Once upon a time in Fairytale Alsace

One of my favourite regions Ive come across as an artist to inspire me, is the 'Alsace' region , a beautiful group of fairyland villages located in north eastern area of France, where cities are dotted with half timbered medieval buildings and flower lined canals, a land full fo colour and magical charm.

COLMAR, a city where you can find the most prettiest village, a very inspirational city  that holds secret visual scenes from Disneys  ‘Beauty and The Beast’ and it is not hard to see why.

 

Walking the streets of Colmar is like walking through a real life fairytale, with wooden turrets, resembling Rapunzals tower, tiny cottages that would ideally suit the 7 Dwarfs and candy coloured shops and bakeries, right out of a ‘Hansel and Gretal’ world. Collar, lying in the north eastern boarder of France, a short train ride from Switzerlands ‘Basel’ airport will take you directly to a true dream come true. Bordering Germany and Switzerland, while it holds the french natural ‘Belle France’ charm, while clearly influenced by it’s neighbours. It is a truly preserved french village, with an abundance of pretty features, flower pots and uneven cobblestone streets.

It is an ideal base for exploring the fairytale Alsace region.

Magical fountains and chocolate box houses

Fairytale squares seen above - chocolate box houses where on every corner you stop and wow!

Yummy Bakeries. Pretzels mmm

 

Smells of Baking line the streets too.

Ribeauville. 

A village about 5KM from Colmar set along the Alsace's wine producing region, is probably the most medieval of all.

repunzel towers.

Riquewihr

A colourful gem...

magical colourful Streets.

The most colourful playland Ive come across, where plenty of chocolate box houses dot a very very!!! busy touristic village, heaved with shops, themed restaurants and defining art galleries... a joy:)

Dreamy art Galleries with a twist.

Kaysersberg

And then to Kaysersberg.. when you think one can't get any better than the previous village, this is mind-blowing. Prettiness excels.

Hansel and Gretal springs to mind.

And lastly to Eguisheim. 

Set directly from a storybook, featured in the beloved movie "Beauty & The Beast' It has to be seen to be believed. The streets are said to resemble a 'swiss roll' the sweet story  unwinds, dotted with the most beautiful tiny house full of charm.. a dream come true.

 

Picture perfect houses.

 

Taking a short trip to the alsace will not disappoint only excite the child within:) be prepared to skip and sing !!! XX SR.

(Accommodation - plenty of bnb's to be found  - an ideal base)


Belle Provence.

Its always joyful to stumble across something different. And so,  I began my scenic breakaway basing myself in the heart of Aix En Provence, a town full of vintage shops, hip trendy buzzing atmosphere.

Take a trip to the beautiful Aix En Provence..

Oh its worth it!. The approach to the town never fails to surprise, you sense that something special awaits, it is a truly magical town. There is something so completely wonderful and warm about Aix, I constantly am drawn to return year after year. It has such atmosphere with its narrow winding streets, boutiques and café's occupying the ground floor to some of the most stunning architectural buildings, there is a rich avangarde aristocratic feel to the region. Fountains tinkle in little squares and tourists stroll gracefully down traffic free streets such as cours Maribueau, the elegant main street in Aix. Every Friday hosts the most wonderfully colourful market and a visit to Place Rochelle food market is a must.

 

Les Deux Garçons, Aix
Buzzing student life quartier
Aristocratic buildings - steeped in such history and beauty.

 

Dreamy fountains and courtyards on a padestrianised street.

 

Aix en Provence is a place that works, whether for artists, gourmet lovers, or even visiting for a pampering cultural short trip, it never fails to fill your heart with such warmth!

Along the fabulous roads took me deep into the Cote Provencal region - Le Jardin De Provence, where, my world became a ball of colour, ever peaceful, ever present and ever grateful to see such beauty.

Market Day Aix !

Route  - The ultimate Luberon Valley guide - the heart of Provence. 

