|The Roses of Heliogabalus - Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1888 "suffocation by erotically charged flowers"|
|Jacquie's Jardin - Le Marquisat - Gardes-le-Pontoroux|
|A tile from La nascita di Venere, Birth of Venus - Sandro Botticelli|
|More Botticelli Tiles|
I took a lot of disappointing photos of the sculptures/statues in the Istanbul Archeological Museum. Maybe it was the lighting, but the marble was so cold and impenetrable. I could not find Aphrodite's "secret life." Botticelli has a vibrant bead on her.
When Kevin was in architectural school, in part, he put himself through school by apprenticing to a New Orleans architect named Merlin McCullough (not to worry, Merlin, aptly named, has long since departed after burning his candle at both ends!) Kev copied the great masters for Monsieur Merlin, who turned around and sold them at outrageous prices to his well-heeled, southern, social climbing clients. Kevin got a pittance, but he loved painting them and entering into the zeitgeist of the artists' brushstrokes. He told me he was drawn to Rembrandt's lush, dark palette with its golden earthtones - the chiaroscuro style - strong lights and heavy shadows. The density of color built up by small brushstrokes. It's one of the reasons he likes the look of Kevin Spacey's "House of Cards", the sombre, yet rich interiors. The entire two seasons take place in a series of shadowed rooms. With Vermeer, K liked the intimacy, the small details of an ordinary person's life; a pearl earring.
I asked him about Botticelli and he said, "painting in that style was to enter into the world of mythology and universality, regal-religious themes, e.g., 'The Coronation of the Virgin...' And he also said that I have a "Botticelli belly". Wa!
|Daffodils - Marthon|
This is sort of how it looked, but you can't see the obstacle course we conquered to get there:
|Daffodil Meadow - Valley of the Moon - Ann Horn|
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
Being with Kathy helps me to see things with fresh eyes. With innocence and wisdom she lets herself be found by the world. She pays attention - an alive state that readies one for revelation. We reveled in "Hanami," the Japanese traditional custom of "flower viewing" coupled with the appreciation of the transience of flowers...and all things. And when you are with people like Kathy, you forget yourself; there is a timeless quality to all that you share. Very "Zen", as the French say.
|Venus - Istanbul Archeological Museum|
|Cat delights in Hanami of "Sakura"(Cherry Blossom) - Ellen Kaufman|
|Sakura "Graffiti" - Hanami|
A bare tree painted on a wall at the Arahama public beach in Japan's Ogatsu district that suddenly "sprouted" cherry blossoms as people started leaving their pink and red painted palm prints as a message of hope for the people in the area ravaged by the 2011 Tsunami. The wall was built by a 50 year old plasterer from Gifu Prefecture along with other local volunteers. The wall was named "Ogatsu kibo no campus" or Ogatsu wish campus. The residents and visitors started leaving pictures and messages and their thoughts on the wall becoming one collective expression of sadness and hope amidst the disaster that befell them. Many of the residents moved away after the disaster, but one who stayed, 78 year old local Ikuyo Takahashi, wants to sit beneath the cherry tree and "wait for everyone who left to come back."
I think The Empress is in "the house," generating new life. She's the symbol of hope and new beginnings. The thought of one, the fertility of two, results in the creativity of the three. The Empress's sign is VENUS.
|A bridge to somewhere - maybe Spring?|
Kathy is the embodiment of "The Empress". And I think of The Empress as the embodiment of Spring; Demeter, the Earth Mother. Mythically, Venus and Demeter are seen as the same archetype - the symbol of humankind's ability to extend love and receive love. I am blessed to have many Empresses in my life, Dawn, Ruffles, Kim, Liisa, Dale, Jacquie, Jodie, Christine, to name just a few.
Tarot card from the Visconti-Sforza 15th c. deck, the oldest known in existence. I am holding the Empress card in my hand from the I Tarocchi del Visconti deck No. 516, faithfully reproduced by Osvaldo Meneghello in his shop in Milan, Italy. Thanks to another Empress who also knows all about Hanami and Sakura, Arnell Ando, our Italy Tarot tour leader (www.arnellart.com), I was able to obtain this gorgeous deck in its handmade box when we visited Osvaldo's shop.
|L'IMPERATRICE - THE EMPRESS|
Arnell also gifted me with the most wonderful book by Stewart S. Warren, "Pointing to my Heart"** - poetry journey through the Visconti-Sforza Tarot - a collection of 22 poems provided side by side with corresponding color images of the Triumphs from the historic deck. I love the first line of Arnell's introduction: "It is a special breed of creative individuals that are drawn to the mystical realms of the Tarot." Or maybe we are just out of our minds, but what a splendid madness!