Secret Chamber

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I have always been drawn to the exquisite beauty of all that is Ancient Egypt.  I took an Egyptology course at University College while teaching at Bryant & Stratton back in the ’80s to answer a student who questioned why and how Egyptian fashion was selected as the first chapter in the costume history textbook.

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The answer lies in art, because all of our history to do with ancient cultures comes not from the written word, but from pictures – in this case hieroglyphics, tomb murals and, of course jewelry, as well as the remnants of clothing made of linen fiber.

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I learned that Napoleon’s French army invaded Egypt in 1798.  They rediscovered the antiquities and were the first archeologists to investigate the area.  It wasn’t the painstaking attention to delicate detail that it is today or even remotely a respectful handling of human remains.

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Many mummies were burned as fuel for steam engines, which is just so tragic.  Later on, in the following century, Egypt became an exotic vacation spot for wealthy Americans who enjoyed purchasing the baubles, scarab beetle decor, and mummies!

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They held mummy unveiling dinner parties back in the States, stuff like that.

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Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.  This significant find catapulted Egyptian archeology in terms of the level of importance, the regard for history and the sheer magic in attaining this priceless treasure.

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Somewhere in the middle, during the Victorian age, Cazenovia Public Library benefactor Robert James Hubbard and his son accumulated a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts including an intricately wrapped-in-linen mummy for the purpose of creating a museum.

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And so, yes, there is a mummy in this library.

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Yesterday, Janine and I visited Cazenovia, New York; first stop, Cazenovia Artisans, second, Common Grounds and next, to the library to see this exhibit.  We ended up at Empire Farm Brewery for lunch.  Janine had never been to any of these spots nor had she an idea this breathtaking collection even existed.  So, my thought is that not many of you know about it.  You’re welcome!

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When I taught elementary art at Bridgeport Elementary School in our district, I decided to add a few lessons on Ancient Egypt culture to the third grade curriculum, because I had this knowledge I wanted to share.  I created a cat mummy sculpture lesson.  Naturally, no pets were harmed.  Students’ sculptures were made of an armature of plastic bottles and styrofoam balls.  They were void of remains, unlike the actual cat mummy at this museum.

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At Chittenango, it is the sixth graders who study the ancient civilizations in Social Studies.  They do take a field trip to Cazenovia Library, as the village is adjacent to our school district via Route 13.  I highly recommend a visit.  It is free and really quite extraordinary.

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The library is located at 100 Albany Street, Cazenovia, New York 13035.  It is open Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 pm.  They are closed on Sundays.  Call (315) 655-9322 for more information.

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The museum space is also home to a gallery for rotating local artist/art organization exhibitions, as well as a wonderful exhibit of birds and plumage in fashion.  They also have many interesting activities for children including puzzle clubs and such.  Yesterday they had a hot chocolate and cookie station available.  Set in a Victorian mansion, this is truly a quaint and lovely experience that really packs a secret chamber punch.  So special!  ❤

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Best Intentions

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Janine and I took a trip to Cazenovia, New York today.  We visited Cazenovia Artisans, an artist’s co-op.  It is located at 39 Albany Street in the heart of the village.  Linda Bigness just joined, so I thought it would be fun to visit and see the new work. (For a full list of artists in the cooperative, visit their website).

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Bob Ripley was manning the register.  He is a former Advertising Design man turned full time watercolorist.  His work is AMAZING!

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It was such an honor to meet him and speak with him about his art.  Bob uses Windsor & Newton watercolors and Arches 300 pound paper, which he staples into foam board while working on the individual pieces.

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Bob shared his technique – here he is working on a commission.  He added the figure of the man into the landscape and strategically placed the fishing line to add rhythm to the composition.

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He uses frisket to assist in the layering process of glazing.  It stops the paint from bleeding into areas and also helps to save the white of the paper, which is a watercolor technique used instead of painting with the more opaque Chinese white paint.  In addition, he shared a method he’d perfected through trial and error – placing clear transparent tape on an area then going back in and shaving the edge with an Exacto blade to match it with the landscape, all to insure that the paint stays where it belongs.

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Watercolor is tricky that way.  It is about sheer layers blending together.  Bob was very clear about never using black.  Instead, he combines Hooker’s Green and Alizarin Crimson or if he wants a cooler looking dark, he mixes the Alizarin with Ultramarine Blue.

