Sunday, August 5, 2018

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from a very hot and humid New York City.

Yes, for a variety of reasons, it has been a while since my last post.  During hot days like this Sunday, even neighborhood shady spots like Verdi Square provide no refuge from the heat.

Last Sunday's weather was much milder, and a friend and I ventured up to the tip of Manhattan to visit the Cloisters, where The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Medieval collections are housed.  This summer the Cloisters is one of the sites of an exhibition called, "Heavenly Bodies, Fashion and the Catholic Imagination."  The rest of this exhibit is located within the Met's main Fifth Avenue location.  If you click on the above name of the exhibition you will be linked to the Met's web site.

The Cloisters is a much friendlier setting for this exhibit than the  Fifth Avenue building. In my humble opinion.  The above dresses are Chanel designs.

I liked the way in which the dark arch silhouttes of the black cape's design mimicked the arches of this courtyard.  I believe that the cape was by Balenciaga, but might be incorrect.  (I forgot to take any notes.)

The above wedding gown is a bit spooky but still rather beautiful.  I played around with the reflections in the photo below, blending the architecture with the garments.

This grey gown has quite a dramatic accent.

The next two pictures show an elegantly gowned mannequin who might be a sleeping beauty.

Or she could be an elegant magicians assistant, floating in her Plexiglas box.  Lots of children were viewing the show and were fascinated by this display...lots of tiny fingerprints on the Plexiglas!

The golden silk embroidery on the next gown was extraordinary.

I am going to share a series of photos with you all to give you an idea of how some of the exhibition's staging was done.  In one passageway room, a sort of orchard had been installed and the trees alternating with mannequins wearing garments featuring fabric inspired by Hieronymus Bosch.

The trees and mannequins were planted in gravel filled raised beds.

It was quite dramatic, and also allowed viewers to have good, close up views.  Do note the shoes.

To refresh the palate, here's a more dignified gown.

One of the joys of visiting the Cloisters on a lovely summer's day, is to enjoy walking around its garden spaces.  I was delighted to spy these pomegranates.  I had never before seen these fruits growing, and now have a much better understanding of how they have inspired so many artists over the centuries.

In this same garden I saw many fruits, veg and herbs that were appropriate to the Medieval period.

Although many folks were also visiting the Cloisters last Sunday, the place still maintained a certain welcome tranquility.

The following photo, taken from the walled western edge of the herb garden shows just how close we were to the Hudson River.  In the distance one can see the New Jersey border.

The Cloisters is actually set at the top of Fort Tryon Park.

The lady in the above photo was clever to wear a sun dress for her visit.  I saved the following photo for last.  This single mannequin shared this room with the Met's famed Unicorn Tapestries.  Quite a pairing.

If any of you all will be in the NYC area between now and October 8, I do recommend traveling up to the Cloisters.

Meanwhile, having returned to my own weekly routines, I try to find cooler parts of the day to take some neighborhood walks, and to find the shady side of the street.

There have been a number of recent days and evenings in which we had multiple storms.  Some of the clouds have been quite dramatic.

This summer's farmers market produce has been delicious.  I have taken lots of photos before dining upon these gems.

This final photo is of a colored pencil sketch I made to honor some truly delicious ripe peaches before they disappeared.

I thank you all for your visits and comments, and also for your patience with my long disappearances.  I cannot predict when I might manage to post another blog, but please do know that I have not given up on blogging.  Meanwhile, if you wish to visit my Instagram page, please do click on the pink link.

Happy Summer!  


  1. Glad you posted again Frances and about such a fascinating subject.
    The fruit in the last photo looks good enough to eat!

    1. Thank you, Pat, for taking time to write me this sweet comment. Not sure how long it might take me, but I will try to do some visiting and commenting, too. xo

  2. Well, I for one, am thrilled to hear from you. It has been too long. I think of you every time I hear about something in NYC, like all the storms lately. Hope all is well and that you are enjoying your newly retired life. Hugs.

