We get so used to seeing brightly coloured images wherever we look that it’s sometimes a pleasure to rest ones eyes on a more neutral palette. With that in mind, here are some of my neutral photos, taken in the south of France
sharing letters with Ailsa
So where I have been the last couple of months, you might ask. Well, I was, of course, travelling; a few days, a few days there as you will see: France, UK, Luxembourg and Austria.
A friend of mine, Heather Carroll, and I had a joint art exhibition, held in wine cellars in Ahn on the Moselle. I exhibited some of my textured photos and she exhibited some of her woven wall hangings inspired by the spirit of the sea
Dorset is home to the beautiful Milton Abbey with its fabulous stained glass window, featuring a tree of Jesse, by Pugin
We drove down to Salisbury to visit Mompesson House where the Victorian artist Barbara Thompson lived and painted. There was an exhibition of contemporary works there which included a dress covered in leaves and butterflies exquisitely executed by Jane Hall.
Salzburg in the rain – what better argument did we need to seek cover in the Stiegl brewery after looking round the castle and then demolishing a huge slice of Sachertorte in the famous Cafe Sacher. The fence on both sides of the bridge across the river had been adorned with thousands of padlocks, like votive offerings they are signs of love in modern times.
Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace was still beautiful in the rain. Hungry sparrows, starved for food because of the previous 2 days non-stop rain, hardly gave us a chance to eat our apple strudel in the cafe. The Upper Belvedere gave me the chance to see Klimt’s masterpiece “the kiss” in the flesh as it were. Unfortunately it was too wet to enjoy the gardens to the full although we did walk the length of them
Inner Vienna – the only dry day we had – and a chance to see the inner city from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. The architect Loos, whose building the “Loos Haus” (now the Raiffeisen Bank) caused scandal in its time because of its simple lines, described the Viennese as being “pathologically addicted to ornament”. This was evident everywhere. Every facade had faces peeping from them and doors with colonnades on either side sported mythological creatures supporting them. Vienna was indeed a feast for the eyes for those with an interest in architecture.
As I write this the space available to me in my office diminishes daily as we pack up boxes and store them there in preparation for moving house. Breathing space is needed and a new adventure calls…..
As a child this was one of my favourite poems:
The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson
I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges….
Read the rest here
If you were a river where would you like to rise and flow down to?
sharing with where’s my backpack
This week Ailsa led us up the garden path.
The Parc de Wesserling in Alsace, France, holds a garden festival each year. It’s situated in an old industrial complex that used to be a fabric mill. Its displays therefore are linked to fabric in some way. There are always a couple of “follies” (**) hidden away:
The whole complex of La Scarzuola could be described as one large folly. See more of my pictures of this extraordinary place here.
Inspired by the idea of having a retreat of my own, In a corner of our garden I maintained an area that I called the wild patch and in it I constructed my ‘folly’, complete with an old iron grate in which I planted geraniums. Unfortunately our next door neighbours cut down some of the trees forming the boundary between our two properties thereby removing much of my privacy.
(*) A gazebo is a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal or turret-shaped, often built in a park, garden or spacious public area.
Gazebos are freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides; they provide shade, shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest. Some gazebos in public parks are large enough to serve as bandstands or rain shelters.
Gazebos include pavilions, kiosks, alhambras, belvederes, follies, pergolas, and rotundas. Such structures are popular in warm and sunny climates. They are in the literature of China, Persia, and many other classical civilizations, going back to several millennia. Examples of such structures are the garden houses at Montacute House in Somerset, England.
(**) In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting by its appearance some other purpose, or merely so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or other class of building to which it belongs. In the original use of the word, these buildings had no other use, but from the 19th to 20th centuries the term was also applied to highly decorative buildings which had secondary practical functions such as housing, sheltering or business use.
18th century English gardens and French landscape gardening often featured Roman temples, which symbolized classical virtues or ideals. Other 18th-century garden follies represented Chinese temples, Egyptian pyramids, ruined abbeys, or Tatar tents, to represent different continents or historical eras. Sometimes they represented rustic villages, mills and cottages, to symbolize rural virtues. Many follies, particularly during famine, such as the Irish potato famine, were built as a form of poor relief, to provide employment for peasants and unemployed artisans. (Wikipedia).
I make no apologies for borrowing Ailsa’s wonderful garden quotes:
Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. – Richard Brinsley Sheridan
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Once a week Skinnywench’s dictionary falls open at a word. This week it’s fallen open at REFLECT. She readily admits that this theme has appeared before and elsewhere so she suggests we reflect on our year and post some photos and our reflections on them.
This year has seen us travelling in Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Luxembourg, France and the UK. Here are some of my favourite photos from the past year as well as some which may provide food for thought:
elephants bathing in the river at the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. If you didn’t know that this was a commercial enterprise you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a scene of elephants enjoying their natural habitat ….
blank elephants were given to local artists to decorate as they chose. The decorated elephants were then displayed around the city and were subsequently auctioned in aid of charity. This elephant was painted in memory of the artist’s daughter who died of a rare form of cancer some years ago
Once a week Skinnywench’s dictionary falls open at a word. The word this week is MOUNTAIN
flying from the UK to Turkey over snow covered mountains
You can climb some more (virtual) mountains here
2012 saw us travelling again:
July saw us cat-sitting for friends in Germany and I took this photo of allium flowers in their garden. I used what I’d learned in one of Kim Klassen’s lessons in Beyond Layers to make this storyboard
and used some of these manipulated photos in my sketchbook project which I have now sent off to the Brooklyn Library for its 2013 project.
We will be travelling again in 2013 so there will be more photos and more stories, I hope.
Thank you for following my blog and I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.