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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ode to brown

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It's possible that one reason I am drawn to old treasures, the earth included, is a love of brown. Ah leather-bound book, let me feel your moist density, antique clock - your wormholes, crinkled white pages - your age spots.



Many colors are enhanced when paired with brown, have you noticed? Pink and white petals edge closer to appear more beautiful.

Bare branches against a blue sky, yellow forsythia blossoms on a khaki twig, a chocolate calf saddled in white lace teetering in a grassy field.



There is the glow of polished mahogany, copper, brass and hand thrown pottery, or the fleeciness of pussy willow buds, striped feathers, fur and corduroys. How about the smooth shine of knotty pine, or a button? Crisp texture of dried leaves or timeless yet changing shades of rock formations, the depth and layers of a squirrel perched on a tree hanging over a silty river. The deep, rich stripes of a farmer's furrows.



In the popularity of all things vintage, sepia photographs enjoy a major comeback. Is it because in the proliferation of technology we crave nostalgia?



Ironic, isn't it, that new technologies such as Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom help us turn our images back to an aesthetic created within the limitations of older technologies, before color photography was available to the public?



Our son Peter, in the middle above, in an image he processed in Lightroom, and his grandmother (my mom) below in a Bachrach portrait.




Dear brown, you recede and calm me, belying the life moving in you.

~ ~ ~ ~

Don and I are off to NYC Thursday for five days with our Lesley and Brian - HAPPY DAYS. I'll catch up with you soon!

69 comments:

Loring Wirbel said...

Brown, purple, earthy end of the spectrum. Have fun in NYC!

Anet said...

Have a great time Ruth!
I adore brown. It's so grounding to me.
Oh yes, your header is so pretty!

ds said...

Lovely post, so 'grounding.' Love the lacy calf--from your farm?
Have a fabulous time in the Big Apple!! With luck, the weather will cooperate...

Susan said...

I love the new header! So pretty!

Have a bagel and a little schmeer for me, Ruthie! I hope the weather is good for your trip.

I love brown things, too. Such a rich color and comforting. I always want to touch brown to see if it's as warm as it looks.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Have a great time with your family, Ruth!!!

Your photos are brilliant and your words likewise... yes Wise...

Bob Johnson said...

Ruth I love brown, it is a rich color, reminds me of Earth as well as dirt Earth, Just the facts mamm kind of color, a very down to earth color so to speak.

CottageGirl said...

Exquisite pictures, Ruth! Beautiful, seemingly effortless writing! I'll never look at brown the same way again!

The picture of your mom is so sweet...bows in the hair as well as the socks... Your son is very handsome!

Have a great time in NY! I'll be looking for you waving outside the Today Show!

CottageGirl said...

One more thing ...

LOVE the peony header! I can almost smell them!

rauf said...

you do not know how poor my vision is Ruth,
i said, WHAT ?
Why is Ruth writing about whoopie Goldberg in 'ghost' ?
probably because she won an Oscar supporting role in the movie ?
No whoopie goldberg anywhere in the post
and i was scratching my yeddu, Then i read the title again
it was ' Ode to Brown'
and not 'Oda Mae Brown' Whoopie's name in the movie

oh my favourite colour Ruth, recent designs for Asokan's Brochure, invitation and posters were predominantly brown.

These pictures are etched in my mind Ruth, no words.

Please say Hi to Lesley and Brian, i typed Lesley and Brown but corrected it before i posted.

Seriously, i am missing a picture of a chair in the post Ruth, Adirondack perhaps.

From clean farm air to a Metropolis, you and Don have to be careful Ruth the chickens will be missing you both.

Oliag said...

Love this post Ruth as brown is one of my favorite colors too...and you are so right about it going with everything...love brown and green...

your photos are wonderful - as usual- my favorite is of the blossoms against the picture and green wall..gorgeous...

I'm jealous of your trip to NYC...I will be going there much less frequently now that my daughter has moved to the Boston area:(

delphine said...

Oh Ruth, your postings are so simply beautiful! How lovely to see your Mum as a young pretty girl with her shiny shoes!
Sorry I haven't visited recently but have had a bad week at home! Have a great trip and enjoy the break!

alice said...

Bonjour Ruth!
Enjoy your moments with your family in NYC while we enjoy your beautiful blog...

Ann said...

Interesting, I too am drawn to old things. When I was 4, my dad came back from England in an P & O ship after 3 years. My memory of him returning was him and mum carrying the big metal trunk from the jetty in Borneo.

