Saturday, August 22, 2009

Recieving some art

There's nothing i love more than coming home to find a package by my door. Oh, how i love parcel posts! This particular package contained a watercolor and ink painting by Joe Swanson called Grief. A few weeks ago i became aware of the Retrieval Project. You can read the whole story here, but the gist of it is that a family moved halfway across the country to pursue a dream, things went very bad and they had to move back to the west coast. Unfortunately they had to abandon most of their possessions and it will cost $4000 to get everything back. To raise the money, every day for 50 days Joe and Jenny are each going to do a painting on the same word or phrase and sell than for $40; after the originals sell there will be prints of each available for $20. Firstly, i know a little something about making life-altering plans that go horribly wrong. Secondly, i love the ingenuity of the project, of being pro-active in the face of adversity. Lastly, i was fascinated by the prospect of seeing 2 very different artists tackle the same idea; seeing the diversity. So every day i started checking the site. There were some pieces i liked and some i didn't; it was all academically interesting until Day 9 - Grief I was smitten. Even now i can't fully describe why i am captivated by her. The sword slices her in half, but doesn't kill her; she still wears flowers in her hair and has color in her cheeks. The eye on the sword is cool. The blue shadow adds just enough color. That jaunty scarf. And the look on her face... I just love it. I waited and waited for someone to buy the original so that i could get a half-priced print, but alas, no one did. Finally, i talked myself into it, Really, Niki; you are going to have to use savings to get the print anyway and for only $20 more you get the original. Just bite the bullet and buy it. So i did. I am so glad that i did. After she arrived and i saw the exquisite ink lines and the watercolor gradients, i knew that the print would be nice, but not as breathtaking as the original. It came matted in black and now i have to decide how i will frame her and where to hang her. Of course, my Gorvensky and my Max are still sitting in my living room waiting to find wall space, so it might be awhile. Amazingly, i was so taken with her loveliness when i first saw her that i never clicked on the image to see it larger, so the most tell detail of the work completely escaped me. It looks like the sword is edged in red, but actually it is the word GRIEF, over and over again. Wow. The painting is based on tragedy, but to me it is hopeful, beautiful, life affirming. Check out the Retrieval Project (linked above) and follow along as a family uses their talent to turn lemons into lemonade. I am already in love with another painting -today's in fact- of Joe's version of Surprise. A tiger in a rose; dang, that's cool.

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