Wednesday, October 31, 2018

No Longer Haunted

Given the season, I thought you might like to see an amazing transformation. In 2016, I reviewed a  novel titled, Ghost Hampton and mentioned a house in Sag Harbor that looked haunted. That house, at 6 Union Street, was the Morpurgo House.
2006 Photo Gordon M. Grant for the NY Times via
The feuding Morpurgo sisters fought over their Sag Harbor house, an inheritance, for years. While they fought, the house fell into extreme disrepair. Annselm Morpurgo, pictured above, was quoted in a 2006 NY Times article, "Ms. Morpurgo said she thought the house, an Italianate three-story, could be older and more valuable than the sisters first believed. Last year, the sisters said the house was built in 1812 for a whaler named Captain Vail. Now, Annselm Morpurgo says she thinks the house may have been built even earlier' she says she has found indications that it may have been the home of Lt. Col. John Hulbert, a militia leader in the Revolutionary War." After numerous auctions, two of which received no bids, the property was finally sold to an investor that deemed it worthy of a full restoration and renewal. If Ms. Morpurgo is still following the home's story, I believe she would be saying, "I told you so!"
Before (August 2016)
After (October 2018)
What a transformation!
Take a tour of the inside here
There is now a plaque on the front of the house which reads, 
"Capt. John Hulbert House
Circa 1760
Designer of the first 
American Flag prototype
Revolutionary War Veteran
Time to start calling this beautiful home by its true name.
Hulbert Flag via

Sisters Feud And A Mansion Crumbles - NY Times
After A Long, Troubled History, Morpurgo House in Sag Harbor Has an Uncertain Future - 27East
Morpurgo House Much Older Than Originally Believed - Sag Harbor Express
An Eyesore Is Revived - East Hampton Star
Some Say John Hulbert of Bridgehampton Made the First American Flag - Dan't Papers

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marsh Mallow

Work in Progress by Hugh Gallagher
oil on canvas 24" x 48"

Hugh is working on a large studio painting of Munn Point.
We were last en plein air painting at Munn Point in 2016. Hugh knew immediately that the plein air work that day was going to be the study for something larger. We haven't been back to Munn Point to paint, but Hugh visits our painting location often; observing light, color, wildlife and seasonal changes. Born in the Bronx, he doesn't have a history of knowing plant life. I'm more the country girl, at the ready with plant names on demand.  He really caught me by surprise, though, with a recent obsession with Mallow flowers, i.e. Marsh Mallow. In August the marsh Mallow is in full bloom in the Hamptons. Hugh wanted to include them in his Munn Point painting.
In the midst of conversation about the day's events,  Hugh comes out with, "You know, the Mallow flower is where marshmallows come from? " He then proceeded to tell me that using Mallow in desserts goes back 2000 years to the ancient Egyptians.
"The Ancient Egyptians were the first ones to make a sweet treat from the plant, when they combined marshmallow sap with nuts and honey. The dish bore no resemblance to today’s marshmallows, and was reserved for the nobility. The gods were supposedly big fans, as well.

For centuries afterwards, the plant served as a food source only in times of famine. In contrast to the marshmallow candy, the marshmallow plant is tough and very bitter. In 19th century France, confectioners married the plant’s medicinal side with the indulgent qualities revealed by the Egyptians. Pâté de guimauve was a spongy-soft dessert made from whipping dried marshmallow roots with sugar, water, and egg whites. Sold as a healthful treat in lozenge and bar form, the guimauve, as it was known, quickly became a hit. There was just one problem: Drying and preparing the marshmallow stretched production to a day or two. To cut down the time, confectioners substituted gelatin for the plant extract.

