Brite Brilliance Acrylic/Canvas | 16×20″
As a kid, my creativity took the form of re-creating. I took clothes apart and remade them into something different. I turned my mother’s gown into a dress. Mom was horrified. I also took apart radios and clocks and put them back together. Dad was supportive. I sometimes needed his help. I also began drawing when I was a kid. I drew faces and comic book characters, like Wonder Woman. Everything around me was an inspiration – to create.
Music has always been a joy. I love to play piano and guitar. If only there was more time in a day to create new things, including all the ones in my dreams. Then there’s my professional life as an interior designer where I photographed the spaces I created. The interior design school I founded gave others a way to expand their horizons. Currently, my passion is writing and painting. Painting landscapes has been a way of connecting to nature and to explore the beauty of a sky, a sunset, sunrise, a body of water, a wave. I see a painting in everything, even a building, a portrait of my grandchildren, and a snowy Christmas tree. Everyone loves the creativity Christmas offers. Just look around you, it’s all there for you to enjoy and participate in. There are so many ways of creating beauty. Many of us have past times that give us peace of mind and help us to reconnect to our inner lives. Some of us love to garden, others love to cook, but what we all have in common is a desire to create. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Reach for your star and you will find your own truth path.
I love vibrant colors. And if there is one common element in my work, it’s color. Outdoors, I look for the sun’s rays of pink and amber creeping across the meadow, catching the magic hour when lights are warm and reflected light is bouncing in the cool shadows. Sunrise and sunset sweep the rainbow colors across the skies. Atmospheric landscapes have a beauty that often goes unrealized. Rich purples, yellows and blues on a rainy, foggy day are subtle, but magnificent. God’s heaven on earth.
Portofino Charm Acrylic/Canvas 18×24″
Indoors, I have a myriad of subjects to paint. I have photos from my photography then and now. I record people, places and things that are inspirational. It is thrilling to watch a blank canvas evolve into work-of-art.
Next week, I’ll be taking part in a special art show where I’ll be featuring two of my paintings: Maine Boats and Coney Island Bumper Cars. If you want to see more of my work you can visit my website.
Maine Boats (formerly boat bunches)
Watercolor | 10×14″
Coney Island Bumper Cars
Pastel & Watercolor| 10×14
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.
There are some Thanksgivings my husband Tom and I travel to Phoenix, Arizona to visit our grandchildren in the west. This year our Marietta, GA family joined us here in Phoenix. There are eleven of us, five are the kids. We love it, the cousins love getting together, we have fun, lots of laughing and telling stories and, of course, eating out, eating in, and eating on the big day.Thanksgiving is always a special time for us, a time to reflect on what we’re thankful for. I’m thankful for family and for the time we get to spend with them. Our New Jersey (in the east) seven grandchildren will party with us at Christmas time.
Grandchildren are the rewards for motherhood. Motherhood, a job no one is really prepared for. Parenting isn’t taught, and why not? All we have are the role models that parented us. Right? They didn’t go to school for parenting, neither did their parents. This is sometimes good, and sometimes bad
We learn how to do so many other life jobs, but no schooling for parenting. How about a required course in college? Can’t graduate unless you’ve taken the parenting course. Oh my goodness, who will teach it? Think . . . who is qualified to teach parenting? A psychologist? A psychiatrist? A nurse, doctor, other parents? This is a dilemma. How about a grandmother with a PhD in child psychology and a dozen grandchildren? Did Dr. Spock have it right? He wasn’t bad, but this is a broad subject. Like teaching anything, it depends on the recipient. For example, I taught tennis for years, not all my students learned a forehand the same way. I had to adjust my instructions until they executed a proper forehand. That’s just a small detail, so, what about raising children? How do you teach what ‘NO’ means, what ‘YES’ means? For me, bottom line is always teach with love, patience, and example. Patience, patience, patience – explain why it’s no or yes and explain with love. This is a broad statement, yet basic.
In the bible, The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit according to the Epistle to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” You don’t have to be religious to appreciate The Fruit of the Spirit. First is love . . . bringing up a child is challenging to say the least. They must be taught and disciplined with love and patience. Children need to be taught that there are consequences for improper decisions.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Love to you all.
Julie Lyles Carr is a talented speaker and author who writes about motherhood and raising children. Her most recent book, Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to their Unique God-Given Temperament. A book to check out!
Julie Lyles Carr
Julie Lyles Carr holds a degree in psychology which she uses every day in her parenting of eight children and also a degree in English Literature, which came in handy for writing a book on parenting. She is a popular speaker and blogger. Julie is also an audiobook narrator, having voiced a large collection of Harper Collins, Zondervan, and Thomas Nelson projects. She serves as the Pastor of Women’s Ministry at her home church of Life, Austin in Austin, Texas. Julie is also the Founder and Executive Director of Legacy of Hope Austin, a non-profit group dedicated to serving families of children with special needs. Julie and her husband Michael have been married for almost twenty-six years. You can read more about their family adventures at www.julielylescarr.com.
Gail Ingis is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released on Valentine’s Day 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.
Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore House is unlike any other. When you are there it’s like you have traveled back in time to the Gilded Age. Tom and I visited Biltmore House a few years ago while I was researching my first book, Indigo Sky. Biltmore House, was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, near Asheville, North Carolina in 1889-1895. At 178,926 square feet, it is considered the largest privately owned home in the United States, It is still owned by Vanderbilt family.
Biltmore House has become famous for its celebration of Candlelight Christmas, which is celebrated every evening throughout the holiday season, starting just before Thanksgiving, presented as though the Vanderbilt family are your hosts. Tom and I spent three nights at the Inn at Biltmore on the grounds of the estate and enjoyed tea in the afternoon, lunch at the Bistro, dinner in the dining room. Five star accommodations, five star food and five star grounds.
