I recently visited Saint Louis on a whim with my family; specifically, to play at a place called the City Museum, which is a labyrinth of caves, tunnels, and slides that weave throughout several stories of the building, as well as sections that are outside and on the rooftop. Much of the first floor was covered in mosaic tiles, which were so creatively laid out that I’ve added “learn how to create mosaic art” to my bucket list. I took a lot of reference photos, to remember the space and to allow the photos to inspire me when I get to that place in my life. There were also silhouettes painted within the stairwell; this will be my next immediate project–to paint bird silhouettes (crows flying) on my garage, as I saw them at City Museum. It’ll be as if I have my own piece of it at home.
I could go on and on about this place–after playing there for no less than 10 hours, I left with a sense of having experienced the open minds of many artistic people who were able to channel their ideas into reality; I feel sure I would recognize them if we passed each other on the street.
Later in the weekend, we found our way to the Saint Louis Art Museum. I had researched its current exhibitions beforehand, but I didn’t look up the permanent collection to see which works were usually on display. I left this to surprise. When we arrived at the front desk, I asked where the Impressionist section was; the attendant pointed us in the right direction and let us know that we wouldn’t be disappointed. Boy, was that an understatement. We found ourselves surrounded by paintings by Pissarro, Cezanne, Monet, Degas…masterpieces that I had studied in college and admired as an adult. It was incredible.
But time wasn’t on my side; we breezed through this section and then made our way to where the Egyptian art was displayed so that our children could view the mummies and hieroglyphs before we had to leave for the trip back home. Then, making our way back to the entrance, we came across two more Degas paintings, which we stopped to admire. If I had been alone, I may have started crying while standing before them. But I was too embarrassed to let any tears drop, so I just stood there, staring, full of emotion. This is why art is important. It makes us FEEL. (tweet this)
It was time to go. My husband enlightened me that Degas’s Little Dancer of Fourteen Years was on display upstairs; we’d somehow missed it while we were in that section. I hesitated…we had a very long drive ahead of us, and our boys were beginning to lose their attention on the art. “We’re here, let’s go see it,” he said to encourage me. I was nervous; how would I react? We went.
I have a smaller version of this statue, which I’ve admired for years. Now, all of a sudden, I found myself face-to-face with her, within untouchable reach of the ribbon in her hair and the gauze of her tutu. All that I felt was gratitude to Degas in this moment, and then to all artists. Life is nothing without art.
On that note, I’d like to thank you as well, for creating art. To keep the momentum of creativity going, you can rely on books such as Drawing People for the Absolute Beginner. I hope that you find inspiration here, and everywhere.