With production streamlined, marshmallows made their way to the U.S. in the late 1800s. Soon after arriving, the recipe was tweaked to make marshmallow crème (which, in keeping with the marshmallow's health food origins, was once advertised as a wrinkle cream). In 1927, the Girl Scouts Handbook came out with a recipe for "Some More." It instructed readers to "toast two marshmallows over the coals to a crisp gooey state and then put them inside a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich." The name was soon shortened, and s'mores have been an American campfire tradition ever since." - via
Mallow was also used for medicinal purposes through the ages. Coincidentally, I just got over the worst strep-throat-cold-thing ever.  I guess I should have taken Hugh's obsession as a sign and supplemented modern medicine with a homeopathic remedy. 
"Leaves of the plant have been used traditionally to make poultices for skin inflammation and wounds, insect bites, burns, infections, and ulcers. A gummy substance (mucilage) found in both the leaves and roots, turns into a gel when mixed with water; it has been used to coat the throat to relieve irritation and dry cough and to treat asthma, bronchitis, stomach ulcers and inflammation, constipation, and urinary problems. "via
Hugh painting plein air at Munn Point
I did find a recipe for making marshmallows using actual Mallow root.
I won't be trying it.


Monday, October 1, 2018

becca midwood in the Hamptons

I first became aware of street artist, becca midwood in 2013. I discovered her Firecracker Girl while strolling around Main Street in Bridgehampton. It was only after the Cinema fire while skulking around the site, that I made the discovery that the Sag Harbor Cinema has two of becca’s works on its exterior auditorium walls. 
I emailed becca hoping to gain more information on the Cinema works. The photo that I sent her elicited a phone call. We spoke briefly. She was excited to see that her street art still survived. becca couldn’t recall exactly when she visited the Hamptons, except that it was “a few years ago.” She did mention that while visiting she and her friends put up four works. The Firecracker Girl in Bridgehampton, a Girl walking a Pig on a dumpster behind a Sotheby’s and two images at the Cinema. 
becca's works in the Hamptons are Xeroxes of her originals adhered to each site's surface, then tagged, "becca." An example of becca installing a Firecracker Girl at an office in Los Angeles is below. Various Instagram posts hint as to the type of adhesive (wheat paste?) used for this process. 
photo via
"becca is an American contemporary street artist whose images of children’s lost innocence first gained prominence on the LA streets in the mid-90’s. Posted late at night and in broad daylight on abandoned buildings and under cavernous bridges, her paintings were left untouched by gang members and stolen by fans. Born in Brooklyn NY, becca earned her BFA at VCU and her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute where she developed her style using found wood as a base for her authentic brushstrokes. Moving to LA, she went on to make her name in the previously male dominated world of graffiti art. Her work has been shown at galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, New York and featured in Art Basel Miami. She is collected by Norman Reedus, Balthazar & Aileen Getty, Leo DiCaprio, Mike Tyson and John Krazinski. becca’s paintings have evolved to include towering images of women, elf-sized Buddhas and wolves that appear to stare right through the viewer’s eyes. From the streets of downtown LA to the brick walls outside Beverly Hills boutiques to the Museum of Contemporary Art, becca’s iconic work, at once satirical and filled with pathos, makes her a force to watch. "via
An article in Net-A-Porter's Daily Truffle from June 6, 2010 describes becca's, Girl Walking a Pig as newly commissioned logo art. I would guess that her Hamptons works installed some time after that. I wonder if there is a Norsic dumpster somewhere emblazoned with this image.
The most visible becca work at the Cinema is on the walkway wall between the parking lot and Main Street. It is fairly small and in its current faded condition you could definitely miss noticing it.
The wall's surface is uneven and moldy. becca’s signature in green is barely visible at lower right. The added graffiti, “No bail for Ludwick” refers to Sean Ludwick, who serving jail time for the 2015 death of Paul Hansen.
The mysterious work on the back Cinema wall hints at a woman with an up doo, hand on hip carrying a handbag. The image is covered with a layer of white wash except for the signature.

Art is everywhere.

If anyone finds the dumpster with the woman walking a pig, let me know!

becca midwood website: