restoring architectural history in exton, pa

These are the things that make me so happy to see!

And yes, these farmhouses are indeed part of the architectural history of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Homeowner photo – see more at

christmas ūüéĄ serendipity

Tonight we went to Malvern’s Victorian Christmas. I have sponsored a lamp post Christmas tree the past couple of years and we couldn’t go last year. Sadly I did not find my tree but serendipity was the word of the evening. We did a little shopping, had dinner….and strolled.

While we were strolling I noticed the sign photographed above. I had seen it fly by on Facebook- it is the new gallery next to Gallery 222 on King Street (which was also so much fun this evening as a matter of fact!)

Painted Fine Art & Gallery Coming Soon the sign said. The gallery exterior was warm and festive. So I had to check it out, and I am so glad I did, as this is definitely Malvern’s next treasure! (you heard it here firstūüėä)

Inside the studio greeting people was the gallery owner and artist, Sharon Henderson McHugh.

I have an affinity for artists to be sure, but Sharon is someone you would just like if you met her somewhere else. Warm and welcoming, and her art is amazing I think. She has a tremendous sense of color, texture, and light. Her subjects also come to life on the canvases – each has a vibrancy.

Her middle room were portraits and portraits of nudes. Nudes can be extraordinary if they are painted by the right artist. Sharon is in the photo above, and I photographed her next to the nude that is my favorite. I also love the garden scene which is the last photo in this post.

I am sorry I did not take more photos of her art. She also has some pencil drawings which are exquisite.

I look forward to the gallery’s opening and you will definitely want to check it out.

#ShopLocal and go to Malvern’s Victorian Christmas tomorrow! So much fun!

a small wyeth article

From MOMA’s website — Christina’s World (1948) by Andrew Wyeth. Hangs at MOMA NYC


Christina’s World was painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1948. ¬†She hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The museum lists their gallery label description from 2007 online:

The woman crawling through the tawny grass was the artist’s neighbor in Maine, who, crippled by polio, “was limited physically but by no means spiritually.” Wyeth further explained, “The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless.” He recorded the arid landscape, rural house, and shacks with great detail, painting minute blades of grass, individual strands of hair, and nuances of light and shadow. In this style of painting, known as magic realism, everyday scenes are imbued with poetic mystery.

This painting is quite beautiful, and among the most recognizable of Wyeth’s work. In May 2016, the U.K.’s Daily Mail wrote an article about the painting and painting subject:

Mystery of disease behind one of the world’s most famous paintings is solved: Crawling woman in ‘Christina’s World’ has rare nerve condition, expert claims

By Madlen Davies for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 09:00 EDT, 6 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:22 EDT, 6 May 2016

On a bright day, in a field of long, yellow grass, a young woman is lying on the ground.

Staring longingly at a farmhouse in the distance, her legs are bent at an odd angle underneath her and she appears disabled.

This is Andrew Wyeth’s 1948 painting Christina’s World – one of the most famous American works of the 20th century – which has captivated critics for decades.

After years of discussion about which affliction the woman is suffering, neurologists believe they have finally diagnosed her mysterious illness.

Now, Professor Marc Patterson, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, believes he has pinpointed the diseases that afflicted her.

He said Christina is likely to have suffered from an early-onset form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves and can lead to significant problems with movement.


Ok I guess to medical detectives, this is a mystery worth solving. ¬†The information is interesting, but it doesn’t affect how I feel about the painting one way of the other.

A few weeks ago now, another article appeared in a publication called Artsy.  

This latest article is an editorial, so it’s steeped in personal opinions of the author whose name is, Zachary Small.

When I first read it, I wasn’t sure how to take it, because my opinion was somewhat visceral. ¬†I was offended for the artist and offended as someone who appreciates the work of Wyeth.


Because a first read, and then a second read left me with the opinion of someone who is an art writer/critic trying to make his bones over one of our most beloved Pennsylvania artists. Is it because Wyeth is a Pennsylvania artist and therefore not worthy of the many decades of accolades?

Or is the author merely an angry man with an ax to grind at Andrew Wyeth‘s expense?

Who is he to impugn Wyeth’s character and ethics? ¬†I am sorry, I just struggle how he can speak so truly ill of the dead?

In his article, Mr. Small didn’t even feature the actual painting of the artist, he used a photo by a photographer named Alex Thompson who paid homage to the famous painting in 2005.

The Controversial Story behind Andrew Wyeth’s Most Famous Painting

AUG 31ST, 2017 5:08 PM


Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World (1948) is a modern masterpiece. Or is it totally trite?

…..Why is it that¬†Christina‚Äôs World¬†evokes such strong feelings of nostalgia and disdain? Admittedly, the painting is somewhat kitschy. It presumes the viewer has a connection with the American pastoral…Unfortunately, a closer look at the historical and ethical contexts of¬†Christina‚Äôs World¬†betrays the painting‚Äôs initial delights. Wyeth was an idiosyncratic artist whose seven decades of work focus mainly on two families in two locations: the Kuerners in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and the Olsons in South Cushing, Maine.

He used his wife as a model for the figure’s head and torso.

The subtext of this switcheroo is malignant. Did Wyeth replace parts of Olson with Betsy for beauty’s sake? And can we assume the artist never asked Olson for consent to paint her disability? Is that okay?

Today, I would argue that Wyeth skirted his self-professed goal for¬†Christina‚Äôs World¬†by compromising the striking realism of his painting in favor of a younger model…..but it‚Äôs difficult to understand an artist whose grasp on a rapidly changing world was so willfully small, and whose ethics so hazy.


