Limerick was a perfect place to begin my lighthouse tour of Ireland. I learned about the history of the Irish people at the Hunt Museum’s exhibit “A Terrible Beauty.” It gave me valuable insight into the culture and the history behind the formation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The Hunt has a collection of 2,000 original works of art. I was fascinated by a coin said to be one of the silver coins Judas was given to betray Christ. There were modest works by Renoir and Picasso I admired.
I enjoyed the special exhibit “Terrible Beauty” by Robert Ballagh. It is a centennial reflection on the Irish uprising. Ballagh revisits paintings like Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People”, Goya’s “Third of May” and other reinterpretations to bring to light the universal struggle for social justice. They provide a powerful backdrop to Ballagh’s other paintings that are a personal narrative about the courageous leaders of the uprising. I was especially intrigued by “The History Lesson.”
After touring with a docent, I stopped by the Museum cafe for tea and a light bite. I walked along a walkway outside the Museum to catch a glimpse of the Shannon River and King John’s Castle to complete my visit.
Dodging cars like a nervous pedestrian, the historic Biloxi Lighthouse stands beside a busy highway.
Lighthouses adorn postcards and remind us of peaceful days gone by. We always like to fool ourselves that the past was better than the present. Some people even try to make social movements out of the past.
If we are honest with ourselves we would remember that the past was fraught with struggles. The Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi has withstood the Civil War, Civil Rights protests and hurricane Katrina. I was reminded of this landmark when thinking about the attacks in Paris.
Struggles either bring out the best in us or the worst in us. This lighthouse in spite of the perils it faced survives on a busy roadway. Life changes and we must adapt to the harsh realities facing us and not look back for perceived safer days.
Art can unite us. After the recent attacks in Paris, countries around the world lit up their landmarks with France’s national colors to display solidarity with the French people.
Terrorists hate unity. Hitler sought division and invaded France. Hitler like the terrorists committed suicide. After his demise, the monuments of France stood still. The bells of Notre Dame speak while the corpses of the fallen terrorists are silent.
Art has always been the heart of Paris. Terrorists used a satirical drawing as an excuse to strike the heart of Paris and slaughter innocent people.
The pen is mightier than the sword. The drawing remains intact while the terrorist fighting against it in Paris have perished.
Art outlives dictators and terrorists. Even now decayed ruins speak in Rome and Greece. Art is the foundation of culture.
Terrorists and madmen seem to be at war with art. They know the power of art. Destroying monuments are their futile attempts to rewrite history.
Viva La France!
Last year, I visited the wonderful coastal town of Honfleur in the province of Normandy in France. Honfleur is the hometown of artist Eugéne Boudin who encouraged Claude Monet to paint landscapes. Boudin also inspired Monet to paint outdoors. Boudin was one of the first landscape artists to paint outdoors.
Honfleur is located on the southern bank of an estuary on the Seine River across from the city of le Harve. During my visit, I painted the port of Honfleur and visited Sainte-Catherine Church which is the largest wood church in France.
I also visited the Musee Eugéne Boudin. I was excited to see paintings by Monet’s mentor and friend. Boudin’s father was once a harbor pilot and Boudin worked on a steamboat as a child. He drew on the depth of his knowledge of the sea to paint masterful seascapes.
The name Monet conjures up images of France’s country. Monet’s waterlillies are synonymous with Giverny.
Artists get a chance to look over the master’s shoulder and visit Paris, Honfleur, and Giverny with seasoned artist and traveler, Sue Ann Hum.
I went last year and it is well worth the investment. Not only did I get a one woman show as a result of the trip but it changed the way I see color and light.
The trip includes three nights in Paris and six nights in Giverny. In Paris, we toured four museums and were wined and dined by our host, Sue Ann. In Giverny, artists journeyed to the Gardens and painted.
When also visited the wonderful coastal town of Honfleur in the province of Normandy.
The registration deadline is fast approaching. For more details, visit www.MyArtTrip.com.
Notre Dame in Paris is a household name. It is a popular Gothic cathedral and a backdrop and a namesake for movies. A stone structure built as a response to the power of the monarch, it is awe inspiring.
However, it was the Eglise Sainte-Catherine in Honfleur that captured my imagination. Off the beaten path, Eglise Sainte-Catherine was built by mariners as a temporary wooden structure after a war. The interior resembles the hull of a ship.