For me much of the pleasure derived from a vacation is negative: not having to answer email, or take or return phone calls, or open, sort and shelve books. Still, I don't leave my job behind entirely, for the simple reason that I like what I do. Who wouldn't? I read books. I get to sound off about them. And I get paid for it.
On this last vacation I managed to read about six books, write four reviews, a couple of poems, and some miscellaneous things.
But it was far from being a busman's holiday. My wife, Debbie, paints and sculpts, and when she noticed there was a gallery in Tunkhannock she wanted to go. And go we did to Lizza Fine Art Studios, which proved to be a very nice exhibition space with beautiful hardwood floors (it used to be a roller skating rink). But it had more than just paintings on the walls (by Nancy Ruch Kim, a graduate of Moore College of Art & Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts) and sculptures and ceramics on pedestals (the former by Douglas Leidy, the latter by Mark Chuck).
We got to talking with owner Bob Lizza and gallery director Betsy Green and learned that, thanks to Lizza Studios, little Tunkhannock, Pa., has won itself a place in the sun in the world of art. Seems that New York's mighty Metropolitan Museum of Art had a tapestry and a painting scanned there.
Also scanned there was a painting titled "La Madonna Della Luce" ("Our Lady of Light") painted by the Vatican artist of the year, Natalia Tsarkova. (The painting was commissioned by the Primavera Fine Art Foundation for Pope John Paul II and the foundation says it has been informed that it was one of the last works of art blessed by the Pontiff before his death. The painting -- which represents the Mysteries of Light the Pope added to the rosary -- will eventually hang in the Vatican, but right now it's on tour.
Why was the scanning done in Tunkhannock? Turns out Lizza Studios has one of the few Cruse CS 285 ST Scanners in the world. Which means they can make the best giclee prints imaginable. Just how good these prints are was brought home to Debbie and me when we were looking at a matted collage by Marvin Baker in the back of the studio. Betsy remarked that it was one of their showpieces and Bob suggested to Debbie that she reach over and pluck off one of the slips of paper the collage was made of. She asked him if he was sure he wanted her to do that and he assured her it was OK. Of course, when she reached over to do it, she found there was nothing to pluck: It just looked vividly two-dimensional.
And this first visit to the Lizza Studios was only the beginning of our artistic adventures in Tunkhannock.