Monday, December 16, 2013

The Ghostly Artz of Christmas Present

The Ghost of Christmas Present is the third ghost to visit Scrooge. This ghost’s visit is foretold by the ghost of Jacob Marley. 
                      Marley's ghost by John Leech
Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge had been friends since their teenage years when they were both apprentices in the same business firm. Later they opened a financial business together which Marley called “our money-changing hole”.
It is Christmas Eve and exactly seven years have gone by since Marley has passed away. 
                     Jacob Marley by Tim Bruckner
Charles Dickens describes the ghost as being “a jolly giant”. He has dark brown curly hair, wears a green robe lined in fur, and on his head sets a wreath made of holly with glistening icicles hanging from its branches. 
          Edward Woodward Ghost Christmas Present

He carries a large torch and is first seen sitting in the midst of a huge feast. Around his waste is strapped a scabbard with no sword. This is to symbolize Peace on Earth and goodwill to men. He claims he can change his size and fit into room large or small.
   Kenneth Moore as the Ghost of Christmas Present 1970

The visitation of the Ghost of Christmas Present happens on December 24, 1843. The ghost proudly tells Scrooge that he has 1,842 brothers. 

This week The Ghostly Artz of Christmas Present

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Ghostly Artz of Christmas Past

Charles Dickens wrote a novella titled A Christmas Carol and on December 17, 1843 
                                                                  First Edition, 1843
it was published by Chapman & Hall. It is the story of a bitter old miser who endures 4 haunting in the course of one Christmas Eve and how what he sees changes him.  The story was an instant success and has never been out of print.
                                                                              Charles Dickens  1867 - 1868
A Christmas Carol takes you on a journey where you will experience every emotion through images. Images of darkness, sadness, coldness, despair, and death but, it will also lift your spirit with images of joy, light, warmth and life. Just as winter mellows into spring, Scrooge, the miser who is the embodiment of winter mellows into a gentle old man filled with goodwill.
                                                           Scrooge and Bob Cratchit
                                                             woodcut by John Leech
The second haunting Scrooge endures on that Christmas Eve is that of The Ghost of Christmas Past.  In an effort to get Scrooge to repent of his cruel, miserly ways the ghost reveals to him scenes from his Christmases past. This is how we, the observers learn what the young Scrooge endured that made him into the man he is and why he dislikes Christmas. 

                                                                         Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past.
                                                                          Original 1843 illustration by John Leech 
Here is how Dickens describes the ghost…”being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away."

This week we present The Ghostly Artz of Christmas Past.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tinsel Artz Painting

I had just finished decorating my tree and was gazing at it when I thought about a topic for this week’s Artz. I wondered if tinsel would come up in a search and sure enough I got Tinsel Painting.

Tinsel Painting was a decorative art that was popular in America from about 1830 to 1890. Only the wealthy, who were seeking a refined education for their daughters, could afford to pay for this training.
                                                                     Tinsel Painting, Wreath of flowers. ca. 1875.
 It has roots in an art form dating back to the Italian Renaissance. Tinsel Paintings are reverse paintings on glass with crumpled or smooth colored foil applied to areas on the glass that are clear or unpainted. When viewed before candlelight the effect adds shimmering highlights to the painting.
                                                Tinsel Painting: Wreath, Birds, and Daguerreotype, Artist unidentified, 1855 - 1865
Think about this a moment, it is 1846 and you need foil. It was not like there was a roll in the pantry or up the road at Safeway. By this time drug stores were using foil to wrap creams. Confectioners were using it to wrap bon-bons and the Marines were using an experimental cartridge made of foil designed by Colt.

Tinsel Painting was considered a safe past time for wives and daughters as it kept their minds on the home as they created. Many of the pieces created commemorated events in the lives of these women; a marriage, a birth, an event, a friendship are just some of the subjects these beautiful works are about.

Enjoy Tinsel Artz Painting. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Artz of Thor

Thor has inspired this week’s Artz.  It could be the legend. It could be Chris Hemsworth. It could just be the awesome blonde hair. It could be the stirring of Viking blood coursing through my brain.  Whatever it is Thor is our focus.

Thor is a god in Norse Mythology his name meaning Thunder. He wields a hammer and is associated with storms, oak trees, strength, fertility and the protection of mankind.

From Thor we get Thunresdaeg,  Thunor’s Day,  Thor’s Day, and finally Thursday. 

He is described as having flowing red hair, a red beard and fierce eyes. He is a son of Odin and usually travels in a chariot pulled by two goats. Not only does he carry the hammer Mjölnir, a staff named Gríðarvölr he wears gloves made of iron and they are named Járngreip.

