Deep Dives

Art and literature strike a responsive chord in me, prompting me to explore not only the creation that inspires me, but what my reaction says about who I am and how I can use those promptings to continually elevate and grow.

Rejuvenate Your Spirit with Enchanted Living’s Pre-Raphaelite Issue

I’m honored to be a contributor in the latest edition of Enchanted Living magazine. This special Pre-Raphaelite issue is deliciously mesmerizing – just holding a physical copy of this lush work is a delight. It thrills me to be included in this issue, nestled among several dear friends. Kirsty Stonell Walker contributes In Search of … Read more

Becoming Radiant

Elbert Hubbard had the right idea. Hubbard (1856-1915) was an American writer and publisher who drew inspiration from William Morris, Pre-Raphaelite associate and key figure of the Arts and Crafts movement. There’s a lot to explore in Hubbard’s works that I hope will inspire future posts. But for now, let’s focus on a passage of … Read more

The Dragon Within

As a little girl, I enjoyed Nancy Drew, Wonder Woman, and Princess Leia, all of whom had moments of peril where they were helped by men, but more often than not relied on their own intelligence and courage to navigate situations and save the day. Yet I also enjoyed adventures of knights and maidens that … Read more

Balancing on the Bridge

We carry an entire world in our pocket that allows us to search for information without opening a reference book. I can write you a quick note without ever putting pen to paper, and send it without a stamp or an envelope. Every day, millions of people take selfies that are filtered into perfection. No … Read more

Lessons from ‘Possession’: The Myth of Melusine

Possession is an intricate novel written in 1990 by A.S. Byatt. A combination of mystery, myth, and romance, it is a book that delves into the lives of two 19th century poets and the pair of 20th century-era academics that attempt to piece together the poets’ lives. When I assess the books I have loved … Read more

Embracing Natural Magic

We all need a bit of magic in our lives. Some of us have more than others. Part of it may be influenced by our personality.  If we have a natural flair for seeking that particular kind of beauty, we can usually find it. But another part of savoring magic is paying attention to ourselves … Read more

Navigating Life’s Labyrinths

For me, myths are a touchstone, a framework that helps me work out some of life’s thorniest dilemmas. Recently, I’ve been dealing with a series of daunting, pivotal decisions. But I am now escaping that labyrinth – happily and on my own terms. BILL MOYERS: I like what you say about the old myth of … Read more

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 … Read more

Solitude and Forgiveness

The image above is Solitude by Frederic Leighton and I find it to be a comforting, captivating image. 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 sound, no … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Reading for winter comfort

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood wombat with books

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 … Read more

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, … Read more

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something.”

I’ve spent my entire adult life pursuing Pre-Raphaelite art and in doing so, I find that what I actually discover is myself.  Art and literature are crucial to my well-being, it provides a framework to draw upon when I need to process heavy emotion.  If daily life intervenes and I allow my pursuit of art … Read more

In Which the Birthday Girl Shows You Paintings

Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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. Yet it’s important to realize that what I don’t measure up to is a myth. That idea of perfection is not a harmless … Read more

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 … Read more

George Eliot, Professor Altick, and the Mysterious Symbol

Professor Richard D. Altick is a man I never met but respect a great deal.  Here in the United States, he is regarded as a pioneer of Victorian Studies.  He was the author of over twenty books, including The Scholar Adventures (1950) and The Art of Literary Research (1963). After his death at the age of … Read more

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 … Read more

Art is a Mirror

Meteyard, Lady of Shalott

When I was fifteen years old, my father taught me how to drive. I was eager, yet scared, and Dad wanted to give me ample opportunity to practice, so we drove together often. He’d pick a destination and I would drive while he critiqued and instructed me. Luckily, he is both an extremely patient man and … Read more

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 … Read more