Pretzels and Art
"Art is a wound turned into light."
- Georges Braque
After visiting the Anne Frank House, my son and I were both feeling depressed about humanity in general and the repeated situations, both past and present, that are spawned by hate, greed, and many other selfish and unkind motivations. After we left the museum, we talked about things currently going on the world that remind of us of the past and we were both feeling very low by the time we got back to our home.
We took off our coats, drenched from the rain, and began to settle in. I wanted to sit down and write about our experience at the museum while the emotions were still fresh and raw (the perfect time to write) but it felt like too much in that moment. I looked at my son and said, I know we just got home and our coats are still wet, but I need pretzels. Pretzels will help me write about this. I know, I know, emotional eating...bad, bad, bad. It's exactly the thing I encourage my son not to do. So, here I was, setting one of those shining mother-of-the-year examples of do as I say and not as I do. I admitted it to him, honest and full disclosure, that I was going to choose the very unhealthy act of emotional eating, with the only good sign being that I was fully aware of what I was doing and admitting it.
Off we went to try to find pretzels in Amsterdam. I wasn't even sure if they had pretzels here since there have been many countries that have not had them. We knew the grocery store didn't sell them so we headed to the store a couple blocks away that was similar to what we would call a Minute Mart in America. It was closed. We suddenly remembered a store we went to on our first day here, a small grocery, with a lot of specialty items and we thought we would have the best chance of finding pretzels there. It was further away but, hey, we could walk off some of the pretzel carbs by going to that store, and the rain had now stopped (definitely a sign).
We were walking briskly to keep warm and, after a few blocks, we passed by an art supply store. Just as we passed, my feet put on the brakes. I said to my son, "Let's go in here. Art heals." He didn't look too thrilled. Maybe he thought if we stopped here we wouldn't continue our search for pretzels. I said, "Let's go in and see if they have coloring books for adults or anything else that speaks to us."
The store was incredible and filled with all kinds of luscious artsy things. We emerged about an hour later with some coloring books and a selection of markers and pencils for me, and a sketch book and graphite pencils that my son chose for himself. I guess I was right about his initial expression going in there because as we were leaving he asked, "Does going in there mean we won't be going to get pretzels?" I said, "Hell, no, we're still continuing our search for pretzels!"
We finally arrived at the little specialty shop and they not only had pretzels, they had a few different kinds of pretzels. Nirvana; that's what we'll call that store from now on. We got our pretzels and I grabbed a bottle of wine, also, in case the pretzels were ineffective, and we headed home.
We settled back in and as I was getting ready to write, my son shared how sad he was still feeling. I said, "Let's unpack the art stuff we bought, put everything else aside and draw, color, and chat." That's exactly what we did. He drew some sketches of prototypes he's been imagining for gaming and I colored a page of flowers, trying out my new pencils and markers. We continued for about an hour before we put our supplies away and we both felt better. Not excited about the state of the world, but no longer feeling distressed. My son started playing a video game and I wrote about our visit to the Anne Frank House. And, oh yes, we ate those pretzels, but I'm happy to say that we didn't end up requiring many of them. Just a few did the job and we have some left over for the next time we need pretzels.
Georges Braque (1882-1963), quoted above, was a French painter, collagist, draftsman, printermaker, and sculptor. He was a prominent figure in the art movement of Cubism. His work focused on still lifes and means of viewing objects from various perspectives through color, line, and texture. He began developing a Cubist style after meeting Pablo Picasso. While their paintings shared similarities, Braque stated that unlike Picasso, his work was "devoid of iconological commentary," and was concerned purely with pictorial space and composition.