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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


      Tuesday, July 31, 2012

      moving day

      Who wouldn't want to have their own terrace? You'd sit there, perched above the Avenues, gazing down on the matchbox taxis with a cool glass of Pinot Grigio on a hot summer night. Sigh.

      But just so you know...it's not all white wine and spectacular views. Most buildings have clauses written into their shareholder agreements that stipulate the building can access your terrace at will, to fix a leak, to build a scaffold, to make a little extra scratch by skimming a percentage off the top of unnecessary construction. That last one isn't in the building rules, but you better believe it happens.

      And when it does, it's the terrace owner's obligation to prepare the terrace for occupation.

      Large trees must be moved, furniture stored, irrigation interrupted and re-laid. It can be hair-raising, especially if old containers are involved. Old containers that might have rotted underneath. No way to know till you lift it, at which point the weeping cherry may or may not push through the rotted wood, leaving you with a naked root ball and no place to put it.

      Fortunately, that was not the case this morning. Well-prepared terrace owners, a helpful building staff, and me (basically pointing and saying, move this here, move that there). It all went as smooth as silk. Sigh.

      Thursday, July 19, 2012

      WATER LILY DREAMS

      Last night I was one of the exhibiting artists at the Haym Salomon Arts Award a citywide competition for New York artists from non-profits who support and teach visual arts.  The theme of the exhibit this year was Visions of a Greener World. My collage "Water Lily Dreams"was nominated by the gallery DownstairsArt at the Carter Burden Center where I sometimes show my work.
      My own inspirations were photos I took at Longwood Gardens of the underside of the giant leaves and paper that Annabelle Platt had created in a painting session we had, that I begged to use. The other stuff in the collage are found objects, some copper wire snatched from the street, gold foil from a fancy chocolate bar, and a green plastic folder languishing in my office. Even the frame was recycled from another project.
      The complete collage is simple and subtle in tone: I was satisfied with the results and photographed it for my new book, Artful Collage from Found Objects, Stackpole Books, 2012. Note that the curve at the top is the same image as just below, though printed smaller and reversed. 

      I gazed at the collage on my wall for about three months, then added some color by way of two pink water lily flowers photographed at another time and place. With collage, it's often easy to add, but hard to undo.
       Artist, Ellen Spector Platt at the Haym Salomon Arts Award Ceremony, July 18, 2012
      To purchase the book with complete directions to make 46 collages from found materials, click on the book icon atop the column top left, 'We Recommend' .

      Thursday, July 12, 2012

      POSING IN THE PARK

      In the Queens Botanical Garden, under the massive blue spruce, a wedding party gathers while members of the community walk by unperturbed. The bride must have selected the shade of yellow for the gowns knowing they would look spectacular with the spruce.
      While at Brooklyn's East River Park a girl poses in her quinceanera dress for a posse of photographers.
      In the Manhattan's Conservatory Garden, I capture a bride and groom awaiting  instructions from their photographer. Behind the quince and barberry hedges, there's no knowing the groom is wearing flip-flops. 
      Near the Harlem Meer in Central Park, these women  pose in yoga suits as I huddle in my down park 4/8 to snap the shot.
      And nearby a group attracts attention as they await the instructions of their photographer to start strolling.
       Animation makes the shot.


      A girl dressed in her prom gown selects the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden of the NYBG for her mother's official pictures.  Where's her date?
      Just across the path from the rose garden another bride and groom get ready for their photo op.
      This guy at The High Line isn't posing, he's just reading in the most comfortable spot he knows.

      Oy.


      Thursday, July 5, 2012

      MY NEW FAVORITE

      O.K. this garden is not in NY which we usually write about but is less than 2 hours from Manhattan,  a beautiful ride up the Hudson to Washington CT, Litchfield County.  George Schoellkoph's  Hollister House is an eighteenth century historic home with newer additions. It's available for all to see on the Garden Conservancy Open Days.  Hollister House Garden is based on the English ideal of paths and rooms, places to meander among shrubs, perennials, self-sewn annuals, even some patches of vegetables. I visited on a brutally hot day last week. The bench above would have been perfect to sit with a tall iced tea and enjoy the scent of Nepeta with a book in hand. 
      But paths and arches led elsewhere, and the design forced me to explore the many rooms and admire the foliage color and texture. All seemed to be combined effortlessly, but every gardener knows how much effort that really takes. The eye and brain of an artist planned this garden, yet the feeling is casual, not  egotistical, not demanding credit.
      Containers are strewn everywhere, bordering paths and in the garden itself.
      By the pond is another seat that I must by-pass and move to where the bench color is the perfect foil for the flowers or is it the other way around?The property undulates offering glimpses of gardens above and below.
      Hollister House Garden is easy to visit on the Garden Conservancy Open Days program . (See information in our BYTE NOW column, top left of this blog). In addition Hollister House Garden is hosting a special Garden Study Weekend Aug. 24-26, 2012.
      Schoellkopf has signed an irrevocable agreement with the Conservancy for donation of house, out- buildings and garden, either during his lifetime or by will, along with not less than 2 million dollars in trust for maintenance in perpetuity. All gardeners can be grateful to him for his generosity and foresight.

      If you don't fall in love with this garden as I did, the yellow mulleins by the river at the bottom of the garden express my thoughts.

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