Saturday, January 2, 2021

Epiphanies…Eve and Pandora

Epiphany of Eve
Judy Takács


Eve was the first mortal woman created in the Judeo-Christian Religion.

 

Epiphany of Pandora
Judy Takács


Pandora was the first mortal woman created in Greek Mythology.


Both were curious and disobeyed divine orders by eating a forbidden apple or opening a forbidden box.

In both stories, the consequences of this first woman’s intellectual curiosity is the downfall of all of humankind.

These stories stand as a warning to all women to obey orders and squelch intellectual curiosity. The far-reaching fingers of this concept are laws that have kept women from education and control of their bodies, finances and property for millennia.

If you’re tired of reading already, you can watch my New Year’s Eve Epiphany episode of Living Figuratively where I introduce both these paintings…otherwise, keep reading! 



The Full Story

Delving deeper into these parallel stories was fascinating. 

According to the mythology, before Pandora was created, the mortal world of the Greeks was an all-male society where the guys were obedient to the Gods, enjoyed each other’s company and all was fine. 

But, then Prometheus, kind demi-god that he was, decided that these dudes might be chilly at night and should also be able to grill their food…so, he gave them the gift of fire, which, up until then was reserved for Gods only. Zeus became quite angry at this and had poor Prometheus strapped to a mountaintop to have his liver eaten by vultures each day, only to grow back each night and repeat the process the next day.

Not quite enough to satiate the God’s anger, Zues also wanted to punish the mortal men who were now enjoying fire.

So, Zeus created Pandora… the first mortal woman… as a disrupter to their blissful grilling and nightly campfires.

When she was created, Zeus gave her as a “gift” to, of all people, Prometheus’ brother. She was a gift who came bearing a gift… a fancy and jeweled box which she was forbidden to open. 

Pandora, because she was curious…intellectually curious…disobeyed and opened the box anyway.

Apparently opening the box unleashed all the evil into the world. The only thing left in the box was “hope.” 

Scholars are confused on this…does this mean we still have hope? Or that we have no hope because it was not released into the world?

Either way though, the disobedient curious woman messed everything up by seeking knowledge. Though, ironically, she did exactly what Zeus had her made to do…which was to mess things up on earth…but she doesn’t even get credit for carrying out the mission successfully.

Damned if you do…damned if you don’t.

Different woman, different details, but story was repeated in the Judeo-Christian bible, when God created the first mortal woman…Eve…as a wife to the hapless Adam.

In this story, God gave them lush gardens, good food, animals to lord over, and an order to have lots of sex and babies. (an order that gets dredged up as religious freedom whenever companies like Hobby Lobby don’t want to pay for health insurance plans that include birth control.)

There was just one condition. 

Do not eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. 

Adam was down with that… lush gardens, stay naked, have lots of sex, skip the apples, don’t ask questions…got it!

Eve, however, had higher aspirations and decides to try an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. 

She shares it with her husband…and, here again, all hell breaks loose! God banishes the couple and all of humanity from the Garden of Eden to suffer on earth forever after. 

I don’t buy this. Both are stories made up by men to control women.


Through a Feminist Lens

I have reimagined Pandora and Eve, and shown them being rewarded for seeking knowledge; delighted and intrigued by the knowledge they have discovered.

Pandora’s box is not a sacred and forbidden thing, but a box of books from Amazon!


Detail from Epiphany of Pandora

I’ve put some intentional symbolism into the books…

You’ll see Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Dalma Takács’ book on the afterlife, The Condo, Joyce Carol Oates’, Because it’s Bitter and Because it’s my Heart, an ancient bible, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and, because I had an epiphany during the painting process, the last book left in Pandora’s box is Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.”


Detail from Epiphany of Eve


Eve has bitten from the apple…she has, in fact, enjoyed many apples.

The snake is a skinny harmless one and a bit-player in her quest for knowledge. I show her enjoying the books…ergo knowledge…that she has discovered. 

She is also not covering herself with ivy…because she has not discovered shame about her own body like the bible story says she did.


Many Epiphanies

Epiphanies abounded during the creation of these two paintings, but they all began with my beautiful model, whose name is actually Epiphany! Follow her on Instagram as epiphany.cp and on facebook as Epiphany Perkins.

