By Houghton Kinsman

Keep scrolling for a guided, slow-looking experience of Granville Redmond’s painting "Sand Dunes", with Artful Meditation facilitator Teresa Sedano.

Rushing frantically up to the third floor Barr Gallery, I had that dreaded feeling that I was late for the staff walkthrough, Granville Redmond: The Eloquent Palette. (Disclaimer: I hate being late.) I just cannot gracefully shimmy into the throwback of seats or quietly take up a position in a group without anyone noticing. Plus, the walkthrough was led by Associate Director and Chief Curator Scott Shields, who curated the show. (Another disclaimer: Even more than being late, I hate being late to events I know I will learn a lot from.)

Thankfully, I wasn’t late, but I was certainly unsettled. This little saga also happened to form part of a week characterized by that all-too-familiar 21st-century feeling that you are just hanging on, getting one thing done before hurriedly moving onto the next, in order to complete it in just the nick of time. My mom would more eloquently liken this scenario to being “on the proverbial hamster wheel.” Either way, it wasn’t fun running up the stairs from my 2nd floor cubicle in that state and I must admit I feel a little bit like that now — as I navigate all this uncertainty and fear of Covid-19.

Also, did I mention that this was my first experience of the Redmond exhibition? Nothing like bringing baggage to the museum viewing experience, right?

Granville Redmond: The Eloquent Palette is on display at the Crocker until May 17. It will reopen at the Laguna Art Museum on June 27.

Anyways, I arrived somewhat bedraggled and out of breathe, quickly realized I wasn’t late, took a brief glance around the gallery, and then suddenly was overcome by a soothing sense of calm. It was like that feeling you get when you take a good, deep breathe. Somehow, the world re-orientated itself and I felt okay again.

Scott was slowly introducing some of the artworks to staff. His voice floated softly above the background hum of the Museum’s HVAC system and the security guards’ footsteps as they readied the Crocker for opening. The blue hue of the walls graciously washed over me and the paintings lit up the room. Feeling newly refreshed and reinvigorated, I thought to myself “Wow, what a great exhibition for Art Rx.”

Naturally, I ended up lingering way too long — taking in the plethora of serene poppy fields and gazing at the way Redmond captured moonlight hitting the ocean. I looked up after about an hour and noticed that everyone had left and thought, “Oops, I better get back to my desk and get on with it.” I did however consider, for what seemed liked an eternity, staying even longer. Eventually, I persuaded myself to head back downstairs.

Redmond was well-known for his colorful Impressionist scenes depicting California's native fauna. However, he also created quiet, contemplative Tonalist scenes like this one.

Image: Granville Redmond (American, 1871–1935), Notcturne, n.d. Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in. Collection of Virgene Beam.

Now, if I'm being really honest with you, I am more inclined to spend hours thinking about a conceptual contemporary art installation or video art piece rather than making my way through a Tonalist/California Impressionist painting exhibition. This is predominantly the reason why, for those of you who attended it, that I insisted on hosting Artful Meditation in Bill Viola’s exhibition The Raft. But, I was thoroughly converted after this experience.

I find the exhibition and the space to, dare I say, encourage contemplation. It is very easy for me to spend time alone, amongst the rolling fields, calming oceans and towering trees, just looking at the brushstrokes, the colors, and feeling out the way Redmond conjures up various moods. I have found this exhibition so comforting that, while I was conceptualizing a digital program to stand-in for Art Rx this week, I ended up returning to, and immediately recognizing, that initial feeling of peace and tranquility I experienced way back in January — even as I walked through the exhibition virtually.

(If you haven’t already done so, here is another wonderful virtual tour of our permanent collection.)

It is very easy for me to spend time alone, amongst the rolling fields, calming oceans and towering trees.

It is very easy for me to spend time alone, amongst the rolling fields, calming oceans and towering trees.

Unsurprisingly, my experience with Granville Redmond: The Eloquent Palette has informed what we present here: our first digital wellness program. In place of our regular Art Rx program, we offer you a guided, slowing looking experience of Redmond’s painting Sand Dunes led by our facilitator Teresa Sedano.

Teresa has served as adjunct faculty at American River College, instructing sign language interpreting students in the area of ethics and professional standards. She holds a master’s degree in contemplative education, with training specifically in contemplative art, which uses mindfulness, presence, and breath work to explore the joy of self-expression during the creative process. On the 4th Saturday of every month, Teresa also hosts a guided viewing during Artful Meditation.

Thank you Teresa for helping put together this experience for us. These kinds of programs are much need at this time in our lives.

Before experiencing this program, find a quiet place where you can be alone for 10 minutes. Try to turn off electronics and other distractions.

Please enjoy a slow walkthrough of the exhibition with Teresa and then spend a few quiet moments taking in Sand Dunes. At the Crocker, we are committed to supporting wellness through art. We hope that this program, the first of a number to come over the next few weeks, will provide you with a brief opportunity to switch off, relax, and find a state of mindfulness that is comforting.

Top Image: Granville Redmond (American, 1871–1935), Sand Dunes, n.d. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Private collection.

About the Author: Houghton Kinsman works as the Adult Education Coordinator at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. He holds a Master of Fine Art in Art from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and has previously served as assistant to the Curator of Education at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. His writings have appeared in Art Africa, Contemporary And, Dazed and Confused, Frieze, and Artthrob.