Art & Illustration: Evelyn Dunbar

Another artist new to me (thank you Pinterest!), and again mostly known for work portraying aspects of WWII. Just a coincidence…really!

Evelyn Dunbar was the only woman artist to be employed full-time by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee. She covered the UK home front, especially women’s contribution to the war effort, from 1940 through the end of the war. Although primarily famous for this work, before and after the war she also did book illustrations, landscapes, and murals.

Aside: It seems as though if one was an artist in the 20th century in England, at some point one painted a mural. An excellent process, I think, and one which I wish was emulated here in the States.

I love the detailed look at scenes from what was ordinary life during the war, and the contributions women were making to not only support the soldiers, but also to feed the country, take over men’s traditional jobs, and generally keep the entire country going forward.

Land Army Girls Going to Bed, 1943, Imperial War Museums

Convalescent Nurses Making Camouflage Nets, 1941, Imperial War Museums

A Land Girl and the Bail Bull, 1945, Tate Museum (for us Americans, the “bail” is that moveable shed in the background)

The Land Girls, or the Women’s Land Army, was a British civilian organisation created during WWI and reborn in WWII. With so many men away at war, someone needed to work in agriculture and ensure the nation’s food supply. Thus, the Land Girls.

Delve into the life and work of Evelyn Dunbar with Christopher Campbell-Howes excellent and fascinating blog about her here.

There’s also a collection of her paintings on the BBC site Your Paintings.

Biography: Evelyn Dunbar: War and Country

Interested in finding out more about the Land Girls?

Film: The Land Girls
Books: Land Girls, Angela Huth (fiction); Land Girls, Joan Mant (history); A Presumption of Death, Dorothy L. Sayers (mystery)
Television: Land Girls; episode They Fought in the Fields of Foyles’s War (fabulous show, by the way!)

Putting on Anti-Gas Protective Clothing, 1940, Imperial War Museums

The Queue at the Fish Shop, 1944, Imperial War Museums


Reading and Watching

Reading Report

Last weekend I finished reading an Elizabeth Berg book, Tapestry of Fortunes. It’s a bit of a “woman’s book” but she’s such a great and easy writer, her work is always enjoyable. Four women come together at a transition point in their lives, and have to decide what direction each will take. I always enjoy a domestic type of book: I love to read about the details of life. What food do they fix, and how do they fix it and why? If they run a business, what are their products and why? What is their house like? Do they have a garden? How do they do laundry and shop? I’m curious, and I like that window on the daily lives of people so different than me.

Reading Tapestry of Fortunes made me want to bake a pie, go on a road trip, volunteer in a hospice, and strip down my belongings to the bare essentials.

Tapestry of Fortunes, Elizabeth Berg















Watching Report

One of my favorites, Longmire started its third season this last week. I love the setting (Wyoming), the cinematography, the actors (Katee Sackhoff! Robert Taylor! Lou Diamond Phillips!), the human mysteries, and the interplay between modern and historic Native American culture and white culture. I also like how everyone’s trucks are filthy dirty, and that sometimes it’s easier to just ride a horse to your destination.

Longmire, A&E


Art & Illustration, First in a Series (quite possibly)

One of the things I thought I might do with this blog is periodically (meaning, it’s impossible to schedule myself) take a look at an artist I’ve “discovered,” and with whom I was previously unfamiliar. The artist might very well be a common name to many people, but hey, it’s my blog and they are new to me. I’d be curious to know if anyone else knows these artists’ work, too.

First up….

Eric Ravilious

Thank you Pinterest! That was where I came across some of Mr. Ravilious’s war paintings.

Dangerous Work at Low Tide–Defusing a German magnetic mine, Whitstable, Kent, 1940, Copyright The Estate of Eric Ravilious

Mr. Ravilious worked primarily in watercolors, but he also had quite the eclectic selection of other pursuits: Murals (destroyed during the Blitz), printmaking, engraving, product design for Wedgwood, furniture design, and advertising design. He spent much of his life in the Sussex area, and some his most famous paintings are set there.

Tea at Furlongs, 1939, Copyright The Estate of Eric Ravilious

During WWII he enlisted as a full-time salaried artist by the War Artists Advisory Committee. No easy gig, mind. He travelled all over the European Theatre, and painted during many hazardous situations. He was killed during the war. While in Iceland, he volunteered to crew on one of three airplanes searching for another missing plane. Mr. Ravilious’s plane never returned from that mission.

