Recently I had a dream in which my cat, Phoebe, walked up a wall. When I called out, "Hey, Fee, what are you doing?" she cheerfully headed back my way on the ceiling.
I've been the victim of magical visions lately, and not just in my dreams.
Like Gaylen Hansen's art, for example. Large, unframed canvases by the Washington artist have been push-pinned to the walls of Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center for more than a month now.
Gaylen Hansen’s “Fish Between Two Paint Tubes”
My bad, waiting so long to see it - but you've still got time. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys smiling.
While the 89-year-old Hansen's art lights up the gallery with his cake-frosting colors in seemingly simple but striking compositions, it's his whimsy that gets to you.
You can get lost in his color patches, his lively brushstrokes and his abstract tendencies bending themselves into ordinary objects. But slyly grinning behind them is a great visual storyteller with "A Far Side" sense of humor.
His bold paintings render subjects including ducks and decoys; blue fish; bees; a wolf with a Mona Lisa smile; grasshoppers; bison and other creatures of the plains; a dog head; a magpie; and an old coot named "the Kernal," who looks like he might have been Buffalo Bill in his younger day.
Like eccentric visitors hanging around the gallery, his paintings feel like freeze frames from a wacky Western movie.
Although the artist references classic paintings at times, he seems more of a fly fisherman and back-porch rocker than a someone you'd encounter in a snooty museum. He's a product of the hip Northwest - rugged, wry, bridging the gap from cartoon to fine art with a delight in everyday epiphanies.
His sense of humor camouflages his artistic prowess, forged in neo-expressionism, always absolutely accessible. His cartoony critters and workbench still lifes teach art appreciation to folks who don't realize they're capable of appreciating art.
The show runs through June 26. It's free (donations accepted). You can check out the progress of the MACC's glass-roofed pyramid on your way in.
I'm willing to bet you'll be glad you came.
Hansen's impulse to turn reality into something warm and fuzzy is a welcome relief from some of the other strange sights coming my way lately.
Yes, I'm talking about the summer movie season, when Hollywood seems to believe audiences need a vacation from their brains.
Take away the explosions and there's not much left. Come to think of it, the same thing happens when you leave the explosions in.
When an actor like Liam Neeson gets on board a movie like "The A-Team," you let yourself hope for a moment that something good might come about this time.
It's true that Neeson established himself in 2008's underrated "Taken" as the most compelling and interesting action hero this side of Robert Downey Jr.
"The A-Team," in contrast, was an action-powered TV series from the '80s notable for nothing more than the Mohawk hair of one of its stars, a certain Mr. T, who hasn't been heard from since.
The haircut plays a major role in the big-screen addition to the Stephen J. Cannell franchise. So does Neeson, but the acting requirements don't extend far beyond chomping a cigar and putting a lot of blood makeup on his face.
Interesting has nothing to do with it. Nor do the laws of physics.
Luckily, we've got our own version of summer movies on Maui. They arrive each June, thanks to the Maui Film Festival at Wailea and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. You can read more about them and the fun events surrounding them throughout this issue.
There are few explosions in Maui Film Festival films - except for the occasional explosion of feelings. Many of the movies seek a world where explosions don't happen.
Instead, the festival has the same effect as Gaylen Hansen's paintings - full of color, life, humor, hope and the power of art to bring out the best in us all.
n Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org.