Tuesday’s Inspiration: Chagall

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Marc Chagall
1957

 

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

– Marc Chagall ❤️

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: Lilla Cabot Perry

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Lilla Cabot Perry
The Silver Vase
1905

Isn’t she a beauty? I searched for paintings by this artist when I learned she had a summer home in Hancock, New Hampshire. There is also a small portrait of a child Perry painted on display at the Hancock Town Library which is captivating. I had to see more, so I searched for Perry’s works and found this one, The Silver Vase. Dressed in the colors of winter, I thought she was a fitting symbol of this January day.

Making this post led me to do a bit more research on Perry and what I found was delightful:

  • She had no formal art training until the age of 36
  • Though she was born in Boston, Massachusetts her family traveled widely and lived in various places around the globe, including Paris, Munich, and Japan which really influenced her painting styles and subjects through the years.
  • She saw a Claude Monet painting at age 41 (in 1889) and so admired it that her family rented a house in Giverny, France (where Monet resided) for 9 summers. Monet became her close friend and mentor – imagine!!
  • Monet encouraged Perry to “commit her first impression of a scene to canvas rather than to sketchbook” (Encyclopedia Britannica) – what a gorgeous thought.
  • Her later paintings are inspired by the landscapes around her summer home in Hancock, New Hampshire where she died and was laid to rest.

I found the bulleted information above on the National Museum of Women in the Arts website and the Encyclopedia Britannica website. What a fascinating woman! And how cool she had such a connection to Hancock, New Hampshire.

What is inspiring you this week? Do share

 

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My Artist’s Statement

this place:
ten years of photography near and far by Callista Faucher
artist’s statement.
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         This body of work examines the interesting juxtaposition between the exhilaration of exploring new places and the comfort of finding beauty in the familiar surroundings of home. Travel has always called to me; yet, at the same time, home time draws me too. Wander and explore, or put down roots? A perennial question, and a question I’m so thankful that I have the circumstances to ask. I’m eternally grateful for the trips I’ve taken, along with the beauty of my home that has made these images possible. Whether near or far, I try to keep in mind the quote by Walt Whitman from which the name of this show was taken: happiness, not in another place, but this place. Not for another hour, but this hour. Photography helps me to do just that: to be happy in the present moment. This is good. Dreamer by nature, idealistic almost to a fault: I am often thinking about the next thing. The click of the shutter however, grounds me in the here and now. Photography helps me to really see what is in front of me and to derive happiness from the beauty inherent in all of the ordinary and extraordinary places in which we live out life’s moments.
Along with exploring happiness and presence in different places, this show is also a story of my growth as a photographer. In the making of these images, I’ve never been laden with bulky equipment, nor do I rely on hefty zoom lenses, tripods, or image stabilization. I don’t use a flash. I’ve always enjoyed physically moving to get a shot, at times being on my hands and knees, sneaking up on a shot, or making myself look crazy to get an angle. When I first started shooting, I used a Fugifilm Finepix digital camera. At just 5 megapixels, it was a pretty lousy camera, yet I was so happy to have it, and I took some shots that I am still fond of today. At the time, I was a fan of really editing my photos: I loved a cross-processed look, deep sepia tones, sharp contrasts: making things look a bit larger than life. Some of those shots are included in this show, because it wouldn’t be an honest portrayal of my artistic growth if I left them out. I eventually saved up my pennies (literally) and bought a Nikon D5000 DSLR in 2009. It’s wide angle lens helped to develop my love for sweeping landscapes. These days, I like a more subdued look and gravitate towards calming scenes with minimal editing.
I’ve always known I wanted to “make art” and “be an artist”, yet I never considered myself one. I was quite narrow minded and grew up imagining that to “be an artist” one had to be wealthy and connected; I thought of it as some sort of out-of-my-reach privilege. But really, I was just getting in my own way: months would pass and I would create little. I was paralyzed by indecision; having too many ideas but never acting on any. I made excuses. I was busy, always busy. All the while though, the creativity and inspiration were building inside of me. At times, I felt as though I would burst. It always made me sad and overwhelmed that I hadn’t created anything. And yet, going through this body of work, putting this show together, I realize now that I’ve been creating all along: these photos are my art. These places captured have made me an artist. All the times I was moved to click that shutter, I was creating. Little bits of beauty, pure happiness, moments captured: these were and are my inspiration and motivation. I’ve been unknowingly making these images for 10 years now and I’m so happy I finally got out of my own way to display them for you. I hope you enjoy my work, and I thank you sincerely for your interest in it.

Time is suspended in this place: in all the places you and I have been.

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Go out and see the show! Through February 14th in the Daniel’s Room at the Hancock Town Library, Hancock, New Hampshire. grove

RefugeGrove, On Wings, and Refuge : 3 of my oldest (and most favorite) photographs.

Strawberry Banke

If you love colonial New England history and architecture, there are few places better to visit than Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth, NH. Strawberry Banke is living history as it’s finest; a colonial village of historic homes that guests can stroll through at their leisure. Each home is decorated in a different historic American style, and docents at each home explain who lived there and what happened at the homes. There are also people dressed in period clothing who are sprinkled throughout doing various colonial jobs and tasks such as basket weaving, cobbling leather shoes, and tending the beautiful gardens.img_4028img_3971img_4035We made a special trip to Strawberry Banke for their annual Harvest Festival, which is held every October. If you look at the photo above, you can see the white tent set up. The tent was filled with local craftsmen and artisans selling their wares and works. There were also demonstrations going on, such as sheep herding and more animals on display than usual. The festival gave a lively and bustling atmosphere to an already wonderful place. We were a little worried about crowds, but it didn’t feel overly crowded because most people stayed around the main lawn where the tents were set up.img_4021My favorite thing about the place were the gardens (surprise, surprise). The big one behind the main ticket office is very formal and beautiful, with a fountain in the center. Most of the houses have a small section of garden near them, which are all beautiful in their own way. There are also many whimsical touches scattered around: a wooden tower made from weathered saplings decorated with strands of seashells and gourds, a little china tea set laid out on a log table, a dwelling made of branches kids can crawl into, and various arbors and trellises climbing with vines. We also enjoyed seeing the old greenhouse, filled with interesting plants, garden tools, and pretty vignettes.img_3965img_4009img_4002
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Most of the houses were open for self-guided touring, so we poked into many of them. The colonial decor varied in each house for different time periods, which kept it really interesting. I really liked the weaving house, and a nice woman there taught me the very basics of how to weave on a loom and let me give it a try.

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Strawberry Banke. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting there during autumn and the Harvest Festival, but I’m sure it’s beautiful at any time of year. Also, check with your local library to see if they offer passes to the museum. We used our library’s passes, and were able to save $19 each on admission (the full cost). That made it an even better time at such a lovely place. img_4076