Monday, June 4, 2007

Another Art Purchase Story

For the last Saturday Photo Hunt, I told you the story of my beautiful Swans sculpture and how I acquired it during an Art Appreciation Group outing. As I said, this was not the only time I have purchased something while gallivanting about the local art scene so I thought I would tell you about another of these occasions.

The convener of the AAG had arranged for us to visit a show of a young woman's paintings in a gallery in the downtown eastside. This gallery was run by a mental health group and all the artists showcased there had suffered mental health problems. The young woman artist was present and she told us about her paintings which were very modern, but interesting. She had also arranged, especially for our group, a modern dance performance by a friend of hers who danced her interpretations of the paintings on display, using various masks as props. Now I know this sounds extremely weird, but in actual fact it was delightful and the twenty or so ladies present were very appreciative that these two young women had come out on that afternoon to talk to us and entertain us.

The young artist explained that the paintings were on sale, using the silent auction format, which I am sure you are all familiar with. Each painting has a minimum reserve bid and you write your name and bid down, one below the other and the highest bidder is the purchaser. No one else made any attempt to bid on anything but as so often happens, I was struck by guilt that these women had given up an afternoon for us with no return except our appreciation. Among the paintings was this ceramic, mounted on painted wallboard and framed. She called it Pomegranate and you can see the woman's head is encased inside a pomegranate with seeds in her hair. The paintings were all the wrong colour for my house, mainly with lots of blue which I detest. So I bid on the ceramic and a week or so later I received the "good news" that I was the successful bidder. I did not care for the colour of the original background and I asked her if she could paint it another colour and she agreed. Several days later, I took my husband with me to go pick it up from the gallery. I asked him along because the area is so seedy and full of really down and out people that I was a bit nervous to go alone. I told him that when we went into the gallery and he saw my "purchase" he was not to say a word! He was perfectly well behaved and we chatted with the young woman, I paid for my purchase and took it home. I think he understood why I had bought the ceramic although he frankly didn't like it, as he told me later.

Temporarily I took down a painting by the fireplace in my living room and hung the ceramic on the wall where, somehow, it has remained for the past few years, as you see here. A Della Robbia it is not, but I can tell you, it certainly is a conversation piece.

I call it my "donation to charity" art purchase and although it is not beautiful like my Swans, it shares a place in the very same room. The painting beside it is an Australian scene by my sister-in-law and it reminds me of my youth.

Does it look like a setting from Home and Garden magazine? I think not. But almost every piece in the room has a story that has meaning for me. What more can you ask of your home?

25 comments:

Lee said...

Beauty and art are in the eye of the beholder. And both are very personal things. I've always been one to believe if you, individually, personally like something, then you should get it...as it is you who gets the pleasure from it. We all have different opinions, likes and dislikes...even our most nearest and dearest don't necessarily have to agree...and vice versa.

Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cathy said...

Well I like it and I can see that it would be a great conversation piece.

Liz said...

It's ... not that bad. It fits in well with your room I think, loks nice on the wall there.

It was very generous of you anyway.

By the way, I can't get the Baghdad dog book in this country. I am disappointed but maybe it will be available here soon.

Janice Thomson said...

What an intriguing piece and as Lee mentions beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. It must make for a good conversational piece - had you not explained I would not have guessed what it was. Once explained it does makes perfect sense.

Voyager said...

Art is so personal, but I can see why your hubby may not appreciate it. It is a very female-centric image.
I picked up "From Baghdad With Love" on your recommendation. I liked the story very much, especially the description of what conditions are really like. And I was appalled to learn the Marine's rule against pets is to squash feelings of campassion that might interfere with the job of killing. But I did not like the writing. Too colloquial. Even in straight narrative the author uses terms such as: "You know, like, I was scared." That's fine for dialogue, if the character actually speaks that way, but it was too much.
That said, I read it in one sitting, like you. A compelling story. My husband has now started it.
V.

jmb said...

