Drawing the story – the art of Wendy McNaughton

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Wendy McNaughton's TO DO tells a story

How did Wendy McNaughton draw my story?

Artist and illustrator Wendy McNaughton knows a bit about everyone. Just watch her describe her art as she tells her own story in this PBS NewsHour’s ‘Brief But Spectacular’ video.  A good deal of my personal art collection adorns the walls of Stonehurst Place; I collect contemporary art work partially because I am interested in its deconstructive aspect.  Wendy McNaughton, whose art and illustrations are a breath of fresh air to me, holds pride of place beside my desk in the Master Suite of Stonehurst Place.  There I hung her print, TO DO, so that I can see it and be reminded 1) Get To Work and 2) Laugh at Yourself Whenever Possible. McNaughton takes witty artistic concepts and then makes small venn diagrams, flow charts or readable sketches of rational ideas. Her art puts large ideas into context, and portrays irrational thoughts and emotions in a rational manner. I find her art evocative because she manages to both make anxiety, imposter syndrome and confusion a rational and quantifiable idea, while at the same time making light of these traits that make all of us human.

Wendy McNaughton's TO DO tells a story

When I saw TO DO I was struck .. then I laughed and laughed.  She drew my life story, and we’d never even met!  I suspect many readers who look closely at the venn diagram of my story that she’s documented will find their own story in it, too.  I am a big over-thinker, so much so that it can paralyze me.  I’ve recently experienced this designing the new Carriage House at Stonehurst Place.  I need to examine every possible option, and even then if I haven’t found the right design I think tomorrow, or maybe next week, it will come to me.  I am like a terrier on my own pants leg, not understanding the word ‘no’ but just determined not to let go until I get it right.  McNaughton’s venn diagram dives deeper and deeper into my story, drilling down through things I think about doing, things I want to do, things I plan to do, the things I avoid and procrastinate, until she gets to the small segment of All The Things I Actually Do.  She has illustrated me.

As an aside, I will be part of my alma mater Oglethorpe University‘s Alumni Weekend this April 16th by spinning a tale from my college years in a storytelling seminar.  Facilitated by the Southern Order of Storytellers, current students and a few alums like me have been selected to share our OU story with the audience, who will then enjoy learning from the professional Storytellers how to share their personal stories in the interactive seminar.  I’m looking forward to this experience, I’ve got a doozy to tell!

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place

 

 

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“Fantastic Experience”

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I had a fantastic experience! From the assistance in getting there (I was lost…) to the warm welcome and fantastic breakfast(!), it was a great experience. The Innkeepers were welcoming and helpful, the inn beautiful and the atmosphere relaxing after a long work week. Thank you Lori and Paul for the hospitality, it is appreciate and has been shared with friends and family…

Posted on Google Reviews by Scott Signorini on March 8, 2016

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“Loved Staying at Stonehurst Place”

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I absolutely loved staying at Stonehurst Place! I was looking for reasonably priced accommodations close to major thoroughfares, restaurants, and shopping, while my mom and I looked for my bridal gown. Stonehurst met and exceeded all my expectations. It is beautifully appointed with a fantastic mix of historic charm and modern upgrades. Everyone, including the other guests, were so pleasant and sociable that my mom and I found ourselves comfortable just lounging around rather than leaving to explore the city during rush hour. Wifi and parking are all included in the cost of stay, not to mention an out of this world breakfast. I literally have never had such an amazing peach cobbler, and for a person such as myself that has a major sweet tooth, that in and of itself is enough to bring me back to Stonehurst. I can’t wait to come back with my future husband!

Posted on Google Reviews by Tiffany P. on March 1, 2016

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“Most Memorable Stay”

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I can’t say enough good things about this place. They went the extra mile to make our stay the most memorable ever. They assisted with planning and preparation to make our Valentines Day weekend extra special. . The rooms were beautiful and the food very tasty. We don’t live far away, actually walking distance yet we felt like we had totally escaped from the daily life in Atlanta. Location of Stonehurst is ideal for lots of activities in Midtown Atlanta. Great restaurants, Piedmont Park, and nightlife all within walking distance. But once you go inside you might not want to leave. We definitely will be back again.

