I came across this quote from Matthew Arnold..
Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun,
to have lived light in the spring,
to have loved,
to have thought,
to have done,
to have advanced true friends?
(I am slowly composing my own version.)
..by the abundance and beauty of Jennie's garden..
and this evening by the second half of the first night of the Proms which I hope you can see here. The astonishing talent and dedication of the musicians in John Adams' Harmonium (reminds me of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana) is truly to be celebrated. Listen out for Wild Nights about 40 minutes in!
About 8 minutes in is an entertaining short review of the BBC's involvement in broadcasting the Proms (since 1927). We are so lucky.
Half an hour in the hammock in hot sunshine was an added bonus!
What inspired you today?
Here is a link to my favourite programme so far in the wonderful BBC Four Japan series.
Watch the artist about 30 minutes in - so exciting! And towards the end the typical apartments of young people - 'the real Japan is anything but zen' says presenter James Fox - make you understand more about Marie Kondo. What resonates with me particularly is architect Fujimori's statement that 'Humans need to be close to natural elements, like earth, water, plants.'
I wonder if any of you know who wrote the poem that includes these words We were not meant for escalators....we were meant for thunder...
I have googled it and searched my collection of Mary Oliver, but to no avail and I would love to find it again....
I kept pausing the programme last night to photograph the dramatic sky!
Atul Gawande in his clear-sighted and compassionate book Being Mortal describes courage as 'finding the strength to face reality',
Not just facing reality but accepting and even welcoming it, is the theme of Leo Babauta's free 44 Day Training Turning Uncertainty and Discomfort Into Mindful Openness which I have been dipping in and out of. The ideas are pretty challenging and I will start over with it more than once probably.
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant have written Option B - Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy. Although from a very different culture to mine I found a lot to like in this book. There is also a website here.
On one of my favourite radio programmes Private Passions, I heard voice coach Patsy Rodenburg talking about being present. I was so impressed by her clarity and conviction that you can learn to use your positive energy, that I have ordered her book Presence and am looking forward to that arriving any day now...
I often start the day by reading the Daily Affirmation on Susan Jeffers site. Some I like better than others of course but for me it is a better start to my day than the news!
Are there books and websites which have inspired and motivated you?
..or my perceived lack of it.
I am reminded in Karen Ruimy's recent posts about energy that if I am open to it, I can tap into the resurgence of energy that is spring.
Imagine, she says, an energy of stillness coming into your body reducing the pressure from the world. This energy is coming to you and going into each part and cell of your physical body. Let that fresh new energy come in.
You are made of sunshine says Thich Naht Hahn.
Maybe that is true..
I make no apology for linking once again to these videos by Hans Rosling who died recently.
He took the long view of the bigger picture. I really admired him and his unique perspective on the world gave me hope, and reason to be optimistic.
See Five Ways The World Is Doing Better Than You Think
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out wild bells and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right.
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1850
I watched this (scroll down to Smiling Face) and gained a different perspective on everything.
I found it very moving, and it left me thinking you might as well be happy!
What do you think?
Thank you to my sister Doreen who put it on her Facebook page.
..by the many women I know and read about who live fulfilling and interesting lives and live alone.
I have decided to live not so much by myself, or for myself, but as myself....
'That is very profound.' said Frances.
I thought so too when I came up with it!
Excuse me while I take a few days to figure out exactly what I mean....
Have a good weekend.
I love white. It lifts my sprits. Maybe that is why I love snow.
I have always painted the walls of my rooms white and when I walk into a 'white cube' style art gallery - the bigger the better - I feel as if I am floating a couple of inches off the ground!
Reading Spark Joy, I was prompted to dig out a simple quilted white bedspread and put it over the dark leather sofa - immediate spark of joy...(photographed in the evening - even sparkier in daylight!)
The books I mentioned yesterday are At Home With White by Atlanta Bartlett and Sensual Home by Ilse Crawford which has thoughtful text, beautiful photographs and these chapter headings -
These rwo books are keepers for me, but we change, and our tastes change, and one of the lovely things about clearing is we make room for the new....
Is there a colour which inspires you?
And is there a book about it?
We are back to rainy weather here, but I think I'll keep my snowy header photograph for a few days more....
I have reached the final words of Peter Ackroyd's Venice Pure City -
..vivacity, gaity, radiance, extravagance, energy, buoyancy, spontaneity, urgency, facility, exuberance, impetuosity. Oh! Venezia!
Who wouldn't be excited?
