The Portland Art Museum will host an exhibit of Mark Rothko's work from February 28th - May 27th. I'm very excited to take E. to this show. We love to go to the Museum, and she has a fondness for big color and abstract art.
Thinking about this show reminds me about the Pickle Field Trip I took to NYC in fall of 2010. I hadn't been back to NYC since I left there in 1993, so the trip was a very "emotionally loaded" business trip.
The business goals of the trip: to research different East Coast pickling techniques, to glean ideas for scaling up my production, to visit new and long-established companies, to learn how those companies marketed their products. Although the trip was patched together at the last minute when I found a great airline fare, I was able to accomplish all of those business goals and then some. It was a very productive research trip.
My personal goals for the trip: to walk around, visit my old neighborhood, to see a dear friend, to feel New York City again, and to visit some museums. I was thirsty for art. I needed it like minerals or vitamins. I felt parched and drained of hope and couldn't live another day without drinking up some art. The Portland Art Museum is wonderful, but I needed to be somewhere absolutely saturated in art.
Even though I expected to be moved at MoMA, I didn't expect that I would burst into tears as soon as I walked off the elevator at the top floor. I was overwhelmed. Paintings and sculptures that I knew so well from books were right there. My knees went weak, and I plopped down on a bench and just bawled. To be so thirsty and then to be quenched in just the right way... it was just one of the greatest experiences of my whole life. And I'm so glad I was there by myself so that I could just feel it all in my own way.
And I think about this because I was particularly drawn to the Rothko pieces at MoMA that day -- just letting that color wash over me. I liked getting close to the blocks of color and seeing the textures and looking carefully at where the colors touched each other. I liked standing back from the paintings and letting my eyes go out of focus a bit, like I do in the forest when I'm hiking and want to see all those different greens at once.
I knew that Rothko had grown up in Portland so I wasn't surprised that I was drawn to his paintings that day at MoMA. That kind of saturated color and the "line" he used to create shapes comes from someone who knows rain, gray skies, and moss that shimmers softly on top of harder shapes.
And thinking about the Pickle Field Trip makes me happy. That was a good trip. I was able to see clearly what I still so love about NYC and to understand in a more compassionate way why I had to leave there. I accomplished so much in that week -- both professionally and personally.
It is okay not to fit in. It is okay to be outside. If you're in a pickle, just start making them.