She was wicked fun to paint, and I even did some smaller studies of her before I tackled the actual painting. Both are available at my online shop, judytakacs.com

Her close cropped short natural hair was a dream. It was perfect to show the essence, the beginning, the first mortal woman created…in both these religions. She’s a beautiful model and a lovely person too. 

Here is a study I did to prepare for the Eve painting. She’s available, framed in silver and ready to ship from my online shop.



and below is a study I did to prepare for Epiphany of Pandora. Also, framed in silver and ready to ship…and also available at my online shop.




If you’re wondering why I chose a Black woman to portray the first mortal women created, I will ask you why wouldn’t the first woman created be black? Really why not? Neither the Judeo-Christian bible, nor Greek Mythology ever says that God…or Zeus…was white or created white people first. It was the western and Renaissance artists that interpreted biblical and mythological characters as European-looking white people so that’s how we’ve come to think of them. 

Artists have great power to implant images in our heads, so, for my paintings I show Eve and Pandora as the same beautiful black woman…because it’s the same story.

Also, think about great black women in history and today, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Kathrine Johnson, Shirley Chisholm, Kamala Harris. They were and are intellectually curious, and sometimes put into positions where they had to disobey the rules in order to do what is right and help generations to come.

The moral of MY story is that women should absolutely seek knowledge. Be curious, learn, investigate…the world won’t crumble, but we just might save it! 

And when I say, “women” rest assured, I mean men too, and all the genders. We should all seek knowledge.



Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel

Lauralee, Balls of Sliver, Nerves of Steel
Judy Takács
I'm writing from the safety of my home and studio, during this Corona Spring where so many are on the front lines making sure we have food, medical supplies, healthcare, transportation, all the things that make our world livable. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you.
Just over a month ago, it was all celebration and girls weekend fun, with the opening of my Chicks with Balls show at the Zanesville Museum of Art.
Now, because of corona, and Ohio's "stay at home" order (that's Midwest for "lockdown") the museum is closed, and my paintings are in suspended animation; can't pick them up, can't see them.
Last fall, however, was when Lauralee contacted me about posing for Chicks with Balls, little did I know how inspiring her story of tragedy and recovery was, and how much more poignant it would be in the months to come.
When she posed, her story was still mostly private…an incredibly difficult one to tell…even hearing it gives me heart palpitations. Because of this, I held off on writing the blog about Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel.
But, just this morning, Lauralee made the incredibly difficult and courageous move to come forward with the telling of her story. I respect and admire her immensely for this.
To me, the takeaway is that humans can go through the most horrible times imaginable, keep moving towards the light and come out of it…often with more wisdom, empathy and a sense of connectedness to the world than ever before.
Her story points to a message that the world needs to hear. And no one says it better than Lauralee herself.
Lauralee writes,
“I have been reluctant to share my story until this year, the 25th anniversary of the life trauma that qualified me to be one of Judy Takács' Chicks With Balls. Some of you know some of my story. Some who sat with us in the hospital day after day know it really, really well. Some of you will be learning it for the first time.

With Corona Virus suppressing all of us, it seemed no longer so necessary to hold our story so privately, as it is a story of survival and loss.
At 9:30PM on August 19, 1994 as we were returning from vacation at my parents' and Epcott in Florida we were hit head-on by an epileptic having a seizure behind the wheel of his car just north of Marietta, Ohio on I77. He and my husband died instantly and my three children and I were critically injured. Life flights eventually ensued for my older two that same night. My youngest and I spent five days in a Marietta hospital before it became obvious, I too, needed a life flight to University Hospital, Cleveland. Intensive care was home for over a week and my 14 year old daughter was on life support initially. Eventually my older two were transferred to Metro Hospital closed head trauma unit and that began a year's worth of cognitive, physical and occupational therapies for them. My youngest, 11, was furthest from impact and released from hospital first with no home to go to. A classmate's family took him in. Three of us spent a full year in physical therapy. My oldest spent 6 months in a body cast and should be a paraplegic, but isn't (miracle). My daughter survived massive injuries with no surgery because she was too fragile for surgery (miracle). Eventually I was diagnosed with PTSD, go figure. I'd fought unconsciousness to keep my daughter trying to breathe with the firm knowledge I was the only surviving parent in that van.
It took years of therapy and hard work to piece myself and children back together and we are always a work in progress with so, so many success stories we could tell. We can all prove what it means to be a good human specimen and humane so do it!
I think our nation and the world has this kind of fight ahead of us but I am convinced we can get it done. So in the spirit of the survivor's journey hang on, hold tight, laugh and cry and keep going.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Maria, Incognito In Kimono

Counting down like crazy for the upcoming Chicks with Balls show at the Zanesville Museum of Art, (It opens in 8 days!) but I would be remiss if I didn’t give you at least a little teaser of one of my most recent and most favorite portraits from the collection that is included in the show!

