Tuesday’s Inspiration: Dulac

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Edmund Dulac, Illustrator  

The Snow Queen and Other Stories from Hans Christian Andersen.

London: Hodder & Stoughton 1911.

Isn’t this illustration just marvelous! I’m so happy I saw it on This Ivy House this snowy and icy morning. It’s been a rough weekend and I haven’t felt well, but it’s amazing what a bit of inspiring art can do to lift the spirits. Edmund Dulac was a French born illustrator who, after giving up law school, lived and studied art in England for most of his life. His modern art nouveau illustrations beautifully bring to life various fairy tales and myths. Through the course of his career, Dulac also worked for magazines and newspapers, designed stamps, and even designed chocolate boxes. Here’s a compilation of his wonderful artwork on WikiArt. Scrolling through I am struck by the color palette he used, his strong attention to detail, and the whimsicality of his work. Looking through these images and learning about this talented artist was the perfect thing for this icy morning.

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Marc

Franz Marc
The Tower of Blue Horses
1913

Long admired by myself, this painting is by one of my favorite artists, Franz Marc. I’ve always loved the sweeping movement in his paintings, the curves in the horses necks, and the geometry he used to render organic figures. Though this is not the actual painting, I like the muted version of The Tower of Blue Horses shown above. A more true to life version can be viewed here.  Another rendering can be viewed here. I didn’t realize this, but in my research on this post I discovered that this painting has actually been missing since the end of World War II. Sadly, it fell victim to Nazi opinions on modern art and was removed from  the National Gallery in Berlin in 1937. Later, Hitler personally ordered the painting be removed from a second art exhibit because he declared it to be “degenerate”.  Subsequently, the painting was lost. I wonder if it is still out in the world somewhere? I do hope it was not destroyed completely.

Marc himself also fell victim to war. At age 36, he was killed in the Battle of Verdun in 1916.

What ravages war has brought.

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Jan Mankes

_Jan_Mankes_-_View_studio_in_Eerbeek__1889View from the Studio in Eerbeek

Jan Mankes

1917

 

This is how I felt on my walk today. It was a bit dreary. We are in the midst of the February doldrums. Despite the dreary vibe, this picture holds a certain beauty. I love the tones, and that background with the house sort of blurring into the trees. The bare branches of the tree and hedgerow. And the little flock of birds, reminding us to look around and notice things to be thankful for. I had to tell myself that today while I was out walking in fact. I was feeling a bit off and said in my head, “find something beautiful”. I looked up and noticed a stand of young birch trees. I focused on them and for a minute wasn’t focusing on my chilly ears, or tired body, or unsettled thoughts. It always helps to find and focus on the beauty. I found this painting on Pinterest a few weeks ago. It is a fitting image to share for Tuesday’s Inspiration.

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Percy Bysshe Shelley

Is it too early to be dreaming of spring? I don’t think so. The sun is around so much longer these days. It’s really just around the corner. I found this poem on one of my favorite websites (This Ivy House) this morning, and I love how spring is expressed in it. I wanted to share it with you, my faithful readers (all 2 of you! 🙂 haha). So here is an excerpt from To Jane: The Invitation by Percy Bysshe Shelley via the Poetry Foundation.

Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,
It kissed the forehead of the Earth,
And smiled upon the silent sea,
And bade the frozen streams be free,
And waked to music all their fountains,
And breathed upon the frozen mountains,
And like a prophetess of May
Strewed flowers upon the barren way,
Making the wintry world appear
Like one on whom thou smilest, dear.
Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs—
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music lest it should not find
An echo in another’s mind.
While the touch of Nature’s art
Harmonizes heart to heart.

New Hampshire in Mid-Winter

It’s been an icy, icy world out there lately. December and January seemed especially brutal with days on end of sub-zero temperatures, wind, and a couple of ice storms. On New Years Day, with just 2 degrees on the thermometer, Ethan and I set out for a northern adventure. We just had to get out of the house! And we wanted to see the snowy mountains. We bundled up and hit the road, temperature plummeting the more Northward we drove. fullsizeoutput_2cfa

fullsizeoutput_2cfcWe meandered through small towns, such as Grafton and Warren. We tried to take smaller, back roads as we went. Route 118 from Warren to North Woodstock was particularly scenic. From there, we jumped on highway 93 North so we could go through the Notch. The Notch was socked in with fog it was so cold, but the glimpses we got of the mountains were beautiful.fullsizeoutput_2cf6After a quick stop at the Garnet Hill Outlet in Franconia, we made our way to Sugar Hill for a late lunch at Polly’s Pancake Parlor. Situated on a hill overlooking a gorgeous mountain view, Polly’s has quite the spot. If only the food lived up to the location. I hate doling out bad reviews, but the food just wasn’t that great. But the options were many, so perhaps we just made some bad choices (I had the quiche of the day and Ethan had a reuben as per usual). Their peppermint cappuccino on the other hand- yum, yum.

fullsizeoutput_2cfdAfter our lunch, we went over to Sunset Hill in Sugar Hill to take in the view above. Still a  little foggy, but lovely none the less. We were starting to lose light, so we meandered towards home from there, though we were far from it. We went through some little New Hampshire towns that I had never seen before. Most interestingly, we stumbled upon The Brick Store in Bath which is on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest general store in the country- how cool! It had loads of old character, we had to go in and have a look around. Thankfully, we caught them just before they closed for the day. My favorite thing was the wide front porch with all the rocking chairs. Too bad it was below zero out, it would be fun to sit there and enjoy a treat from the store. fullsizeoutput_2d66

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Other towns of note were Haverhill and Etna. Both new to me, and both very colonial and charming. The moon was rising when we were in Haverhill, so by the time we drove through Etna, it was too dark for photos. Haverhill is along Route 10 in New Hampshire, and Etna is situated atop a hill off a side road- you’ll have to use your GPS to find it, but it’s worth finding- well, hopefully, I did only see it in the dark. fullsizeoutput_2d67fullsizeoutput_2d65Well that was our little mid-winter, sub-zero, just-have-to-get-out-of-the-house adventure! Hopefully we can repeat it in warmer temperatures. There’s a certain rocking chair in Bath calling out to me…