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Inspired by the Sea: Maritime Artwork

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The painting above has been missing for twenty five years. Rembrandt van Rijn painted it, and titled it “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.” It used to hang in the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, but was stolen in an art heist in 1990, a theft that removed a billion dollars worth of art from the museum.

Art depicting the sea has been popular for centuries. Rembrandt painted “The Storm” in 1633, part of the Dutch Golden Age, when marine painting was a major genre. A little bit of history explains why: overseas trade and naval power were hugely important to the Dutch Republic, and so began the very first career marine artists, who painted almost nothing else.

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 The Battle of Trafalgar, J.M.W. Turner

The Romantic Age (roughly 1800-1850) saw marine painting surge in popularity. Detailed portraits of ships and the sea were sought from painters such as J.M.W. Turner, for whom painting the sea was an obsession. He was commissioned to paint “The Battle of Trafalgar,” a far cry from the kinds of coastal scenes that followed from other painters, featuring tranquil waters and soft light.

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Lake George, 1862, Martin Johnson Heade

America experienced its own romance with marine art when immigrants, mostly English, came to the U.S. in the 19th century. Their arrival coincided with the coast being regarded as a place of leisure rather than work and danger. Beach scenes, coastal landscapes and river views became more common, especially among the Impressionists.

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New York Yacht Club Race, James Edward Buttersworth

The poet Mary Oliver calls the sea “this enormity, this cauldron of changing greens and blues,..the great palace of the earth. Everything is in it–monsters, devils, jewels, swimming angels, soft-eyed mammals…also, sunk with some ship or during off-loading, artifacts of past decades or centuries…” No wonder we’re fascinated by it!

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 America’s Cup, by Michael Keane

I use marine paintings in many of my client’s homes. Coastal scenes are also found throughout my own home, several depicting places I’ve loved and lived. I’ve written before about some of my favorite painters, including many beautiful works by my friend, Michael Keane.

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Blue Horizon, Michael Keane

No matter where they’re hung, marine paintings bring peace and beauty to a space, lifting us somehow into another place, where we can almost feel the sea breeze.

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The beautiful living room, below, has several fine examples of marine art, including pieces by Antonio Jacobsen and Michael Keane. The portrait to the left is of an 18th century sea captain, another way to bring the seafaring life to your home.

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Bedrooms are particularly good places to hang favorite pieces of marine art, as the soft blues and greens and even the white capped waves can add to the room’s soothing ambiance.

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Painting over mantel is by American artist Tim Thompson

Any room can benefit from a striking marine painting. Here, artwork by renowned oil painter Tim Thompson enlivens the space.

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Another work by Tim Thompson hangs above the sofa in a Nantucket home on the harbor.

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Finding galleries with knowledgeable professionals to assist in buying art is an indispensable part of collecting any artwork. I particularly have loved working with Quidley and Company, both in Boston and on Nantucket Island at 26 Main Street.

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Another favorite gallery is Cavalier Galleries, with locations in Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City, and on Nantucket, at 10 Federal Street.

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A famous gallery known nationwide is J. Russell Jinishian, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Tucked away on a quiet street outside of town, people who know marine art know about this very special gallery just an hour away from New York City. Its extensive inventory includes over 1,000 marine paintings, drawings, sculptures, ship models and scrimshaw, by some of the world’s leading marine artists. Mr. Jinishian will be speaking on marine art on April 24th at 7 p.m. at the Black Rock Yacht Club, Black Rock, Connecticut.

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J. Russell Jinishian Gallery, Fairfield, CT

The beauty of the ocean will always call to us, so maritime art and marine paintings will, likewise, always be sought after. Whether you are fortunate enough to own artwork by an old master, a revered artist who has passed on, or are enjoying the experience of collecting art by some of our wonderful living artists, your home will always be enhanced by your purchases.

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As Mary Oliver says, “…on the water we shake off the harness of weight; we glide; we are passengers of a sleek ocean bird with its single white wing filled with wind.”

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The Last Trap, by Michael Keane

Please Join Me

Light It Up Blue!

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An organization that has always been close to my heart is Autism Speaks, and their fabulous month-long campaign called Light It Up Blue.

I’ve supported Autism Speaks for years, alarmed by the rapid increase in children affected by the disorder. I have written about autism every year since I began this blog in 2011. My most recent post is here.

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My husband, Frank, and our Bichons at Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Autism is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. One in 68 children per year are diagnosed with disorders on the autism spectrum today, a forty fold increase in the last ten years. For boys, the rate is four to five times that of girls, at one in 42. The rate for girls is one in 189. I’ve walked on Nantucket to raise money and awareness (Walk Now for Autism Speaks: there are walks all over the country–check it out!), and in 2013 created a very special holiday tree to honor the families who struggle with autism and to help bring attention to their search for a cure.

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Nantucket Whaling Museum’s Festival of Trees, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2, 2015, and kicks off a month of autism awareness with Light It Up Blue. Light It Up Blue (LIUB) asks everyone to honor people with autism worldwide. Buildings, landmarks, hotels, concert halls, schools, and thousands of homes will light it up blue. This year, even the Great Pyramid in Egypt will Light It Up Blue!

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Here’s how you can help:

  • Light your homes, businesses and schools blue! Change outdoor and indoor light bulbs to blue bulbs.

 

  • Wear blue: ties, scarfs, shirts, shoes! Ask your family and friends to wear blue, too.

 

  • Post blue. Use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram and Pinterest to share your support for Light It Up Blue. Use the hash tag #LIUB.

 

  • Distribute information about autism and Light It Up Blue in your community.

 

 

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The Cleveland Clinic is doing their part, too. Beginning Monday, April 13th through Sunday, April 19th, 43 participating Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Northeast Ohio will bake a specialty puzzle piece shortbread cookie and donate 100% of the proceeds to the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. Not in northeast Ohio? You can purchase a virtual cookie here. 

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What I Love

Two Hearts and a Hospital

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I’d like to tell you a story about two hearts and a hospital. One heart belongs to a little girl from Honduras, named Ana Cristina Quevedo. I’ve never met her, but her story matters to me.  Little Ana had a congenital heart defect that caused her to struggle to breathe. She used to crouch down on the ground to conserve her energy, as she was often too weak to stand up.

The second heart belongs to my husband, Frank.

The hospital is the Cleveland Clinic.

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Until two months ago, when my husband, Frank, suddenly needed open heart surgery, I was aware of the Cleveland Clinic, but only in a general, several-steps-removed way. Frank’s stress test and angiogram that showed an urgent (and unexpected!) need for bypass surgery introduced us to a world many others share, where we were caught up in a whirlwind of doctors, phone calls, questions, answers, and decisions.

Although we were blessed with many excellent options and caring medical professionals, we decided to go to the Cleveland Clinic, for their world-renowned cardiac unit, and some of the most skilled doctors in the world. I wrote about our journey to what we now call The City of Valentines here.

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I will always have a love for Cleveland now, and for the Cleveland Clinic. When I learned that the Clinic is a non-profit institution that provides clinical and hospital care along with world-class research and education, in one of the largest and most respected hospital systems in the country, I developed a deep respect for the important work they do every day.

It’s impossible to overstate the incredible lifesaving surgeries and care they perform there. Frank returned home, whole and healthy, but he is simply one of thousands who come in through their doors, and leave to return to a full and vibrant life. The motto and mission of the Clinic is “Patients First.” Frank and I can attest to it. We experienced it first hand.

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The Clinic’s March email newsletter told a story of another heart surgery, for little 9-year-old Ana, accompanied from Honduras to the Clinic by her father, Juan Ramon Quevado. Her heart’s congenital defect meant her heart wasn’t strong enough to pump blood throughout her body.

“When we first saw Ana, her fingertips and lips were blue from lack of oxygen in her blood,” said Brain Smith, director of Strategic Project Development at the Cleveland Clinic. He’s also a board member and volunteer for Helping Hands for Honduras, which provides cardiac care to Honduran infants and children with congenital heart defects at no cost to their families.

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Ana desperately needed a complex surgery which would reconfigure her heart. It was impossible to perform the surgery in Honduras, so emails and phone calls were exchanged at a frantic pace, and soon Ana was on her way to Cleveland. Helping Hands for Honduras arranged medical visas and passports, and American Airlines contributed airline tickets.

On September 2, 2014, the pediatric cardiac surgical team gave her a second chance at life. Today, she has an oxygen saturation level of 97 percent, well within normal range, and has grown an inch and a half in two months.

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Frank and I have become contributors to the Toby Cosgrove Innovation Fund,supporting the clinic in the name of its CEO, Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, and in honor of Frank’s doctors, Dr. Donald F. Hammer and Dr. Edward G. Soltesz. The path we walk through life can open our eyes to  needs we never knew were there.

The best paths through life can also open our hearts. Frank’s heart is open today, because of the Cleveland Clinic. They have our lifelong gratitude. Eight weeks after Frank’s life-altering surgery, we’re back home and back to work: healthy and happy!

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Frank and Trudy at an installation in New York City

Our journey has included an exploration of wonderful heart-healthy meals.   A fabulous book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., has, in turn, inspired The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn. Here’s one of our new favorites. If you make it, let me know if you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ted’s House Salad

  • 3 cups spring greens
  • 1/2 jicama, peeled and cut into strips
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 purple bell pepper or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
  • 2 purple potatoes or red new potatoes, cooked and sliced
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1 small apple, cut into thin horizontal circles with the beautiful center star featured
  • 1/2  cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

Dressing

  • 2-3 tablespoons hummus, prepared without oil or tahini
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (to taste)
  • Splash of orange juice

Combine the greens, jicama, carrots, peppers, cucumber, potatoes, raspberries, apple, raisins, and pumpkin seeds in a funky bowl, dress, and serve with wacky tongs!

The wacky tongs are optional.