Friday, December 31, 2010

Robert Genn's newsletter....

Below find today's article by Robert Genn. I loved it so much I reprinted it in it's entirety.

He is not only a great painter by a great writer. Reading this is a great way to start the New Year!...Ginny

I don't think our daily newspapers are going to be with us much longer. Right now we get two of them. They're delivered a few minutes apart in the early morning by two separate guys in gas guzzlers with challenged mufflers. Every time I step out to get them I think of trees. If I read the trees in bed they make a rustling noise that bothers Carol. The iPad is better.

Paper books. Libraries are now places for homeless people to keep warm. The Kindles and other electronic readers will win out. You read what you want when and where you want to; no waiting for Amazon to deliver or the local library to open up. With electronic delivery, authors get paid just the same, perhaps more. Electronic books are easy to hold, and with their uniform, controllable lighting they cause less eyestrain.

Our postman, a really nice guy, is also pretty well toast. As the P.O. goes the way of the Druids--watch it--the institution will get more weird, more expensive and less efficient. When people get used to the various systems of electronic money transfer, checks in the mail will be dead ducks. Junk mail will be pre-junked. By the way, did you know the frequency of letter writing is way up in the last decade? Who can compete with a legible email that gets to Hackensack right away and it's free?

But look out. Fine art is on the way in. In our gadgety, thing-happy society where Walmart and creeping meatballism threaten, painting is hot. Old fashioned as the shoeing of horses--about the same methodology for the last six hundred years--art fills a vital human need for life enhancement. Art reboots the cerebral cortex, teaches new skills to underutilized hands, arouses dormant sensitivities and promotes latent passions. If need be, art gives us something to talk about besides the kids, grandkids and celebrities, hence making us more interesting people. And it's cheap--a month of art supplies for the average Daumier is about the same as a round of golf.

They're now estimating 12 million painters in North America. Our sources figure four percent of Western populations have paint and brushes, up from three percent two decades ago. More painters are painting today than in the whole history of art. Done well, art has lots of ploys, feels good, makes you proud, is so frustratingly difficult it makes grown men cry, and it's not golf.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night in the Northern Hemisphere.

Poets over the ages have proffered plenty of advice for the coming months. Poet Pietro Aretino, born in the 15th century, said, "Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius." William Blake wrote, "In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." There's a Japanese proverb that says, "One kind word can warm three winter months."

Emily Dickinson wrote, "There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons — That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes." Existentialist Albert Camus wrote, "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." Victor Hugo once said, "Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart."

American writer Minna Antrim gave these instructions-in-verse:
"Brew me a cup for a winter's night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I'll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair."

This was taken from my daily message from Garrison Keillor. Do you get it too? The Writer's Almanac is a wonderful daily message of poems and other interesting facts. Click here.

I did this little santa (watercolor on Yupo) a year ago as a possible Christmas card and then rejected him in favor of something else. But I've always liked him. Although I am in Florida this solstice...we have had some chilly days here over the past a little hot cider and a warm blanket can feel good down here too in December and January. I wish you all a very merry holiday!!! Sorry I've been so slow to blog this fall and I resolve to be back to my studio and sending out more frequently.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Special tribute to Leslie Johnson

It's every teacher's hope that their students will not only learn something but also have fun in a class. Today I had such a lovely gift.

One of my students from a class on paper painting that I taught in mid September up in Wisconsin was kind enough to share her finished painting.

The unfinished painting is a photo I took during the class. She's come a long way, baby!

Isn't it spectacular!!!? I am so proud of her.
You will remember from early posts on this technique (based on Elizabeth Nelson's work) that we painted our own papers (in acrylic) and using the papers we make a collaged painting.
This was done on 11 x 14 canvas board.

I sure would like to see Leslie do another one!!!