Sunday, September 13, 2009

Artists of Agriculture

As the earth warms after Winter’s solemn frost breaks, new life comes forth from hibernation pushing north through the cool ground towards solar goodness. Farmers from all stretches of the nation work harmoniously with till to soil, in an effort to nurture nutrition and offer their freshest produce to neighbors and friends.

America’s quilt is rich in history of cultivated goods for trade. Even beyond our coastlines, this notion of a Farmers’ Market is known as a traditional “mercado” in the Peruvian Andes and much farther east to Asian streets agronomist have gathered weekly for centuries to barter and sell produce directly to the public.

Receiving reenergized popularity in Los Angeles in 1969 invigorated seeds of this idea to be transplanted to big and small towns across our patchwork horizon.

Cincinnati’s valleys hold treasures of many varieties; German inspired Over-the-Rhine district is a particular gem that sparkles like no other. The neighborhood's distinctive name comes from its builders and early residents, German immigrants, many of whom made a daily trek across bridges over the Miami and Erie Canal which separated the area from downtown Cincinnati. The canal was referred to as "the Rhine" in reference to the Rhine River in Germany. So if one needed to go to the German part of town he or she would need to cross "Over the Rhine."
Over-the-Rhine, sometimes shortened to OTR, is believed to be the largest, most intact urban historic district in the United States.
It is within this fold of downtown, where Findlay Market set root as founder General James Findlay brought to life his vision in 1793. As it stands today, Findlay Market is the only surviving municipal market house of the nine public markets operating in Cincinnati in the 19th and early 20th century.

It’s hard for me to go anywhere and not want to set up my easel and get lost in a wash of color. Adding a Farmers’ Market location to your wedding map through The Painted Memory ( gives a taste of the local beat and supports America’s entrepreneurial and resourceful backbone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hail To The Heros

Let us never forget the lives that were sacrificed on 9-11. Amazing how time has passed and 8 years have lapsed. Having traveled to NYC a handful of months after the devastation, I was in awe of the sobering pit left behind. A lump rose in my throat as I turned to thank a row of fireman for their bravery.

I pray for the children who have grown up without a parent because of terrorist attacks on American soil. And the men and women who faithfully and courageously serve our country, fighting to defend our freedom and liberate those supressed across the globe.

We are a blessed nation. We enjoy freedom that came at a cost. Join me in honoring our troops, firefighters, and police on this day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tennis Trist

The pop and ping of freshly opened tennis balls bouncing off racquets floats into my head on summer mornings. I can remember waking with a smile as the repetition of back and forth play next door at the Glendale Lyceum permeated the air. ( A hypnotic echo of felt covered rubber rhythmically penetrating clay is magnetic to me. Tennis has been a love for as long as I can remember. It’s as though forehands and backhands have been hardwired into my DNA.

With High School graduation came a surprise, a destination of discovery that was my choice. Newport, Rhode Island quickly rose to the top knowing the International Tennis Hall of Fame is home to the legends of tennis ( ).The museum built in 1880 showcases the history and legacy of the game, as its walls’ hero tennis icons.

Tennis originated from a 12th century French game called paume (meaning palm); it was a court game where the ball was struck with the hand. Paume evolved into jeu de paume and rackets were used. The game spread and evolved in Europe. In 1873, Major Walter Wingfield invented a game called Sphairistikè (Greek for "playing ball) from which modern outdoor tennis evolved.

With the industrial revolution freeing up fortunes and leisure time through the 1870's into the 1880's, resorts of the Victorian era were a natural nesting place for the growth of the game. National championships were cropping up and attracting regulars. The upper class social scene was throwing decadent parties, giving them all a reason to return season after season and play. Soon there were enough challenging players in various regions of a growing number of countries to establish a level of skill that improved from one innovation to the next.
The conclusion of the museum drops you onto the edge of paradise.
Fine blades of grass manicured to perfection, newly painted lines, and the early rising sun casting its glow through the lattice of netting neatly hammered into opposite ends of each court seemed endless as though a kaleidoscope were being twisted before me.

Grass courts are the fastest type of courts in common use. They consist of grass grown on very hard-packed soil, similar to golf greens, which adds an additional variable: bounces depend on how healthy the grass is, how recently it has been mown, and the wear and tear of recent play.
While some travel the country enjoying an all-American game at Fenway Park or Lambeau Field, I experience a similar magnetism when it comes to tennis.

It’s not often one comes across red-clay courts in the States; so stumbling upon this ruddy vermilion in Capri was like a natural high!
Red clay can be natural or, as at the French Open, made of crushed brick mixed with rubber and other materials. Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce[citation needed] when compared to grass courts or hard courts. This is because clay courts have more grab and when the ball lands there is more friction pushing against the ball's horizontal path, therefore slowing it and creating a higher bounce. For this reason, the clay court takes away some advantage of big serves, which makes it hard for serve-based players to dominate on the surface. (

Cincinnati’s heart beats strong in August when the ATP Tennis Masters series arrives at our door. The privilege of entering the grounds is like Christmas morning, and taking a seat when match play begins is better than opening presents.

If you’ve traveled to Flushing Meadows for the US Open or have found yourself on a vacation tennis court, immortalize this memory with a custom watercolor painting from The Painted Memory as a treasured keepsake.