Saturday, July 4, 2009


It was very evidently all meant to be...

I had traveled to Scotland on a return trip (I spent my childhood in Edinburgh) to visit some friends and soak up that gorgeous atmosphere of purple heather, great pubs and the Castle on Princess Street.

I stayed for all too few days at the Caledonia Hotel - waking up to Sunshine in a room with an excellent view overlooking Princess Street and Edinburgh Castle,with kippers and poached eggs in bed, marmalade and toast burnt on one side, served on a tray with fine linen napkins,and really,really good china and silverware.....
That was truly heavenly.

But the reason for this July 4th post is the celebration of the connection between all of us and particularly with me and my connection to America, and quite coincidentally with a fantastic artist named Duane Hanson.

After the marvelous breakfast that day,I decided to go to the Museum across the street from where I grew up - the National Galleries of Scotland and took a cab there. I saw, much to my amazement, as soon as I walked in the door, "Mr & Mrs Miami Beach Tourist" a life size sculpture by artist Duane Hanson, standing there for all they were worth looking as if they had stepped from a tourist bus and wandered into this gallery from across the pond.

Now, I lived then and do now, in Florida. And Mr. Hanson lived and worked in cowboy territory, Davie, Florida. I had met Mr. Hanson after this quite powerful, to me, "coincidence" and he is one of the most amazing and real people, as an artist, that I have ever met. A quiet, reserved, attractive man who looked quite human and frail, it was hard to believe that he was a world renowned artist who caused controversy by staging riots in the street, causing the police to come a number of times in the 70's to North Miami, with his installed life size and extremely life-like sculptures "Race Riot", among others. Mr Hansen had also done a sculpture of my painting professor, the artist Robert Thealey,
sitting on his helmet, of when he was a player for the Canes, my school the University of Miami's football team. This sculpture is still in the Lowe Gallery, I do believe. For those who wish to know more about Mr. Hanson:

The other connection to me of Florida and America, is that when I was growing up in Edinburgh, I lived opposite the National Gallery of Scotland and visited there many times, in the National Park of Scotland. There I discovered hot houses, huge glass domes built to house exotic plants, where I saw my first palm trees and hibiscus flowers. Quite amazing to experience the extreme cold of Scottish winters and visit in warm, enclosed, womb-like, moist environments, to see then flowers and trees which surround me now in my beloved Florida. Happy July 4th!!!******