The spring blooms, the sunny, warm day and a surprise arts and craft show set up under tents made for a wonderful visit. Photos will show the best overview that I could give you.
The last stop of the day was at the request of my sister, Jan. The Aldie Mansion built in 1927, in Great Gatsby style of the roaring 20’s, is now under the auspices of the Heritage Conservancy. It is used primarily as a historic wedding venue. From the exterior, it is impressive and beautifully maintained as are the fabulous grounds and patios surrounding it.
As we said our good byes to Bucks County, PA, both of us felt the same sentiment, “Oh, what we would have missed if we hadn’t fully satiated our hunger for these last two places of interest!”
Cultural Travels without visiting at least one church in a town filled with notable history is like leaving an area unsatisfied or not completely fulfilled. We passed by this beauty, Salem United Church of Christ, on our way to Henry Chapman Mercer‘s home, Fonthill Castle and to the Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, a place on the National Historic Register where Chapman made a good deal of his bread and butter during the Arts and Crafts Movement. Inside the church is the tilework of the man of whom our focus is on.
Quite unexpected was the Spanish Mission Revival architecture of Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tileworks which was built to “master the potter’s art and establish pottery under personal control.” The working history museum lies adjacent to Mercer’s home – another enormous castle named Fonthill.
Our visits to Mercer Castle, Fonthill Castle and Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tilework led me to ponder the enormous amount of energy and brainpower it took Henry Chapman Mercer to conceive his vision for all three structures and bring them forth. Fortunate that he bequeathed it all for public enjoyment of future generations and for those who like to learn and have cultural experiences in their lifetimes.
My hunger for more cultural sites from Bucks County, PA had not quite been satisfied nor had my sister’s. We each had one more place we wanted to visit before leaving the area.
Come on back on May 3rd for the final post in this three part series. If you hunger for more art and culture from your armchair, we believe we’ll have something more you’ll enjoy from AllThingsFulfilling.com.
The weekend after Easter my twin sister came to visit. As always, we had a fabulous time together. Just a stone’s throw away northward to Bucks County, PA our travels took us. Our forays together usually include elements of exploring art, architecture, books and gardens and seeing landmarks of interest located in Main Street Historic Towns. It’s what floats both of our boat loads of interests.
We discovered Doylestown, PA just two hours north of where I live. What a gem, especially in terms of what we set our sites on seeing when we go on a “Sister’s Travel” excursion. Our first stop was the Mercer Museum, which was built to house Henry Chapman Mercer’s collections. He was “a noted tile-maker, archaeologist, antiquarian, artist and writer, a leader in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement.”
His museum is a “six-story reinforced concrete castle” designed by the man himself completed in 1916. It was built by just eight men over four years. Inside you can see artifacts from 60 types of arts and crafts of the period. Here are a few pictures outside and inside the castle walls. So impressive it was that we hope our two brothers in the building trade will someday take time to go see it and the primitive tools used to build the colossal castle.
Our next stop was conveniently located across the street, which we enjoyed seeing with a walkabout – The James A Michener Art Museum is filled with a permanent collection of Pennsylvania Impressionistic paintings as well as a great range of revolving artist exhibits and they offer art workshops for children.
In the next post on AllThingsFulfilling.com I will share more information including another castle with a fantastic art attraction all on one gorgeous not so very small land plot.
There is so much to share, one story at a time, with our readers on AllThingsFulfilling.com about our visit to Buck’s County cultural and art attractions. See you back here in a few days time!
The day before Easter I returned to an arts space I had visited last fall – the Gallery at Manor Mill in the small historic settlement in Monkton, Maryland. I’d gone especially to see the new equine collection of oils by Pamela Wilde. The equine paintings show horses and their riders engaged in various competitions and performances. It is a very appropriate grouping of paintings to hang in a barn that has been a historical restoration project in northern Baltimore County. Monkton is located in the heart of Maryland’s horse and hound countryside where there are many collectors of equine art.
Pamela Lofgren Wilde‘s exhibit is a total of forty-eight oil paintings also including streetscapes, portraiture and a delectable mix of other subjects. Here is a photo of artist Pam Wilde with her Easter “fascinator hat” styled to go along with the era of her vintage dress.
Here are just a few more images of her oils, which will hang until May 30th.
For more information on the current exhibit visit the Gallery at Manor Mill. A trip to see the pre-Revolutionary grist mill which has been turned into a fabulous art space is worth the drive, in and of itself!
It was a fulfilling Saturday before Easter on the Art Scene in the Hunt Country of Maryland.
