Art in Fashionable Flowers

Unfortunately, this scheduled post never published when it was supposed to on March 19th. Good thing because it seems appropriate with Easter to post it now. I’ve changed some wording to put it in current context.

Spring is here! Already I hear birds chirping and see flowers popping up everywhere, in fashion that is.

Look at these gorgeous floral dresses and you can see a celebration of spring as well as beautiful artistic, flowery design.

Floral Dress_AIE blog

I love how this dress flows. It  reminds me of a Chagall

With the wild winter weather we’ve had, I wouldn’t be surprised if there might even be one more snowstorm [back in March]. However, this picture below shows the dichotomy in the window dressing, announcing spring with snow falling.

Window Dressing Dichotomy via Washinton Post on AIE blogI bet you’ll see more fashionable flowers in these flowery dresses more than ever in the market for this spring season.

Floral Dresses_AIE blog

I like the 2 tropical ones on the far right

And why not? Spring is the perfect time to celebrate the flower’s power of simple yet pretty petals, especially when they can form such kaleidoscope of color, as seen from above in this Dutch landscape of Keukenhof Gardens.

We actually visited these gardens in Holland. It just happened to be right before most of the flowers were blooming.Tulips_AIE blogBright, vibrant colors are not only prevalent in flowers but also in DC’s newest Marion Barry Mural. I think it’s a pretty good likeness and I like how it is portable, being painted on removable tiles that can be transported and installed in different locations.Marion Barry Mural on AIEGetting back to celebrating spring with flowers, there is a new DCGardens.com website that shows what are the latest blooming varieties in the DC area and where to find them.

It already highlights one of my favorite plant places, the National Arboretum.

It’s interesting for me to go back and read these previously written, related posts after so much time:

First Day of Spring

National Arboretum Posts

And this time, I know now how to post a video (and even center it).

Happy Spring & Happy Easter!

Before the Snow Goes

Spring is almost here! “Thank goodness,” as many might say. However, what’s going to happen to all the piles of endless snow, where it has mostly accumulated in the Northeast? Besides it melting (slowly), here is an artistic use before the snow goes. Too bad it cannot be shipped to help create even more beautiful snow and ice sculptures, as these seen below.

Winged Horses_AIE Traveling Snow Arc question mark_AIE Thinking Snow Angel_AIE Snow town USA_AIE Snow Princess_AIE Snow Paul Bunyan_AIE Snow Pan Shepherd_AIE Snow Michael_AIE Snow dinos_AIE Snow Conch_AIE Snow Chieftan_AIE Snow Capitol_AIE Snow Buddah_AIE Sleeping Snow Giant_AIE Santa and elves_AIE Poseiden Peeps_AIE Moby DIck in snow_AIE Male Portrait_AIE Lion and Prince_AIE Liberty Helloooo_AIE Its a Small snow World_AIE Greek Capital in snow_AIE Get on board the snow train-AIE Female Snow Portrait_AIE Egyptian Ice Pyramid_AIE Chinese Ice Sculptures_AIE Castle Sled tracks_AIE Castle on Hill_AIE Bathing Snow Beauty_AIE Asian Snow Temple_AIE The email I received with this information suggested that this “Gorgeous Use of Snow” was apart of the annual Snow Sculpture in Breckenridge, Colorado, which attracts contestants from around the world. However some pictures look foreign and could be taken from the annual ice and snow exhibit that takes place in China. Click here for previous post.

If you plan for Breckenridge next year, know that the “stomping days” (I’m guessing packing the snow, which could be the winter version of stomping grapes in Italy) are around the first week of January and the festival viewing begins 1/30/2016 – 2/7/2016  (weather permitting)….Something to do next year.

In the meantime, if you want to build snow sculptures of your own or just carve out of what may left in your backyard, here’s the skinny on what sculpting tools to use. The participants in the festival are not allowed to use power tools, by the way.

2 Week Celebration

Although 10 years ago, I had anticipated that I’d be sipping pina coladas somewhere in the Caribbean, life does have a tendency to change things and as you get older, you just take it in stride.

Carribean vacationInstead, I had what turned out to be a two-week celebration.

It started with my ELDC (or drinking lady friends) toasting with beers and pizza at one of my favorite Red Rocks restaurants on a Friday.

Red Rocks alexandria_AIEThat Saturday, Valentine’s Day, we went to visit our son for the first time since dropping him off at UVA. We discovered that the Business School has accommodations at the Inn at Darden. Who knew! We’ve already got the tip as to when to book this year for next year’s graduation. It’s not a bad place but certainly convenient and beats student housing.