We loved that trunk, and we used to play Hide and seek until we were stopped because we were unrevelling mum's nicely folded linen.

Mum and Dad migrated to Australia some twenty years later. They flew and couldn't bring that trunk. His tenants from hell allowed termites to ruin the trunk.

I had a couple of opportunities to a a similar trunk, but my husband is no lover of old things. So I just remember them in my mind and the minds of my siblings.

shicat said...

That's it,I think you should paint! I know your artistic eye lends itself to photography,and writing,but maybe there is a new passion waiting in the wings,painting. Your observations of brown and its many layers,it's quiet presence that makes everything around it sing.
Lately, with painting, I have been thinking about darks and how they are used in a painting. My many failed paintings are tributes to my desire to become more invloved with darks,browns, etc.
By the way I love the new header.
Have a wonderful time in New York with your family. I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion about the upcoming wedding. Much happiness.

♥ Kathy said...

I love brown too..have a safe trip!

carl h. sr. said...

Makes me happy to see you so excited about the trip!
Very nice words and pictures too.
Not quite up to speed yet myself,but getting there.

Ginnie said...

When you put it that way, Ruth, it's one of my favorite colors...especially because of what all goes good with it!

Have a great trip to NYC!

Morna said...

Nice new banner, and I love brown too. In NYC - the wonderful African textiles exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - much different than what I would have expected. And, at the Cooper-Hewitt there is a show devoted entirely to FELT. I haven't seen it yet, but I've perused online and I do plan to go. My two-cents.

photowannabe said...

Have a wonderful time Ruth. I loved your ode to Brown, especially the wobbly calf.

Helena said...

Beautiful photos, especially the cute little calf. I've always liked brown too although some say it's a boring colour. I guess it depends on how you use it. And dark or chocolate brown is always more sophisticated than beige.

ccna said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
ccent

dutchbaby said...

I remember being elated when brown finally became the new black in the fashion world. Black is too harsh for my coloring. Brown has an organic feel to it.

All your images are divine! Your family is obviously blessed with a rich gene pool. I also love the lithograph (or is it a watercolor?) of the scenic countryside.

A beautiful Ode, Ruth!

renaye said...

i like antiques of some things like jewelries...

ARGHH!!!... i want to pet ur cat in the picture on the right... it's sooo darn cute!!!!

carl h. sr. said...

Such a wonderful and beautiful treasure you have in the picture of your Mom.
I love it!

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Lovely post Ruth,
looking forward to be able now to visit regularly...

MAXIMUS said...

Ode to Brown? Interesting approach...
Let's not forget chocolate, light brown or dark!

freefalling said...

Is it still Thursday there?
Have a wonderful trip and get all filled up with family love.
(just been to visit mine - complete with photos at Freefalling).
Visiting family - such a joy in life.
(well, if you like them - not so great if you're not so fond!).

Love you ode to brown.
Fabulous photos.

SE'LAH... said...

My skin is brown. :-) Love that colour.

Enjoy your trip.

Have a Conscious Friday!

Sandy said...

These are great photos, I really enjoyed all of them. Can't wait to hear about NYC

Stiggy said...

Have a nice time in NYC guys!

Lovely photos as always Ruth!

California Girl said...

Ruth: your photos are wonderful and your eye is unerring. Love the new masthead.

Deslilas said...

Poetic post.
The sepia pic of your grandma is a masterpiece.

Ruth said...

Loring, not much brown here in NYC, mostly gray. Last day, and we're chillin at the apartment while Les goes to work.

Ruth said...

You don't surprise me, Anet, you are an earth lover. And then there's brown-eyed Noah and Sniffy.

Ruth said...

No, DS, a neighboring farm on my drive to work. Still in NY - got drenched in Central Park Friday and then sat in the sun in the same park Sunday. Today it's going to snow in MI I hear. We head back tomorrow.

Ruth said...

Haven't had a bagel yet, Susie Q. Did have a terrific brunch yesterday at a brilliant restaurant less then half a block away from Lesley's apartment. Don't know what I'd do with so much good food around me all the time.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Gwen, we've had a very good time, almost over now. Didn't do much sight seeing, mostly just being together with L & B. I read your comments at rauf's and it sounds as though you're too busy working on jewelry. Kolay gelsin as we say in Turkish - may it come easy.

Ruth said...

