The Artist Date, Sort Of (Bowers Museum)

Last week I posted about the first Artist Date (Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) I went on when my uncle was visiting. We visited the Teotihuacan exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.

A few days later we went to California for a brief trip, and while we were there, we visited the Bowers Museum in Orange County. All those years I lived in southern California, and I had never been there. I call these posts “The Artist Date, Sort of” because they are not solo excursions.

Lots of shadows on these pix. I hope you don’t mind because the objects are memorable.

The headhunters exhibit was quite unusual! I have to admit it did creep me out a bit.

These three “masks” below? Yup, real human skulls.

The weapons and body adornments were also creepy.


Why, YES, that necklace IS made of human teeth.

This headband is dog teeth.

The gallery of sculptures made of gemstones carved by Harold Van Pelt was stunning. So much of it looked like glass, but more gorgeous.

The museum has a beautiful Chinese exhibit.

We also visited the early California exhibit, as well as the beautiful realistic portraits and still lifes by William and Alberta McCloskey. After the museum, we stumbled upon a fabulous Japanese supermarket Mitsuwa, where we stocked up on gluten free Miso soup varieties and kimchees (OK, those are Korean, but we love kimchee). For dinner we visited The LAB antimall and a delicious Cuban restaurant called Habana. Both the supermarket and the restaurant need return visits from me :).


May I ask you if you will consider doing something? Will you sign a petition to the governor of Arizona about the need to close down Dolphinaris, the horror chamber for dolphins in the desert? As expected, the dolphins are dying at an unbelievable rate. Four of the eight dolphins have already died in only 16 months! Over the weekend, there was yet another demonstration, this one drawing hundreds, and because of the outcry Dolphin Quest that supplies the dolphins has terminated their contract with Dolphinaris. But this is just a battle won, not the war. Here is the link to the petition.

Take the Dolphins Out of the Desert



I didn’t get too much writing done this week, but I stumbled across a binder of rejections and acceptances from when I was just starting out. I couldn’t believe how kind the rejecters were. They wrote handwritten notes, telling me what they liked and encouraging me. Quite a far cry from Submittable (the site most lit mags use for submissions) today where I am lucky to get a note with a rejection.  Most of the acceptances cracked me up. I can’t believe they took those crummy poems. It’s so embarrassing to read some of them. Actually, my stories were more well-written, but they had other problems.  Still, there were a couple of poems (maybe three) I still like.

But I did have a poem acceptance this week, so YAY!

Make it a good week!


Filed under #AmWriting, #writerslife, Art and Music, California, Publishing, Sightseeing & Travel, Writing

34 responses to “The Artist Date, Sort Of (Bowers Museum)

  1. I signed the petition even though I live on the east coast. That’s just wrong. Your trip sounds interesting. Those old adornments were creepy! Then again beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

    • True what you say at the end. Pauline (down below) made a great comment about the headhunter cultures. It still bothers me, though. All cultures have created horrific practices based upon their own beliefs, but I am always striving for a more peaceful life.
      Thank you for the petition!

  2. A necklace made of human teeth…yuck! I’ll definitely sign the petition, Luanne. That is absolutely horrible.

  3. That exhibit is unusual and creepy! It sounds like you had a good visit. We saw Rina Bannerjee’s work at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts yesterday.
    I signed the petition. Congratulations on your acceptance. Most of the rejections e-mails I’ve received have been kind, with some more thoughtful and personal than others.

    • Thank you for signing, Merril! And thank you about the acceptance. You are so blessed to get kind and thoughtful rejection letters! I find that with Submittable it’s just so easy for them to click the REJECT button (haha) and not add comments.
      I need to go check out Bannerjee’s art!

      • I think I’ve received emails, even from the ones I’ve submitted through Submittable–though I think probably they were not as personal. I was thinking about you while looking at her art. I think you’d really like it.

  4. I signed the petition, too, Luanne…at least, I think I did…
    I have to say my most favorite picture of these today was of the two men playing checkers…:)

    • Thank you, Sheila. Isn’t the detail in that ivory amazing? I am totally against contemporary ivory objects, of course (because of the animals, especially elephants), but the old stuff can be so beautiful.

  5. Great post, Luanne. I signed the petition.

  6. You said we. That is not an Artist Date. Julia Cameron is very specific and clear that an Artist Date must be done alone.

    • That’s a really good point, Wenona! I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do something like this alone unless it’s in my own city, so I’ll take it how I can. But I’ve noted that I need to do more on my own when I can.

  7. The museum must have been fascinating, but my thoughts immediately turned to consider what kind of people these must have been, to kill each other and to celebrate it like this. Horrible. But, that’s part of history. I hope we’ve learned from it.

  8. If I was in your country I’d be signing that petition too Luanne – yeech, I thought these things had been banned world wide. Did you get a chance to read about the culture you were observing in the museum? Most often there
    is a deep spiritual tradition behind what we call ‘head hunting’ though sometimes it has become perverted through time. (I feel it is important to understand where and how traditions arose before we condemn the societies who practised.) I often wonder what will be said about the practises of our western world in a thousand years – or less even – for instance, just look at the dolphin scenario you bought to our attention. Any-hoo, I enjoyed your artists date – having a companion to share with makes it a better experience I think 🙂

    • Thank you, Pauline. I know you would sign it! The museum unfortunately did not say too much about the headhunter cultures that I could find. It was a little eerie to me in that gallery. It’s possible that it was focused to be a bit sensationalistic. I didn’t see a lot of more peaceful type objects. I’ve seen documentaries on TV about them, so I know they weren’t evil cultures, but that their customs were based on their own spiritual traditions. I still found it to be disturbing because I could smell fear. Maybe it was my own. I want to thank you for reminding me about this perspective.

      • I didn’t mean to preach Luanne 🙂 Perhaps the museum curators don’t understand the spiritual background of the culture, which is a shame. (For many ‘head hunters’ the reason for keeping heads, was to honour the brave enemy who had fallen and to keep their spirit and honour alive in the victors clan or tribe). And I don’t think we have to condone it, but we do have to have an interest in at least trying to understand each others situations and perspectives – it would solve an awful lot of the problems in the world wouldn’t it?

  9. I don’t care for most museums because that stuff does creep me out. Art is so personal. I loved the vase though and did sign the petition. Hope something comes of it. Rejection with kindness can keep you writing. Good plan on their part.

  10. Your photos are so much eye candy! Sharing through WP is not the easiest thing to do so thanks for being so generous. My husband would be interested in the headhunter exhibit. When he was in Ecuador as a Peace Corps Volunteer, he interacted with native people whose ancestors were believed to be headhunters. I signed the petition and shared on Twitter. Congrats on your upcoming publication!

  11. Creepy! I’m signing the petition, too.
    Btw, I read on my phone these days, so I can’t always comment. I can’t even “like” things on my phone properly. But know that I am reading and liking, always!

  12. Headhunters exhibit? Alrighty then! Actually, it did look pretty fascinating, but I’m kinda weird. 😂 Congrats on the acceptance this week. And I was more than happy to sign the petition. How cruel!

  13. What a fabulous museum! I also signed the petition.

  14. Congratulations on poem! 😀
    Thanks for sharing the art — love the weapons and smiling/laughing horses.
    I absolutely did sign that petition. That’s simply cruel and stupid.

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