Whenever I visit a gallery of paintings, the works that depict textiles grab most of my attention. Bob and I visited the New Britain Museum of American Art last week. It was our anniversary, and I could picture us wandering the galleries together and talking about what we liked. In reality, we were hardly in a room together. He lingered over the landscapes, while I was drawn to portraits and landscapes studded with people captured in the daily work of living.
This is the prize winner. I had to go back twice and look again. It is a stunning landscape with the fog and the sheep in the background, and the spent flowers in the foreground. But these two girls are show stoppers! I can feel the chill in the air, the blush on their cheeks from hard work, the roughness of their clothing. And look! One girl is knitting! Daniel Ridgway Knight, The Meeting. 1888.
I know you want a closer look, as I did.
And here, Thomas Eakins has captured an elderly woman doing handwork. He called this painting Old Lady Sewing. Perhaps she was younger than I am now when he painted her, although I’d at least like to think I look younger than she does. At any rate, even 10 years ago, I could not do fine work by such light.
Closer, you ask? My phone brightened the colors too much.
Whenever I visited the Metropolitan or the Frick, when I lived nearby, I would get pulled into the paintings that depicted lacework. New Britain had a few examples. This is John Singer Sargent’s Miss Cara Burch, 1888. While everyone else admires this young girl’s porcelain complexion, I am studying crispness of her silk dress and the frill at the edge of her ruffled neckline and bodice.
This painting was a pleasure with its riot of textiles. Woman before a Mirror, 1918.
I recently saw this image connected to an Augusten Burroughs quote. Some things are so awkwardly true.
Earlier this week, my English friend Lesley sent me this photo. She was staying at an inn in Belgium, where the innkeeper teaches lace techniques during the day and runs the inn in the evenings. That would be a terrific get away for a few people I know!
This afternoon, as I write this, I have a pot of finely chopped carrot tops simmering on the stove. I’m waiting for them to give up their color, which could take another hour or so. When they do, I’ll add some alum mordanted, white wool yarn from Weavers’ Bazaar. I believe it is mostly Leicester Long Wool, spun for tapestry. Fingers crossed that I’ll get the lovely spring green that Jenny Dean got in one of her books. If there’s time, I’ll continue doing the finishing work on my little Portuguese Man of War tapestry.
And June is calling…. I want to get outside for a bit!