Thoughts from Crow Cottage

(soon to be retired)

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What Art Can Do for Us

Can you spot the new item in the Reading Room?


There it is, over the fireplace; a closer look:


I had meant to hang it on the interior wall, behind our reading chairs... where the brass charger is hanging now, but I thought it would look nicer over the fireplace.


I've loved this room since I transformed it from a hardly-ever-used dining room into a Reading Room for us. Alas, Paul hardly ever reads in here; it's mostly just me you'll finding sitting there, along with the dogs because wherever I go, they go. But this room is where I can relax. Looking out the front windows has been grand, up to a point. Once we got the onslaught of winter snow, it became rather monotonous and boring to look out at all that white stuff.

My new picture, up closer, before I hung it:


As some of you will already know, we saw the recent film "Mr. Turner" the other day, maybe a couple of weeks ago.... and fell in love with his works. J.M.W. Turner, that is. Probably the most well-known British painter of the 19th century. Or so they say. The film starred one of our all-time favorite actors, Timothy Spall. I make sure I get a copy of all his movies and he does some nice documentary-type shows, as well. Like the time he took his wife, Shane, and and "sailed" the barge, called "Princess Matilda", all around the coastline of England and Scotland.. The series was called "Timothy Spall - Somewhere at Sea". Well, it was almost all the way around, I think he took a short-cut in Scotland inland. It was a wonderful series. And now I see he has made two more subsequent series! He's unique. We love his work. And as J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), the artist, he was wonderful, as well. What else?

In the film, there is a scene about him painting what is known as his "Snowstorm" painting. The actual title is "Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth Making Signals in Shallow Water, and going by the Lead. The Author was in this Storm on the Night the "Ariel" left Harwich." Quite a name, no? It's more often called just "Snow Storm," or "Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth." This was painted by Turner in 1842.

Turner wanted to experience a snowstorm whilst out on a steamship, so he went out in one during a wild snowstorm and even asked to be lashed to the mast so he wouldn't be washed overboard! This is the painting he did from his memory of what he saw

I immediately knew I wanted that picture in my home, so after exploring a few places, (and of course I couldn't get an original), I found a web site called where they make reproductions of artwork and will do all the framing. It gives you quite a large choice as regards matting, frame choices, sizes, etc. It took me most of a complete day and a half to finalize my order, checking it over with Paul, of course. He loves it, as well. We decided, in the end, to give each other this gift for our 29th wedding anniversary, which comes up on May 10th of this year. We split the cost 50/50. It wasn't exactly cheap but then it's not small and is framed nicely, and is just what I/we wanted and had in mind.

So it came yesterday. Only days after I'd ordered it. Amazing service... I am very pleased.


It's not something we needed, but when you get to be our age, some things just are worth paying a little extra for, if they contribute to some inner peace. And this picture does that for me. I am going in there now (I usually write in the living room) and put some nice classical music on the CD player, and just sit and look at this wonderful new addition to Crow Cottage.

Cheers for what art can do for us!


I think I could turn and live awhile with the animals...
They are so placid and self-contained,
I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied... not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth.

~ [Walt Whitman, from "Leaves of Grass, No. 32"] ~


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