Thursday, February 16, 2012

Birthday Reflections

Yesterday, I turned 30.

It was an introvert's dream. I dropped Mike off at UC, got Paneras for brunch, checked Facebook for birthday wishes, and went to the Art Museum. ALL BY MYSELF. Most people don't understand this. Don't you want someone to go with you? While I love going to places like the Art Museum with people, I really enjoyed this trip by myself. When I got an inspiration I wanted to share with someone, I texted them. When I wanted to spend a half hour on a bench reflecting on art and on my year, I did it. Trying to figure out how to balance the interests of one person vs. another can be complicated. And for a person with a low stimulation threshold, it's can be exhausting to pay attention to the social dynamic when I'm already being exhausted by the stimulation. So it was nice to be free.

However there were cool things to share.

The Cincinnati Art Museum is renovating their old art school wing. And by renovating, I mean gutting and putting in all new stuff. It kind of looks like the Colosseum in Rome. We so rarely get to appreciate the old things in America. Even old stuff is laughingly recent when compared to the remains in Europe and Asia. It's cool to see old building get a new life. Also this particular building has an awesome rounded edge. It's fascinating. I hope it doesn't look too new when they are done. :-)

Cincinnati Art Museum has like three really impressive special exhibits going on right now. There's a lovely little Monet exhibit with the Waterlilies and the Wisteria and everything you expect of Monet. But then there's a Picasso exhibit of his master prints--line drawings, sketches, and lithographs. It's the last that I was most intrigued by. I think we often think that art is something that we can't do. It takes months and years to paint with the accuracy of the Renaissance era. The massive scale of Monet's canvasses just can't compare to the 8x10 canvasses I bought at the two-for-one sale at Michaels. But Picasso's lithographs made sense. Still his style is so unique you couldn't duplicate it, but it's a technique that looks really fun to try out. The final one is a contemporary fabric artist Nick Cave who makes these giant sound suits. It's really crazy. Here's a sample (though much more than at the Art

Museum and not featuring the sweater animals I adored). Cave's work was inspiring in the fact that he took normal things and through quantity and repetition made beauty. I think in my own life, I don't push to make enough whatever to get to the beauty. Try it once, twice, and I'm done. Take some risks and then take them again. That's what I'm trying to apply this year.

After the Art Museum, I walked down to the reflective pond that overlooks the Ohio River. I've seen the pond drained and it has these cool swirly designs in the bottom. Right now the pond still has water, and it's mildly iced over (you can skate on it when it freezes over enough--they have a flag). So you have this thin ice layer which you can see through to the moss and scum and other colors in the pond and it's just gorgeous. Like Monet's Waterlilies all muddled with much more brown, red and pink. Off to the side is a little stair case that has these old stone reliefs on either side. A child had colored the relief with chalk. It was so appropriate to contribute this little bit of extra beauty to the area.

Finally, I walked into the pavillon that overlooks the pond. Normally in the nicer weather you can catch a wedding party taking pictures there or even conduction the actual ceremony. Along the stone wall that rims the pavillon, there are tons of engravings--initials, X was here, HS loves BT. There was just so much presence there. The idea of getting married in a place where so many people had literally left their mark is captivating. It's not just pretty (though it's that too).

Then I walked back to my car, drove home and read The Fault in Our Stars (my only bad decision--don't read a book about kids with cancer on your birthday no mater how much you like the author). Then Mike came home and we had Indian and watched a movie.

All in all a great start to my 4th decade. I'm looking forward to what my 30s hold.