Hemingway and Van Gogh

Two such towering figures.  Two very different men who left the world on their own accord, with words and thick paint remaining in their wake.

I read two books this week, “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain and “The Last Van Gogh” by Alyson Richman.  Both are works of fiction, based on historical fact.  Both broke my heart, even though it’s obvious that there would be no happy ending.  Well, not the ending a romantic like me would typically prefer.  But that’s not how life is, at least when your eyes are too glued to a hardback.

“The Paris Wife” tore at my being in many ways.  I certainly won’t compare myself to Hemingway, but I understood his naivety and spirit during these early stages in his career.  I understood his longing to be something greater and prolific.  Of course, I’ve yet to technically strive toward anything with that much intensity, but I know that what it takes to be substantial is in me.  And his first wife Hadley, comforts and encourages him along the way, so bravely and maybe foolishly, only to be tossed aside.   It was heartbreaking, maybe because the ending was written before the Hemingway’s could touch the Parisian sidewalk.  It was all there, waiting to end this way.

Hadley & Ernest Hemingway

Hadley & Ernest Hemingway

 

“The Last Van Gogh” is no less tragic, but left a similar feeling of longing. Continue reading

Souls Carried by Inanimate Objects

Grandpop's WWII bracelet

Grandpop’s WWII bracelet

Connecting with the past is something that’s intrigued me since I can remember.  The idea of tangible objects being held by another person, in another time is overwhelmingly fascinating to me.  I used to think it was only the ancestry aspect, because I find so much joy in genealogy.  But it’s more than that.  For an old soul, being among old items, with or without a direct connection, allows the mind to wander and dream.

Not every old item leads me to a faraway daydream.  I don’t find old paint cans mesmerizing but as I stood two feet from Van Gogh’s Postman the other night, I envisioned him standing just in front of me.  I could almost see his left arm poised in mid air while he determined the next vibrant stroke to complete the subject’s whiskers.  I saw his right hand Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Just in the nick of time, for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple, I bring to you, shades of Belgian pottery.

We spent a long while talking to the potter himself at his stand in Bruges, about his technique and his glazes.  You can see a picture of him below as well.  He makes beautiful jewelery as well, but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of those during our chat.

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful week so far.

Graffiti: Art or Disrespectful?

Graffiti cement barrier. Looking out on One World Trade Center.

I tend to like things neat and tidy, but I also appreciate art and character. I don’t know that I consider graffiti art. I’ve never known an actual graffiti “artist”, so I’ve had no one to help me solidify the answer. The closest I’ve come is the random guy at an artist street fair who makes cool poster size prints from spray paint. They usually have a painters mask on while little kids sit right in front, breathing the fumes as their parents stare in fascination.

Back to graffiti; I won’t say I’m not intrigued by it. It’s hard not to draw your eyes from random splashes of color in places amongst plain brick or cement backdrops. There are times that I appreciate color on a decrepit and crumbling wall, in the form of a beautiful mural. There are also times I see spray paint on two hundred year old Continue reading

Discovered Postmortem

I’m sure this has happened to you, because it has likely affected every genre one can be a fan of.  Have you ever felt sad that you discovered you are a fan of something or someone that no longer exists?

Probably the first time I really thought about it was the time I bought my first Jeff Buckley cd in 2002.  Damn.  His voice was pristine and emotional.  I’d never get to experience it live.  He died in 1997, young and still so much untapped.

He wasn’t the first artist I’d appreciated after their demise.  I had listened the Beatles early in life and shuffled through Mom’s albums before Kindergarten, but because they were “old” to me, I never expected to see them.  There were also three of them that toured and alive for so much of my life.

Buckley was the first time I felt mournful that I hadn’t experienced something, not because I couldn’t get a concert ticket or I’d be out of town, but it just could never be.  Beyond that, once I’d purchased all his music, which there never seemed to be enough of, that was it.  There would be no more waiting to get the new album at midnight at Tower Records (RIP) or anticipating his release dates in Rolling Stone. Continue reading

Irish Sheep

I always just liked my photography the way it was. Not the fact that it was simple and mostly luck, but I might have felt it was cheating to alter it in any way. That being said, I had a Groupon for a large canvas that I needed to order and I need a nice piece for my new home office. I played around with an image I found that just felt so calming to me. It is of sheep.