Inn at Darden_2330_AIE  Maybe it was just that it was Valentine’s Day but I was impressed with the lovely tissue rose waiting for us in the bathroom. That took a lot of time to do.

Tissue Rose_2329_AIEWith everything in town being booked, we got reservations at the Milan Indian Cuisine restaurant. I have to admit, with a name like that I didn’t really know what to expect. I couldn’t really envision an Italian/ Indian dish medley. It was one of the first extreme cold snap of the year for Virginia. I was surprised so many people wanted to get out but the proprietors were turning people away. We felt lucky and even more so when we discovered it was delicious food. I have never had Gobi Aloo. At least I think that is what it was. Spicy appetizer of potatoes and cauliflower, which I think will be the next “it” vegetable. I’m going to try to make it at home; it was so good.

The next day we visited with Jackson and had a relaxing brunch at the Fox & Hound. They had pennies glued under their bar and bathroom counters that reminded me of the Lincoln. Jackson gave us a tour of all his study spots and a secret classroom in the Alderman (Environmental Science ) Library, which has remarkable murals. They are all done on canvas, however, except the eye-popping trompe l’oeil framework over the doorway. We saw the most students studying here, probably because it has the best natural light with cavernous ceiling and skylights. Gorgeous plus a welcomed respite from the cold. They even have a campus coffee stop that had great hot chocolate just inside the entry.

UVA-Library Murals_2332_AIEIt’s always a bit of a drive there and back but a good visit on a holiday, Presidents’ Day weekend. With Peter having off on Monday, we bundled up and walked to La Madeline, the closest place I could think of in Old Town that might have King Cakes. Glad we called; they were all out but they made one fresh for us. It wasn’t the typical style I’m accustomed to from New Orleans but is probably more authentically French. It was a rather flat almond flavored cake over a marzipan layer with a flaky pastry. We couldn’t resist having a piece fresh out of the over. It was so good warm. Notice how they don’t put the baby inside the cake. I bet for liability reasons they leave that to the purchaser. In New Orleans, we just stick it in there! I had to get a Linzer Tart to share too.

King Cake La Madeline Style_2333_AIEWe walked back in the snow and warmed our feet by the fire, first one of the season. Since DC cannot handle a small accumulation of snow, the entire city shut down when we got four inches. Yahoo, another holiday; even though I was working — a little. It was Fat Tuesday, after all, we were due to celebrate. I had mentioned we had better get groceries before the rush but Peter informed me that he was going to surprise me but instead, thought I better know he had made plans for dinner at Vermillion, one of my favorite restaurants in Alexandria. I was prepared for this and it was a perfect foil.

Winter fire_2334_AIEThinking surely others would be there with their Mardi Gras beads on, I wore mine; even though, this is actually a more touristy than native thing to do in New Orleans — except for Mardi Gras Day of course. Well that little booger completely fooled me! Hardly anyone was there due to the snow but upon walking upstairs, all our good friends were waiting! At first, I felt like saying a line from the Californians, “What are yoooooou doing here?” but then I realized Peter had arranged it all and they were all in on the surprise. The fact that one friend was there who is notoriously late, was even more of a shocker. It was a fantastic dinner! So much great food, spirits and fun spirit with dear friends.

There were a couple of snags that I learned later, like the birthday cake I mentioned in my previous post. It got stuck in a Dulles warehouse due to the weather. I never knew because my good friend purchased another doberge cake to take its place. She brought the “real” cake by when it arrived on my real birthday. I had 3 cakes by this point. Ilyda, who helps me clean our house, was happy to take the half-remaining King Cake off my hands and my hips.

Although I don’t have a picture of everything, I love all my cards and a birthday check to treat myself. I look forward to trying a tempting bottle of rosé, a six-pack of hand-selected wines with one beer that you can only get from Norcia, as well as wearing a beautiful Nola Jazz Hermés scarf and bee necklace and trying to decipher which of my friends and family submitted the 50 quotes that were put into a book to record the event, with pictures to come. Wow such heaped upon attention. Why did I want to go to the Caribbean, anyway?

Hermes_AIEhttp://www.ashley-spencer.com/ArtIsEverywhere/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Hermes-Scarf_2345_AIE.jpgWell, I intend on getting there one day — maybe on a cruise with a slower method of travel that takes time and takes it all in stride — must be my new-age attitude. ‘Til then, I’ll take a 2 week celebration any day. I can still go 80’s dancing (our night was rescheduled due to ice and below zero, double digits cold)  — until my knees give out — and also read up on my older son’s book, 50 things to do when your fifty! 😉

http://www.ashley-spencer.com/ArtIsEverywhere/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Birthday-Cards_2349_AIE.jpg

 

Where is the Best Arts District?