Maria, Incognito In Kimono…a detail
Judy Takács


Opening Reception:
Chicks with Balls:
Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes
Thursday, February 13, 2020
5:00 to 7:00
The long-awaited SECOND Chicks with Balls
launches at the Opening Reception.

Gallery Talk at the Zanesville Museum of Art:
Chicks with Balls: You, me, and every woman we know
Saturday, February 15th, 2020
2:00-3:00

zanesvilleart.org


Satellite Exhibition at The Art Loft Zanesville:
My Epic Triptych, Love, Athena will debut at their First Friday Artwalk
Friday, March 6th, 2020
5:00 to 9:00



Guest Lecture at The Art Loft Zanesville:
Beyond Chicks with Balls: The Goddess Project
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 to 7:00





Both first and second Chicks books will be for sale at the Opening Reception and at the ZMA Gift shop for $50 each, during the run of the show. I’ll be available all the events to personally sign books!

ZMA Museum Hours:
Wednesday thru Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00

Thursdays: 10:00 to 7:30

The Art Loft Hours:
These are working art studios with a beautiful gallery common space, open for the First Friday Artwalk (March 6) by appointment and by chance.
Call first: 740.704.2118

Friday, January 17, 2020

Mary, as Luna, Goddess of the Dung Beetle Ball

Mary, as Luna, Goddess of the Dung Beetle Ball
Judy Takács

The story behind this painting begins in the middle of the most harrowing time in Mary’s life. 

It was a time whose concerns did not include breast cancer…until they did.

Its never a good time for a breast cancer diagnosis, but because she put her family’s concerns ahead of her own, she ignored symptoms that otherwise would have been dramatic and alarming.

After a slow and tumultuous several years battling the cancer, Mary was left happily in remission with a double mastectomy. 

Not wanting to endure continued surgeries, recoveries, complications and also needing to get back to the easel (she’s a phenomenal artist, and founder and director of Hull Art Academy of Art in Dallas, Texas)…Mary made a sensible and measured decision to forgo reconstructive breast surgery.

This simple and logical, personal, cosmetic decision was met with extensive pushback from armchair psychologists and nosy acquaintances.

Some folks actually asked her if she was trying to become a man. 

There were women who inexplicably said they’d be concerned if their husband still found them to be sexy with no breasts. 

Even doctors put intense pressure on her to reconsider, using sexist generalizations about how a woman’s self-esteem is related to her breast size. 

She was also strongly advised to clear it with her husband and consider his feelings on the matter. He was all but asked to sign a consent form agreeing to keep a wife without breasts. 

Because her husband is a loving and supportive best friend, his response was, “Unless you’re filling them with beer, I don’t know why my opinion matters.”

One of the unexpected issues with choosing to remain breast-less is that no plastic surgeon will tidy up the extra skin so your body will look smooth and intentionally breast-less.  Mary was told by a plastic surgeon that they only do surgery if you’re changing the size or shape because you’re not happy with what you have…not if you’re removing them.

Before disrobing for the posing session, Mary braced me with dire warnings of what I was about to see. In Mary’s eyes, she saw sagging skin with puckers, dimpling and scarring. I geared up to not display shock, or even wince…never having seen a double mastectomy in person. 

Her warnings were, in my eyes, very much unfounded, and her breastless-ness seemed very natural and quite lovely…exotic, other-worldy even. 

Thus came the inspiration to interpret her as a mythological character. 

I cast Mary as the Roman Goddess Luna; embodiment of the moon, driving her horses and chariot across the night sky. 

Mary’s Luna, however, is driving Dung Beetle Balls across earthly terrain.

Why Dung Beetle Balls?


Mary beautifully navigates her sometimes tumultuous life and identifies with the humble dung beetle, who literally takes the shit of other animals and rolls it into positive action. 

