Today we attended the opening of Meg Whitlock’s photography exhibit at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art. It was a great day to be out and this is a new part of the island for us. I have been told that this is the highest point on the east coast, being somewhat south of the Verrazano Bridge and with no leaves on the trees, we could see vast expanses of the Atlantic between houses and over roof tops. The houses on the ocean side of the road were surprising in that the entrance level was often the second or third floor of the building. The drop off is so sheer that additional floors were built down from street level with the farther reaches on stilts, many driveways are like bridges from the street to the house.
Here are some views of the museum terraces.
The street is about level with the museum’s roof.
Some of my favorite iris were blooming in the terrace garden.
Lhasa on the Hudson is a fine-art photography project that has been funded by the Council of the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and JP Morgan Chase. The focus of the project is a documentary investigation of the life and work of members of the Tibetan community currently living in New York City, with Staten Island itself having been the home of a major Tibetan cultural institution for over 60 years. Since that time, thousands of Tibetans have emigrated to every borough of New York City, as well as to New Jersey and Long Island. A recent survey by the Government of Tibet estimates that there are 7,000 Tibetans living in the New York metropolitan area-and over 1,000 Tibetan mothers with children. The project was approached initially from the perspective of Tibetan mothers who have emigrated to the United States in search of the abundant educational and human rights opportunities necessary for their children to thrive in a globalized modern society. The goal of this project was the investigation of both the accomplishments and challenges facing the modern Tibetan community in diaspora, while providing the beginnings of a visual record for future generations of Tibetans living in New York-children who will grow up as both American citizens and inheritors of a culture that has survived both the loss of its country and over 50 years of life in exile.
More about the exhibit at this link Lhasa on the Hudson
Meg Whitlock receiving a set of prayer flags at the opening of her show from the Museum Director Meg Ventrudo.
Part of the ever changing exhibit of the Marchais collection of Tibetan Art.
Our friends Stephen and Shannon.
More of some of the Museum Collection.
A small altar.
I’ve been thinking about making something like this but to hold candles.
This is one of a pair of chairs set with stones that look like ink painted landscapes.
Colman talking with Farrell.
Stephen and Shannon
The photographer Meg Whitlock and Beverley.
Meg and fiancee Tim.
The lighthouse on Lighthouse Hill, Staten island
Earlier this year we went to the City Center to see the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition finals. The following photos are a combined group from the past two trips to the Grand Prix finals. They have been in line for publication on the blog for some time and it is time to clear them from my hard drive.
As we left the parking lot by the ferry in 2010, trees were beginning to bloom.
New residential towers over a remainder of old New York (2010).
We arrived in time to have dinner on Seventh Avenue at the Delicatessen Cafe. (2011)
I had just gotten my new canon and tested the zoom on this skyscraper.(2011)
City Center is an ornate building in the Moorish Style. A lot of dance performances take place here, we were here to see the finals of the Youth America Grand Prix last year and again this year. (that’s why I’m dating some of the photos. . .)
Some shots of the ceiling in the theater.(2010)
The whole auditorium needed to be repainted. ( and it still did this year)
Part of the proscenium.
Ceiling vents .
In the hallway ante rooms during the intermission. (2010)
Colman took these shots in the auditorium, they show a little more of what the theater is like. (2011)
A view toward the stage, a lot of the performers show up in the audience after they perform in the competition.
As we were leaving I this year I took photos of the painted ceilings outside of the auditorium. It’s a grand example of gilded stencil work.
Some leaded glass in a niche at the top of the stairs.
Colman took shots of me shooting the ceiling.
And I got him on a landing.
On the way home we passed by a florists window. (2010)
On the way home this year the florist wasn’t as interesting, but next door there was what seemed to be a shop for fine crafts. These jelly fish in glass pieces are very nice.
Looking at these photos now, I noticed that the glass pieces have a real layer of dust on them, the store must have been closed for some time for that much to build up on a window display.
This year when we returned to Staten Island and were driving out of the parking lot I was struck by the sharp reflections on the waters of the Kill van Kull. I have never seen the water so still that there were reflections. It’s usually a choppy, wavy surface that shimmers in the lights of Bayonne. I asked Colman to stop the car while I took a few shots of the Stillness on the Kill.
