In a sentimental mood


Back in ye olden tymes (the 1970's), I used to sit for hours in our living room, poking through our encyclopedias. I'd look something up and the article would mention some other interesting tidbit. This being the pre-hypertext era, I'd have to pull out the appropriate volume and look up the new item, and so on. Invariably, the end result was a skinny kid surrounded by a pile of brown and white World Books. 

In this marvelous world of The Future, of course, you can lose yourself in this activity so much more conveniently. Wikipedia is, for me, where productivity goes to die, but productivity's nemesis, curiousity, takes over. This is always fun, but it's especially delightful when you find connections between things you never suspected would ever intersect.

That's a long way of saying that I've always been a big fan of Enya's first couple of album. For years (decades!), I've dreamed of a post-wedding dance to Caribbean Blue*. I put the video on and I was reminded of what a beautiful bit of work the visuals are. So, I popped over the the Wikipedia page and read up on it.

It turns out that the look of the video was heavily influenced by the work of Maxfield Parrish. In hindsight, this should have been immediately obvious to me as I've always adored the works of Mr. Parrish. I'm not sure I can explain exactly what draws me to Parrish's art but, if I were pressed, I'd say it looks like I'd imagine "magical realism" to look if it existed in our mundane world. That, and there's the fact that I love his blues. Blue is my favorite color and no artist has ever made blue look as beautiful.

So, reading about Parrish on his Wikipeida page**, I discovered that he illustrated Frank Baum's Mother Goose in Prose and Eugene Field's*** Poems of Childhood. I had both of these books on my shelf when I was very, very young. I've remarked to anyone within earshot that I used to love the illustrations in children's books and I'm thrilled when I come across a modern example of a book for children which pays proper attention to the art.  I had no idea that one of my favorite artists was one I'd been exposed to as a toddler and who had left such a strong impression on me.

The thread here, as if the title didn't give it away, is that I can be as sentimental as they come and I have a lifelong love of art which pushes that button. I know "sentimental" is normally deployed as an insult to a work and/or the artist, but a song or a painting which evokes melancholy or longing or maybe even a little nostalgia strikes me as a beautiful thing. 

RK

 

* I'd probably have to learn to waltz first, but dreams don't concern themselves with such trifling details.

** Seriously, check this one out. Parrish's technique is amazing just to read about, let alone imagine duplicating. 

*** Field's father represented Dredd Scott in that case. I had no idea. Again, Wikipedia.