Into the Mystic with J.M.W. Turner

Last week I showed a few photos of my sketchbook from my visit to see the Turner watercolor exhibit but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. You see, today I’m going to inundate you with photos I took of both the location and the exhibit itself. Fortunately photos were not only allowed but encouraged.

J.M.W. Turner… Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April, 1775 – 19 December, 1851)






The Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT is perfect, located on the Mystic River just as it empties into Fishers Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  It seems William Turner, throughout his life was enamored of the sea and its seafaring vessels. The exhibit includes works spanning his life as early on he depicts architecture for his patrons while he transitions to studies of landscapes and light. All of these are awe-inspiring but I was particularly taken with his more atmospheric ethereal pieces done in his later years when he bucked society’s expectations and experimented and created for his own pleasure.

The photos that follow are roughly in chronological order and are heavily weighted to his later work that I love so much.  I’m not going to describe them but instead have captioned each work for reference.  Oh, and please excuse the reflections from the glass… you may want to google the captions to find better online images.


Loch Long Morning 1801


Durham Cathedral: The Interior, Looking East Along the South Aisle 1797-8



Brent Toor and the Lydford Valley, Devon 1814-16


A Hulk or Husks on the River Tamar: Twilight 1811-14



Kirkby Lonsdale 1817


Shields Lighthouse 1823-6


Banditti, for Samuel Rogers’s Italy 1826-7



The Forum, for Rogers’s Italy 1826-7


Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore – Early Morning 1819



Marly-Sur-Seine: Color Beginning 1829-30


A Wreck, Possibly Related to “Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End” 1834


Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland 1837


(Whitehaven), Cumbria 1835-6


Coastal Terrain 1830-45



Sea and Sky 1845


Venice: Looking Across the Lagoon at Sunset 1840


Venice: An Imaginary View of the Arsenale 1840


Sea and Sky 1835


Brighton Shore, Looking West 1824


A Harpooned Whale 1845



Beach, (English Coast) 1835


(Flint Castle) 1834


Sketchbook and Loose Papers



Admission is to the entire Mystic Seaport Museum… its village, exhibitions, shipyard and vessels.




And if you stay overnight and are as fortunate as we were to have a brisk sunny day you might just want to find a spot to walk the shore and enjoy the scenery.



The Turner Watercolor Exhibit continues at the Mystic Seaport Museum until Sunday, 23 February, 2020. 

#jmwturner,  #mysticseaportmuseum



Last week was the Tunbridge World’s Fair, tucked into a hollow in Vermont’s Green Mountains. There’s always plenty of cows, goats and swine at this country fair. It has THE BEST prize-winning cakes, jams and pickles, huge pumpkins and incredibly clever scarecrows.

I’ve documented all this in my sketchbook over the years but this time something special caught my eye. A bird. Not just any bird… a vibrant, colorfully feathered creature. Not a fancy chicken or even a Guinea hen… a pheasant maybe?

I could have taken a photo and walked on… but what’s the fun in that? Instead I drew this glorious thing with feathers, annotating my sketch with all the pertinent info. I had already decided that adding paint here would be a disaster… I’d do it at home.

My comprehensive notes allowed me to complete the spread without even looking at the two reference photos I quickly took before moving on.

He’s beautiful, he’s exotic. But what IS he?

Google to the rescue. It seems he’s a cross of two Asian pheasants, a Golden and Lady Amherst’s hybrid.

And a well positioned lens view through the cage.

Next summer be sure to make time in your busy schedule to visit one of your local fairs. You never know what you’ll find.


Once upon a time there was a huge and maple in our front yard with a lovely deep green blanket of pachysandra beneath it. Along cams freaky spring snowfall and our beloved maple split in two!

Now the maple’s logs have long been burned as firewood and the pachysandra??? Well… it hasn’t been happy getting bleached by the sun.

So it’s bye-bye pachysandra!

Even though I always wear gardening gloves I always manage to get my fingernails filthy. But wait… they’re clean! …not very pretty, but clean!

I have a secret weapon from my fabric dyeing days… skin barrier cream. I’d rub a teaspoon or two into my hands before dyeing and when finished any remaining color would wash off with soap and water.

Hmmmmm… would this work with garden dirt as well?

Eureka! It does!!!

Both Blue Magic’s Invisible Glove and Marvelous Marianne’s SkinSafer Barrier Cream work wonders. Just make sure to get cream under the nails so it can do its job.

Now we have a flowering crab standing where the maple used to be and soon we’ll have more sun-friendly plants in place too.

And with a layer of barrier cream my hands will clean up nicely!

Malus ‘Prairifire’… glorious rose-red blossoms followed by tiny fruit the birds adore!  Highly recommended!

Photo Friday – 09 October 2015

The colors are late this year and now it’s raining. Oh I hope it won’t wash all the leaves away!

I took these photos of my neighbor’s Burning Bush… Euonymus alatus. It’s been illegal to sell or transplant it for many years in many areas of New England as it’s a non-native and invasive. I’ve removed mine but I do appreciate the glorious color I see from my bedroom window. 


Photo Friday – 14 August, 2015

Not much blooming here as we roll into mid-August. I guess we’re all spent from the summer heat. All of us except for this long-legged beauty.  Echinops ritro also known as Globe Thistle. You gotta’ love auto-correct. It wanted to make it “Chinos writer”… I know plenty of writers who wear chinos but they’re not in my garden!


The progression from bud to bloom.


EchinopsRitro3The bees LOVE the fading blooms. You wouldn’t believe how long I spent with my camera trained on this globe to get one that wasn’t a blur!

EchinopsRitro4And plenty of other flying things like them too… photobombed by this little green and yellow buzzing creature; a fly I presume, but then again, I’m no entomologist.


It has reseeded itself all over my back nursery bed. Obviously, it likes it here.

Photo Friday – 7 August, 2015

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivanti ‘Goldsturm’, most commonly known as Black-eyed Susan. Even though I pulled up two-thirds of them this spring, they’re still threatening to take over the bed between the house and the drive!

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 1 Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 2


Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 3

I always have a bittersweet feeling when I see them blooming since they’re really the last big hurrah in the garden… a sea of golden blooms.

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 4

Photo Friday – 31 July, 2015

Tradescantia virginiana.  Isn’t that a mouthful!


They just hang out in the back border just doing they’re thing for months… only a few are still putting out blossoms, each bloom lasting only a day.

Their common name is Spiderwort.  I never thought it was a lovely name but I guess it’s apropos……


Who’s there?

Tradescantia-4Immature Crab Spider.

Photo Friday – 17 July, 2015

We’re in that betwixt and between season… only the daylilies are blooming here.


Catherine-Woodbury-CloseHemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’.

Hall's-Pink-CloseHemerocallis ‘Hall’s Pink’


Originally I planned to use only peach and pink daylilies but as the years pass I see other colors sneaking in.  If you look closely at the upper right you can see a yellow bloom… hmmmm… who are you?