Current Location: Indian Pass Campground, Port Saint Joe, Florida
Foggy and 63 degrees F
I decided that a separate post for the Walter Anderson Museum of Art was needed. We visited WAMA while camped at Shields RV Park in Gulfport, and with the weather being chilly and windy it was a good day for exploring in the car and an inside venue. UPDATE: I just received a lovely note from Laurel who mentioned that she had also devoted an entire post to Walter Anderson. Her post is much more eloquent and in depth than mine, so I would highly suggest that you read it here. I am including it in my blog so I don’t lose it. Thank you, Laurel.
When blogging friends noticed we were headed for Gulfport, several mentioned the museum as something not to miss. They were so right, and thank you to Erin from Two to Travel Phaeton Journeys, and Nickie from Out and About with Nickie and and Jimmy.
We drove Beach Boulevard from Gulfport to the small town of Ocean Shores, across the beautiful high bridge mentioned in Erin’s post. However, on this chilly and very windy day we didn’t only a single walker on the beautiful bridge with views of the bay.
Entering the museum at first was a bit daunting, but the docents were very helpful, explaining to us about the history of Walter, and the museum, and the relationship between Walter Anderson and his brother Peter Anderson who founded Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Shores in 1928. Shearwater continues to this day, in spite of the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.
Peter Anderson’s four children, Peter Michael Anderson, Patricia Anderson Findeisen, Marjorie Anderson Ashley, and James Anderson, own Shearwater Pottery, and three of the children are still active in the ongoing production of Shearwater Pottery.
The title of this post, is a quote from Walter Anderson, and reflects the unique and often wild and crazy kind of brain that inhabits many artists. When I first saw the art, I wasn’t necessarily moved, and yet as we wandered through, watched the video about his life, and began to learn more, I was enthralled. Yes, he was certifiably insane, hospitalized for schizophrenia, but thanks to the wealth of both his family and his wife’s family, was able to live his years creating this incredible art in spite of his own difficulties adjusting to the “real” world.
His world was the “real” one. He spent months alone on a barrier island, painting and writing and drawing, only returning to his home and his wife occasionally.In the later years of their marriage, he retreated to his tiny workshop/cottage on the Shearwater property and continued to paint.
The interior of the cottage was never seen until after his death when his wife and sister broke the locks to find the incredible murals that he painted on all the walls and ceiling. Each wall depicts the time of day, the east wall as sunrise, the south as midday, west as evening, north as night. He spent most of his life in communion with nature, blades of grass, birds, frogs, stars, night skies, all without interruption from humanity, ordinary modern everyday life, and conversation.
We spent a few hours at the museum, also enjoying the exhibit of the beautiful Shearwater pottery, some of which was painted and designed by Walter. Nickie asked if I bought anything? Nope, not a thing. I enjoyed learning about Walter Anderson, loved the wild and incredible murals, and the pottery was gorgeous. Still, it would be impossible to take home the feeling of his art with a poster or a postcard or a piece of pottery that I couldn’t really afford anyway. My own photos will suffice.
As we left, we were encouraged to wander the streets of Ocean Shores, a charming arts community with lots of little shops and restaurants on the historic streets. We were also encouraged to visit Shearwater Pottery, but it was getting late in the afternoon, the skies were still gloomy, and we decided that we would rather see a bit more of the Gulf beaches before returning home to Gulfport.
This museum was truly lovely, and worth any effort to get there. Sherry, I am so sorry you weren’t able to get into the main community center room to see the murals in person. You would have loved it. Thank you so much for encouraging us to visit this place as well. We were lucky enough to get in that room and I thought of you a lot as we wandered around for a long time looking and the mesmerizing, magical, and mystical painting of Walter Anderson.