So, what have I been up to lately? Nothing much. Just putzing along.
Several months ago I bought a set of 16 Audubon prints “suitable for framing” at Barnes & Noble. They are copies of some of his plates from the mid 1800s. They aren’t nearly as large as the original Double Elephant Folio prints which were 39.5 inches tall by 28.5 inches wide, but still very nice. Of course, the problem with prints suitable for framing is that you have to supply the frames. And buying 16 frames can add up real quick – and the matting adds to the cost. So they have been sitting in their box waiting patiently for me to come up with a plan.
A couple of weeks ago I spotted some frames at Michael’s — buy one, get one free! They didn’t have 16 all the same size, so I got 3 different sizes. Instead of matting, I bought a couple of rolls of gift wrap – one silver and one gold. I put the gift wrap behind the prints and mounted them in the frames. Then I hung them — 4 in the guest bedroom, 2 in the hall and 10 in our bedroom. They are on the wall opposite the bed so I can gaze upon them when I wake up in the morning.
Here they are:
The only regret I have about framing them is that it has hidden the wonderful descriptions written by Audubon that were printed on the backs of the pictures.
For example, here is what he has to say about the Trumpeter Swan:
To form a perfect conception of the beauty and elegance of these Swans, you must observe them when they are not aware of your proximity, and as they glide over the waters of some secluded inland pond. On such occasions, the neck, which at other times is held stiffly upright, moves in graceful curves, now bent forward, now inclined backwards over the body. Now with an extended scooping movement the head becomes immersed for a moment, and with a sudden effort a flood of water is thrown over the back and wings, when it is seen rolling off in sparkling globules, like so many large pearls. The bird then shakes it wings, beats the water, and as if giddy with delight shoots away, gliding over and beneath the surface of the liquid element with surprising agility and grace. Imagine, Reader, that a flock of fifty Swans are thus sporting before you, as they have more than once been in my sight, and you will feel, as I have felt, more happy and void of care than I can describe.
To read the complete entry on the trumpeter swans by JJ Audubon, you can visit the Darlington Digital Library’s copy of his Ornithological biography, or An account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America.