Old Fashioned Adventure

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This past weekend, we ended up doing something I've always wanted to do.
Hopped in the car with a canteen of water, a camera, and an old fashioned map dated 1643...and hunted down some history.

(see blue arrow for Smith land)

Remember this post? While I draw and paint for lovely clients, my genealogy bug is growing consistently. My birthday present, Family Tree Maker For Mac 2 (yep, pushing up the nerd glasses) finally came in the mail yesterday. Genealogy is morphing from a hobby into a creative focus too, something that is pulling on my author/illustrator/fashion designing tendencies...I'm working on some personal pieces based around this "world"...we'll see what happens!

So, our destination was East Providence (Rumford, RI). We were hunting down the location of one of Matt's many Pilgrim ancestors: Master Henry Smith, and wife Judith : Matt's 11th great grandparents. Henry carried the "Smith" lineage over the ocean via the ship "Diligent" from his birthplace at Haddon Hall England to Hingham, MA in 1638, and eventually to Matt's mom. She is one of these Smiths and has loved her Masterpiece Classics for years, so the bit about Haddon Hall origination was happy news for her! Apparently, Matt's ancestors built and settled towns on all sides of the place we live today in Quincy...we've unknowingly completed many many circles just by moving here!

As soon as we neared East Providence, a really pretty thing happened: a SUN-SNOW-SQUALL! Right in the middle of it we realized we were essentially making the same trip Henry had made over 300 years ago... Hingham, the first place they settled off the ship, is next to our town of Quincy. Here we were traveling south to his new home in East Providence (imagine a snow squall without a car!) It probably wasn't the exact route, but most New England highways are paved over ancient footpaths.

Once through the snow-sun-squall, we set off to finally find our Smith land! I held my new iPhone 4s GPS map against the blurry wiggly one dated 1643 and got ourselves to the precise location on Bishop Ave. where he settled at the "the Ring of the Green", after it was freshly purchased from chief Massasoit, part of the Bay Colony in 1643. We were a little saddened, but as expected, nothing still existed to shout out the historical importance of this place. (It was a defunct bakery, which only amplified sadness....nary a cookie in sight!)

It's fascinating to think that our streets, especially in New England are so old. Bishop Avenue has been Bishop Avenue for centuries. Something I always think about: time and place. How can these times both be so real and belong to this one place? It's just this thing I've been trying to put my finger on and write more about: that we are of two worlds. Even though you can only sense and imagine one Bishop Avenue, and physically stand on the other. I think this is the history mystery that holds me captive...

So we said "bye" to Henry and "thanks" into the wind and returned to the car across the street. As I fiddled with the GPS the car was enveloped in another blinding sun-snow-squall. The bright beauty of it reminded me that this place was special as we sat waiting it out in the car, ice rushing from the blue sky down the lane ahead toward the place where something important began. We wondered aloud, "Maybe they're happy we came?" referring to the long lines of lives that brought Matt right here and I felt supremely lucky he was by my side. It blew over in a few seconds and we were back on the road.

Exploring is my favorite way to spend a day. Thanks to Edna of the EPHS for mailing the map. Thanks to Matt for chasing some history with me. Thanks to Henry and Judith for Matt.


Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm a February girl. I've always been sweet on this month for a few reasons: 
It tastes like sugar and smells like snow (normally!)...color is dazzling against February grey...there is romance, intrigue and birthday...I'm 29 today (eep.). This is the first year I've thought, "No, I'd like to stay RIGHT here at 28, thank you!" But, alas...Time will not be nicely asked to cease. My name means "youthful" so maybe I have that at least. Thanks, Momma.

Celebrating February with some snaps from this month, in the studio and out:

Lady tea #3 : Kate, Renee, Amanda, Caryn, Ellen
See more of Renee's Galentine's footage here .

Sea Shanty Lady

Friday, February 17, 2012

I just came across this lady again and thought I'd share. I sketched her in an airplane. She exists in a completely different time and universe than Ms. Cerulean in the previous post, right? An example of the two roads my art's been wandering down...the historical/sartorial coin is always flipping...

I imagined a place like Cape Ann behind her. There is a beautiful old graveyard facing Sandy Bay, where I could see her standing. When we took a family trip and wandered into it, this view stole the breath right out of me (its up a brambly hidden hill from Mill Pond Park off Beach St. if you ever want to see). It's one of those places that stays with you... the stuff sea shanties are made of! I kept imagining very old and forgotten romances when I was on this hill....Women at windows with eyes fixed on the sea, waiting for their loves to return home...

At the time of this trip I was listening to a lot of Crooked Still. But this morning, I woke up with this dreamy song in my head. I'm publishing this post early, since we have friends coming to stay and I'm off to be a Boston tourist this weekend! Happy long weekend! XO

Cerulean Lady

Monday, February 13, 2012

Most of the art I'm working on is under lock and key but this lady requested a brief appearance. Happy Monday to all!

San Francisco

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hey friends!
It's been a while...a long while full of art making (and subsequent lack of important things like housekeeping, blogging, breakfast) rolled right into a last minute trip to San Fran. It was a sun spot in the middle of the deadlines. Paint was still drying while I packed!

I promise to get better about sharing out-of-studio adventures. I tend to leave them out. So here's San Francisco (watch out, it's a long one! Click to enlarge pics if you'd like). My little SF playlist includes songs from Cold War Kids:"Mine Is Yours" and M83's new album: "New Map", "Steve McQueen", and Sequentia's Hildegard "Symphoniae" for the sleepy trip back... 

I will NEVER get over the novelty of lift off and I can't stop smiling when the wheels leave the ground.

I also love the perspective travel brings. See all those tiny squares? Farms. People. Lives. Wee little animals and things sleeping while you fly over their heads. It's refreshing. Last, I love the miracle of it: crossing the country in 6 hours, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We live in some lucky times...

OH––Hello, San Francisco! You are a glittering thing to meet by night. I wonder what you look like by day? Hey Union Square trolleys dinging, crazy trumpet serenades, and SPRING WEATHER for thick-blooded New Englanders...
Union Square at sunrise
I met Matt the next morning, who was already there on business, but he was quickly back over the Bay Bridge for work, and I hopped in a cab to visit the dreamy lair of Chronicle Books. Thank you to the brilliant art directors and editors there (Kate, Kristine, Kristen!) for the creative brainstorm and to Ariel for the tour! Then it was time for ideas to simmer and I had a full day to myself with San Francisco...

..got lost and ended up on the Embarcadero.
...made a friend!
Swooned a little.
Fell in love with the view from Pier 14.
After work, we set out to take in the city and get ourselves some walking blisters.

Mr. Matt P.

Hurtling high speed over the Golden Gate: something I'll never forget!

Great giant Smorkin' at Kidrobot on Haight!
Pizzeria Delfina in the Mission, artists at work, really friendly folks.
The capable hands of a Tartine baker. Ohhh, Tartine, Tartine.
I came across the country with dreams of Tartine's pain au chocolat
et cafe au lait!
(Worth the trip.)
Finally, touched the Pacific!

As always, I fell back in love with home when our red-eye touched down during a Boston sunrise...back to the place where people drop their R's and add them in where they don't belong. Back to Seri waiting at the door and the seeds of new ideas!