artsy fartsy,  Niece-com-poops,  travel

Spring Break Day 3: The Getty

Rapunzel wants to be an artist when she grows up. I think this is really really cool, of course. However, she thinks that she doesn’t need to go to college because “artists don’t need school,” she says. I may have said something stupid a long time ago about how colleges these days are just big businesses that take all your money and you really don’t need them to get a good job anymore. Me and my big fat mouth. So I decided I need to show her why college is so important, even if you want to be an artist.

I took Rapunzel to the Getty today. My idea was that I would show her all the different kinds of art and she’d get a taste for finding out the stories behind the pictures. Art history can be so fascinating. That is my one regret with my own college career. I didn’t major in art and I never studied art history. I feel I’m at a real disadvantage because I don’t know anything about cubism or impressionism or the arts and crafts period etc. etc. These are all just words to me that I know would be really useful if I only knew what they meant.

It turns out that I still don’t know much about art and I didn’t do a very good job of inspiring Rapunzel to get excited about it either. “It’s kinda boring,” she admitted to me in the most polite way she could. I had to agree with her in part. It’s not Disneyland. There aren’t any rides or anything. Still, I think for what it is, we had a pretty good time. One of these days I think we both need to go through the museum on a guided tour and really get to the bottom of it all. Why did Van Gogh cut his ear off anyway? Any kind of tour seemed out of the question with Baby Bug in tow. But maybe next time when she’s bigger.

We really enjoyed exploring the vast grounds and gardens. We even had a picnic lunch (that I packed) on the not-so-dry grass outside. I love the grounds at the Getty. I wrote about this a long time ago when Toby and I visited. (I have no idea where that link went.) The neat thing about the Getty is that every where you go, there is a new vista point with something interesting to look at and go see. There is always something new on the horizon to go explore. It was great fun for all of us.

I think the best part of the Getty for us was the Children’s Museum though. Mostly because I finally got to let Baby Bug out of the stroller and she was so happy to be able to wander around freely touching things. I think it was hard for her to be strapped in most of the day. Rapunzel really liked all the interactive displays and they both got a kick out of coloring their own masks. I’m really glad the Getty had a exhibit like that. Everywhere else we went, the guards were constantly telling us not to touch, not to take pictures and not to wade through the water. (Imagine that!) It can be tough for a “free spirit” when there are so many rules. I mean, the water is right there just begging to be walked in! Poor Rapunzel, she sort of “fell in by accident.”

When we got home, we were in the mood to make our own art. Rapunzel painted with acrylics and I made some “finger paint” for Baby Bug. I read somewhere that you can make kid-safe finger paint out of pudding with food coloring in it. It seemed like a great idea. Except I didn’t have any pudding on hand so I used some plain yogurt instead.

The only problem with the neat colored yogurt is that Baby Bug loves to eat yogurt, plain or otherwise. The first thing she did was take a big ol’ swipe of blue and shove it in her mouth. I tried to show her how fun it was to smear it on the paper but she was more interested in eating it. So much for finger painting. I decided to cut my losses and bring out some dinner for her to eat too.

You could say she made art out of dinner or dinner out of art, depending on how you look at it.


  • DeeJay

    It looks like a wonderful place to spend part of your day. Isn’t it a shame you couldn’t take pictures inside of the museum.

    When my family and I went on our cruise we were inside the terminal waiting to go onboard and I snapped a picture of the walkway above the employees. Some old dude came over and told me that I couldn’t take pictures in there and pointed to a sign they had with all of the “rules” on it. So what did I do? Asked him to stand by the sign so I could take his picture. He wouldn’t do it. Oh well. It was funny anyway.

  • Alissa

    Another fun day and what a goregous setting and building.

    I have an undergraduate degree in Art History and would highly recommend that you and Rapunzel take a History of Art introductory class as it makes the pieces so much more interesting, relevant and tangible.

    I am not up much on contemporary US art but perhaps you and Rapunzel could look at some contemporary artists via the internet and she would soon discover that almost all have been to college and university to study the field.

  • andrea

    I love the pictures of Baby Bug and the “finger paint”. I’ve always wanted to try it with pudding but never thought to use yogurt instead. How creative!

    You should definitely do a short guided tour next time you and Rapunzel hit a museum. It is really makes it more interesting to know a little more about the pieces you are looking at.

    Once again you win the greatest aunt in the world award!

  • lynne

    I think Van Gogh cut his ear off to draw it, but this may be popular mythology as I never studied this artist in depth. I studied history of art for four years but specialised in Romantic, Pre-Raphelite, Impressionism and early 20th Century European art. I never thought about how lucky I am to be able to visit a gallery and generally know my Monet’s from my Manet’s. I thank my teachers. I can recomend a good book called The History of Art by Gombrich which is a standard text book, covers all genres and has lots of pictures. Most good major art gallerys have free lectures and some detailed websites where you can learn a lot. Your a good auntie exposing your niece to art and what an amazing gallery to start :) Maybe she wouldn’t find it so dry when she’s 10 or so.

