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The happiness lecture and a great studio!


Adirondack fence created by Washington, D.C. -area artist Ruth Ward, at her country home and studio.

Last week I told you about Minna’s graduation, but before we headed there, we spent a few days visiting friends Paul and Stefanie Taylor in the Adirondacks in a community that is now producing its fifth generation of members!

Paul gave what I will call The Happiness Lecture on Friday night–part of a long-held tradition to mix some intellectual pursuits with a summer of tennis, golf, and lazing about by the lake. He presented some Pew Research Center polling data, including that Republicans tend to be happier than Democrats. His audience are mostly the progeny of the community founders who were New York City school teachers, many of them Communists and fellow travellers. Needless to say, their descendants–a passel of Democrats–were incensed at the possibility that Republicans polled as happier!

Paul’s happiness lecture also included another hot-button statistic–that although most people think women have more strong leadership traits than men, they still prefer men as their leaders. This too irritated the audience, but not nearly as much as the happiness factor.

Sculptures by Ruth Ward, in her studio.
Sculptures by Ruth Ward, in her studio.

Another highlight was a visit with Stefanie to D.C.-area artist Ruth Ward‘s summer house and studio. They were preparing for a weekend-long open studio tour (Stefanie makes unusual jewelry). Ward’s studio is in a spectacular barn, and Ruth herself is charming.

Ruth and Stefanie in Ruth’s studio

A fence painted by Ruth. If you tried this in the city or the suburbs, the taste police would give you what for. But out here in the country, it looks just great!!!

I love how Ruth painted the doors on this shed! The colors looked even better in person. Ruth’s art work reflects her love affair with color!

I was smitten by the fences, created or transformed by Ruth. And I was smitten by a non-standard painting approach to a couple of doorways on an outbuilding.

Here are a few more pictures from Ruth’s place and some of her art work:

The studio is in a barn that the artist preserved and rehabbed.

Here’s another view of the barn, and the hayloft.


Murray and I also took a great day trip to MASS MoCA and Saratoga Springs, but I’ll tell you about that in another post.