The wintery weather and a recent trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art had me looking back through the archives at some of my favorite polar scenes. These pictures painted in the 1800’s capture the spirit of adventure; of man’s exploration and dominance over nature, while also expressing its tenuous hold. Today’s world of digital devices and instantaneous connections makes it hard to imagine embarking on a tall ship for destinations unknown.
The first picture is my favorite. It has it all – tall ships, icebergs and an abundance of arctic animals watching the men on their well-coordinated fishing expedition. The narwhales, seals, walruses and polar bears take center stage, dwarfed by the tall ships and icebergs that hover nearby with domineering verticality.
This second one caught my eye with its quirky charm. Displayed in a side gallery in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I was struck by the doll-like quality of the polar bear’s head, specifically his human looking eye gazing at the ships. The scale and flattening effect of the tonal range gives a sense of melancholy to the polar bear looming over his frozen perch while creating a sense of danger for the fragile looking ships in the distance.
In my search for the two paintings above, I found this other Raleigh painting from the National Gallery’s collection. The sense of danger in this depiction of a menacing attack is heightened by the use of saturated color and a composition that focuses precisely on the polar bear’s massive claw. The ship in the background echoes the seal’s struggle for life as it approaches an iceberg.
As Mies van der Rohe said, “less is more.”
With a baby gift to make, I decided to stay on the knit socks roll. I started with a search of Ravelry’s pattern database and found a great simple (and free) pattern by Judy Kaethler called Cozy Little Toes. I like that this pattern was created and tested by a mom making socks for her baby. It includes sizing for 3 months & 6 months with very easy and complete directions to follow. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for quick baby gift. It took me two days to complete the set. I used a beautifully dyed sock yarn from Spartickes Dyes called Tootsie’s (inspired by the Nashville cultural landmark of the same name) on Will & Grace Sock base.
2014 is over, but the memory of books read over the year lives on in this series of bookmarks created for the Ladies & Literature Goodreads group as book discussion prizes. A lucky participant in each book discussion won a set of bookmarks for that book, but the lucky winners of the Annual reader competition will get the full set! Join us for this coming year’s discussions, the bookmarks will continue in 2015!
So here we go. Off to a fresh start. Out with the old, in with the new. And so on and so forth.
And just like a car dealer at year’s end, here I am clearing out the remainder of the 2014 inventory to make way for the new stuff. Figuratively, not literally. You see, over the next few cold, dreary weeks of winter I’ve made it my mission to catalog (and post) the balance of editions and one-offs from the 2014 season.
So to kick things off, here’s a classic from the fall: “Untitled (Abstraction)” in lime and evergreen. It’s green, fresh and available in the shop.
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