September 28, 2009


“Rising at dawn to the rumble of waves, Parkes sets out early to paint Eastern Long Island’s morning light. He packs his car with easel, canvas, panels, paints, brushes, and an expedition knapsack containing such vital necessities as coffee thermos, sunscreen, and bug repellent” writes Angus Wilke in Summer Places, a wonderful book about the plein air paintings of Simon Parkes. These tools and a love of natural realism create the genius of Simon’s true, unedited landscapes.

Parkes, founder of Simon Parkes Art Conservation Inc., on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, honed his skill through years of serious restoration work, only painting his first landscape in his early forties. Over the past decade plus, Parkes has created hundreds of pictures. “I paint feelings, emotional memories, smells, temperature, and sounds… I try to garner an emotional response, which I hope is deeper than simple place recognition,” says Parkes.

The Ferry Dock, Swan's Island 2008. Oil on Panel.

And indeed, Simon's work evokes an emotional response from the hundreds of people who are lucky to have one or in some cases many of his pictures on their walls. Parkes, represented by W.M. Brady & Co., in New York City, has quite a following of avid collectors who scramble to buy his paintings as soon as they receive their gallery invitations.

Cosmos, Ecco Farm, East Hampton, 2008. Oil on panel. Long Lane, Clouds, East Hampton, 2008 Oil on canvas.

Simon's pictures promise to transport you from the fragrant dunes of Eastern Long Island to the crisp rocky coastline of Maine. You can see more of his work here.

September 24, 2009


Embellishments continue to be in fashion from part world tribal to high street jewel. Studs on Tory, ruffles and bows on Kate and the perfect works on Jenna's J.Crew tees. I love the spirit behind Lizzie Fortunato Jewels. Her new collection Long May You Run is inspired by the textures and patterns of the American West. Designed for the city girl, packed and ready for a great adventure—the collection features hand-covered leather beads, crystal studded collars, and hand-embroidered bandana style necklaces. In addition to her road-trip inspired Fall/Winter 2009 collection, Elizabeth [Lizzie] recently designed her second collection for Victoria Bartlett's VPL line, which showed on the FW09 runway during New York Fashion Week. For stores visit Lizzie Fortunato Jewels.

September 21, 2009


Box Camera Image, 1930 "Crab Netting"At the Whim of the Waters

In 1987, environmental reporter Tom Horton, decided to move to Smith Island with his wife and their children... "John Steinbeck, in The Log from the Sea of Cortez, wrote of his expedition collecting marine life along the shores of the Gulf of California: "It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again." What he meant was that we can spend the next ten thousand years identifying individual creatures and dissecting them down to the level of the gene and the atom, and we may similarly roll back the curtains of heaven itself with our telescopes and spaceships; but the fullest wonder lies in comprehending nature's patterns, the wondrous webs of interdependence that entangle humankind in all creation, above and below. Smith Island, whose marsh bound residents for about three centuries have paid serious attention to both God and crabs, and where the little white villages on clear, calm days float magically between sea and sky, seemed well stationed to observe tide pool and stars alike; and my kids were reaching marsh-mucking age." {an excerpt from An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake by Tom Horton}.

Just as Tom Horton experienced in 1987, our high school friend Barbara A. Bohrer experienced in 1990—"I fell in love with Smith Island on a weekend getaway. Smith is a tiny, remote island in the Chesapeake Bay. Capt. John Smith charted the island in 1608, but it was named after Henry Smith. British settlers from Cornwall and Wales originally came to Smith Island to farm. They grazed livestock and sheep, and grew vegetables in the fertile soil."

"In the 1800s however, the islanders were forced to turn from the land to the sea, as the surrounding marsh began to encroach on the tiny land mass. At the whim of the waters then as they are now, the effects of tidal erosion set into motion a change that defined this unique island culture over the next 200 years. The isolation and self-sufficient spirit of these people has preserved their lineage, evident in customs and speech patterns. Their island life strongly tied to the cycles and rhythms of nature, astoundingly with Washington DC only 56 miles away as the crow flies."

Box Camera Images "Women" 1930, "Slick Cam" 1930, "Sail Scrape" 1929

This weekend on Saturday, September 26, 2009 [6-8pm] opens: At the Whim of the Waters, Smith Island Remembered. Curated by Barbara A. Bohrer, she says "this exhibit honors the journey and contemplates the peril of Smith Island and its keepers. "It has been nineteen years in the making, which began when I purchased a small summer home lock, stock and barrel on the island. As I explored my new estate, I discovered a pile of rubbish with Q-tip boxes filled with shards of glass, talcum powder and black and white negatives – all to be thrown away. Destined to the incinerator, I quite by chance happened upon over a hundred nitrate negatives from the 1930s from which this exhibit was born. Along with the negatives were boxes of prints providing detailed information about the negatives. It has taken nineteen years for this project to come to fruition. These are powerful, personal and universally relevant images of the powers, perils and relationship between nature and humankind."

