Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Misericord Details from Toledo Cathedral

 A mermaid...

 a princess and a unicorn...

l
 a merman (a bit more rare), and

the not uncommon satirical theme 
of Phyllis and Aristotle
(she is riding on his back and he is wearing a bridle,
emblematic of women's lures controlling men.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snakes at the Tate Britain Gallery




While snakes can make great animal drama in art,
it always fascinates me how artists choose to portray them.
The top piece, a detail of James Ward's
"Marengo and the Serpent"
from the early 19th cen
(Marengo I assume is the horrified-looking horse)
shows a very fierce but not altogether realistic looking snake,
 in my mind.
The second is great in terms of realism:
Frederic Leighton's "Athlete Wrestling a Python", 1877,
is obviously meticulously researched.
He's got the python's head bones and mouth structure down,
no fangs but with the detachable jaw,
and it is obviously a very strong snake (pythons are.)
The last one is from a Temptation of Adam scene
(as so many of them are)
this one by William Strang, 1899,
and the snake looks python-esque. Kind of cute, in my mind,
and not nearly as sinister as earlier snakes.

English Family Portraits in Earlier Times

I was at the Tate Britain with my handy camera [photos were allowed, hooray!] and I found it fascinating how the development of family portraits has changed.
Here's a gem from ca. 1636, going to visit the new baby and mother:

And another, slightly earlier, on the same theme (notice how these two mothers are both impeccable and so are their children):

This eighteenth-century 'two for one' family portrait is also kind of fun (saves money by all clubbing up to pay the painter together, possibly?) I like how the lady in the family on the right seems to be spinning.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Countryside around Amsterdam






So these are all overcast,
and most were taken from the bus window
(and not the best quality)
but the north Holland countryside is extremely neat.
I love the canal and dyke system-
amazing to see the water in the canals higher than down in the fields.
And there were just a couple of blossoming trees.
In early January!!
Wish I could come back during tulip time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lady Mortimer Christmas Glam Shot 2012

This year, my dear snake didn't climb the tree,
but I got some photos of her exploring the presents.
She moves rather fast, so sometimes her head is not as focused as the rest of her.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

For measuring and decorating a tree, nothing beats a tall nephew

 
Today we got our Christmas tree!
With a little help from my sister, niece and especially nephew.
There is a very nice tree lot in the neighborhood,
and we went to look at flocked trees,
because my parents and I have a nostalgia for flocked trees.
There were a lot of shapes and sizes,
but I was drawn to a tall thin lodge pole pine
(didn't want anything too wide, 
as we didn't have a very big space for it.)

Well, our tree - the flocked one-
isn't actually super tall,
which is a good thing because our ceilings are not super high.
Ethan here, who just measured at 6 foot 4 inches,
is actually a pretty good measuring stick for the tree.
Within a few inches of his head is a good height!

 
Then the nice folks bagged up the tree and put it on the car
for the short drive back home.


Not all that heavy- Ethan managed quite well...

 

Next step was to get the kids wired up--
on doughnuts and with lights--
and help trim the tree.





 The advantages of a 6'4" nephew are great.
No more stepstool!
All he has to do is reach up.


Lodgepole pine trunks were used by the Nez Perce
to make tipi poles.
This tree would still be a bit short for that--
if the tipi were to house an Ethan!