24 Hour Road Trip...Chihuly in the Forest  10.2017

I’m a big fan of Dale Chihuly, the Seattle glass blower & creator of breathtaking magnificent art.  I’ve seen his work before at the Denver Botanical Gardens & someday hope to see it in his Seattle Museum that sits under the Space Needle.  But his “In the Forest” exhibit was a little closer to home…a 3.5 hour trip straight south to just across the Arkansas border in Bentonville—home to Walmart but also home to Crystal Bridges Art Museum; a wonderful museum on 100 acres given by Alice Walton, daughter of Sam.  The other really neat thing about this exhibit, is if you go on the days the museum is open until 9pm, you can view the Chihuly art at night….all lit up in the forest…way, way cool!

I’d also read about a current inside exhibit by Stuart Davis..a modern artist whose paintings looked awesome.  I was excited to see both of these exhibits & take another quick road trip.  

I packed my pjs (although, as it turned out I just slept in my clothes & didn’t need them), my coffee stuff & stove, a jug of water, a jar of peanut butter, my ‘bed’ in the car, hit the “road trip playlist” on my iPod & left about 8am on Thursday morning.  The time flew as I sang my songs & kept the pedal to the metal.  There certainly wasn’t any distracting scenery along the way…but if I had a dollar for every McDonalds I passed, I could have paid for this trip.

The Museum reminds you nothing of Walmart…even the paper towels in the bathroom are of better quality than what Walmart sells.  It was designed by famous architect Moshe Safdie & all using glass, wood & concrete…it’s a striking design.

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My first stop at the museum was the Stuart Davis exhibit.  I knew nothing about him, but learned he was a fascinating guy.  His paintings started out as one style, then morphed into modern, cubism, eclectic, super colorful & humorous.  He was a lover of jazz music & connected his two passions, of painting & music in his work.

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He was a very detailed geometric painter, even drawing some designs out on graph paper.  One interesting technique he used, was to re-paint his old geometric designs, but using different colors & combing some details to make a whole new painting.  See the two below for an example: 

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He painted the word FIN into his last painting…a foreign word meaning “Finished”.  He died the next day.

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The music playing in the background of the exhibit was of Stuart Davis’ favorite jazz musician, Earl Davis. 

I loved his quote that was on the wall of his exhibit:

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I decided on an early lunch in the museum cafe.  A giant heart floats above the tables & the walls are all glass.  They prided themselves on southern cooking, so I couldn’t pass up the chicken & waffles with jalapeño maple syrup & a side of collard greens…it was tasty.

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The day was warming up & overcasta great sky for photography.  I headed outside to the forest to see the Chihuly exhibit.  I strolled slowly & enjoyed every moment of being under the sky with all this amazing glass artwork nestled in the treesit was wonderful!

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There are several walking trails out on the property & one is called the Art Trail.  It was a nice warm day & I enjoyed strolling along the paths, seeing all the different kinds of sculpture.

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I LOVE Debra Butterfields work!  I saw her art at the Denver Botanical Gardens a couple of years ago & her process is so amazing & painstaking…but her work is fantastic.  I was thrilled to see a piece of it here along the path.

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More Chihuly floating in a pond.

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And, a little of natures beauty too.

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And one of not-so-natural beautybut I bet it makes you smile!

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I walked & walked & walked, went up a bunch of stairs & down themthe grounds are so pretty!

I had a 4:00 tour ticket for the Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house that sits on the property.  Interesting, because this house was designed & built  for someone living in New Jersey.  You should check out the story, it’s fascinating   But in a nutshell, it was disassembled, shipped from there to this museum & reassembled here on the grounds.   It’s the smallest one of I’ve seen, but the first I’ve toured that wasn’t FLW own house.  It was still amazing, beautiful, so efficient & has the perfect setting on these lovely grounds.  The tour guide was really good & there’s always so many interesting facts & stories that you learn about on these tours.  As with all his tours, no photos inside the house, but here’s some from the outside.

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I grabbed a soda out of the car & just sat for a bit in the courtyard by the entrance & next to this lovely spider!

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One of the trails that went along the cliffs was closed, but I found one more I hadn’t walked with this giant ball sculpture…you can walk inside of it too!

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The permanent collection is always free as are the grounds except for special exhibits.  I spent some time touring this collection, but I have to admit, I do pretty fast ‘walk-thrus’ when it’s not the type of art that makes me smile or that I find interesting (still life of fruit, tons of men in long boots hunting one little cute fox, bloody people, & my least fave is naked women with big thighs & flabby bellies…I can see that when I step out of the shower at home).

I found more Chihuly hanging around….

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I think I walked almost all the trails on the property.  I had a chai & bag of chips & then about 6:30 strolled out to the forest to watch a glass blowing demonstration…it was really good!

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By the time it was over, it was really dark!  I waited for the crowd to disperse then walked all around the Chihuly art —twice!  Wow…it was awesome!  Only one piece was actually electric, while the rest had lights shining on them, it was very cool!

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What a fun day!  I’d been at the museum from 11am-8pm…must be a record for me, but it had all been pretty neat.  I wasn’t sure if I was driving home or to camp.  I’d sort of found a campground….no dispersed camping anywhere near here….before I left on the trip.  My first map quest attempt took me down a dark gravel road & landed me in front of a trailer.  I made a U-turn then decided to drive home.  But then I caught a glimpse of the full moon…really?  I’d rather just camp somewhere & end the day relaxed & not drive at night concerned I’d hit a deer.  On a hunch, I took the next business route that I passed & within a few miles, found the campground.  It’s mostly a summer canoe campground business, but I found an empty spot (everyone else was across the road & in an RV—not a tent or car camper or anyone else on my side of the road), pulled in, & parked.  The sky had grown somewhat overcast, but on my trip to the bathroom, I caught a shadowy view of the moon!

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I called Danny to catch up on his day & then tucked in for the night.  

I knew there was a river close by, not because I could hear it, but because this is a put in spot for canoes.  I found it the next morning; I’d camped about a football field distance from it.  I made my coffee & took a walk by the river.  The water was clear & I was surprised by that; seems like most water in Missouri is mud brown & dirty.

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I didn’t stay long, the skies were overcast & it felt like it was going to rain.  I was out by 8am & headed back home.

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So glad I did this fast trip to take in some amazing art, learn about an artist new to me, & see some wonderful architecture.

This was a very interesting ‘piece’ in the modern art room.  It was sour apple candy & the docent bent over, picked up a couple pieces, offered me one & popped one in her mouth.  I said “thanks” & ate mine…not sure how I feel about this piece as art, but the candy was yummy!

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Another artist I really like is Mark Rothko & was happy to see one of his pieces on display here. 

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 I like this artist soooo much, I have tried to copy his art in my own home!

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Happy travels until next time!


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