Monday, January 27, 2014

The Artz of William Gilpin

William Gilpin was a schoolmaster, author, Anglican Clerk and most importantly this week he was an artist.

He was born in Cumberland England in Scaleby Castle, educated at Queen's College, Oxford, Headmaster at Cheam School, Vicar of Boldre in Hampshire. During his time as Vicar he took on a student named Caroline Anne Southey who would become an artist
and Poet.
                                Castle in a Welsh landscape By Rev. William Gilpin
William Gilpin is my 4th cousin 9 times removed, in other words; my 10th great grandfather was his 3rd great grandfather.

He described his paintings as Picturesque. Picturesque : visually charming or quaint, as if resembling or suitable for a painting. William painted and wrote about  what he saw as he traveled during summer breaks into journals and notebooks. After being published his books became a sort of travel guide for an eager audience armed with sketchbooks and romantic tour plans.

To William a picturesque scene should be intricate, rough, varied and without straight lines. It should include a dark foreground, with a screen in the  front or on the sides, a lighter, brighter middle at a distance and a scene depicted even further in the distance. He would
 paint from a low viewpoint occasionally adding the odd tree or boulder to create the perfect composition.

A personal color atlas from British artist William Gilpin (1724-1804). His sketchbook titled "Hints to Form The Taste & Regulate Ye Judgement in Sketching Landscape" is from 1790.

His writings contained few historical facts about a place and his descriptions vague but he would write what he thought would make a sight more picturesque such as this comment he made while painting Tintern Abbey; "a mallet judiciously used might render the
insufficiently ruinous gable of Tintern Abbey more picturesque".

                                                                  Tintern Abbey

Many of William's manuscripts are housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Arttz of Winter Moons

Winter moons, they just seem brighter and more luminescent. It is not just because the nights are longer; but also the tilt of the earth's plane of rotation in relation to its axis. Which just does not sound romantic, lets move on....

The full moon in January is called the Wolf Moon. This name came about because the wolf breeding season begins in January and it is accompanied by much howling by the alpha male and pack members to signal territories and locations.

The naming of full moons dates back to the native people of America living in the north and eastern parts of North America. This was how they kept track of the months and seasons. The people moving here from Europe adopted this custom and gave full moon cycles names also.

The full moon which occurred on January 15 2014 was a Mini Moon. It was called this because it will be the smallest full moon of 2014. Because the moon is at it farthest point from the earth it appears smaller. The largest will appear in August. This moon is called the Sturgeon Moon by the native people around the great lakes and Green Corn moon by those that lived farther inland.
                              Winter Moon by Kit Lang a textile painting

This week we present the Artz of Winter Moon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Artz of Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is not something us who were born here in Texas or have lived mainly in the South are familiar with.  It sounds simple – make a hole in the ice over a pond, lake or river, drop a line down and wait for a hungry fish.

Ice Fishing is a serious sport these days but in the past it was a social experience.  Some people sit on a bucket beside a hole in the ice and commence to fishing. Other people build small shacks, ice house, fish house or “ice shanty” on the ice over their hole and enjoy many of the comforts of home such as heat, refrigerator, comfortable chairs some even watch TV,

Line and bait or lures can be used to fish under the ice or some folks even spear fish.  Most anglers agree that 4 inches of ice is the safest for walking, 6 inches for sleds and snow machines, 12 for light cars, and 16 inches of ice for a full sized truck. (Is that a Texas sized truck or a regular truck?)

Rescue missions occur each year as men get trapped on a break-away piece of ice and are separated from the land. Also, many a vehicle and ice shanty has disappeared into the water.

The Indians of North America were excellent and patient ice fishermen.  Often they would sit for days waiting for fish.

This week we present the Artz of Ice Fisihing

Monday, January 6, 2014

Artz of the Magi

The adoration of the Magi occurs as an observance on January 6 as a part of Epiphany, a feast day that celebrates the revelation of GOD the Son as Jesus Christ.
                                                                          Adoração dos Magos, by Vicente Gil

 The Magi are the Wise men or Kings who traveled to worship Jesus.  There is only one reference in the Bible to this event and it does not specify which day this happened. It does mention a house not a stable, it does say that his mother was present and that they gave Mary three gifts for her son.

                                                Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men

The word Magi comes from a Latin word taken from Greek which is actually a Persian word that refers to a caste or order of priests. These priests were known for their study of the stars.  Their use of astrology led to the term Magi being associated with sorcery and the occult.  The order however was strongly opposed to sorcery.
               Magi bear gifts to an infant Jesus in one of the earliest known depictions. 3rd Century Sarcophagus

Folklore tells that because there were three gifts there were only three Magi but other folktales count them as 12. Different cultures have named them differently as well. Melchior, the Persian of the group, Larvandad, Hor, or Kagpha if you are Armenian.

The men are said to have traveled from the direction the sun rises. There is no specific country or location in the Bible of their origin.  They could have been Persian, Indian, Jewish, and even from China as a folk tale from before the time of Genghis Khan Whispers.

Much symbolism surrounds these men as they are depicted in art. Their age, their clothing, the colors they wear and who kneels closest.

This week the Artz of the Magi.