    1. How kind you are, Donna. I apologize for not having visited/commented over at your place for ages, and certainly hope all is well with you, too. This hot summer is an energy sapper, for sure. Funny, but when we visited the Cloisters last week, I took lots of photos and began to think about finally getting around to a blog. I had such great city views to share! xo

  3. So nice to see a post from you. I always love your tours of my hometown.

    1. I appreciate your kind words very much. It was a pleasure to share what I saw during last Sunday's Cloisters visit. It really was a glorious day. Today is just too darn hot! xo

  4. What a most beautiful post today. I have heard of the Cloisters and always wanted to visit.
    Your drawing of the peaches is wonderful. I have been drawing the most velvety purple plumcots. I almost hate to eat them.
    So nice to see your post today !

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Good morning Parsnip, and many thanks for your visit and comment. Hoping that some day you will be able to visit the is filled with treasures. Best wishes to you and yours. xo

  5. Hello dear always great photo in your blog from the Big Apple...also here in Italia id very hot and wet!
    Come in my blog to celebrate his birthday!!
    A big kiss

    1. Thank you! The heat continues here today...actually it was staying indoors yesterday that convinced me to actually create a blog post! xo

  6. The Cloisters is obviously the ideal setting for this exhibition. I particularly like the black cape exhibit and your photograph.

    1. Hello Rachel! I couldn't resist taking that photo with all the arches. The folks who did the exhibition design really made lots of witty decisions. xo

  7. I grow Pomegranates here, but they are so sour; totally inedible.

    1. It was seeing the Pomegranate plants that immediately brought all those William Morris designs to mind...and then I realized that many much earlier creations had also been inspired by Poms. I doubt that anyone will be dining upon the ones growing up at the Cloisters. (I will try to be a more regular blogger.). xo

  8. What a fascinating exhibition. I saw pomegranates growing for the first time ever this year (in Greece) and thought they looked beautiful. It is good to see you on the blog again Frances. I love your sketch of the peaches. Xx

    1. Gina, I so wish that you could see this exhibit! Thank you so much for visiting here and also over at IG, and for your kind words about the peaches. I truly am trying to do more drawing and painting, but the hot, sticky weather is providing an drawing hand tends to stick to the page! xo

  9. So happy to see your lovely pictures from the Cloisters. I went to see the exhibit on 5th ave. Beautiful but so crowded. Will try to get up there. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your visit and comments. The exhibit truly is much more beautiful than I found it to be at the Met HQ. Try to find a day with temps in the low 80s and you will have a fabulous time.

  10. You have really captured the soft downiness of a peach skin. I loved the Cloisters when I visited New York. What a great setting for that exhibition. I will tell my son about it. He is in the UK at present!

    1. Many thanks, Lucille. Some of that "peachiness" is down to the texture of my sketchbook page. Do encourage your son to visit the Cloisters! xo

  11. Beautiful post Frances- you really set the scene well with your evocative images and well chosen words

    I am back in New York in January and will make a point of visiting the Cloisters


    1. Thank you Siobhan. The Cloisters is a pleasure to visit throughout the year, but particularly grand when the gardens are in their glory.

  12. The summer here in Sweden has been terrible hot! Too hot! No rain since May so the nature are very dry...I hope for some rain now, a fresh autumn with clear air :)
    Love from Titti

    1. Yes, this summer has been challenging. Recently, we have been experiencing lots of sudden thunderstorms that arrive mid-afternoon, or sometimes after sunset. These are temporarily cooling...but I admit that I am beginning to yearn for autumn. Thanks so much for visiting and your comment. xo

  13. I usually check in once week to see if you have had the chance to post anything so must have just missed this one "going live" - what a lovely surprise.
    This summer heat & humidity has indeed been challenging - I do not enjoy it feeling like 40C - 110F - Too hot!
    This exhibit looks fascinating and the setting is amazing - your photography is always wonderful so thank you for this. I hope you get through the rest of the summer and that we all get some emerge back come September!

    1. Hello back to you, Margie, and thanks for your patience...and your comment. In NYC today, it feels as if we are in a big soup bowl of humidity. Energy sapping for sure. Rain arrives later and we are promised welcome relief tomorrow. Hooray! xo

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