Posted on Google Reviews by Mike McCrary on March 1, 2016

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“There is no better B&B around”

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It is hard to put into words what a fantastic B&B Stonehurst is. The home is magnificent. Upon arriving you will notice the beautiful grounds as well as the spacious front porch with comfy seating available. Lori and Paul are so kind and outgoing, they make you feel right at home. Talk about being spoiled, there are always treats in the dining room, two separate cabinets filled with snacks and cold or hot drinks. I can’t even describe how delicious the breakfast was. Lori is truly talented. I fear Stonehurst has ruined us as no B&B has come close to being as inviting and enjoyable. We cannot wait to return.

Posted on TripAdvisor by Alcedines, Portland, Oregon on March 1, 2016

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“We definitely will be back again. Great Escape!!”

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I can’t say enough good things about this place. They went the extra mile to make our stay the most memorable ever. They assisted with planning and preparation to make our Valentines Day weekend extra special. . The rooms were beautiful and the food very tasty. We don’t live far away, actually walking distance yet we felt like we had totally escaped from the daily life in Atlanta. Location of Stonehurst is ideal for lots of activities in Midtown Atlanta. Great restaurants, Piedmont Park, and nightlife all within walking distance. But once you go inside you might not want to leave. We definitely will be back again.

Posted on TripAdvisor by mccrary4040, Atlanta, Georgia on March 1, 2016

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travel ideas – Schloss Bensberg

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Germany’s Schloss Bensberg – an indulgent weekend 

This month’s travel recommendation is located in Germany, where I live part of the year.  My partner’s traditional birthday present to me is usually a trip to somewhere beautiful, inspiring or exotic. This year, we went to Schloss Bensberg for some much needed relaxation.  Schloss is the German word for palace, and Bensberg is a small town just outside of Cologne. The palace, a former hunting lodge for the Count Palatine of the Rhine, was converted into a 5 star luxury hotel in the 1990s. The palace is a stunning relic of royal Europe; it was commissioned in the 1700s by Johann Wilhelm, then current Count Palatine, for his wife Anna Maria. Due to his wife’s taste for grandeur, Johann Wilhelm used Versailles and Winchester Castle as architectural models for the schloss. He used the site’s elevated scenery and views onto the Rhine Valley and river to entice his wife. The hotel is situated such that it allows for a breathtaking view of the cathedral city of Cologne without being in the city proper.

Schloss Bensberg

Romantic gardens at Schloss Bensberg

The Decline

Johann Wilhelm died before the Schloss was completed, however; instead of finishing the project herself, Anna Maria left Germany, grief stricken, and returned to Italy, her land of origin. When she left, she took the numerous artists, plasterers and painters who were originally commissioned to work on Schloss Bensberg with her. As a result the building remained unfinished. Over the centuries, the building was used as a military hospital, cadet school, boarding school and refugee centre.

The Transformation

In the 1990s, however, the building was purchased and renovated at a cost of 75 million euros and nearly a decade of work, transforming it into a luxury hotel. My partner chose this hotel for me because, like Stonehurst, it combines my love of old buildings which have been repurposed and made new.

The Schloss has a 10,000 sq ft beauty and spa centre, which I can say was total pamperology. A claim to fame of the hotel is the Michelin-star cuisine of Joachim Wissler in their Restaurant Vendôme, the tenth best restaurant in the world.  After a few dinners there, I can understand why!

Sublime. Indulgent. Just like Stonehurst Place (ok, a little bigger) 🙂

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place

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“Wonderful B&B in Midtown”

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Great B&B with lots of character. Friendly and welcoming staff. Great breakfast.

Posted on Hotels.com by Andrew, US on February 24, 2016

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