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This work is really incredible.  Each piece takes about seventy or eighty hours to complete.  Bob draws the basic lines of the landscape then adds more detail with pencil as needed.

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There are original watercolor paintings on the wall for sale, as well as high quality Giclee prints, which look almost identical to the originals in quality and color.  Each piece is infused with Bob Ripley’s vivacious spirit.  He is so talented!

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Thank you, Bob Ripley!!!  And thank you, Janine Hudun, for joining me.  We also popped over to the Cazenovia Public Library to visit their museum and gallery (blog to follow) then had lunch at Empire Farm Brewery.

I privately set an intention this morning – I wanted to see a cardinal, believe it or not.  People always say that when a cardinal crosses your path, it is a sign that someone who has passed away is nearby.  I was sifting through Bob’s prints thinking I might see one (I can’t explain why I thought he would even have one). Then I turned and found a cardinal print in his section on the greeting card fixture!

Later that day, I saw an actual cardinal while hiking around Green Lakes.  It literally called out to me then it frantically fluttered about while I flustered getting my cell phone from my pocket.  I was laughing and crying at the same time while trying to get the shot, so this is not a great picture, lol, but it doesn’t matter.  Thanks, Dad. ❤

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Cazenovia Artisans is open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  For more information call (315) 655-2225.

In the Flesh and Flora

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It was only my second time at LeMoyne College.  I remembered which street to turn into to get to the parking lot that leads to the Noreen Reale Falcone Library on the campus in DeWitt, New York, but once inside, the Wilson Art Gallery was not where it used to be.  I guess they renovated since I was last there, lol.  It was sort of strange, coupled with the fact that I got the time wrong and missed the entire two hour party by fifteen minutes.  The art is currently gracing the walls directly opposite the front door, which allows it to greet all visitors in the captive-audience style.  It also appears as a larger space than the previous venue, which, I admit,  is a win-win.

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The new show is titled Spring is on the Way.  It offers lovely floral incarnations by Judith Hand.  She is a retired art teacher who has worked at Westhill, as well as schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts.  She is also a member of the Cazenovia Watercolor Society and a signature member of the Central New York Watercolor Society.

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I found out about this show via Facebook.  Judy is a FB friend I hadn’t actually met until this day.  I told her I was a blogger and she said she knew; she’d just read about my student’s Google doodles that morning!

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I shared that my Studio in Art students are working on landscapes in watercolor, so we talked shop for a bit.  And took a selfie, of course.  The art reception was yesterday (she’s sold five pieces!).  I  love the positive flavor of these pieces, the richness of color and, you know, the subject matter.  Who doesn’t love flowers?

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There is plenty of time to view this show.  Judith Hand’s paintings will be on exhibit through March 2019.

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Art Room Chic

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Rachel Zoe dress, Nine West booties
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Honora necklace, Lord & Taylor cardigan, Trina Turk top and skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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Free People cardigan and dress, Marc Jacobs booties

Here are my looks for January and February 2019.   I started with new students so we are easing into the mess.  Three students got paint on their clothes on Friday, lol, and one slapped her painting into her chin while attempting to place it on the drying rack.  Another got paint on the back of his forearm.  What is that about???  Of course, I made it through the week unscathed.  I am a professional, as you know.

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Free People cardigan, Ulla Johnson dress, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots
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Free People cardigan, Rebecca Taylor dress, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots

Disclaimer – I have a couple of repeats here.  I tried to change it up, but you will notice that I have those over-the-knee Karl Lagerfeld boots in two colors and about four or five similar Free People cardigans.  And – I just bought the Theory Malinka belted cashmere cardigan in three different colors!  I still want the black one too, if I can find it.

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Theory cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Calvin Klein booties
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Theory cardigan, Banana Republic dress, Sorel boots

I know what I like and when I find something that works, I want it any way I can get it.  My new desires include the Joe’s Jeans leather cropped pants in all three colors, more Theory sweaters and I have my eye on a white BCBGMaxAzria gown (for no particular reason) and a couple more Rachel Zoe things.  I also have 3.1 Phillip Lim on my radar and, of course, more silk Ulla Johnson dresses.

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BCBGMaxAzria sweater, Akemi + Kim dress, Sorel boots
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Free People cardigan, Akemi + Kim dress, Karl Lagerfeld boots

I ❤ fashion!

