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Maira Kalman and The Pursuit of Happiness

Maira Kalman

I’ve loved Maira Kalman’s work for many years. Her paintings and illustrations are so entwined with the everyday life of the mind. They illuminate and bring out the joy and humor in life as it unfolds around us. Kalman’s blog on the New York Times site is a perfect combination of complex and simple technology. It brings us paintings and illustrations as commentary, as another part of our daily conversation.

Angel by Maira Kalman

Kalman’s blog entry on the Inaguration of Barack Obama features 16 or 17 paintings from her experience of that day. I watched the event live on television and listened to the various commentators attempt to interpret the significance of the day. For me, Kalman seems to have captured it perfectly, not just the event but the life around it.

While photography allows us to capture the visible world with a great deal of ease, the paintings and drawings of Maira Kalman capture much of what is invisible. Technology did a superb job of capturing the event and distributing it around the world in real time. The paint brush, pencil, and palette of paints was perhaps a little slower– but it got to the heart of the matter.

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