Monday, May 30, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a rather grey Memorial Day.

It was raining earlier and more showers may fall.  I expect that this weather will have messed with quite a few folks' plans for the three-day weekend.

Over in Paris, today's French Open matches were called off.  I'd hoped to see some of them today on television, while it was too wet for another walk in the Park.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I thought I would show you all some photos of parts of my recently completed knitting commission.  It is unusual for me to combine green and yellow hues and it was fun to give it a go.

I hope that the ducks seem to be on water.

I've now moved on to a simpler project that will combine various greens with softer tones.

Some of the colors are very close in value (light-to-dark ratio) which can give an additional softness to the knitted results.

Yesterday, I took my trusty Vornado electric fan down from the closet top shelf where it spends its winter.  If I am to continue this wooly knitting, I will need the fan close by my side.

Along with the rain, the temperature topped 90 F over the weekend.  Seeking a bit of chill, I went to see a movie, A Bigger Splash, at a neighborhood cinema.  Perhaps some of you all have seen it?  Ralph Fiennes plays one of the characters, and he kept reminding me of Robin Williams.  I never would have anticipated my response.

In case anyone who has not seen the film and would like to do so, I will say no more.

As I have been typing, I realize that the sky has cleared and the temperature seems more comfortable.  I think I will go out for a walk and find some ice cream.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I hope those of you who also have a three-day weekend have found much joy in the open hours.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

Today is a cloudy Saturday, with rain promised for later today, and more rain tomorrow.  Fortunately, earlier in the week sunny days meant more pleasure could be found during some Central Park walks.

The recent rains have encouraged lots of grass and leaves to grow.  Spring breezes have blown blossoms from the trees.  I liked the pattern of pale lavender and yellow green on the lawn.

I could almost believe that I was not in the middle of New York City.  Lots of pedi-cab pedaling entrepreneurs were hoping for some patrons.

Park employees were busy with all sorts of maintenance.  Some of this work involved noisy machinery.

I know I have shown you all pictures of Bethesda Fountain before, but the scene is still pretty.

Just south of the steps down to the Fountain's plaza is this walkway beckoning us to stroll toward lots of green.  Folks have left their red bicycles by the railing; perhaps these bikes are for hire.  I don't know.

I strolled through that entrance way to another plaza to investigate whether I might find some wisteria still in bloom.

Yes!  There were still quite a few blossoms hanging from this arbor.

The wisteria that enjoys some shade was the part still in bloom.

I am still amazed to see the base of these venerable wisteria vines.  This one has the look of an underwater denizen.  

Here is one final glimpse of 2016 wisteria.  Isn't it lovely?

A few steps away, I saw another Parks worker doing some trimming.  The latest Ghostbusters film just had its NYC premier, and somehow I wanted to sing the title tune to the fellow in the following photograph.

I could not resist a photograph of this marvelous sky.

The horse drawn carriage trade was doing rather well.

The deep red of that single tree is so striking, particularly on a sunny day.

My Park walk had a specific destination on the east side.  I passed by the always beautiful flowers decorating the railings outside the Greek Orthodox Church headquarters.

Here is another view, giving you all a better idea of how extensive these plantings are.

In the past weeks I've been doing some drawing and watercolor paintings of flowers and thought it would be helpful to take a few close up views of these spring beauties.

I also like all the shapes of the leaves.

A bit farther along East 79th Street three strong, patient and skilled young fellows were transferring a large canvas in, or perhaps out, of a van.  There are several prestigious galleries along this block.  The former NYC Mayor lives just across the street.

My destination was not the Church HQ, or a gallery or the Mayor's home.  I was returning a book (Diana Athill's Live Alive Oh) to the library, and borrowing two more books, Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday and a volume including Edna O'Brien's The Country Girl Trilogy.

I am falling behind with some of my intended reading, because I have been steadily working on my knitting commission.  It is almost finished!

To take more advantage of the beautiful day, I also walked home, rather than taking the crosstown bus.

I'd not been in the Shakespeare Garden in about a month, and soon realized I had already missed lots of its prime spring show.  What a pleasure to see that the show was ongoing.  The quince blooms are favorites of mine.

A fellow blogger from another part of our shared world has told me that these agapanthus flowers can be invasive.  I am very glad that some have settled into Central Park.

It was great to see this fancy tulip had held on to its petals.

Various tall flowers stretching up into the midday sun kept to a close color harmony against the brilliant green.

It seems to be a very good year for ferns.  These were almost as tall as I am.  Truly.

Nice to have just that bit of pink accent peeking through the lattice work.

