Late this afternoon, upon hearing the corpse flower was beginning to bloom, I dropped everything and ran over to the Botanic Gardens. I mean that literally. I dropped my magazine on the floor and ran down the street, made a right turn, and headed in the direction of the garden’s main gate. The live stream had been running on my computer screen all day, but I wanted to see this in person. It’s not everyday you get to view an Amorphophallus titanium bloom! The event is a rare occurrence and annually only about 5-10 plants bloom in captivity worldwide. I’m not sure how frequently they bloom in nature, but the plant’s native habitat in Sumatra (Indonesia) is being destroyed at a record pace, so I’m sure blooms in the wild are down in number.
Attending a parochial preparatory school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan during my teenage years probably wasn’t the best thing for me. But in a renewed effort to find the positive in things, I’ll admit that I got a great education even if the school wasn’t the right fit. Another advantage in spending so much time around 78th Street was the exposure I had to art. The Frick, the Met, the Guggenheim and the MoMA were all walking distance from my high school. Upon dismissal (or let’s be honest, when I occasionally skipped out on gym class- sorry mom) I would head over to one of the nearby museums. I loved art and there was a lot of it.
I’ve been trying to increase Otis and Theo’s exposure to art and music. I have memories of coloring and painting at a young age, and I began playing piano when I was 6…so I just a few months older than Otis is now. I don’t have many regrets in life, but I wish I had stuck with piano, which ended when my teenage attitude got in the way of practicing. I also wish I kept making art.
My high school art teacher encouraged me to pursue creative endeavors so I immersed myself in painting, sculpture and art history. I never thought I would make a career of it, but art was an outlet that gave me a lot of satisfaction, and quite frankly, a lot of joy.
I wasn’t the best artist in my school, but my teacher thought highly of my creative output and she encouraged me take the Advanced Placement Art during my senior year. I worked tirelessly on my portfolio and was happy with the final product. That is, until the grades came back and I scored a 1. In case you’re not familiar with AP scoring, that’s the bottom of the barrel.
Being an impressionable teenager, I found myself demoralized. I stopped painting and using clay completely. The work I had been so proud of, well, I thought it was awful after that score came in. But now at 38, armed with the benefit of self-confidence and perspective, I could kick myself for thinking such a thing. Why did I let an anonymous judge derail an activity that made me happy?
Over the long Thanksgiving weekend I took the boys to see
. It was awesome; we all loved it. It’s hard to capture the right words that could express what it was about Mothersbaugh’s artwork that reignited my desire to paint and be more creative, but it did. I’m so glad we got to see it…
Here’s to creative endeavors that enrich your life, being inspired and not letting silly numbers get in the way of the things you love.
Enjoy your weekend,
...oh you know, just an ordinary Wednesday at the museum with my boys!