Paris’ Village on a Hill

Farmguy and Farmgirl standing in front of Le mur des je t’aime or the I Love You Wall in Montmartre Paris, France   A while ago, Farmguy and I spent several days in Paris.  We decided to include a walking tour of Montmartre, or the “neighborhood on the hill,” which is in the 18th Arrondissement.  Our first stop was the I Love You Wall, a love-themed 40 square meters (430 sq ft) wall in the Jehan Rictus garden square.  The wall was created in 2000 by calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito and is composed of 612 tiles of enameled lava, on which the phrase “I love you” is featured 311 times in 250 languages.  The red splashes on the wall symbolize parts of a broken heart. A few of the must sees in the area include the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the vineyards, and the Montmartre museum.  However, it’s also worth the time to explore the charming streets and quaint village atmosphere that Montmartre offers. The 18th is a delightful mixture of lovely old houses and a place to discover farmers’ markets, small art galleries, and bistros.  In the area of Rue Poulet toward Sacré Cœur, away from the tourists and busyness, you’ll see the quintessential Paris referred to as “the village.”  It was home to many families as well as intellectuals and artists (Claude Monet, Amedeo Modigliani, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, August Renoir, Henri […]

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Love, Attraction, and Chemistry…Oh, My!

“A View to a Kiss,” 20 x 24 acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer     “Chemistry of Connection”  Two people smiling, laughing– connected by a feeling, a flutter of energy or magnetism; moving together into a mutual understanding– an affinity: souls intertwined. ~Tonya R. Hengerer   *Acrostic poems are a kind of poetry where the first, last, or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. Acrostic poetry by Tonya R. Hengerer.   “Attraction” Attuned To someone who Totally makes your heart Race, And Clouds your thinking to the point of Inciting an Out-of-body experience– Nirvana!    “Chemistry“ Capricious state of being that Humans share with one another Evolving into More Intimate feelings with Souls synchronizing in an effort To mutually Reflect an intensity of emotion– Yearning.   “Love” Lingering On Volumes of ardent Emotion.    “Love” Lives intertwined in an Ongoing partnership, because Vows were made to Endure the test of time.   “Valentine’s Day” Valiantly Alluding to Lots of passionate Emotion through Notes To someone with whom you’re In love, Not forgetting or Excluding Some chocolates or a   Dozen roses And, of course, You must have Champagne!   Happy Valentine’s Day!        

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Friday Farm Favorites: A Beloved View

  “Sunset on Green Hill Farm,” 36 x 48 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas Original artwork by Tonya R. Hengerer   This coming May 8th will mark fifteen years since restoration was completed on my family’s circa 1790s ancestral home.  My family’s home place was purchased by my great-grandparents in 1912. The reference photo that inspired this painting was taken from an upstairs window, and it’s the view I see first thing every morning.  I have marveled at countless colorful sunsets from this vantage point, and one of my favorite scenes includes our sheep grazing or lying peacefully in the pasture. When I look out at the mountain and fields, I have a sense of calm that I only have when I’m at home.       “I hear the mountain birds, the sound of rivers singing A song I’ve often heard, it flows through me now So clear and so loud I stand where I am and forever I’m dreaming of home… It’s carried in the air, the breeze of early morning I see the land so fair, my heart opens wide…” ~Philippe Rombi   Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

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More Than A Memento

In life, we often go through our days interacting with others, but not really connecting.  It’s just the way it is.  Most days we are busy, stressed, and distracted—replaying yesterday and worrying about tomorrow.  It can be difficult to be in the moment, to observe and listen, to be present—to look and actually see.  Not that we mean to or want to, but sometimes we operate on a superficial level.  This is partly because we are so engaged in our own worlds, disconnected and unable to relate to something outside of ourselves. I’m reminded of an experience I had one summer while visiting my favorite place—England.  My husband and I were spending the day in a Cotswolds market town in Gloucestershire, a charming place with honey-colored, stone architecture and baskets full of colorful, cascading flowers adorning the front of every other building.  As we made our way along the busy highstreet, a courtyard with shops and galleries caught our attention.  We walked into the brightly lit space with sunlight streaming down from the skylights above, illuminating the shops before us.  I immediately noticed the simple but stunning jewelry in one of the galleries.  I walked in and began to browse.  My gaze landed on an understated, wide, silver band with an anticlastic shape. It was lovely.  I wanted to try it on, but I didn’t see anyone.  I looked across the hallway, and sitting opposite the gallery, in a studio, […]

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Drops of Jupiter…And a Little Bit of Heavenl