Soon, more iris will enter the stage, but this one had a starring role during my visit.

I took this picture just to indicate the density of the planting in the Shakespeare Garden's sloping area.  I was very glad to be able to encourage some international tourists to stroll through this area as I left it on my way home.  They were in for a treat.

Clouds continue to gather this afternoon.  I am glad to have an opportunity earlier today to get some outdoor errands done and also to visit the current Howard Hodgkin exhibit at the Madison Avenue Gagosian Gallery.  I've been looking at Hodgkin's paintings and prints for a long time, and am glad that he is still painting.  Colors interest me whether found in nature or in man made creations.

Now I must get back to my knitting commission while my head is full of color inspiration.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I am happy to welcome some new followers, too.  I am astonished to find that June is just around the corner.

Friday, May 6, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on yet another rainy day.

It's a perfect time to put together this post filled with photographs of the fabulous Manus x Machina exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I was glad that the museum was allowing us to take photographs.  I just set my camera on non-flash automatic and took a chance on what I might be able to capture.

This is a long post, and I am going to number the pictures in case you all might have comments or questions about particular views.

The above photograph shows the setting of the dramatic Chanel wedding dress that appeared on the preview invitation.  Rather eye catching, wouldn't you say?


The exhibit showed both contemporary fashion and garments dating from the early 20th century.  Some were made by hand, some involved lots of technology in the creation of the materials and construction techniques.  

The above clothes are from the design team Proenza Schouler.  A couple of years ago, I helped select an outfit for the mother of one of the designers to wear to the PS runway show.  It was from a very different design team and amused me.


Because of the crowd, the dim lighting and the placement of the identifying labels, it was not always easy for me to know the source of the clothes.  I expect to revisit the exhibit several times, and would be happy to do some research if any of you are curious about a specific picture.


What a frothy pink souffle enhanced the pink dress pictured above!


This dress with the embroidery and spangly green daisies is a Marc Jacobs design.


I took several pictures of this cloak to show the hand work involved in making all those little circles.  I have made these myself; they are called Suffolk puffs.


Here's a close up.  I would have loved to see the inside, too.


More flowers, with a train.  This was a wedding dress.


Now this golden carapace is called the Floating Dress.  One enters it via a back door, and steps on to a wheeled platform.  Movement is made possible by remote control.  There are several little videos displaying floating, dressing and undressing.


I wish that I could have gotten closer to this duo to give a better idea of the workmanship.


This enticing modern black outfit can be folded into...




Here's another contemporary confection.  It's much easier to see the details on the lighter colored garments.


Many Japanese designers are represented in the exhibit.


I do wonder if anyone actually wore the above two designs.  They are very high concept!


Some of the celebrities who attended the gala party celebration on the eve of the exhibition's opening wore dresses that seemed to take inspiration from the above dress.


There is a display of a selection of beautiful Fortuny pleated silk dresses.  This one has straps made from Venetian glass beads.


Issey Miyake handles pleats in a different way.


The above garment at rest.


Here's another example of pleats extended, 


and half-way to a flat pack.


Each of the above garments featured cloth mimicking a paper pattern  Very clever and subtle.


All of the draping in the above outfit was held together with hand stitching, indicating a meeting of old and new techniques.


Here is another approach to draping.  Two views of the same dress.


Another example.


This dress might be hiding a very simple silhouette underneath the decorations.


As does this dress.


I took two pictures of this dress so that you all would be able to see the embellishments more clearly.


I am trying to imagine the hours spent on these flowers.


I think that the translucent materials in the above design might also have interior design potential.


Now, this antique Irish dress was crocheted from very fine cotton yarn.


Just think about it!


I think the label said it was a wedding gown.


Perhaps this orangy-red dress would be perfect for Valentine's Day?


The leather cut work on the above lapels was done by hand.  Yes.  Nowadays lasers can handle this demand, but it still requires much skill.


More details.  I cannot remember is the display created the stand-away over skirt to emphasize the design or whether the silhouette was the designer's intention.


More precision cutting.  I wonder about its fragility!


This last photograph from the exhibit of the intricate black garment does not indicate the beauty of the design.  I urge any of you all who will be in New York this spring and summer to come and see it for yourselves.


 After leaving the exhibit and walking towards the cloakroom where I had checked my umbrella, I passed through the Greek and Roman galleries and saw some impressive carving that might still be inspiring fashion designers today.


It's been a pleasure to give you all a bit of a taste of Manue x Machina.  I found the show quite thought provoking and entertaining at the same time.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I very much enjoy sharing my city views with you.