Monday, June 23, 2014

The Artz of Grave Digging

I am going on an adventure next week and as I was speaking with my friend Seamus about our trip I informed him I love to explore old forgotten cemeteries. We then chattered on and I shared I was looking for inspiration for my Artz show this week and he suggested Grave Diggers. I grabbed it knowing it would take some time to explore for art where the main feature was a grave digger. I was right.

What showed up the most was Grave Digger the monster truck racing team. There are 9 Grave Digger trucks and drivers so they can make more appearances. Grave Digger was first conceived in 1981 by Dennis Anderson and his now famous comment  "I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave with it".

Grave Digger is a German Heavy Metal Band that emerged in the 1980s.

Grave Digger is a song by Dave Matthews.

 A noir webcomic.
An extreme obstacle race to be held in Oklahoma September 2014.

  An enormous burger served at Champions Riverside Bar & Grill.

This week we present The Artz of Grave Digging

Monday, June 16, 2014

Beetle Artz

For weeks these black beetles have been getting into my house. I have never had this problem before but have been told they come out every year. Really?? Where have I been? They are swarming my porch, my house and I see their crushed carcass almost every where I go.  Are they popping up from underground? 

According to an entomologist with Texas AgriLife they are very common in Texas. What is not common is them being above ground. They live most of their life below ground feasting on other ground dwelling insects and they are vital to a healthy garden. They do not bite nor do they sting. 

They have inspired me. 

This week we present Beetle Artz.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Artz of a Haunted Priory

Binham Priory or St. Mary's Priory, Binham as it is also called, lies as a stately, yet haunting ruin. Most of it is gone, dissasembled piece by piece for the stones by the Paston family who bought the Priory and the land during the reign of Henry VIII and his Dissolution of the Churchs in 1539.  That is it was until a stone fell from the top of one of the arcades and killed one of the workers. Taking this as a sign from GOD the workers fled in fear vowing never to return. 

Are those the moans of a man? Is that the rattle of chains you believe you are hearing?  In 1130 the prior from a neighboring Priory having descended into a violent madness and bursts of terrifying insanity is said to have been taken away in chains and locked in a monk's cell in the lower parts of Binham Priory. Dying alone and still wearing his chains he was buried in the Priory yard. 

In 1335 using the wealth from the Prior treasury; one of the priors who had been experimenting with alchemy fled the Priory for fear he would be accused of witchcraft and burned when he was discovered or so the legend tells. He was never seen again. 

Then there is  the  "Black Monk" who has been seen by many people stepping out of  the Ley tunnel, which runs from the nave of the priory to the shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham 3 miles away, and wandering away over the grounds moving his head from side to side as though he is searching for something. 
But, those are  not the only eerie tales associated with Binham Priory. 
                                 Bnham Priory - Cheryl Surrey

 One afternoon a fiddler was enticed to follow the tunnel playing his fiddle all the way. His name was Jimmy and  he agreed  to seek out the reason why the "Black Monk" haunted the tunnel and entered into the passageway. His fiddle could be heard for quite some time drifting through the air,  and from under the ground where he walked the tunnel.  The music grew fainter and then suddenly was no more. The fiddler was never seen again. But sometimes when the day is just slient enough people have claimed to hear a fiddle playing not far from the Priory near an ancient burial mound that became known as Fiddlers Hill. 

Jimmy was not alone that day when he entered the Ley tunnel. His dog went with him. Unlike Jimmy though, several minutes after the music stopped the dog came running back out. A whimpering, trembling dog with his tail tucked under his legs and in a state of shock.  That night a storm raged over Binham Priory, the village and much of Norfolk. The next day the dog had disappeared and the entrance to the Ley tunnel where Jimmy went in was destroyed and caved in. 

                                              Medieval Grafitti in Binham Priory, Norfolk

In 1933 a road crew was widening the road near the burial mound known as Fiddlers Hill not far from the Binham Priory. As they were digging up ground they discovered three skeletons. One of those was a dog. 

Binham Priory is a Benedictine Priory in Binham, Norfolk, England and was founded by a nephew of William the Conquerer, Piers de Valognes, my 29th Great Grandfather and his wife Albreda.  A weekly market was held at the Priory and on Lady Day, March 25 each year a fair was held. Part of the original church was spared and is still used as a Parish Church today. 
                                   Binham Priory by Andy Waspe 

This week we present Artz of a Haunted Priory.

