Good Life at the Harn Ashley Foster

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist

Claude Monet was an extremely renowned artist from Paris, France, and perhaps one of my favorite painters--next to the amazing Van Gogh. He aided in laying the foundations of the Impressionist movement by developing a style of painting seen here. In this painting, Champ d'avoine (Oat Field), Monet uses short choppy brush strokes without blending each of the colors with one another to "convey the immediacy of experience", as noted on the informational panel next to the painting. When I saw this painting, the technique that Monet used made me feel as if I was in the field with him watching the oats flow back and forth with the wind. The calm colors of the art contribute to how relaxing it makes the viewer feel.

Design of the Museum

One exhibit of the Harn Museum that I found especially appealing was the outdoor Rock Garden. This is the one exhibit that actually persuaded me to buy a mini zen garden for myself. When I walked out into this exhibit on a cloudy day, I immediately felt a wave of calm come over me. Between the relaxed atmosphere, the various structures, the monochromatic color scheme,and the patterns raked into the gravel, the Rock Garden was somewhere I felt that I could spend peaceful days meditating in. It is somewhere that I felt I could connect with myself and truly embody the good life.

Art and Core Values

I chose a painting by Frida Khalo for this section. Although she had many ups and downs in life with her accident when she was younger and her rocky marriage with Diego Rivera. I do not agree with many things she did in life, but there is one value that I particularly hope to embody. It was her resilience. Throughout her life she battled many difficulties, but mostly came out on top. After her accident, she took up painting rather than continuing her budding career in medicine. No matter what life threw at her, she was able to get through is and ultimately paint her experiences with traditional Mexican symbols and themes that she manipulated to convey her own message. This specific photograph of her was taken by Imogen Cunningham in 1931 while she was wearing traditional clothing of the Mexican culture. Her facial expression and body position in this photograph exudes both a feeling of dominance and a feeling of soft, womanly poise. This is also a characteristic that I hope to one day embody.

Art and the Good Life

I believe that this particular piece by Leon Kroll in 1926 conveys the theme of Embodying the Good Life. Painted in the foreground are three women relaxing on a peaceful rocky shore while a man fishes in the middle ground. In the background, there are houses perched on the cliffs which are surrounded by trees. Kroll used more neutral colors in hid painting with highlights of greens in the trees and the blues in the setting sky. I feel like this piece represents embodying because the people in the painting are relaxing and partaking in things that it is assumed they enjoy. I aspire to one day be able to settle into my life with a successful job position that pertains to my degree that I will have. I wish to relax as these people do after a day of work and just watch the sunset with the people that I love. To me, this is the Good Life.

Something Else I Learned

While walking through the museum, I came upon this kind man who seemed to be looking at the Good Life-specific painting that was recommended by the staff. He had noticed the papers in my friend and I's hands and asked if we wanted him to move out of the way of the photograph. We said "no" and he began to explain what he thought of the photograph itself. It was a photograph of a gold mine in Brazil from the 1980s where hoards of people were sent down into the mine to excavate it for gold. They were paid as much as they could carry and for as much gold they found. We could hardly see why this was the "good life", other than possibly being a strange, and slightly insulting metaphor for appreciating what we have right in front of us. We all then began to spark up a conversation about life, what was happening in it and things of the like. As it turns out, he used to be an employee of the museum and would take students from UF on tours for Good Life and the two-year course before Good Life was introduced. While I cannot say that I learned anything specific from him, I realized that I do aspire to be someone with his mentality. He and his wife came to the museum quite often because of their love for art; with each new exhibit, they would gaze upon it and appreciate it for what it was and what it said. Every once in a while, it takes someone like this to truly remind you of the people, views, and experiences all around you. It is not about rushing through a museum to finish a project, but rather taking a moment to truly understand meaning behind certain things in your life.

Created By
Ashley Foster

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