Monday, January 29, 2018

Portraits of an Artist's Play Date. . . .

 Mary Knowles (coincidentally, also my sister's name) stitched this portrait of herself working on a commission (by Queen Charlotte) of a portrait of King George III. The king's portrait -- also "needle-painted" --  was commissioned in 1771, and Knowles completed this self-portrait in 1779 and sent it to Queen Charlotte as a gift.

If you peek at my Instagram account at all, you'll know that I began my Friday Play Date with myself at a very delectable bakery (I hemmed and hawed about having Pater walk there with me, then compromised by having him meet me later -- still mulling that need for the solo time, an ongoing internal -- infernal? -- debate).

Next stop was The Bay (department store) to choose new linens for our bedroom. I was defeated by too many possibilities, but at least I've started the process, and I didn't let the frustration spoil my Date. . .

Instead, I headed directly to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Being a member means that a visit can be as short or as long as I want, no need to complete an exhibition in one go, no need to maximize the value of a ticket by seeing several shows. And the current exhibition, Portrait of the Artist, was just the perfect size for my ambitions and energy on Friday. I've already shared a few favourites on Instagram, but here are several more.

 All the portraits in this exhibition come from the Royal Collection -- David Hockney contributed this unique print of an iPad drawing to that collection when he was appointed to the Order of Merit in 2012.


I was pleased to recognize an old friend here, Artemisia Gentilleschi, whose work I first saw in an exhibition dedicated to her at the Musée Maillol in Paris almost six years ago. 
 
Of course, by the time I'd viewed all these portraits, it was lunchtime, and I'd worked up an appetite. Is it just me, or do you also find that Art Galleries often have great cafés/restaurants. The Gallery Café at the VAG is a very good example. While I sat there enjoying a healthy Chipotle Chicken Salad (chock full of beans, squash, apple, tomato, celery and what not else?!), followed by the best pot of tea I've had (outside of home) in a long time (seems as if that should be a simple accomplishment, but oh, I've had so many dismal cups) -- while I sat there, I say, eating and sipping, I checked the times for Lady Bird, then checked the bus schedule, and realized I could make the 1:00 show across the bridge. Texted Pater to see if he wanted to meet me there, and headed off. Add a Compass transit card to my VAG membership card as numbering among the day's heroes. . .

Converging on the theatre from opposite bus routes, Pater and I met there just in time (am I the only Grumpy Older Woman who finds the new trend to assigned seating at the cinema annoying? It meant that I couldn't just go in ahead and wait for him to find me . . . but it did allow time for two women about my age, also waiting in the lobby, to compliment me on my green Fluevog boots  (shown here, just after I bought them, and here, as worn in Paris last month) and put a smile on my face ;-)

I'll add our recommendations to all the others you may have heard or read about Lady Bird, a gentle, lively, thoughtful, quirky, quite wonderful coming-of-age story, full of the pain and wonder and humour and angst of those teen-aged years.

And then Pater and I rode the bus home, and my Date with Myself had morphed nicely into my Date with My Guy, and soon after we got home, we embarked on a Sleepover with an Almost Three. . . .

It was a very good day, a very good start to the weekend, and if this post weren't already so long, I'd tell you about Saturday, and show you what I wore to the opera.  . . .But I'm going to save that for Wednesday, because we have a Nine coming over for the day (it's Pro-D day at her school), and Nana needs to sneak a short workout in before she gets here.

Oh, and just to show you that I haven't forgotten about that Solo Travel post, here's a page from my travel journal, as included in the draft I've begun. . . 
I welcome your comments, as always, and now am hurrying back to respond to the ones you left on Friday's post. I hope you understand that living a life worth posting about often means not having time to respond in as timely a fashion as I'd like. But if you'd care to tell me about a favourite portrait, or a favourite gallery, an exhibition you've seen recently, or tell us how you spent your last solo Play Date (even if it was just an hour or two), or share your impressions of Lady Bird if you saw it. . . . go to, please!

24 comments:

  1. Your day sounds lovely. Lunch at the VAG is always a treat, especially when the weather permits sitting outside with the little birds. I have to disagree with you about the "annoyance factor" of theatre assigned seating. Get a Scene card (free), pay online, send tickets to your phone et voila - no more wondering if you're going to be crammed up too close to the screen or stuck in the middle of the aisle! Totally agree with your review of Lady Bird - loved it and wished I could re-do some of my teenage angst with my own Mom.

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    1. Isn't that a great terrace when the sun shines?
      And I do agree about the convenience of paying online, buying tickets ahead and knowing there's no line-up. But it took me a while to get to know the various seating layouts in their onscreen versions, and I do miss the flexibility of being able to meet a friend or two, of just saving seats inside. I suppose with organization, I could either buy their ticket and text it to them or text them my Seat # and let them buy the closest possible. What have you done in this case?

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  2. I need a Play Date by myself. I should plan to take Canada Line downtown and visit VAG. I was down twice in December with my daughter but her days off have changed. I enjoy lunch in art gallery restaurants. The Compass card is a great innovation. Have you seen the Google Arts and Culture app? You can visit many of the world's museums and art galleries. You'll find the right bed linens eventually. I have a lovely grey/blue duvet cover in my linen closet that I switched out for a cheerful bedspread that once belonged to my mother. Our bedroom is painted Balboa Mist but we don't need any more grey these days. I've been enjoying a bit of home time because it feels more precious now that I'm working. Reading, writing and contemplating mixed in with domestic chores. Good for a rainy day

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    1. Isn't the Canada Line great? How did we manage without it? Looking for parking and spending a fortune on it or waiting too long at bus stops . . .
      Even if you've stayed home because you're under the weather, I'm sure that down time has been much appreciated, the catch-up with the slower activities your return to work hasn't allowed for.

