Luella Adan's artTalk

Listen – Talk – Learn

Uncommon Stillness

Sam contemplates Ezra Jack Keats "A Snowy Day"

One of the pages in the picture book, “The Snowy Day”, by Ezra Jack Keats depicts the image of a child wishing to make a connection with the world outside his window.  The main character, Peter, sits on his bed as the right palm of his hand presses gently onto his blanket. He lifts his head slightly and pauses to peek over his window that frames an image of a snowy day.  Keats uses robust patterns for Peter’s clothes, the wallpaper and the bed sheets along with striking colors to accompany the rest of the story.  The particular imageof Peter assessing the choice of action he has yet to undertake incites a sense of longing in me.

The question that runs through my mind is how do we engage with the outside world and still keep our interior belief systems and values in tact?   Artist and curator Jeannine Bardo, addresses some of these issues during the recent BRACA  “Embrace Winter” Festival.  Her essay “Choice Connections” accompanied a series of works of art, exhibited at the Butcher Bar in Brooklyn in February.  Ms. Bardo states,”… connections are made to seemingly disparate subjects through the social networks of language, community, commerce and tradition and (the exhibit features) how artists consider these connections within their work as well as place. Like the butcher and the bar, art is a place where language is played upon and subverted, connections and traditions are made or destroyed…” As the landscape of our community changes how does one grapple with the subtle loss of a previous identity that continues to be redefined by our own sense of place?

“The Snowy Day” has inspired me to focus on that question and engage recent participants of the “Embrace Winter” Festival to depict Peter in an uncommon stillness as he reflects upon the view outside his window.  Each person demonstrates a unique interpretation of Peter’s interior world. I note three in particular.  One features a carefully designed room, much more detailed than Peter’s original abode.  Equipped with a clock on the wall, a vase with flowers, a sign that says “Welcome to Bay Ridge” the artist, Ms. M. pays delicate attention to the comforting ornaments in the room.  On another work of art, young Ms. T depicts a full figure of herself on the bed looking closely at the outside world almost within arms-length.  In one collage, a mother and toddler dyad creates the image of a figure lying in bed, resting, content and almost indifferent to the presence of the outside world.

Ms. TennisMs. M

A recent snapshot of my son, Samuel, shows him in  a contemplative  view from our front room window that mimics Peter’s pose and brings me back to the idea of reflection and prompts me to address the uncommon stillness he portrays.  How does Samuel think of himself within the context of the outside world?

At the end of the story, Peter takes home a snowball, which he places in his pocket for safe-keeping.  After he bathes, he realizes that it has disappeared from his coat pocket.   Sustained by the elements of the outside world, this treasure has disintegrated in his interior world.  Though disappointed at first, soon he feels ready to venture out once again and explore the new landscape of freshly covered snow with a neighbor.

Like Peter I relish this vision of hope and resilience for my son, Samuel, whose curiosity and wishes though seldom expressed will be cultivated throughout his life as he connects with his community and that his acceptance and tolerance for the changes that occur within our neighborhood will be supported by the individuals whose establishments he frequents.  When we come together in dialogue and collaboration through art projects and exhibitions, we divert the uncommon stillness in our hearts to a dynamic voice of engagement and connection with one another.



Luella Adan’s artTalk promotes facilitated discussions of art in museum settings.  Its mission is to create a safe space for dialogue where small groups of individuals can share their personal perspectives on art.   For more information, please contact Luella Adan at or follow and/or post a comment here at


I would like to thank Victoria Hofmo from BRACA (The Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Alliance) for inviting me to explore this topic further with the community and participate in this year’s Bay Ridge “Embrace Winter” Festival.  For more information, please visit their website


I would like to congratulate Jeannine Bardo for her wonderful essay, “Choice Connections,” and her fellow artists for their show at the Butcher Bar in celebration of the “Embrace Winter” Festival Festival sponsored by BRACA.   For more information on artist and curator Jeannine Bardo, please visit her website

4 comments on “Uncommon Stillness

    March 14, 2014

    Luella this is great, beautifully written. I love how you connected your son, my essay, and the “Snowy Day” artwork and the end of your piece is so similar to my grand scheme. We were made for each other 🙂

    Thank you so much for the write up. Is there a way I can link this on my website or post to Facebook? Wait, wait!!! I have finally figured out how to follow you and I am now 31 of your 30 followers. Can I post this to Facebook or is it by invite? I would also like to put your blog as a link on my website.

    My son comes home today for a week (YAY) and I am hosting dinner at my house on Saturday, but let me know if you have time for a cup of coffee on Sunday.


    • Luella Adan's artTalk
      March 14, 2014

      I would be honored to have you link my blog onto your website and Facebook page. I can’t wait to hear about your upcoming projects. In the meantime, have a wonderful time with your son!


  2. barbarakasegrande
    March 14, 2014

    Lu, wow this is amazing — keep up your great work — love this post.


  3. Luciano Adan
    March 16, 2014

    Very nice piece that depicts Samuel stillness pose! It brings up the question of what is in Samuel’s inner soul! Love Sam’s pictures! Grandpa Jun

    Sent from my iPad


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 14, 2014 by in Family artTalk, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: