Going. This is in JFK in New York. Everyone is real polite and it’s great to be in the middle of such diversity. I am hearing Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and everything else.

The Signs and Wonders Painting

Painting by Fabienne Christenson
The above is a painting which I used for the Cambienne version “Signs and Wonders”. I was asked about the painting and thought I would tell you a bit about it.

This is the only “hard edge abstract” I have ever done. It was executed in my first year of art school and gathered quite a few nice comments. It is actually a portrait of a marriage, my marriage (which has lasted a good long time).

If you look carefully you will see the composition is divided into two mirror images, one is the wife and the other is the husband. Each one of the rectangles contains all the colors of the spectrum in the order that they appear in rainbows, but one has them going from red to violet, and the other has them ordered exactly the opposite. The unifying force is green which is the one color in the one position they both share and which runs through both of them connecting them solidly in the middle. The green goes through a variety of different shades and tints as it makes the circuit between the two entities, that could be a way of saying that love unites them (green being the color of love in this image, interesting because it is the contrasting color to red the traditional color of love). It runs through a chartreuse green, emerald, and “true” green. Each one of the entities has the greatest portion of their green circuit as a different shade of green.

Note that there are four smaller entities in each of the corners of the painting. Those might stand for 4 children, each of which is an immature version of either the male or female figure in the piece. It could also be 4 echoes of the figures themselves.

Trimmed on both sides in the middle are “rays” contrasting with the “figure” they are paired with, a sort of feminine side to the masculine and the masculine side to the feminine.

Even though I never did another abstract painting, I considered this one a success.

The painting is 24″ x 36″ and is acrylic on canvas. It was painted in 1993.

Elusive Essential Oils…

There are a host of great natural essential oils out there, and some which are just available now and never before but there are a couple of essential oils which you are not going to be seeing at your local EO store any time soon.

Now is the beginning of the time for peonies and that is one essential oil which just does not exist. I have asked a number of places and people and really, you can’t capture the scent of peonies as an EO no matter what you do. The fragrance just either escapes or turns into something so unlike what you are trying to capture that it’s hopeless…no one would buy it because it just isn’t peonies (or anything else either).

This is not what you would expect because the scent of peonies is rather strong, so you would think there would be no problem gathering it from the natural source but no, that is not the way it goes in nature.

Another flower which does not offer up its fragrance in an essential oil is the lily of the valley. They are very very strongly scented flowers and it doesn’t take too many blossoms to fragrance a room but for all that broadcasting, the lily of the valley will not yield its fragrance as a natural essential oil under any circumstances. Many people have tried and failed at preserving the fragrance.

There a people who swear they have actually gotten essential oils of peony or lily of the valley. They may have the real thing, too, but I have not smelled anything natural which is really the beautiful essence of those flowers. If it does truly exist, it might be so very expensive that no one can afford to put it in perfume, but I really think that the two blossoms are charmingly elusive.

So, if you are in your local natural store and you see essential oils of either one of these flowers, be skeptical. They are probably an “approximation by other means” and not the real, true essential oil of the peony or the lily of the valley.

When you do smell oils of these flowers they are either synthetic perfumes, or they might be blends of other essences which approximate the fragrance. I would bet it’s more likely the former. That isn’t to say that it’s bad, it just is what it is.

So, this is the time of year to enjoy the lily of the valley and peony for real while they are growing in your garden. So, search them out and revel in them. They don’t last forever and one of the great attractions of them is that you really can’t have them all the time and that is what makes them special.

The Scent of Ferns

Fern was a very common sort of scent at the turn of the last century. It was called “fougere” which is the French word for fern, and was in the menu of offerings of just about every reputable perfumer.

Fougere was an attempt to mimic the scent of the “scented fern” and consisted of a recipe containing bergamot and oakmoss. Other ingredients were proprietary to individual makers and would range from the very sweet to the very dry.

If you have never encountered a fougere, please avail yourself of the opportunity. One of the most famous and most beautiful fougeres is the scent of Gillette Foamy shaving cream! It is a real classic and I used to adore it when I smelled it on my dad. Another place to find a great classic fougere is the Roger and Gallet soap of the same name. It is just gorgeous and I think you will fall in love with the box as well as with the daintily wrapped soaps.

Fougere is a cousin to chypre, both are somewhat dry and share oakmoss as one of the ingredients. Of course fougere is more of a green type of a scent and is considered a masculine smell and has been a basis for many a successful man’s fragrance since about the mid 18th century in Europe. It is also considered a Western European classic and characteristic classification of fragrance, along with chypre. It was very much a part of French perfumery as well as Italian.

Three New Poppets at Possets

The Room of MelancholiaThere are 3 new sample sizes which are available at Possets Perfume now. Three favorites from the Valentine Collection have been added to the offerings. Capezzoli Di Venere (chocolate deluxe), Room of Melancholia (a solemn musk), and The Girls Love Leather (honey and leather) were all voted as keepers in the 2011 Valentine ballot at Possets. The Poppets lady just gave them to me and I am really thrilled with the way they turned out. Now you can choose them from the list of samples at Possets.

Dark Matter & A New Cambienne

Ferns at PossetsDark Matter is changing again. The saga of Stewart and Isabella continues as they thread their way through the eye of the needle of respectability. They eloped but were not married and in Victorian America that is a social felony. They have not been discovered and are heading for the altar and true marriage now BUT they are not there yet. Could there be further adventures afoot for our two lovebirds? I think so. Also, Cambienne has changed again and become a gorgeous watery but green fern fragrance which enchanted me and I hope it will enchant you as well. Frilled round with a light and green vanilla, Cambienne is a gorgeous way to celebrate May and all its wonders.