The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 5, 2013

What would artists think of today’s lifestyle?


Of this group of people — Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Edgar Degas, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, Edouard Monet, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and Georgia O’Keefe — which visual artist would you prefer to spend time with?

I can assure you of my preference without a second thought. It would have to be Mary Cassatt, an Impressionist artist who was the first woman to become part of the Impressionist art circle of painters.

I was dreaming during the day and thinking: What fun it would be to spend a day or two with Mary Cassatt, whose work I had always admired. What would make this experience even more exciting? Why, to have the artist come with me to present-day society and reflect on the importance of his or her work in our world.

I could only imagine Mary Cassatt’s face as she walked down one of our busy streets anywhere in the country and see the general population in their eternal “rush.” What would she think of the glaring lights, the noisy traffic, the look of the traffic, as well as the people themselves? Would she think we had lost our minds, and where was it we were going in such a hurry? Would she wonder why there were not more families involved together in these mad rushes, or why was everyone going their separate ways?

Would Mary Cassatt admire the turn architecture has taken with our new and modern buildings? Would she think our children polite, our older citizens treated with kindness? Would she even come close to understanding the language of the streets that most of us hear on a daily basis? Would our fast food appeal to her, would a bag of chips entice her, or cause her to want to return immediately home? Speaking of refreshment, perhaps now would be a good time to make a cup of tea.

As I hoped to entertain my guest with a visit to one of the country’s excellent museums, what would be the response on her face to seeing her own art hanging in a museum so many years after she had painted it? Of course, she would be rather amazed at the beauty of all the art in such a wonderful place, but would her own art and the magnificent frames that held it please or bewilder her?

I will never know how this would turn out, most obviously. I can, however, dream. I can also admire her works of art, most of which consist of the drawings and paintings of women and children, many of these women being mothers. Please, if you don’t know Mary Cassatt’s works, go to the library and borrow a book or look online. Either way you will see the true beauty of her work as well as the simpler times in which she lived and painted. She is a wonderful artist and much to be admired.

Upcoming events

Our teaching at the Danville Art League continues, with adults as well as children coming in for art lessons. I have to say that the Town and Country Art Show was wonderful this year. We had an excellent judge for the show and many wonderful and happy winners. I was most pleased to see the number of children who won this year.

Right now, our veterans show is hanging in the gallery at the Danville Art League and is something to view if you get an opportunity.

As for all upcoming events at the Danville Art League:

— May 16 — Annual reports and “Remembering Our 75 Years as the Danvile Art League.”

— There will be no meetings in June, July or August.

— An Artist Boot Camp for older teens will be June 24-28. Please call for details.

— Our Summer Art Camp for children will be conducted again this summer and will be for the usual three weeks.

The first week will be 9 a.m. to noon July 15-18; sculpture will be the theme.

The second week will be from 9 a.m. to noon July 22-25; drawing will be the theme.

The third week will be 9 a.m. to noon July 29 to Aug. 1; painting will be the theme.

Please get your children signed up early, as places are filled quickly. Call the Danville Art League for any details.

— Julie Colby asks that I remind everyone of a Buffalo Wild Wings fund raiser from 5-8 p.m. June 3. Anyone can show up with a flyer and eat. Twenty percent of the proceeds will go to the Danville Art League, except for alcoholic purchases.

— There will be a free polymer beads workshop for the CASA Royal Art Gallery from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 22. Lunch will be provided for all who pre-register. We will make beads for the children to string at the Casa Royal Art Gallery on July 19 and 20. We will learn how to condition the polymer clay, how to make flower canes, how to make beautiful beads and how to bake them in the oven. All of the beads will be used at the Casa Royal Ball.

I am nearly finished with my tea and hope that you enjoyed yours. Since I am writing this at night I will offer this as a goodbye: “Goodnight, and may God bless.” Can anyone remember who said this?

Eileen Dunavan is a member of the Danville Art League. Her column appears once a month.