31 July 2008

Hide 'n Seek.

The hidden unknown portrait beneath van Gogh's painting took scientists 118 years to reveal

Last night, after finishing dinner at Brasserie Beck, a wonderful Belgian Brasserie on K Street in Washington, DC, I began thinking of my favorite Dutch artist, Vincent van Gogh, who happened to live for a number of years in Belgium. (Well, that's not really what I was thinking about, but it sounds like a good introduction to this blog entry. I was actually thinking about the fantastic dinner I just had. Anyway...)

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist who lived 30 March 1853 - 29 July 1890. Well, just in perfect time with the 118th anniversary of van Gogh's death, it was announced yesterday that scientists found a little something hidden beneath the artist's "Patch of Grass" painting.

A previously unknown portrait of a woman by Vincent van Gogh has been revealed using a high-tech, new technique to peer beneath the paint of van Gogh's "Patch of Grass" painting.

Already it was known there was something there, likely a portrait of some sort. Van Gogh was known to paint over his work, perhaps as much as a third of the time.

Behind the painting, done mostly in greens and blues, is a portrait of a woman rendered in browns and reds.

The new technique is based on "synchrotron radiation induced X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy" and is said to be an improvement on X-ray radiography, which has been used to reveal concealed layers of other famous paintings.

The new method measures chemicals in the pigments. Specifically, mercury and the element antimony were useful in revealing the woman's face.

The work was done by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the the Netherlands and the University of Antwerp in Belgium, along with help from other institutions.

"Patch of Grass" was painted by van Gogh in Paris in 1887 and is owned by the Kröller-Müller Museum in the rural eastern Netherlands.

The reconstruction enables art historians to understand the evolution of van Gogh’s work better, the researchers said in a statement. And the new technique is expected to pave the way for research into many other concealed paintings. I think this is just wonderful. Most Excellent in fact. However, I am slightly more excited by the superb oysters I had at Brasserie Beck last night.

van Gogh's "Patch of Grass" as it appears to the naked eye.

29 July 2008

Take Me In Your Arms.

mat&jewski's banquette

French furniture and accessories designers, mat&jewski, have created a fun and creative way to come home to the man of your dreams. Both their banquette, (pictured above), and their quilt or duvet cover, (pictured below), is printed with a life-like image of a very attractive man.

Their banquette named, "Don't sleep alone" has a metal painted white structure with a Bultex mattress seat. A canvas bag of white denim is printed with the image of a naked man laying on his stomach.

The quilt cover entitled, "Take me in your arms" is made of 100% cotton. It is pure white with an inkjet printed image of a barely clothed/naked man on both sides. You can choose to place him top up or top down.

A naked man who is flawlessly good looking, who doesn't talk back, sounds like a Most Excellent dream come true!

mat&jewski's double-sided quilt cover

28 July 2008


In terms of cars,
Maybach comes about as close to perfection as possible. The cars are Most Excellent and even more palatable if you have a driver, perhaps. I am not so sure I can see myself zipping around Washington, DC in a Maybach. However, for the select few, Maybach is the epitome of class, sophistication, elegance, impeccable craftsmanship and beauty. Just look at the photographs of these cars, they are absolutely exquisite. Maybach is owned by Mercedes-Benz.


Maybach – music to the ears of the car lover. The name is associated with the most beautiful and distinguished vehicles ever to grace the road. During the twenties and thirties they could be admired on the boulevards of New York, Monte Carlo and Berlin. The beginning of the forties brought the classic Maybach era to an end. Even long after production of these legendary vehicles ended, they remained very much alive in the heads and hearts of engineers, designers and automotive enthusiasts.

The Maybach has returned for the 21st century. Like its esteemed predecessors, the current version once again sets new standards with its technology, design and individuality. And like an instrument that is brought to life by the player, this car resonates with its owner’s sense of style.

More than 100 years ago, Wilhelm Maybach built a car that pointed the way to the modern era. His Opus No.1 went down in history as the first Mercedes, and he is still remembered as the “king of the design engineers.”

Privilege. Ambition. Desire.

At Brideshead everything comes at a price.

ot since seeing the Academy Award nominated film, "Atonement", have I been so visually impressed with the overall production design of a film as I am with the new adaptation of the film "Brideshead Revisited", which opened in select theatres this past weekend.

