How was your Christmas? Were you able to give (and get) the gifts you were hoping for (and to)? Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary was under the tree in my house this year. The wrapping paper may have had my husband’s name on it, but it’s already proving to be a gift for both of us. Terry and I originally saw Chasing Trane at Frontier this summer, and much like Loving Vincent, as soon as the film was over, we both declared we already wanted to see it again. Thanks to a massive snowstorm, this Christmas proved to be the perfect day to do just that. Chasing Trane is a beautifully put-together, uplifting documentary about the life and music of jazz-man extraordinaire John Coltrane, as told by the people who knew and loved him in one form or another (family, friends, fans).
Chasing Trane is filled with fantastic music, interesting interviews, and the gorgeous paintings of Rudy Gutierrez, all of which blend together to tell the story of a man who overcame his demons, explored new frontiers, and changed the landscape of his craft. “My music is the spiritual expression of what I am,” he said. “I want to be the force that is truly for good.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the work of John Coltrane, Curtis Memorial Library is here to help! A quick Minerva search reveals CDs, books, and – you guessed it – even a copy of Chasing Trane. Curl up on your couch on a cold day and let John Coltrane’s music and story warm you up.
Everyone knows the basic story: Vincent Van Gogh, arguably the most important painter ever to have lived, died broke and alone and unappreciated. He committed suicide in 1890; exactly 100 years later, his painting, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” sold for $82.5 million (which translates into roughly $150 million today). Van Gogh’s work has influenced and inspired countless artists, and reproductions of his paintings are everywhere- books, cards, t-shirts, coasters, you name it. To say that he had no idea what kind of impact his work would have on the world is a bit of an understatement.
Like millions of other fans, I’ve often thought, “If only he could know! If only he could see this!” Never have I felt that longing as keenly as I did while watching Loving Vincent. Loving Vincent is a gorgeous, moving tribute to Van Gogh’s work and life, and it might be the most visually stunning film I have ever seen. Van Gogh’s story is told through his paintings, and they have been brought to life here in a way that will make you catch your breath. A team of over 100 artists hand-painted each and every frame of Loving Vincent (how fun must that have been?) and the results are extraordinary.
I have my fingers crossed that Loving Vincent will eventually make its way to one of the theaters here in Brunswick, but if you don’t want to wait, this is a film worth traveling to see on a big screen. If you’re looking for an even more immersive experience, Curtis Memorial Library can help! Check out The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh or one of the many other relevant titles available in the Art & Architecture section upstairs.
I’ve been fortunate enough to assist my dear friend, Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage and Wellness, with two different Mindful Nature Walk and Mandala-Making workshops at the Cathance River Education Alliance in Topsham. The first workshop was for kids, the second one was for adults, and both were enriching and rewarding for all who participated. The woods are filled with natural art supplies, and you don’t have to be Andy Goldsworthy to create a temporary piece that you can feel good about! Mandala making is a great way to experience meditation in motion, and incorporating common, natural elements such as sticks, acorns, rocks, leaves, and pine cones allows us to appreciate the beauty that often gets overlooked. Take a peek at some of the photos from these events…and keep in mind that most of the participants had never made a mandala before!
The average person doesn’t spend enough time in nature these days, and it is so important for our well-being to take time for quiet contemplation in the woods. We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful area with plenty of great hiking trails just waiting to be explored…why not take advantage of it? If you need some additional inspiration, Curtis Memorial Library can help! Here are some items that will surely encourage you to get outside and go within:
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams
Mandala: Luminous Symbols For Healing by Judith Cornell
Rivers And Tides: Andy Goldsworthy