No. 1 Map Corridor, 1940, Copyright The Estate of Eric Ravilious

I find his paintings to be so fascinating: lightly done, but detailed; modern yet charmingly British; dramatic and still whimsical on occasion. His war paintings certainly capture scenes and situations we otherwise would never have seen. His rural paintings are slightly mysterious and haunting, evocative, and still charming. I love all of them!

1939; photo by Serge Chermayeff











What else is great? His wife, Eileen Lucy Garwood, was nicknamed Tirzah. I think I missed my era.

For more of Mr. Ravilious’s paintings, visit the site from which I drew these images: Art & Artists, by Poul Webb.  There’s also an interesting site in the U.K. devoted to Mr. Ravilious that is super interesting: Eric Ravilious.


June 14 copy

June, already? What happened to April?

June means moving into summer, appreciating the shade under a tree, fresh spring and summer fruit, strawberries, road trips, hearing the sound of neighborhood kids playing during the day, dining al fresco, windows open, vegetables growing, feeling the breeze.

This month: Walk beneath the redwoods. Enjoy late spring food. And, a new David Tennant show on Masterpiece Mystery!

Life in the Pacific Northwest

Just about a year ago we moved from the California desert to the lower Pacific Northwest–Southern Oregon. It’s been an adjustment, for sure! Winter, snow, rain. Green, green, green. Agriculture, ranches, and farms. Not having access to any store I want, driving out of town in about a minute, surrounded by trees and lush nature. Moss. Farmer’s markets. Did I mention green?

2014-04-08 18.44.21


Spring was incredible–everything was blooming, even the trees!–and now I know the meaning of spring green. We’re just moving into the beginnings of summer now. It’s a little warmer, the sun a little brighter and more intense, afternoon winds have picked up. There’s actually some dried brown grass on some of the foothills (drought). It’s time to think about sun and heat management.

Rogue River



Last week, as a storm was heading into Southern California, Mr. NightSky and I visited one of our local farmers’ markets.  As we were leaving the strong desert winds came up and starting blowing the poor farmer’s stands and their flyers all over the place. It didn’t stop people from shopping, though!

It astounds me that there are now three farmers’ markets  happening on different days in different cities during each week (Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta). Not only that, but we also now have a storefront Grower’s Market in Palm Desert, with local produce. Add to that a recent initiative by a local grower to increase the number of their own farm stands, and to have traveling farm stands. In our community, a “country club” with about 2,000 homes, Madison Street Produce comes once a week with produce picked on their farm that morning. Great strawberries! And I usually get their broccoli.

This is a town with many retirees, so it’s great to see them getting the opportunity to easily eat fresh and local and frequently organic. At the farmers’ markets, we can also try “off-brand” heirloom varieties of vegetables and fruits; important not only to widen our own appreciation but also to keep these varieties alive and growing.

Here’s our haul:

Golden carrots, two varieties of spring onions, tiny sweet orange tomatoes, golden rasberries, and Black Arkansas apples (they’re not black on the inside, don’t worry). Not pictured: cauliflower.

Meal one Roasted veg (cauliflower, the carrots, butternut squash, and tiny potatoes with sage, basil, and rosemary from Pharmer Phil) with a side of pasta.

Meal two My Asian soup interpretation: Chicken stock, sesame oil, chili oil, soy sauce, coriander, hot pepper flakes (from Pharmer Phil), the spring onions, the leftover carrots and squash, mushrooms, and a bit of local watercress I still had in the fridge. After everything was cooked through I added some angel hair pasta. A good warming dinner after a chilly day. I think perhaps I could have added just a touch of sweetness of some kind, though I’m not sure what–suggestions are welcome!

Nemo, who is white like rice

Although right now he’s more like a biscuit color. He needs a bath, but guess what–baths are stressful for him! So we’re postponing that experience.

His anxiety diet now is white meat chicken, which I cook and chop up, and white rice, which I cook. Then all are divided into meal portions, mostly as an act of self defense by us. Nemo gets SO excited at meal time, we try to get it out to him as quickly as possible, for our own sanity.

As you can see, sometimes he misses the odd grain of rice:


“What?” he’s saying. “What are you looking at?”