Monday, October 29, 2012

Stormy Weather, Courtesy Hurricane Sandy

I greatly enjoy a storm, especially ones with lightning, thunder, and lots of wind. But it looks like Hurricane Sandy might have a little too much of that in store for people on the East Coast. I hope this storm doesn't do too much damage. Better moor your boat and batten down the hatches!

Image from my personal vintage postcard collection.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Dark Hedges in Antrim, Ireland

I ran across this photo a few weeks ago that stopped me dead in my tracks. I was held spellbound by the beautiful trees arching over the road, creating a shadowy tunnel with their black, twisting arms.

Photo by Pawel Klarecki,

 My initial reaction was that it couldn't possibly be real. I'd never seen trees create such a perfect tunnel. However, upon researching the title, "The Dark Hedges", I found that it was indeed a real place and what's more, it was in Ireland, a place that is at the top of my list to visit one day. I should have guessed that such a magical scene could only exist there.

Photo by David Patterson,

It turns out the Dark Hedges, as they are called by the locals in County Antrim, are beech trees planted over 300 years ago to line the road leading up to Gracehill house, which was so named by James Stuart, the builder of the house, after his wife, Grace Lynd. It is said that there is a spectral Grey Lady who walks the lane, though I'm not sure if this is made up to promote tourism or is actually something the people who live in the area have observed. Although in all honesty, I think I would haunt that place too if I could. Who wouldn't?

Photo by Robert Liberace,

Imagine how exciting it would be to walk this lane at dusk, or how terrifying it would be to walk it some stormy night. It reminds me of Anne's Haunted Wood. It can be fun to give oneself a little scare now and then.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mr. Toad of Toad Hall and Giveaway at Grace's Garden Walk

I ran across this adorable little sketch by E. H. Shephard of Toad of Toad Hall from The Wind in the Willows.

Isn't he adorable? And E. H. Shephard is one of my favorite illustrators, and Mr. Toad is one of the most hilarious characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about.

Over at Grace's Garden Walk, a blog I follow, another Grace is hosting a giveaway of a lovely pinwheel necklace. You should check it out:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Trip to Crystal Bridges - Parrish's Lantern Bearers

Last weekend I was lucky enough to make a trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. This incredibly museum houses some of the most famous American art you could ever hope to see, and it has so much of it I was nearly reeling from awe by the time we went through it all. Normally I see one or two good pieces in a museum and I'm ready to leave- it's just overload. But this museum had so many of my heroes in it -Whistler, Andrew Wyeth, John Singer Sargent- that I felt like a kid in a candy store, disovering one wonderful piece after another.

The crowning piece though- and the whole reason I made the trip- was Maxfield Parrish's The Lantern Bearers. No, not Durand's Kindred Spirits or Heade's Cattleya Orchid; it was The Lantern Bearers that I stood in front of for as long as I could, reveling in how the lanterns glow like they have real lights in them and soaking in the incredible "Parrish blue" of the sky, my favorite color in the world. Art snobs pointedly overlook Parrish as an American painter because of his status as an illustrator, but this painting is just as skillfully executed, just as brilliant in its use of color and light, as any other piece in the museum- and far surpasses several pieces that didn't deserve to be in that museum but are more highly regarded. Such is the way of the art world though, and it doesn't dim my enjoyment of this piece one bit. So take a look at the photos I captured of this exquisite piece and be amazed. I'll post up more art later.

Unfortunately, no photo can capture can capture the luminosity of this painting.

Detail of a foot. 

Is it a lantern... or the moon? 

 The little cracks in the paint are lovely.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hot Tea: The Best Accompaniment to a Good Book

As the chilly weather at last begins, I can start to enjoy some of my favorite things that go along with it perfectly- such as hot tea and a good book. Or, in my case since I'm swamped with art projects and papers for school, hot tea and homework. But I can pretend that I've just taken off my lace gloves and coral necklace after calling on an old friend, and along with my hot tea, I'm reading one of my fat antique volumes of Tennyson's poems, not a care in the world except for soaking up the beautiful words and dreaming that I'm part of that romantic past.

Hot Chai with a spot o' cream is my favorite.

Some candied orange peel often helps get one in the mood quite well.