The Thinking Woman's Almanac 
In this issue

From Annie Shaver-Crandell's Studio 
October 2015



I was an art historian long and lovingly before I underwent conversion to artistic studio practice. In my first semester at Oberlin College. I was introduced, through a dazzling presentation by Professor Charles Parkhurst on the church of Sainte-Foy at Conques, to the Pilgrimage Roads of France and Spain. the routes followed, from the 9th century on, and still followed, by pilgrims to the tomb of Saint James the Greater at Santiago de Compostela at the northwestern tip of Spain.

Later, the subjects of both my MA thesis (The Porte Miegeville at Saint-Sernin in Toulouse, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1966) and doctoral dissertation (The North Portal of the Cathedral of Cahors, Columbia University, 1974) were of the 12th-century Romanesque sculptural ensembles.  Both Toulouse and Cahors are pilgrim stops, though on different routes.

One day in 1974, when I was teaching medieval art history at The City College of New York, I went to Butler Library at Columbia in search of what I thought was an English translation of the 12th-century pilgrim's guide that we had all read as graduate students when we studied the architecture of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, described in great detail in that text. The guide also describes the routes followed, and still followed, by pilgrims to the tomb of Saint James the Greater at Santiago de Compostela, as well as where to watch out for the behavior of the natives and where the water might make one sick.

There was no English translation.  I finally realized that what we had all read as graduate students was Kenneth John Conant's English translation of the description of the cathedral, but that the rest of the guide we knew only in French, in Jeanne Vielliard's translation of the whole Guide. This I borrowed, translated some of the naughty bits into English, and read them to my own students the next day.

Then I discovered that, unbeknownst to me, friends had begun their own English translation.  After a tense 24 hours, we joined forces, collaboration being the only sensible thing to do. Thus began a 20-year project, completed ultimately with Paula Gerson, M. Alison Stones, and Jeanne Krochalis, published eventually by Elly and Harvey Miller of London.  The first element of this multi-volume publication, the one with which I was most involved, is The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela: A Gazetteer (London: Harvey Miller, 1995; 421 pp; illustrations; maps; plans elevations, notes; glossary).

In the course of getting this book done, we traveled extensively, photographed medieval monuments, huffed dust in archives and libraries, drank wine, ate new foods, made new friends, wrote at length (fortunately, home computers came to us just in time), read proofs, improved our skills in languages living and dead, and developed a feel for travel at a completely different level from beforehand.

For a long time I despaired of seeing the book complete, and used to visualize it in a bookstore window.  When the day came at last, I was very pleased indeed.

Book in Window
Though my professional goals are different now, I keep these photos on the wall of my painting studio as reminders of the possibilities of completing one's undertakings.

Subsequently, in 1995 and 1996, with the late Keith Crandell, I had the opportunity to serve as co-warden of the Refugio Gaucelmo, a pilgrim hostel in the Bierzo region of northern Spain. There we maintained a basic household -- beds, basic breakfasts, hot showers, conversation -- for whoever walked through the door on the way to or from Santiago de Compostela.  It was a unique opportunity to observe the pilgrimage from the side of the road, as it were.  My very idiosyncratic Spanish vocabulary, which was previously fairly full of art historical terms, was joined by fluency in first aid and housekeeping. And there were days on which I might speak four languages in the course of my duties.

One of our first pilgrims, Father Klaus, a German priest supervising a group of conscientious objectors on pilgrimage, set the tone for us that was useful throughout our time in Rabanal.  "Some people," he said, "go on pilgrimage for religious reasons. Others go for the exercise, for sport. Others because their friends are going.  It doesn't matter what the motivation is, because everyone is changed by the pilgrimage."

It is now more than half a century since I first heard about this international movement, and two decades since the book came out and we served as hostel keepers, yet my head still swivels whenever I come across a mention of the Compostela pilgrimage, which I consider mine.

The Pilgrim's Guide, Book Cover

PART TWO: THE ARGENTINE TANGO will appear in the next newsletter


Sometimes it's interesting to share aspects of my painting process. Here is a sequence of the stages of an 18" x 24" acrylic portrait of the Bidwell House, built by the Rev. Adonijah Bidwell (1716-1784) in what is now Monterey, Massachusetts. My most recent visit was in August, so the garden reflects what was in bloom in that season.  For further information about this historic house museum, see

Bidwell House, 2015

Stages of the Bidwell House Painting

Bidwell House 2
Bidwell House 3


Bidwelll House 4
Bidwell House 5

Bidwell House 6


Fearless Watercolor Classes are Now Open for Fall Registration

Monday            2:30pm - 5:30pm
Wednesday       3:00pm  - 6:00pm
Thursday          10:00am - 1:00pm

$35 per group classes
Please call me at 212-464-7519 with any questions you may have and to enroll in a session.