Again, I just do not understand the purpose of this editorial. ¬†It’s the author’s opinion, of course, but why? Why does he feel the need to write this?

Zachary Small from his LinkedIn page appears to be fairly young…with a lot of life to live yet. I went searching for information on him to see if he was himself a handicapped person — to me that would ¬†make me be able to better understand his tone in his editorial.

Sadly, I quite simply do not.  Maybe us simple country folk here in Pennsylvania are beyond comprehension for an urban city dweller such as Mr. Small.

But I think it would behoove him to come check out where Wyeth called home more comprehensively…and take his time going through the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

I would wonder what he would have  to say about one of my favorite Andrew Wyeth paintings, Indian Summer? Would he say that the subject was fat? Or had an imperfect human form? That the painting was pornographic? To me, it is the very simplicity in the beauty of that painting that makes it so magical.

I am but a blogger, mere mortal, and middle aged female. ¬†I am sure Mr. Small would not appreciate my opinion…however, turnabout is fair play and I don’t appreciate his piece on Andrew Wyeth.

I will close with some comments from my readers in the blog’s Facebook page that they wrote when I posted a link to this article:

I think it’s way over the top to fault Wyeth for becoming a a wealthy artist. Isn’t success a worthy goal in any profession? Then to continue the criticism by saying he profited from the struggles of a disabled person is beyond ridiculous. He apparently offered some kind of compensation but was rebuffed. Can you say that da Vinci profited from the mysterious smile of Mona Lisa?



I presume Christina was okay with Andy making her longing and other emotions the subject of the painting instead of her physical deformities (although you can still tell they’re there). A painting is an artist’s interpretation, it’s not a photograph. This article is trying to stir up controversy where none exists.


It sounds like the author has an agenda he is pushing. Would Christina actually want to be a model for hours? I doubt it. Those who I know who suffer from CMT don’t have a deformity per se, it’s more that through the disease that there is foot drop and¬†other problems that develop because of inability of the muscles and nerves to work together. If Christina or her family had a problem with Wyeth “painting her disability” they never said anything. Far from it they seemed to enjoy the painting.

small art

Small art is anything but. They are a little jewel boxes of works of art that you can tuck into small corners in your home. You can even tuck them into bookcases.

My friend Sherry Tillman, who is an artist and owns a store in Ardmore, PA called Past*Present*Future used to have an artist show hang in her store occasionally during First Friday Main Line events called a "Square Deal".

This "Square Deal" was a show that always intrigued me – it was a show of literally small art as in inches big that was affordable to everyone, and helped spread the principle of art in unexpected places and didn't intimidate people. Because that is the thing about art – it shouldn't intimidate people but it often does.

A lot of people when it comes to the art in their homes are hung up with names and value. To me it is more important to have something hanging that you love to look at, versus an actual monetary value.

Nothing is worth anything if it does not bring you pleasure when it comes to art. And beautiful art can be sourced from all sorts of places and doesn't have to cost a lot.

For example, one of my favorite pieces in my home has no real value and I found it quite literally on a trash pile before a home in Haverford, PA was demolished years ago near the Haverford School. It had meant something to the occupants of the home at one time, but it wasn't anything that would ever have resale value so after the property was sold the house with everything that was left inside of it was demolished. This one piece was left propped up with bags and bags and boxes of trash and I happened to see it walking my dogs. So I took it off the trash pile, and had it reframed.

Again, nothing valuable, I just like it.

And that is how I have chosen my art. Do I like it when I see it? Does it evoke emotion in me? Do I think it's pretty?

I have never forgotten those "Square Deal" art shows. They have made me mindful of the beauty of small pieces, so when I see ones that I love I don't pass them by.

Recently I found three very small pieces. Not expensive, in fact so inexpensive you might term them "cheap" yet there's nothing "cheap" about them.

These pieces are Chester County scenes and they are literally inches big. None of them are signed that I can determine, but I think they're beautiful.

I just tucked them into little spots around my house. And there they will hang, bringing me pleasure.

I have written before about how you can find art all over the place. You can find artists hanging art at local fairs and festivals. You can find art at garage and yard sales and even estate sales. You can pick art out of barns, and find it in thrift shops and consignment stores. The piece just above this paragraph is a little winter scene oil painting. I paid six dollars for it. It is about 3" x 5". Tiny and I love it.

You can also find reasonably priced art of lesser known artists at local galleries. It doesn't have to be expensive – the most basic of rules (again) is you just have to like it.

The only person you need to impress with your art choices is yourself. Art is a very personal thing – just ask any artist who creates. And don't forget as we grow as human beings, often or tastes will change or evolve. So you don't have to be wed to pieces. You can swap things out.

Twenty years ago I would've looked at people like they were crazy if someone mentioned to me how cool small art was. Today, I totally get it and appreciate it.

Experiment with small art. And always remember you can source local art probably more inexpensively wherever you live then the fake art canvases you will find at stores like Home Goods or TJ Maxx.

When you find yourself a piece of local art it ties you to where you are from no matter where you move in the course of your life. Small art is portable. And to me the other thing that is important to me is someone actually took the time to create it, it just wasn't an image transferred in a factory onto a canvas.

One of the great things about living in Chester County is the fact that there is a thriving arts scene. You can find beautiful quality pieces hanging in local galleries and shops, festivals, fairs, and so on. And one of the things I love is the abundance of small pieces out there that you can buy to experiment with.

Small art. It's a good thing 😊

Thanks for stopping by.