A provocative and suspenseful drama, "Brideshead Revisited" tells an evocative story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in the pre WWII era. In the film, Charles Ryder, (Matthew Goode), becomes entranced with the noble Marchmain family, first through the charming and provacative Sebastian Flyte, (Ben Whishaw), and then his sophisticated sister Julia, (Hayley Atwell). The rise and fall of Charles' infatuations reflect the decline of a decadent era in England between the wars. Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson co-stars as Lady Marchmain.

The film, based on Evelyn Waugh's acclaimed novel, is pitch perfect in terms of set decoration, the locations in England and Italy chosen for filming as well as the impeccable costumes. Beautiful and definitely entertaining "Brideshead Revisted" is Most Excellent and worth a look.

Emma Thompson

From left. Hayley Atwell, Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode

Matthew Goode

26 July 2008

The Public Pool, West End, Washington, DC.

The Francis Pool - Lounge Collection

No. This is not the Four Seasons Punta Mita and the lounges featured, above and below, are not expertly made by Barlow Tyrie. This is the Francis Public Pool, (a.k.a. The Connie Francis Pool), in lovely West End, Washington, DC. This hot spot is nestled between a grouping of private office buildings, chain hotels and the Rock Creek Parkway. It draws quite a crowd on the weekends and even comes with free lounges and admittance if you are a resident of the District of Columbia. (A fee of $7.00 per person is charged to non- DC residents).

I think it is absolutely necessary to assert that life is not all about the Four Seasons at over $400.00 per night and it is not always mandatory to chill back in a hand-made teak lounge from the UK. Sometimes it is about pleasure - simple pleasure - found right in ones own backyard.

While a tropical beach will always have a more delicious ring than a concrete poured city pool playground, today, we decided to spend several hours amongst the DC natives. Beautiful people, most in their late twenties to early forties relaxed and enjoyed the summer sun. The atmosphere was laid back, unfussy and definitely not stuffy. The water was crisp, clean and clear and I can more than sufficiently say that I had a Most Excellent time. Pleasure comes in all shapes and sizes; at price points low, high and even free!

The Francis Pool overlooking Rock Creek Park

25 July 2008

Barlow Tyrie. The Horizon Lounge.

Yesterday I conveniently received the latest catalogue from fine outdoor furnishings manufacturer Barlow Tyrie. The Horizon lounge from Barlow, (pictured above), complete with the optional parasol shade is the perfect accompaniment to my time passed out at the pool or beach at Four Seasons Punta Mita. Or, maybe one of these Most Excellent creations along with their matching stackable chairs would look smashing in your own backyard.

Frederick Barlow and Victor Tyrie began their company in London, England in 1920. Some of their more traditional designs have remained virtually unchanged since that time. Barlow Tyrie furniture is made from a selection of the finest materials; first grade teak, virgin aluminum, marine quality stainless steel and hardware. Their products are internationally known and recognized. From the most discerning residential installations to prestigious and institutional applications.

The Horizon Lounge is graceful, sophisticated with clean, simple lines and a very fun and functional personal parasol shade to block out those UV rays... I'm off to find a bathing suit...

The Horizon Lounge. Sleek, simple and very sophisticated.

The Horizon Lounge with optional parasol attachment, (at left).

Pick a color.

24 July 2008

The Four Seasons, Punta Mita, México.

It is vacation time! While it is currently a bit steamy in México, I think I would have no problem coping at The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. The resort, which is twenty-six miles from Puerto Vallarta provides an unrivalled luxury Mexican vacation experience.

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita offers 173 guest rooms, including 30 suites, in tile-roofed Mexican-style casitas set along the Pacific Coast. Most guest rooms and suites enjoy outstanding views of the white sand beaches, clear blue waters and beautiful mountains surrounding this exclusive resort. Most suites comes complete with a private plunge pool overlooking the ocean. Room rates begin at $405.00 per night and go to $3,115.00 per night for a private residence.

Four pools with a lazy river, four restaurants, a full-service spa, one lounge, two pool bars, tennis, golf, sea fishing, scuba diving, seasonal whale-watching are among the many pleasures to be found at this Most Excellent resort. At Punta Mita, you will find the best diving and snorkelling along the Banderas Bay coastline, and winds and ocean currents at the northern tip of Bahía de Banderas produce a challenging environment for sailing.

Four Seasons Punta Mita Lobby

One of four pools with a lazy river.

The Spa at Punta Mita

One of Punta Mita's four restaurants

Interior design of a Four Seasons Suite

Most of the thirty suites have its own plunge pool overlooking the Pacific

Another suite at Punta Mita