Thor and the legends that surround him have inspired poets such as Wir und Sie an ode to Thor written in 1776 by F. J. Klopstock.  He appears in the writings of Rudyard Kipling, 

and Hans Friedrich Blunck; drawings and paintings by artists Mårten Eskil Winge and E. Doepler, statues by sculptor B. E. Fogelberg.

                                                                         Bengt Erland Fogelberg, Thor, 1844
The chemical element thorium is named for Thor as is Scutisorex thori, an extinct species of shrew that was found in the Congo, one of only two mammals known to have interlocking vertebrae.

In 1962 Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby

 crated the Marvel Super Hero Thor the inspiration  that we see in the movie Thor: The Dark World.

This week the Artz of Thor. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jethart in Artz

Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland is where my 7th Great Grandmother was from. She came to America sometime before 1720.

Jedburgh, Jethart, Jeddart, Jed-worth or to translate, it is the town of Jed. It is on the bank of Jed Water in the southeast of Teviotdale. Sounds like a place from the mind of J.R. Tolkien.

In 1118 David I built a priory here. In 1147 it was built upon and changed into the most beautiful Abbey in all of Scotland and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  In 1523 the Earl of Surrey launching an attack on the village, and the Abbey ransacked it and ordered it burned. Several years later Sir Evers attacked it and in 1544 the Earl of Hereford again attacked and once more burned the Abbey. Finally in 1559 the Abbey was abandoned and all revenues reverted to the Crown.

Most of the Abbey walls still stand as does many of the out-buildings. It is one of the most perfect and beautiful examples of Saxon and early Gothic architecture in all of Scotland.

David Brewster the inventor of the kaleidoscope was born in Jedburgh in 1781 which is reason enough in my book to love this place.
                                                    Inner picture of a cigar box from the early 1900s with a portrait of Brewster.

This week join us as we visit Jethart in Artz.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fried Artz Eggs

I was looking online for a tartan for my 6th Great Grandmother Mary Sitlington, an uncommon name with an uncommon history. Clan legend tells the sad and violent tale of the Chiefs of clan Lamont. It all happens in 1646 when the clan sides with King Charles I against Cromwell. 
                       Anthony van Dyck Charles I (1600-49) with M. de St Antoine
When they made this tragic decision they abandoned Clan Campbell on the battlefield. King Charles was defeated and the Campbell’s retaliated by attacking castles in possession of the clan Lamont. The Campbell’s signed a peace treaty with the chiefs allowing them to peacefully leave their castle, but when they opened the gates the Campbell’s attacked and killed over 200 men women and children. Lady Mary Lamont who was with her 4 sons in residence at their castle on the Cumbrae Island

 escaped with her sons to Ireland. To protect their identities a decision was made to change their names. The oldest son took the name Sitilington which was the name of a small stream on their Scottish estate. The youngest son took on his mother’s maiden name of Young and the middle two became White and Green.
As I was looking for a hint for a tartan I came across a painting of fried eggs in a painting of breakfast. This peaked my curiosity and I wondered if I could find 5 paintings or sculptures of fried eggs for this week.

Wikipedia says that fried eggs are made from hen’s eggs. I was unaware cocks laid eggs. That mystery solved I discovered fried eggs are a key ingredient in dishes in many countries.

In Japan they are called “medama yaki 目玉 焼き”" which translates to eyeball baked.

In Germany fried eggs are called Spiegeleier. 

In India a fried egg is called a poached egg and can be purchased from street vendors. In Russia it is яичницаor yaichnitsa. 

It is served sunny side up. In Brazil a popular dish is served called bife a cavalo. It is a fried egg served over a steak the translation is horse steak and in Spanish it is bife a caballo.

Fried eggs can be served over easy, sunny side up, over hard, over well and over medium.
This week enjoy Fried Artz Eggs.

The tartan I shrouded Great Grandmother Sitilington is the Lamont tartan. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Artz of Hot Chocolate

I was at Live Artz on Wednesday when I ordered the Azteca. A hot chocolate spice infused cup of warm yumminess.  I started wondering about hot chocolate in Art so, I looked and I found some.  But first a little history….
                               An Aztec woman pouring chocolate from a standing position to raise the foam

About 2000 years ago the Mayans created a chocolate beverage which became an essential part of the Aztec culture. Cocoa seeds were ground into a paste, along with chili peppers, vanilla, other spices and water. It was then poured from cup to cup, much like a shaken martini, until it became foamy, at which point it was drunk. Sugar had not yet been introduced so it was not the sweet creamy beverage we know.
                                              Azetc Hot Chocolate

The Spanish brought the cocoa beans and the skill to make the beverage back to Europe where it became very popular among the Spanish nobility. By the 17thh century the hot cocoa was sweetened and it became a drink reserved for European nobility. Near the end of the 17th century milk was added and it became the favorite of the English Nobility. The Dutch brought hot chocolate to the United States in the early 17th century.

