summer magic and a blog break

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” ~ John Keats

“Wonderland” by Christian Schloe

 

It’s Summer!

Hello, fragrant, fruitful mornings with sunlight streaming through the windows, long lazy days luring us to dreaminess.

 

“Wind, Clouds, and Tea”

 

Awake, abloom, aloft — we eschew the tedium of routine, courting freedom, relaxation, play. William Carlos Williams once said, “In summer, the song sings itself.”

SUMMER SONG
by William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning, —
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer’s smile, —
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
sky-blue
where would they carry me?

“Secret Entrance”

 

There is something so carefree and magical about summer — time of campfires and fireflies, travel and adventure, wonder and romance.

“Fly Away”

 

We need venture no further than the pages of a good book to discover our heart’s delight. Cicero said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

THE HOUSE WAS QUIET AND THE WORLD WAS CALM
by Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

 

In the reverie of a fine summer night, the line between reality and imagination blurs. The sky opens wide with possibility, showing off its stars. Novelist Peter S. Beagle said, “Anything can happen in a world that holds such beauty.”

“The Wishing Star”

 

SUMMER STARS
by Carl Sandburg

Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.

“Night Makers”

 

As we sign off for our summer blog break, we wish you the calm and space to dream, long arms to reach for the stars, and big bowlfuls of inspiration and whimsy.

“Moondrops”

 

🌟 HAVE A TERRIFIC SUMMER AND SHINE YOUR LIGHT!! 🌓

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“Midnight Sky”

 

“All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”

—L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

 

“Set Your Heart Free”

 

♥️ The digital illustrations in this post were created by Austrian surrealist artist Christian Schloe. See more of his work here.

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The lovely and talented Michelle Kogan is hosting the Roundup. Drift over in your hot air balloon and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. See you in late August/early September!


Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Flower Box, Flower Box! Celebrate all things green and abloom this summer with these lovely postcards published by Princeton Architectural Press.

Sunflowers, roses, succulents, ferns, wildflowers— this rich bouquet of postcards features one hundred botanical postcards by ten celebrated artists from around the world: Sonia Cavallini, Nour Flayhan, Carolyn Gavin, Jen Hewett, Sam Kalda, Marc Martin, Angela McKay of Ohkii Studio, Clover Robin, Wies van der Velde of SowiesoWies, and Rose Wong. A booklet about the artists highlights their creative processes, influences, and favorite plants.

I love the idea of having lots of postcards on hand — you just never know when you might feel like sending a little natural beauty through the mail to a special someone. Wouldn’t it also be fun to select several of these and frame them?  🙂

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2. New Book Alert! Look what’s coming out a week from today: See You On a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder (Scholastic Press, 2018)!!

Juliet has just moved to a beachside town with her newly separated mother and her moody older sister. When she meets their new neighbor, Emma, the girls form an instant bond. Emma’s big family takes Juliet in, and the girls have fun together — starting with the night they throw bottles with secret messages into the sea.

Then someone writes back to Juliet’s message. An email arrives, inviting her to join the Starry Beach Club. All she has to do is make someone else’s wish come true.

So Juliet and Emma set off to help as many other people as they can. It’s fun! But as Juliet spends more and more time away from home, enjoying her new town and Emma’s family more than her own mom and sister, she starts feeling lost. It’s been easy to find others to help. But maybe her star would shine a little brighter if she brought it closer to home.

Lisa is one of those rare, versatile authors who can write well in several different genres. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed her picture books, middle grade and YA novels. This new middle grade book sounds like the perfect summer read. Have you ever sent a secret message in a bottle?

Available for pre-order NOW!

Congratulations, Lisa!

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marc chagall’s blue world

“Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.” ~ Marc Chagall

“Lovers in Blue” (1914)

 

I’m a longtime Marc Chagall fan, and during this, my THINK BLUE year, I’m finding his work especially nourishing.

Who can resist his beautiful paintings– poetic inner dreamscapes replete with joy and childlike imagination? We are reminded that truth of vision is neither linear nor precise, but often abstract. He asks us to feel what he feels.

 

“Le Paysage Bleu” (1949)

 

French art critic Raymond Cogniat said this about Chagall’s work:

The most obviously constant element is his gift for happiness and his instinctive compassion, which even in the most serious subjects prevents him from dramatization . . .  Musicians have been a constant during all stages of his work. After he first got married, ‘lovers have sought each other, embraced, caressed, floated through the air, met in wreaths of flowers, stretched, and swooped like the melodious passage of their vivid day-dreams. Acrobats contort themselves with the grace of exotic flowers on the end of their stems; flowers and foliage abound everywhere.

