Author Archives: conservationwithella

About conservationwithella

Hello, I'm Ella, Art on Paper Conservator & Preservation Manager at Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. This blog is a walk through my daily life, work, arts & crafts history, my discovery that everything in my life is enough to be a continuous source of reflection. I started blogging to entertain myself but I hope you enjoy it too. I'm sure you agree, that Life without art is nothing. :)

If you have a Garden


Hello-JuneHello June – the sixth month of the year. Once again the days are sunny and hot. The roses are in bloom and its time to feast on strawberries and cream. Our smiles deepen, our laughter increases, you are alive. I wonder what it would like to live in a world where it was always June. 00000June, if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need Marcus Tullius Cicero said. People also say that gardening is an instrument of grace. Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul. I believe that gardening is like a painting. Unlike paintings, all gardens were subject to constant shifts and alterations. Garden has an illusion of being an artist painting putting a dash of colour here, taking out another dash of colour there, until the whole composition is to one’s liking. However—most importantly—the tissue of garden art are plants which grow and die and thus they change the image of a garden. Despite garden definition, every garden realizes one or a number of, at once aesthetic or philosophical conceptions which contribute to the logical history of this art. The art of gardens might as well be considered as the oldest of arts—since biblical Eden was the first garden ever and it does not matter whether the biblical paradise actually existed.kkkk What does matter, the most important is the fact that every culture has had a strongly rooted image of the garden paradise?cof


I had been visiting my mom, my mom garden is shaped by rain and sun, plants and my mom cat and dog and the most important her hands and minds. Whether composed of the garden: plants or plastic 🙂  every garden is a product of natural phenomena and human artifice. It is impossible to make a garden without expressing.

Besides theoretical concepts of garden design always were an integral part of social and political conditions and the intellectual history of a particular period. jardines-colgantes-babilonia0

An old-Persian word pairidaeza, from which the word paradise originates, means a walled garden. According to the Bible, the paradise has been created by God (which was also the First Designer) in Eden, a region located in Mesopotamia or north-western Persia. A river which took its origin there, divided it into four parts by its arms called Pichon, Gichon, Chiddekel (Tigris) and the Euphrates. According to the legend, by the four arms flew water, wine, honey and milk respectively. There was a gate in the wall facing towards the East, guarded by Archangel Uriel “with the fiery sword in his hand”. 20160322_110710

An Islamic garden is a cool place of rest and reflection, and a reminder of paradise. To the inhabitants of the arid regions of the Near East, the flourishing garden always had been more than just a resource of fruits and vegetables. In their perception, it symbolised and still does, peace and fertility. Garden can be a place of romantic or formal place.

The great formal gardens at Versailles, with their geometrically precise parterres and topiary-lined alleys, are usually noted for their restrained classicism and elegance, not for their politics. According to Chandra Mukerji, a professor of communication and sociology at the University of California, San Diego, the formal gardens of 17th century France were designed not just for aesthetic pleasures but were, in fact, exquisite manifestations of political and military control.


b3b48f06f13540cb28c0ce5c7e537455The gardens were bound by military-style fortresses and bastion-type walls were constructed and lined with topiary “guards.” Many of the waterworks, topiary bushes and the statuary in the gardens symbolized warriors, land, or achievements in war. Even the elaborate grading and drainage systems were modeled after military engineering projects. ate power in the land and dominating the landscape with elaborate networks of canals, fortresses, and forests.

Louis_XIV_of_FranceLouis XIV, the famous French monarch known as the Sun King had also strict ideas on how visitors should see the gardens. The routes, penned by the king himself, prescribed where people should walk, how they should turn, what statues they should admire, and what views they were meant to appreciate.b6b4e0c2b343f5371cc79e08e1014e6d King’s ideological base for absolutism has been expressed in garden designs by the greatest French gardener: André Le Notre, who created in Versailles the flagship of French Baroque garden, soon copied all over the continent.illus_5slide01 Like Shakespeare, he is one of those historical figures we seem to know well through their works, but know very little about as people. statues_in_paris_b15_DSC04739_lrgAs far as anyone knows, Le Nôtre led a blameless life and stayed faithful to his wife Françoise, who bore him three children, all of whom died when very young.a-little-chaos-film-2015-versailles-garden-habituallychic-001-1024x768 Before I visit Versailles garden, I saw the movie by Alan Rickman called ‘A Little Chaos’ which is the entirely fictional story of a female garden designer who worked with Andre le Notre and designed the Ballroom Fountain. a-little-chaosI loved watching Kate Winslet as a Madame de Barra in corset and lovely leather boots, tromping through the mud, ripping out rampaging vines and sawing through overgrown trees, I like the real story of the making of the gardens at Versailles better.

