This morning we were leisurely in our approach to the day. The snow had melted over night, the Olympics were in view on the horizon, and a heron watched for stray fish on the rocks below our window. Why hurry? However, after a small breakfast and some conversation the four of us went out into the city once more.
Our first stop at about 11:30 was The Bateman Centre, a museum/educational center dedicated to Robert Bateman. Jean and I have visited several times, but this was David and Marlene’s first visit. This eminent wildlife painter, environmentalist, and educator has spent his life getting people closer to nature in a personal and philosophical sense. His art combines abstract shapes with strict composition and muted colors to create portraits of things in the natural world. These images evoke a sense of the individual creature and the niche they inhabit. Bateman says that if someone comments on the detail of his work it is not a compliment. Although from a distance these works appear life-like they are in no way detailed. Each tells a story about the life of the subject and gives us a sense of that life.
Perhaps my personal favorite is the portrait of a Spanish pig. Bateman writes of encountering this pig behind a 2,000 year old cafe in Spain. The boar lounged in the midday heat, slowly munching on specially grown acorns (to make the resulting ham succulent). He reflected that although this pig’s fate would be similar to his caged, force fed, medicated brethren in factory farms, his life will have been well lived.
As you look at these other examples from the collections squint your eyes a bit to see the abstract shapes of the image.
Jean and Marlene stopped to study some pieces at length.
Leaving The Bateman Centre we walked a block to the Gatsby Mansion and the Pendray Restaurant for high tea. A couple of hours spent talking, sipping delicious teas, and eating savory as well as sweet delights! What more could one want on a cold winter afternoon? Soon it was time to get David and Marlene back to the Victoria Clipper for their return to Seattle. Only time for one Christmas photo in the mansion’s parlor.