From Aix en Provence travel north towards Pertuis, stopping along the main view points of Villelaure, Cadanet, Lourmarin, Ménerbes,  Bonnieux and Roussillon. These  beautiful small hill top villages certainly won't disappoint and will guide you deep into provence , its lavender fields & farming scene, Bursting Poppy fields, and rows of rapeseed fields.

Rolling poppy fields - a pure delight

 

It is a place where time has seemingly stood still and you can capture this magnificent charm throughout these unspoilt historical villages. The rows of colour is a sight only to be dreamt of, and holds a deep profound calmness and warmth in my heart.

 

Beautiful farmyards

A trip like this, from Aix en provence will take you 1 day. Directions are well signposted. I suggest a good road map along with sat navigation, as you can find some exclusive tiny village spots hidden and worth exploring.

 

Views from bonnieux
Colours and tranquility

I based myself in a beautiful farmstead  - with easy access to Pertuis to begin my journey into the hills. (also within 15 minute walk into the heart of Aix en Provence. (www.lemoulindespinchinats.com)

The Luberon valley really is one of the most beautiful places you'll visit, it excites the scenes with its gorgeous sights, smells and tastes. It completely invigorates the soul - that is unquestionably for sure, and you will leave with memories from your time in the region the will last deeply!  Bonne Vacance  :) XX SR

 

 


All the colours of 'Nicolas De Staél'

A short trip from the Cote D'azur took me to the heart of Provence and the beautiful lively market town of Aix En provence to delve further into history and heart of art in southern France, exploring some galleries and artists influenced by the region.

The former capital of Provence, Aix en Provence is a stunning graceful lively city, known for its connections with art and the home of Cézanne, with its many fountains, the beautiful main street of Cours Mirabeau and its many universities and art schools. For gallery lovers I would recommend a stop at 'Hotel de Caumont, Centre D'art', located just a few steps from Cours Mirabeau, one of the most beautiful private mansions in Aix en Provence. Currently showing the work of Nicolas De Staél & Mark Chagall, both hugely influential painters and illustrators in France.

I was privileged to see the work of Nicolas De Staél, a painter known for his use of thick impasto and highly abstract landscape paintings (sketches featuring illustrations).  Between the year of 1953 and 1954, De Staél's painting period was a turning point in his career by drawing new inspiration from Provence. As I said, mostly abstract in style, there is a beautiful representation of his illustrations in his sketch books and work throughout the gallery.

  

His discovery of the midday sun, the exceptional beauty of the landscape, it was the intence experience with solitude that enabled him to produce such fantastic striking works - all experiences that nourished his imagination and so his fame grew in heart in provence.

  

De Stael began his art career in Brussels, travelling to Paris to study at the 'Academie Des Beaux Arts, where he became very close to the artist George Braque.

With the use of strong bold blocks of colour , De Staél depicts the sunspaces, seascapes and observation of light that changed during the day.  He was compared to the works of Rothko, where both painters works can be described as 'Blocks V's Blocks', also his work so strongly abstract that it was mentioned he veered towards contemporary art and including him in 'Pop Art' of the 1960's. His work is strongly influenced by local artists alike, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne and Vermeer.

Nicolas De Stael's work can be seen in 'Hotel De Cumont' Centre D'art (Aix en Provence) until 23rd September 2018, and also some work can be found in 'The Tate London, and George Pompidou Centre, Paris.

www.caumont-centredart.com


Lisbon Delights - A new colourful adventure.

Ever Wonder where they hide the colours in Europe.. Well Lisbon has all the secret colours heaped into each street and definitely high on an artists city bucket list.

Lisbon is the second oldest City in Europe, after Athens, with its own cultural vibe, tiles streets, infamous cobblelock roads, and ‘Fado’ music, heard around the beautiful streets.

Aflama 

One of the oldest Districts, and a walk through here, fado music is inescapable. From its beautiful views of the City to its old art charm where you can stroll the walls of Castello de S George. Orange rooftops shine as you walk and watch views ‘Above it all’

Views from Afalma

Bari Alto.. 

