Friday, December 11, 2009

The Friday Evening Nudes

I'm kind of nervous. I've never taken requests for nudes before. And as I suspected, at least a couple of you  have put me in somewhat of a compromising position. But I did ask for suggestions and what kind of art hostess would I be if I did not fill requests graciously, right?   ;-)

  This one goes out to Susan, who requested a nude by illustrator Edmund Dulac. But I'm adding a bonus:  one by Dulac I found tucked into a file labeled "illustrators".  Susan, thanks. I went on a Dulac hunt after I read your comment. Your work reminds me of this style. Heavenly. 

Mermaid and Prince

 Selene and Endymion
Edmund Dulac

And if I had gained Susan's permission earlier (I didn't think of it until later) I would also be posting one of her own images. Honestly, they are in the same league as Dulac.

I do have this mandala that I received as a blog award and it is made by Susan. So, though it has nothing to do with nudes, it sort of fits with the mood of this post. I think. Then again, it does have something to do with nudes. Doesn't everything? Nudity is truly elemental.   :-)  You could most easily view Susan's paintings, sketches and silk art creations by visiting her at Phantsythat.

 Dianne:  This one is for you. The subject had to be in the company of a cat.  ;-)


Okay. There is nary a doubt about it:  I have quite the eclectic bunch showing up around here!  :-)

 Spadoman:  I did my best, my friend.  I haven't been successful in finding an image where one can actually read the thought bubbles, so I have not an exact idea of what the serpent trails off into...


Lemme Caution had no preferences so we'll go off for a bit on a Pagan Sphinx tangent. Shall we?

Emile Bernard

Albert Von Keller

Cupid and the Three Graces


5. And this one's for MadPriest:  I didn't know your tastes leaned toward the athletic.

 The authentic Tennis Girl:

Martin Elliot
click for larger viewing

My apologies for not linking to everyone's blogs. I've run out of time before I have to leave for dinner. 

Happy Hanukkah

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Requests for Nudes, Anyone?

I'm about to put together The Friday Evening Nudes and the lines are open for suggestions. Okay. All three of you. If you're reading, give me an artist, a genre or a specific nude that you know you'd like to see posted for tomorrow night's feature.

Fine art only. Photography, painting and sculpture are all okay.                                      

Thank you and see you tomorrow night. Or whenever you make it over.

Pagan Sphinx

Bessie MacNicol
(British, 1869-1904)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's Goin' On - It's a Snow Day!

I love snow days. Some of my co-teachers don't like snow days because it means we have days to make up at the end of the school year. I don't mind getting up and going to work in good weather, so a few extra days of school tacked on in June doesn't bother me one bit.

It's really pretty out there but I still have a lot to do to get the house ready for my mother's visit. I'm actually enjoying the domesticity of it all. At this stage in my life, I much prefer the domesticity thing to the student thing.

As some of you know, I've embarked on a journey through "higher education" to try and obtain a masters in education, with emphasis in special education, including a additional teaching license. In Massachusetts, they aren't cutting anyone any slack. And did I mention it's expensive? And why did I not suspect more strongly that the quality of this education would be mediocre? The classes are all at night and and in the summer. I don't mean to be a snob, as I was educated exclusively by public education and I work for the public school system. However, the quality of the instruction for night classes is fairly pathetic. Sigh. So I'm re-thinking if I want to continue pursuing this. I have a job and I'm not sure that the pay-off is worth what I will get back. What it would mean is that I would have more options outside my own school district. Hopefully at a slightly larger school with better resources.

The state of Massachusetts can more than afford to make the requirements stiffer. I don't know what the statistics are, exactly, but there is a very large pool of people wanting to enter the field of education right now including unemployed career-changers. Those who are already teaching, are swarming to update licenses and to obtain additional licenses that make them more flexible to their school districts.

I have a snow day from school to experience. What am I doing talking about school? 

 I haven't been taking many pictures for months now but I do have this one to share from last winter and it looks much like today. This one's from January of this year and there is a lot more snow on the bushes. Today we got 6-8 inches, I'm guessing. I haven't listened to a radio or turned on a TV today. I haven't had lunch yet. There is some Chinese take-out from last night for lunch. And then it's back to domesticville. I like the look of the snow from the cozy house.

Over the weekend I accomplished what seemed like an overwhelming task until I really tackled it:  cleaning out a closet in the upstairs bedroom with the remains of four teen-age girls. Wait. No. It's not that gruesome. It's really about objects from the past lives of four young women:  my two, who are 22 and almost 21 and WP's two who are 25 and 27. The only one of them now who keeps an address here is my younger SG2 who a junior in college in Boston.

Several phone calls were made and some determinations were made about what would be saved and what would be throw out or donated. When all is said and done, I took out of the closet (and from a couple of drawers) two large bags of trash and three large bags for Sal's. I reclaimed the closet. It's neat and clean and organized. I made room for my suitcases, which are always being shuffled about. The room itself looks really good. It's so 1950's with its built-ins, painted light yellow. And oh the charm of a hardwood floor that a teenager once took red permanent marker to, circa 1999. It's mostly covered up with a rug. When I whine about it, WP tells me "put it on this list" and sighs. The list grows ever longer. Sigh indeed.