How’s this for a plot? giphy

                                                                          🙂 Before le Notre took on Versailles, he was commissioned to work with architect Louis Le Vau and painter Charles Le Brun on the French finance minister Nicholas Fouquet’s new Chateaux de Vaux-le-Vicomte. No expense was spared on the gardens and the launch party in 1661 was the height of extravagance in an era noted for going over the top.versailles-the-garden- The fountains played, papier mache whales floated on the lake, Moliere premiered a new play, and the young King Louis IV (Rickman) was the guest of honour.

Winslet’s Madame de Barra is a fiction, but the garden she creates in the film is real.

blog gardenThe Grotto of Thetis was built as an outdoor ballroom with marble flooring, tiered seating and fountains that run over tiers of stonework and shells. The grotto is also part of Le Notre’s ingenious hydraulics scheme. Disguised at the top is a reservoir that gravity-feeds the fountains in the lower gardens.DSC07061 Of course, it’s only fair to judge a film, or a garden, on what it is, not what it isn’t, so go and see A Little Chaos for the fun, Kate in the mud.chaos4 Given the chance, I saw Le Notre’s masterpieces Versailles in April and despite the ideological base for absolutism has been expressed in Versailles garden I love it.DSC07085


The Talmud tells us

that each blade of the grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, grow, grow.

So we do.

When you have a Garden, you have a Future and when you have a Future, You are Alive




Through Parisians alleys


I was waking in Paris.


I was walking in the Père Lachaise.


I was walking through the alleys, mixing souvenirs of famous defuncts and meetings with elderly ladies, cats, lovers, and funerary art lovers…


I was walking through alleys from Chopin, Molière and Jean de la Fontaine, Honoré de Balzac to Jim Morrison, this is the Père Lachaise. 



This place remind me Polonaise, op.53 and I hear Chopin music in my head.

Père Lachaise is a cult of Jim Morrison’s grave.Since his death in Paris in 1971, Morrison.Here, among the remains of great French writers, leaders, philosophers, artists and war heroes, is the final resting place of music legend Jim Morrison of The Doors.


Chopin and Morrison were neither of them French, yet both managed to find Paris as their resting place.


I find the tombs of Molière, Jean de La Fontaine, Honoré de Balzac, Guillaume Apollinaire, Alphonse Daudet, Paul Eluard and Oscar Wilde.


I find the graves of …..Delacroix. Like many monuments in Paris, the Père Lachaise cemetery has inspired many painters, singers, filmmakers and writers.


I’ve been inspired since a young age by Jean de La Fontaine Fables(my grandma gave me this book, it was my first book with fantastic illustrations done by  J. J. Grandville, was a French caricaturist.) and he seems to have been in here in Père Lachaise in Paris. I just love this lyric poet.

Ten of Wands2

Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard, generally known by the pseudonym of Jean-Jacques or J. J. Grandville

La Fontaine is perhaps the greatest lyric poet of the 17th century in France. Though he is best known for the Fables, they are but a small part of his writings. Almost everything he wrote is shot through with personal reflections and graceful ironies. The fables cover a vast range of human experience; formally they are remarkably varied and free. And if the fables seem at first to be children’s literature, a careful examination reveals their sophisticated satire of conventional wisdom and morality. The last collection of fables appeared in 1694, and in that year the  poet wrote to his dearest friend, François de Maucroix,

“I would die of boredom if I couldn’t keep on writing.”

Active almost to the end, La Fontaine died on April 13, 1695.

Follow “, by Jean de La Fontaine

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall L’Ours et l’amateur des jardins

Nothing is as dangerous as an ignorant friend;

a wise enemy is to be preferred.

                                                            Jean de La Fontaine

I was walking


Parisians alleys


When does spring come?


sdrWe’re officially still in the winter season, but you may also begin to notice more birdsong. Millions of migrant birds 🙂 leave to go back to Scandinavian or Eastern European countries, while others arrive. When does spring come? Today, I have noticed few snowdrops and iris  Eye-Catcher.  cofA very well-deserved name for this attractive Dwarf Iris, pristine white flowers, strikingly adorned with rich blue markings and brilliant yellow crest onto each fall. We know the wildest iris are blue or purple but there are 325 species of the iris flower.linnaeus_found_wideHowever, the genus was only created in 1753 by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. During the 16th and 17th centuries, a much smaller number of plants bore the name of Iris. The oldest story about the iris is from 1479 B.C. when an Egyptian king, Thutmose lll, returned home after conquering Syria. To commemorate his conquests he had pictures of irises and other flowers from his conquered lands drawn on the walls of a temple. _Files_News_


