CharlesLenoirBorn1869NympwithFlowersandGarland

Is that you my beautiful Eugenie?

I hear them, late at night, when everyone is sleeping. They move, ever so slowly, as if floating throughout the space. Their bare feet make contact with the ground, gently, yet deliberately, as if they are walking on sand. These beautiful nymphs, maidens, goddesses from late 1800’s France, mingle in my sitting room when all the world is still. They are serenely happy to be together, to share the same space and just be. I know this is a reunion for them. I am sure these souls, these spirits of art, some in bronze,  some on canvas, have been together before. Their creators exhibited in the Salons of late 1800’s Paris, many of these artists knew one another and perhaps were great friends! I wish I was there to have known of their relationships. This is information that I can not find in books. Yet I know they were together before.

Auguste Moreau’s divine maiden (La Vague) is the first to gently step down from her pedestal. She is the leader in this ‘dance of the spirits’. She slips off the large rock that appears to support her above crashing waves, her foot gently making contact with the ground. Her toes splay open as if caressing the wood floors…as if they are walking on sand. She is joined next by Arthur Waagen’s exquisitely rose clad beauty who leaves behind her dog, carrying a basket overflowing with flowers. Some garlands of flowers remain in her hands as she too becomes a part of the choreography. Weighted folds of fabric trail behind her, making a quiet swooshing sound with her every step. Next, are Henry Etienne Dumaige’s young lovers. They remain close together, just as they were positioned on their rouge marble plinth. Forever young and forever in love, they too seem sublimely happy to be reunited with their old friends. Lastly, Eutrope Bouret’s elegant woman with a mirror steps down to join the others. With mirror in hand and her lovely gold slippers still on her feet, she moves throughout the space as if she were floating. Her elegant presence is still an inspiration to the others.

Then there is Eugenie. She remains on canvas. Her subtle yet deep beauty is a symbol of all that was and all that will be. I call her Eugenie because I feel certain this “Nymph with Flowers and Garland”, painted by artist Charles-Amable Lenoir, is in fact the artist’s wife, Eugenie. I love this nymph, this beauty, this soul. I know I have known her before, if not in a past life then in a life that is yet to unfold. Her huge glossy eyes pull me inward. They are like pools that reveal secrets of the universe. I am haunted by her beauty. Every night before going to sleep I approach her. I walk towards her, quietly, gently, the soles of my feet make contact with the hard wood floors as if they are walking on sand. I hear myself asking the same question. IS THAT YOU MY BEAUTIFUL EUGENIE? She just continues to look outward with those eyes, those pools. I never hear her answer, but I know it is she. Now, I have taken images of this nymph, this beauty, this soul and placed them side by side with pictures of Lenoir’s other paintings; a nymph wading in a stream and a portrait of his wife. I see the same nose, the same brows, lips…these faces captured at different times in one’s life reveal the same woman. I know it is she, I knew it before the images told me so!

It is late at night and I slowly approach her, quietly walking forward, staring into those eyes. And again I ask that same question. IS THAT YOU MY BEAUTIFUL EUGENIE? Again, no answer. The image of her soul stays with me as I walk up the staircase toward my bedroom. I slip into bed and as I drift off to sleep, I hear the others… ever so gently stepping down from their pedestals… AND MY BEAUTIFUL EUGENIE overseeing all.

-Andrea Lynn Fisher

SwirlsDarker

Dear Reader…

It is my pleasure to share these poems from Rainer Maria Rilke. I’ve read these for many years, and they become richer and more meaningful with time and life experience. I hope that they have the same effect on you too.  Below are some writings from the great Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, (1875-1926).

From Rainer Maria Rilke, Diaries of a Young Poet. Copied here with permission of the publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, New York – London.

“Is it not thus: deep inside, everyone is like a church , and the walls are decorated with splendid frescoes. In first childhood, when all the festiveness still lies open , it is too dark inside to see the paintings. And then, as it grows lighter and lighter in the hall, the adolescent stupidities and the false longings and the craving shame take control, and they plaster over one work after the other. And many will go far into life and through it without even suspecting the old magnificence beneath the somber dearth. Fortunate, however, the person who feels, finds, and secretly uncovers it. He bestows gifts upon himself. And he will return home into himself”.

SwirlsDarker

Florence, 13 April 1898

“From our winter-shaped terrain
I’ve been cast far out, into spring;
as I hesitate at its edge
the new land lays itself lustrously
into my wavering hands.

And I take the beautiful gift
want to mold it quietly,
unfold all its colors
and hold it, full of shyness,
up toward You.

I can only keep silent and gaze…
Could I once also sound?
And the hours are women
who spoil me with all kinds of
blue, shimmering delight.

Shall I tell you of my crowded days
or of my place of sleep?
My desires run riot
and out of all paintings
the angels follow me.

SwirlsDarker

Goddess of Grace

She stands in deep-blue ocean depths
into which many rivers pour
from distances on high.
A grey fish carries her along,
delighted by her weight’s lissomeness,
which trickles over his fins.

Out of his gills spews excited
spraying-bubbling rush of breath.
But into her beauty rises
coolly, ushered along in waves,
his forever level feeling.