Yes, Bob, down to earth, hehe.

Ruth said...

Thanks a bunch, CottageGirl. Didn't make it to the Today Show or to Times Square at all. We didn't do the sight seeing thing, though we did get to Central Park a couple of times and into Chinatown. I'll post something about it, haven't decided what yet.

Ruth said...

Oh, CottageGirl, those are peony tulips in the header, and thank you.

Ruth said...

rauf, I am impressed you know the name of Goldberg's character in that movie, in fact you remember many names like that.

You spend a lot of time trekking around forests, mountains and bird sanctuaries, I am not surprised you love brown.

Lesley & Brown - funny! A chair! Yes, how did I not think of a chair! Problem with our Adirondacks is that they are green.

Peter should be at home taking care of the chickens today, his flight was cancelled yesterday.

I think you're getting ready to go away in the next few days, right?

Ruth said...

Thank you, Oliag. I would love to live here in NYC, just the interesting life on the streets is blowing me away, right here in Lesley's neighborhood. I'll post some pictures when we get back.

Ruth said...

Delphine, oh dear, I can't believe what happened at your place! I hope he is doing well now and resting. I have to catch up when we get back tomorrow. I thought I would respond to comments today since Lesley is working and I'll be ahead of myself a bit. Take care of your man, he's lucky to have you, and you him.

Ruth said...

Bonjour, Alice. Thank you, it's been very enjoyable, and soon we will head home. It's always nice to go home and back to a routine.

Ruth said...

How interesting about the trunk, Ann. The center of a story, of a family. How it shaped your lives. That would make a beautiful book.

Ruth said...

Cathy, oh thank you. I have tried painting, feebly. I should take a class, because it's too easy to give up. It is so difficult! I can believe you like this header, it reminds me of some of your paintings. I guess I paint with photographs.

We're having a wonderful time, one last day today then home tomorrow. I don't know if we'll go out today, well at least we're getting 'the best hamburger in NY' this evening - just half a block away here in Queens!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Kathy, it's been a lot of fun.

Ruth said...

I hope you'll keep improving every day, Carl. I imagine your health was severely depleted. Please take it easy.

Ruth said...

Hi, and thank you, Morna. I had hoped to get to the MoMA today, but I don't know if we'll get out, we're getting a little tired. I told Lesley about the felt - she did a fibers minor in art school.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Sue.

Ruth said...

He is cute, isn't he, Helena? And you are right about beige. How browns change in design trends over the years!

Ruth said...

Thank you and welcome, ccna. I'll be back soon.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Dutchbaby, I enjoy wearing brown too, have a lot in my closet.

Ruth said...

Bishop is a queen of a cat, Renaye.

Ruth said...

I love the portrait too, Carl, it's one of my favorite things, and I don't know how I got to have it.

Ruth said...

Hello and welcome, Alicia, how nice to have you come here from rauf's. I'm glad you'll come by. I will catch up with you when I get back home.

Nathalie said...

Hi Ruth, I hope you have a lovely time away.
I've never been attracted to brown as a colour generally, even though I can think of a few specific browns I like. In that sense your post amazed me; I enjoyed following you in your thoughts and emotions, even though I don't share them.

You're always a joy to read and your photos illustrate your words so beautifully!

Ruth said...

MAXIMUS, ohhhh chocolate. I am a fan, but not a super fan like some. I'm enjoying some Easter candy I brought for my daughter. Oops, I should let her eat it all.

Ruth said...

Having a wonderful time, Letty, and I'm also ready to get back to the farm. The visit has been just right. Hope yours with your family was fun. I'll catch up with your posts when I get back.

Ruth said...

Oh, SE'LAH, beautiful brown skin.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Aunty Sandy, I'll catch up soon. One more day.

Ruth said...

We're missing the chickens, Stiggy, but it's been wonderful.

Ruth said...

Thank you very much, California Girl.

Ruth said...

Isn't she a doll, Daniel? The portrait is among my favorite possessions.

Ruth said...

Nathalie, when I think of France, I think of blue. Blue and brown are beautiful together. :)

kanmuri said...

I love the first picture. These books look like they would smell so nice...

Peter said...

So charming all this; for me, the prize winner is perhaps your mom!! :-)

Ruth said...

Thanks, Kanmuri, they do smell old. They were published in the 1700s.

Ruth said...

Peter, I remember from another post that you admired this photo of my mom. :) It is such a prized possession.