Barbara Bohrer & Smith Island photos
by Marty Coleman

More than just curator of At the Whim of the Waters, Bohrer is also steward and conservator of these Islanders' history and culture. As someone who was paying attention, Bohrer had the sense to sort through this pile of rubbish with great awareness—an awareness so precious because today... "most of Smith Island is just one foot above sea level. The islanders’ homes huddle on the small bits of land that are two to four feet above sea level. During the early 1900s there were almost 1,000 people living on the island. Today it is under 300. Coastal ecologists predict that the Chesapeake Bay has risen more than half a foot during the past century. Some say the last crab shanty on Smith Island will disappear even before the Grand Canal knocks on the door of St. Mark’s in Venice. The inevitable is that by 2100 only a few high spots of grass will be visible above the water, but not much more"...Barbara further relates.

Bohrer has partnered with Richard Olsenius, an award-winning photographer, filmmaker and former photo editor at NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. He also specializes in fine art printing and image restoration. Olsenius’ images are currently represented by the National Geographic Image Collection and can be seen here.

To look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again, please visit:

At the Whim of the Waters | Smith Island Remembered
A Photographic Exhibit of a Disappearing Island Culture
Curated by Barbara A. Bohrer
September 23 - October 4, 2009
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, 307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth, MA

Note: The exhibition will travel to Salisbury University in Maryland for an exhibit there October 8 - November 20, and then will go on the road—a global warming story and warning that "We are All Smith Islanders".

Funded in part by a grant from the Sumner T. McKnight Foundation

September 20, 2009


The winner of this week's Project Runway was a paper trench coat. The assignment was to deconstruct the Los Angeles Times and show that the text indeed has more than one interpretation. I loved Irina's trench and in fact, I love most trench coats—historically fashionable. Fabulous on Kate Moss in Burberry, Jackie, Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Hardy. For a recession-proof version, Old Navy has a dandy little trench this season for $49.

September 16, 2009


Equestrian style has always found its way into fashion particularly each fall season. There is something so American about the look—driven by the genius of Ralph Lauren; and so French—driven by the history of saddle-maker Hermès; and of course, so English—as Great Britain and its horse culture are inseparable. But as we look to fall fashion and to fill our closets with something chic and sporty, current looks can be a tad pricey. This is why going straight to horse's mouth makes the most sense for Equestrian fashion. New England-based Dover Saddlery is dedicated to providing a broad selection of the best tack available, and great apparel, too. You can't beat these prices for the Sterling Show Coat [$277], On Course Schooler Riding Tight [$37], Aigle Jumping Boot [$190], Joules Cowdray Striped Shirt [$85], Horseweave Newmarket Tote [$33], and my all time favorite Ovation Crochet Riding Glove [$14]. Giddy-up!

September 12, 2009


I love to wander by the site "the impossible cool."
Brilliant to see Avedon photographing Sophia Loren,
the perfect Sean Connery, Francois Truffaut, and Serge Lutens. Bravo.

September 7, 2009


Summers end but Flea Markets run well into the fall season here in the Northeast. We have a wonderful time from April through mid-November visiting Todd Farm in Rowley, MA on Route 1A. It's a favorite of our weekend guests for interesting finds {nothing too fancy} and even the occasional contest to see who can discover the kitschiest item—of which there are many! But over our summers at Todd Farm, we've also found chic vintage rattan, bistro plates and bentwood chairs, collectible books and 1960s costume jewelry, numerous cruiser bikes, and even unusual paintings. My best find this Labor Day weekend was a Catherine Ogust dress in perfect condition for only $10. Just right after a washing and some afternoon sun {shown above with our dachshund Billy}. This award-winning Sunday Flea Market has been a New England tradition for over 37 years and features up to 240 vendors. Hours 5:00 am-3:00 pm. Pictures from the 2009 season:

September 3, 2009


My mother Suzanne died a few days before school started in 1965. She was 42 years young with five children and a great husband, my father. September 3, 1965 changed all of our lives forever. The imprint of this loss has never left any of us, and runs deep on a cellular plane. Sometimes, it rises to the surface and I suddenly wonder how everything might have been different if she had lived. Would we have met for cocktails, visited museums, and laughed together? Would she have approved of our boyfriends and choice of colleges? I’ve naturally identified with people who have lost a mother for most of my life. I was Buffy in Family Affair, Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, a von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Susan Minot in her book Monkeys, and even David Egger’s in his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Egger’s book made me stop and realize that I too, swept up my little brother and vowed that we would stand tall and be great, and charge forward with life. But now we ask, can we stop and slow down? Even just a bit? We are not running but we are holding on. The last of our mother’s friends are soon at death’s door - our final tightening grasp on to the world when she was in it. Then we remember. We are real. We are here. We are strong. We are happy. We are whole. We are great. We let go… for just a moment, but then the late August light begins to fade into September as evenings become brisk, and our spirits go back again to our last September day with her. And, we are sad.