Thursday, January 13, 2011

Art and inspiration

I randomly found an image I liked online and decided to post it on Facebook and use as my newest profile pic. This painting is by Jessie M. King, from the Oscar Wilde story "A House of Pomegranates." (I also have a framed print from this book on my wall that I found in a thrift shop years ago.)

I also found this great blog full of pre-Raphaelite images.

Then, a few minutes later, I randomly decided to check out Terri Windling's blog and found this post on inspiration and art. And lo and behold! there is the same image by King that I found and posted today. Many of the images were already familiar but I was also delighted to discover some new ones.

I am a very visually oriented person and yet not really an artist. I enjoyed art when I was younger, and was even considered prodigiously good at until I was about 12 and other kids caught up. I didn't enjoy my high school art classes and got involved in other activities in college, but I did enjoy a calligraphy course I took and still do calligraphy on occasion (and have taught classes in it myself). And I worked as an art model for, oh, at least twenty years.
But illustrations and paintings greatly inspire me: especially those images that tell a story, that seem infused with mystery, history, magic or folklore. The pre-Raphaelites' pictorial depictions of mythology, legends and nature are a particular source of wonder, as well as the fairy art of Arthur Rackham, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Sulamith Wulfing and Margaret Tarrant, and the dreamy watercolors of Andrew Wyeth and Jessie Wilcox Smith. And so Windling's collage of images naturally contain some of my own personal favorites.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Orchards in the news

From traditional apples and stone fruits to sunny citrus, orchards all over the world are making headlines this week! From Salisbury, England (a lovely historic town I have visited twice; it's not far from Stonehenge, and has a delightful pub in a medieval-era building called The Haunch of Venison), comes the news that two orchards totalling twenty-two trees will be planted for the benefit and pleasure of the community: twelve apple trees in one location, and a mix of apple, plum and cherry trees in another. Given the recent concern over loss of orchards in various parts of England, this is wonderful news! Well done, Wiltshire.

And in Arizona, a bumper crop of citrus fruit has area food banks near Phoenix offering to "glean" fruit trees for free so that the extra bounty can be distributed to those in need. This is a forward-thinking and environmentally-friendly, not to mention compassionate, initiative and should be applauded!