Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cotswold sketch

Here is a quick watercolor sketch that 
I made of a typical Cotswold cottage.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Charming vignettes abound

We are seeing such charming vignettes driving through this English countryside. We drive though miles and miles of wide open rolling green or golden hills and then suddenly we land in a small village clustered with classic Cotswold homes.

Nestled together in a rabbit warren of tightly knit streets are a melange of brown thatched roofs perched on top of limestone cottages—all with flowing heaps of blossoms that heave and ho over sturdy stone walls. Then through the village we drive and out to more open green hills until we come upon the best village up the road.

Below is one cluster of homes that we came upon (Not by chance, mind you. Dan had researched this place and we actually sought it out as a destination). This is Arlington Row, Bibury (in Shipton Moyne). These stone cottages were built in 1380 and, like so much of Cotswolds history, are tied to the wool trade. Very picturesque.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fields of gold

Leaving Oxford proper and driving out through the Oxfordshire countryside we saw fields and fields of this golden flowered crop called rapeseed, which is harvested for its oil. It's something that neither Dan nor I expected to see in England, and in some vistas even reminded us both of Tuscan hillsides.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tea time at Badger's Hall

We had a quintessential English tea yesterday at a charming little establishment called Badger's Hall in an even more charming town called Chipping Campden. The recklessly high-carb lunch included tea sandwiches—cucumber for me and salmon for Dan—scones with clotted cream and jam, and treacle pie (which our waitress described as being very naughty). Oh, and a pot of tea, too. Being a huge 'Wind in the Willows' fan I was smitten by the ambiance of Badger's Hall and half expected Mr. Toad to pop in for a cuppa.

Four fine gents

Dan and I are touring though England and Wales for a few weeks, and bumped into these four fine gents today. You just never know who you will meet when traveling—and everyone has a story to tell so I am nerver too shy to ask them about their own stories. Who could resist talking to these men? Not me. The shorty story is that the gentlemen were fundraising for a charity, which is why they were dressed so patriotically. They had to 'collect things' along the way and asked us to sing our U.S. national anthem for them so they could check that off of their list. There was a lot of happy energy there!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Color Inspiration—ripe apricots


Pow! How about those colors? 
Ripe apricots looks irrisistable against a turquoise tabletop

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bodacious bunnies

Wishing you all a happy Easter. These darling little bunnies were made by Beatrix Potter, from her  book 'The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies', published in 1909. Sure—they look adorable here but any gardner will tell you that rabbits are quite a nuisance in the the garden! 

Here's a bunny sunbathing in my veggie garden. Rascal!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Color Inspiration— scrumptious garden


I'm still dreaming of spring, and until ours arrives I'll have to settle for colorful photos and paintings of flora. American artist Childe Hassam painted these sorts of wonderfully detailed paintings, of the seaside and of gardens. This is one painting he produced in a friend's garden on the Isles of Shoals. I love the delicate splashes of color against the greens and blues, which really help the background recede. To me this garden is scrumptious—truly, truly scrumptious.

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bouquets to tide us over

Here in New England, our spring is a bit slow in emerging this year, so here are several incredibly beautiful bouquet paintings from centuries past to help tide us over until the earth explodes with color. Look at the scrumptious colors and the details! One interesting fact about these sorts of flower paintings is that a tulip would never be in bloom at the same time as, say, a larkspur or a rose. Artistic license was at play, as the artist included flowers from spring, summer and autumn. The little insects that these artists included in these paintings are a delightful surprise—butterflies, dragonflies, snails, and ladybugs, to name a few. Can you spot them?

This 19th-century watercolor,
 by Antoine Jules Pelletier

Bouquet of flowers placed on a pedestal in stone, with a dragonfly
by Abraham Mignon

Flowers in a Vase
by Paulus Theodorus van Brussel, 1792

Still Life of Flowers, by Ambrosious Bosschaert, 1620s

Cornelis Van Spaendonck

Still Life of Flowers, by Ambrosious Bosschaert, 1620s

Here is one more—Contemporary painter Yana Movchan has embraced this style of floral still life painting quite successfully. Here, his Bouquet with Gladiolus has that old-world charm, right down to the little snail climbing up a leaf on the left side of the canvas. See it?

Bouquet with Gladiolus, Yana Movchan, 1980

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Foolery, sir...

Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb 
like the sun, it shines everywhere. 

~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night 

Hans Hanberg in 1568

Mother Nature is playing an April Fools trick on us today with a spring snowstorm. When will spring ever arrive? This beautiful etching of a fool was made by Hans Hanberg in 1568. He is resting his chin on his right hand, wearing a chain with a large medallion, with a fly on his fool's cap. I'm pretty sure he is looking for signs of spring!

The Fool By Heinrich Vogtherr, 1513-1568
  Print made by Hans Hanberg 1568

After Pieter Jansz Date 1638-1678