This is one of my favorite corners in the house in which to read. And to look at books of art.
And it's nice when you can combine both reading and art in one serving.
I've been domestically busy today. I've oiled tables, cleaned bathrooms, written letters and trimmed bushes. At some point in the day it's good to just sit quietly and relax.
And few things are as relaxing as a good book.
There is a Spanish or Mexican custom called, Marienda. It's a snack or small meal that fits in between lunch and supper. In Belinda's family it's a long standing custom on Sunday afternoons to have something sweet with a cup of coffee. It's a ritual I love to embrace. Today I had another slice of
apple pie. I can't remember ever having had a better apple pie than the one that sits, half eaten, in my refrigerator. Any excuse to have another slice. And, you've seen the coffee cup before. It's my favorite because it's big so you can put in more coffee, and it's bright red so it's harder to lose.
Today's book is called, "Matisse, Picasso, Miró As I Knew Them"
By Rosamond Bernier.
Ms. Bernier knew all three of the artists. In the case of Matisse she became a good friend and a decades long student of his work. The book is written in a literary style that's more formal than I would have expected, given its publication date of 1991. But once you immerse your self into Ms. Bernier's cadence the stories come into focus quite nicely.
One of the pleasures of this book is that it's very well printed, and illustrated with an abundance of lovely color plates. The plates are referenced in the text and add so much to the experience of armchair learning and savoring.
Today I was working through Matisse and, if there's time tomorrow afternoon I'll give
the chapters on Picasso a whirl.
I had a great time taking my mother and father to the Picasso Museum in Paris in 1994. Years later my father would still smile when he thought about the bicycle with the bull's horns...
Everyone should take their parents someplace special while they have time and health.
It's nice way to create memories that live on after they are gone...
Who ever thought we'd bond over art?
So, this corner of the living room is rarely used by anyone but me. It feels like it's distant from the rest of the house and the high ceilings and ample light make it seem like a reading room in a nice library.
Sometimes, after reading for an hour or two, I just close the book and look at the windows that line the opposite side of the room and watch the wind wend its way through the line of trees.
The leaves jittering and the branches waving gently.
The corner is getting regular use by me during our isolation from the outer world.
My guilty book pleasure from last week was still hanging around on the ottoman in front of my chair. It's one of the many Avedon books that came out in the first part of this century.
This one is, "Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000" and it's really interesting. I love the forwards and commentary in Avedon books almost as much as I enjoy the photographs. Everyone who writes a piece for an Avedon book sounds so smart, so cool, and so tied into the chic-ness of the moment.
I keep a small tripod hidden behind the couch on the presumption that you'll never know when you'll need a bit of extra support. When I saw all the diagonals and the contrast of the light, and the reflection from the floor, I had to make a photograph. Not my usual style but then these are not usual times...
Oh yes. I also did laundry. This pile is bedsheets. The photography of the sheets is in service to my procrastination. I figure I can't be blamed for unfolded sheets if I'm busy making some sort of profound art documentation of them. We'll see how long that argument will work ...
Yes, I oiled all the butcher block tables in the house as well as the cedar pillar that holds up the entry hallway. It's a satisfying job because the aging and weathered wood becomes vibrant and more saturated. It's almost as if I PhotoShopped the table back to its former glory.
We have a lot of art history books, books about graphic design, and books about and by photographers. There is something calming and inspiring about visiting each of the genres and I always come away with a different gift of discovery than I think I will when I sit down and open each book.
What Avedon tells me is to focus on the work.
What Matisse tells me is to take care of both the business and the sensual sides of life.
What Winograd tells me is to get the fucking horizon straight....
The next book on the stack is another plunge into what is quickly becoming a distant past.
It's a book called, "A Propos de Paris"
It's a book of photographs by Henri-Cartier Bresson. It's for when you get exhausted at the thought of looking through "The Decisive Moment" one more time.
Tomorrow we've got portraits to do. Good to get all the cleaning and set up done ahead of time...
Have a great week!