Sunday, March 27, 2022

Magnolia Petals

 Planting a magnolia in your yard is an act of faith, and something of a gamble. They bloom early, along with the cherry trees, but unlike the cherries along the Tidal Basin, cold weather can kill the buds. But In the years that they do bloom, it's a magnificent sight. Like all the botanical beauties of spring, a magnolia in full flower is ephemeral. Soon, the petals fall. I love this moment, when the warmth of spring is just starting and all is magnolia-pink, above and below. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Remnant of a Fresco, Montefalco, Italy

 In art history class, professors explain how a fresco is created. But to discover the remnants of one in an old Italian church is to really feel the hand of the artist. I looked at the thickness of the plaster edges and thought about how quickly he had to work, painting while the plaster was still wet. Before that, pigments must be ground and prepared, earth tones from Italy, precious blues from faraway lands. A mistake could not be painted over. Instead, that section must be scraped out, plaster and all. Fresco artists must be careful, quick and decisive. All over the world, there is art to be seen and experiences to...well, experience. Perhaps it's time to go out and discover them.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Ukrainian Wedding Headpiece

 In the old days, a Ukrainian bride wore a crown of flowers and grasses, gathered just hours before the ceremony from nearby meadows and gardens. Over the years, other materials became available: flowers of silk, paper or wax, strips of tin, cut, punched or hammered into shapes, ribbons, braids, buttons, beads and sequins. This example started with yarn and buttons. In the back is an explosion of beads and sequins, ingeniously assembled into a bouquet of fantastical flowers. There were and  are so many regional variations from all over Ukraine but what they all have in common is a sense of joy and more than a dash of whimsy.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Crocuses In The Lawn

 The crocus is a harbinger of spring, opening while there are still chilly days and freezing nights. They usually reside in dormant gardens, providing tidy patches of color in a mostly brown landscape. My friend planted them, not just in her garden beds, but also here and there in her front lawn. They are spread out like wary people in these times of Covid, with plenty of space between individuals and family groups. How delightful to see them in the afternoon when their lavender-edged petals glow. The small tree that casts linear shadows across them will soon leaf out, but by then, the crocuses will be resting, waiting for the next spring.