Friday we went to what is becoming an annual event, The Shore Orchid Festival, in Neptune, New Jersey. there’s an album of about 50 photos taken at the festival on my facebook page. Here’s the link. The Shore Orchid Festival 2011
A broad view of one of the vendor’s displays. There were a lot of unusual plants to see and buy. We took Amy Troutwein went with us, she’s also a member of the Staten Island Orchid Society.
Colman’s stanhopea embreei has bloomed. The plant is growing 3 flower spikes. The first one has finished blooming but I took photos of its progress. This particular orchid’s flowers don’t last as long as other orchid flowers, they deflate in a few days. The buds seem to take forever to grow and open. When they do open, the fragrance is overpowering, we can smell it outside of the greenhouse. I really like the sculptural quality of these buds.
It took about a week for the buds to spread and open.
Lc. canhamiana ‘Azure Skies’ is also blooming. These flowers last a lot longer.
Henry keeps company outside the greenhouse.
Our rodgersia has put on a real show this year. In the past there’s never been more than a couple flowers. Their leaves get filled up with the petals from the enormous tulip tree’s branches overhead.
In late January I began to paint again. There are a few canvases in the studio that have gone through many changes in my mind, it was time to put pigment to the thought. This one finished itself before I was ready. There’s another large canvas in the studio that seems to be finished too, but I don’t feel done with it. It will probably sit around another year before I show it. This one is fine as it is.
I’m not sure this is finished yet. I’ve been sketching this in color on my iPad which has given me the luxury of trying a number of compositions before I got to the easel. But the paint doesn’t always do what you want it to do.
At home I was working on a number of projects. We were waiting for cups and saucers to be electro formed in Rhode Island and I was working on another cup and some jewelry. These are pieces of a chain, I was working on two at the time. Both of them were finished today. The recent rise in silver prices has made finishing these chains a proposition to consider, the selling price is going to be much higher than it was last year. Each of the chains weigh in at 4 ounces.
My whole work bench with several projects on it. The large vase in the center is an attempt to completely shape and chase without pitch. It has progressed since then but will probably need another 15 hours or so.
The finished chains. Ovals and Bubbles. . .
This is a small silver leafed begonia (in a 2 inch pot ) that Tibor gave me, it has taken off and is blooming too. He says that his plant is bigger and fuller but hasn’t bloomed, it’s probably the extra light in our greenhouse that is giving our plants a longer stretch of daylight.
In the back yard crocus are blooming. Spring is not far away.
This year has been exceptional for the number of blooming plants in my collection. The dracena cuttings have bloomed. This plant has three flowers at once. Two are open in the photo and a third with its ‘back’ toward us.
At the last shows I was asked to make longer necklaces, necklaces that would go over sweaters and around turtle neck tops. I made these new sterling findings to carry multiple strands of beads, the frog type hooks can carry 6 to nine strings. this shot was taken before thry were tumble polished.
I was commissioned to make a ring and setting for a special beach stone about two weeks ago. It was challenging to set a stone in its natural shape making a kind of basket with a high bezel. This is a new pendant to go along with earrings of the same design.
Thursday morning we left Staten Island for the Silva orchid open House. I think we were the second and third people to arrive just before 10 AM. It’s always better to arrive early, you can see all the plants and flowers before any have been carried away.
A brilliant velvety masdevallia.I really like these green flowered plants. Colman got both of them for our greenhouse. They’re hanging in the kitchen above the sink right now. With all the snow we have had and the threat of more, if we took them to the greenhouse, I might not get out to see them for awhile. Epc. Siam Jade on the left and Epc. Landwoods ‘NN’ on the right.
There was a time when we were hybridizing lilies that a lot of flowers were turning brown and beige. I never liked it in lilies and these brownish cymbidiums while elegant in this photo, were less pleasing in person. I can imagine that a decorator will find or make a perfect setting for flowers this color.
We have had lights installed in the greenhouse, they are only on a few hours at the end of the day to extend the daylight hours for the plants. That and a lower humidity seem to have made a real difference in how the plants are growing. There is a lot of root growth on the orchids and some plants that have refused to bloom for years are in spike.
