Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Taking Tea on the Train

It seems like the endless summer. September 8th and the heat keeps steaming on and on. From my art studio window in Midtown I see the city simmer below. The girls went back to their New York City public schools today - for just one day, then another four days off. The summer that wouldn't quit.

  Cup of the Day #32
Midtown Cup, Verso
Colored ink on white cup, 2010

I am remembering another summer, endless but in a good way. 1965. I was six. My dad was a university professor and my mother a painter. They took me and my sister on an ocean liner to Europe - the SS Rotterdam - and from June to September we did the Grand Tour: France, Italy, German, Holland, England and Ireland rolled along in succession. I still remember the churches and monuments, public parks and promenades, meals in outdoor restaurants, pigeons and cats in Venice and delightful train rides that sometimes, thrillingly, included a stop in the dining car. My mother documented it all in drawings and watercolors that have stayed in the family and which my sister organized into an exhibition last year.

Among my favorite paintings is Tea on the Train - the cool English countryside flashing by outside, the Brown Betty teapot sitting on the dining car table, my mother pouring out as my sister and I watch in happy anticipation. The height of civility. I also love the charm of Strawberry Afternoon Tea at Windsor, captured in a few deft strokes of a brush. Afternoon tea still makes me think of cool English summer, and it was a pleasure to be reminded all over again by my English friend Katherine whose cooking blog If you Can Make That You Can Make This is looking at afternoon tea recipes all this week.

Strawberry Cream Tea at Windsor
Water color and ink
Louise Leech, 1965

 Afternoon Tea on the Train
Watercolor and Ink
Louise Leech, 1965


  1. I love Strawberry cream tea so much. It's such an evocative picture.

  2. I have fond memories of the hundreds of gallons that your mother made for me over the years...

    XO, EGR

  3. Very nice, especially the latter view!