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Loving Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Lagoon view, Cleveland Museum of Art, Clevelan...
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I’ve always loved art and art history. Beyond the art itself, I love to learn about the time periods and the life and times of the artists.  Museums are perfect for this and our day trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art in the University Circle area of Cleveland was superb.  We all left with our favorites from our first trip which I’ll entertain in this blog.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is huge and half-way through an enormous expansion, which will leave it even bigger in five years.  It was almost overwhelming to try to see just the second floor in 3 hours or less, especially because we wanted to appreciate each piece and read about all of them. I was trying to read the information cards on each piece to the kids and Emma had a barrage of questions that I was answering. I felt as if I was trying to teach 15 years of school in half an hour, because I was not just teaching art, I was teaching history, mythology, religion, culture, customs, economics, design, wardrobe…..

We chose a few of our favorites from this trip and we hope you enjoy them too:

Nassem loves Early American History and Colonial History. He enjoys the history of New England, the colonies, the formation of America. His favorite piece of art was an oil painting by Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865) called “Harbor in Boston with the City in the Distance (1846-47, oil on canvas).”  The electronic photo of the painting, below, was taken from the blog of Henry Adams, professor of American Art at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He writes that Lane’s paintings are now costly and very rare, but he was able to secure one from the descendant of its original owner who purchased from Lane.

You can also few the piece on the Cleveland Museum of Art website at : http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?type=refresh&csearch=Artist%20/%20Maker:Fitz%20Henry%20Lane

He also liked the painting called “George Washington at the Battle of Princeton (1779) by Charles Wilson Peale. He said that in all his research on the Internet he sees this one pop up frequently. He loves everything Presidential. Addie thought it was neat because Emma has been drawing all sorts of her own versions of George Washington since learning about Presidents on President’s Day.   Peale painted George Washington many times during his career. The Cleveland Museum of Art houses this in their colonial section.

When asking Emma what her favorite part of the museum was she just yelled a resounding “everything!!” She was partial to the Van Gogh paintings though. She knows he is one of my favorite painters and was very excited to learn about him this year in first grade art class where they were tasked with drawing their own “Starry Starry Night” by Van Gogh.  She liked the color that Monet and Manet and other Impressionists used in their oil paintings and appreciated the colors and dreamy look of the Van Goghs. She came home and drew her own rendition of some of the Van Gogh paintings they had such as, “Adeline Ravoux (1890, oil on fabric).”  Van Gogh painted this portrait of the 16-year-old daughter of an innkeeper where he was staying  just two months prior to when he died, and was quoted as saying that it wasn’t really a photographic resemblance but “wanted it to convey impassioned aspects of contemporary life through the use of the modern taste for color.”  She is a little green and blue, which Emma picked up on since her rendition of the lady looked a little like a blue person from the movie “Avatar.”

You can view Van Gogh’s painting on the The Cleveland Museum of Art’s website here:  http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?pid=%7B91ADCD8F-992A-45A5-8599-70835467DF5E%7D&coid=3526974&clabel=highlights and below is Emma’s version.

For me, Claude Monet is another of my favorites. I love the Impressionists. They have a lot of nice Monet, as well as other Impressionists at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  My favorite of the day though was “The Red Kerchief (1873, oil on fabric)” by Monet (French, 1840-1926). I love anything that is like the old fairy tales and it reminded me and Addie of Little Red Riding Hood.  In actuality, it is a painting that Monet did of his wife, peering at us through a locked door as she bustles by looking cold or scared. It was a few years before she died and many people interpret the painting as having been representative of the problems in their relationship (he was in love with another woman). However, it formerly was of a couple looking into the door, until he repainted it as his wife.  Other people find it representative of the Impressionist movement and their issues with being accepted by the art world at the time, as they were refused gallery shows and their work rejected frequently.  Either way, it was a painting that he kept with him till his death in 1926. I love the use of the brush, the texture of the stroke, the use of color so that the red just pops out at the viewer.

View it on the Museum’s website at: http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?type=refresh&sliderpos=2

Addie said her best time of the day was seeing the big horse and knight dressed in armor. She takes after her mommy and daddy!  Their armor room, called the Armor Court, is amazing. It is full of all kinds of Italian, Spanish, British and more armor pieces and the top of the room adorned in beautiful tapestries.  Tim said this room was his favorite as well.  Though the museum has a great medieval collection located on the first floor, this Armor Court is up on the second floor with the European art

View an up close and side photo of the knight and horse in armor on the Museum website at: http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection%20online.aspx?type=refresh&sliderpos=2&searchoption=1