I’m still playing catch up with the photos I took this summer. There’s one more entry for the July trip and I haven’t even looked at the Santa Fe photos yet. I am busy with the store and last weekend there was a post-Labor day gathering at the Branchifortes and two openings for the Staten Island Second Saturday. I’ll mix it up a little, first some news and then some of the older stuff.
Sunday the annual Art on the Fence Show was held until it was rained out in late afternoon. The rain, while needed, was particularly annoying because we have had a virtual drought all summer; Colman an I have had to go outside in the heat to water the azaleas and rhododendrons, grass has not grown and the ground in the back yard is hard as cement with dryness. For it to mist all morning and continually, lightly shower the rest of the day of an annual, out door, one-day event was really disappointing.
Here are a few shots of our set up, we were showing Colman’s prints of his drawings for the first time. And some of the event at our end of the fence. The brown thing on the right side of the first photo is the back of our mirror, I really should do something about that. . .
The view from behind our tables to works that are hung on the fence.
Now back to the summer photos.
The rain on this day cut some of our sight seeing short too. It was the last day of our trip and we wanted to visit the Fenimore Art Museum just outside of Cooperstown.
The wooden in the field is the back of a north west indian totem pole.
I took this picture of a pen and ink drawing of Mount Vernon because it was done by a woman who lived in Danielson, CT where Adi and Sabine live. Mount Vernon was saved and preserved by a group of women, one of whom made this drawing.
We also saw the Sargent show of women’s portraits, no cameras were allowed there. Below is a photo of a dining area that overlooks the garden.
The real highlight at the museum is the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. There are remarkably fresh examples of work from tribes all across North America, pottery, clothing, implements and masks that look as though they were just finished with perfect feathers. I was impressed by masks for horses. one in particular was beaded with several representations of the American Flag. These last two shots are of part of the study collection; I like the trend for museums to have ‘open storage’ areas like this. We discovered an enormous section like this at the Met in NY this summer too.
The painters have been here most of the week, the front door couldn’t be used as usual and we had to walk to the front by going around the house from the kitchen. Spent the early part of the last weeks days moving abutilons out of the basement so we could finally turn the lights off down there.
Walking around to the front, the ephemeral arabis flowers were blooming. It’s been cooler than usual this year; that coupled with the mini heat wave a week or so ago, has made a lot of our plants bloom early and stay fresh longer. The rhododendrons are on time but the azaleas are already showing color, if it had been a little warmer they would all be open today. Here are two rhododendrons with Japanese Geisha, an early azalea on the right.
We were driving around Staten Island this morning with our friend Diana who introduced us to places we should have known about and visited for the past twenty years. We took her to the store on which I’ve been working with Friends of Fire (we will have a Grand Opening May 8-9), it’s been a lot of fun and we’ve met some nice people. Just one shot of a new arrangement at the store. (you can see more photos of the store in my FaceBook Album)
The striking visual thing about our drive today was that the cool weather this week has slowed the passing of many of Staten Island’s blooming trees. There are a LOT; flowering almonds are in peak bloom everywhere, forsythia, crab apples and red buds color every road. It seems that part of mayor Bloomberg’s Million Trees Project includes redbuds, there are streets lined with them.
Here’s a shot of my arabis before the rain last Thursday night.
And a view of the path from the back to the front. I shot this about twenty minutes ago, the arabis is still looking good.
Fritillaria melegaris, ‘Checkered Lilies’, have naturalized in the front border. I think it’s unusual for the white flowers to do better than the colored varieties, they out number the maroon flowers.
All the porch furniture had to be stacked in the yard while they were working last week.
One of the treads being cleaned and trimmed.
Colman on the porch with some of the carpenter’s tools.
Trevor on the right with his Dad, a family carpentry business.
All new risers, the old ones had rotted edges.
Today the porch is finished and the paint has cured. I began to move some of the furniture back into place and hang new chains for the plants.
Some more Spring flowers.
Ipheion, attractive and fragrant, it’s also invasive. . . the leaves last until July, dying off (so you can plant annuals over them), reapperaing in late October to grow in the pale winter sunlight.
A close-up of some Rhodies in the back yard.
And Henry keeps us company where ever we go.
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