Dung beetleballs are created by dungbeetles to attract mates, store food, and safely house and feed baby beetle larva. Their production is a methodical process where the beetles roll the dung of other animals in a single direction away from their original source, using the heavens as their guide; sun by day, moon by night. After the dung ball has finished its job helping beetles pro-create and survive, it returns to the earth to fertilize new plant growth that will feed other animals whose dung will continue the cycle. 

Mary’s shit…hand-typewritten words from naysayers and doctors about her cancer and decisions …is rolled into her giant dung beetle ball as she marches forward in life, rolling it into positive action.



And Why Mythological Characters?


As I march forward in my art life painting people…especially women of strength and courage, I am shifting focus from my Chicks with Balls series to other forms of inspiration and imagery. 

I, like countless artists and authors before me, have found a very deep well of stories, themes and fantastical details in mythology. And by mythology, I mean the tales, legends and beliefs from all the religions; Pagan, Ancient Greek, Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Hindu…wherever there are colorful characters with stories to tell. These fictions have inspired art, literature, fairy tales and belief systems for eons. Their lessons and warnings reflect the prejudices, ignorances and injustices of the time they were written, and have endured because of timeless characters to become deeply rooted in our contemporary subconscious…for better and for worse.

I’m excited to explore these concepts and re-examine classic mythological characters and tell their stories through a contemporary lens. I dispel stereotypes with the #Me(dusa)too diptych, and put non-traditional bodies into action via my Venus interpretations and the Winged Victory triptych.

Mary as Luna bridges the gap between my Chicks with Balls series and my Goddess series, so she holds a very special place.

Because Mary’s portrait is part of the Chicks with Balls series too, it will be shown at the Zanesville Museum of Art as part of my first ever, solo museum show!



Opening Reception:
Chicks with Balls:
Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes
Thursday, February 13, 2020
5:00 to 7:00
The long-awaited SECOND Chicks with Balls
launches at the Opening Reception.

Gallery Talk at the Zanesville Museum of Art:
Chicks with Balls: You, me, and every woman we know
Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Satellite Exhibition at The Art Loft Zanesville:
My Epic Triptych, Love, Athena will debut at their First Friday Artwalk
Friday, March 6th, 2020
5:00 to 9:00


Guest Lecture at The Art Loft Zanesville:
Beyond Chicks with Balls: The Goddess Project
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 to 7:00





Both first and second Chicks books will be for sale at the Opening Reception and at the ZMA Gift shop for $50 each, during the run of the show. I’ll be available all the events to personally sign books!

ZMA Museum Hours:
Wednesday thru Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00

Thursdays: 10:00 to 7:30

The Art Loft Hours:
These are working art studios with a beautiful gallery common space, open for the First Friday Artwalk (March 6) by appointment and by chance.
Call first: 740.704.2118

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Hillary Emerges…and so does the SECOND Chicks Book

Hillary Emerges
Judy Takács


Our sweet high school babysitter grew up into a beautiful athletic woman who posts gorgeous selfies, with healthy foods and positive affirmations while hiking the desert mountains of Arizona. 

Maybe you know someone like this too.

If she weren’t one of your kids’ favorite babysitters…and you hadn’t watched her grow up since the age of 14…you might limit these posts, or even turn them off because…well, her life looks too idyllic and maybe yours isn’t.

But, as a wise internet meme once said, “On Facebook, you’re comparing your real life to everyone else’s highlights reel.” 

And, I was to find out eventually that the selfies of the gorgeous girl going on gorgeous hikes were not just Hillary’s highlights reel…at times these hikes were her life-line. Hillary is very forthcoming about her struggle with alcohol addiction and bulimia. She will readily tell you how healthy living, a positive mindset and her faith is continuing to save her. 

Saving others also saves her.

Hillary has worked for Water4Kids, an organization which drills deep wells and water filtration systems for areas of the world where there is no access to clean water. This is a noble and difficult goal, which Hillary speaks of passionately and fights for daily. Lack of access to clean water has many heartbreaking and unexpected repercussions. Diseases like e.coli, cholera and dysentery are rampant in the contaminated water these people drink from. Children cannot attend school because they spend their days walking many miles to fetch water from faraway sources and bring it back to their village. Women must often make the choice between preparing food and spending hours bringing home water. Villagers must choose between dehydration and dysentery.

