Late summer flavors

Summer feels like it’s cresting here – all the late-summer bounty is rolling in, with more yet to come as we transition more to the fall harvest season in September. The strawberries are having another flush, and the raspberries are unstoppable right now!

What’s the perfect late-summer treat for a hot day, a libation with a nod to the end of summer? A raspberry soda float, of course! And Sparrow & Chipmunk are the perfect helpers.

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The Cloisters

This past January, I had the privilege of being a chaperone for my niece’s Make-a-Wish trip to New York City – our remarkable niece has been fighting leukemia for the past couple of years.  It was such a wonder to get to see her, along with a group of other tough kids, enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.  (She has kicked her cancer to the curb, by the way!  I’m constantly humbled by her courage throughout this whole ordeal.)

In the bustle of New York City, you can head north in Manhattan and step into a Medieval wonderland…on the banks of the Hudson River, the Met presents its Medieval collection at the Cloisters.

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Midsummer

“But why should we not have one genuine out-of-door day, a day when we shall see to it that every city child may romp and play in God’s green fields, and when we make it a joyous duty to thank the Giver of all, not only for the harvests & for the full granaries as on Thanksgiving Day, but for the sun and the green trees and the flowers and grass and everything that makes us glad to be alive?  What day could be so good for such a celebration in America as well as in Sweden as Midsummer’s Day?”

FRANCIS EDWARD CLARK, THE CHARM OF SCANDINAVIA (1914)

The Midsummer¹ season of festivals and feasts – the Summer Solstice, St. John’s Eve, and St. John’s Day – have always resonated with me and filled my imagination.  As the sun reaches its zenith on June 20/21, and then the feast & festival of St. John the Baptist follow a few days later on the 23rd & 24th, it’s a sun-drenched, liminal time of thresholds being crossed and whispers being heard.

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Drawing Process

A year or two ago at a craft store, I bought a pad of brown-toned paper on a whim.  In my acrylic paintings, I’ve always really enjoyed the process of playing with lighting – especially with glowing faery-orbs providing the illumination – but I wanted a way to sketch the lighting & experiment with it a bit before committing paintbrush to canvas/board.  The toned paper I bought worked perfectly for that, since it allowed me to start with a mid-tone and then shade and highlight from that base.

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