Tuesday, December 11, 2007

With each day that we head north, the temperature dips a bit more. Yesterday, the temperature hit 81 in Burlington, North Carolina, but this morning, in Fredricksburg, Virginia, the high is 55. And tomorrow, Philadelphia. We're traveling four hours a day, so the pace has picked up as we venture north. Atlanta (see above) overwhelmed us with its modern architecture and freeways (7 lanes in one direction).

We stopped in Atlanta at the High Museum to find two lovely exhibits, one of artifacts Josephine and Napoleon had collected, and the other, simply the Impressionists. Upstairs, my favorite was this painting by Futurist Joseph Stella in the 1920s of the Virgin, called Purissima. The bright colors and nature images remind me of Mexico. The simple evocative lines make me want to learn more about Stella, who according to the note at the museum painted several images of the Virgin, mixing sensuality with innocence. As I looked through some of his paintings online, I notice a real contrast between pastel, minimalist type paintings and these richer, vivid almost "primitive" style paintings. One critic says Stella's paintings of the Virgin mix pagan beliefs, a hold over from his Italian heritage, but that doesn't ring true to me and almost sounds anti-Catholic. At first I confused Joseph Stella with the more well-known Frank Stella, more a minimalist abstract painter. But I like Joseph Stella I think more because of the mood his paintings evoke, of reflectiveness and beauty and inward peace.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the next three weeks in a real house, with a real kitchen, upstairs and down. The writing on my current project continues to go well, and I seem to be following my characters as the story unwinds in the Orkneys, of all places! Be well and enjoy each day. Beth

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