Friday, July 28, 2017

Art Along I-35

The very first time we came to Rockport, Texas was a very hot July and we were in time for the Rockport Art Festival, which is a juried exhibition of original art, by many local and not so local artists.  This year, ten years later, we again were in Rockport in time for the art festival but this time we volunteered to help.  We ended up manning the cold drink booth and it was a lot of fun.  
We had a big surprise while walking through the booths, to see Anna Lisa Leal, who had exhibited in our first Arizona Pastel Artist's national show.  Anna Lisa knew who we were right away and had already been having a great day with 5 sales so far.  (top photo).  Another pastel artist was Mark Schultz who painted large coastal scenes with lots of empty space but with exceptional beauty.  
The third pastel artist, James Offeman, had been painting BIRDS IN PASTEL for over 30 years and had done much of his work for Audubon.  His work was also large but very sensitive portraits of many kinds of birds.  He was almost sold out of his paintings by the end of the first day.  What you see behind him was all he had left.  
On one of our last days in Rockport, we drove over to Corpus Christi to see the Art Museum.  They were having a retrospective of Robert Julian Onderdonk's paintings.  Onderdonk is considered to be the greatest painter from Texas... an impressionist around the turn of the century, trained in the east, but painted around San Antonio for the remainder of his short life.
Also there was a traveling portrait exhibition that had been juried by the Smithsonian and had some very interesting interpretations of people from around the country.   The museum is small and is located in a beautiful spot right on the gulf where you can sit out on a patio and eat lunch while watching the boats come and go.  But the area surrounding the museum is a downtown in serious need of renewal... with weedy vacant lots and shabby buildings.  I am afraid that Corpus Christi has not improved since the last time we saw it.
Leaving Rockport, we headed up to San Antonio where we first visited the San Antonio Museum of Art which turned out to be in the process of remodeling and upgrading over half of the buildings, which did not stop them from charging us full price for only half of the galleries.  One artist who was represented was Diego Rivera and this painting to the right was done by him when he was 18 and was submitting a work to get a 2 year scholarship to Europe.  Another student got the award and Rivera had to wait until 2 years later before he then received the award.
We also visited the McNay Museum of Art, which is the former home of Marion McNay.  Her home had many examples of Impressionists and Post Impressionists, including several Picasso's.  She had 4 husbands but the museum is named after husband number one, who was the love of her life, and who died young.  This is an exceptional museum and includes a small theatre where they give free concerts on Sundays.  We were there in time to hear a jazz trio.  
Further north on I-35, we stopped in Fort Worth to see the art museum which was hosting the Phillips Collection of Impressionist art from D.C.  We had already seen many of these paintings while in Washington and it was like seeing old friends again.  We were not allowed to take photos of the individual paintings.  
Traveling still further north to Oklahoma City, we went to their museum of art and found the Kehinde Wiley exhibition which we had not had a chance to see while in Phoenix.  
They also had an exhibition of Dale Chihuly Glass works which included the usual lighted ceiling, boats filled with glass balls of many sizes, glass forests, and sculptures of glass.  This is just one of many beautiful pieces that we saw.   We also had a wonderful lunch in their cafe which was right on the main square of government and office buildings, so they were very busy.  Our sandwiches were really good, but the flourless chocolate dessert was awesome.  
Here in Oklahoma City, we turned to the West and headed for Santa Fe where we hoped to have cooler weather.  Up to this point, the heat was intense every day.  
We chose to stay a little north of Santa Fe and finally some cool evenings and fresh breezes.  We returned from the grocery store on the very first day to find blood all over the white leather of the passengers seat.  Murray had somehow pulled out a toenail from his back foot and was trying to stop the bleeding by licking the blood away.  We got him stabilized and the seat cleaned up, but never did figure out how he managed to get injured.  
Now for all of you who like to see and hear about what we eat while on the road, I have to say that one of the best meals that we have had was in the shopping plaza near Trader Joes in San Antonio.  It was called Tarka and was similar in style to Pei Wei, where you read the menu along the wall and then say which sauce, which meat, and so on.  Turns out this is a small chain here in Texas... wish they would come to Arizona.    Absolutely some of the best Indian food we have had in a long while.  Chicken Korma below, Aloo Gobi at 11 o'clock, Garlic Naan at the top, and Chicken Tikka Masala at 2 o'clock.  Mango Lassi Lemonade to drink.  And Samosa's to start.   YUM.

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