Sunday, January 18, 2009

He Paints No More.....

This past Friday, 1/16/2009, brought with it the death of my favorite artist of all eras and genres, Andrew Wyeth, at age 91. Although I am in awe of the works of so many great artists through the ages, his always seemed to call to me and bade me to gaze on his work for endless hours in order to absorb as much as my simple understanding of artworks allows. This post is offered in his memory to any who may be interested
"With watercolour, you can pick up the atmosphere, the temperature, the sound of snow shifting through the trees or over the ice of a small pond or against a windowpane. Watercolour perfectly expresses the free side of my nature." - Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth was born July 12, 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the youngest of five children. He was a sickly child so his mother and father pulled him out of school after he contracted whooping cough. His parents home-schooled him in every subject including art.
His father, Newell Convers Wyeth, was a well known illustrator whose art was featured in many magazines, calendars, posters and murals, and he also painted maps for the National Geographic Society
Andrew had a vivid memory and wonderful imagination that led to a great fascination for art. His father recognized an obvious raw talent nurturing and undertook teaching him the basics of traditional academic drawing. Andrew began painting watercolour studies of the rocky coast and the sea at the family summer home in Port Clyde Maine.
He worked primarily in watercolours and egg tempera often using shades of brown and grey. He held his first one-man show of watercolours painted around the family's summer home in 1937. It was a great success that would lead to many more.
He married at twenty-two to a local girl named Betsey James and had two boys, Nicholas who became an art dealer, and James who became the third generation artist in his family. Interestingly, although James' father was the most popular artist in his family history, he was greatly inspired by his grandfather's illustrations.
Andrew was featured on the cover of American Artist as well as many other famous magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post that displayed his painting "The Hunter." His first solo museum exhibition was presented in 1951 at the Farnsworth Art Museum. Since then he has seen many more successes and is considered one of the most "collectible" living artist's of our time.
Wyeth, who focused on the people and landscapes of Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine in works such as "Christina's World," died in his sleep at his Philadelphia-area home.
Although some critics deride his art as drab and kitschy, Andrew Wyeth's melancholy paintings were praised by others as profound reflections of 20th Century alienation and existentialism. It was in Maine that Wyeth found the subject for "Christina's World," his best-known painting, and my personal favorite painting of all time. Wyeth's world was as limited in scale, and as rich in associations, as "Christina's World," which shows a disabled woman looking up a grassy rise toward her farm home, her face tantalizingly unseen. It was Betsy who introduced Wyeth to Christina Olson. Wyeth befriended the disabled old woman and her brother, and practically moved in with them for a series of studies of the house, its environs and its occupants. The acme of that series was "Christina's World," painted in 1948. It was Olson's house, but the figure was Betsy Wyeth.

The old Olson home is still there, but the bushes that he omitted in the painting are now huge trees at the spot 'Christina' is sitting. Artists often stop at the Olson place in Cushing, Maine to capture the scenery in their own works. around the area he was known mostly as simply Andy, an open and friendly man. He so loved the area that he requested he be interred at the Olson Family Cemetery by the Olson Farm.

In this 1987 file photo, American artist Andrew Wyeth stands beside one of his paintings of 'mystery model' Helga at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. It was in Pennsylvania that he met Helga Testorf, a neighbor in his native Chadds Ford who became the subject of intimate portraits that brought him millions of dollars and a wave of public attention in 1986. The "Helga" paintings, many of them full-figure nudes, came with a whiff of scandal: Wyeth said he had not even told his wife, Betsy, about the more than 200 paintings and sketches until he had completed them in 1985.
Wyeth had his first professional success outside of Maine at age 20, with an exhibition of Maine landscapes at a gallery in New York. Two years later he met his future wife, Betsy James. Betsy Wyeth was a strong influence on her husband's career, serving as his business agent, keeping the world at bay and guiding his career choices. "Really, I think one's art goes only as far and as deep as your love goes," Wyeth said in a Life magazine interview in 1965.
A few of my other favorites of his. Daydreams Around The CornerMaster's Bedroom
In this Feb. 23, 1964, file photo, artist Andrew Wyeth stands in front of his farm in Chadds Ford, Pa.

A sign dedicated to Andrew Wyeth is seen on Jimmy John's, a restaurant he is said to have frequented in Chadds Ford, Pa I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Wyeth at several events over the the years and, although he didn't know me from any of a multitude of admirers, he had way of making you feel like you'd been friends forever. He'll be greatly missed. Until next time, take care.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Making Room .......

