Sicilian preview

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of spending a glorious art- and food-filled week in Sicily. The genius behind the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, Fabrizia herself, runs courses in all kinds of things, including the art of Maira Kalman.

I can’t begin to capture how much fun we had, walking and painting and drawing with Maira, and harvesting and cooking with Fabrizia and her team, and visiting the sights of Sicily–some of the oldest things I have ever laid eyes on, on some of the hottest days of my life.

Fabrizia and team have adapted to our pandemic ways and are offering virtual classes in Sicilian specialties. A bunch of us alumni types are Zooming in together this weekend to learn how to make some special dishes. Watch this space for photos!

 

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The hilarity of sleep disorders–NOT

Those of you who know me IRL will know that I have had a close relationship with insomnia for most of my life–and, for a few years long ago, with sleepwalking. The insomnia was also a major feature of LIFE IN LOCKDOWN for several weeks, but I am now sleeping better. Especially since friend Bernie encouraged me to buy this miracle item.

And while I have had a super-interesting life and am grateful for all of it, there are a couple of biggish things I forgot to do, like have children. I do regret that, but I no longer spend a lot of time agonizing over it–there were tradeoffs, which I accepted. Some doors opened; some stayed firmly shut. And then there were the little windows that unexpectedly flew open and slammed closed and oh so many rabbit holes that I went down and sometimes climbed out of or maybe tunneled through.

When I read this account of parenting, of the sleep-deprived by the sleep-deprived, I just roared with laughter, even though it is in some ways so not funny. But what a piece of writing. I may have to read his book!

Author: Gaevskaya.d. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:INSOMNIA_logo_new.jpg.

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I always dreamed of books falling from the sky

And now it’s finally happening.

Let’s hear it for librarian Kelly Passek. Some people are not taking no for an answer these days.

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Why you must always read the post, not just the title!

My post yesterday brought some interesting responses, most of them wildly complimentary of my painting!

So I need to correct this.

I am a casual painter. I dabble. I am an amateur. This is why I am taking a watercolor course online from André Méhu, a very accomplished French painter who lives in Brittany.

Faith paints like this:

André paints like this:

PAINTING BY André Méhu. Nature morte à l’aquarelle, format 22x32cm. Le sujet est le même que le précédent à quelques exceptions près. Le but de cette aquarelle était de mettre la bonne valeur/couleur du premier coup, en particulier sur les gris des bol et de la cafetière, sans avoir à y revenir par une succession de lavis ce qui nuirait à la fraîcheur de l’aquarelle. Le sujet étant à contre-jour il s’agissait également de travailler dans le mouillé pour relier les différents éléments de la composition entre-eux par la création de zones de transition douce par des effets de fusion.

BE LIKE ANDRÉ. 

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Watercolor and other pandemic fun!

Today’s entry must be brief, as I am far behind with many things.

The pandemic has had its pleasures, has it not? Like Zoom classes and falling down YouTube rabbit holes and OH LORDY Netflix and Hulu and Disney Plus and Amazon Prime, ETC.

I am thrilled to be taking a Zoom watercolor class with André Méhu, a wonderful artist my friend Dana found last year (that’s his work below!). Friends Dana and Lynn and I had the privilege of spending a weekend with him and his wife in Brittany in November. Totally magical. André is a very good teacher, so it is great to be able to study with him again, remotely!

We are now studying notan, which is a complete horror, if necessary.

We had our first class this evening. I may–or MAY NOT–be posting some of my work here. Stay tuned!

Nature morte peinte à l’aquarelle. De dimensions 22x30cm cette peinture représente une bouteille sombre avec à son pied un entonnoir rouge qui sert de fond à un pot à lait peint de ce fait en négatif. De part et d’autre sont placés trois prunes noires, une tomate bien rouge, un citron et un citron vert. http://www.andremehu-aquarelles.com/en/aquarelle-792.html.

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Getting antsy

It’s been raining for days.

I shouldn’t complain, as we have had the most glorious spring while in lockdown. And my plants and flowers and herbs need the rain.

But I am tired of wet and gray and there is nothing but rain in the forecast for the next 10 days.

And I want to go somewhere. ANYWHERE! I felt trapped and stir-crazy.

So I am going through some photos and dreaming of places to go. Soon. Or maybe not that soon. After a vaccine.

I think dreaming of travel is very, very important. When I look at these pictures, I am transported hither and yon. They give me hope.

Issigeac, France

Riga, Latvia

Lyon, France

Gruyere, Switzerland

Ornans, France

Cologne, Germany

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After the era of working in pajamas

H/t to friend Alice for pointing me to this interesting article about post-pandemic fashion. I love the idea that we are going to need some “Eccentric clothes, romantic clothes.” I’m in for eccentric. Which I know is going to worry my family.

And this! So cool. “I see the moon” will never be the same!

Orthographic projections of the Unified Geologic Map of the Moon showing the geology of the Moon’s near side (left) and far side (right) with shaded topography from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA). This geologic map is a synthesis of six Apollo-era regional geologic maps, updated based on data from recent satellite missions. It will serve as a reference for lunar science and future human missions to the Moon. Credit: NASA/GSFC/USGS.

Check out the detail. You can read all about the background here.

A portion of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, which was released in April 2020. The map is based on data from the Apollo moon landings in the 1960s and ’70s and satellite images. (U.S. Geological Survey)

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D-Day, 76 years on

There were only virtual celebrations of D-Day in France this year. But in-person visits are not necessary–we all can, and must, remember.

I was so struck by the photos that a former Navy photographer, Harry B. Kidd, of Kensington, Maryland, who also works with the National Archives, has collected and put on his Flickr page. A marvelous and extremely moving collection.

 

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Poppy and some peonies

Friend Alice and I hosted our first post-lockdown dinner party last night (small, with as much distancing as the dining room table allows for, now that the room is also Alice’s office, a craft space/sewing center, and my GYM ;-). We had a lovely evening.

Poppy fell in love with friend Sarah C and would not get off her lap.

Sarah C also brought the most beautiful peonies for a hostess gift. So, so stunning.

 

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Pandemic art and one astonishing photo

I’m fascinated by the creative stuff people are doing while in lockdown/during the pandemic. I love this project. 

And then there’s what’s happening as lockdowns are being lifted, as seen at Istanbul’s  aquarium. Isn’t this just extraordinary?

Photograph:
Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock. See this and other striking photos here.  

 

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