In prehistoric India and Egypt, the iris symbolized life. Iris was considered to be symbols of thunder – one of Horus’ destructive powers. As it was believed that the Egyptians, later these flowers were considered to manifest protection of life employed the weapon of thunder. The Egyptians were of the belief that the three petals of these flowers represented wisdom, faith and valour. As the iris was considered to be a symbol of authority, people used the flower to adorn the pharaohs’ funeral temples. The ancient Egyptians were of the view that doing so will help to conserve the powers of their pharaohs in their next life. The Egyptians, as well as the Babylonians, were making their own version of a toothbrush by fraying the ends of twigs. These “toothsticks” were discovered in tombs beside the mummified remains of their owners dating back to 3500 BC. What’s even more astonishing is that 1,500 years prior to this, Egyptians were using a paste to clean their teeth.7In the National Library in Vienna, Austria lies a collection of papyrus documents containing the world’s oldest-known recipe for toothpaste. The formula, which consists of the dried iris flower, salt, pepper, and mint, are described as being ahead of its time given that iris is an effective agent against gum disease. Surprisingly, researchers have only recently discovered iris’s beneficial properties validating the innovative brilliance of the ancient Egyptians.Venus_supported_by_Iris,_complaining_to_Mars_1820Iris in the Greek word means rainbow from which the name of the goddess-messenger Iris was derived. Goddess Iris married Zephyrus, who represented the west wind and travelled on the arc of the rainbow bringing the ancient god’s messages as well as commands to mankind. What a beautiful story. The goddess Iris as a link between heaven and earth. She used the rainbow to make her journey. Iris was specially loved by Hera, whom ancient Romans called Juno. Even to this day, the Greeks follow the custom of planting iris on the graves of their woman with the belief that the Goddess Iris would come and guide the souls of this deceased woman to their final place of resting.

In the mural of Akrotiri (Xeste 3, ground-floor, on Thera, 17th century BC) Euridice, the wife of Orpheus, was shown fleeing from Aristaios’ aggression across a meadow. Bitten by a venomous snake, she has an iris flower at her collar as a symbol of her approaching death. 


In ancient Greece and Rome, Orris Root was largely used in perfumery, and Macedonia, Elis and Corinth were famous for their unguents of Iris. Theophrastus and Dioscorides were well acquainted with Orris Root; Dioscorides and Pliny remark that the best comes from Illyricum (now modern Dalmatia). Probably I. Germanica is the Illyrian Iris of the ancients, as it is plentiful there and I. Florentina and I. pallida do not occur. The latter was probably introduced into Northern Italy in the early Middle Ages.orris_root

The ancient arms of Florence – a white Lily or Iris on a red shield – seem to indicate that the city was famed for the growth of these plants.  A writer of the thirteenth century, Petrus de Crescentiro of Bologna, mentions the cultivation of the White, as well as of the Purple Iris, and states at what season the root should be collected for medicinal use. During the Roman Empire, some iris species have derived their names from the territories that were crossed by the army of Alexander the Great during its eastward march up to India way back in the fourth century B.C. Some such iris species include Iris Kashmiriana and Iris Mesopotamia. There are a number of iris species, which were collected during the same period, and their names represent the ancient colonies Greeks set up on Turkish shores – such as Iris Cypriana, Iris Trojana and Iris Junonia.By contrast, in ancient Japan, the blue Japanese iris called Iris Ensata was a symbol of bravery.

On the other hand, the Christians there is a legend that says that once there was a knight who was so forgetful that he never remembered more than just two words “Ave Maria” from the Latin prayer in the honour of the Virgin Mary or the Holy Mother. The knight was very pious, but every night and day, he completed his prayers only with these two words  Ave Maria. Several years later, the knight became very old and died. He was buried in a convent’s chapel yard. Below on slides: Conservator’s examination of The Madonna with the Iris ( Workshop of Albrecht Dürer, (The Virgin and Child ), about 1500–10) was able to clarify, to some degree, the complex genesis of this work. Careful study of the infrared reflectogram revealed many changes made at different stages in the working process and suggested that more than one hand might have been involved in the painting’s execution. Analysis of paint cross-sections showed that some finishing touches were added after varnish had been applied to the otherwise completed painting.


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Soon an iris (or fleur-de-lis) plant came up on his grave proving that Virgin Mary had accepted his brief, but truthful supplications. The iris also turned into heraldic symbols – insignia of a government and widely used in flags, tapestries, armours and shields. In the early days, these types of symbols, such as the iris, fish, beasts and birds, were just useful in identifying friends and foes, especially during the medieval period when the knights generally encased themselves in armours.