This picture was captured while my husband drove us from the tip of Northern Ireland to Dublin, at the very end of our last trip there. We were desperately trying to beat the huge snow storm we had dodged our entire trip and this was taken just before we lost our luck at outrunning it. There is something calming about sheep; except the sheep that have the red blotches; this just seems morbid to me. I can deal with splotches of green or blue on their coats for farmer identification, but the first few times I saw splotches of red on a sheep my first reaction was
Continue reading

O Shakespeare, Shakespeare! Wherefore art thou Shakespeare

Every opportunity I get, or can afford rather, I jump at the chance to venture to something new for us.  Last week we visited Fonthill Castle, this week, Shakespeare.

I love literature and any classic written works, but sometimes they are intimidating to me.  It’s likely because I attempted my first go at a Charles Dickens classic when I was twelve.  I couldn’t get through the first chapter and it really gave me anxiety to pursue any scholarly type works.  In my mind, I had the idea that if there are entire programs dedicated to particularly authors or pieces of writing at Harvard, I probably wouldn’t understand it.  I know this negative mindset is not healthy and crushes ones’ ego, but in all honesty, that’s how I felt.

Needless to say, I always wanted to learn more about Shakespeare.  Tonight jumpstarted this because even though it’s the most typical play in his collection, the opportunity to see Romeo and Juliet half-price made my wallet wince less than my “I’m an individual” persona.  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

Linds “Arranged”

I am lucky because I have a group of friends that I have loved since I was 14 years old.  Though we live in all different places in the country now, the friendships still remain strong.  We try to get together whenever we can get a few in the same town.  In this particular trip, one of our girls couldn’t make it, so I printed her face and we “arranged” many pictures, as if she joined us.  She accompanied us all over NYC.  It’s great because I captured a snide look on her face and it gives each moment more character than a fake smile.  She’s my favorite sarcastic person and a wonderful friend.  I hope you enjoy and I hope she doesn’t mind that I’ve plastered her face on here for the world to see.

Can You Change the World and Have A Family?

We visited Henry Chapman Mercer’s house in Doylestown, Pennsylvania yesterday.  It is likely the most fascinating and eclectic home I’ve ever seen and it would probably take a full month of exploration to take in a majority of the details.  Henry was many things, but by trade he owned a tile factory.  It was custom work and very detailed, not a subway tile type factory.  He was also fascinated by castles and built his own house out of concrete, many pieces of furniture and windows were made of this medium as well.   It was a mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine style, and paid tribute to the five languages he spoke as well as phrases Henry found worthy.  He filled in each crevice with designed tile work, art and tapestry which are representative of world history and personal tributes.  Unfortunately, we were unable to photograph the interior of the home.

Henry was single and never had any children, so his “baby” in a way was his art and his yearning for knowledge and creativity.  He was generous, innovative and “green” before that became trendy.  Some may have said he was cheap, but I say he was resourceful.  After years of travelling the world post-college, he finally achieved his aspiration to live in a castle of his own.  He started the project at 51 years old and alongside ten workers, the castle was finished in four years.

My husband and I started to contemplate a few things as we stumbled out of the place, overwhelmed and inspired.  We wondered if Mercer would have attempted and/or completed such a masterpiece had he had a wife and children.  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Clonmacnoise: Founded 545-548 AD

The buildings and monuments shown however, appear to range from the 10th-17th centuries, with most falling earlier in this time period.

This day was bitter cold, but it was impossible to leave and refrain from taking shots through surviving stone towers, churches and crosses, either into other structures or through to the River Shannon, in Ireland.  These were taken with a simple camera and frozen fingers, I hope you can still mentally capture the beauty of a place that holds so much history.  It is the sight of worship and battle.