As with most authors, with each publication I’ve penned, I’ve had “Angels Across the Fence” who have helped sell books by recommending my publication as being a “good read.” Some of those angels, I’ve known exactly who they are because they’ve told me they passed the word on about my writing. And to those I do not know, I am extremely grateful for their recommendation to their friends, neighbors and other book lovers.
We all need cheerleaders in our lives so, when I see an artists work in other mediums I really like, I enjoy sharing with others. One such artist I met last week at The Farmers Daughter in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She was out for a splendid day of plein air painting. We had a very pleasant conversation and from what I could see from her yet to be finished watercolor, she has much talent. Patricia Varon mentioned she maintains a studio in Wickford, RI and she gave me her card which was devoid of a website. I located her website, however, little information was available. It could be that it is still in development. I suppose I should not have been surprised.
“You ought to go to Wickford, she said. It is such a charming little village with a beautiful harbor and other artists.” It was on my sister’s list of places to take me, so we did and had a delightful time.
After my chat with Patricia Varon, I became a bit pensive when I thought about how many very talented artists go undiscovered. I hope she is not one of them, so, the least I can do is be an angel across the fence and post this picture of her at The Fabulous Farmers Daughter, which provided a wealth of perfect spots to paint from.
Pleased to meet you Patricia Varon! I sure enjoyed our conversation about your watercolor and pastel art. And Wickford was every bit the picture you painted for me through your words about the charming community! More about Wickford, Rhode Island to come!
Once Upon a Canvas there was white space. And three hours later, the canvas looked quite different. Here is Part 1 of what happened….
But first… let me set the scene.
Location: The Liriodendron Mansion, Harford County, Maryland. Summer home of Dr. and Mrs. Howard Atwood Kelly, one of five founding physicians of the venerable Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Built in the late 1800’s.
Weather: 8:30 am – 75 degrees. At the end of a three hour painting session, 92 degrees. Clear, sunny skies. A chorus of crickets loudly chirping in the background warning of summer’s end. The odors of the oil paint lingering, hanging heavier and heavier under the large portico and the ancient shade trees as the heat and humidity built.
A very patient semi-professional model – Dani Kurta all costumed in more clothing than anyone would be comfortable wearing on any hot summer day.
Props for the Artists: Easels, Pocade Boxes, oil paints and brushes, pastels and miscellaneous art supplies.
Props for the Model: Period clothing, an antique parasol (can’t forget that accessory on a steamy, sunny summers day) and a lovely fan! Proper lighting. And a wardrobe assistant or stylist (Dani Kurta’s mom!).
Sideliners An onlooker who adores art in all it’s forms! Including writing about it, yours truly, Sue Batton Leonard
The story continues below the image. Don’t miss it—
I arrived on the scene early, in time to see the artists spread their drop cloths, position their easels, get their supplies out. In the background the wardrobe assistant helped the model primp and preen and get ready for her three hour session. Decisions were made whether to use both the parasol and fan, how to position them for the best affect. Adjustments were made to the placement of the model’s chair and how the model would most comfortably hold the parasol so the entire weight would not be in her hand. After all, the antique parasol is weighty with a wooden handle and wooden spokes and the fabric is heavy, not like today’s umbrellas made of lightweight steel and nylon.
As the artists continued to set up, all I had to do is tune in and listen to their artists talk about the length of each session (20 minutes of painting then a 5 minute break for the model.) They also conversed about the supplies they were using, and many other matters of painting and exhibiting artwork. Then the lighting was turned on adjusted to a likeable warmth.
Please return to AllThingsFulfilling.com on September 6, 2021 for part two of Once Upon a Canvas brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard from The Liriodendron Mansion. Don’t miss it, there will be lots of colorful pictures!
My love for books and art often leads me to visiting the local library and local fine art and craft galleries when I travel. It is fun for me. My ten year residency in Colorado kept me somewhat in tune with Western art. When I was in Montana this summer, it was fun to revisit the works of artists who are located in the western part of the country,
I witnessed how very young children can enjoy art, too! I walked into the Rialto Theatre in Bozeman, MT and abstracts of horses greeted me. “Neigh, neigh!” a dear little sixteen month old girl, my new grand daughter whom I have finally met, shouted out as she pointed to the equines in the pictures! Frankly, I was surprised she recognized what it was in the abstract. But even the littlest ones, they often don’t miss a thing!
