An exhibit featuring Georgia O’Keeffe paintings just opened at the Tacoma Art Museum.  Her paintings, which focus on some of her New Mexico still lifes,  are juxtaposed with those from Pacific Northwest artists.  This exhibit has travelled here from Indianapolis and the Tacoma Art Museum is the only West coast venue for this show.  So it is well worth a day trip to check it  out.


Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Yellow Cactus, 1929. Oil on canvas, 30 × 42 inches. Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, Bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith. 1998.217. (O’Keeffe 675) © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts ®.

I like this article in which the Indianapolis Museum of Art talks about still life painting:

Rarely do we think of still life painting as depictions of a specific area, which is why Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwestern Still Life is such a unique and important exhibition.”

I am very fond of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art, and I was particularly pleased with this new exhibit which featured several of her paintings that I had never before seen in person or reproduced in books such as a cockscomb and a wooden virgin.  Here are some of the other new (to me) paintings:


Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Mule’s Skull with Pink Poinsettia, 1936. Oil on canvas, 401⁄8 × 30 inches. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gift of The Burnett Foundation. 1997.06.014. (O’Keeffe 876) © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts ®.


Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Deer Horns, 1938. Oil on canvas, 36 × 16 inches. Collection of Louis Bacon. (O’Keeffe 941) Photography by Christie’s Images. © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts 

You can read more about this exhibit from this article in the Los Angeles Times.

While you are at the Tacoma Art Museum, be sure to wander through its new addition, which houses “Art of the American West: the Haub Family Collection.”  It includes another new (to me) O’Keeffe painting, Pinons with Cedar, 1956.

Pinons with Cedar, 1956

Pinons with Cedar, 1956

 Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887 ‑ 1986)
Piñons with Cedar, 1956

Oil on canvas
30 × 26 inches
Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.91
© 2014 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



Soulful Emptiness

October 4, 2014


Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

“Soulful emptiness is not anxious.  In fact, power pours in when we sustain the feeling of emptiness and withstand temptations to fill it prematurely.  We have to contain the void.  Too often we lose this pregnant emptiness by reaching for substitutes for power. . . . The soul has no room in which to present itself if we continually fill all the gaps with bogus activities.”
— Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Where Grace Enters In

September 29, 2014

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

“Grace fills empty spaces but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.”
— Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

“We have eyes, and we’re looking at stuff all the time, all day long.  And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important.”
— Eric Carle

Painting by Eric Carle, acryllic on Tyvek, Tacoma Art Museum

Painting by Eric Carle, acrylic on Tyvek, Tacoma Art Museum

In keeping with my resolution to drive less, my niece, a friend, and I made a day trip to Tacoma by bus to see the Eric Carle exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum.  Carle is a well-known, award-winning children’s book illustrator, so I have been familiar with his work for a long time.  I enjoyed reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See to my daughter when she was very young.

Print of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Tacoma Art Museum

Print of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Tacoma Art Museum

I was so enamoured of Carle’s illustrations that I adapted some of them into applique for a handmade quilt.  Carle’s stylized, simple shapes were perfect for copying as appliqued patterns.

Handmade appliqued quilt of Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Handmade appliqued quilt of Brown Bear, Brown Bear (2003?)




The Tacoma exhibit, “Beyond Books:  The Independent Art of Eric Carle,” presented another side of Carle as artist.  It included some of his wood block prints, framed paintings, amazing works on painted Tyvek, and even handmade greeting cards for (lucky) friends.  Now I am even more impressed by Carle’s talents.

The exhibit runs through July 7, 2013.





Patrons at the Tacoma Art Museum (dressed to match the painting — serendipity!)

“Anything that invites reflection becomes a point of departure.”
— Maxine Kumin

I don’t take enough time for reflection.  It seems so easy to breeze through my days doing the work I’m paid to do, getting lost in a book, being entertained by television shows and DVD movies.  But after a while, that’s just not enough.  I need to transform all this passive input into action.  I need to find meaning, to work with my hands and make something.

There’s a constant need to feed the soul, but then also to create something out of that nourishment.

“Must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Journals, November 4, 1852

Do you feel that, too?  What do you do to invite reflection?  To get grounded again?

The paintings in art museums invite reflection.

Are you transformed by art? If not art, what then?