Lisbon’s oldest and most traditional area, a walk around the arty streets, local living spotting and vintage shopping whilst catching some magnificent shots of the colorful tiled buildings that line the streets. Bari Alto district is architecturally dreamy.

Tiled to perfection
Examples of wall tiles to be found on buildings.
Sloping streets of Colourful Bari Alto.

Baxa Chiado

fashionably stylish district, with its selection of monuments, vintage shops, protégées traditional stores, and fantastic restaurants, catch the buzz of the trams as they Zip through the streets...

Street Art on the famous Elevador Da Bica.

 

Lisbon, Famous for its hilly streets, and its fun vibe, to complete a journey, visit Sintra, known for its fairytale castle and colourful walls, an artists dream world.

 

Archicetural beauty. Bari Alto District.

Lisbon is a Hilly wonder to the colourful eyes. Enjoy the vibes, (Remember the trainers! ) XX SR


With Irish summer In bloom!

It wouldn't be an Irish summer without someone making lists of the essentials to bring for an Irish day out, umbrellas, rain coats, factor 60 creams, ham sandwiches (which usually end up as ham & sand sandwiches), tayto crisps but to name a few things. But a simple ramble through the Irish Countryside and simply enjoy it's stunning natural colours and beauty, is a special treat, an Irish Green wonderland. 

and you can find .... rolling hills

beautiful Rolling Fields

beautiful scented cherry blossoms bursting with colour and vibrancy ....

Cherry Tree Hills

Rolling rapeseed fields of golden sunshine bursting with delight...

Rolling Hills of Rapeseed

 

explosions of pink marshmallow balls puffing through the air...

Cherry trees bursting with colour

 

blue skies ... beautiful blue skies....

The Skies the limit

 

and soft sounds of birds chirping

Soft touches of the magnolia tree

 

magical Ireland, We are blessed. XX SR


Archi Icons, NYC.

New York City is alive with energy, fast paced as always and a complete feast to the senses and in this wild city lies some of the most stunning architecture. Besides the most famous of all, the Empire State Building, NYC has a vast array of styles, with a few that stand out and lend themselves to a unique look in the City. Below are some of the eye catching styles that I came across whilst visiting the power house city.

Art Deco with some Art Nouveau shapes and structures surrounding Chelsea’s Arty areas.

Walking the Chelsea district, you can see where the roaring 20's time of excitement, freedom of expression, abstraction, jazz and the Joie de vivre left this stylistic Art Deco vibe around the streets. American designers paid homage to the French Art Deco style which created an architectural rhythm evoked from the speed, dance and jazz times.

 

The infamous Flatiron Buiilding - a true iconic landmark surrounding 29th street and 5th avenue.

 

Along 5th avenue, one of my favourite landmarks, the flatiron building is a sure eye dropper. originally the fuller building, it is a triangular 22 story steel framed landmark. Interestingly it was one of the very first buildings to high rise the Manhattan skyline, and the top 21st and 22nd floor were added 3 years after it was first erected. When the building opened, it only housed bathrooms for men, but later it was alternated, one floor for men, one for women. This building used to be the location where the open air tour bus originated. During its construction, New Yorkers were fearful of its steel cage construction, that they feared it would fall over, due to its size.

The art Deco structure of the Empire State Building - standing proud in NYC - an iconic landmark.

With fierce competition at the time to achieve the tallest Art Deco building, The Empire State building was designed in under 2 weeks and when construction began in 1930 it was erected in 15 months, standing as the tallest building in the world for 40 years. The Empire State building is a landmark Art Deco building and possibly New Yorks most famous, with its 102 floors, 6,000 windows, windows lined with aluminium, and an impressive use of how the windows are setback, creating the effect of building blocks. At its crown is an illustrative Art Deco observatory, where you can enjoy the grandest views of the wonder of NYC. Notable tenants of the Empire State building include Linkedin, Shutterstock, Expedia, and even JC Deceaux.

