Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cold At Heart

I'm half Celt, half Viking and, as such, my genetic heritage pretty much rules out any inherent attraction to heat. Give me a bout of inclement weather over a dose of sunshine any day. Layer me in wool and rubber, set me loose on the moors with a Kendal mint cake in my pocket (and a good pub within walking distance) and I'll wander over the heath until it's time for chestnut soup, Yorkshire pudding and a hot mug of lambswool.

So how did I survive the recent Hollywood summer? Easy. I stayed out of the sun, I read lots of English novels and when all else failed, I gazed at the watercolors of Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) -- his blustery landscapes always make me want to throw a sweater over my shoulders.

I think I just felt a drop of rain.
Chalk Paths
(Chalk Paths, Eric Ravilious, 1935 )

This next one almost makes me want to take up long-distance running again.
Wiltshire Landscape
(Wiltshire Landscape, Eric Ravilious, 1937)

Speaking of which, did you know Eddie Izzard just completed 43 marathons in 49 days for Comic Relief? Love him. (Yes, 43 marathons. No, I'm not kidding.) You can watch his video diaries on YouTube and see an awful lot of routes that look just like this (only more cars).

Come on, can't you just see yourself with your nose pressed against that window while your train rambles past the giant chalk drawings of the South Downs? My attention would be torn between the view and the upholstery: that icy green-blue velvet against the navy and red is completely swoonworthy.
Train Landscape
(Train Landscape, Eric Ravilious, 1938)

Brrr. Where's my sweater?
(My mother's handmade Norwegian sweater.
Purchased in the 1960's. Being worn now.)

30 comments:

Rocio said...

Thank you for introducing me to the work of Eric Ravilious. Beautiful, and maybe a tad melancholic?? it really incites one to wear a nice woolen shawl presto. But I am with mixed feelings as to the arrival of autumn. I love the change in colours - I live in a wine growing region, and the vines leaves are just a symphony of reds, yellows and browns - and the smell of the wet soil, but I know it is the prelude to grey skies, which always make me gloomy. So, yes, I think I am a summer person. The sun is always such a great painter!!!

Odette said...

Thanks for sharing those paintings. I first saw Ravilious' work in Jane Brocket's book The Gentle Art of Domesticity & have been craving more as autumn approaches. The muted colors are so calming.
I also really liked The Felixstowe to Ipswich Coach by Russell Sidney Reeve. (That's more of a Spring painting, but it's another homey public transportation interior.)

Mlle Paradis said...

Yes yes - LOVE E. Ravilious! Such nice examples! Thanks for that.

Scott Fazzini said...

L.B.G. -I'm exactly the same. When I wake up and the sky is cloudy, the air is cool, and either snow or rain is present I feel energetic and optimistic. I too love to be layered; and to feel a chill on my cheeks. Thanks for introducing me to Ravilious. His work remind me of The Science of Sleep. I'm a huge fan of this film, and will soon be of Ravilious!

pve design said...

Lisa,
Oh how endearing, cold feet here, though totally warm at heart. Lovely works of art, and thanks for the introduction to Mr.Ravilious. I have a post in the works on "patchworks"- as it seems the end of summer madras, poses new opportunity for savoring memories to keep our hearts warm all year.
That sweater is an heirloom, priceless.
pve

m said...

The railway carriage, unfortunately, would have been blue with cigarette smoke, underpinned by that unmistakeable British Rail odour of dusty upholstery and damp overcoats. At least you would have been spared your neighbour's personal stereo, but somebody would have been eating sulphurous boiled egg sandwiches from a brown paper bag.

Gigi said...

Oh, I didn't know his work before! These paintings are absolutely amazing. Thank you for introducing me. I'm right there with you when it comes to rainy days, probably because I grew up on the coast of Maine. I love drizzle, fog, and damp--any excuse to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. I can't tell you how excited I am that fall is on it's way.

Gorgeous sweater!

wild thyme flowers said...

What beautiful paintings. And love your description of a walk across the moors. A number of years back, my sister and I walked part of the West Highland Way in Scotland. It was so amazing; the landscape, the light, and the weather (which I find rather romantic) and yes to reach a wonderful pub/inn near Glen Coe. We were tired and thrilled at the same time. Will have to check out this lambswool that you speak of. Sounds interesting.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh it is so nice to know that someone else out there loves inclement weather! I was feeling guilty for relishing the end of summer...and I cannot believe that about Eddie Izzard!!! Very impressive.

Blue said...

As one who was born to grey Northern (Europe) skies and weeks-long horizontal rain and marrow-sapping cold, let me assure ya'll it ain't that romantic. I must admit, though, living in the South as I do, I find occasional respite from constant sunshine very pleasant - nolstagic, even. I walked out of the office today to lowering skies and felt quite chipper.

