You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘pretty’ tag.
I saw some jonquils getting ready to bloom and it made me happy and excited. I am ready for spring. Winter was mild until the end but it has really been lingering around and we need spring flowers. Jonquils are domesticated ornamental flowers descended from are a specific sort of daffodil: “Narcissus jonquil.” They have dark green, tube-shaped leaves (compared to other types of daffodils which have flat leaves). They tend to be smaller and their central tube is flared and flattened like a little saucer or cup. There are so many sorts and I hope to see them all within a few weeks!
Kings and Queens wear crowns. Great Lords wear coronets. Emperors wear diadems. Princesses, of course, wear tiaras. Ferrebeekeeper could not let princess week pass without featuring a beautiful historical head-dress worn by a princess. The Iranian crown jewels (which are too-my eyes the most stylish) did not quite suit the theme and so I chose to look to Great Britain. Princess Margaret, late sister to the Queen of England was simultaneously a classic princess and a scandalous modern one. This is her signature tiara, which she wore on her wedding to a photographer, or in the bathtub (to impress on people that she was a classical princess and a scandalous modern one too).
Although the Poltimore tiara is emblematic of the nineteen sixties because of princess Margaret and her jet-setting (but slightly sad) lifestyle, the Poltimore tiara is actually Victorian crown. It was originally made by Garrard for Florence for Lady Poltimore, wife of Baron Poltimore, in the 1870s. Because of the jeweler’s ingenuity, it can be broken apart into brooches and a necklace, and the full tiara set also includes a little screwdriver. Aside from the screwdriver, which I perhaps should not have mentioned first, the tiara is all diamonds set in gold and silver floral scrollwork patterns.
Of course this history doesn’t really get us closer to answering the question of why princesses wear tiaras to begin with. Since the dawn of time, a glistening hat has betokened status, but why? The ancients believed that the form of a crown—rays emanating from the head denoted celestial importance—divinity and the Christians likewise elided the form with the halo of saints and angels, however it is possible there is an earthlier answer.
After her death, Princess Margaret’s heirs auctioned off the Poltimore tiara for more than a million pounds. Nothing shows off status like being able to wear decades worth of a person’s income to a party, and aside from its obvious prettiness (and the fame of its most famous owner), the Poltimore tiara wasn’t even really a valuable tiara….
Here is a little gallery of drawings and paintings of the Mauritius blue pigeon ((Alectroenas nitidissimus) a charming blue fructivore of the beautiful island of Mauritius (which is in the Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar). You may notice that there are only artworks of the blue pigeon with the yeti ruff and naked smiling vulture head. That is because the poor pigeon went extinct in the 1830s, a victim if drastic deforestation on the island. The pigeon went extinct when the fruit trees it relied on for food were cut down. It looks funny and personable and sad.
Drop everything: Pantone has just announced the color of the year for 2017! Although the “color of the year” is nakedly a publicity ploy by Pantone (a New Jersey branding corporation), it is also relevant since large groups of industries work together to put the color everywhere in clothing and consumer goods. Additionally the color of the year really does represent the zeitgeist of an era (if not through mystical aesthetic convergence, at least through talking and writing about it). I had some reservations about the color of the year last year (the only year with a dual winner: cool pink and gray blue), yet the contrasting/complimenting nature of the shades ended up representing the divisive political, gender, and class battles of 2016 perfectly while still evoking the lost conformity of the 1950s. Maybe it is better not to speak of the bleeding liver color of 2015, which was suited only for haruspices and die-hard Charles Bronson enthusiasts.
Marsala (Color of the Year 2015)
This year’s color is back to being a single shade—a mid-tone cabbage green named “greenery”. Yellowish greens are among my favorite colors (or maybe they are my favorite colors) so I love greenery. I think it is magnificent, and any devoted readers who want to express their affection for Ferrebeekeeper should feel free to send me shirts, cement mixers, or three-wheel mini cars of the verdant pastel hue.
The Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute (snicker) writes “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”
I personally do not feel especially optimistic for 2017: I believe the nation is headed off in a profoundly wrong direction, and, additionally, nothing particularly good is happening in my personal life. But how do we learn other than through terrible mistakes? (well…aside from, you know reading and thinking, and nobody in America is likely to do those things). Plus you never know, maybe popular culture will seize on flounders or eclectic zoology/history/aesthetic blogs as the flavor of the year for 2017. We need to keep an open mind and be ready to seize on opportunities.
Populists and fascists generally push policies which create a “sugar rush” of short term economic euphoria and froth crony capitalism (before state intervention, protectionism, and price fixing set in and create economic death spirals). Perhaps greenery–which, now that I look at it, is also the color of money—will represent this short lived false dawn. When the real slump arrives and recession and scandals shake the nation, Pantone can choose some different colors. Spray-tan orange, blood red, concrete gray, or gold and black .
In the meantime let’s enjoy Greenery: a color which I really do uncritically love. I think this shade would be perfect for room painting and some craft projects. Maybe I will make some yellow-green flounder drawings too. Above all I plan to see lots of Greenery in the garden (which I also plan to write about more). Also, the color of the year announcement kicks off the end-of-the-year holiday season, so I will put up some festive posts while we enjoy eggnog and ornaments and remember the tulip bulbs in the ground, waiting to burst forth come spring.
I’m sorry. November is flying by on russet wings and still I have posted no photos of autumn color! i meant to write about beautiful autumn foliage, but, with one thing or another, I never managed to get out of New York. So…the only thing to do was to head out to my garden in Brooklyn and take some leaf pictures at home.
Autumn gardens have their own chaotic beauty of fallen leaves, brown spots, and jagged red vines. Plus it has been warm this year so there are still plenty of flowers.
However the queen of the garden, as always, is the ornamental Kwanzan cherry tree, which is nearly as beautiful covered in glowing yellow leaves as it is in summer wearing bright grass green…or even in spring when it is a lambent pink cloud. I love that tree!
A persimmon is a berry which grows on a persimmon tree, a group of species within the larger group Diospyros. The Diospyros trees are part of the majestic ebony family, and indeed persimmon trees are likewise noted for their hard, dense, elegant wood. The Diospyros are widespread trees, and native species of persimmon can be found in East Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, the Philippines, and North America.
Persimmon berries (or fruit, as people call them) are an excellent source of dietary fiber, manganese, and beta-carotene (which people are always banging on about, but which I think is overrated). They do not otherwise contain significant nutrients…except perhaps sugars (once they have been sufficiently ripened or bletted). Unripe persimmons are astringent and somewhat indigestible. Indeed, green persimmons are noted for sometimes causing bezoars in humans who eat lots of green persimmons–the unripened flesh polymerizes into a woody ball which traps other food materials. These horrifying lumps can necessitate surgery (although apparently coca-cola dissolves them).
Persimmon trees are rugged and grow fast. Not only do their blossoms emerge after their leaves, which protects the buds from frost, they can also survive in polluted or unfavorable situations. My grandfather had a garden and a fruit orchard next to the Chesapeake Bay. The East Coast is slowly (or maybe not-so-slowly) receding into the ocean and the persimmons lived shockingly close to the saltwater until Hurricane Fran knocked them down in 1996. Throwing a football around while running across the slippery rotting fruit is my foremost persimmon memories, although I have also drunk the Korean spicy punch called sujeonggwa (and I found it delightful). Maybe I should try making a persimmon pie!
Additionally there is a beautiful autumnal orange color named after persimmon. It is a mid-tone orange with hints of red, almost the same hue as senior republicans, but slightly darker with woody brown notes. I like to write about seasonally appropriate colors, and I can hardly think of a hue more suited to early November (unless it is some sort of russet or woodland gray).
