1. Here’s the perfect cheer-up: cut paper collages courtesy of UK illustrator and surface pattern artist Tracey English!
Love her refreshing style, pretty colors, uplifting subjects, and appealing compositions. Tracey lives in SW London with her husband, two sons, a cat named Jelly and their dog Daisy. If I do say so myself, she has the *best* surname. 🙂
She uses hand painted papers in all her pieces, and has worked for such clients as Quarry Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, Design House Greeting, and Calypso Cards.
One can’t help but feel happy when looking at her pictures; she has such a joyous spirit! I mean — ice cream sundaes, birthday tea, blue pots, birdies in cups! Does she know me or what?
Every afternoon at two-fifteen they come,
a procession of chairs and walkers,
or unaided in a slow and ponderous shuffle,
backs hunched against the unkindness of time,
to assemble in the great room for tea.
They enjoy this ritual —
the sturdy cups of Orange Pekoe,
cookies and squares that break up a day,
words exchanged, sometimes even heard,
by folk whose paths might not have crossed before.
It’s a slow dance, led by invisible partners.
It’s the last dance, and they’re saving it
for every afternoon at two-fifteen.
Nursing homes have been in the news a lot lately. After all, it was a nursing home — the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington — that first warranted our serious concern about COVID-19’s community spread in the U.S. back in late February.
We learned that the elderly were the most vulnerable, and that many residents as well as caregivers had been lost or were fighting for their lives across the country.
When I stumbled upon this lovely poem by Canadian poet Linda Crosfield recently, I couldn’t help but view it through the lens of the pandemic. The cherished ritual of afternoon tea took on an added poignancy as I thought of those who no longer have the joy of a “last dance” to look forward to.
As it turns out, though, there was a bright spot, a glimmer of hope.
When I contacted Linda to ask for permission to share her poem, she provided a little backstory about it:
I wrote “Tea at Jubilee Manor” when my aunt was living there. It’s a nursing home in Nelson, BC. She died at 102 in 2012. Now my mother is in the same place and she’s turning 100 on June 3rd. Sadly, it won’t be quite the celebration we’d always planned. Can’t see her in person. No hugs. No flowers. Gifts frowned on. But we can send in one of those little airline-sized bottles of gin and some tonic and we will toast her over the fence on the day.
Now the poem is even more meaningful. Though I was sorry to hear Linda and her family won’t be able to celebrate this landmark birthday in person, I was so relieved that her mom is okay and would indeed be observing a rare milestone next week.
Would you like to meet Daisy? Here she is:
Have you ever seen such a beautiful face, such a wonderful smile? Oh, the people she’s met, the things and places she’s seen, the love she’s shared in 100 years! And she’s given us a poet!
Oh, look — it’s 2:15! In honor of Daisy’s birthday on Wednesday, we’ve set up a little afternoon tea. Please help yourself to some marble cake, dark chocolate pretzels, lemon, oat, and chocolate chip cookies, and of course, a warm cup of Orange Pekoe.
If not for Linda’s poem, our paths might never have crossed. Just as her heartening words suggest, we must follow the lead of our wise elders by rejoicing in simple pleasures and cherishing each moment as it comes, with gratitude that it’s been given.
There’s much to be said, especially in tough, unpredictable times, about treating each slow dance as your last.
While you nibble and sip, enjoy this mini gallery of seniors and Samantha Reynolds’s poem, as a way of honoring those we’ve lost, those we’ve found, and those we’ve yet to meet. Not to be forgotten, devalued, discounted or sacrificed, but revered, respected and treasured.
Let’s celebrate the merry month of May with Allyn Howard’slovely, winsome art. 🙂
Allyn is a painter living and working in Brooklyn, NY. I was immediately drawn to her pretty florals and charming animals. One can’t help but feel uplifted by her cheerful colors and playful, childlike designs.
Originally from Virginia, where she received her BFA from VCU in Communication Arts and Design, she went on to earn an MFA in Studio Art from NYU.
My work reflects my interest in the wonders of nature, often from the vantage point of small curious animals. I use water based acrylics on wood, paper and canvas, merging a decorative style with a colorful painterly one. My work is inspired by friendship, a sense of home and the discovery and sense of wonder observing the big beautiful world.
She excels in surface design; her fine detailed work lends itself well to fabrics, wallpaper, gift wrap, and a variety of personal accessories. Of course all her adorable animal friends brim with kid appeal (a selection of fine art prints, perfect for hanging in children’s rooms, is available via Oopsy Daisy).
1. Something to make us feel happy, safe, and comforted: charming watercolor and gouache paintings by Loré Pemberton.
Couldn’t find very much information about Loré online, other than she’s an artist who lives with her family in the northern woods of Vermont tucked between a mountain and a river in a place they call Cold Hollow.
Her style reminds me a little of Phoebe Wahl’s (which I adore), and features rustic woodland scenes, mothers, children and small animals.
There’s a lovely harmony with nature; children enjoy exploring the forest, catching fireflies, walking through the snow, and having outdoor parties.
This painting, called “Holed Up,” seems appropriate for these times. The three figures in red seem quite content in their cozy underground digs.
And this is Mr Cornelius’s favorite: “Mr. Bear’s House.” He would like to have his own little house with a mailbox with his name on it, and have Fuzzy the Fox peek in the window.
Loré fills her pictures with homey details like braided rugs, quilts, and the simple trappings of rustic living.
Each bird, bee, blossom, butterfly — was a source of joy and wonder for young Emily Dickinson. In this beautiful new picture book biography, aptly illustrated with a butterfly motif, we witness her singular metamorphosis from a keenly observant child into one of the most original and innovative poets in American literature.
Berne’s lyrical narrative is artfully interwoven with Emily’s own words, creating an intimate sense of immediacy as we become privy to the poet’s “letter to the World.”
We first see how young Emily “met the world,” exploring her natural surroundings with great curiosity and affection. Nothing was too small or insignificant to warrant her full attention, and she “found new words for everything she was discovering.”
The bee is not afraid of me, I know the butterfly . . . The brooks laugh louder when I come.
Emily loved so many things — her brother Austin, her school friends, and most of all, books, for each “was an adventure, a distant journey on a sea of words.” From early on, she was intense and passionate, with strong desires, deep thoughts, and heightened emotional highs and lows.