 

SwirlsDarker

for those of you who can not resist the beauty of a rose, we present to you…

FrenchClimberEdenAndreaFisherFineArt

Garden Design (and photography) by Andrea Lynn Fisher

FrenchClimberEden52Width450

Another French beauty, climbing rose Eden, is just beginning to open.
Her cup-shaped cream and pale-pink blooms open in magnificent clusters,
making it easy to forgive her for her lack of scent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One more English rose, this one a much deeper pink, The Herbalist, sits on the other
side of the garden.  Her sumptuous, deep-pink blooms look magnificent surrounded
by tall spikes of purple salvia. The pastel blues of nepeta sit at her feet, as if their sole
purpose is to serve her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walk behind the fence and immediately be greeted by the tall and elegant
pale-pink English roses.  Fold upon fold of soft fragrant petals leave one
wondering if they are not in heaven.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…with blush-colored nodding petals that reveal her tea rose parentage,
her sweet hypnotic fragrance is unforgettable yet not imposing.  She is
one’s first introduction to the Gardens at Andrea Fisher Fine Art , and
with an air of sublime elegance she gracefully awaits her visitors.

For those who would like to read more of the Gardens we present to you:

A GARDENER’S DIARY

The always lovely, 19th century French climbing rose, Madame Alfred Carriere is in full bloom.  A regal beauty with blush-colored nodding petals that reveal her tea rose parentage, her sweet hypnotic fragrance is unforgettable yet not imposing.  She is one’s first introduction to the Gardens at Andrea Fisher Fine Art , and with an air of sublime elegance she gracefully awaits her visitors.

Walk behind the fence and immediately be greeted by the tall and elegant pale-pink English roses.  Fold upon fold of soft fragrant petals leave one wondering if they are not in heaven.  The sweet smelling Heritage, a truly perfect bloom and a favorite among English and American gardeners is the first to be seen.  Nearby is the always beautiful Eglantyne and Scepter d’Isle.  One more English rose, this one a much deeper pink, The Herbalist, sits on the other side of the garden.  Her sumptuous, deep-pink blooms look magnificent surrounded by tall spikes of purple salvia. The pastel blues of nepeta sit at her feet, as if their sole purpose is to serve her. When I see those chalky pastel blues I think of the great English gardener, the late Gertrude Jekyll, whose painterly approach to design changed gardens forever. 

Peek inside the cupped petals of the truly lovely English Climber, Constance Spry and be delightfully surprised to discover sprays of yellow stamens.  Rose breeder David Austin confesses this to be his favorite among all his creations.   Her myrrh scent is seductive, making it difficult to walk away.  The velvety-pink climber New Dawn, creates a breathtaking show while intertwined with the deep purple blooms of clematis Etoile Violette.  (I must confess, I first saw this pairing in a catalogue many years ago and it was love at first sight!)  This breathtaking pair fills an archway leading to the back door. Together they make coming and going magical.  Another French beauty, climbing rose Eden is just beginning to open.  Her large cup-shaped cream and pale-pink blooms open in magnificent clusters, making it easy to forgive her for her lack of scent.

Each morning I run out into my garden to see what changes occurred while I was asleep.  I am always excited to discover the new blooms that await me.   Often I count the rose buds, and like a child waiting to open birthday presents every waking hour is filled with excitement of the magnificence that is about to reveal itself.  When all those blooms open and the air is filled with scent I find it difficult to return indoors.   And each night before going to sleep, I go outside one last time, to take it all in, again.  The roses are not alone in creating this little piece of paradise for me.  The Perennials complete the scene, making an enchanting space where they can reign.

One of my favorite of these perennials is the beloved foxglove.  I am especially fond of the very pale, yellow blooms of Digitalis Grandiflora and the strawberry-colored Mertonensis.  Their tall racimes are filled with bell-like flowers, and make glorious counterpoints to the folds and curves of the roses.   The lovely verbascum, with its ruffled petticoat-like flowers in antique shades of apricot and mauve, is especially pretty.  (English Garden magazine calls verbascum the super models of perennials, and that they are).  Perennial geraniums, with their thin sprays of tiny clear pink flowers, spill over the borders giving a free, organic form to the neatly defined curves of the beds.   Nepeta, phlox, salvia, lavender and the lovely feathery plumes of astilbes dance throughout the garden.  Have you ever smelt astilbe?  It is surprisingly delicious, its heavy scent is musky and unexpected.  Annual favorites such as pansies, verbena and snapdragons fill the space.  And the large, fragrant blooms of the peonies… are always attention grabbers.

The air is thick with the aroma of gardenia, jasmine, stock, lilac and of course the mingling scents of old-fashioned roses. The music of birds, bees and  butterflies, which will appear in full force when the budlea finally opens, creates what I like to think of as summer’s grandest and most magnificent symphony.

My garden is a place of magic… a place that I have been told is inspiring and transforming.  A friend of mine recently entered the garden and after a few moments of absolute silence just stood there and sobbed.  She said it was overwhelming, like being in Eden.  Another friend described the experience as healing and told me the healing she was experiencing must be a result of being enveloped by such beauty.   Perhaps when we are completely still, in the midst of nature’s beauty, we return to our days in Eden, when we were free of cares and truly connected to life.  All I know is, that when I am in my garden, surrounded by its gentle colors, calming shapes, rhythms, sounds, and scents, I feel absolute peace and am truly happy.

Perhaps I have found heaven.

-Andrea Lynn Fisher

Andrea Fisher’s garden designs were toured by the
Harrington Park Garden Club and have been 
featured in
Homescape, the Home and Design publication of the
Bergen Record (Cover Story  Sunday August 3rd 2008)
and in the national award winning magazine, Design NJ,
June/July 2009 issue.

Andrea Fisher Design

Andrea Fisher Design