Water4Kids reaches areas with the greatest need by drilling deep wells in remote villages throughout east Africa and Central India close to their schools and medical clinics.  The benefits are life changing and immense, and the organization has drilled 500 wells to date! 

She now works for a technology company that helps churches and ministries organize events.

Hillary posed for me the day after Christmas, when she was back in Cleveland visiting family. Together we decided that some big shiny Christmas balls would be absolutely perfect. I presented a triple image of her, emerging from the balls and representing her own emergence as the vital, smart, healthy, kind and positive young woman she has grown to be.

Because I loved this image so much, and also because it was purple…I chose Hillary Emerges to grace the cover of the long-awaited SECOND Chicks with Balls book!

I shall be launching the book, February 13th when Chicks with Balls heads to the Zanesville Museum of Art for its (and my) first ever solo museum show!



Opening Reception:
Chicks with Balls:
Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes
Thursday, February 13, 2020
5:00 to 7:00
The long-awaited SECOND Chicks with Balls
launches at the Opening Reception.

Gallery Talk at the Zanesville Museum of Art:
Chicks with Balls: You, me, and every woman we know
Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Satellite Exhibition at The Art Loft Zanesville:My Epic Triptych, Love, Athena will debut at their First Friday Artwalk
Friday, March 6th, 2020
5:00 to 9:00


Guest Lecture at The Art Loft Zanesville:
Beyond Chicks with Balls: The Goddess Project
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 to 7:00





Both first and second Chicks books will be for sale at the Opening Reception and at the ZMA Gift shop for $50 each, during the run of the show. I’ll be available all the events to personally sign books!

ZMA Museum Hours:
Wednesday thru Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00

Thursdays: 10:00 to 7:30

The Art Loft Hours:
These are working art studios with a beautiful gallery common space, open for the First Friday Artwalk (March 6) by appointment and by chance.
Call first: 740.704.2118

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Chicks head to Zanesville Museum of Art


Sharon just wants peace, love and joy

Before the first Chick took off her shirt and hugged her first ball, I’ve been thinking about a solo museum show for my epic, now decade-old project, Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes.

On February 13, 2020, that dream is coming true.

Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes will have its (and my) first solo museum exhibition at the Zanesville Museum of Art in Central Ohio.

At the opening reception I will be launching and signing copies of the second book in the Chicks series; Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács keeps painting unsung female heroes. The collection is now more than 50 paintings strong and all the works  painted since the first book will be included in the second, which will be for sale exclusively through the Zanesville Museum of Art during the run of the show, through April 4th.

The second Chicks book…the purple one!


The Chicks with Balls show was curated by ZMA Museum Director, Laine Snyder and will include approximately half of the chicks paintings, including some that have never been shown.  There will also be a satellite exhibit at The Art Loft in Zanesville, where more of the chicks can be seen…details to come!

The night of the opening will also be the first reveal for a giant multi-figure triptych to honor some of the women who originally posed for Chicks and whose lives have taken torturous twists and turns since. They have gone through hell; some through hell and back, some still fighting their way forward. This piece, Love, Athena, serves to bridge the gap to my next series, The Goddess Project, where I re-examine stories and characters from the mythology of all religions, through a feminist lens.

Mark your calendars and head down to Central Ohio’s hidden gem, the Zanesville Museum of Art for the opening of Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes, or one of my two talks!



Opening Reception:
Chicks with Balls:
Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes
Thursday, February 13, 2020
5:00 to 7:00
The long-awaited SECOND Chicks with Balls
launches at the Opening Reception.

Gallery Talk at the Zanesville Museum of Art:
Chicks with Balls: You, me, and every woman we know
Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Satellite Exhibition at The Art Loft Zanesville:My Epic Triptych, Love, Athena will debut at their First Friday Artwalk
Friday, March 6th, 2020
5:00 to 9:00


Guest Lecture at The Art Loft Zanesville:
Beyond Chicks with Balls: The Goddess Project
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 to 7:00





Both first and second Chicks books will be for sale at the Opening Reception and at the ZMA Gift shop for $50 each, during the run of the show. I’ll be available all the events to personally sign books!