El Dorado Building - 91st and broadway.

 

To decide on your favourite Art Deco building can be difficult, so to mention a few examples are the 22 acre Rockefeller centre, the Waldorf Astoria hotel, the Chrysler building and the Eldorado building that stand along 90th & 91st Street, the 2 towers taper by way of geometric setbacks to form sharp, abstract spires. Designed by emery Roth, there are metal fine lines that add a futuristic touch to the terraced texture of the building.

Closer Detail of the El Dorado Building.

 

Enjoy to architectural views. XX SR


'Rainbow Real estate’ ! ‘The Brownstone’ - Recognizable Style & Elegence, NYC '

As one of the most desirable form of dwellings in New York City today, the brownstone remains the most recognisable style found throughout the City, creating the most luxurious rows of elegance dotted around the boroughs.

Gentle arches frame the beautiful brownstone streets

There are quite a few distinctive styles of brownstones around the city, mostly 3 stories, with a basement and with notably tall windows. A stroll around neighbourhoods of Carroll gardens, Park slope and prospect heights in Brooklyn you will be awed by their grandeur and beauty, the beautiful Swedish brown sandstone framing these elegant streets.

Many of the stone cuttings and carvings for brownstones memorialized their owners, once in fashion to have a celebrity depicted on a residence, but most of the details found were mythical characters or even building owners.

Historical Building. Fine ink pen sketch.

Probably the best of the brownstone in Manhattans’ boroughs can be found on the Upper West side where the oldest building can date back to 1880.

A dreamy facade I came across whilst strolling the areas.

Brownstone, a building where NYC pride and elegence are grandurely connected by artistic beauty. - A dream place to call home.

All artwork available to purchase by clicking into ‘Colour In The City’ Collection above. A beautiful way to show off the artistic elegence in the home. XX SR

 

 


Central Park; A tranquil elegance amongst chaos. .

Cities excite me, but none as much as the grand sudden burst of uncontrollable energy felt when arriving to New York City, with its chaotic multitudes of colour and splendour of noises. Their sounds alone sooth me but nothing so much as visits to the grandest of spaces, Central Park, where the power of its vastness silences the chaos inside us and outside its walls.

Into the light

Central Park is an oasis for New Yorkers and ‘wannabe’s’ alike, stretching across three avenues from 59th street all the way up to 110th street, its vast 900 acres (6 percent of the entire manhattan) is one complete, tranquil, pure escape.

I was lucky while here, to experience the transition of seasons from Autumn into Winter, with its golden transformations visible from all angles. Streets, especially close to 100th and 103rd street boast some of the most beautiful foliage, pure artistic paintings in their own right.

 

The archaic skyline rising above natural beauty.

Don’t miss seeing the reflection of trees in the lakes, taking walks along the rustic stone bridges, the arches, where walks can be most appreciated. The Ramble’ lake, located with access from 79th street, romanticised by many Hollywood movies, where you can rent boats or merely walk around the largest body of water in the park, enjoying again some of the best views.

Lake views - colour explosions

 

Closeby, from 71st -74th street, Strawberry fields, paying tribute to the late beatle, John Lennon, musician and peace activist, where a beautiful black and white ‘Imagine’ Mosaic was created in tribute to him.

Flowers placed as a symbol of peace.

And a frosty reminder for the wild side of us all - the ‘Wollman Rink’ opens every winter for skaters of all levels, and although a tourist draw, this rink located in the heart of the park, boast the most beautiful view, with the backdrop of skyscrapers

Central Park tranquility - located 59th st and 5th avenue.

Shop 'Colour In The City' Collection for more insights on NYC. 

Peace !  XX SR.

 


The Magical World of Ms Potter.

Believe there is a great power silently working for all things good, behave yourself and never mind the rest” - Beatrix Potter.