Monday, June 2, 2014

6 Fingers & Toes in Artz

My youngest child was born with 6 fingers on each hand and on one foot she had 6 toes. On the other foot there were also 6 toes and as she grew up that foot grew wider allowing space for her toes. I could not find shoes to fit her little foot. When she was three, at the recommendation of a Shriner who played with her while I waited at a restaurant; I scheduled an appointment at the Shriner's Children's Hospital.  They X-rayed her feet to see what was going on inside and there in the foot that was not growing normally was another toe. The doctor smiled and assured me he could reshape her foot. We both looked at my daughter as though she was something sacred. 7 toes on one foot. 

When she was three days old they clipped off her 6th fingers which, though they had bones were not attached to the rest of the bones in her hands. Now she is also missing 2 toes. There are five one foot and 6 on the other. As I was looking for inspiration this week I was thinking about my youngest child who turned 21 just two weeks ago. 

Two weeks after my youngest was born one of her sisters went on a field trip with her school to the Presidio La Bahia . There in the little chapel is a fresco painted by Antonio Garcia called the Mexican Annunciation. It is of Gabriel appearing to Mary and covers the entire wall behind the alter. When you approach it, look at the feet of Gabriel, count his toes there are 6 on each foot. My daughter announced when she came home that day that her sister was the daughter of an angel because she too had 6 toes. 
                                        Mexican Annunciation by Antonio Garcia
This had me curious and I discovered a verse in the Bible; And there was again a battle, at Gath; and there was a man [there] of great stature, that had on each hand six fingers, and on each foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to Raphah. II Samuel 21:20. 
                                         James J. Tissot, "David Slings the Stone" 
Legend whispers that Raphah was the father of Goliath.  Yes, The Goliath of David and Goliath fame. That Raphah descends from the Nephilim, the fallen angels that loved and bred with the women on earth in the times before, and during Noah. The children of these angels and women were tall, my daughter is 6'2", had 6 fingers or toes or both, my daughter has both. Yes, she descends from fallen angels but GOD has graced her with beauty. 
                                                     My Daughter

This week we present 6 Fingers & Toes in Artz.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Polonius Artz

Polonius, chief counselor to King Claudius is the father of Ophelia and Laertes. He is described as being a "busy body, a bumbling old fool, rude and a devout father."

He gives his son Laertes leave to go to Paris and then sends a servent to spy on him. He tells his daughter to avoid Hamlet because it will interfere with his relationship with King Claudius and later claims it was because she was beneath Hamlet's social status.

                                           Polonius & Ophelia

He spies on Hamlet while he is with his mother, Queen Gertrude and is accidently killed by Hamlet who thought he was killing King Claudius, whom by the way had killed King Hamlet. Ophelia looses her mind and kills herself while her brother, seeking revenge challenges Hamlet to a duel.

Polonius may have been written to be a jest. To poke fun at William Cecil, 1st Baron of Burleigh, Lord Burleigh who was the chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth.

                                                    William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
                                                   attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

When Hamlet was to be performed at Oxford University the name Polonius was changed to Corambis because the name Polonius was too close in spelling to the founder of Oxford, Robert Polenius. They did not wish to inflcit insult.

Or, it could have been Corambis all along until the author of the play learned of the grave insult the diplomat from Poland had angered Queen Elizabeth with and in a moment of revenge changed the name of the despicable character to Polonius which is Latin for Poland.

This week we present Polonius Artz.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Yellow Vase Artz

I was searching for centerpiece ideas for a Gala I am chair of when a photo of a yellow vase with daisies popped up and I thought it was cheery.
                                           Elizabeth Anne Designs

This became my inspiration for this week, yellow vases. I found quite a few paintings and after receiving persmission from each artist they will be presented this week for your viewing pleaure.

I found the ever popular Still Life - Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers, 1888-Vincent van Gogh

and Still Life: Vase with Irises Against a Yellow Background, May 1890 Vincent Van Gogh.

This week enjoy a cheerful collection of Yellow Vase Artz

Monday, May 12, 2014

Castle Pendragon Artz


Castle Pendragon. It conjures up visions of Uther Pendragon father of King Arthur, Morgana his step sister, Merlin, knights and all things chivalrous.

This week I became inspired when I learned that Castle Pendragon was once held by my 23 Great Grand Uncle Andrew de Harcla, Earl of Carlisle for King Edward II.