Sigh. And he said this about Chagall’s use of color, which is what initially attracts the viewer and captures his attention:

The colors are a living, integral part of the picture and are never passively flat, or banal like an afterthought. They sculpt and animate the volume of the shapes. . . they indulge in flights of fancy and invention which add new perspectives and graduated, blended tones . . . His colors do not even attempt to imitate nature but rather to suggest movements, planes and rhythms.

Chagall was able to convey striking images using only two or three colors. Look what he was able to do with BLUE!

Sometimes up is down, and down is up. Chagall painted his heart on the canvas. He once said:

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love . . . If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

These days there seems to be a shortage of love in this country. A good antidote is to immerse oneself in Chagall’s work — the stunning, swirling blues of moonlight, romance, memory, compassion, holiness, fantasy, truth. A blue face, a blue angel, a blue village, all help to heal a broken world.

 

“Lovers in the Sky” (1928-30)

 

from Fables of La Fontaine (1997)

 

“Le Violoniste Bleu” (1947)

 

“Two Pigeons” (1925)

 

“Enfant avec une Colombe” (1977)

 

“Artist and His Model” (1973)

 

“Notre Dame et La Tour Eiffel” (1960)

 

“The Wedding” (1980)

 

“The Blue House” (1917)

 

“Window Over a Garden” (1917)

 

“Ebony Horse/Arabian Nights” (1948)

 

“The Painter” (1978)

 

“Le Rêve de Chagall sur Vitebsk” (1950-53)

 

“Acrobat with Bouquet” (1963)

 

“Lovers Among Lilacs” (1930)

 

“Self Portrait” (1959-1968)

 

“Monotypes en couleur” (1963)

 

“Le Champ de Mars” (1954-55)

 

“The Juggler of Paris” (1969)

 

“Le Cirque, Paris” (1967)

 

“Le Cirque, Paris” (1967)

 

“The Lovers” (1929)

 

“Lovers in Moonlight” (1938)

 

“Animal dans les fleurs” (1952-59)

 

“Blue Village” (1975)

 

“Around Her” (1945)

 

“Blue Face” (1967)

 

“Blue Angel” (1937)

 

“The Blue Studio” (1973)

 

“Les Amoureux en Bleu” (1930)

 

“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her.” ~ Marc Chagall

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HAPPY TUESDAY

HOPE YOU SOAR

THINK BLUE

🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣


Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

all things wild and wonderful: reich károly’s children’s book illustrations

Recently, while browsing online for bear pictures (as all good arctophiles are wont to do), I chanced upon the work of Hungarian artist Reich Károly (1922-1988).

Just in case you’re feeling a little color starved and need some spring into summer inspiration, thought I’d share some of his children’s book illustrations today. Who can resist his bright colors, whimsy, and contagious joy?

Not only did I find the bears I craved (he once designed some bear postage stamps!), but so many other wonderful animals too. His style is child-like, charming, and irresistible. You just have to smile when looking at his pictures. 🙂

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bob dylan birthday blues

“The land created me. I’m wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I’m more at home in the vacant lots.” ~ Bob Dylan

Since the man is turning 77 today, we’re gonna sing a little birthday blues by featuring some of Dylan’s “blue paintings” paired with bits of his song lyrics.

Did you know that besides being a 12-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, poet, author, small-batch whiskey entrepreneur, metal works artist, and Nobel, Pulitzer, Medal of Freedom, Oscar, and Golden Globe winner, Dylan is also an accomplished painter?

We first saw his work gracing the covers of two 70’s albums (Self Portrait and Planet Waves), but he didn’t start seriously exhibiting and selling his paintings until 2007. Like many extraordinarily gifted creatives, his output benefits from the cross-fertilization of art forms.

Dylan is that rare person who can move effortlessly between music, word, ink, paint, as if he’s just futzing around with a few different instruments in the studio. Yet again and again he reflects life back to us with a truth and simplicity that defy words . . . seemingly unworried about how something looks, he’s not after artistic perfection, but something larger, a moment, a feeling. The effect is enthralling.

~ Marisha Pessl, New York Times

I love his frequent use of blues, and of course how often he depicts eateries. It’s fascinating to see the world through Dylan’s (blue) eyes 🙂 — he’s drawn to back streets, alley ways, country roads, bridges, train tracks — landscapes and urban scenes “unpolluted by the ephemera of pop culture.” There’s a noted absence of people in most of these paintings, conveying a sense of loneliness and a nostalgia for simpler times.

“Nowhere and Anywhere” (2017)

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