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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Virgo Artz

It is September.

 Virgo reigns from 22 August through 22 September. It is the sixth astrological sign in the zodiac.

Virgo is purity, innocence, maidens and fertility. Her name is Justice or Dike as some know her. She is the daughter of Zeus and Themis. Fair judgment and moral order is her domain; she rules over justice in the human carnal world. She was born a mortal and lived on Earth. Seeing that man was corrupt Zeus moved her up to Mount Olympus.

At her departure she issued this curse…

Behold what manner of race the fathers of the Golden Age left behind them! Far meaner than themselves! But you will breed a viler progeny! Verily wars and cruel bloodshed shall be unto men and grievous woe shall be laid upon them.
—Aratus, Phaenomena 123
                                           Justizia - Luca Giordano 
Dike is Lady Justice, the moral force in judicial systems. Have you not seen her? She is shown holding a scale in her left hand, where she measures the strength of a case’s support and opposition. She carries a double edged sword in her right hand, one sharp side for reason the other for justice and she wields it for or against both sides.

This week we shall share the Virgo Artz.