The castle came to Sir Andrew after its owner Robert de Clifford was killed in battle and his heir Roger de Clifford was accused of treason and executed. A year later Sir Andrew would also be executed for treason. 18 years later the castle would be burned and nearly destroyed by invading Scots. 19 years later it was rebuilt and again 221 years later burned. It was rebuilt in 1660 by Lady Anne Clifford but after her death in 1676 it once again fell to ruin.
                               Lady Anne Clifford
Legend says that Castle Pendragon was built by Uther Pendragon father of King Arthur. It is also whispered that Uther and his knights were all murdered at the castle by poison dispensed into the well by Saxons. Tales are told late at night that the ghost of Uther Pendragon can be seen upon a pale horse galloping out of the castle grounds away across the vale.

This week we present Castle Pendragon Artz.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Artz of Port Goulphar

Belle Isle is the largest French Island off the coast of Brittany, a region in the North of France. The island is a combination of dramatic cliffs, craggy rock formations and peaceful beaches.

The island has been a favorite of artists for many years. Octave Penguilly L'Haridon painted there in 1859. French writer Maxime Du Camp adored it and French poet Maxime Du Camp was inspired.

Les Petites mouettes, rivage de Belle-Isle en mer Octave Penguilly L'Haridon
John Peter Russell the Austrailian Impressionist established an artist colony on the island and was visited by Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Vincent Vasn Gogh.

                                                            Matisse, “Belle Ile”
In 1886 Claude Monet painted 36 seascapes during his residency on the island. Many of those inspired by the rocks at Port Goulphar. He described the landscape of this area as terrifying and very beautiful.

During the 1890s Maxime Maufra moved to Brittany spending time on Belle Isle and painting Port Goulphar.

Gustave Loiseau seeking a place to concentrate on his love of landscapes ended up in Brittany and spent time on Isle Belle painting the rock formations at Port Goulphar. While at the artist colony he met Paul Gauguin and Henry Moret.

This week we present the Artz of Port Goulphar.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Artz in the Carpet Market


Persian Rugs are an essential part of Persian art and culture. There are three groups of carpet. Qali or Farsh, which means "to spread" and is any carpet over 6x4, Qalicheh, meaning "small rug", is anything under 6x4 and Gelim, "rough carpet" which are also called Nomadic rugs.

The art of carpet weaving has existed in Persia for centuries. One of the oldest known rugs dates back to 500 B.C. Ancient Chinese texts from the Sassanid period speak of the carpets from Persia.

Cotton, wool and silk were used to weave the rugs. The finer the wool, the more expensive the carpet and so sheep were specially bred for the texture and strength of their wool. Because these carpets were made from natural fibers they could not withstand the onslaught of time and have disintegrated. Fortunately painters in the 14 century included Persian carpets in their paintings and from them we have an excellent description of what the carpets actually looked like.
                                       Triptych of the Enthroned Madonna Hans Memling
                  Carpet in the Azerbaijan Museum. This carpet is dated late 14th century.

                                     Notice the similar pattern in the Hans Memling painting

There is a famous Persian rug in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London called the Ardabil Rug. It is one of two rugs. The carpet was woven during the 16th century and placed in a Mosque in Ardabil. The foundation of the carpet is silk with the pile made of wool and consisting of 300 - 350 knots per inch. The carpet measures 341/2 x 171/2 feet; which means there are about 26 million knots making up the rug, all by hand. In 1890 it was purchased by British carpet broker who repaired it and then sold it the museum. The other Ardabil Rug ended up in the hands of J. Paul Getty who donated it to Exposition Park in Los Angeles. These rugs have been copied many times and have ended up on the floors of places like 10 Downing Street, and the office of Hitler in Berlin.

The weaver, like any artist, signed his art and both of the Ardabil Rugs bear this inscription.
I have no refuge in the world other than thy threshold.
There is no protection for my head other than this door.

The work of the slave of the threshold Maqsud of Kashan in the year 946.

This week we present the Artz in the Carpet Market.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Charon Artz

I was doing some research on death and burial rituals invloving coins for my Breakfast Letters when of course, Charon and the river Styx popped up. He winked at me and the chase was on. I had to know more.

Charon, is the ferryman from Hades who takes the shades or souls of the newly deceased across the river Styx from the world of the living to the world of the dead.

