Monday, August 23, 2010

A Week-end of Art Refills the Well

Being art lovers as well as well as John Steinbeck lovers, my husband and I love to go to the Carmel-Monterrey-Pacific Grove area and drink in the refreshment of walks by the ocean and visits to art galleries. So early Saturday morning we set off with a change of clothes, a one night booking in PG at a motel that accepts dogs, and a basket full of picnic snacks for the evening meal and lunch on the way home Sunday. (We had Saturday's lunch at a wonderful, inexpensive seafood restaurant called Sea Harvest on Foam St. and Hoffman.)

Along with the art, of course, we love to walk along the ocean front and enjoy the shush-shush of the waves and the damp, salty air. We expected foggy cold weather and came prepared, but actually both days were bright and sunny with just the right amount of soft, cool breeze to make us grateful, given that Sacramento summers are hot and crisp.

Art friends in the foothills told us about the Monterrey Museum of Art, which we had never visited, so this became number one on our list of things to see. We found out the MMA actually has two locations, one on Pacific Avenue in the heart of Monterrey, and one on the outer edges on La Mirada, both with beautiful gardens. The building on Pacific Avenue was exhibiting paintings by American artists, mostly Impressionists, and primarily those that had an art relationship with Monterrey, including Armin Hansen and William Ritchell. We both love Impressionism, and have enjoyed the California Impressionist and American Impressionist exhibits at Crocker Art Gallery in the past. This was a joyful discovery for us.

Then we learned that the building on La Mirada has an exhibit of Ansel Adams's photographs. Ansel Adams is (was, as he is gone now) our favorite photographer. My husband does black and white photography as a hobby, and Adams has been his guru! The exhibit at La Mirada was of 72 photos Adams himself selected out of his hundreds of photos and gave to his daughter with the request that they be made available to the general public. The current exhibit is running until October 3rd. (You can learn more about it on MMA's website: ) Many of these we had seen bfore, and loved, but many were also new to us. All were exquisite!

Sunday, then, we did our usual art-gallery trek into Carmel and visited three galleries we especially liked: American Galleries on San Carlos, Jones & Terwilliger Galleries on Sixth Avenue, and Classic Art Gallery that, in addition to lovely work by contemporary artists, has a collection by renowned artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, like Cortes, Laloue, Loir, among others, as well as the American Impressionist Guy Rose.

We headed home a little after noon, stopping in the sleepy town of San Juan Bautista to have lunch in a small park (where we usually walk our dog on the return trip). Then we browsed some of the antique stores. It was about 6:00 when we finally got home, where, sitting on our patio in the Sacramento heat, we savored our collage of art moments, as we will for some time to come.
How about you? Do you have a special place you go to refuel and "fill the well"? Do you have special interests that affect you that way?


Rachna Chhabria said...

You seemed to have had a wonderful time, Elizabeth. Art exhibitions and visits to art galleries in particular are sheer joy for you. I know that nothing makes you more happy then visiting these places.

Lydia Kang said...

I went to Carmel and Monterey many years ago and it was so beautiful. Big Sur was also breathtaking. Thanks for sharing your experience and rekindling my own memories!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Rachna, you are so right when you say art is sheer joy for me. It really is so restorative!

Lydia, If you and your hubby decide on a pacific coast vacation,that area still retains its beauty. Has he ever been?