Fattoria della Talosa–Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Ornellaia–Super-Tuscan, Cordella–Montalcino   In May 2018, I spent a delightful week in Tuscany.  I wasn’t alone, though.  Melody, author of the blog, Meals With Mel accompanied me on this little adventure around Florence and the Tuscan countryside.  We had a fabulous time wandering around the beautiful city of Florence and marveling at the many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture—including the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. We visited The Galleria dell’ Accademia which displays Michelangelo’s, “David” sculpture as well as the Uffizi Gallery which exhibits Botticelli’s, “The Birth of Venus.” Once in the countryside, we enjoyed lots of sunshine and blue skies while truffle hunting at a beautiful farm and vineyard called, Fattoria Santa Vittoria.  And, of course, we had some of the most beautiful wines in the world—mainly, but not entirely, comprised of the Sangiovese grape, an Italian red grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jupiter.” For those of you who may not be familiar with the wines of central Italy, The Apennine Mountains, which run the length of the Italian Peninsula, dominant the wine regions of this area. Grapes are planted in the hills and valleys of this mountain range with altitude providing a moderating influence on the hot climate.  It’s also important to mention that the coastal areas on both sides of the country […]

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Tuesday Tunes: A Girl Like You

Birth of Venus  by Sandro Botticelli, 1486 Uffizi Gallery Florence, Italy         Liberty of Poetry by Pio Fedi, 1870 Santa Croce Florence, Italy   Atop playwright Giovanni Battista Niccolini’s tomb in the basilica of Santa Croce is a statue remarkably similar to New York’s Statue of Liberty. Both depict a woman in neoclassical robes with a crown of rays, standing on a broken chain, her right arm uplifted.  Pio Fedi started to design the Florentine statue, known as Liberty of Poetry, in 1870.  It was the same year in which Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, designer of the New York Statue of Liberty, was in Italy, fighting alongside General Garibaldi during the Franco-Prussian War.   The Coronation Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Unknown English artist oil on panel, circa 1600 National Portrait Gallery London, England   Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss Front view Marble by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) Musée du Louvre Paris, France   Venus Bordeaux, 2001 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte by Jim Dine (American, b. 1935) Bordeaux, France   The Kiss Bronze by Auguste Rodin Outside the Musée de l‘Orangerie Paris, France  

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Portrait of a Cat Named Winston

Of course, he wasn’t always called Winston.  When this black and white feral kitten first appeared on Green Hill Farm in the early 1990s, he was just another no-name, country kitty looking for food and shelter.  You see, in the country, we don’t buy or go get a cat; it just shows up.  First, it takes up residence in one of the barns or sheds—a safe place with an occasional mouse treat. Next, you may catch a glimpse of it under a bush or behind some flowers.  As it gets more comfortable, it begins sunning itself on the front porch and leaving dead rabbits at your door.  Before you know it, the cat has had its mail forwarded to your address and now considers itself a full member of the family.  At least, that seems to be the story with this congenial cat Grandma and Grandaddy Rieley took a liking to and adopted many years ago.  Besides supplementing kitty’s diet of mice and rabbits with cat food, my grandparents also allowed him in the house at night to watch television with them.  As I mentioned, my grandparents became very fond of kitty, and Grandaddy began referring to him as—wait for it, “Nyning-Nyning.”  I’m not even sure I’m spelling it correctly as it was more of a noise than a name.  Anyway, Nyning-Nyning was well-loved and became a permanent fixture on Green Hill Farm.  He enjoyed hunting, despite receiving two or […]

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Friday Farm Favorites: Cheerfulness

“Cheerfulness,” 14 X 18, acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer   “Daring enthusiasm And abiding cheerfulness Can accomplish everything on earth Without fail.” ~Sri Chinmoy Farmguy and I love England, especially the Cotswolds, and one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon is Kiftsgate Court Gardens.  It’s located very near Hidcote Manor Garden and is situated above the village of Mickleton in the county of Gloucestershire, in the far north of the county close to the border with both Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The gardens, famed for its roses, are the creation of three generations of women gardeners. Started by Heather Muir in the 1920s, continued by Diany Binny from 1950, and now looked after by Anne Chambers and her husband. Kiftsgate Court is currently the home of the Chambers family. My latest painting, “Cheerfulness,” was inspired by a photograph I took during one of our visits at this lovely garden.   *As always, lots of gratitude to my friend and art teacher, Janet Wimmer for her input and guidance. 🙂 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!    

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Ruin Is a Gift

  Our new lambs–Tino, Sweet Pea, Butterbean, and Truffle Spring 2018   Please bear with this somewhat stream of consciousness post.  I kept going around and around about what to say, how to say it, and whether to even say it.  But here it is.  Suffering at the hands of someone you love and who is supposed to love you, […]

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