He is the son of Nyx, goddess of the night. She was at the creation, powerful and beautiful. She is glimpsed in shadow, from the corner of your eye. She lives in Tartarus, the deep dark abyss that is deeper than Hades, where the Titans were imprisoned.

His father is Erebus the brother of Nyx. He is the anciet diety Darkness. He is one of the first beings in existence and fathered by Chaos as is Nyx.

A coin is placed in the mouth of the deceased as a payment to Charon for passage across the Styx. His name, Charon translates to mean fiery or fierce gaze, associated with a grey or light blue in color. He was most often depicted on funery vases with a boat, or ushering the deceased. Sometimes he was depicted as gentle and kind and others created him to be rough and angry. Dante depicted him as an old man with a gruff countenance and as a winged demon. Today he is created as a cloaked skeleton similar to the Grim Reaper.

Charon, from La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri, illustrated by Gustave Doré.
This week we present Charon Artz.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Artz of The Order of St. Lazarus

Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem

I became curious after I discovered that Adam fitzPeter de Birken, the son of Emma de Lascelles, my 25th Great Grand Aunt, gave the Order of St. Lazarus 4 acres of land in Fairburn, Yorkshire, England.

One of the few military Orders to survive the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the loss of the Holy Land it remained true to the chivalry that founded it. The members of the Order were dedicated to two ideals;  aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and the defense of the Christian faith.

The Knights Templar had a policy stipulating that any of the knights contracting leprosey while in Jerusalem could join the Order of St. Lazarus.

The Templars would pay a pension for each knight admitted to the Order.

After 1291 the Order no longer held a military role and by the middle of the 16th century leprosy was virtually wiped out though out Europe. The Pope felt there was no longer a need for them and the Order fell silent until it came under thte protection of the Royal House of France.

During the 17th century, with a fleet of 10 frigates they patrolled for Pirates that plagued the Meditteranian.

The symbol of the order is an 8 pointed green maltese cross. The mission is To uphold and defend the Christian faith, to assist and help the sick and vulnerable, to promote and uphold the Christian principles of chivalry and to work for Christian unity. The moto is Atavis et armis (With ancestors and arms).

This week the Artz of The Order of St. Lazarus

Monday, March 31, 2014

Artz of Chuck Wagon

The word of the day was grub; as in the slang word for food used by cowboys in the 1880s. It was called substandard slang by the author of the article I read. But that is not what intrigued me. What got my attention was the phrase “grub was served up by the chuck wagon”.  Chuck wagon, I have always wondered why it was called a chuck wagon. Once upon a time I thought it was because the wagon belonged to a guy named Chuck. NOT true.

A Texas rancher named Charles Goodnight “invented” the first chuck wagon. Concerned about feeding his cow hands while they were on cattle drive fueled his creativity and he converted a Studebaker wagon into a place for the cook to store, prepare and transport the items needed to feed the crew.  Yes, you read that right, Studebaker as in the car, wagon.
                     Chuck wagon Catering Company original 1895 Studebaker Chuck wagon

 The Studebaker family came from Holland and arrived in America at the Port of Philadelphia in 1736.  On a census from Pennsylvania dated 1798 the occupation of the men of the family was listed as wagon makers. In 1835 they are found in Ohio and John Studebaker and 5 of his sons list their trade as wagon makers. 

1852 members of the family are in South Bend, Indiana. Another family member is in Placerville California 1n 1849 making wheelbarrows for miners.  1857 found family members building wagons for the United States Army. In 1895 Mr. Fish who had married Grace Studebaker was toying with the idea of a horseless carriage and in 1904 Studebaker was manufacturing gasoline powered motorized vehicles. 

About one third of the wagons crossing the prairies during the migration toward Oklahoma and beyond were Studebaker wagons.  Our rancher, Mr. Goodnight used a wagon that had seen service in the Military during the late Civil War.

The food served from a chuck wagon was easily stored, preserved and cooked such as salted meats, dried meats, beans coffee and sourdough biscuits. The word chuck comes from a word used on ships during the early 1800s to mean biscuit, bun, scone or muffin.  The closest word I could find was a Swedish word, kex which translates to biscuit.  In the late 1600s chuck referred to a very cheap cut of beef in English market places.

  The chuck wagon was not named chuck in honor of Charles Goodnight; even if his good friends did call him Chuck.

This week we present the Artz of Chuck Wagon.