Iris was mentioned for the first time in French at the year A.D. 496 when Clovis l was fighting an important battle and found himself trapped on one side by the opposing army and the other side by a broad river. Clovis’s queen was a devout Christian and had been begging him for years, without success, to convert to Christianity. When Clovis found himself trapped, he prayed to the Christian god and promised if he got out of this predicament that he would convert and urge his followers to do the same. As he finished the prayer, according to the legend, Clovis looked out across the river and saw a yellow flag iris growing midway across. He realized that the river must be shallow if the iris could grow there. He took it as a sign from God and marched his army across the shallow river to victory. Keeping his promise, Clovis l and 3,000 of his followers converted to Christianity on Christmas Day of that year.

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In medieval panel painting and tapestry, the iris plant was used as an amulet protecting against the cunning and power of the devil. St Brigitta of Sweden (1307–1373) mentioned the sharp edges and tips of the iris leaves as symbolizing the pain of the Virgin Mary. Throughout the ages, iris has been also used as medicine and in cosmetics. The Romans, Egyptians, and Moors all grew it for its medicinal value and used it to treat such varied ailments as ague, epilepsy, chill and fever, headaches, loose teeth, and the bite of an adder. The iris root was so esteemed for its medicinal properties that the plant was grown in herb gardens throughout the Middle Ages. The roots, mixed with honey or wine, were supposed to be good for colds and coughs and torments of the belly. It was also considered good for the bite of a venomous beast and for sunburn. The juice of the fresh roots of this Iris, bruised with wine, has been employed as a strong purge of great efficiency in dropsy, old physic writers stating that if the dropsy can be cured by the hand of man, this root will effect it. The juice is also sometimes used as a cosmetic and for the removal of freckles from the skin. Not everyone could successfully harvest the iris root, however; Pliny suggested that only those in a state of chastity could gather the roots.cantillon-iris-grand-cru-fiIn Germany, the iris was suspended in a barrel of beer to keep it from getting stale.The French used it to enhance the bouquet of wines.


In Russia, iris root was used to flavour a soft drink made from honey and ginger. The ancient Greeks used iris in the manufacturing of perfume. It was used as a fixative because it strengthened other odours. In Elizabethan England, The roots of Irises, known as Orris root (Rhizoma iridis) were put into the laundry to sweetly scent the clothes and they are often used in perfumery for their violet-like scent. Today the single greatest use of iris (other than for its beauty in the garden) is in the manufacturing of cosmetics. In Mexico, I. florentina is grown extensively for this purpose and many tons of the root are shipped to France annually. irisesMany species if iris produce a wonderful dye. Blossoms of the yellow flag iris (I. pseudacorus) make a good yellow dye, and the roots of this species make a good brown and black dye. The petals of purple iris, mixed with alum, make a beautiful blue-violet dye. To obtain the most potent colour for dyes, the flowers should be gathered during a dry spell. As a result of a wonderful legal loophole, irises can occasionally be found growing on roofs in Japan.roffff This dates back to a time in Japan when the people were not allowed to grow any flower in their gardens that was not approved by the emperor. Irises were not on the approval list, so instead of growing them in their gardens, Japanese gardeners grew them on the roofs. Iris is not only religions and heraldic symbols, Iris flowers inspired many artists: Albrecht Dürer, Sandro Botticelli, Conrad Kiesel, Roy de Maistre.

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The iris echoed in the work of Shakespeare, In Henry VI Part 2, the allusion to Iris is as both messenger and as a bringer of bad tidings. When Queen Margaret takes leave of Suffolk she says:

                 “To France, sweet Suffolk: let me hear from thee; 

              For wheresoe’er thou art in this world’s globe, 

       I’ll have an Iris that shall find thee out.” 

