Picture Picture

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a quest for a big, gaudy frame to house some art in a particular spot here at home. Actually, to go outside by our pool. We have an ugly window in the side of our garage, which faces the pool — a perfect spot for some outdoor art with a frame to rival Versailles.

And where do we find the best gaudy frames (that we can afford)? Thrift shops, of course! Off I went in search of something I would never be caught dead REALLY looking for, but that would be perfect for the spot.

And in my own favorite local thrift shop, on my first try, I found it. The gaudy frame of my dreams. It was HUGE. It was faux gold. And in it was the heaviest mirror known to man. Good God, how did this mirror even stay on a wall? And the frame, which looks like wood, is actually plastic, which just adds to its complete and total cartoonishness. Seriously, like a movie prop. Perfect.

I bought The Gaudiness and took it home. It was the perfect size for the spot. I took out the mirror and put the frame around the painting I had created for this project, an abstract of various geometric shapes.

And it hit me.

My love of abstract art started with Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood.

Picture Picture.

For those who didn’t grow up watching Mister Rodgers, “Picture Picture” was a large picture frame on the wall inside his house that always displayed some sort of colorful artwork, usually abstract, when it wasn’t morphing into a video screen at Mister Rodgers’ command. When asked, Picture Picture showed interesting short films, usually how something is made, like the crayon-making short from the Crayola factory (everyone’s favorite, right?). The films never had dialogue or voice-over, but a jazz soundtrack (usually jazz pianist Johnny Costa) played throughout, which I also realize is probably the genesis of my love of jazz. But that’s another story.

Picture Picture with Mr Rodgers

As a child, I always wanted a Picture Picture on our wall, because I thought the dissolve from artwork to a moving film was just magical. And now I have software on my laptop to do exactly that, in a heartbeat. I never would have dreamed 40-something years ago, watching Mister Rodgers, that I would be able to make footage do that while sitting at my dining room table. Oh, but I can.

I also liked the fact that Picture Picture functioned while built into the wall, a far cry from our huge console TV of the 1970s that held a plant, a clock and our fishbowl, as well as TV Guide every week.

So, the huge frame isn’t going outside, for the elements to destroy it. It’s going somewhere in this house, with abstract art in it. Picture Picture style.

And the outdoor art project? A new plan is in the works, no frames required!

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