Following Bliss

“Sit in a room and read — and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time. This realization of life can be a constant realization in your living. When you find an author…
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Solitude and Forgiveness

The image above is Solitude by Frederic Leighton and I find it to be a comforting image. It grabs me. Leighton wrote about it to his sister, saying “the vehemence of winter has scooped and worn pools so deep that . . . you come at last to absolute dark brown night . . . no…
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Finding Fireflies Amidst the Fireworks

When Waterhouse’s exquisite Hylas and the Nymphs was controversially removed from exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery recently, I wrote that it would be far more beneficial to promote images that empower women instead of removing a masterpiece to provoke a reaction. The painting has since been returned to display at the Gallery, and it was…
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The Magic Down the Rabbit Hole

As I pursue the Pre-Raphaelites, I find it is the small details that captivate me, pulling me further and further down the rabbit hole.  One tiny detail that delighted me recently is this glimpse of what’s on the mantle in Burne-Jones’ sitting room. The photo above was taken by photographer Frederick Hollyer, who recorded several…
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On Storms

“Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes.” Ludwig van Beethoven I’ve mentioned Evelyn De Morgan’s painting The Storm Spirits on this site once before, when I was talking about how my moods are often directly tied to the weather.  I love a good thunderstorm, there is…
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Cold Weather Reading

Today has been cold and grey, the kind of day that makes me want to do nothing other than curl up and read.  I’ve been reading A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight, which I recently scooped up at a library book sale. As I set it aside, I thought about the fact that reading…
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The Wounded Dove

The Wounded Dove, painted by Rebecca Solomon, is a painting that resonates with me deeply.  The dove’s wing appears broken and I don’t know if the poor creature is accepting of the help being offered or if it struggles against those cradling hands.  Hurt and frightened, the only things that can possibly help are time,…
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On Gratitude

We celebrate Thanksgiving this week and I have a lot to be grateful for.  My greatest blessings are certainly my children and my family, but what I also rate high on my gratitude scale is what I absorb in my soul as I write Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.  This blog is a lifeline for me and living…
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In Which the Birthday Girl Shows You Paintings

Today begins the forty-second year of ME!  ‘Tis my birthday! In Ulysses, Tennyson said ‘I am a part of all that I have met’ and I believe that to be true.  Our experiences add to our depth and the people and things I’ve met in life are part of my story, including the art and…
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Love is Enough

William Morris’ Love is Enough has been on my mind this morning. “He makes a poem these days–in dismal Queen Square in black old filthy London in dull end of October he makes a pretty poem that is to be wondrously happy; and it has four sets of lovers in it and THEY ALL ARE HAPPY…
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How to Fly

There’s a horror that sets in just before a new beginning.  It can cripple you. The key is to understand the process.  Like everything else in life, there are stages.   First there’s fear.  It is a cold fear that paralyzes. Dive into it with a rush, it is like plunging deep into freezing water…
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On Suicide

Friends sometimes say it’s strange that I can simultaneously be optimistic and bubbly while also being captivated by art filled with melancholy and death.  I’m not sure how to answer except to say that I consciously choose to embrace life to the fullest and believe that my positive mindset is one of my strengths.  But I’ve also encountered death, pain, and trials in my life that have helped me understand how fleeting it is.  I want to experience it…
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How to be beautiful

There have been many times in my life when I’ve seen models or actresses and compared my own looks to them and realized I don’t measure up. I will never measure up. What I don’t measure up to is a myth. That idea of perfection is not a harmless fairy tale, it’s a monster that…
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Dear 2017,

Well, hello there 2017! We’ve barely begun to get acquainted. I don’t have a feel for you yet. You still hold that thrilling newness and I can not peek inside of you. But I know that right now, you are magical. At this moment you are twelve months of possibility. And I long to dwell…
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Marigolds, Sacred Flowers for the Dead

Our Halloween revelry is over and now we honor our ancestors with the Day of the Dead.  Throughout Mexico and the Southwestern U.S.,  this is Dia de los Muertos, a special event that focuses on togetherness of family and friends and honoring those who have passed on.  It is a beautiful way to honor the…
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Pan, Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Above is a detail from Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Pan from The Wind in the Willows. I first became enchanted by Pan when, as a little girl, I read The Wind in the Willows. I was in love with that book from the moment Mole became fed up with his spring-cleaning, left his hole, and met…
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Art is a Mirror

 When I was fifteen years old, my father taught me how to drive.  I was eager, yet scared; I couldn’t believe that I had actually passed the test to get my learner’s permit. Dad wanted to give me ample opportunity to practice before beginning Driver’s Ed at school, so we drove together often.  He’d pick…
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The Significance of Three

I have an obsessive/compulsive relationship with the number three that has been in place for most of my life. For many years, it was so subtle that neither I or loved ones noticed.  It existed in childhood but was overlooked.  I have now been a parent for nineteen years, and it is something my children…
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Dear 2014,

Well, hello there 2014! We’ve barely begun to get acquainted. I don’t have a feel for you yet. You still hold that thrilling newness and I can not peek inside of you. But I know that right now, you are magical. At this moment you are twelve months of possibility. And I long to dwell…
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Damsel, Fallen Woman, Goddess

Pre-Raphaelite art includes many beautiful yet different types of women. On one end of the spectrum, we have damsels in distress that need to be rescued. Or fallen women in need of forgiveness for having fallen (as if they fell by themselves). On the other end, we have goddesses and mythological women who need no…
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