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Theory cardigan, Rebecca Taylor top, Alice + Olivia pants, Calvin Klein booties
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Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt and leggings, Alice + Olivia top, Calvin Klein booties

#fashionintherealworld #fashioninreallife #fashionblogger #fashionista #fashioninrealtime #syracuseartist #arteacher #lovefashion

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Cinq A Sept dress, Calvin Klein booties
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Cinq a Sept top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Calvin Klein booties

Photo cred: Katy C.

 

Doodle for Google 2019

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I just mailed these Chittenango Middle School entries to the Doodle for Google 2019 contest.  This year’s theme is “When I Grow Up, I Hope….”

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These are some of my Art-8 and 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art student entries.  My 5th graders also took part in the contest.  The deadline is March 16th so there is still time to mail in the stragglers’ art after winter break, thank goodness.

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Among the recurring themes – ending world hunger, space exploration, and fun with animals.  Other ideas included fashion, graduating from high school/college and cheating death.

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One of my favorites was this one above – solving mysteries with the Scooby Doo gang.  Who doesn’t dream about this from time-to-time?  Really, I know you do!

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The prize is $30,000 for the individual student, $50,000 in technology for their school and their google doodle will be on a T-shirt.  It will also grace the web-site for twenty-four hours (and proclaim the winner the title of Chief Doodler for the day).  So cool.

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What a huge and most amazing thing it would be if one of my students wins the whole shebang?!  It will be the greatest thing that would and could ever happen in my career, lol, except…this was the assignment I gave as lesson plans for the substitute when I was absent on family leave the week of my father’s passing.  So, technically, I guess … no – oh, come on now, this is crazy talk…I will still take pride in a win.  Making art that helps a student visualize their dreams? – now that is a win-win! ❤

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The American

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In 1956, Vasil Tashkovski came to Syracuse, New York alone, as a sixteen-year-old boy, a runaway who escaped the Iron Curtain fleeing Communist Yugoslavia for Greece, an incredibly dangerous journey that led him to a refugee camp where he lived for a year while waiting for permission from the American Consulate to live his dream.  It is the story of legend – the boy who dreamed of being an American.

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He was my father.  Dad married an American girl and had three American daughters with whom he only spoke English.  Yes, he helped many Macedonians from his village come to this country including his own brother and his family, and you can argue that his life’s purpose was to help them.  But if this is true, then the desire was fueled by a belief that these others would see what he saw – opportunity, liberty and freedom to live an authentic life in the greatest country in the world.

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To just be.  Dad was always there for us.  Always healthy and strong.  I truly thought he was indestructible – until he got cancer and suddenly passed away.  I mean, I just never thought about a time that he wouldn’t be with us.  He was seventy-nine.  It happened last week, so the wound is fresh and raw.  There is never enough time with the ones you love.

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Eagles are currently wintering in Syracuse.  About seventy at last count.  It seems like the most obtuse idea.  For many years, Onondaga Lake has been the number one most polluted lake in the nation and yet our national bird is here living off fish from said lake, with families in tow soaring around in all their glory, wonder and perfection.

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It is simply amazing – and ironic to see these majestic creatures here now.  I don’t think I had EVER seen an eagle in real life before this moment.  Our national bird!  It feels like they are here for Dad.  I like to think they are.  And that Vasil Tashkovski is soaring with them.  I know he is.

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You can park at Destiny Mall and see the eagles in the trees across the railroad tracks or drive to Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool, New York to see them wading on the shoreline.  Bring your cameras preferably with telephoto lenses in order to paparazzo them.  There will be a guided birding walk on March 2, 2019 from 10:00 – 11:30 am.  It is sponsored by the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps.  This link is to their Facebook page.

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The incredible photographs accompanying this post are by my über-talented friend Julia C. Banach.  She is an award winning (and currently self-described amateur) photographer.  I am in awe of her work here.  Just so magnificent!  Thank you, Julia, for capturing the majesty of these creatures.

Find more photography by Julia on Facebook.  This is the link to her “Like” page.  Become a fan.  She has recently updated her page to include incredible animal shots from trips to the local zoo, as well as gorgeous sunsets and full-moon illustrated landscapes.  Really beautiful work!  I have no doubt that Julia’s photographs will appear in nearby art galleries and museums very soon. ❤