Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Amazing Painting/Sculpture Inspires Writing

For many years, traveling and writing about my experiences has been my passion. While visiting Key West, Florida in 2007, I stumbled upon the most amazing art exhibit in my memory. It was “Beyond the Frame, Impressionism Revisited,” composed of mixed media and bronze sculptures depicting in life-size in 3D a number of famous paintings by French Impressionist artists. This incredible art work, created by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., was displayed so that the viewer could step inside and become of a part of the piece of art. This work was on view for about a year at the Key West Museum of Art and History at the Custom House.

I was especially fascinated by Van Gogh’s “Bedroom” and Renoir’s “The Boating Party.” As an elementary school art teacher, I often display prints of Van Gogh paintings as examples for the children to use as their “points of departure” for classroom assignments. I took a wide variety of photographs of these remarkable Johnson sculptures and posted them around our art room for inspiration when I returned home.

A few years ago, while attending art classes at the College of William and Mary, I enjoyed watching one of the students create an excellent large scale copy of “The Boating Party”. The painting took the student the entire year to complete. Because of that experience, I was even more interested in studying the sculpture of the painting. I came home with quite a few photographs taken of “The Boating Party” sculpture from different angles. In one of them, my husband appears to be inviting one of the pretty young ladies out on a date—so realistic in appearance I felt a little jealous!

When I go back to Key West this year, the fantastic sunsets will still be there. I can visit the Hemingway house and the bars that famous writer frequented, but I shall miss the astonishing sculptures I saw one hot day in 2007. I wish they would return to that museum and that I could study them more closely.

Seward Johnson is a gifted artist with a sense of humor and marvelous talent. I suspect his art has inspired many a writer. I wonder what Hemingway would have thought.

©Mary Montague Sikes


Anonymous said...

Very cool. I likelooking at stuff like this, epsecially when it tries to trick your senses like sense of perception.

Stephen Tremp

Patricia Stoltey said...

I never visited the Museum of Art and History on my two visits to Key West -- I think we focused on Hemingway-related sites and those spectacular sunsets. Sounds like I missed some interesting exhibits.

Helen Ginger said...

Love the picture of you. It sounds like you found a wonderful exhibit. It would be great if that exhibit toured around the US so we could all see it.

Straight From Hel

Monti said...

This exhibit has traveled to other places in the U.S. I tried to find out if it's still traveling by Googling, but didn't find out anything.

Thank you all for looking!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting idea.

Monti said...

It's a wonderful exhibit. I noticed that J. Seward Johnson has a space/park in New Jersey now. Maybe that's where "Beyond the Frame" is now. I believe he is a Johnson and Johnson heir, so he has the means to make things happen. If you get a chance, please visit this fantastic show of amazing art work!


Dani Greer said...

You're looking good, Monti. To answer your question about using your logo, how about travel mugs at CafePress. You can get a Basic Shop for free over there. They also have some gym bags and other stuff that would work with a travel theme. These would be great promo items for a blog book tour giveaway at your host blogs.

Nice job - we'll probably critique this blog in the next week or so - keep posting!

Now going to do the dreaded word verification. Bleh!


Monti said...


I love the Cafe Press idea and the gym bag. My publisher and I have been talking about luggage tags with the Passenger to Paradise logo.

Thanks for your thoughts!


BillieJohn said...

Monti! I ma dazzled by what you've done here...and a confession, the paintings you mention are two of my favorites. In the winter when I am housebound I love to work jigsaw puzzles of classic paintings (don't tell anyone, it is my guilty pleasure!) and I have The Bedroom and The Boating Party and have done them over and over. It's amazing how you can see the artistry come together from all those crazy little pieces!!