Sunday, August 26, 2012
DH and I are just back from three days in Ottawa -- or more precisely, a day and a bit, with most of the other time spent driving up and driving back!
I wanted to see the Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery before it closed September 3. Some of you may have seen it earlier this year in Philadelphia . . . it's a "joint" US /Canadian project which focuses on work from the last four years of Van Gogh's life, with lots of "close up" details from nature and lots of landscape vistas too . . . . There were early photographs and Japanese prints also exhibited, to show a couple of the influence on this period of his work. I had not realized that the texturing effect of his brush strokes evokes the wrinkled paper of the Japanese print "crepon" technique. The gallery (one of Moshe Safdie's best architectural works) was crowded, even with our reserved tickets. But the crowds did not prevent me from seeing and absorbing images that were new to me and which will stay in my mind: a field of wheat, a field of lavender, a vase of poppies, a branch of almond blossom against an intensely blue background, a couple walking through dense undergrowth in a light dappled forest.
We also attended an open air theatre production under a starry sky in a park adjacent to the Rideau River . . . a glorious Marivaux 18th century French farce, comedia del arte style with highly expressive masks, Offenbach music. It was superbly performed, very silly and light-hearted: perfect for a summer night.
Other than that: walking, talking, reading, paying our respects at some dear friends' burial places in Beechwood Cemetery, a drive into the Gatineaus, some nice meals, a few glasses of wine, a very comfortable hotel: good times. Ottawa is a beautiful, human-scaled city where English and French are spoken everywhere, decked out for the summer with provincial floral banners and imaginatively planted flower beds in all the parks. It's our capital city, with its Gothic Parliament buildings and Art Deco Supreme Court, and it always makes me proud to be Canadian!
We shared the drive back, taking turns so each of us could snooze a little . . . I've filled the fridge again, caught up with the laundry, and feel ready to face the week!