Gigibird said...

Yesterday evening I attended a talk by Wendy Hichmough curator at Charleston on textiles. It was a beautiful wandering about the farmhouse before everyone squeezed into the cafe for the talk.
Paul Nash, Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious evoke the England of the past when life seemed so simple yet perfect.It was so sad ER life was cut short.
I may be going to the F&B talk next month....fingers crossed.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Rocio: It IS melancholic a bit, you're right.... The autumn sounds so beautiful where you are -- lucky you. And of course you're a summer person; you live in Spain! If my skin could withstand it, I would be too. :)

Odette: Just looked at the "Felixstowe" painting...that is an absolutely incredible piece...domesticity in motion...thank you so much for alerting me to it!

Mile Paradis, Scott Fazzini and PVE: You're welcome! Ravilious was so incredibly talented (and handsome to boot). I need to learn more about him: he died at 39 when his plane disappeared off the coast of Iceland. So tragic.

m: I LOVE your description -- it's very funny. I'm sure you're 100% right, but in my dreams, that railway coach is clean, uncrowded and smells of fresh country air! xx

Gigi: Thank you for the sweater comment. I have a whole collection of Scandinavian ones from the '60's and still wear them every chance I get (which, living in LA,, is not as often as I'd like.)

Wild Thyme Flower: I want to take that walk you went on! I just booked a vacation to Scotland next August...were you anywhere near Glasgow or Stirling?

Laura: I know! Can you even believe Eddie Izzard did THAT? He totally put mind over matter to accomplish that. It's crazy and fabulous and I now really really want to go see him in January at the Nokia Theater...

Blue: Love that phrase "lowering skies." So poetic. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Belgium, Norway, Sweden and England and somehow the grey gloom imprinted itself on me as romantic and untamed and slightly wild. And living here in LA amid almost constant sunshine, it makes me long for those moody introspective days where you can curl up on the sofa and read without anyone telling you to go outside.

Gigibird: I am SO envious you were there last night. I posted about that event a few months ago; how fabulous that you could go. Email me, I need details!!

miss cavendish said...

What lovely images! And I hear you on the heat: I'm half Scottish, half Scandinavian (and all Canadian) and *must* have an ocean nearby during the summer. I can't even wear trousers until December, when there's a proper chill in the air.

Elise said...

Genius post, absolutely brilliant ! Loving your whole blog. Thank you & best wishes...

Blue said...

I grew up in Lancashire, by Pendle Hill, on the other side of the moors from Haworth, where the Bronte sisters lived.

Thomas said...

I really like those landscapes, what a great find. They remind me a bit of some of WPA-era art in the US.

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

These are gorgeous , thanks for sharing.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I nodded all the way through this post! So in agreement with you on the best way to spend the summer...and these paintings are sublime~

plaisirs simples said...

beautiful drwaings!! love the train one especially. this style would be beautiful for a children's book

Giner said...

Lovely! Thank you for bringing this artist to my attention. And that sweater is amazing. Where else could I read about watercolorists from the 30's and Eddie Izzard in the same blog?

Great to see you the other morning! :)

French Fancy said...

I've only just discovered your beautiful blog through 'A Social Dilettanti'. I knew in advance I would like your style though, because ASD has such exquisite taste.

Ravilious is a new name to me but this is the sort of art that I admire the most.

French Fancy said...

p.s. Eddie Izzard is amazing. I watched him on the Jonathan Ross show on Friday evening - the gag was that he jogged there but he really did - from Piccadilly to White City - and they had a camera following him from outside the Beeb into the studio.

I don't know which I found more surprising - David Walliams swimming the Channel or Eddie doing all these marathons. Both seem more suited for the louche late night living. How wrong we can be sometimes

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

French Fancy: I feel as if I slightly know you from all your lovely comments on ASD's blog. So pleased you made your way here...! xx

French Fancy said...

Well thank you very much - I shall return

Ana Maria said...

I came across your blog through W magazine. After reading your articles there I wanted to read more. I liked your subjects and the way you write. I´m readin several posts at your blog and eventhough you are much younger than I, I could identify myself in most of your writing.
I live in Brazil, but have travelled a bit around te world. I´m not a summer person. I enjoy cold weather. I feel great on it! Dressing for it is much more fun! I even like the snow(but not when is melting down)... It is spring here and it is quite hot. I would love to be in New England now but I´m here in Sao Paulo, Brazil and to coe with this weather I´ll follow your example on this post. I found it very inspiring...
I´ll keep reading your old posts and from now on will be following your blog. Thanks!!

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Sildenafil said...

the landscape of the first painting I can almost picture it in my mind as a real place and the grass moving by the wind, it is so beautiful! the second painting it is very cute too

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