I have been trying not to write about flags too much…ever since an impassioned plea for blogging feedback revealed surprising anti-flag sentiments among our general readership. Yet, Brazil’s flag features outer space AND a golden rhombus. How could I not write about such a thing?
The basis of the modern Brazilian flag is the flag of the Brazilian empire. That flag had all sorts of classical medieval trappings of empire: a laurel wreath, a world-girding cross, a green shield, and big fat green & gold crown, however the backdrop—a bright yellow rhombus on a Kelly green field–was meant to be seen from a distance, and so it had a robust minimalist appearance.
When the First Brazilian Republic supplanted the empire in 1889, the flag changed by getting rid of all the regal trappings and replacing them with vault of the heavens. The particular stars represent the night sky over Rio De Janeiro on the night of November 15, 1889, when the First Brazilian Republic was born. The motto “Ordem e Progresso” means “order and progress” (that’s exactly what I would have guessed…hey, do I secretly know Portuguese?).
There were however other options on the table and some of them are pretty fascinating. Look at the weird dark mirror of the American flag which was proposed…or that strange black and white monstrosity which looks like it was printed at Kinkos to be handed out by street people.
On the whole though, the Brazilian flag is quite splendid! Its bold color scheme stands out among all of the hundreds of flags of the world and perfectly represents the glowing dynamism of the Amazon and of the young nation! Hooray for Brazil!
It has been a while since I blogged about my garden—which is a shame since it has been unusually beautiful this year. Alas, I am not an especially good photographer, but here are two little garden pictures so you can relive the end of May and the beginning of June with colored pencil drawings.
Night Ruler Iris (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, colored pencil and ink on paper)
Here is “Night Ruler” the dark violet iris which I blogged about last year. It had about two good days before a rainstorm knocked down the 4 foot flower spikes—but they were two GOOD days. There is hardly a flower more beautiful than the near-black German iris.
Livin’ Easy Rose (Wayne Ferrebee, 2016, colored pencil and ink on paper)
Here is another beautiful flower, a floribunda rose named “Livin’ Easy” which is sort of a fluorescent coquelicot color. It is hard to get the vibrancy of the color of this beautiful little rose (and even more difficult to capture the heavenly smell). Maybe you will have to imagine the joy of rose season here in late spring/ early summer.
My apologies! I usually try to write a blog post every workday (and answer comments the day…or at least the week…that you all leave them), however, unfortunately my poor computer became overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of the modern world and died unexpectedly. It was one of those classic heartbreaking electronic death scenes: I was watching the emotional climax of a movie on Netflix when suddenly there was a loud diminishing power-down noise (poink! BZZzzzzfffft) and the image collapsed into a jagged phosphorescent line and suddenly my only computer was as dead as bipartisan compromise in America.
It is shocking how much is on a computer. I don’t just use it to write and communicate with friends around the world. It is also my graphic resource, my stereo, my document archive, my financial records, and my cookbook. Let this tale serve as a cautionary reminder to back things up on those cheap little portable hard drives!
Anyway, thanks to a heroic intercession by my friend the IT manager (who swooped in like Apollo on a cloud in French Neoclassical theatre) I am back in business with no lasting harm done. The whole scary episode has led me to reflect on the central place of computers in our lives…and yet they are all utilitarian gray and black boxes. If I designed a computer, it would look like a glowing ball of energy in a bell jar suspended on cabriolet legs—not like a flat screen connected to a miniature metal utility shed. I wondered if somebody had spent some time to jazz up computers with gothic stylings (a favorite aesthetic of mine) and I found these images which I have used to illustrate this post. These are so cool! Why can’t we have prettier computers? People of the future are going to look at our metal rectangles and conclude that we were primitives….although I guess if one’s fancy computer that looks like a Gothic cathedral just suddenly died it would be even more crushing than otherwise.
Anyway, i am sorry for the blog interruption. I will try to answer everyone’s excellent comments tomorrow! In the mean time, it’s good to be back on the internet!