We also had the opportunity to view their new exhibition “The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art” which just opened today and will be on display until August.  It consisted of beautifully light and airy ink drawings on screens and cloth, as well as gorgeous bridal gown that Addie liked (but felt it might be too big for her) because of its vibrant colors (still vibrant though many hundreds of year old).  Emma was enthralled by how whole words were drawn using one calligraphy symbol.  Their poetry was not just words, but art flowing onto paper.  The Museum writes, “The show features every art form, including painting, calligraphy, and craft, that transformed Chinese lyrical aesthetics in the Korean Joseon period and in the Japanese Muromachi, Momoyama, and Edo periods.”  You can view more info here:  http://www.clevelandart.org/visit/Exhibitions.aspx

All my children are little budding artists and I hope trips like these inspire them even more. Here’s some bad camera phone photos of the kids with several Van Goghs:

I can’t wait to let you know what our favorites are from our next trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art of another art museum! Who is your favorite artist or the best art museum you’ve been to?


Did your Little Leprechan Leave You a Pot of Gold?

Of course all my life I’ve laughed and celebrated the saying “Erin Go Baugh!” Mostly because Erin is my name, which means Ireland. And yes, of course, that is why my dad named me Erin.  The phrase means Ireland Forever!  My parents have always been immersed in Irish culture and I grew up hearing stories of our time in England and their travels around Great Britain.

I am happy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with my kids now. They always look forward to holidays in this house. It is probably because we use it as a learning opportunity and a way to celebrate with each other.

I’ve been going out to dinner with friends for St. Patty’s day for the last few years, and so Tim and I will celebrate with our kids on the weekend. But my kids couldn’t wait. They been eagerly awaiting wearing their hair bows (well the girls!!) and will wear them to school on the holiday. 

Game Suggestion

Last friday, when they had a snow day, Emma decided to play her St. Patrick’s day game early that she came up with for the other siblings. She hand-drew a bunch of little leprechauns. Then she put M&Ms in baggies. She hide the leprechauns around the house with the baggies. She drew one little pot of gold, which she hid with $2. It was really cute seeing the kids scavenger for the leprechauns. Her 11-year-old brother probably thought he was a little too old, but they both had fun watching their 3-year-old sister hunt for the little guys and she in fact found the pot ‘o gold too! Our 7-year-old, who organized the game, has been drawing leprechauns for over a month. Each night someone gets a picture of a cute leprechaun.

Cooking for St. Patty’s Day

We’ll have maybe some kind of cabbage or mashed potatoes usually, and this year we are having Irish Chicken and Vegetable Stew, and either Lime Pie or Leprechaun Pie.

Simple Irish Stew

  • 4 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast meat
  • 2/3 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion, sautéed in butter
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 3 cups cooked, diced red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour

Combine chicken, mushrooms, onion, carrots and stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in sage, basil, garlic salt, parsley, mixed vegetables, potatoes and celery and cook until heated through. Stir in flour to thicken sauce, then you can serve. I prefer to throw it in the crock pot and let it cook all day.

History of St. Patrick’s Day

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate, don’t forget to teach your kids why we celebrate the holiday and why it is so important to the people of Ireland. Of course, there are about 34 million Americans who have Irish heritage also, which is why it is a common holiday here as well (in fact, Ireland’s population is just 4 million). St. Patrick’s day is celebrated on March 17, because that is the day that it is believed that St. Patrick died in 461 A.D.  At a young age, St. Patrick was sold into slavery to a sheep farmer. He finally escaped in his twenties and spent quite a bit of time in the monastery.  In his thirties, he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary and is revered for his work by the Irish people. If you’d like to read more info on St. Patrick’s day, check out this link: http://holidays.kaboose.com/patrick-history.html

So, as the weather breaks, get outside and find a four-leaf clover. Each leaf means something, one for hope, one for faith, one for love, and one for luck. May the luck of the Irish be with you as you observe the Wearing ‘O the Green!!


Malabar Farm’s Maple Syrup Festival in Photos

We had a super fun time this weekend at Malabar Farm, part of the Ohio State Park system and located in Lucas, Ohio near Mansfield and Ashland.  It was their Maple Syrup Festival and my 11-year-old son wanted to learn all he could about tapping maple trees for tree sap and making it into sugar and syrup. He loves the pioneer and native american historical demonstrations and anything that has to do with ecologically self-sustaining yourself. It was a lot of fun for the kids, and I thought it was a great opportunity for not only photos with my family, but for Breathe Beauty Art and Photography as well. Set back in the forest near Malabar Farm’s historical Pugh Cabin and Louis Bromfield‘s Sugar Shack, it was the perfect environment for relaxing and taking photos with nature. We also crossed Malabar Farm and went to the actual farm itself, something we do several times a year since my son is an avid conservationalist. He loves to learn about Bromfield’s life, check out the wind turbines, the solar compacting trash can, solar panels, the historical mansion. He is enthralled by care for the environment (you can find him on Twitter @environmentlife) and the education that this Ohio State Park offers is incredible. If you’ve never been, check it out at www.malabarfarm.org.

