Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I wear two hats...

The hat you normally see...A lover of art and antiques

I invite you to now see my second hat...An adventurer with a curious mind and open eyes.
In April, I begin a new 12 week journey to Italy, France, Turkey...and places yet unknown.

I hope my new travel blog, Passport and Curiosity, fires up your desire to travel more....to experience new.

Come Follow Me...


Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Light Changed Renoir's Painting, Today vs 1883!

When Conservators of  The Art Institute of Chicago recently removed the frame on Renoir's 1883 painting,  "Madame Leon Clapisson" ....
a surprise awaited them.....

Along the edge of the painting, protected from light for a century by its frame...
Scarlet paint !
suggesting the background's visible cool, light-purplish blue tones were not the original color of  Renoir.

Through today's technology and laser light, 
Scientist discovered "Scarlets and Purples" were Renoir's original background color.
(faded by 100 years of light)

Using advanced  image processing software,
 the Conservation Department was able to create a digital reproduction of Renoir's original colors.

The red lake pigment in the faded background was identified as carmine lake,
a vibrant pigment, which unfortunately can be very light-sensitive and fade after time.

derived from  extract of cochineal bugs, a small insect that feeds on prickly-pear cactus.
(Cochineal bugs were even used by the Aztecs for dyeing and painting) 

Further analysis gave more insight to Renoir's techniques...
By placing a light to one side of the painting at a low angle (raking-light), 
Renoir's achieved texture in her bracelets becomes visible.

X-rays and infrared light allow us to see  layers of paint not seen by the human eye.
Changes made by Renoir during the painting process were now revealed...
Her hair style had once been more full...
Both arms and hands had been shifted in their placement..
Her feather fan had been reduced in size.

Renoir even changed his mind on the background colors at least once..
"mix of rusty, mossy hues" reworked  and "cool reds, pinks, and purples" added.

Were these changes the right ones??
Renoir was so satisfied with his completed work...
this was the only work he entered in the 1883 Salon!

All on a special exhibition through April 27 at The Art Institute of Chicago.
"Renoir's True Colors: Science Solves a Mystery"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Vienna "Snow Globe"...Snow We All Love!

Chicago is once AGAIN expecting  6"- 8" snow today...
My earlier home, Atlanta, is finally dug out after last week's storm.

There is one snow we all love....The Snow Globe !
And there is no better Snow Globe than one from Vienna, where it all started...

Created  by Erwin Perzy, a medical instrument technician, in 1900 by accident...
A surgeon asked Perzy to make the Edison light bulb brighter for his operating room in Vienna.

Remembering shoemakers magnify candle light by filling a globe with water and placing in front of their candles...
Perzy filled a glass ball with water, tinsel, and semolina(ground rice)... hoping to reflect the bulb's light.
The particles floated to the bottom, no longer increasing light...
but reminded Perzy of falling snow!!

Soon the snow globe would be born...
A man selling souvenirs asked Perzy to make a miniature of the Mariazell Church.
 (known as Basilica of The Birth of The Virgin Mary and the most visited site in Austria)
Perzy used pewter from his medical instrument shop, 
created the miniature...
then the magic touch...
Perzy  placed the miniature in glass globe with water and semolina...
the semolina when soaked by water, floated very slowly to base..
creating his patent in 1900, 
"Glass Globe With Snow Effect"

Perzy experimented with different miniatures and materials for the snow.
In 1905, he founded "Firm Perzy"
For first 40 years, only used miniature churches in the snow globes.

His son, Erwin Perzy II took over after WWII and introduced different designs..
and a new material for the artificial snow.
(very secret formula)

In early 1980's, the grandson, Erwin Perzy III became in charge.
renaming the company in 1990 to..
"Original Viennese Snow Globe"
Creating now over 350 standard globes in 4 sizes.
Thousands of specially orders..
and Create Your Own...with 20% sales from customized orders!

Who has received some of the Custom Snow Globes??
 President Obama's youngest daughter.
Inside..a miniature Sacher cake..

 Cake decorated with miniature St. Stephan's Cathedral, Lipizzaner Horse, and Ferris Wheel...
Personalized with miniatures of the Obamas dancing in front of the cake and the daughters watching.
Details, Details..
Before delivered, the globe was re-opened for a special addition...
The Obamas adopted a dog...so a miniature of the dog was the final touch!!

Desire special Snow???
A friend of President Clinton sent confetti from President Clinton's inaugural address..
the confetti was cut even smaller...
and became the Snow for a globe that would rest on his desk in the oval office!!

What makes the 57 year old Erwin Perzy III smile??
The smiles of the children when they turn the globes over and watch the snow fall!!

The  company continues today.. in the same 1900 house where the first globe created..
creating 200,000 globes each year..\
 Only 30 employees with 15 working from home.

Why their success for over 100 years??
Simplicity of design,
Detailing and painting by hand,
Clarity of the glass globe and liquid,
Lots of Snow, Staying suspended for a long time!!
(Love that)

And what is waiting for the future..
The 24 year old great- granddaughter!!
What surprises are ahead in 10 years when she plans to take over ..
a company with a long history of creating smiles.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Love You : The Wall, Paris

"I Love You", are powerful words in any language...

Imagine those welcomed words in 250 languages!

Two Artists, Frederic Baron and Claire Kito, have created ... 
"Le Mur Des Je T'Aime"
"I Love You : The Wall"

This was a work of love by the artists..

Frederic Baron knocked on embassy doors and asked neighbors...
writing the collection in notebooks..
The writing by Claire Kito,
 an artist and specialist of oriental calligraphy.

 612 tiles of enameled lava!

And WHY the splashes of  red??

Frederic Baron says ..
"The bursts of color on the fresco represent the pieces of a broken heart,
the heart of a humanity so often torn apart and which the wall tries to gather together"

A place for lovers to meet...

How fitting to be in  Montmartre, Paris...home to so many artists...
small romantic park at Place des Abbesses
behind  Metro Abbesses.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How Would You Paint Luxembourg Gardens??

Paris's Luxembourg Gardens entices all of Paris to visit...

Each season has its own way to make the Gardens special..
Fall is my favorite..
The golden flowers...

Contrast of greens and golds...

The November sun  adding gold to the reflections in the water..

No surprise artist with their watercolors now choose painting..
 "en plein air"
( in the open air)

scarf, hat, coat....inspiration

Pack your paints on your next trip!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

French Humor + Creativity + Rain Boots = ???

Walking through the winding streets of a small town in south of France...
the Unexpected !

Ordinary rubber rain boots had become grinning dog statues!

An entire dog parade led me down the side street.

Creative advertising to lead us to a boutique...
  smiling all the way!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

WiFi For Your Computer....Beauty For Your Soul!

Data usage is very expensive when traveling abroad, so always on the look out for free WiFi !
(Pronounced  "wee fee" in France as they pronounce I as our E)
Often stopping for coffee at cafes offering free access...

You can imagine my smile... when I discovered this beautiful public park in the south of France
offering free WiFi among the ruins!

My Ipad on my lap...and the statues above...

Food and Drink in the park....no need to leave.

There were so many wonderful places to sit and work....

or to sit and enjoy...

On the main street in Avignon..
By the train station and tourist office..

Heaven !
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