The Dog Days of Summer – The Feature – August 2020
The shadows are becoming *slightly* longer and the dog days of summer are upon us. *pant* A capricious dance begins during the waning days of Summer: one partner drives you to surrender to the HEAT, whispering in your ear, “Slow down. Sway with me.” The other partner has you by the shoulders, “Grasp the last days of freedom until we go back to school!!! Back to work!” Take this moment to escape into the fleeting vibrance of Summer with us; before we slide straight into Autumn.
In August’s Feature: enjoy fanciful fish drawings of yore, cool off with blue and white patterns, a luxurious (and meta) glamping retreat, the ultimate outdoor lounge chair, art conceived to brighten spirits, a nostalgic American road trip in photographs, good news from our nation’s capital (for real!), and a spicy cocktail to beat the heat.
“Fishes, crayfish and crabs, of various colors and extraordinary figures, which one finds around the Moluccas islands and on the coasts of the Austral lands“ — Yep! That’s the tooooo long, official title of this fascinating tome of fanciful fish. First published in 1718 (!), Louis Renard compiled over 450 hand colored engravings of embellished sea creatures. These stunning pages are available for us to view (free of charge and in full scale) in the digital archive of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The armor and face paint some of the fish display is wonderfully imaginative, and sometimes accurate. Read more here.
On the topic of nautical flair, how about those blues and whites? They’re so crisp, so cool, so versatile! There’s something accessible about this icy combination. It goes everywhere: dress it up, take it on a picnic, display it in a palace or wrap yourself in it. It reflects seasonal lighting in ways that make it a year-round classic: always fresh, always tidy and always welcoming and calm. Pearl and Maude’s Bunsen in Blue and White is a contemporary take on traditional ginger jars painted with cobalt blue. It’s available in standard, vellum and grasscloth wallcoverings as well as fabric. Dress it up or down. The graphic repeat pattern practically becomes a solid, making it easy to work with.
More decadent than camping in your own backyard, yet it doesn’t require a long drive to escape the city! (Admittedly, this observation only works if you have a backyard and live in New York City, soooo… grain of salt here, folks…) But LOOK at this! Collective Retreats has created a camping destination within an 8 minute water taxi ride from Manhattan. What I like most about this experience is the ability to look back at one’s life (literally) while relaxing. While most getaways offer complete extraction from day-to-day living, there’s something that feels empowering about being able to remove oneself from the hustle and bustle, while still looking right at it. Meta self-reflection. How urban.
Inspired by the relaxed glamour of the 1960’s Italian Riviera, the Pillow Chair from Ash NYC elicits the longing for lazy summer days with a comfortable, fully upholstered chair in colorful stripes. This playful “stack of pillows” invokes timeless cabanas and umbrellas and reminds us of virtually indestructible furniture from our childhood – used to build forts, of course! The pillow chair is available in durable, weather resistant material and is made in New York City.
Community Lights Series. Acrylic, metal leaf on paper. 17” x 12”. 2020.
I about fell out of my chair when I came across the new book, The Road Not Taken by Arnaud Montagard. A French photographer, living in Manhattan, Montagard created this visual journal of his American road trip. The strong, minimal compositions capture atmospheric moments: details which compose the quieter in-betweens of life. It’s hard to believe these photos weren’t taken decades ago, but I’m comforted to know they are recent. Rich with naugahyde, dusty roads and the beating sun, this America hasn’t changed much from my nostalgic wanderings. Maybe there is a place we can go back to after all. Read more about the series here.
With overwhelming bipartisan support from Congress, the Great American Outdoors Act has been signed into law. “It provides the single largest federal investment in preservation of historic and cultural resources for public lands in our generation and ensures many of America’s most iconic historic places are saved for generations to come.” This landmark legislation invests $9.5 billion into infrastructure of our National Park Service and other federal conservation and preservation agencies. This investment will have a huge impact on the future of neglected and deteriorating historic sites. Read more at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Photo: Sam Kittner
Whoever said you can’t fight fire with fire obviously didn’t drink jalapeno palomas in the summer. If these things don’t cool you off, it’s ok, because you might not remember… I don’t like my drinks too sweet, so I keep it simple: tequila (or mezcal), grapefruit juice and a couple muddled slices of jalapeno, strained over ice. However, I don’t have gorgeous photos of my version, so here is a more refined recipe: including a little agave syrup and completed with a chili salt rim.
Hang tight friends! And don’t forget to escape these glorious dog days of summer occasionally:
read a book, look at pretty pictures. It’s good for the soul.