Hello Spring! It seems I’ve been hibernating for a while as winter finally decided to put out some cold weather and snow, but the sun has come out and so have I! This past weekend a friend invited me to the Philadelphia Flower Show and the American Watercolor exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I thoroughly enjoyed both and thought I’d document it for you to see. Enjoy!
First, there’s something you should probably know about me: I love Spring and flowers and sunshine and pretty colors! When I was packing for my trip, I realized over half of my wardrobe consists of florals, which was a problem because I didn’t want to clash with the floral displays 😉 With Monday being the first day of Spring, my week has already been so much better than last week (this may just be a correlation, not a causation though!). I feel like I’m a little chick who just popped out of my egg in a beautiful world! Does anybody else feel like that?
Anyways, Friday we drove the loooong four and a half hours up to her home in Pennsylvania. We relaxed and played Cahoot and ate some incredibly delicious thin crust pizza (seriously, check this place out!). And then off to get some sleep before the flower show the following day!
The Philadelphia Flower Show
A bit of background on the Philadelphia Flower Show:
- It was started in 1829 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
- It is currently held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia
- The event attracts about 250,000 visitors annually
- The proceeds support “year-round neighborhood greening and beautification programs”, such as City Harvest, Green City Teachers, and Community Gardens
The theme this year was Holland: Flowering the World. While there were a whole lot of tulips (and bicycles too), the displays beautifully incorporated lots of different types of flowers and trees and bushes. I particularly enjoyed the garden scenes with small spaces to cozy up and view nature at its finest. This scene was one of my favorites:
When I first heard about the show, I imagined it would be composed of cut flowers in various designs and patterns. It was completely different and so much better! Many, if not most, of the flowers were actually planted (which is interesting considering the event took place in a building!). The natural and inviting landscapes took the visitors to Holland for a few hours to experience the ease and loveliness of life across the ocean.
Other displays however, boasted of their artists’ creativity! There was a fountain made out of bicycles; a tall, triangular hat created from different flowers; strange orange columns that floated above the ground; interesting configurations of plants that made me stop and contemplate their meaning; and bold masterpieces that demanded the attention they deserved.
Overall I really enjoyed my first time at the show, and I’ll definitely go again! To remember the trip, I bought a dark purple hyacinth as a gift for my mother’s birthday. I’m not sure how it’ll do with the slightly chilly weather and my lack of a green thumb, but hopefully its pretty blossoms will stay alive and alert for a little while!
The American Watercolor Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The full title of the exhibition is “American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent”, and I was so glad to be able to view the masterful artwork while it was at the museum. No photography was allowed within the exhibit, but the works of Homer, John La Farge, Thomas Moran, William Trost Richards, and many others captured my attention for over three hours!
Not only did I learn about the artists and paintings, I also learned a bit about the time period they lived in and what painting materials they used. Have you ever heard of opaque watercolor? I hadn’t! The different combinations of materials created an unexpected effect of depth to the paintings. When I thought of watercolor before seeing the exhibit, I thought of faded colors blending together without much shape to the objects. I must’ve been thinking of my own amateur watercolor paintings because these artists used watercolor to create designs and pictures I didn’t think possible.
While I loved every piece in the gallery, I picked up a couple of artist names to look into when I returned home because their artwork really stuck out to me. This included William Trost Richards, John La Farge, Julien Weir, Bruce Crane, and William Glackens, not to mention a few that I’ve forgotten. My favorite painting in the gallery was by William Glackens, titled “Christmas Shoppers, Madison Square”.
I stood in front of this drawing for over five minutes, examining every little detail. Every character in the artwork has a purpose; no one is standing around, but there are pick-pocketers, a man reaching for his hat, a child dressed up as Santa Claus, a woman trying to control her skirt in the wind, and on and on! The vibrancy of the colors and fun style captured me, and I gave it all the attention it deserved.
And that was my weekend trip to Pennsylvania! It was the perfect way to kick-off springtime with colorful flowers and inspirational artwork. I didn’t get the chance to visit the rest of the museum, so I look forward to eventually going back and exploring it some more.
What are some of your favorite things about Spring?