The Vanderbilt rail empire was created by Biltmore’s George Vanderbilt’s grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who died in 1877. It was Commodore that bought out LeGrand Lockwood after Black Friday gold panic in July 1869 when Lockwood lost his empire. The same Lockwood who built the Lockwood Mansion (now the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum) in Norwalk, Connecticut. The same Lockwood who commissioned Albert Bierstadt to paint “Domes of the Yosemite.”
Most of my readers know about my journey writing about the life of painter Albert Bierstadt. My visit to Biltmore Estate was inspired by my research while I was painting a copy of Domes of the Yosemite and henceforth, inspired a fictional historical romance novel.
If you ever get the chance to travel to Biltmore House, you will never forget it. It has become one of the most popular destinations for weddings and other special events and for Tom and me, it was a truly memorable and special Holiday visit.
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released on Valentine’s Day. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.
I love to get dressed up and go out on the town. Even, now at my age (I just turned 82 years young!) I love to go out with my husband Tom. Just last weekend we went to a party at the ballroom dance studio where we practice our fox-trot, waltz, salsa and so many more. Our talented instructors, Monika and Henry just celebrated their fourth-year anniversary of Dance Fairfield. Part of the Fred Astaire Dance Franchise.
History has shown us that women have always loved to get dressed up. And yes, even be a little daring in their fashion choices. Being daring is different depending on the woman. For some women it means wearing a stunning gown with a deep décolletage or décolleté. Décolletage is the area of the neck, shoulders, back and upper chest exposed by the neckline of a woman’s clothing, low-cut necklines of ball gowns, evening gowns, leotards, lingerie and swimsuits, among other fashions. Even today, décolletage is seen as an expression of femininity, and in some parts of the world any décolletage is considered provocative and shocking.
During the Victorian period, social attitudes required women to cover their bosom in public. For day dresses, high collars were the norm. Later, towards the end of the Victorian period the full collar was the fashion, though some décolleté dresses were worn on formal occasions.
In 1884, the Portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent of American-born Paris socialite, Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, was criticized when she was depicted in a sleek black dress displaying what was considered scandalous cleavage. Even more shocking, the painting depicted the strap of her dress falling off her right shoulder. The controversy was so great that Sargent reworked the painting so that the shoulder strap was no longer “off her shoulder”. But that wasn’t enough to save Sargent’s reputation. The artist was forced to leave Paris for London in 1884 because of the scandal that ensued.
Gail’s portrait by Diane Aeschliman
My friend and talented portrait artist, Diane Aeschliman, of Killingworth, CT, painted my portrait a few years back, and coincidentally the shoulder strap of my elegant, red gown, kept slipping off. Here’s that painting for your perusal.
Perhaps if I had lived in the Victorian era I would have caused a great scandal as well!
Historical romance novels are a perfect way to indulge in the daring (and sometimes scandalous) love stories of fictional heroes and heroines. My novel Indigo Sky was inspired by the true-life love story of artist Albert Bierstadt and his love affair with the beautiful wife of his best friend. My story has a happy ending of course. As do all the historical romances that we love to read!
And speaking of historical romances and happy endings – I want to let you all know about a wonderful new giveaway that I’m part of with Booksweeps. You could win more than 45 Regency and Victorian romance novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Joan Jonston, Lauren Royal, Lauren Smith and many more including me! Along with a brand new e-reader device. Just in time for the Holidays. I hope you will sign up for this amazing giveaway. It’s free and it’s fun! Click here to enter. Until next time! Keep on dancing! Love Gail.
Many blue moons ago I had the great pleasure of having High Tea at the Helmsley Palace in New York City. Or so I thought! Much to my surprise, I was mistaken in my assumption that it was called High Tea. In fact, the proper name is: Afternoon Tea. Fascinated with the ritual of “tea time”, I explored the history and found that Afternoon Tea, aka High Tea, originated among the wealthy social classes in England in the 1840s. By the end of the nineteenth century, Afternoon Tea developed into its current form and was observed by both the upper and middle classes. Teatime for the working population was always much later in the day, usually after 6 pm, and accompanied by a pot of good, strong stimulating tea.
Wrap around balcony, where afternoon tea was served
Food service for afternoon tea
At the Helmsley Palace, Afternoon Tea consisted of delicate savory cucumber or egg and cress sandwiches, bread and butter, scones with clotted cream and jam, and occasionally cakes and pastries along with a bracing pot of tea.
Sandwiches always had the crusts removed, and were cut into small segments, either as triangles or fingers, aka tea sandwiches. The waiters dressed in formal attire, starched collars, black vests and black pressed trousers. The Harpist playing,The Blue Danube, by Johann Strauss II, with the delicacy of an angel, which not only pleased the ear but aided digestion.
Harpo Marx, a talented harpist
Hotel entrance flanked by the Villard Houses
Reservations were the only way you could have Afternoon Tea at the Helmsley. Today, the Helmsley Palace Hotel is known as Lotte New York Palace Hotel and is one of many fine hotels in NY that offer Afternoon Tea. And of course, by today’s standards, Afternoon Tea takes place in late afternoon to early evening, 3:30-5 pm.
Afternoon Tea figures prominently in my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. The Baldwin sisters and their mother arrange a special Afternoon Tea and invite some of the most well-to-do ladies in New York society. I had great fun working on this scene, especially the menu! I can’t wait for you to read it.
Sample of tea accompaniment
Thanks to Wikipedia Tea (Meal)