Arizona on Horseback

This Thanksgiving my mother-in-law planned an afternoon trail ride for us. We spent two hours in Cave Creek riding through the chilly desert landscape. It’d been years since the last time I was on a horse, but it came right back. It was so fun and an amazing way to appreciate the beautiful outdoors here in Phoenix.

taken with instagram

My Favorite Places: #1 Phoenix

As wonderful and whimsical as they are, my previous 9 favorite places just aren’t the same as my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. I hear a lot of criticism about our town: bad schools, unlivable weather, nothing to do, ignorant people. I’ve found exactly the opposite to be true. I’m a warm weather kind of gal so the dry heat of Phoenix suits me perfectly. I prefer sunshine to rain and flip flops to… well, any other kind of shoe. I’ve experienced and observed the passion and determination of Phoenix teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of attending inspiring and entertaining local events, dining in unique restaurants, and brushing elbows with amazingly talented and dedicated artists. I’ve had conversations with intellectuals, activists, and compassionate individuals who, even if we disagree on issues, want to leave our city better than when they arrived.

As fun and exciting as traveling can be, I’m always relieved to arrive back at Sky Harbor (the best named airport) and to drive the familiar curves of the 101 toward home. The sunsets are amazing, the swimming pools endless, and the cheesy Western gear is so much fun. I sometimes romanticize living elsewhere, but Phoenix really is my home. And there’s no place like it.

Cezanne and American Modernism

This afternoon I visited the Phoenix Art Museum to view their current exhibition Cezanne and American Modernism. I love Cezanne, especially his pieces featuring the bathers.

The exhibition, in general, was cohesive and comprehensive. It provided an overview of Cezanne’s work including portraiture, still lifes, and landscapes. It was also insightful in demonstrating his influence on American modernism and also on other beloved masters. From the very first piece you see, it is clear how Picasso’s cubism was inspired by his work.

There were several pieces by other artists that truly captured the color mood and compositional balance for which Cezanne is best known. However, the majority of “inspired” work felt like forced, less effective, copy-cat art. I value finding inspiration from others’ work, but mimicry does not interest me. One example of bringing Cezanne’s influence into his own artistic world, is sculptor George Segal’s Cezanne Still Life series. The body of Segal’s work includes rough, plaster sculptures, sometimes painted, but often left the recognizable, cool, white color. He takes Cezanne’s iconic apples and brings them to life in 3 dimensions.

Overall, I thought the exhibition was great. A few of my favorite non-Cezanne pieces from the show were Charles Demuth’s Houses and Pears and Plums, Patrick Henry Bruce’s Still Life (with Flower Pot and Fruit), and Leon Kroll’s Landscape – Two Rivers.