The one of the most famous irises are Irises painted by Van Gogh. Van Gogh painted a number of well-known images of irises, although this appears to have been for their pictorial beauty rather than for any symbolic association. I would like to ask you have you heard of Groot-Zundert, Holland?  That’s the place where artist Vincent van Gogh was born on 30th March 1853.  He had a brother with the same name Vincent had an older brother who died at birth. His name was also Vincent van Gogh and He was supposed to be a pastor. Van Gogh was supposed to assume his father’s role and become a pastor. I am thinking that the world has been robbed of his art if he had stuck with this career path.vincentHe was 27 years old when he painted his first piece. He was mostly self-taught and he started out by painting dark and sad depictions of peasants. On the 8 May 1889, he committed himself to the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Remy in France.  During his stay, inspired by the nature surrounding, he painted some 130 paintings with the surrounding gardens and clinic becoming his main subjects for painting. Among these were the famous Irises. Like many artists of his time, Van Gogh was influenced by the Japanese works.3The use of black contours in Irises is a typical element of Japanese woodblock prints. It helped to reinforce the expressive power of the painting. The technique of Japanese artist Hokusai was executed by Van Gogh with precision.blogThe use of vibrant blue and violet bring the petals to life. This also created an illusion of movement and depth to the flowers. Van Gogh placed the irises unevenly on the page, making the flowers the focal point. The painting is also closely cropped to draw in the eye, while deep crimson soil shows the variety of colours he wanted to work with. These are all techniques taken from Hokusai. 3-1Van Gogh added to his work a batch of orange marigolds carefully in the background. The position of a single white iris begs many questions from the viewer that are still open to interpretation.Although painted during a time of suffering for Van Gogh, he was able to channel that energy into turning bright colours, deep contour and flat paint into works of art.Today these modest flowers on his canvas are on the list of the most expensive paintings ever sold, Van Gogh Irises painting was sold for 54 million dollars in 1987. I know we never should be asking about money but it is interesting to ask how Van Gogh may have felt about money and wealth at this moment in his life, never having gained financial success for his work. Van Gogh sold just one yes just one of his paintings during his lifetime and gained little of the critical acclaim his work now enjoys. He dreamed of creating an artist’s colony – a community of working artists – but despite several invitations to post-impressionist painters, he only ever played host to one. Instead, Van Gogh found himself living in a very different kind of community, amidst the mentally ill inhabitants of the asylum. Van Gogh committed suicide in 1890 and died in relative poverty, never enjoying the wealth and riches his paintings would later generate. Sad.vincent-tttToday many people are inspired by his Irises. I’m also inspired by Van Gogh Irises.

I loving Vincent…..story depicted in oil painted animation.


I’m inspired by Vincent van Gogh paintings melancholy as well as by his joy.

I’m inspired by wealth history of the iris and their purple colour; now perhaps you are asking me why? I ask myself too! Here’s the answer: quite simply, because I ask myself when does spring come and…………I am painting the answer.


Hush, Can you hear it?

The rustling in the grass,

Bringing you the welcome news

Winter’s day is past

Look to nature

Look for early spring signs’

Look for Irises


Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Christmas Wishes. :)


It’s the most wonderful time of the year. For a couple of weeks every year the world takes on on magic glow, people seem merrier and even winter somehow feels cosy.


Whether you’re celebrating a religious festival, like Hanukkah or Christmas, or a more secular occasion, you’re sure to have your own selection of rituals or customs that make the holiday season so special.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018


Myth, Symbol, Creation


Life is an illusion the World War I double agent Mata  Hari confessed in 1917, as her eyes met a French firing squad. You know what they say about confessions on the way out; it’s the truth whether you believe or not. She lives in illusion. First, she seduced French officers into divulging, military secrets that she passed along to the Germans. Then she cajoled the Germans into giving her information coveted by the French. But the trouble with illusion, as the femme fatale discovered to her regret, is that you can’t keep it up forever.    mata-hari-cover_u5f832Mata Hari myth is dominated by the espionage. Over the years many historians have come to her defence. She was sacrificed – some say – because the French needed to find a spy to explain their succession of reverses in the war. She was a creation from beginning to end, a character in a play that she continuously rescripted. Her compulsion to spin tall tales about her background helped to make her an icon: a unique embodiment of sex, glamour, intrigue and danger. But it also led to her death in October 1917, at the age of 41.mata_hari_3Mata Hari was an immediate sensation, not least because her daringly sensual dancing involved throwing off the veils she was wearing, one by one until she was naked but for a jewelled head-dress and breast-plate. If this taboo-busting display wasn’t enticing enough by itself, she insisted that she was demonstrating authentic Javanese temple-dancing, so audiences could tell themselves that they weren’t paying to see a striptease, but an educational glimpse of a religious ritual from ‘the mysterious East’. Nothing about Mata Hari was simple and clear, not then, not now. Rising from the ambiguity are a thousand legends and interpretations.  Mata Hari -Margaretha Zelle MacLeod, a middle-class Dutch divorcée from Leeuwarden, died, but Mata Hari, femme fatale and exotic dancer, has become eternal. 100 Years Since Her Execution, Was Mata Hari a Sexy Spy ora Sexy Scapegoat?

220px-Mata_Hari_on_the_day_of_her_arrest_13-2-1917          p05kht8r

This statue of Mata Hari stands in Leeuwarden today – she’s become a symbol of female empowerment and agency for many. 

George_Luks-Armistice_NightFor the Poland is Independence Day.  11 of November at the end of the tragedy of World War I,  it was a time the restoration of a sovereign Polish state after 123 years of partitions by Russia, Prussia and Austria. 11 of November 1918, 99 years ago, the Polish state was reborn and regained its independence with Marshal Jozef Pilsudski as head of state.


