A Fresh Perspective

By Julie, settling into post-St. Petersburg life in Boston

Two former SinC presidents (Roberta Isleib and Catriona McPherson) with current president Sherry Harris.

Barb, Sherry and I went to Bouchercon this past weekend. It was in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bouchercon is a huge mystery convention, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed the first time you go. But this time around I didn’t have a panel so I could spend time seeing folks and catching up. I was also cycling off the national Sisters in Crime board, so it was my last board meeting with a terrific group of folks. The highlight of the weekend was seeing Sherry assume the role of President of SinC. She’s going to be great.

St. Petersburg was a fun place to visit. I didn’t stay in the conference hotel, which meant that I got a lot of walking in, which was terrific. It is an excellent food city, and we had some great meals.  The conference hotel had a frozen Rose (Frose) drink that was delightful, and helped mitigate the heat a bit. All wonderful.


I also gained a new perspective while I was in St. Pete. The Dali Museum is there, and I paid it a visit. I’ve known of the work of Salvador Dali, of course. But the visit to the museum, and the ability to see his work in person offered me a chance to reflect on it with fresh eyes. The painting of his estranged father, The Average Bureaucrat. Yikes. Not only that it was of his father. But the bowed head of the bureaucrat hit me hard in its truth.

When I was younger Dali amused me. I’ll admit now I didn’t get it. As a middle-aged woman, I see a depth to his work that moves me. I still don’t understand it all, but I want to try. Maybe it’s all the research I did for the Clock Shop series, but his exploration of time , science, and the human condition is incredible. His technical skill can’t be disputed. The mind behind the work is fascinating. I bought a book so I could begin to learn more about the man and his work.


I’m not sure why, but his painting Still Life–Fast Moving fascinated me. Does that ever happen to you? Something hits you hard, and you have to keep looking at it? I liked it so much I bought this small print of it. I think it was the cauliflower in the clouds that did it. The more I look at it, the more I see. How great is that? Could that be a metaphor for this next phase in my life?

The timing of my visit to the Dali Museum was perfect. I was open to letting Dali into my subconscious, and am enjoying the effect.  I’m not sure if it is the work of Dali or my reconsideration of it that has given me pause, but something shifted in me after my visit. A desire to get back into a museum going habit and use art to challenge my perspective is blooming, and I have no intention of ignoring it.

PS, I also got a mug with melting clocks. Because how could I not?

How about you, dear readers? Have you ever revisited an artist or a work a few years later and understood it on another level?

25 Thoughts

  1. Many years ago, the art musuem in Chicago had a Monet exhibit. I was visiting my family and was lucky enough to go to it. Monet and Van Gogh are my favorite artists. I could have stayed there for days, just losing myself in the paintings.

  2. When I was young my grandmother lived in Manhattan, and my sister and I went to most of the New York museums at an early age. I remember going to the Egyptian wing at the Metropolitan Museum (or it could have been the Museum of Natural History), where there was a pit burial on display, at the perfect level for a tall child (me) to see. It was a woman, curled up in a fetal position (not one of the mummies carefully wrapped and placed in gilded sarcophagi), and reduced to a skeleton. But it wasn’t until very recently that I realized that was the first body I had ever seen–I had not looked at her her as human but only as an object on exhibit like so many others.

    1. I remember that body in the pit! My grandparents also lived in Manhattan and I went to the museum many, many times. But, in terms of the body in the pit, most memorable was my fourth grade school trip, when Joel Bluestein, woozy from the bus, took one look in the pit and threw up all over the museum floor.

  3. I’ve done this with classic books. For example, reading “Death of a Salesman” at 40 is much different than reading it at 20. You get a different insight as you age.

    1. SO true!! That play is the perfect example. I always find it interesting when your perspective shifts to sympathy for other folks. The show THIRTYSOMETHING was like that for me. When I was young, I thought Hope was a pain. As I grew older I understood her a lot better.

  4. We visited the Dali museum north oh Barcelona tweny years ago, Julie. Stunning stuff. Glad you got to rediscover him!

    1. The museum was fascinating–the collection of a couple who were friends with him. Amazing stuff. Barcelona is on the bucket list for many reasons, and that is one of them.

  5. We have in our bedroom Dali’s A Broken Bridge and a Dream…because it spoke to me when I first saw it and it continues to this day.

  6. I also visited the Dali Museum while I was at Bouchercon. Someday I’ll blog about my Dali connection–it’s murder mystery adjacent. Anyway, the night after we went to the museum I had the weirdest dreams ever.

  7. I’m lucky to live within walking distance to of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. It’s one of my main means of refilling the well after writing. His paintings have so many layers — some of them only reveal themselves to you when you’re ready. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Wonderful to see you and Barb. I’m sad we didn’t get a picture of the three of us! Congratulations again Mdm President. So proud to know you!

  8. There is a giant entire wall sized portrait, by Hogart, of an apparently much beloved, and in my humble opinion, not particularly at the upper end of the bovine beauty category, cow. Said cow has been the goal, for many years, of our yearly London pilgrimage. Through trials, tribulations, and aging, this cow has given us such happiness, and a true sense of joy in the simple absurdity of the universe, that the effect holds on for many months. I simply can’t recommend this portrait enough. (There are, of course, postcards, but it just really isn’t the same.)

  9. I’m not much of an art person, so looking at paintings doesn’t do much for me. However, each time I read the Chronicles of Narnia, I get something different out of them. I’m overdue to go through them again, now that I think about it.

  10. That’s a great museum. I never considered myself a fan of Dali’s work until I saw his paintings in person.

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