Casual chat

When Greeks engage in a friendly discussion, it sounds like they’re arguing. Even if they’re just talking about the weather, under the sun, in one of the most stunning neighbourhoods in Athens – Dionysiou Areopagitou, a pedestrianised street around the archaeological site of Acropolis.

August 22nd, 2020

Etched in Stone

The Stone House in Hurley was a Bed and Breakfast in a 300 year old Dutch estate, built sometime between 1705 and 1720, when New York was still New Amsterdam. There are more Dutch stone houses in Hurley, a village founded in 1662 as Nieuw Dorp by Dutch and Huguenots from Wiltwyck (now Kingston), burned to the ground by Esopus Natives, angry because they hadn’t been reimbursed for their lands, only to be rebuilt and remain Dutch until it was transferred to the English in 1664. And although its name was changed to Hurley, it remained Dutch in language and architecture. Our room was an homage to Vermeer’s most famous painting ”Girl with a Pearl Earring”, created around that time (c. 1665).

Our host was eagerly waiting to show us to the ”Girl with a Pearl Earring” – but only after we’d paid our dues!

The Stone House, Hurley, N.Y.

It has since been converted to a botanical perfume distillery, adding more aroma to its long history.

July 27th, 2019

An obnoxious cat

”Firmin-Girard enjoyed great popularity at the time the Impressionists were revolting against the highly detailed, academic style that he practiced. However, Firmin-Girard shared the Impressionists’ interest in painting modern life, especially scenes along the River Seine. In this work, Parisians enjoy a Sunday brasserie overlooking the river at Bas-Meudon southwest of Paris. At left, the artist depicted his daughter stroking an appreciative cat as her brother chats with their grandmother…” (from the accompanying tag)

An appreciative cat? I don’t think so… What I see, is a mean character, eyes narrowed, probably plotting its next attack; I can almost hear it hissing and growling at the dog across the street.

Marie-François Firmin-Girard (1838-1921)
Sunday at Bas-Meudon, 1884
Oil on canvas

Portland Art Museum

June 9th, 2018