I just love to go to take photos. I guess we all have our favorite things and mine of course is taking photos! Tim, my fiance, actually took some of these photos as well. View the slide show below to see photos of Malabar Farm, the Maple Syrup Festival, and my family enjoying the day. I think the girls’ favorite part was the maple sugar leaf cookies, maple popcorn, maple fudge, chocolate walnut fudge……

If you like my photos of Malabar Farm, please inquire with me at breathebeautyartandphotography@hotmail.com

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Love is Universal!

“The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.” ~Henry Miller

The day for LOVE, more commonly known as Valentine’s day, is upon us. I try to not look at this day as “only for lovers” but make it about sharing love with many of the people in your life that your value and hold dear.  Of course, we should do this everyday, but planning it in is always a nice way to make sure we really are showing the ones we love that we care.

Below are some images that exude romance for the one that you truly love in your life….your spouse, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend. Let them allow you to meditate on that person and be reminded of your inner most love for them.

Possibly, you might just think of your parents, or your dear friends while taking a moment with the photos. And that’s ok too. There are many other people who we love in our lives. Love is universal and can be a language we all speak.

Love is intertwined emotion,
balanced by the sands of time,
ever increasing in meaning,
forever grasping life and soul.

Love is the reality for living,
it guides us like ebb and flow,
it is the only thing to save us
when the whole world seems to
leave us alone.

Love is the ageless friend,
always churning newness and hope,
our best assest for peace and giving,
our only real reason for living.
~by Erin Al-Mehairi, 02/11/11

 

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Small Factory Fire, the Day After Winter Photos

The kids and I walked down to the check out the remnants of a factory fire that happened in our small town, Ashland, Ohio. It was still smoldering, creating a lot of white smoke against the already white background. I just thought the icicles were so beautiful against the burnt-out windows.

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland….Time with My Son and My Camera

I hadn’t really been out of the house for days, with being ill and not being able to kick it. Plus, the weather has been just downright nasty with either rain or freezing cold that makes my nerves stand on end. I actually prefer when it snows lightly. Now that I am able to better appreciate the beauty of snow, I really want to be out in it. The wonder of each snowflake, the icicles, the formations all leave me in awe. I have missed my Fall walks with my camera. I wanted to see what I was missing out there in nature. The sun was shining and so I resigned myself to bundle up well, don the boots and hit the sidewalk at least for a few minutes. My son wanted to go with  me, and I really wanted his company. When he and I have time alone exploring as we do, I know it makes him as happy as it makes me. And we spent a lot more than a few minutes outside.

We wandered around and saw how beautiful the sun glinted off the snow piles.  We looked for icicles and saw absolutely gorgeous formations of them all around us. If we were driving by or walking by fast, we never would have noticed them. We saw all the berries left from Fall, and it was like they were almost preserved from the cold, some even encased in ice.

I was in wonder of the beauty God creates all around us. I appreciated the moments spent with my son as we talked about life and nature and what he planned to do when he grows up (which is a list of about 100 things, but all very nice assets to humanity). He had some things he wanted to show me by our local Ashland County Courthouse. I knew the architecture would be great of course there and I wasn’t disappointed. The trimming of the building are delicious.  He loves the old bell there, and the cannon, and he wiped the snow away from the plaque that told about the time capsule from 1976. He even plans to attend the opening of it, coming back to Ashland. I know it is driving him nuts what is inside it. He is such a treasure hunter. I watched as he wiped the cannon in various areas–brushing off the snow to find the manufacturer’s imprints, the years (1884), the little intricacies imbedded in it. He looked like a little museum curator. I stood and watched him, filled with love. His treasures are history, and though I too love history, I could relate even more as my treasures are finding the various photographic angles that are around us each day.

I know what it is like to be busy in life. I know what it is like to rush and work so hard that you never see your kids or go outside. Being on this side of that now, I certainly appreciate these moments even more. And I believe that my son, and my children, will certainly have better memories of their mom in their mind as well as in photos! I urge everyone that if you aren’t seeing these small things in life, appreciating the world around us, remembering history and appreciating it, that you stop what you are doing and figure out how to get it in your life without excuses. Nothing is more important than quality time with your children and the outdoors.

Here is a short slide show of some of the photos we took today, all which are available as prints for sale if you’d like a little piece of our adventure (please don’t steal my photos, they are copyrighted). Please leave comments and let me know what you think!

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Finding the Missing Socks to Make Pairs of Socks in 2011

I know that everyone is writing the proverbial “what I plan to do in 2011” blog, but truly, it’s great to get goals down on paper. It holds you more accountable for trying to get them done. I have a few things on my mind, but I’m not going to take up this blog by listing 1-10 of New Year Resolutions. Only God knows the real plan right? I just want to get my life straight. I’m willing to be flexible and take it as it comes.