He had great charisma and great authority. The most famous is his saying: “The nation is just gorgeous people fucking.” The Polish Independence Day is interwoven with the celebrations of St. Martin name day on 11th November. In Poland, name days are widely celebrated and have traditionally been given a greater importance than birthday celebrations. Printed in every local calendar, these name days represent the feast days of Catholic saints. At the head of the procession is marching St Martin, whom the mayor of Poznań gives the keys to the city. Traditional goody on this day is delicious st. Martin croissante. Such a special holiday calls for a very specific treat to honour St. Martin, and that’s  a crescent-shaped croissant-like pasty filled with a poppy seed and almond paste and topped with a healthy pile of sugary glaze. Legend has it that the tradition of crescent-shaped croissant began at the end of the 19th century when the parish priest of St. Martin’s urged the richer parishioners to help the poor as winter approached. A baker by the name of Józef Melzer prayed to St. Martin for ideas and turning to the street was inspired as the horse carrying the saint in the parade slipped a shoe – hence the crescent shape of the pastries.Rogale_swietomarcinskie2So just who was this Martin character, and why is he worthy of such sweets and fanfare (not to mention sainthood status)? Born in what is now Hungary in the fourth century, Martin was raised in Italy where he became a member of the Imperial Horse Guard in the Roman army. Stationed in France he came across a shivering beggar and decided to cut his cloak in half to share with the man. That evening Martin, aged 18, dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak (in some stories, Martin wakes to find his cloak fully restored) and decided to be baptised.martinstagAfter being discharged from the army he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers (Saint Hilary nowadays), a proponent of Trinitarian Christianity that was at odds with the Arianism of the day. St Martin’s day (and St Martin’s Eve) customs perhaps unsurprisingly share similarities with those of Hallowe’en: In Germany, for instance, children going from door to door begging gifts of food, sweets etc in return for songs (Martinsleidis associated with St Martin’s day (Martinstag). In Germany – as elsewhere in Europe – this custom was also associated with the medieval ‘souling‘ traditions observed variously on All Hallows day (1st November) or All Hallows Eve (31st October) as well as All Souls’ day (2nd November). In ‘souling’ people would go door to door offering prayers for the dead in return for the gift of ‘soul cakes’. This seems to have evolved into the modern Hallowe’en ‘trick or treat’ custom but was a feature of other festivals of the ‘winter quarter’, such as the Christmastide ‘wassailing’ and ‘guising’ tradition parties of ancient European tradition. Ritual begging was, therefore, an ancient and important cultural custom, and the idea of receiving divine favour in return for bestowing hospitality on the poor and needy was a key element to religious observances of the Christian and pre-Christian eras (for example, the Roman and Greek festivals of Saturnalia and Kronia).

Dog-conducting-geese        martin

Another legend tells how later in life Martin did not want to become a bishop so tried to avoid those looking for him by hiding among some geese. The noise of the geese apparently gave him away and Martin was made the Bishop of Tours. With Christians traditionally beginning a 40-day period of fasting on St. Martin’s Day ahead of Christmas Eve, the night before (St. Martin’s Eve) saw feasting where the roast goose was a favourite dish as it is at this time of the year when a goose is at its plumpest.jarvis_582c9460498e2b983c8fc5aaSo if you are in Poland, the Czech Republic or Germany  keep your eyes out for restaurants offering St. Martin’s Goose. As bishop Martin continued to live a largely hermetic existence; his work included sowing Christianity among the Druidic heathens and promoting the interests of the Church at the Imperial court in Trier. the-charity-of-st-martin-by-louis_anselme_longa-featured-w740x493One such example includes Martin’s efforts to save Priscillian, a Christian bishop he opposed, from punishment by a civil tribunal that accused Priscillian of heresy. Despite Martin’s efforts, Priscillian was the first person in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy, and the sadly disappointed Martin died in Gaul in 397. He said “Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner.” (St. Martin of Tours, Bishop and Confessor, Patron Saint of Soldiers)Remembrance day poppiesFreedom is something that money can’t buy, it’s the result of the struggles of many bravehearts. Let us honour them today and always.


Happy Independence Day, Poland!shutterstock_225924757-e1460519578556There are 50 days remaining until the end of the year. Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.



Did all within this circle move !




I decided for few months to concentrate on one thing only. Zero juggling tasks, jumping on projects and fighting with a thousand things at once.


How was it for me? In short: was terrible.