Hi Lee,
Well I didn't exactly choose this for it's beauty but it reminds me of this young woman and I hope she is doing well for she was the mother of a young child so needs to be well.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Cathy,
Yes I've told that story many a time to explain it hanging in my living room. I could move it elsewhere, just never have.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Liz,
Yes, it's not that bad. It usually just disappears on the wall, but at night it is highlighted by the spotlight.
She was so excited that she had sold something and she told me that the gallery didn't take a percentage of the money, as they usually do.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Well I suppose it is intriguing. I don't think it beautiful but interesting. It is actually quite cracked as she wasn't experienced with the technique. Still I don't regret purchasing it.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Voyager,
My husband hasn't liked a lot of the stuff I've purchased over the years but he never complains about it.
What I was worried about was that he might blurt out without thinking, why on earth did you buy that?

I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I read it as a dog lover, but was very interested in the conditions etc. I know the rule against pets seems harsh but I am sure there are good reasons for it. After all they were using MREs to feed the dog and suppose they were in a low food situation, it would be food not available for the troops.
I didn't notice the bad writing because I was hung up on the story. He did have a ghost writer helping, maybe she became caught the "like" bug from him.
But it is a compelling story and one I'm very glad I read.
regards
jmb

lady macleod said...

You are nominated! did you see that in the blogpower awards? congratulations! huzzah!

I like your art story, sounds very you (from what I know of you...from you!)

jmb said...

Hi Lady MacLeod,
Yes I noticed, someone is too kind. Well two people are.
I nominated you, you know. I think you are a very good writer and I love your site.
Glad you liked my next art story. As a "collector" my stuff is very weird and I'm sure not even my kids will want it when I am gone.
regards
jmb

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well, again, i'd have bought it too, jmb. That's a very interesting story of how you came by it and I like your husband's reaction - or lack of it! I'm totally with you on your home: you should be surrounded by things that MEAN something to you. It looks fine to me!

Ellee said...

This is a beautiful unique work of art, I can understand why it is so special.

jmb said...

Hi WCLC,

I had to buy something. I couldn't leave without at least placing a bid. This I thought I could live with, not the blue paintings although they were fine really.
Sometimes I look around me at the eclectic collection and wonder how it all goes together but I don't really care too much and neither does A, thank goodness.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi ellee
Unique it is but it was worth the money to make someone happy with a sale and I've learned to love it because of sentimentality I guess.
regards
jmb

Josie said...

JMB, I was reading your post this morning, but then I was late for work and I didn't have time to post a comment. But I wanted to say that I find that piece quite interesting, and I think I might have put it in a little corner of a dining room, maybe over a small side board or something, because of the food theme. There's something about it that sort of appeals to me. It looks Grecian, and it has a very nice story with it. Those are all the things that make a piece of art interesting. I'm quite impressed that you bought it. Do you ever do the "artists in our midsts" tour?

Josie

Tai said...

It reminds me of the story of Prosephine and Hades.
Very interesting!

jmb said...

Hi Josie,
It is an interesting piece but not really very well framed or showcased. Sorry, the dining room is full of stuff on the walls, again most with stories.
I haven't done the artists in our midst tours although our group often goes to visit people who are included in that group.
We've been twice to Pnina Granier's studio and she takes part in that.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

HI Tai,
That's interesting how it evoked that story for you. The artist creates something but we bring our own selves and experiences to viewing it.
regards
jmb

ipanema said...

That's a beautiful piece jmb. Like you all things in my house has a story. :)

jmb said...

Hi ipanema,
The stories make the pieces more precious don't they?

ivan said...

Funny how scientists are attracted to art and artists (curiously) to science.
Perhaps there is a place where they meet.
Tai may have something to offer on this.
Ludwig Wittgenstein?

Ivan

jmb said...

Hi Ivan,
I wonder if what you say is true. I'm married to the old scientist and he's not attracted to art. Now music is another story. He's a very great aficionado of classical music.
Thanks for visiting. I see you over at Josie's often.
regards
jmb