don’t know, though I tend to think that it is. Some of it seems very creative. I tend to think of graffiti as something painted illegally onto man-made structures like buildings and bridges, often with a negative message. But not always. How about when inspiration moves someone to paint something natural, like a tree or a rock, what might that be called?

These pictures were taken in October 2007 in the woods behind our condo complex.

We often wonder who the mysterious anonymous artist could be… What can you tell about an artist from her work and where she chooses to exhibit it?

When I was little we passed what we called Frog Rock (right) in Eastford on our way to the Cape almost every month. It doesn’t seem so big now as it once did. We’d beg Dad to drive by it slowly so we could get a good look at it from all angles.

I grew up in Storrs, Connecticut, home of the University of Connecticut. I’m used to seeing art on rocks on the campus, including on a large outcrop on South Eagleville Road, sanctioned for painting. There are new creations painted over it every time I go by, and have been for as long as I can remember. Perhaps this experience has conditioned me not to be surprised, but rather fascinated, when finding art co-existing with nature in the woods or by the side of the road. I wonder how many layers of paint on that outcrop in over 50 years???

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his picture.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
(Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit)

Here’s another bit of Connecticut nature art, Snake Rock (right) in Marlborough.

So, are these creations art? Graffiti? Or something else? I suspect that “art” cannot be definitively defined, and that like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder…

Images: Frog Rock, Snake Rock