How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious,teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. Psalm 104:24-25 (NIV)
After getting the tire fixed, we picked up oldest son and went to downtown Ocean Springs, a restored historic Main Street. There were several cute shops, but husband is not a shopper and with no purse or money of my own, I figured it was useless to go inside! My goal was not shopping anyway, although we did go into a candy store and buy some pralines. I wanted to go to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. Walter Inglis Anderson was an artist born in New Orleans in 1903. He lived for most of his live in Ocean Springs and worked with his two brothers in a business called, Shearwater Pottery. He struggled with depression and alcoholism beginning about 1937 brought on by his father’s death and the difficulties in finding work during the Great Depression. He was hospitalized several times and escaped by climbing out a window utilizing sheets tied together. In1945, he left his wife and four children and became a recluse alternating between living in a small cottage at Shearwater and in primitive conditions on Horn Island. There, he studied nature and created art utilizing the environment and animals of the area. While he worked in ceramics, he was mostly known for his paintings and his block print lithographs. He also did woodworking, carpentry and furniture construction. The museum was full of his work as well as that of other artists. I enjoyed seeing all the different mediums that he worked in and the museum was laid out well with a mix of types in each room. The colors were beautiful, the drawings whimsical and the carvings very lifelike. Some of my favorites were his drawings of cats, from different angles, and always a mix of reality and fantasy, and his ceramic horses that looked like the Trojan Horse. The work that struck me the most, however, was “The Little Room,” a wooden room from his Shearwater Cottage that was painted on all four walls and the ceiling. The room was based upon Psalm 104 and began with a depiction of sunrise in one corner and continues around the room to end with night. It is brightly colored and full of all different kinds of animals and scenes from nature. From a curled possum to a cuddly rabbit to a mellow moon and moths in flight. The room was moved into the museum by taking down the wall boards and plaster and putting them back together in a room of the same dimensions. I could have stood in the Little Room all day for everywhere I looked there was something new to see. I ended up buying a book about the room and the meaning of each scene called The Painter’s Psalm. I have enjoyed learning about Anderson’s life, and seeing the environment that he painted as we drove around Ocean Springs and visited Shearwater Pottery where he lived right on the bay with a view of Horn Island. Like Anderson, the place reminded me of the Creator. No wonder, he loved Psalm 104.