Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Celebrating Modern Art Bear

Synopsis of yesterday's story: Beartrand Bear went to the opening reception of the Modern Art Bear show. He interviewed Bearnabus Bear, the owner of the gallery. He was surprised by Bearnacle Bear, who invited him to join the next sea voyage, to begin after the bears wake from their hibernation. They were going to visit the Land of the Giants.
Beartrand wondered when Sweet Suzie Bear would be ready for an interview but, in the meantime, there was food to eat and conversations to be had. Bearbara, the opera singer, pushed through the crowd to talk to Beartrand. She always liked hearing her voice on the radio and she looked disappointed that he had put his microphone away. He realized that she would like to be interviewed so he took his microphone out of its case and pointed it at Bearbara's face. Her face lit up because she truly thrived on attention.
"Bearbara, what motivated you to come to the opening of the Modern Art Bear show?"
"Oh, I just love modern art, almost as much as opera! The two go together sort of like peanut butter and jelly."
"Peanut butter and jelly?" asked Beartrand, surveying the table full of food. He suddenly realized that he was holding a microphone but no plate. He picked up a plate and tried to put food on it but failed because he did not have a free hand. Bearbara did collect brie cheese, Camembert, crackers, melon balls, grapes, and strawberries. She began eating delicately, trying not to crunch while she was being interviewed.
"Oh yes, peanut butter and jelly. Soup and crackers. You know. Things that go together. Anyway, I thought that I would meet people and talk to the media and do all of those fun things."
Suddenly bored with the interview, Bearbara abruptly walked away. Beartrand turned off the microphone. He filled a plate with food and started eating. He was hungry and knew that it was time to fatten up before he began his hibernation cycle. Just as Beartrand took a taste of the brie cheese, up walked Sweet Suzie Bear.
"Would you like to come to my office? I have time to do the interview right now. The owner of the museum is going to give a fundraising presentation and, as you've already interviewed him, you don't really need to go to that. Oh, and take a look at this painting. We were thrilled to be able to acquire it."
Beartrand read the artist statement: "Several years ago, a bear took a sea voyage. It was his second voyage as captain of his ship. He traveled to the Land of the Giants, where he met creatures who looked like humans but who were much larger. In fact, the humans that the sea captain met were afraid of the giants and called them by such odd names as 'Sasquatch,' 'Big Foot,' and 'Yeti.'
"I had gone on the sea voyage as an observer, an artist in residence so to speak. It was my goal to document the journey across the sea, as well as day-to-day living in the Land of the Giants. This mixed media painting, which was done in marker and in watercolor, captures one of the friendly exchanges between a giant and a bear. The giant, whom I painted, was my host during my visit. He too is an artist, and his media of choice is sculpture. He prefers to create abstract sculptures that express the idea of longing for something that he cannot reach and dreaming of crossing the sea. He has never left the Land of the Giants. I titled the painting 'Giant Hugs Bear' to depict the warmth of this giant."
--Bearta, the artist Bear
Beartrand finished reading the artist statement, and he followed Sweet Suzie Bear to her office. He got out his microphone and switched it on and announced that he was going to interview the curator of the Modern Art Bear Exhibit, Sweet Suzie Bear. Even before he could ask a question, Sweet Suzie Bear began to talk.
"Thank you for coming to the exhibit of Modern Art Bear. I suppose your listeners want to know something about modern art. Well, modern art can be representational or nonrepresentational. In other words, there is either a picture you can recognize or there is a picture that just looks like shapes and forms.
"I really like nonrepresentational art because it challenges the viewer to think and to look very carefully to find meaning in the art. There are as many meanings in a painting as there are bears looking at the painting. Some bears are afraid to describe what they see in the painting because they think that they may be wrong.
"But I am here to tell you that you don't have to worry about being wrong. Your interpretation of the painting is just as valid as mine or anyone else's. Your enjoyment of the painting is what matters. Even if you don't like the painting, that is OK. You will take something away with you, even if you find the painting to be just one big yuck.
"We would love it if you would come visit the gallery at least once before you hibernate. Please think of it and come soon."
Beartrand looked at Sweet Suzie Bear. "Wow. That's great. I'm glad that you mentioned the Land of the Giants because I will be reporting from there after my hibernation is finished. Do you have any advice on what to look for in the Land of the Giants?"
"No," said Sweet Suzie Bear. "I was there only once, when I was very young. I'd love to go. Are you going in Bearnacle's ship?"
"Yes," said Beartrand. He looked at the microphone and wondered how he had managed to lose control of the interviewer. He was supposed to ask the questions.
"May I please come with you? Please? With a cherry on top of the nectar pie?"
"Um. I will have to ask Bearnacle."
Beartrand suddenly remembered that he was interviewing Sweet Suzie Bear. "Do you have anything else to add about this exhibit?"
"Yes," Sweet Suzie Bear said. "There are a wide range of styles represented in this show. Please come. You'll have a great time, and we are looking forward to seeing you."
"Thank you so much," said Beartrand. The two shook hands and Beartrand left.

Tomorrow: Eating like there's no tomorrow because it's almost time to hibernate.

Notes about today's painting:  Today's painting is based on Self-portrait (1907) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Pablo Picasso, who was born in Spain with the given name "Pablo Ruiz de Picasso"), was the son of an artist who taught at the School of Fine Arts in Malaga, Spain.
Pablo Picasso was one of several artists who pioneered the use of collage in painting. He was instrumental in creating several art movements, including cubism and surrealism. He was considered to be creative and original.
The self portrait is one of Picasso's earlier works, when he was transitioning from representational to nonrepresentational images to express his artistic vision.


  1. Very cute names! Neat how you connect the story and the painting, and the story feels like the painting, kind of dreamlike. Good luck with your continued stories!

  2. I like the idea of writing a story about a painting. I also love the painting you chose - it is very expressive.

  3. I love it when there is a story along with the art work :) well done