Saturday, March 16, 2013

Outside Loxley, LA

Outside Loxley, LA
Tubac Painting No. 6

Bayou LeBatre. 
Pass Christian. 
These are just some of the names of towns I've driven through on this trip, and they are names that resonate with me, for reasons I don't know.
Could be books, or songs, or stories I have heard. I suspect it's that I've read everything James Lee Burke has written, and much of it takes place in Louisiana. But it feels like more than that, like a memory, or a legend, or something I've known deeply and for a long, long time. 
These towns have been nothing like I imagined them, though, except for Pascagoula, which is a big city. Bayou LeBatre looks a little like neighborhoods of New London, CT, where I grew up, and downtown Pass Christian is just one street, maybe a quarter of a mile long. 
And still, these places are lovely, with a rhythm and lightness that seems peculiar to the area. The sand here is still the brilliant white I started seeing in Alabama, and the sun matches it, and this thin, bright light suffuses everything. 
My painting in the landscape

In what feels like another lifetime, I made a lot of pottery. My favorite potter was George Ohr, the self-proclaimed Mad Potter of Biloxi. 
As I was driving Thursday, I went by the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum, a fascinating-looking place on Route 90, and I decided to go in. 
Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum includes several buildings, including the brick welcome center and related exhibition halls, and three or four strangely shaped metal pods, three stories tall. 

Gehry came to the project in part because of his association with Mr. I can't remember his first name O'Keefe (surprise! No relation to Georgia!), in part because he is a fan of George Ohr, and in part because he fell in love with the site and its many oak trees. Several of the trees were lost in Hurricane Katrina, and the building project was delayed, but it is all pretty much done except for the pods, which will house the Ohr collection. 
Right now, it is in one of the galleries. It was an absolute delight to see the man's fascinating and gorgeous pottery in the flesh! Ohr, a fanatical worker, dug his own clay and produced pottery in phenomenal abundance. In addition to regular pots and utilitarian pieces he sold to make a living, he threw very, very fine pieces, thin as paper, and then worked them, twisting them, adding curves, collapsing them, into elegant and unique shapes. I never thought I'd see his work in real life! 


Scenes from the day

Boats along the canal near Loxley, LA

Oak trees along Highway 90 near Biloxi 

Really, you gotta love stuff like this! 

Me and my pal. Don't tell Jojo! 

George Ohr, the Mad Potter of Biloxi

Below, several shots of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum 

Here's some of George Ohr's pottery. At one juncture, unhappy that his glazes were getting were getting a lot of notice and the shapes of his pots were not, he made a whole series of unglazed pieces. 

All along the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, the damage of Hurricane Katrina remains evident. This scene is typical - an empty lot with a for sale sign, backed by brand-new homes.

And last but not least, Dogs of the Day


Sara said...

I'm sure posting about your journey is a lot of work, but I want you to know that it's worth it...I'm enjoying every word of it! I especially love your photos of your paintings with the scene in the background. Happy Trails!

carrie jacobson said...

Oh, Sara, thanks so much. It IS a lot of work - but I know that people are loving it, and so it is worth it, without question.

I couldn't paint at all today - and stopped driving around 4 p.m. The wind and the dust were just incredible. Tough to keep the van on the road, AND to see.

But tomorrow, I am hoping for clear skies and no wind, and a lot of painting.