The first time I ever went to a museum of art was when I was in high school (I’d rather not name the year) and our dear teacher Mrs. Tyner had taken the class to the NC Museum of Art. I was rambling around by myself enjoying all this wonderful art when I came around a corner and saw Monet’s The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists. It blew me away! It had to be the combination of the colors, the technique, the sentimental attachment (reminding me of early mornings on Lake Tillery) but at that time I had no words for the experience. I always look for that little Monet whenever I return to the NCMOA because it was such an explosive first experience.
I’ve seen a lot of paintings and drawings since then that I’ve appreciated in many ways (what was that Picasso still life in Atlanta with the green lines squeezed from his tube of paint?) but my next big “socks knocked off experience” was in Chicago in the summer of 2009 I believe. The work responsible was by Peter Doig and I remember having such mixed feelings (the two figures are kind of creepy to me, the colors in the stone fence almost comical) but it was the TREES in the painting that really got me. It seems that he had wiped out the paint on them, exposing the texture of the canvas or maybe the under painting, and I was entranced with this technique. I wish I had the words to explain it better, but I think it’s this painting that made me want to be braver and try new things.