A short inspiring, long wished for trip, brought me to the truly calming ‘Lake Windermere’ for some rest time, and to emerse and become inspired by the tales and illustrations of Beatrix Potter, (best known for her tales of Peter Rabbit, and Jemima Puddleduck’ ) and breath the fresh crisp air of the surrounding countryside, where Beatrix devoted her life protecting this beautiful landscape.

Stepping back & being called into nature, views of Windermere.

“Hill Top farm” the original home of Beatrix Potter, is located in Hawkeshead, a short scenic lake cruise, across the lake from ‘Bownes’, followed by a short bus trip through a twisty road taking you to the most wonderful destination overlooking the countryside.

 

Hill Top is a 17th Century house, a stunning timecapsule of her life, a house built with the traditional Cumbrian slate stone walls, now treasured by the national trust. It is a grade 2 listed building  and is now happily open to the public as a writers house museum, showing off how Beatrix herself would have lived and best known it.

Beatrix bought the house and its 34 acres in July 1906 as her retreat home from London and her artistic retreat. The house, farm, and nearby villages feature in her books, (The tale of Tom Kitten, the tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck). The farm was managed by Tom Cannon, a long friend of Beatrix Potter and the wing of the house was left to him in 1906.

Hill Top Farm.

The beautiful tale of Jemima Puddle Duck was dedicated to his children, who appear in her illustrations as does their mother.

Many of her furnishings are displayed throughout the house and you can take a beautiful walk around her gardens and enjoy the tranquil views of the surrounding countryside. You may even meet the gardener in charge of Hilltop who will show you some exciting features:)

Stories of her books to be found around the nearby village
Stunning view of the countryside

A beautiful few days at Windermere, bringing nature and a love for art closer to home.

Shop 'In Dreams' collection on my website for more insights & dreamy images.

(Details of Hilltop Farm can be found on www.nationaltrust.org.uk) Enjoy, xx SR.


NYC - Packing Art into the Meatpacking!!

Chelsea's row of galleries along west 21st street between 10th & 11th Ave includes some of the finest galleries in the NYC gallery world, offering the latest contemporary art for both the casual gallery-goer and dedicated connoisseur.

I was lucky enough back in November 2017 to experience such a thrill, with each gallery providing free entry and an opportunity to witness some finest worldwide artists, one in particular, was the inspiring, (known and found for the 'mile long' queues (Not joking)) was the fabulous Yoyoi Kusama, the Japanese contemporary artist, active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry. She is best known for her conceptual art, minimalism, surrealism and pop art styles. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.

IN 2011, Kusama created artwork for six limited edition lip glosses for the brand lancome, as well as working with the designer Marc Jacobs, who was inspired by her line of Louis Vuitton products, and so, created for Marc a line of accessories, shoes, watches and jewellary. These products were available at a soho pop up shop, which was decorated with Kusama's trademark images of her polkadots.

'Ready to wait in Line?? worth it!

Her work, Displayed in the 'David Zwirner' gallery, showed off her selfmade journey to greatness and quite possibly showing that she maybe the greatest artist to come out of the 1960's. The 'Infinity' rooms on view in chelsea, give her paintings a forcefulness, with their imaginative images and sculptures, rooms that could win over any new fan. One room is a hexagonal box with mirrored interior, shows a changing light show, a sensation of flying above a cityscape.

My favourite room at the gallery, was a room (Photo above) titled 'With all my love for the Tulips, I pray forever' - a simple white room containing three large sculptures of tulips in which everything is covered with red dots, a room where you can experience, through her eyes, her innocent fun of art.

Kusuma in her life, experienced psychological imbalances that led to periods of hospitalisation (in childhood she began to experience visual and auditory hallucinations and continued) thus leading her to the paintings of red dots.

It is the vitality of the artist, that is infectious, the art that keeps her now alive.

(David Zwirner gallery is located on 525 W 19th Street, NYC.)

 

Exhibition was on display November 15th 2017.

Shop 'Colour In the City' Collection for more NYC enjoyment.

_________________________________________ XX SR