Terri and I have traditionally taken a one- or two-day getaway sometime around Valentine’s Day or President’s Day, for a little romance and to help stave off the winter blahs. This year, just having come back from a pretty heavy-duty vacation in Germany and France in January for April’s wedding, we decided to keep it simple (and cheaper) and just make a day trip to Portsmouth, NH. Which as many know, is sort of a favorite T&E spot, having been the site of an early non-date and also where I popped the question.
Saw a couple of interesting things (but bought none) at RiverRun Books. Not so sure why I’m so into David Byrne lately, but happened upon Arboretum, a nifty short book of tree diagrams of… well, basically abstractions. Says Byrne:
I see recent news photos that (unintentionally?) mimic Caravaggios, others that look exactly like images from Star Wars, the body attitudes of the Loas of Vodou or of classical Greek sculpture. Postures, poses and perspectives keep recurring over and over. As if Jung’s archetypes—characters, relationships and stories imbedded in our thoughts—unconsciously urge us not only to psychologically label situations and relationships, but also to gravitate towards certain images and specific angles in our image choices. The picture editor in our heads. I don’t think every photojournalist, for example, has a childhood memory of classical art that they once saw on a school trip that they use as an unconscious reference, though some might. I think rather the journalists and the classical artists are more likely drawing on the same deep internal sources.
I ended up not buying anything. We walked around a little and ended up at the Portsmouth Brewery for lunch. I had a sampler paddle of beer because there were so many things on tap that I wanted to try. We stayed for a couple of rounds while Terri knit and I doodled for a potential Rainy Planet printing project.
I sort of love the Odd Showroom on Market St, even though it’s mostly vintagey women’s clothes and original paintings that aren’t really my taste. The proprietress is usually sitting behind the counter with her sewing machine working up new originals. It’s not quite my aesthetic (lots of creepy doll heads with big eyes), but I get a charge out of going there; it’s always sort of fun to go somewhere where someone had a vision to do something and just did it.
There was a great little art show going on in a shop called Nahcotta which seems to be a gallery and designery home goods store. There was a show on called The Enormous Tiny Art Show. Some of my favorites were the Amy Ruppel paintings/beeswax etchings(?), Matte Stephens‘ very 60’s cartoony paintings (pictured is his “Elmer Gnome”), Rachel Austin’s paintings, and Scott Campbell’s “prison” paintings. A lot of it was very cartoony and design-y (which is totally up my alley). So much good stuff that we decided to buy some original art. We did not realize, though, that most of what was still up was sold, including the small painting that we settled on after a great deal of time and handwringing. It was deflating enough that our first and second choices were gone that we ended up not quite being able to settle on anything. I feel a little bad that I enjoyed the show so much and didn’t end up bringing anything home, so that is why the excessive linkery here.
Somewhere in there we also ended up at Bull Moose music and I bought the extended edition of X-Ray Spex’ “Germfree Adolescents”. I’ve been making so many exceptions to my “I hate punk rock” pose lately that I probably have to finally suck it up and admit that I’ve been… less than truthful with myself.
Had a lovely dinner at the Blue Mermaid, and then coffee, knitting/doodling, and sitting-out-the-effects-of-the-wine at Popover’s, and then home.