Space is currently available in small group painting classes offered at the Bond Street studio. Call or email me for details about these and private lessons.  
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Venetian Reflection 1/1, 
7" x 5", Monotype

Five Roses in a Vase placed in front of another painting of mine, 
Gravel Path and Allee of Roses; the overview with paints and tools, and the finished painting, Five Roses, Blue Vase. 

Bouquet of Roses in A Blue Vase
Set up in studio.

Five Roses in a Blue Vase

Good Friends, acrylic, 9 x 12", 2015

Good Friends, a recent commission from repeat-client and trainer-extraordinaire Fred Lanzetta, whose bulldog Armando is immortalized in watercolors from several years ago.


SCNY Fall Auctions 2015
Lower Gallery, October 05, 2015 - October 23, 2015
Lavender Field, oil, 2014  

Lavender Field at auction as #149 on Friday, October 23.    
2nd Auction*: Sunday, October 18, 2015, 2:00 PM  
Guest Auctioneer Nicholas Dawes 
3rd Auction: Friday, October 23, 2015, 8:00 PM  
Auctioneer Del-Bourree Bach

*Prior to 2nd Auction, Brunch will be offered in the SCNY Dining Room beginning at 11am. Reservations required.

Exhibit on view at SCNY October 5, 2015, Mon-Fri, 1-6pm, Wednesdays until 8pm (except October 21st), Sat & Sun 1-5pm. The reception will be held on October 7, 2015, 6- 8pm.

Online viewing will be available.

Four Ways to Bid:
1)  In person.
2)  By Absentee Bid.
3)  Live online bidding will be accepted during the auction events. Information forthcoming.
4) By phone. Call 212.255.7740 in advance to register to bid from wherever you are. We will call you during the auction just prior to your lot coming to the block.

A 10 percent buyer's premium will be applied to all purchases.
The Salmagundi Club will present its annual Fall Auctions October 5 through October 23. Over 150 artworks by current Salmagundi members will be auctioned. Collectors since the early 1900's have flocked to these events, held every October and March, to find top-quality works of representational painting, drawing, fine-art graphics, photography, and sculpture, most at better-than-reasonable prices. Salmagundi artist member Del-Bourree Bach will be the auctioneer for the 1st and 3rd auctions. Guest auctioneer Nicholas Dawes will preside over the 2nd auction.  

credit: Daniel Dillon
I will be present at the Salmagundi club on the 23rd, when my piece, #149, comes on the block. 
In addition to the auction exhibition, the Salmagundi Club of New York is also featuring two other outstanding exhibitions, American Masters 2015, in the Main Gallery, and a solo show by Quang Ho in the Patrons' Gallery. 

Honeymoon Tango,  Monotype

We have two evenings coming up soon, October 30 and November 13.

Join us this Hallows Eve to open dancing to recorded Argentine tango music.

Costumes, masks and fancy headdress welcome!
Salmagundi artists are welcome to come draw the scene.

Friday October 30th 6PM-9:45PM
Hosted by Annie Shaver-Crandell & Dan Dillon.

DJ : Lorenzo MiercolesLesson 6-7 with Jean Fung
The club's bar open at 5; dining room open 5:30 - 9:00pm

Admission is $10 
Always free for active military service personnel, veterans and members of NYPD and FDNY.

For details, see or These tango evenings are held in the beautiful Main Gallery of the Salmagundi Club amid an ever-changing selection of art, and we do welcome beginners, as long as you arrive at 6 for a lesson with the incomparable Jean Fung.

Annie Shaver-Crandell: A Collection of Views Landscapes, Cityscapes and Interiors
Carousel Mug
Please visit the online store to purchase my recently released book and collectible mug.

Please visit my studio for a private viewing. Call me at 212-464-7519 to schedule. I am also available to discuss commissions.



THE ARGENTINE TANGO will appear in the next newsletter
To view Annie's past newsletters click below:
September 2015
June 2015
April 2015


I love hearing from all of you with all your questions and comments. Please feel free to write me at and I promise to reply. Your comments help me build my studio.

Annie's work may be seen at  


Stay connected with Annie

Please contact Wanda for more information at and 212-464-7519

2015 Annie Shaver-Crandell