Among the things remaining in that closet, one thing strikes me most:  the two wedding gowns; the ones my daughter and daughter-in-law wore on their wedding day when they up and eloped to San Francisco to take advantage of their right to marry. It was a right that was to last only a few short months in California but their marriage is legal, even after the passage of Prop 8. It was mind-boggling the planning they had to do in advance to make the decision to marry when they did. For practical and legal reasons, they had to marry in California and they knew that there would be a small window before they took it away again. So when people comment that my twenty-two-year-old is too young to be married, she responds politely with "so people tell me" and smiles. So do I. Although I did think she was too young to get married. And a year later, I fully understand. She's happy, she is working hard for Americorps and she's putting her ducks in a row for graduate school. And she's married. To a wonderful young woman - my fifth daughter, really.  That makes me smile. Girls. Girls. Girls. I love it.

WP's oldest, M lives in San Francisco and early this summer, so early this summer, I fly to Santa Barbara to spend time with SG1 and the Beloved and then flying to San Francisco to visit WP's daughter. Two birds on the west coast and two on the east coast. So Far.

SG2 is flying the nest more slowly. Given her nature since babyhood, I am not surprised. She struggles with college sometimes in that she is at a big university and things have a tendency to get boggled more as a result. She's not sure if she wants to be a journalist now and she is considering a master's in another field. She is an excellent, talented writer but if she is going to have any financial autonomy, she has to put her skills to use and be able to support herself. She loves Boston and she's made some very close friends there. Her boyfriend since September is a BU student as well and plans on sticking around. Another child to fly away soon. And you never stop worrying about any of them. We are very fortunate, though. We worry because it is the nature of parents to do so but we thankfully don't have much to seriously worry about with this bunch. I am always grateful for this.

SG2 relaxing outside the MFA

I will leave you with another photo from a wintry last year. I did speak of birds and nests, didn't I?  ;-)

If you're interested, the post below is on America artist Milton Avery. Tell me which is your favorite!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Artist of the Week - Milton Avery - American Modernist

1885  - 1965

 most images can be enlarged by clicking


 Still-life with Self-Portrait  c.  1930

The son of a tanner, Avery began working at a local factory at the age of 16, and supported himself for decades with a succession of blue-collar jobs. The death of his brother-in-law in 1915 left Avery, as the sole remaining adult male in his household, responsible for the support of nine female relatives. wikipedia


  At the beginning of his career, when he lived in Connecticut, Milton Avery (1885-1965) was influenced by American Impressionists--Inness, Lawson and Twachtman. But when he moved to New York in 1925 he was exposed to a wider variety of contemporary work and his work became more abstract, though always remaining recognizably representational. Matisse was a strong influence on him and, in turn, his brilliance as a colorist influenced a generation of Color Field painters. 


 Portrait of Annette Kaufman 

Wife of American violinist Louis Kaufman

Annette Kaufman standing with portrait

Milton Avery brought together simple, spare forms and harmonious colors to build patterns of flat, interlocking shapes reminiscent of French artist Henri Matisse. He frequently depicted family, friends and the familiar landscapes, simplifying and refining the imagery into strong formal patterns.


Black Chemise  


 The Group (After Dinner Coffee)  





The Three Graces


Sally Avery
(the artist's wife)

Early in his career his work was considered too radical for being too abstract; when Abstract Expressionism
became dominant his work was overlooked, as being too representational.

Sketching by the Sea      

"Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms."      ~ Milton Avery

Salmon River

Girl in a Blue Nighgown

(Sara, the artist's daughter)

Susan Stamberg describes the works as abstract but accessible. "The paintings of Milton Avery are rooted in home and hearth," she says. "He was a very personal painter. A painter of the familiar -- his family, his studio, a seascape he loved. And friends" NPR -"Discovering Milton Avery"








Birds and Sea

woodblock print


Chinese Checkers


Although never associated with a particular movement, Avery was a key modernist who influenced succeeding generations of artists including Color Field painters Mark Rothko.




by clicking on the image above, you can check thumbnail versions of more rare works by Avery, that are protected by copyright laws

Art Net  

The Archive 

 NPR online "Discovering Milton Avery

 D.C. Moore Gallery

The Butler Institute of American Art

New York Public Library

 New York Times:  Milton Avery works stollen in Florida


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Music for Sunday - Joni Mitchell demo for Shades of Scarlett Conquering

and some related American art


 From the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Shades of Scarlett Conquering

Out of the fire like Catholic saints
Comes Scarlett and her deep complaint
Mimicking tenderness she sees
In sentimental movies
A celluloid rider comes to town
Cinematic lovers sway
Plantations and sweeping ballroom gowns
Take her breath away

Out in the wind in crinolines
Chasing the ghosts of Gable and Flynn
Through stand-in boys and extra players
Magnolias hopeful in her auburn hair
She comes from a school of southern charm
She likes to have things her way
Any man in the world holding out his arm
Would soon be made to pay

Friends have told her not so proud
Neighbors trying to sleep and yelling "not so loud"
Lovers in anger "Block of Ice"
Harder and harder just to be nice
Given in the night to dark dreams
From the dark things she feels
She covers her eyes in the X-rated scenes
Running from the reels

Beauty and madness to be praised
'Cause it is not easy to be brave
To walk around in so much need
To carry the weight of all that greed
Dressed in stolen clothes she stands
Cast iron and frail
With her impossibly gentle hands
And her blood-red fingernails

Out of the fire and still smoldering
She says "A woman must have everything"
Shades of Scarlett Conquering
She says "A woman must have everything"

A Bright Future

Harry Roselan
Augusta, Georgia

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