Tuesday, November 24, 2015

An Art So Transparent

I go back to these wise words from Rebecca Lily time and time again.

Maybe that is, after all, what causes certain photographs to resonate with us; we are able to see what it was the photographer saw in that moment, and feel what they felt.

We picked up our son from William & Mary, happy to have him home for the Thanksgiving Holiday. On the journey from Williamsburg, we made a stop in Richmond, Virginia for brunch at one of our favorite healthful eating spots, Lamplighter Roasting Company.

And on this fall day, so mild in temperature and temperament, I begged for a ride through urban streets. Driving past quaint cafes, clever design firms, quirky shops, and VCU students coming and going, I swiveled side to side, clicking my imaginary camera.  

Pull over, pull over. I really want to take a picture of that beautiful brick wall, the one with the portraits.

Husband and son sighed in unison and shared knowing looks – this trip would be hijacked by a picture-taking Mama. They waited patiently as I snapped a few pictures.  Not completely satisfied, I walked along the front of the building peering through windows, searching for clues as to what might be inside. Glimpses of fabric and dress forms and what was that? a loom?

I walked through the front glass doors, and greeted by a friendly young man, I was introduced to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. I fell in love - instantly. Glorious light, open spaces, creative people and art, everywhere.

I sauntered back to the car, trying very hard to maintain my cool and calm demeanor. Too much enthusiasm and I might just scare them off. I've found a beautiful art space; please come inside with me. And just like that, my sweet family followed and they fell in love, too. My husband is always enamored with old buildings – he loves the history. And my son sees the world with passion – he loves art and has an intrinsic ability to create point of view images. We spent a stolen half-hour or so exploring this art gallery, watching artists work, and soaking in the warm light as though storing heat for the long winter ahead.

And what I saw was this . . . and he lights up my heart (as only one of a few can do - these men in my life, my husband and two sons).

These are the photographs of a new-to-me place where art is so transparent I can see the world. And the view is a deeply moving combination of sweetness and swagger. Along the walls there are sketches of a shapely woman, and photographs made by a young artist who is proud to be a girl, and rows of deeply hued thread, and sinks stained by paint.

For all this and more, I am full of thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Oh my Donna! What an amazing studio to find! I hope you get to return and spend time there. Happy Thanksgiving my friend!!

  2. What a great find! And especially when the "guys" like it! Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy them! Big hugs!

  3. Hi Donna!
    First I was struck by the resemblance between your son and you on this picture... how his lovely smile is the same as yours... So great that you could bring your 2 men in this art center and that both loved it and found it interesting... great that you could share with them your love for art...
    It was the occasion for me to be a little curious and look on a map of Virginia where Richmond stands... and see the way you drove from your son's college to your home via Richmond... Happy Thanksgiving with your loved family Donna!

  4. How cool is this to find and not be looking! Love your son's expression also, priceless that you caught it and him using his phone to capture the moment for himself. I like to call these picture within a picture. Hope your holiday was wonderful, I am sure it was special with the ones you love.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.