I picked up seashells and went to the Salvador Dali museum. You know him. Surreal. He painted melting watches?
Anyway, I learned that he had been a rather impressive realism artist. Not quite as good as Sorayama...you don't know? Oh here.
...But pretty darn impressive. Then someone introduced Dali to SCIENCE and molecules and the poor man was never the same again. "Fish and watches are both made of molecules? And molecules are in constant motion? I must paint!" This and a few weird dreams and he had a new career.
I was somewhat surprised to discover that his famous surrealism paintings are actually rather small. About the size of a breadbox. He used rather dark, muddy colors and achieved bright sunny effects. Strange, yes? And I must assume that some of the remarkable detail he achieved was partly just playing with our perceptions until we fill in the blanks.
Okay, that was something else that surprised me while looking at his HUGE mural type paintings. He was one of those artists who put an incredible amount of thought into his paintings before the brush hit the canvas. One must have these monsters explained because there's just no way you'll catch on to everything on your own. He used themes from Spanish history. He tried painting with octopus suction cups once. He apparently loved to create paintings within paintings. So the painting you see up close is totally different from the one you can see from across the hall.
Bunch of statues, yes? Unless you're Dali. Who apparently looked at a box of Venus pencils and said, "Wait! Do you see a face?" and then planned out this painting. (Which, as I mentioned, is monster size.) You don't see the face? Okay, look at the green skirt of Venus. That's a necktie. The white is the shirt. The face is tilted to your right. Her left breast is the nose. The dark line across her ribs is the mouth. Her tummy is the chin. Getting it now? Kinda pops out at you suddenly when you get it. Her head is the eye. Okay and now the red robe on the other Venus is the matador's red cape on his shoulder. The dots on the left are the spangles on his matador jacket. You got it? Okay now find the bull in the lower left portion of the picture. Ha! You got it?
See? He did stuff like that. And there's reasons for the flies and the dots and the floating head and I'm not going into it.
I was reminded of the art in the Beatles' Yellow Submarine.
You can look here http://www.artchive.com/artchive/D/dali.html
or here (you knew I'd get to it) www.salvadordalimuseum.org
So there. Bored the heck out of you. Go detox somewhere. Watch TV.
Oh and Tampa airport is kinda cool. Laid back, well designed and hospitable. They even had free ziplock bags for your carry-on stuff!