Stack of donated blankets with story tags attached

I took advantage of a free-admission day on Saturday and traveled by bus to the Tacoma Art Museum to see Marie Watt’s exhibit about blankets and stories.  She elevates ordinary, everyday blankets to the level of art.  Two of the most intriguing pieces were simply stacks of used and donated blankets.  For the installation, Dwelling, donors wrote stories about their blankets on tags.  Among the most poignant tales was Peter Kubicek’s — he donated his blanket from a Nazi concentration camp.

Blankets can be pregnant with meaning — think of security blankets, kids forts, warmth and comfort, picnics . . .  Blankets can hide things and cover flaws and ugliness — think of blankets of snow or fog.

Here are some more photos:

Marie Watt Exhibit entitled “Lodge”

Patrons could finger the blankets and read the story tags.

Every blanket holds a story.

Tall column of folded blankets

Blankets as art

Stacked blankets






Daytripping Tacoma

October 8, 2011

Bridge of Glass in Tacoma with Chihuly glass forms in the ceiling

I took my sister and niece to Tacoma so that they could see some Dale Chihuly glass sculptures.  They were fortunate to be able to see the Dale Chihuly’s Northwest exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum before it closed.  I feel lucky to live so close to Tacoma and its glass art, which I’ve seen several times and have never tired of.

Tacoma's old brick buildings near the U of W satellite campus

Exterior, Museum of Glass, Tacoma

Bridal party having photographs made at the Museum of Glass

Union Station, Tacoma, with Chihuly glass forms hanging in the distant windows inside

Dale Chihuly's Northwest exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum

Grand staircase at University of Washington Tacoma campus

Chihuly chandelier at U of W Tacoma Library



Tacoma Art Museum

Current exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum: Dale Chihuly's Northwest

Northwest influences: Chihuly's collection of Native American portraits by Edward S. Curtis

Tacoma is proud to claim glass artist Dale Chihuly as one of its own, and the Tacoma Art Museum is currently featuring a new exhibit that celebrates Chihuly’s Northwest influences.  The museum has relocated Chihuly’s vast collection of Native wool trade blankets and photogravure portraits by Edward S. Curtis from Chihuly’s Boathouse in Seattle, and they form an impressive backdrop to Chihuly’s iconic glass art.  Native American baskets from the collections of the Washington State History Museum stand side by side with Chihuly’s glass forms, which were inspired by the historic containers.

Here are some photos from the exhibit:

Chihuly glass baskets

Glass basket and shadow

Deatil of another glass basket with shadow

Nested glass baskets by Dale Chihuly

Detail, Chihuly basket

Chihuly cylinder with glass-thread drawings inspired by Native blankets

Another glass cylinder with Native basket

Glass art and Native baskets

Reflections and echoes

Chihuly baskets with his collection of Native wool blankets

Flora & Fine Arts Exhibit, Tacoma Art Museum

The Tacoma Art Museum’s weekend-only exhibit, Flora & Fine Arts, paired flowers and art in a uniquely collaborative way.  About 30 local floral designers used works of Pacific Northwest art from the museum’s permanent collection as inspiration for some dazzling floral arrangements. This idea has apparently been executed previously by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

I felt so lucky to have been able to see this exhibit with my gardener friend, Carol.  I loved the florists’ interpretations.  Their arrangements felt like natural extensions of the artwork, a true sharing of vision.  Here are some photos:

This arrangement of calla lilies and pussy willows was a study in greens and browns.

Another pairing of art and flowers

The flowers' colors echo the vibrant colors in this painting.

A celebration of springtime

An arrangement of intense reds

Flowers interpret art


The floral arrangement sweeps into a wave, an extension of the beach painting.

Lovely interpretation of the art

This floral arrangement captures the circular lines in the artwork.

My eye was also caught by these interesting shadows.

More shadow play

Do You Admire Enough?

April 10, 2011

“Admire as much as you can; most people do not admire enough.”
     — Vincent Van Gogh

I admired Dale Chihuly’s glass vessels on a recent trip to the Tacoma Art Museum.  What have you admired lately?

Dale Chihuly glass vessel, Tacoma Art Museum

Details, Dale Chihuly glass, Tacoma Art Museum collection

Details, Dale Chihuly glass, Tacoma Art Museum collection

Glass and its reflection, Dale Chihuly, Tacoma Art Museum

Waves of glass, Dale Chihuly vessels, Tacoma Art Museum