                                      Spanish, ceramic tiles, The laborious process of making chocolate

This week the Artz of Hot Chocolate

Monday, October 14, 2013

Artz Eudora

My ghost hunting this weekend has brought me to my Aunt Eudora. She is actually my second cousin, Eudora Alice Welty. 

Her grandmother and my great grandmother were sisters. 

Eudora's Mother
                                       My Great Grandmother

I met her once at her home in Mississippi. My grandmother and she had shared several summer vacations together in West Virginia. She used to tell me I reminded her of Eudora.

 Miss Welty was an author of novels and short stories. She was a photographer. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1973 for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter.  She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many other awards and honors.

This week The Artz Council presents art inspired by Eudora Alice Welty.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Artz of El Dorado

This past weekend I was doing some research on my great grand uncle Charles. He was born in West Virginia in 1823. He attended Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania and was practicing medicine by 1849. He arrived in San Francisco California in 1856. By 1857 he was a California State Assemblyman representing El Dorado County.

El Dorado is Gold Country and nestles on and around the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The county seat is Placerville and it was the center hub of the California Gold Rush.

The land is a lush combination of fields of glorious green in the summer and glowing amber in the summer and fall. It is filled with gentle valleys, forests, rivers, and lakes.

This week we present Artz of El Dorado

Monday, September 16, 2013

Barbary Artz Pirates

In 1801 the Pasha of Tripoli declared war on the United States. President Jefferson, who was an avid defender of the proclamation to use the United States Navy for defending American shores only, dispatched a squadron of naval vessels to the Mediterranean. What could have provoked such a decision you ask.

 Piracy! Barbary Coast Pirates, Pirates sanctioned by Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli and, President Jefferson’s refusal to bend to the demands of them.

The Barbary Pirates would attack merchant ships take the cargo, crew and occasionally the ship. The crew they would hold for ransom. When paid the crew would be returned. Most countries along the Mediterranean would pay an annual tribute and be left unmolested.

While Jefferson was still the United States minister in France he attempted several times to create a coalition of Mediterranean States against the act of Piracy. All of his attempts failed. In 1795 the United States was forced to pay a little over a million dollars in cash, naval stores, and a frigate to negotiate the release of 115 sailors from the Dey of Algiers.  

Against all opposition Jefferson held firm to his belief and as he addressed congress in 1801 he said, "To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . ." The show of determined force by America awed the mighty powers of Algiers and Tunis and they broke off all alliances with Tripoli. The war on Piracy raged on for four years Algiers and Morocco refusing to cease the war on America. Strategic bombing of Tripoli finally forced Morocco out of the war while a more aggressive threat against the Pasha by replacing him with his brother settled that area. Algiers still demanded payment of $60,000 for the release of each of the 115 captured sailors in the proposed treaty. In 1806 with Senatorial consent the ransom was paid. But that was not the end of the Piracy.

In 1815 Algiers again declared war on the United States and again the United States Navy was dispatched. Peace was restored between America and the Barbary Pirates. The other countries along the Barbary Coast who continued their tribute payments were still subjected to Pirates.

In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19 the Artz Council presents Barbary Artz Pirates. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thunderstorm Artz

I saw storm clouds gathering and thought what a great opportunity to sit on the porch and let an idea for this week’s art focus wrap itself around my creative clouds and there it was; a thunderstorm, in all its rumbling and swirling shades of grey.

How is a thunderstorm created?  It is a recipe consisting of unstable air, moisture and lift. The unstable air should be warm so that it can rise rapidly. You need moisture to form clouds. You need a front, or a breeze off the ocean or a mountain that can provide the lift.

Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours. An estimated 1,800 thunderstorms occur every day around the world.

The sound, that we call thunder is actually a noise made by air collapsing.  As lighting travels it creates a channel that pushes the air aside. That air returning at a rapid rate and slamming into more air creates the sound wave that we hear.

Thunderstorms happen in every state and every thunderstorm has lightening.

The colors, textures and emotion of a thunderstorm are many. You can have sun showers, rain showers and clear skies all taking place at the same time in the same viewable area of sky.

This week we present Thunderstorm Artz.