2. Van Gogh's Portrait of Monsieur Roulin is on loan to the National Gallery of Art from the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, The Netherlands until September 18th and I took the train to the National Mall today to view it and the other Van Gogh paintings and, as it turned out, several other late 19th century painters, among them Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne, Degas, and others. Mentally, this wore me out, in a good way. I love everything about these paintings, but mostly I try to see them as a person who takes some pictures -- especially the light. In a good way, I envied these painters because they could create their own realities with perspective, color and rhythm and boldness and light in a way I can't (or don't know how to do) with a camera. Painters are not recorders and, at a fundamental level, a camera is a recording device. Yes, filters help a picture taker create reality. So does post processing. I've got work to do in these areas. All the same, I look at a Van Gogh sky or a Monet cathedral and the gorgeous liberties they take with how I "see" and I love taking it in, loving the light, color, and the experiments (distortions) with shape -- and I feel a small bit of envy. In a good way.
3. There is also a terrific Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the National Gallery entitled "Looking Out, Looking In". These are painting I can learn a ton from, but I didn't have the energy to spend much time with them, so walked in the steamy heat of D. C. across the National Mall to the Metro and rode to the Capitol Hill neighborhood to eat at Ted's Bulletin, an art deco West Virginia-themed family restaurant, famous for, among other things, their homemade pop tarts. I will try the pop tarts another day. Today, I ordered corned beef hash, eggs sunny side up, sourdough toast, and a side of cheddar grits. Here's what my afternoon breakfast looked like:
Really, I overdid it. I loved the cheddar grits, but they filled me up too much. I was done eating for the day. I really enjoyed this joint and never would have known about it, but when Hiram weighed in before tour and made weight, he immediately dashed over to Ted's Bulletin for a huge breakfast and his pictures of his food made resisting this place impossible. In case you're wondering why I said this is a West Virginia-themed restaurant, here's what the menu says: