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permission of Carolyn Croll. ©All rights reserved Carolyn Croll

July 27, 2009

Temporary Turmoil

 original art © Carolyn Croll, may not be reproduced 
 without permission of the artist

Beginning almost two weeks of deconstructing
my apartment. Including my studio. The big day,
August 5 (unless it rains).
Clearing a path for workmen. All in preparation
for replacement of all windows, frames and sash.
Tricky business. Transitioning from knowing
where everything is to I'll find it again when
this is all over.
When Mom went through this in her building
she called it"The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers".

(Did I mention we are on the 37th floor?)

But then again, maybe a new window on the world
will be refreshing. ;-)

July 21, 2009


click photo to enlarge

This morning's visitor, exquisite
June Bug beetle.
About 30mm. Huge.
All green/ gold iridescence.
Delicate antennae, coppery legs
and feet in motion.
Marching up the screen.
Then suddenly - off!

Channeling Maria Sibylla Merian.

Unexpected nature on the 37th floor.

July 20, 2009

Cat Training

3:30-4 AM, most mornings.
A little "Mew! - Just me, your sweet Fred."
"If you're awake, how about a belly rub?"
Marching round and round and round. Until
sensing the perfect spot.
Flops down, his 'tocks in my armpit, tail
in my face.
Perfect position.
For stroking belly, chest and chin.
Falling asleep to all the purring.

Freddie Cat has trained me well.

July 15, 2009

Dancing As Fast As I Can

Longing to blog...
While needing to meet a heavy deadline.

Haven't made the bed. Cats are lying
in it any way

Life as a hired pencil.

July 10, 2009

Roses Are Red...


Violets are blue (OK, these are Pansies)
Pierre-Joseph Redouté

portrait by Francois Gerard in Musee des
Beaux Arts, Brussels

Born 250 years ago today in the Ardennes
town of St Hubert, Belgium.
Called the Rembrandt of Roses, the
Raphael of Flowers.

Today, reproductions of his work seem
to be almost everywhere. Decorating greeting cards,
items for the home, and walls in public venues.
Most know his work, but not much
about his life.

He came from a hardworking but humble
family of local artists. His father, his and his
artistic brothers' first teacher.
Eventually, he became flower painter to
Marie Antoinette then Empress Josephine
and taught the talented daughter of the
Duc de Orleans, who became Queen of Belgium.

Beginning research for my book, REDOUTÉ,
The ManWho Painted Flowers, I wrote a letter
to the Mayor of St Hubert asking if anyone
there knew about the artist and could help me.
The response, overwhelming.
The Mayor had passed my letter on to the Director of
the Museum, a Redoutè expert, collector, author
and respected town Pharmacist, M. Laurent Delcourt.
When I arrived in St Hubert, M. Delcourt
had arranged everything and everyone to help me.

Redouté's bust in St Hubert

Not only is Redouté the town hero,
his bust sits in front of the Hotel de Ville
(town hall).
There is a Redouté Museum on the Rue
Redouté across the street from where the
family's house once stood.
(Having been accidently flattened by an
American bomber aiming for German
headquarters across the rue, in WWII).
Today the former German headquarters
houses the Redouté Museum.
The town historian and my guide through
the town, the Abbey and how things were
in Redouté's time, was a descendent of
Redouté's Mother's family, Abbè Prosper
Chalon. An artist as well.

And this was just the beginning!

See my February 17, 2009 post for more pictures

July 8, 2009

Oh Brother

Four siblings. Two girls. Two boys.
Nowadays (believing old age starts
around 125) two middle aged women
and two middle aged men.

If one declares, "It is so!"
The others know you can take it to
the bank.

As the eldest, I thank my lucky stars.

CONGRATULATIONS! dear brother Ted.
Patently clear, a genius.

(So glad I never killed you when we
were little!) ;-)

July 4, 2009

Bird In Hand

Feeding birds in Washington Square with Mom
on July 3, 2009. Catty corner to Independence
Hall Park Philadelphia, PA.

Spread seeds. See who comes.
Sparrows, Finches show up first.
Noisy fledglings chirping,"Feed me, feed me!"
Then the Pigeons. Pecking up seeds like
feathered Hoovers.

click photo to enlarge

I like Pigeons. They seem to be the only birds that
come in different colored suits. Some Quaker plain.
Others sporting subtle to riotous patterns, light and
dark, brown, buff, rust, cream, white, taupe
blue grays. Some with military style wing stripes.
Red or orange eyes and all with red feet.

click photo to enlarge

Their soft coo-ing like cats purring.
I admire creatures that live in the city alongside
humans. I know about the mess they make.
(I think Humans leave much more.)

Two Pigeons were either particularly hungry
or brave or both. One two-tone gray with two
crippled feet, toes curled under. The second,
handsome, young, soft burgundy over dove
gray. Took turns taking peanuts from my hand.
What was he/ she thinking looking
at me through mercurochrome orange eyes?
(Same as cat boys at snack time?)

On left, crippled Pigeon on the ground, young handsome one on my hand.

July 3, 2009

Go Fourth!

my sample illustration for a proposed book

Wishing all a glorious July 4th from
Philadelphia, PA - where it all started.

July 1, 2009

Library Notes

On this day 278 years ago (July 1,1731)
Benjamin Franklin began the first circulating
library, The Library Company of Philadelphia.
In those days books were more expensive than
most people could afford. So Franklin invited
50 intellectual friends to share the expense by
pooling their funds. Each contributed 4o shillings
to help buy books and 10 more in yearly dues.
Donated books were also gratefully accepted.
In exchange, members could borrow what they
wanted to read. From the Revolution to 1800
while Philadelphia was the capital of the US
it served as the Library of Congress. Until 1850
it was the largest library in the country.

Today, The Library Company of Philadelphia
continues as an historical research library
(right down the street from here) of the
17th -19th centuries. The original books in
Ben Franklin's library are still in the collection.

The first library on wheels was begun
in 1905 by Mary L. Titcomb, head of the
Hagerstown, MD Public Library.

Like Franklin, Mary Titcomb wanted to make
books available to people who could not
afford them. Mostly rural families who
lived far from towns with libraries.
At first she placed circulating books in general
stores and churches.

Then she designed a horse drawn wagon that could
carry hundreds of books around the countryside.

I am posting several of my illustrations from
Nancy Smiler Levinson's, Clara & The Bookwagon.
A fictional account of the very real Ms. Titicomb
and her brilliant idea.

My "model" for Ms. Titicom's wagon, was an actual
delivery wagon that the old and now sadly closed,
Strawbridge & Clothier department store used to
have on display in the food hall on the first floor.