Here is another Fortuny garment I'd love to wear, and if you scroll down you will see the most dazzling selection of Fortuny gowns.
Have you heard of this artist and his Chandeliers Over Venice project? (This is for you Lotta!) There are lots of videos on Dale Chihuly and the full story here. Allow yourself an hour or three if you really love glass!
The weather has changed since I took this shot, it is wet and wild and the leaves are falling fast..
I guess it's winter.
A beautiful power station?
Is that possible?
Apparently so. See here.
It certainly looks beautiful compared to any I've ever seen. Of course there will be problems and an environmental cost, nevertheless I find this pretty impressive and hopeful. As is the website..
What do you think?
Japanese Rain on Canvas by David Hockney 1972. I've always loved this.
(sorry only in black and white - though interesting!)
But enough of rain for now. Perhaps you have seen this brilliant video by my only statistician hero Professor Hans Rosling, which I first posted a few years ago? Here is a new one by the self same man, and his son....fascinating, inspirational, clever and funny. How Not To Be Ignorant About The World.
....every day, and grow your soul. I hope you like the ideas in this 4 minute video!
And I hope you might like to browse the site while I take a blog break.
Have a good week.
A few more shots of the interior of The Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art today - animated by having the students in it. Official opening day looms and there are still cranes and scaffolding and men in hard hats all over the place. Tricky work environment for all of them at the moment..but I for one am still getting good vibes from it....
See 3 more posts on this subject under Simply Inspirational (Categories sidebar)
There is a 2 minute video of the exhibition I mentioned yesterday here
Architecture was a compulsory subject when I was at GSA. I'm so glad I studied it - it led to a lifelong interest, and later to study in Landscape Architecture.
Architect Steven Holl gets up at 6.30 am to do these tiny watercolours (another 'lark'). It's quite exciting to look at them then walk across the road and see the huge real thing!
You can click on the images to enlarge and there is lots more at www.stevenholl.com
Yesterday I was shown round the Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art.
I've been thinking of it since, and went back today for a closer look at the exhibition Drawing on Holl from where the above image comes. This exhibition (free admission and on till Mar 23) is worth seeing and the fact that it is on display inside Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Art School building gives you, if you don't know the building, a useful little experience of Mackintosh's articulation of space and light which influenced Steven Holl in his design.
The entire effort here is an homage to Mackintosh says Holl.
I was lucky enough to spend four years studying at GSA, two of them in the Mackintosh building which I know and love, so, like most alumni I imagine, I was not a little wary of what I would find, and sceptical of what seemed a possibly overly concept-led approach. See this post for further links, photographs, and a (rather waspish) review.
I am still processing the experience of being inside the building (which is quite different and ultimately much more important than merely looking at it) but my first impressions are of a quite poetic and elegant manipulation of space and light, of beautifully generous proportions.
It's dynamic and exciting and, sticking my neck out here, I'm going to predict that it will (in time) become a much loved building.....Yay for GSA!
And for Alan and Sarah! Thank you.
..for any architect is to build across the road from an iconic building such as the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art.
I'm a graduate of GSA and can't wait to see the new Reid building properly and to judge for myself whether, as architect Steven Holl put it, the new building works 'in a symbiotic relationship' with the old.
There are some good photographs here.
You will be hearing more of this....
Watch this space!
Artist Bruce Munro has been commissioned to make a light installation in the lovely St Andrew's Square in Edinburgh. I'll be planning a special trip to see this - it looks magical. (It is there until April.)
I think this is my favourite image from his folio. It is Checkwood Gardens Tennessee. Enjoy the one in Ohio Julia!
I'm remembering that winter is an excuse to listen to music more, and to read and browse on the internet - why ever not?
The story of how Philip Glass (see yesterday's post) came to write the Songs and Poems for Solo Cello for cellist Wendy Sutter is a romantic one. She calls them 'love letters' and said that when they first met to talk about the music she did not realise that he had any romantic feeling for her. They became a couple for five years. Read more about this brilliant duo here. I had always viewed the work of Glass as an adjunct or background to something, and would not have called myself a fan but these works stand alone and have such authority and beauty that I could (and will - have just sent for the CD) listen to them for hours.
UCTV University of California Television have an amazing series of lectures, documentaries, interviews (one with Wendy Sutter), symposia and performances, all available online. Fantastic.
And to really make my day - this article, Demolishing Three Myths About World Poverty, by Bill and Melinda Gates from the Wall Street Journal - is the most hopeful and positive thing I have read in any newspaper for a long time. Don't miss it if you are in need of some good news!
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)