Monday, July 29, 2013

Artz of Watermelon

I remember those warm, sunny, days on the back steps of our house in Ft. Walton Beach Florida. We lived on a canal not far from gulf beaches and the smell of warm salty water mixed with watermelon is a favorite of mine. Sweet sticky juice runs down my arms, my chin, onto to my skinny sun-browned knees and down my legs.  I eat a thick slice and grin at mom while she snaps a few photographs to mail to my grandmother.  That was the free summer days. At night I attempted to mimic my father as he ate a slice with a fork and salt and pepper. It was good both ways.

Watermelon improves your “health esteem”. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, C and surprise! B6.

All you need to grow watermelons are soil, water, sun and bees.

Watermelons are 92% water and were once used like canteens to carry water. They are related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash and there are over 200 varieties.

First harvested about 5,000 years ago in Egypt they can be found depicted in hieroglyphics on the walls of ancient buildings.

Join us this week as we discover at the Artz of Watermelon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Day of Artz in July

This week we will take a look at July.

The Roman Senate named the month Julius in honor of the Roman General Julius Caesar. It is the month of his birth. 
                                      Sculpture of Julius Caesar by 17th century French sculptor Nicolas Coustou.

The month had been known as Quintilis, the Latin word for fifth as it was the fifth month.  When the Julian calendar was instituted Quintilis moved to being the seventh month. It wasn’t until after the death of Julius Caesar that the name was changed.  

Jupiter was the guardian of this month.
                                                   Statue of Jupiter
Late 1st century A. D.
Ancient Rome
Marble, bronzed plaster
July is the warmest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the coldest in the Southern.

The birthstone of July is a ruby.  Rubies can be red to brownish to purple to pink.  The red color is caused by the element chromium.  The name Ruby comes from the Latin ruber meaning red. It is considered a precious stone.
Rubies have tiny streaks in them known as silk and they can have a “cat’s eye” effect although it is rare or even a star. 
The Liberty Bell ruby is the largest ruby ever mined. It was found in Africa in 1950. On November 1 2011 the Liberty Bell ruby was stolen during a jewel heist.

Larkspur is the flower of July and is toxic to humans.

Join us as we celebrate July Artz!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Artz the Bastille

Sunday July 14 was Bastille Day.  The actual phrase is La FĂȘte Nationale. It was a day to celebrate the happy conclusion to the French Revolution.  There was fireworks, feasting, wine drinking and people ran naked through the streets as a show of their new found freedom.

The Bastille Day Military Parade has taken place every July 14th morning since 1880. It is the longest and oldest regular military parade in Europe.

The Bastille was actually a medieval fortress that was called Bastille Saint-Antoine. It was built to protect the Eastern entrance in to Paris at a gate called Porte Saint-Antoine in 1357.  
Bastille map and location of the Porte Saint~Antoine
From Turqot's Paris 1739

In 1417 the Bastille Saint-Antoine became a state prison. 5,279 prisoners had passed behind its walls by 1789. On July 14 seeking gum powder and other ammunition local folk stormed the Bastille. There were only 7 prisoners being held in the tower.
         Fall of the Bastille July 14, 1789
Collection De Vinck / BnFs    

This week we will look at paintings of the Bastille. We will also share some interesting facts regarding the Bastille Saint-Antoine and the events of July 14 1789. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

American Pastel Artz

Henrietta de Beaulieu Dering widow of Robert Dering the fifth son of Sir Edward Dering, Baronet married the Reverend Gideon Johnston in Dublin Ireland in April of 1705. She was a single mother with two daughters when she married Reverend Johnston. 

                                                             PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN, THOUGHT TO BE MR. GEEKIE

 By 1707 she was living in Charles Town, South Carolina surrounded by poverty and illness. To supplement the family income Henrietta started producing small portraits of members of the wealthier families from her husband’s congregation. She used pastels and produced many portraits between 1707 and even a few as late as 1729.

She had brought the pastels with her from Ireland where she had learned to use them from following the paths of Edward Luttrell and Edmund Ashfield as they introduced Dublin to this new medium.

                                           Marianne Fleur Du Gue 
Her female subjects are often shown in chemises while the men are wearing street clothes. She would sign and date the back of each portrait.
She is quite possibly the first identified female portrait painter in the American colonies as well as the first to use pastels.

Henrietta's pastel supply began to dwindle while she lived in Charles Town and you will be able to see the difference in what she created in Ireland, South Carolina and again in New York once she had taken a trip back to Ireland and made a stop in France to purchase more pastels. 

Join us this week as we look at America’s first pastels. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Revolutionary Artz

This week we will honor Patience Lovell Wright.  

She was a sculptor but more importantly she was a spy during the Revolutionary War.

Let us back up a bit. She was born in 1725 in Oyster Bay New York later moving to New Jersey when she was 4. Now move forward a bit. To amuse her children patience would mold faces out of bread dough, putty and wax. She became very good at it.  After her husband died she started creating tinted wax sculptures on commission.  She made a good living for her and her children but after a fire destroyed her waxworks factory in New York in 1772 she decided to move to England and start a new life.

While in London she established a museum where the dignitaries of the times were celebrated and her wax sculptures of them were displayed. She was a success and soon King George III was her patron. This had her often at court sculpting King George and those he surrounded himself with.

As talk of war against her beloved America whispered through court Patience listened. She would write secretive notes about military plans and tuck them inside wax figures of patriots. Those wax figures, along with figures of loyalists would then be shipped back to America, where other American sympathizers would get the sculptures and their secret messages into the hands of the revolutionaries.

Patience Lovell Wright the first recognized American-born sculptor who also wrote poetry, painted and was an American spy in London.

Revolutionary Artz!