2010 was the first year of me being solely self-employed/full-time Mommy. It was a year of inconsistencies and struggles, but to my delight, many people found me “very put together” and “accomplished.” Not really, I’m just great at PR and try to stay up beat. I think 2010 was a happy year for us for many reasons, but also a very hard and emotional year.  We have a lot of family issues, we have financial issues we are still trying to clean up from our divorces, my abusive marriage (abuse includes financial abuse) and Tim losing 3 jobs in 3 years. I quit my job because I became very ill even though many chose to not believe just how ill I was. We continued to raise 3 children the best we could, wiping many tears and potty training one.  We tried to form and run 3 different businesses, and Tim started to write several novels.  We made a lot of mistakes along the path of 2010. Mostly we were just trying to clean-up our life.

For 2011, I wish for God to truly lay on my heart, or continue to lay on my heart when I get sidetracked, just what I am supposed to be doing. If we need to stay in Ashland awhile longer, I wish for the ghosts of my past to go away. I hope for friends who truly are a part of your life and I wish for family to see what awesome kids I have and they are missing out on.  I wish for small town small businesses to understand PR and the nature of what I do. I wish for clients that we could help without giving 24 hours of our day away to them to not be paid or for them to decide to do something else instead, or as in the case of many Tim met this year, to just disappear. I think in 2011, we’ll just focus on writing. Writing articles, novels, and an occasional press release. My goal for this year is to finally get my children’s book underway and maybe even completed! The rest of my time I’m going to devote to my Breathe Beauty Art and Photography business. I’m going to continue to take photos and make them beautiful. Find ways to sell more prints and notecards without being spammy and continue to love this as being what I can do to help my family. I want to keep painting more and doing art with my kids. And speaking of kids, I am going to continue to put my kids above all other work or functions. Everytime I start to step back into the rat race right now, God reminds me that He needs me here with them. He needs me focused on them, and time for the other will come. He reminds me of my burnout on social activities and ladders, functions, etc. I will continue to moderate my time in 2011 until I see where our life is going.

I hope and pray that in 2011 Tim can finally decide or have his life take a turn to where it needs to go for our family. He’s searching for a full time job where he can get out of the house every day and I hope that he finally lands one, while still finding time for his part time business writing job, writing his novel to completion this year, and finding time to help me out at home and spend time with us. I know there are big changes coming for him, and this is another major reason why I need to be focused at home until we know where our life is headed or how our schedule will be.

Have I quit dreaming? No. Coming up with idea after idea? No. Less enthusiastic about making a difference in the world? No. It just means that my kids need me and I’m diligently doing what God has asked me. It also means I am balancing my time so that I can keep feeling healthy and not struggle again to the point of debilitating myself. I am excited to spend time with the kids and continue to work with photos. And more than that, I am excited to make time to start writing again! I’m excited for time to be creative!

Wish me luck. Tim has done a lot of the laundry for the last few years as I struggled with my health but it is time to finally find all the mates for all the single socks floating around the house. I feel they’ve been away from their partners for much too long of a time.

Happy 2011, and don’t stop following your dreams….but listen to God and listen to your soul. Sometimes it knows best!


Don’t Shop on Black Friday? Do your Christmas Cards!

November is one of my favorite months.  It’s a special time to remember our blessings and focus on what matters most to us before all the hustle of the holiday season descends upon us. Unfortunately, it is the middle of November and many people already have their Christmas decorations up. I won’t do that. I like to observe the changing tones of Autumn and think of squirrels, acorns, and colored leaves on the ground. I want to smell like cloves and cinnamon a little while longer.

Thanksgiving vacation is a great time to get up your Christmas tree though and get a head start on the month. How many of you also spend time addressing your Christmas cards? Doing some shopping and signing your greeting cards are great tasks to check off your to-do lists so you can enjoy all the many holiday events packed into December.

My online art and photography store, Breathe Beauty Art and Photography, offers several choices of quality heavy stock Christmas cards featuring my fine art photography. Most feature something in nature or something architecturally vintage. I hope you enjoy the cards as I put them up. Check back often. I also can do the flat photo cards with either one of my photos, or your family candid, and set-up your greeting and signature for you even for free. This is a very lovely keepsake that won’t cost you a ton either.

Please e-mail me at breathebeautyartandphotography@hotmail.com or go to my www.facebook.com/breathebeautyartandphotography (must like my page) for my “Deal-a-Day” promotions.  Or go ahead to my store and view my cards and prints and choose to pay on the site by paypal or contact me for specific ideas or ordering through the e-mail above.

I am extremely thankful to God for giving me my creative gifts and I hope that you’ll put your continued trust in me for all your very special fine art photo desires. Thank you for your support!