While doing some research for my next blog post,
I realized that it was getting harder to find anything in my well organized files.So, ignoring the sign my crack 'blog staffers' had posted,and realizing how anxious they were to have a new project to work on,and how much they LOVE being on the computer,and tackling new challenges,
I got my very competent foreman to round them up.As usual, they were anxious to get started.First task was to go into my 'deep storage' vault to retrieve the needed material.Then, in their usual team effort mode, the material was organizedand enterednecessary changes made by the ace proof-reading committee, Finally, under the watchful eyes of the circulation guys,
our staff mail room assistant rushed the finished post to the printer. And so, without further dallying, here's the result,
a fresh batch of information NOBODY cares about!
-Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to ride in an automobile. -Roosevelt was president who officially renamed the Executive Mansion the White House in 1901. -The White House was constructed in the last years of the 18th century, following the design of James Hoban, an Irishman who was himself influenced by the Georgian-style Leinster House in Dublin. -The lens of the eye continues to grow throughout a person's life. -In 1936 the first popular music chart was compiled, based on record sales published in New York. -The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, England took 5 years to build, but the decorative painting took 19 years to complete. -Chicago's nickname 'Windy City' was was supposedly first used by The Sun (New York) editor Charles Dana in the bidding for the 1893 Columbian Exposition and referred to the 'long-winded' politicians touting Chicago's superiority as the site for the exposition. -Of the 7 members of Herb Alpert's band, Tijuana Brass, none were of Hispanic descent. -The largest beaver dam on record was over 2,100 feet (640m) long in Montana, USA. -Built in 1754, Old Fort Western in Maine is the oldest surviving wooden fort in the US. -In September 1983 the last 'hand-crank' phone system in Maine, USA placed its last call to the operator of the 'next-to-last' crank phone system to inform them of their conversion to dial phones at the completion of the call. -Baby chicks get out of their eggs by using temporary teeth. -The 'AMF' brand of bowling equipment's letters are the initials of 'American Machine & Foundry. It was operating for over 40 years before entering the bowling equipment industry. It was founded in 1900 as a manufacturer of tobacco industry equipment. -Composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Noel Coward were both born on December 16 and both died on March 26. -BBQ charcoal briquettes were 1st produced and marketed by Ford Motor Company from wood scraps left over from production of Model T Fords. Originally sold by Ford Dealers as Ford Charcoal, the name was later changed to that of a Ford relative who assisted in developing the product. We know it as Kingsford Charcoal. -Roughly 50% of the world's lakes are located in Canada. -In the Middle Ages, the most common textile was linen made from the fiber of the flax plant. -In 'Gone With The Wind', if based on the dates of battles mentioned in the story, Melanie Wilkes was pregnant for twenty-one months. This was changed to nine months for the film version in 1939. -Mechanical engineer Elijah McCoy invented a steam engine lubricator in 1872 that allowed moving engine parts to be oiled. It was so popular that folks selecting new equipment would ask if the engine had 'The Real McCoy' installed. -In 1951, two New Jersey communities were the 1st to be able to 'direct dial' a phone number in 11 cities nationwide and were assigned the first 'area codes'. -Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium was built on the site of the birthplace of cowboy star Roy Rogers. -Americans eat an average of 100 acres of pizza every day. -Mike's trivia staff wants all to know that WE LIKE PIZZA!! We also want to go south for the winter, but El Cheapo will only get us a blanket, that we have to SHARE!! What a miser. -The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Australian cassowary as the world's most dangerous bird. It has razor sharp claws and can fly up to 30mph (48kph). -The longest currently scheduled non-stop commercial flight is operated by Singapore Airlines between Newark, New Jersey and Singapore and is a 16,600mile (26,715km) 18.5 hour trip. -Atlanta's J.S. Pemberton Medicine Company fought prohibition efforts of 1886 by developing a non-alcoholic version of its Wine of Cola that is now known as Coca~Cola. -Germany's Kiel Canal connecting the North & Baltic Seas was world's busiest waterway in 2007 handling an average of 118 ships daily. -The translation of 'sushi' literally means 'it is sour'. -Completed in 1942, Washington State's Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydro-electric power facility and the largest concrete structure in the USA. -Using annual rainfall as criteria, Antarctica is the largest 'desert' on earth at less than 2 inches (50.8mm) precipitation per year. It's also the highest continent, averaging 7,000 ft (2133m) above sea level. -Potato chips, invented in 1853 by chef George Crum, are the number one USA snack food with 1,200,000,000lbs (544,310,844kg) eaten yearly. -The heaviest combined birth weight of twins is 27lbs 12oz (12.54kg) -And finally, the term 'trivia' comes from the Latin 'tri-via' meaning 'intersection of 3 roads'. It was at these crossroads that Romans commonly posted notices of news, laws, daring feats, and minor facts for passersby to see.

I see their efforts are already generating excitement among my readers. So, having discovered some of the staff are missing and the one guy remaining isn't talking,I guess I'd best go in search of them. I did find a hastily scribbled note taped to an empty catnip box, but the only word I can even partially make out seems to be 'Florida' and this odd photo of a 'staffer' on a beach someplace? So, until next time, take care & be well.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

But it's SO HARD to do........

Some more unsolicited advice, offered in good conscience by The Old Indian. This is offered as a reminder for those who, like myself, make resolutions and find them too difficult to keep if tackled all at once. This little piece has helped me keep a few in the past. After trying to follow the advice for years and still failing time after time, I added this to my daily routine. A copy clipped from a paper and long ago turned brittle resides in my diabetes test meter case and gets read every morning as I wait for the test results to appear on the readout window. While not a perfect solution, I find that in keeping with the advice theme, this works best for me if taken in a small 'once daily' dose. It also seems that this is about the time each year that it's really needed as a reminder. Good luck!!

(Adapted by Pauline Phillips (Dear Abby) from the original credo of Al-Anon)

JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer. JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I'll improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll refrain from improving anybody but myself. JUST FOR TODAY, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I'm overweight, I'll eat healthily -- if only just for today. And not only that, I'll get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

I sincerely hope anyone seeking to effect changes in their life will find it of some help. Seems some of my 'Blog Staffers' have already gotten off to good start on their resolutions.

Until next time, take care and be well.