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  3. Your day sounds so perfect! Time alone, art, good food, meet up with husband, movie, grandchild. Spontaneous and meeting a self-commitment both.

    As to Lady Bird, my Grumpy Old Lady wasn't as thrilled as many. I get tired of the crazy mother/arty daughter thing, probably because it's so not my experience as either a mother or a daughter;)

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    1. It was pretty good, that Friday, although I may have done some work with my Magic Eraser. . .
      I didn't see as stark a characterization of mother and daughter, honestly. I loved that the movie began with them both enjoying the Steinbeck reading. . . and ended with that effort at reconciliation over the phone. That mother wasn't mine, but there were definitely elements I recognized -- mostly the painfully divided loyalty the daughter felt. And I loved that Lady Bird wasn't so much artsy (or at least her talents hadn't yet manifested or coalesced) as ambitious, as yearning. All that inchoate stuff. . . And class, and the cool kids that you're not a part of. Oh yeah, so much of this I could relate to.

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  4. Hi Frances, I'm curious ... do you still have/wear the navy and white striped dress and the peacoat you are wearing in the original post with your Fluevog boots? It's a great outfit, and I ask because you write about your intention going forward to buy more expensive/longer lasting, classical pieces. This post, and other similar ones that you have written over the years, definitely sent me along the same path.

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    1. I don't have either any more (I dropped a few sizes with that marathon training in 2013-14, so the dress was culled). And I have to say that if I find the perfect navy-cream knit dress, right length, again, as long as it's cotton or wool, I'll be happy enough if it's Gap or J Crew-level quality. They do tend to be just a bit shorter than I'm comfortable with now. The Aritzia peacoat began to look worn and I replaced it with a J Crew one. Unfortunately, I bought the J. Crew peacoat when I was down those two sizes, and I'm not anymore. . . A slim daughter happily took that off my hands. . . I tried to find a replacement this year, in a better quality (I had to resew almost every one of those J. Crew buttons -- infuriating) and in the right size, but couldn't, so I settled for the classic, tailored coat you've seen me wear recently.

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  5. https://www.boutiquejourdain.com/clothing/saint-james/women/keith-dress/2579 You're welcome!! I've ordered from this store before (at sale time) and it went well. They answered my queries about sizes promptly. Also this one, only one size left: https://www.boutiquejourdain.com/clothing/saint-james/women/diamant-robe-dress/2590

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  6. I so enjoy the VAG...and their food is wonderful...it is time for me to go on a cultural field trip...your day sounds "just right" Mater.

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    1. Let me know if you get over to the VAG and we'll have to meet up for lunch.

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  7. Your day sounds great. Coincidentally I am going to the VAG tomorrow evening (Tuesday 5-9 is by donation) with a few girlfriends. I am considering a proper membership now that I am enjoying retirement, just haven't done that yet. And agree the food is great especially on a sunny day out on their patio.
    Thanks for posting, Suz from Vancouver

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    1. A visit to the VAG with girlfriends is perfect also. I'll bet you had fun!
      I do find we get our money's worth out of the membership -- and I enjoy having the complimentary admission tickets to bring a friend in.

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  8. Just don't buy from HBC online - I've done that twice and both times were major failures. I just had such a bad experience with them, I will not shop there till I forget. Too bad it's such a useful institution.

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    1. I rarely buy online from anywhere, so I'm probably safe. Wondering how long The Bay will last now in a bricks-and-mortar form downtown. I do miss the choice of department stores, but they're mostly hanging out with the dodo birds these days ;-)

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  9. Your post reminds me that we have not been to VAG since last summer. Having a membership makes it so simple to just drop in.
    Solo play days are quite fun....almost like an imaginary day. Go here, go there, try something on. A person could almost be someone else for a few hours;-)
    Ali

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    1. Trying to remember, but is that what you were over for when we met up? That sunshine seems so impossible right now, doesn't it?!
      I like your idea of playing with a new, temporary identity. . . just for an hour or two. . .

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  10. Hearing that you are still on a bedroom linens quest, I thought to mention that you might like to investigate the Rough Linen website. Trish's linens are positively divine! No affiliation, just love her sheets and duvet covers. https://www.roughlinen.com/

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    1. Thank you for this! I'd had it bookmarked once upon a time, and then forgotten about it. If I can get my head (and wallet!) around the exchange rate, these duvet covers and pillow cases are exactly what I'm looking for. A beautiful investment.

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  11. Oh my, someone else who has trouble with too many options! I have to replace a duvet cover (and probably the rest), and I want something simple and tasteful. I've looked in stores and online, and there's just too much. Sounds like a wonderful day with great timing. Isn't it wonderful when things work out so well?

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    1. Good luck with your search. I'm going to check out the linens Mundi suggests above. Simple and tasteful -- and pricey, yes, but gorgeous. . .

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  12. Here in central BC, we are limited with shopping choices, except for hardware stores.
    I recently ordered 800 thread count sheets from the Bay, on sale. I choose the Bay online because one can return items to the local small Bay easily. I would say that the track record is 50/50 right now.
    I miss lunches on the VAG patio.
    We are most fortunate to have a lovely local art gallery here in PG.

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    1. Ha! I love your wry reference to the hardware stores . . .
      Being able to return items locally is huge for me, when I ever do order online -- I love The Gap's approach, but I seldom see much I want there, so have mostly got out of the habit of even looking. . . Are those sheets as glorious as 800-thread-count sounds?
      I just did a bit of online research -- is it Two Rivers Gallery you so enjoy in PG? Looks as if it offers a community gathering space along with the exhibitions.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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