End of the Year and John Singer Sargent – 27 December 2013

As the year begins to wind down I hope you take the time to reflect back at all the wonderful things that have happened in your life the past year, and remember to thank Him for your blessings.  One of the reasons I “document” things here, is so I can go back and read and re-enjoy.

On Christmas Eve I journeyed to David’s house to spend the holiday with him, Mari, Lisa and Alex.  At about 7:30 we headed over to their very good friend’s, Greta and Stefano, for a traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner.  Roughly translating to the meal of seven fishes, dinner lasted several hours with multiple courses.  A delightful experience and wonderful company which included Stefano’s parents, whom I met in November, and Greta’s cousin who teaches at the Culinary Institute of America, and recently opened a gelato shop in Rhinebeck, NY.  I now know a great deal about making gelato, Mauro, who grew up in Genoa in the family’s restaurant business was a fascinating man.

Christmas day was delightful, relaxing and fun.  Much time on the couch with a few movies.  Gary stopped for awhile on his way to Julie’s house, and Greta and family stopped by.

JSS-1On Boxing Day the plan was to head to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston specifically to see the John Singer Sargent Watercolor Exhibit.  Since the museum is open until 9:45 we arrived with Greta’s family about 3 PM and spent almost four hours in the museum.  Timing was good because since it was later in the day there was no queue for the exhibit and it was not crowded.  (Please remember to click on small images, or the gallery, for larger  images to appear)

At the entrance, a large rotating projection

At the entrance, a large rotating projection

So, I wanted to just share a tad of the exhibit with you, but more importantly the “deal” membership at the museum can be.  Before we left the house I visited the museum’s website, of course, and learned that by becoming a contributor I could take David, Mari, Lisa and Alex in with me, and we would also receive discounts at the gift shops and restaurants as well as on parking.  Membership paid for itself in this visit alone, and I have a full year coming to return with others.

JSS-3John Singer Sargent’s work is amazing and the exhibit was broken in different periods based upon where he was working at the time.  Thus there was an Arab Encounter, time in Venice, Mountain Heights, and Italian Gardens, and more.  Born in Italy of American parents, and living from 1856 to 1925, he lived as an expatriate.  This exhibit consisted of works exhibited in New York in the early 20th century in two exhibits that were bought in their entirety by the Brooklyn Museum and MFA.  I enjoyed looking at (and making mental notes) of how he worked with light and shadow, texture, and composition.  What I saw and read about reinforced the approach I take with some my my photography, which I hope to do more of.  In most of his works instead of the big picture he would focus in on part of the scene.  So, here is a quick look at the exhibit, and if you can make it before it closes on January 20th I encourage you to do so — and buy a membership – it pays for itself.

I always take images of an exhibit’s words so I can learn and remember.  Here are the ones I took images of, and open the gallery by clicking if you wish to learn what I wanted to remember about Sargent.

Amazingly, one of his paintings (there were some oils in the exhibit) touched me greatly – DOLCE FAR NIENTE.  You may remember the phrases that helped me through my loss – ACCEPT and ADJUST, and the corollary that I developed CONTENT and COMFORTABLE.  Life is precious, and you have to learn how to enjoy it.  The museum’s description translated Dolce Far Niente to “Pleasant Idleness.”  Mari translated for me as “Pleasant Doing Nothing.”  Google searches provided “Delicious Idleness” and “Sweet Doing Nothing.”  Please think about it, and act accordingly.



And, following are a few images as we experienced the museum — but I have much to see upon return.

GARDEN WALL - this work help reinforce how I like to compose my photo images

GARDEN WALL – this work help reinforce how I like to compose my photo images

Another of his oils in the exhibit.

Another of his oils in the exhibit.

Glass Centerpiece in the Shapiro Family Courtyard

Glass Centerpiece in the Shapiro Family Courtyard


In the Contemporary Gallery.  And, done with mirrors.

In the Contemporary Gallery. And, done with mirrors.

In the Rotunda of the museum, Sargent painted murals.

In the Rotunda of the museum, Sargent painted murals.

I have no definite travel plans for 2014 yet, but do have some ideas and am anxiously awaiting to see how things evolve.  HAPPY NEW YEAR, as always, yours, RAY

BUT – When I got my mail today, LADY RAB’s certification was awaiting so she can traverse the highways.  She (and friends) are ready for “Dolce Far Niente.”


PS — that is an “antique” registration — RAB is NOT an antique !!!

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5 Responses to End of the Year and John Singer Sargent – 27 December 2013

  1. Marian says:

    Ray, that was very exciting. I LOVE watercolors and my walls are like a musuem of artwork.
    They become almost like children and you do not want to part with them. I so enjoyed seeing the exhibit, it is exceptional. What a wonderful day you and the family had.
    An Italian dinner on Christmas eve for a hour. Sounds fabulous.
    This year has ended and we look forward to another year of content and comfort. -:)
    Bless you, your wonderful family and only good things in this forthcoming New Year.
    Loads of Love,

  2. Carol Crolle says:

    So happy that you enjoyed Christmas with friends. Pleasures are magnified when experienced together. What a treasure to visit an art gallery! It is one of my favorite things to do, and through you, I received a virtual tour with descriptions to boot. I especially liked the painting, “Dolce Far Niente”…food for thought there. Thank you, Ray, for sharing your life with me. Sending you best wishes for a blessed New Year ahead. Your Chautauqua Friend, Carol

    • Ray Boas says:

      Thank you, Carol, for continuing to travel with me. And, I am glad you got to see MFA through me, that is part of my intent with my travel posts. And then there is my passing on my philosophies — DOLCE FAR NIENTE – definitely “food for thought.”

      Just to fill you in, David is number one son, son Gary two years younger, and Julie my daughter.

      I will always cherish our conversations at Chautauqua — HAPPY NEW YEAR, yours, RAY

  3. Chris Burchstead says:

    I saw the Sargent watercolours at the MFA in October, and although I enjoyed them very much! I still prefer his oil paintings. Happy new Year, Ray!

  4. Linda Szipszky says:

    Dolce Far Niente sounds like the perfect description for retirement. Back on Google after a “tune up” of my computer so I’ve just caught up on Nov/Dec Shunpiking with Ray. Lady Rab and her license plate are terrific. happy New Year. Linda

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