  • Lindsay

    Looks like Rapunzel did get something out of the Getty, though! Look at that painting of the stained-glass cat she was painting (at least that’s what I saw). I’ve only been to the Getty once, and most of it isn’t very kid friendly, but I give you props for taking her! I’m sure one day when she’s making art for a living, she’ll look back fondly on her first trip there.

  • bluejaye

    I took the kids to the Art Museum here. The Impressionists were in town. We took crayons, pencils and paper. I remember seeing people in movies drawing in a museum. Imagine my shock when they asked us to put it all away. We do have an amazing imitation of a Matiste. Our library has a pass you can “check out” with a library card that is good for a visit. Come to town and we’ll take you. Just down the street there is a sculpure of a salmon coming out of a building.

  • BeachMama

    How cool to take Rapunzel to the art gallery! We have a pretty nice one here, but I fear bringing a toddler to an art gallery. I should check and see if they have a section for kids.

    Love their homemade art at home. Your homemade paint is fun too. How artistic your family is.

  • Andrea

    Looks like you guys are having the best week with Rapunzel. You’re the coolest aunt, for sure! I love the yogurt/painting idea. You can tell Baby Bug did too. Adorable pictures!!!

  • eleanor

    I wish I had an aunt like you (let alone a mother).
    Hey, no worries about the art major. I used to stress that I was missing something or people might think I was phony. But considering the fact that I just bought a house last year making a living off my art I’ve learned to let go. Ha.
    If you want a crash course in art movements check out “Isms: Understanding Art” by Stephen Little. It is a very colorful and fun crash course book.
    P.S. Vincent cut off his ear for “love.”

  • Kuky

    My feed seems to be wacky so I was wondering why you hadn’t posted for a few days. I moseyed on over and looky looky…not one post but multiple posts! Looks like you’ve been having such a fun few days! I’ll have to give that finger painting a try.

  • irish mistery

    The yogurt paint is priceless! You are very creative….the museum looks like a lot of fun…of well about the college thing…maybe she could save a buck or two and spend it on some quaint irish cottage overlooking the sea…where she will paint or sculpt…ha!

  • Jenifer

    Can I come to your house when I need a vacation? I’ll cook! Also, I babysit and I know pediatric CPR. See, I’m a deal!

    I think it’s wonderful that you’re trying to instill the passion for Art History in Rapunzel. I wish I had had the guts to pursue a creative career, instead of taking the safe road. I didn’t listen to Robert Frost, but one day I’ll be financially set and I’ll go into the career of my dreams. Anyone hiring a professional gift wrapper?

  • comfortablycrazy

    I LOVE that Rapunzel’s not doing typical 3rd grade drawings. It seems like she’s being herself. So if that’s all that comes from this week, I think we did good. Not that I didn’t want her to have fun, too, but you know what I mean.

  • Bok

    I studied Art History at university and would highly reccomend it. And we were taught Van Gogh cutting his ear off is actually a myth- apparently he only made a small incision in the lobe.

  • Gramma

    I was so grateful we were able to attend the Van Gogh exhibit in San Francisco. It was strange to have one of the commentators on an accompanying film pronounce it Van Gock. I really enjoyed his whorling “Starry Night” and his
    “Self Portrait” done with green on his cheeks. I, too, feel I am lacking in art appreciation…my school thought penmanship was more important and we did hours and hours of push-pulls and overs for Palmer Method. Your Auntie Kedj marvels at the wealth of exposure she had in Middle School. She had a combination of music and art appreciation.

  • carrien

    For safe finger paint that’s less “tempting” you can mix flour and water until it’s a little runny and add food coloring. When I was a kid we would stick the paint in a big pan, draw pictures in it with our fingers and then gently press paper overtop to take a print of our drawing. IT has to be pretty thick for this to work, but it feels very cool on the hands.

  • Sara

    You are such a fun aunt and mom! I love the pictures, as always; the next time we are in L.A., we will be sure to visit the Getty.

  • OMSH

    Okay, first – Rapunzel has no idea how fortunate she is to have you for an auntie.

    Next? The photo of Rapunzel next to the tall, thin statue? THAT IS FABULOUS. I need it in a postcard format to smile at … that would be a terrific postcard for that place.

    Pudding paint – yummmmm! I love Baby Bug’s yellow “mustache”.
    Oh, and Rapunzel – your painting … I see the workings of a kitty … not pinkkkitty, but a kitty nonetheless.