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Archive for December, 2009

A new book, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, reveals Rockwell’s use of photographs in his illustrative process. There’s also a companion exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

I’m not rabid about Norman Rockwell, but it’s fascinating to see his carefully staged and lit photos, and how he tweaks little bits here and there to make the resulting painting so very “Rockwell”. Here’s a side-by-side comparison. Fun stuff!

You can read or listen to the Weekend Edition Sunday story by NPR’s Jacki Lyden here.

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Birthday

I had a very nice birthday yesterday!

I slept in, Francis greeted me with a card and flowers when I woke up: dark pinky-orangey roses and purple iris and creamy gypsophilia. Then he made me a breakfast of cheese toast (my favourite!) and Mexican hot chocolate (spicy!), which we consumed in bed while watching The Simpsons. I could have stayed in bed for hours, but rather than waste the day, we braved the pouring rain and went into London. We slogged our way to the British Museum, had a quick but delicious picnic on the stoop (ham sammich and potato chips), and spent a few hours viewing priceless antiquities.

We saw ancient Egyptian sculptures galore, Assyrian friezes of royal lion hunts, and the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles. And the actual Rosetta Stone! Incredible. (Of course, the British really should give back these beautiful things to their countries of origin, but I feel grateful to have seen them.) Both Francis and I were struck by the comparatively slow development of Western art when looking at these things; they didn’t call it the Dark Ages for nothing. The detail of the Assyrian lions was so complete that you could see the veins beneath their skin, and the sarcophagus of Sasobek was absolutely stunning. And the skill involved, my god! Look at the minute enamel work on this 300 BC necklace!

I can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the museum; in the meantime, you can take a look at the set of pictures I’ve made on Flickr here. I was pleased and a little surprised that photography is allowed almost everywhere in the museum, which by the way, is free. We donated a paltry £5 to see all these glorious things.

Back at home we dried off and warmed up. I lazed on the couch and read email while Francis cooked dinner. He made exactly what I requested: roasted rolled sirloin, roasted Brussels sprouts, crispy roast potatoes, carrots, and a mushroom and red wine gravy. It was utterly delicious and I ate way too much.

I ended up quite homesick and maudlin at the end of the evening (I’m sure the hefty amount of wine we consumed didn’t help), which was unfortunate. But it just made us want to move forward with our plans to move to Portland. It will be very hard to leave our family here, but I miss the Portland-based folk so very much.

Anyway, I had some very sweet birthday wishes via email and Facebook which made me feel very loved. And when we stopped by the greengrocers to pick up the Brussels sprouts, Dom the greengrocer sang happy birthday to me. Oh, and my nieces made me a beautiful card!

I’ve decided to turn 27 this year, by the way.

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