I felt bad about it. For me, it was natural and quite comfortable when I was tired of everything and just to go back to painting, writing, running or dancing. Focus on one thing is boring.  Same topic, from morning to night, day by day, week by week, month by month. In the long run, it destroys motivation more than a new thing every day. If you had prepared the best cook for you in the world, with the best ingredients, but every day the same, then after a month will change to an average meal. You need a change. Poison is often determined not by the substance itself, but by its dose. Even water in too much dosage is harm. img_52091

If you are working on a work that is based on ideas and creativity, then the wide context is for you oxygen without which you will suffocate. A narrow focus on one thing closes you in the bubble. You notice more in the subject you are fully dedicated to, but you do not really see anything else. Now after a few months, I feel like I’m back from another planet. paperartist_2017-10-15_22-56-30


I’m sure you’re right focusing on one thing is a chance that you will achieve an absolute top in this field, but even greater that you will end up burned out, without motivation and other ideas for yourself. If you play the guitar, but with one leg tapping on the drums, you are not focused on the strings anymore. For me, “multi” starts with two things. Either you do one thing and you sacrifice it, or you do at least two things at once. It’s zero-one and there are only two sides of the barricade. You’re right if I will focus on one single thing and it will not let me go too fast, if at all. I prefer to take my time and live life at a slower pace and healthier life.

Too many things, Yes I am who I am. So, I am starting again. Began at the beginning.





The life we want is not merely the one we have chosen and made.It is the one we must be choosing and making.

Booo to You and Happy Halloween


La Serenissima and serenella


Close your eyes for a moment and let an azure-lidded fantasy flood your mind. hqdefaultIf you could pick one place on Earth where you could return at least for one moment, where would you go….to Rome, Florence, your home or maybe other places? I take myself to Venice. DSC04476Venice is an absolutely amazing place to visit. Even the most sceptical of travellers can’t help but fall prey to its charms. It’s a strange one really as it can be bustling with a lot of tourists in some parts of it and then just a few minutes walk away and you’ll find yourself exploring quiet, hidden streets – devoid of the throngs of tourists.

Without hesitation, Serenissima with the air perfumed with intoxicating fragrance is always worth it!

DSC04135Today I take a trip down memory lane by sharing my Easter trip to Venice.  “Everything that can be said and written about Venice has been said and written.” The author of these words was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1786 no less. Anyway, I am going on here to tell my story. I will write myself into well-being  🙂DSC04919Serenissimo’ was a Byzantine title, bestowed upon the Doge and the Signoria at first, then extended to the entire Republic of Venice.


Venice. The Piazza San Marco Looking East Towards the Basilica. Date: c. 1730

‘Most Serene’ was an honorary appellate and an indicator of sovereignty. But there is another reason why Venice has continued carrying this nickname, which has become legendary, just as the city itself, through the centuries.DSC04373From the outside, Venice looked like a peaceful place, spared from the turmoil affecting so many other cities. The choice to focus on maritime trade brought prosperity, and the establishment of an oligarchic, liberal republic laid the foundation for a solid state, universally accepted by its citizens, who, no matter their class, seemed to get along well, united by the devotion for the territory they lived in. Even when dealing with foreign policy affairs, Venice often tried to avoid conflict and disputes, preferring mediation and peace.


Venice: A Regatta on the Grand Canal  c.1733-4

On these bases, Venice could well be described as ‘serene’, so much so that it was able to survive for three centuries its political, military and commercial decline, caused by Turkish expansion and the discovery of the Americas. Diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity, the main aspects of the history of Venice, have indeed made it ‘Serenissima. Even when dealing with foreign policy affairs, Venice often tried to avoid conflict and disputes, preferring mediation and peace. On these bases, Venice could well be described as ‘serene’, so much so that it was able to survive for three centuries its political, military and commercial decline, caused by Turkish expansion and the discovery of the Americas. Diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity, the main aspects of the history of Venice, have indeed made it ‘Serenissima. Venice has been an inspiration  …for… many famous’s writers, artists and musicians …


Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, painted 1729–32

Of all the artists who’ve glorified Venice in the paint, Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768) – better known as Canaletto – probably knew and loved her best. From early on, he was favoured by the English aristocracy, many of whom commissioned works directly from him while they were on the Grand Tour, or bought his paintings, drawings and prints from British agents or Venetian publishers whenever they were unable to travel to the Continent. We know that he was born in Venice in October 1697, that his father was a well-known painter of theatrical scenery, and that his earliest training consisted of designing theatre sets with his father. The latter fact may account, in part, for the strain of theatricality that runs throughout Canaletto’s work and that became quite pronounced in some of his later paintings – although seldom at the expense of the overall accuracy of the views depicted.


Rome The Forum with the Temple of Castor and Pollux – Bernardo Bellotto Canaletto

In 1719 he went to Rome for further study but returned to Venice in 1720 to begin his career as an artist. Success came rather quickly. His views of Venice caught on – not among the local art lovers, who tended to look down on his efforts, but among the high-ranking “tourists,” especially those from England, who wanted them as souvenirs of their visit.


