There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. ~ William Wordsworth (Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood)
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie)
Now that Tim is back at work it is time to roll up my sleeves and restart the massive home interior improvement project. It was just before Tim’s heart attack in 2007 when we started by scraping the “popcorn” ceiling treatment off of the mold prone bathroom ceiling, and painted the ceiling with smooth mold-resistant paint. And the project has not proceeded much since then, time being consumed with elder care and one medical crisis after another.
And then there was the traumatic selling of our grandparents’ Cape Cod houses: Tim’s grandparents’ home in Provincetown in 2009 and the Dennis Port home of my grandparents in 2010. From each house we inherited furniture, keepsakes, paperwork (including boxes of someone’s poetry) and a baby grand piano, all of which have been stuffed wherever I could put them in a hurry. And I’ve tried to get it all organized ever since!
A home is not a lifeless object but a living entity, and like everything that is alive it must obey the law of nature. ~ Carl Larsson (New Swedish Style)
I also have a vision of what I want this place to look like, and it involves the elements of Scandinavian style: light, simplicity and symmetry. One reason we bought this place is that we love the enchanting light here so close to so much water. Yesterday I spent some time with my paint color chip book and my collection of Scandinavian design books. When painting begins I now have chosen the colors for optimum reflection of light.
Simplicity and symmetry are proving more difficult to pull off, but I’m persistent if nothing else. Simplicity is getting there as I pare down – I’ve donated about ¾ of my books and many knick-knacks… I love de-cluttering, but it can be tiring as well as rewarding. Symmetry is getting there, too, although I think the kids may be tired of my calling them so often to help me move furniture up and down the stairs. If the furniture needs moving on the same floor I do it myself with those ingenious “moving men” disks. It’s not unlike a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle!
FreeStyle is a no-cost design show where professional rearrangers de-clutter, reorganize and move furniture and accessories around a room to give homeowners a dramatic new look without spending a dime. ~ FreeStyle: Home & Garden Television
I love and used to watch FreeStyle when I got a chance and have adopted that philosophy while incorporating all these beloved antiques into our home. Especially since I’m blending them in with the contemporary pieces we already have. It’s been a challenge and an adventure and will continue to be as I keep at it! 🙂
Do you have a particular decorating style, or an eclectic one? What would you say is the mood of your home?
No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit. ~ Ansel Adams (Screenwriting with a Conscience: Ethics for Screenwriters)
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation. ~ Graham Greene (Ways of Escape)
Is graffiti art? I don’t know, though I tend to think that it is. Some of it seems very creative. I tend to think of graffiti as something painted illegally onto man-made structures like buildings and bridges, often with a negative message. But not always. How about when inspiration moves someone to paint something natural, like a tree or a rock, what might that be called?
These pictures were taken in October 2007 in the woods behind our condo complex.
We often wonder who the mysterious anonymous artist could be… What can you tell about an artist from her work and where she chooses to exhibit it?
When I was little we passed what we called Frog Rock (right) in Eastford on our way to the Cape almost every month. It doesn’t seem so big now as it once did. We’d beg Dad to drive by it slowly so we could get a good look at it from all angles.
I grew up in Storrs, Connecticut, home of the University of Connecticut. I’m used to seeing art on rocks on the campus, including on a large outcrop on South Eagleville Road, sanctioned for painting. There are new creations painted over it every time I go by, and have been for as long as I can remember. Perhaps this experience has conditioned me not to be surprised, but rather fascinated, when finding art co-existing with nature in the woods or by the side of the road. I wonder how many layers of paint on that outcrop in over 50 years???
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his picture. ~ Henry Ward Beecher (Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit)
Here’s another bit of Connecticut nature art, Snake Rock (right) in Marlborough.
So, are these creations art? Graffiti? Or something else? I suspect that “art” cannot be definitively defined, and that like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder…
The past three days we have had absolutely GORGEOUS weather! Sea breezes and no humidity… Spent this morning inland escorting Auntie on her errands. She’s wobbly but still determined to carry on – I’m so glad she has the cane now… This afternoon the humidity started to creep back up, so when I got home I watched an inspiring movie called Everlasting Moments.
Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell wrote a biographical sketch about her ancestors in Sweden in the early 1900s, something I love to do, too, imagining what life was like for those who came before me. Her husband, filmmaker Jan Troell, used her manuscript to create a truly wonderful movie.
The story is narrated by Maja, daughter of Sigge & Maria, who starts the story with these words: “A week after Mother met Father, she won a camera in a lottery. Father thought the camera should be his, as he’d bought the ticket. Mother said if he wanted to share it he’d have to marry her. So they got married.”
But Sigge turned out to be an abusive alcoholic and the family was desperately struggling to make ends meet. Maria would often tell her seven children, “You see what you want to see.” When things looked very bleak Maria decided to sell the camera. She took it to a photography shop, where the owner, Mr. Pedersen, told her it was a Contessa and showed her how it worked. She was amazed and said, “I just don’t see how a picture comes to be!” He took the lens out of the camera and held it up in the sunlight between a butterfly fluttering inside the door and the palm of her hand. The moving image of the butterfly showed up on her hand. It was magic!
Mr. Pedersen decided that he would buy the camera from Maria but would let her borrow it. He kindly taught her how to use it and how to develop pictures. While Sigge was out drinking with his mistress, Maria was at home discovering her creative self while taking and developing pictures of her children and her cat. When a girl in the neighborhood died, Maria was asked to take a picture of her and soon she was being asked to take pictures for all sorts of special and everyday occasions.
“Not everyone is endowed with the gift of seeing,” observed Mr. Pedersen when he had a look at some of her pictures. And on another occasion he encouraged her by telling her that when she looks through the camera she sees a world to be explored, described and preserved. As a family historian that touched my heart.
Even after years of taking pictures, Maria was still in awe of the technology. She said, “Imagine, we’ll always be here. These moments will be everlasting.” Years after her mother died, Maja discovered an undeveloped picture in the camera, the last picture Maria took, and the only one she ever took of herself, capturing her reflection in a mirror.
When she was much younger than she is now, Auntie used to love to go on Caribbean cruises with her sisters, a hen party at sea. On one of those cruises she splurged and paid an artist to draw a picture of her. Now I am glad to have that happy moment in her life preserved.
I can relate to the thrill Maja had of discovering something special an ancestor has left behind! A clue about his or her life. Any little thing found that makes the picture of his or her life come more into focus. And the movie made me stop and think about how far the technology of photography has advanced in a hundred short years. All the thought and care that went into each and every exposure! Now with digital cameras we can be carefree, shooting whatever strikes our fancy in an instant. Perhaps I am reminded to slow down and think more about exploring the world and describing and preserving moments.
The oldest moment preserved in my family is of my is my 3rd-great-grandmother, Elisabeth (1822-1908), and her four oldest children, taken between 1858, when her fourth child was born, and 1864, when her fifth child was born. Looking at the squirming bunch of children makes me think that Elisabeth had her hands full! I love this picture because what we call the “Freeman frown” is very much on display here. And yes, Ambrose is wearing a dress. Apparently back then baby boys wore dresses until they were toilet trained.
Anyone who loves family history or the history of photography (or both) will no doubt find Everlasting Moments to be an especially heart warming film. Watching Maria blossom as an artist in spite of the harsh circumstances of her life is inspiring.