ZMA Museum Hours:
Wednesday thru Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00

Thursdays: 10:00 to 7:30

The Art Loft Hours:
These are working art studios with a beautiful gallery common space, open for the First Friday Artwalk (March 6) by appointment and by chance.
Call first: 740.704.2118

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Emilie, The Tenth Muse…The One Who Sees


Emilie, The Tenth Muse…The One Who Sees
Emilie is a rare gem at an art opening. 

She doesn’t have a dog in the fight.

By that I mean she’s pure patron, appreciator, creative spirit, lover and follower of art… without being an actual maker of art herself.  

In the Northeast Ohio world of gallery openings, museum shows and juried competitions…literally everyone…from Part-time Volunteer Gallery Assistant to Museum Director…is also an artist, or has been at some point in their life. This is why Emilie is so rare, and I told her so the moment I found this out.

Since then, I have seen her at every art opening I attend, and she has attended many that I do not. Usually she pops in to one, and then has two more on her dance card for the same night.

At one such art opening, I talked to her about how I’m transitioning my Chicks with Balls project to my Goddess project, where I view the mythology of all religions through a feminist lens and reinterpret images and stories that have shaped our collective thinking.

Emilie’s portrait is one of a few that stands at the threshold of the Goddess project. 

In Greek Mythology, there were nine muses; Godesses who inspired great achievement.  These eternally beautiful and youthful daughters of Zeus had names like Thalia: The Cheerful One, Erato: The Lovely One and Melpomene: She Who Sings. There were even specific muses for flute-playing, astronomy and remembering things (TUM PECCET… find out the rest when you click it). 

The glaring omission in this glowing line-up is a muse for the Visual Arts!

In the world of figurative art, the concept of the artist’s muse is as old as art itself. 

The artist’s muse, however, isn’t an ethereal 22 year old goddess whispering in your ear, it is a mortal human whom you find fascinating to paint because of physical, intellectual or emotional attributes…or an exciting combination of all three! As Picasso once said, “Let inspiration find you working.” An artist’s muse shows up and poses for you, thereby enabling the actual “working” part of inspiration. 

For me, a muse often falls in line with the kind of lines I like to make. And, for those who haven’t noticed, I love painting glorious age! The fact that Emilie is such a great appreciator of art just made her mythological title that much easier to come up with: Emilie, The Tenth Muse…the One Who Sees.

But, I’m not the only one inspired by Emilie. If you talk to her for a bit (at one of the many art openings where you’ll see her), you’ll find out that she is the proud mother of two-time Academy Award Winning Director for Pixar films, Lee Unkrich. Among a host of other movies, he directed Toy Story 3 and Cocoboth of which won Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film. 

Yes, THE Toy Story 3 and THE Coco…I shit you not.

I don’t want to end my blog with the words, “I shit you not…,” so I’m going to throw a little love in the direction of my own “ethereal, whispering in your ear” muse; John Singer Sargent.

Isabella Stewart Gardner
(1888) John Singer Sargent

The pose and composition of my portrait of Emilie was inspired by Sargent’s portrait of iconic collector and museum founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum catalog says, Sargent’s painting of Mrs. Gardner presents her as a “pagan deity.” Art critic and author, Henry James called Sargent’s depiction a “Byzantine Madonna.” Both descriptions speak to me.

Mrs. Gardner's head is surrounded by a mandorla 
patterned after a tapestry in the Gardner museum collection. In keeping with this regal addition, I re-imagined Emilie's mandorla as a halo of brushes, befitting the muse of the visual arts. 

Emilie’s sari is an exotic fabric from an exotic land purchased at an exotic fair-trade store in Lakewood, Ohio. The primary colors and patterns made me think of Toy Story and Coco. And, Emilie wears the red-striped admission bracelet for Front International, Cleveland’s first-ever summer-long adventure as an international contemporary Art Mecca. 

Front International is a triennial festival to be repeated in the summer of 2021, so mark your calendars!

And, if you find yourself in Boston, make a point to head to The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Around the turn of the last century, Mrs. Gardner amassed a major collection that included Sargents, Zorns, Manets and Bonheurs along with some Rembrandts, a Vermeer and even a Michelangelo drawing.

During her lifetime, these works were beautifully displayed in her private home…really a mansion… which she bequeathed as her legacy, to become the magnificent Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It ranks among the best private museums in the world and is a “must-see” even in Boston, the land of “must-sees!” Its just around the corner from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, but each museum deserves its own day…heck spend the whole week!