planting seeds

I recently ordered some seeds.  At first, it felt like an extravagance.  Not a lot of money was spent but there were certainly other things I could have put that money towards.  Immediate needs. But I bought the seeds thinking long-term for when the winter settles in, and all the leaves are gone from the oak tree and the sunlight shines through the many windows of the house.  Even in the bitter cold, when on the one hand I am able to photograph ice on the inside of the windows, there are sunlit nooks just warm enough for sprouts to grow and even on occasion my bucket of little potatoes.

The sprouts grow in little dishes so I’m not working with much dirt but whether a few inches of soil or a foot, it brings me joy sometimes and calm always.  I feel grounded.  Of late I’ve been interacting with friends, family and even strangers for whom the winter is a tough time. I’m tempted to send them all seeds so that they can create winter gardens and perhaps find calm and maybe even joy.  But I’m not sure that gardening works that way for everyone.  I may do it anyway, out of selfishness, because the act would make me feel good.

I did this past summer mail a young friend a package of edible flower seeds.  Someone who can be a little down and get stuck inside her head.  I thought working with her hands might be good.  She texted me back a picture of the unopened colorful seed packet sealed in a beautiful glass jar.  What else could I do but applaud her on the composition of the picture.  I mean, who am I to dictate how someone gardens.  Later when she came to visit in person I let her taste some of the sprouts I had growing, some mild mixture of greens.  I happened to have an unopened package of the seeds tucked away.  I gave them to her … along with a little bag of dirt.  The next text I received was of a bowl of growing greens.

Just some random thoughts this Sunday morning as I stare at empty vessels waiting for their seeds. The pictures are images of dried flowers from the Belle Isle Reservation.

thank you

I thought I’d take a moment to say thank you.  Thank you for viewing this blog.  Thank you for the comments that I don’t always respond to but I read and enjoy every one.  And most of all thanks for the support and encouragement on this creative journey.  Have a wonderful day. ;)

but it didn’t matter. The waters were still beautiful. Like the clouds had come down to earth.

water beneath the bridge

mucha’s slav epic

As far as I know, I have no Slavic blood in me but I do not think you need to be of Slavic heritage in order to appreciate the beauty and majesty of Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic anymore than you need to be of African American heritage to appreciate the Singing Windows at Tuskegee.

They both employ, in vastly different ways, visual storytelling to convey the histories of peoples and their journeys from subjugation to celebration, from despair to hope. As described on the Mucha Foundation website:  “The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej) is a series of twenty monumental canvases (the largest measuring over 6 by 8 metres) depicting the history of the Slav people and civilisation. Mucha conceived it as a monument for all the Slavonic peoples …

The idea of the work was formed in 1899, while Mucha was working on the design for the interior of the Pavilion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian government for the Paris Exhibition of 1900.

In preparation for the assignment he travelled widely through the Balkans, researching their history and customs as well as observing the lives of the Southern Slavs in the regions that had been annexed by Austria-Hungary two decades earlier. From this experience sprang the inspiration for a new project – the creation of ‘an epic for all the Slavonic peoples’ that would portray the ‘joys and sorrows’ of his own nation and those of all the other Slavs. ”

On that website you will find a picture of all 20 paintings, a description of the stories depicted in each painting, and “related objects” which include photographs of Mucha at work on particular canvases, working with models, etc.

I read several reviews that said do not go out of your way to see this exhibit. I would say, if you have the opportunity to visit Prague, do all that you can to go out of your way to view this exhibit.  What struck me? The scale of this creation, the source of the inspiration, the vision of the artist and the dedication to completion. And of course the use of color and the expression of light.

It took Mucha approximately five years to shop his idea around and find a benefactor and then over a dozen years to produce his epic even as he produced all of the other art — the posters, the advertisements, murals, etc. — which are considered his definitive works.

Through December 2016 the exhibit can be found at the Trade Fair Palace in the City of Prague (http://www.ngprague.cz/en/exposition-detail/alfons-mucha-the-slav-epic/) and the online exhibit can be found on the Mucha Foundation website (http://www.muchafoundation.org/gallery/themes/theme/slav-epic).


Sources & Additional Readings



1925 Article about the Epic as a Work in Progress

a 2010 post about the troubled history of the paintings

It was a bit of a race against time.  A storm was rolling in. So though we knew we had a few hours before the sun was due to set we didn’t have that great a window of time for light. We raced, as fast as the trolley would take us and then putting foot to pavement, from the Mucha Foundation back to Prague Castle and the St. Vitus Cathedral.  Why? Because at the Mucha Foundation we’d seen a drawing of a stained glass window that Mucha had designed for the St. Vitus Cathedral but he had passed away before seeing it executed. But then while watching a brief foundation video on Mucha we learned that a company had funded the execution of the window and it was in the cathedral.  We made it back to the cathedral in time to purchase a ticket and track down the window. And what a sight it was.

And now there is a race against time to catch a flight home and so I will simply leave you with a few images and a few links. Read more about this amazing artist here: http://www.mucha.cz/index.phtml?S=biog&Lang=EN and http://www.muchafoundation.org/

More to share when I return to the States. Until then, be well.

and again the birds …

… these along the famed Charles Bridge.

You can learn a bit more about the Charles Bridge here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bridge.

There were so many people massed about the statues along the Charles Bridge, photographing the statues and the birds, that I began to train my camera into the surrounding landscape.

And then in quiet spots I’d train my camera on the statues once more.

It must be one of the most photographed and painted places in the world. Even if you aren’t able to visit yourself, there are many beautiful images out there to be viewed in books and online. Enjoy.


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