Monday, November 30, 2015

Bringing Home the Tree

Every year, when we were not living half-way around the world, we would go to my Granny’s house for Thanksgiving.  My Grandpa grew Christmas trees on several of his acres. 

We would always go out on Sunday after lunch and cut one down to take home.

Driving the winding roads of West Virginia back to our home with a tree securely tethered to our car roof was an adventure all by itself. Stopping every so often so my parents could re-secure the ropes, watching stray branches flap around outside our window and cheering my dad on as he bundled the tree in through the back door.

Putting up my tree today has me thinking about that wonderful tradition and memory of my childhood.  I have chopped down and dragged out my own trees several times in my adult life creating adventures for my own children.

As you reflect on some of your own Christmas Tree adventures enjoy this week’s Bringing Home the Tree.

Monday, November 23, 2015

We Are Talking Turkey

This week, the week of Thanksgiving I have devoted to paintings of turkeys.

While we may find it a delicious entrée for a Thanksgiving feast the number of artists who have painted this …. Uh….. Colorful bird are few.

                                                                      The Birds of America by John James Audubon

Turkeys are native to the Americas so seeing one in 1423 in Holland was not likely.

An ancient breed of turkey hangs in a larder in this 1566 century painting by Flemish master Joachim Beuckelaer.

The first turkey was introduced to England in 1550 by Sir William Strickland of Boynton and when he was granted a Coat of Arms it included “turkey-cock in his pride proper”.

Enjoy some Turkey!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Howdy Pilgrim

Pilgrim – A person who journeys to a scared place for religious reasons

Since people (the Pilgrims) made a journey and landed in America to pursue their religion, does that make America a sacred place?

Pilgrim comes from the Latin word peregrinus which translates traveler, someone from afar, who is going on a journey, pilgrimage.

In many faiths like those of the, ancient Egyptians, Persians, 

Pilgrims pray at the Ka'bah in the Great Mosque in Makkah. The painting, dated 1442, is by the Persian artist Bihzad.

and Chinese to name a few it was a common practice to make a pilgrimage.  In Hebrew history pilgrims traveled to Shiloh and Jerusalem while in the Middle Ages Christians made a pilgrimage to Rome.
                                        The Pilgrims Meet Pope Cyriac before the Walls of Rome - Vittore Carpaccio

The saga of the Pilgrims who came to America began with a group of religious dissidents who were being persecuted for their different religious beliefs.
Robert W. Weir - This painting depicts the Pilgrims on the deck of the ship Speedwell on July 22, 1620, before they departed from Delfs Haven, Holland, for North America, where they sought religious freedom.

The passengers of those first 4 ships were called “First Comers”. It was not until the early 1800s that they became known as Pilgrims.

This week say “Howdy Pilgrim!”

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Different Kind of Cranberry

Where October is orange in my mind November is red, the color red of a cranberry.  Where October is round like a pumpkin November is round like a cranberry.

Cranberries were known as Craneberries by early European settlers in America due to the shape of their pink flowers which, look like the head of a crane. 

Some settlers called them Bearberries as bears were very often seen eating them. 

In Canada they may be referred to as Mossberries and the traditional English name for them is Fenberry from fen meaning marsh where they are found growing. The Algonquian people that are native to North America called the cranberries Sassamanash. They used the berries  as food, medicine and dye.

Cranberries ripen to a deep red when they are ready to be harvested which can occur starting in September through the fist weeks of November.

Cranberries in history include a very famous petticoat worn by a sassy Mary Ring of whom I am sure I am related as I would have also worn some in this color. She apparently died her petticoats and other undergarments with cranberries and they were a lovely bright shade of pink. Her husband realizing the popularity and potential value of this among the men and women auctioned off her cranberry petticoats.

This week please enjoy A Different Kind of Cranberry.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cornucopia Art in Abundance

November is here and I think about Cornucopias overflowing with bounty. Bounties of food, drink, love, thanksgiving and so much more. 


Latin - cornu copiae - meaning horn of plenty. 

Cornucopias or the Horn of Plenty has been used in Western Art for centuries as a symbol of abundance and nourishment.  It is usually depicted as a great horn overflowing with  a profusion of subject matter. 

                      Very old Florida advertising poster

Zeus, while an infant in hiding from his father Kronos was given unending nourishment 

from the broken horn of Amalthea his nursemaid who had taken the form of a goat. 

The goddesses Fortuna, 
           Dupondius Hadrian 117-138 A.D. -  Fortune with cornucopia 

Abundantia and Annona are often seen holding a Cornucopia. As is Plutos the son of Demeter goddess of the grain. 

The Great Seal of North Carolina

 has a Cornucopia as does the Coat of Arms of Columbia 

and Peru. 

It is recently most often associated with Thanksgiving and a bounty of Earths harvest. You will find them as centerpieces, decorations and enthusiastic artwork from 1st graders. 

This week I present a Cornucopia of Cornucopia Art in Abundance.