There are 20 city entries in the running to find the best arts district. One could be your favorite. You have until March 1st if you’d like to vote via USA Today’s website.

Arts District via USAToday on Art Is EverywhereOf course I’m voting for New Orleans’ Warehouse District and the Contemporary Arts Center. It’s where we were recently, along the strip with the Ogden and WWII Museums, while visiting family for Thanksgiving.

Arts District via USAToday2 on Art Is EverywhereThere are many arts worth exploring in New Orleans, which is rich with music and culinary arts as well. This link takes you to previous posts about New Orleans’ murals.

Click on the side link or here for previous posts with a New Orleans theme.

Coincidentally, at one point, Alexandria, VA was on as similar list for one of the most art friendly cities. I’m lucky to have lived in both.

 

Wintry Mix

This is a wintry mix post that is pretty —

(not filled with all the snow & slush of recent snow storms).

Every year China puts on an elaborate and spectacular ice-sculpture festival at the Ice and Snow World in the Harbin Hellongjiang province. Here’s a recent preview and from what I’ve posted previously.

China_ice sculptures_AIEView many more pics here.

Ice Sculpture via CNN_AIEAnother out of the ordinary wintry scene is Greg Dunn’s photo that looks like winter trees with their icy roots exposed. However, it’s his painting of “Cortical Columns” using neuroscience to create such imagery.

Greg Dunn Cortical Columns painting on Art Is EverywhereMy father would be pleased to see neuroscience and art combined in such a beautiful depiction.

Art Patrons in the News

I was glad to read about these two stories regarding well-known celebrities bringing art to communities.

Actress Viola Davis has given $1500 to Segue Institute for Learning for their campaign to paint Martin Luther King Murals for 2015. The charter-based school for at-risk, 6th – 8th grade students, is located in Central Falls, RI, where Ms. Davis is a native. She has helped to support the school since its inception in 2006.

Viola Davis via GoLocalProv on Art is EverywhereAlso in the news, Bill Gates is commissioning over 30 artists to create artwork that promotes getting vaccines. The campaign is called “The Art That Saves a Life.

Art That Saves a Life on Art is EverywhereThe Birth of Vaccines Photo by Alexa Sinclair on Art Is Everywhere Clicking on the link above will show you all the artists involved, including the Russian illustrator Evgeny Parfenov, whose portrait of Tom Yorke, of the famed Radiohead band,    that I find interesting.

Tom Yorke Portrait by Evgeny Parfenov on Art Is Everywhere

 

 

 

When Cartoonists Come Together

Like so many around the world, I was shocked and saddened to see the brutal shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the executions of their editor, cartoonists and support staff unfold, leaving 12 dead and others critically wounded.

This French satirical magazine had it right. Their cartoons clearly define the radical Muslim faction. In fact, the cartoonists ominously called-out their fanatical behavior. These murderers brought these cartoons in which they were depicted to life. Their mistake is that the whole world now sees them for who they truly were. Even though the two brothers who carried out this attack have been killed, there are so many others with the same philosophy that they leave to carry on their hate crimes in their wake. However, I believe that this event and several other senseless massacres will ultimately spiral their downfall.

Here are the cartoons that caused the terrorists to inflict their rage. Their translations are explained via Slate.

Chalie Hebdo Cartoon on Art Is EverywhereWhat I’ve been most impressed with is the rallying cry, particularly among other cartoonists, illustrators and artists. Art became their weapon — as expressive response. They didn’t lay down their pens. Instead, they’ve fearlessly have come together to bring clarity to this madness and to prove that the power of the pen and freedom will endure. Just look at the number of tweets that these have been shared (prior to this posting). With social media and blogs, these messages will be a virus that will hopefully kill any support for these terrorists.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 1 on Art Is Everywhere

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 5 on Art Is Everywhere

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 3 on Art Is EverywhereCharlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 4 on Art Is EverywhereThe French most certainly can relate to this image of their beloved Liberté.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 6 on Art Is EverywhereJust as we can relate to this image of the Twin Towers recalling our 9-11 attack.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 5 on Art Is EverywhereCartoonists are a rare breed because they have to find the essence in their message to depict it with such simplicity and meaning. Knowing this and how hard it is to render a cartoon, especially when so fraught with emotion, this one below by Lucille Clerc is one of my favorites: taking something that is broken, sharpening it to a point — to bring it life again. This is art! The terrorists on the other hand, are not this clever or brilliant.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 7 on Art Is EverywhereSources:  Buzzfeed – 23 Heartbreaking Cartoons from Artists in Response, Daily Mail UK and ABC World News Tonight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year with New Beginnings

As previously mentioned, my son was married this past August.