Once finished with the exhibit at the Rialto, next stop was a fabulous fine art gallery on Main Street I had heard of but had never visited before -, Montana Trails Gallery. My daughter-in-law, Meghan, my granddaughter Charlotte, and I had a grand time looking at the exquisite collection and stayed as long as a toddler could tolerate being contained in a backpack.
Once again, my little granddaughter shouted out “neigh, neigh” when she saw the horse paintings and bronze sculptures, “Baa-baa,” she said to the sheep in the pictures, and “moo-moo” to the cows. Ok, in her sixteen-month old experience and opinion, the “doggies” were mislabeled as wolves and foxes. Ah well…perhaps next time we return the labels will be corrected, I think in jest, with a big smile on my face as I remember her sweet little voice calling out to all the “doggies,” and her hands pointing to them as we walked through the gallery.
And lastly during my visit, my son and I took in the art scene at the Bozeman Art Museum. Unfortunately, with my faulty calendar reading we missed the plein air “paint out” two days prior. But on Monday,we did catch up and saw all the works of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters hanging, still wet with paint, at Bozeman Art Museum. I was familiar with a few artists such as Dave Santillanes, from working at the world-class Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs a few years ago. And the work of Chuck Marshall was familiar as well as Kathy Anderson, who is now represented by West Wind Fine Art, LLC, another superb fine art gallery where I worked when it was in Vermont. If you’d like to see the results of the canvases from the two hour “paint out,” I invite you to visit this link I have posted. Some of the paintings are still available for purchase.
Now, I’m back to East Coast art, which I enjoy immensely too! With the diverse landscape and culture in the United States of America, opportunities abound to share all kinds of art with the next generations. Sydney Gurewitz Clemens once said, “Art has a role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” I wholeheartedly agree!
As a life-long library patron, anytime I visit a library I have never frequented before, it’s like library week all over again. I recently visited one in the western part of the U.S.
Bozeman, Montana has a wonderful library. A good indicator of valuing future generations is a willingness to invest in good community resources for learning, information and gathering spaces which inspire discovery.
Located in the fourth largest city in Big Sky Country, the Bozeman Library is light-filled! In a place where winter is long and cold, an active library where one can find connection through book groups, children’s reading programs, at the library coffee shop and at special library sponsored events, is well appreciated. Sometimes getting involved in library activities can become a “life-saver” for those feeling disconnected or isolated.
Art abounds both in the interior and on the surrounding grounds of this and other public libraries around the country.
Through books, we are given the opportunity to fly off to places and meet people we ordinarily wouldn’t! So never discount the value of books and the importance an author feels to engage with others through the written word.
Over the past six weeks, I’ve enjoyed three living history presentations given by Colleen Webster. These events were sponsored by the Harford Artist Association and were well attended. Ms. Webster makes an art out of telling stories about creatives of long ago who left their mark on this world. Thanks to the ephemera they left behind and the protection of copyright laws, their bodies of work live on in public domains such as in art museums, on shelves in libraries and bookstores, and in oral history stories.
The first living history presentation featured artist Rita Kahlo. Learning about her personality and traumatic occurrences throughout her life helped me to understand her art. There is little doubt both became artistically rendered through her craft. Her painting sustained her through difficulty and tragedy. There is more about this performance on this blog post called Interpreting Art and Life.
The 2nd in the series was about the life of painter artist Georgia O’Keefe who is most frequently associated with her images of stunning poppies and her studio and residence in New Mexico. Here is an article I wrote some years ago on allthingsfulfilling.com after visiting the O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe. O’Keefe’s life was long, she lived to nearly 100, so there was plenty I wasn’t aware of which was brought out in Colleen Webster’s oral portrayal of the artist.
The subject of the third living history performance by Colleen Webster was about author and poet Dorothy Parker. Like Kahlo and O’Keefe she too was born before her time. It took enormous vulnerability on the part of all three to pursue their art and live so independently and so differently than others of their gender in their day and age. The women all lived lifestyles that many would describe as gutsy, rash, reckless and irresponsible. Yet, it was their love for their art that kept propelling them forward. O’Keefe freely admitted “she was scared every day of her life,” but pursued her passion anyway. How’s that for unstoppable and driven?
I’d like to thank the Harford Artist Association for bringing these very memorable performances to our community. For more information on other living history presentations by Colleen Webster and her schedule of events, please visit her website.
According to an article about intentional creativity, art is derived from our communications with ourselves. From these oral presentations, the audience could better understand each artists life and how the fulfillment of it was translated into their art. The “Red Thread Chronicles” articulates stories of the power of art on women’s lives globally. Check it out.
“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” ― Georgia O’Keeffe