London Somerset House Canaletto

Sales declined, however, shortly after 1740, and so in 1746, he went off to London. He remained there – except for a brief trip to Venice in 1751 – until 1755, painting and selling views of that city and of the country houses of the British aristocracy. His final years were spent in his home city, where he died in 1768, honoured rather belatedly by his colleagues and with no possessions beyond a few paintings, a little cash, and a small piece of property. Close your eyes for the second moment please imagine the sea, ship, sun. DSCF8316Here’s the story: in 2008 a wreck was discovered off the coast of East Africa.http-hypebeast.comimage201704damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-1



It was the remains of a sunken ship called the Apistos, means ‘Untrustworthy’ as well as ‘Unbelievable’ in ancient Greek, which was laden with treasures from across the ancient world. The ship and its precious cargo belonged to the vastly wealthy Cif Amotan II, a collector who was transporting the artefacts to a specially built temple. Instead, they languished for centuries at the bottom of the ocean, suffering various kinds of sea-change, collecting multiple encrustations of coral, barnacles and shells. Please wake up we are travelling by Serenella boat to visit Palazzo Grassi in Venice, see the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’  🙂  We are travelling by Serenella boat to visit Palazzo Grassi in Venice, see the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’  🙂DSC04957It is the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since the 2004 retrospective at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples (“The Agony and Ecstasy”) and presented at Palazzo Grassi.DSC04401-1It is the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since 2004. The exhibition is displayed across 5,000 square meters of museum space. Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ has been almost ten years in the making. I don’t want to mention about cost.damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-palazzo-grassi-designboom-1800He turns ancient history on its head and gives a nod to the way fake news and post-truth culture has us second guessing everything.It is made up entirely of rusty knives and spoons, ancient tablets and crumbling, coral-covered statues that were “salvaged” from the wreckage of a historic fake ship: The Unbelievable. The statues take inspiration from real artefacts in museums and historical sites across the globe.

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While many of the sculptures are made of bronze and marble, aluminium, polyester and fibreglass are all used to recreate damage from the sea.

Some of the ‘artifacts’ are accompanied by ‘salvage’ videos from the archaeologist’s expedition to the underwater shipwreck, adding another layer of confusion to the fakery. Love it or hate it. DSCF8219-1I find marble painted to look like leather or polished to look like vinyl, jade carved to look like barnacles, malachite carved to look like skin, and everywhere bronze gilded or roughened or recoloured and refashioned. DSCF8186-1The figures — mostly human forms, though a whole menagerie of animals real and mythological features too, including a gold unicorn’s head at the seaward prow of the Dogana building — echo every phase of cultures past, from Renaissance to Buddhist, classical to pre-Columbian.DSCF8179-1There is Mercury, there is also Mickey Mouse.

eeeIf the narrative has a presiding deity it would be Medusa, the blood from whose severed head, you will remember, was believed by the ancients to have turned into the coral.DSCF8233-1I find also conservation story: the bust-up relic recovered from the wreck, then a restored cleaner version, and finally the smooth “copy” often made from ancient originals. DSCF8194 Thera is freestanding museum vitrines, with orderly shelves of ancient implements, nuggets, coins, weird natural wonders — all of course specially created, and in astonishing detail. But before all this, filling the entire central courtyard as one enters the Palazzo Grassi, is the biggest, most gobsmacking piece yet. Some 18 metres high, towering right up the four storeys of the building, is a mighty headless figure — recognisably William Blake’s “Ghost of a Flea”, with its talons instead of toes and its scaly back.

There is awe-inspiring craftsmanship on display here: some of the marble carving, done by a single quarry in Carrara, is superb. The attention to detail is almost obsessive, all objects are oversized, overcoloured, overemphasised. Definitely, Damien Hirst’s new show in Venice is causing controversy.

DSCF8215It’s very easy to say, I could have done that after someone’s done it. But he did it. You didn’t. It didn’t exist until someone did it. Few artists have attacked him for using their ideas. John LeKay said the skulls were his idea. John Armleder … was doing spot paintings. And some say Walter Robinson did the spin paintings first. Hirst’s tribute was: “Fuck ’em all!” In 2006 he said  “Lucky for me, when I went to art school we were a generation where we didn’t have any shame about stealing other people’s ideas. You call it a tribute”. Hirst’s exhibition makes you question the fakeness and reality of what you’re seeing, and why we go to museums at all. Believe or not; is he lying or is he telling the truth or everything he says is false or is neither true nor false, maybe this is something between true or lie. Just moment if is both true and false, then is only false. But then, it is not true. Since initially was true and is now not true ………what means maybe it is a Liar’s paradox.DSCF8211-1 To seek, to get lost, to go beyond. This is why I visited Venice.DSC05110To push beyond the horizon line, to hit new horizons.  Return to Glasgow – inspired, renewed.


A thing of beauty is a joy forever

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