I’m finally getting around to posting some pictures and what better timing than to celebrate a new year with brand new beginnings.

The wedding was beautiful and so many of details can be attributed to the time and attention taken by my daughter-in-law’s family. The many helpers and sources also contributed with their artistic talents, ranging from events, to food to photography.

All these beautiful photo credits go to Carrie Holbo, who is an exceptional photographer, with quite the artistic eye for composing and getting the right shot at the right moment — a hard thing to do at a wedding with many moving parts.

Before the festivities began, out of town guests received welcome boxes. We helped with the locally popped popcorn, maps and chocolates and assembly.

Guest welcome boxes, designed by bride's family

Guest welcome boxes, designed by bride’s family

contents

contents

We used Fleurir chocolates in the Guest Welcome Boxes. They were recently featured in Energy of the City magazine by Washington Gas. They are probably the best chocolates, I’ve every had. They really are “hand grown,” miniature masterpieces.

Fleurir chocolates via Energy of the City UntitledThe Rehearsal Dinner was at the Lincoln restaurant in DC. We rode a bus there and on took a night tour of the city on the return trip, getting out at the WWII Memorial.

07-E+PRehearsalDinner-0206

Mason jar chandelier

Mason jar chandelier

Rehearsal dinner celebrants

Rehearsal dinner celebrants

Libby and Piers, bride and groom

Libby and Piers, bride and groom

World War II Memoria - Night Tour on Art Is Everywhere

World War II Memorial – Night Tour

The ceremony was beautiful. The stand-out decorations were the handmade, giant ruche / tissue-paper flowers by the bride’s family. These provided the height for a glorious backdrop that rustled in the breeze.

Ceremony venue atop the Lorien Hotel

Ceremony venue atop the Lorien Hotel

The Reverend Locher and Peter Sr officiated the service.

The Reverend Elizabeth Locher and Peter Sr officiated the service.

Jackson cited the readings

Jackson read the readings

The Reverend Cannon Spencer performed the blessing

The Reverend Cannon Spencer performed the blessing

The married couple

The married couple

The many details made all the difference:

Individual Butoniers

Individual Butoniers

Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress

Floral bouquet

Bridal Bouquet

And bouquets with bridesmaids

And bouquets with bridesmaids

Handmade dog bisquits

Handmade dog biscuits

Couples were asked to bring their own wedding photos to display

Couples were asked to bring their own wedding photos to display

Thank you gifts of Virginia peanuts and beer.

Thank you gifts of Virginia peanuts and beer.

The reception had many personal touches. The food was delicious and everyone was able to relax and enjoy. We brought the pictorial display from the Rehearsal Dinner with everyone’s photos of their most memorable moments of Piers or Libby individually or as a couple.

Welcome board with memory photos on Art is Everywhere

Welcome board with memory photos

A bounty of beautiful cakes from which to choose.

A bounty of beautiful, individual wedding cakes from which to choose.

mother + son dance

mother + son dance

The bride gets down

The bride gets to enjoy her party

Piers & Libby enjoy a toast

Piers & Libby enjoy a toast

The standard family and bride and groom pictures were take but somehow these seemed less rigid and more relaxed. They help to memorialize this important event, which brings everyone involved to a new stage in their life.

Bride's family

Bride’s family

Groom's family

Groom’s family

Brotherly love

Brotherly love

Libby & Piers

Libby & Piers

00-E+PCarrie'sFavorites-0154 00-E+PCarrie'sFavorites-0088

Setting out on their life together

Setting out on their life together

Merry Monarch Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Here’s our charitable organization to which we contribute each year, The Blue Monarch in Tennessee. They do incredible work of breaking the cycle of family or drug abuse in providing rehabilitation and  giving the children of affected mothers a chance at a new beginning.

As you can see from this postcard — Art Is Everywhere and the children are flourishing.

Blue Monarch 1 on Art Is Everywhere

Blue Monarch children create a mural

Blue Monarch 2 on Art Is Everywhere

Plus, they put the mothers to work making the most scrumptious granola, which becomes our Christmas presents to family each year.

They exemplify the true spirit of Christmas all year round.

Blue Monarch 3 on Art Is EverywhereWe also like that they connect us to our Sewanee roots.

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