Posts Tagged ‘journal’







If you can get to the N.C. Wyeth exhibit at the Concord Museum by September 18, I think it will be worth your while.

You’re familiar with the family of painters, the Wyeths, right? Best known are Nathaniel C., his son Andrew, and Andrew’s son, Jamie. Perhaps you have been to the Brandywine Museum in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, which got its start with generations of Wyeth art.

N.C. fell in love with Henry D. Thoreau‘s writing in 1909, made several pilgrimages to Concord, and eventually conceived of a book that he would illustrate , calling it Men of Concord: And Some Others as Portrayed in the Journal of Henry David Thoreau.

The Concord Museum and the Concord Library are each hosting exhibits related to the book, but if you like N.C.’s art, the museum exhibit is the one to see. It’s small but informative and lovely to look at.

N.C. was known for heroic illustrations of classics like Treasure Island, and his characters’ facial expressions and body postures always tell a story. That might be too literal for some art lovers, but I like it. I like the looks on the faces of three men Thoreau described in his journal as “slimy.” I like the watchful, coiled bodies of the muskrat hunters on the river, and the youthful innocence of N.C.’s Thoreau — a quality I have never associated with the writer.

One fanciful painting with bluebirds in a bubble of light like angels over Thoreau’s head seems like hagiography. It’s not my favorite work here, but it’s an intriguing summary of the writer’s interests. And people do make a religion out of Thoreau and Transcendentalism, so maybe it’s not surprising. The whole Concord gang — including Bronson Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson — is in the show, minus most of the brilliant women, of course.

One thing I learned was that N.C. had his pencil sketches converted into glass slides, and then he projected them onto the Renaissance board he favored so he could work directly on the enlarged sketch.

More on the museum website.

The hut is a replica of the cabin Thoreau stayed in at Walden Pond and is located on the grounds of the museum.




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I have mentioned the Block Island Poetry Project in past years, and I wanted to let you know that I just got the scoop on this year’s theme.

Nancy writes, “The Block Island Poetry Project weekend will be April 16-19 and will focus on Poetry of the Wild, a project of Ana Flores, who visited just a few days ago to show us examples of what she’s been doing around the country for the last twelve years. … I’m in the process of developing my Poetry of the Wild poetry box project for the school.”

The Poetry of the Wild website explains, “Poetry of the Wild invites the public out for a walk to see their world anew through the keenly felt perspectives of poets and artists. Using a unique presentation of ‘poetry boxes’ that combine art and poetry, the project serves as a catalyst for exploring our towns and considering how place informs mindfulness. The public becomes engaged by finding the boxes which are sited as a network on mapped trails, reading the poems, and responding in the public journals contained in each.

“The sculptor Ana Flores created Poetry of the Wild in 2003 while she was the first artist in residence for the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association in Southern Rhode Island. Her mission was to use the arts to foster public awareness and stewardship of the land and waterways protected by the Association. That first project had a dozen boxes created by students from area schools, members of the environmental group and other artists. The public response was overwhelming during its three month tenure. It turned out that many people roaming the trails were poetic– but they had had no place to express themselves. Journals were replaced three times and the trails leading to boxes also became less littered.”

For more about Ana’s work, see earthinform.com. And for more about the Block Island Poetry Project (founded by 2008-2013 Rhode Island poet laureate Lisa Starr), click here.

Ana Flores

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Signs of a prehistoric camel have been found in the frozen north.

John rode a camel in Egypt a year ago, and my grandson still talks about it, but the camel found in Canada would have looked a little different. (Wikipedia has an image, here.)

Ian Austen writes at the NY Times, “A group of scientists reported on Tuesday that they had found fossilized remains of a giant camel, with a shoulder height of perhaps nine feet, in Canada’s frigid high Arctic.

” ‘It’s a surprise when you first hear it,’ said Natalia Rybczynski, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, who discovered the bone fragments in 2006. ‘But the Arctic in the winter was like a desert at that time.’ …

“The remains were found about 750 miles north of what was previously the northernmost known camel fossil, a giant found in Canada’s Yukon Territory in 1913.

“It’s just kind of stunning that it’s more than 1,000 kilometers away,” said Dr. Rybczynski, the lead author of a paper about the camel published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

“She had accompanied a group of scientists to Ellesmere Island, which is in the Nunavut territory, who were studying the climate history of the region. At the time when the oversized camel lived, about 3.5 million years ago, the island was considerably warmer and covered by boreal forest. Still, it had unusually severe winters that lasted about six months, Dr. Rybczynski said.”



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I am grateful to my friend Mary Ann for posting a link to this story on Facebook today.

Julian Guthrie writes in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Starting in the summer of 2000, a man named Someguy launched 1,000 blank, leather-bound journals into the world to encourage creativity and see how art could connect people.

“The journals trickled back in from places as far flung as Iraq — reaching 40 countries and 50 states — and were filled with gorgeous drawings, political musings, disturbing rants, and poetic vignettes of daily lives.

“The journals, registered and tracked online, were eventually turned into a book, displayed at museums in San Francisco (at the Museum of Modern Art), Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Ariz., and featured in a documentary.

“More than 12 years later, the global art experiment has a new twist: The idea has now been adopted by Bay Area children’s hospitals, where young patients use the journals as a way to connect with other children going through something similar.

“Brian Singer, the San Francisco artist whose handle is Someguy, has been touched by this latest chapter in his social experiment.

” ‘I have heard stories of the impact of these journals, of kids opening up in ways they hadn’t before,’ says Singer, who built a website, 1001journals.com, to help others start similar projects. …

“Singer, 39, who grew up in Cupertino, lives in Noe Valley and commutes by shuttle to his job at Facebook in Menlo Park, where he manages a design group. …

“He remains interested in the phenomenon of sharing among strangers and looking at how to connect people through a physical artifact. Tangible items ‘drive connections in the real world,’ he said.

“There are still many of Singer’s original blank journals out in the world that may one day return.

” ‘They travel on their own,’ Singer says, ‘like a message in a bottle.’ ”

Read more.

Image: San Francisco Chronicle

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“In a tiny South African cave,” writes Amina Khan in the Los Angeles Times, “archaeologists have unearthed a 100,000-year-old art studio that contains tools for mixing powder from red and yellow rocks with animal fat and marrow to make vibrant paints as well as abalone shells full of dried-out red pigment, the oldest paint containers ever found. (Photo by Magnus Haaland / October 5, 2011)

“The discovery, described in [the 10/14/11] edition of the journal Science, suggests that humans may have been thinking symbolically — more like modern-day humans think — much earlier than previously recognized, experts said. Symbolic thinking could have been a key evolutionary step in the development of other quintessentially human abilities, such as language, art and complex ritual.

“The artifacts were uncovered at a well-studied site called the Blombos Cave, which sits by the edge of the Indian Ocean about 180 miles east of Cape Town. The two shells, lying about 6 inches from each other, had a red residue from a soft, grindable stone known as ochre. Ochre is rich in iron compounds that usually give it red or yellow hues, and it is known to have been used in ancient paints.”

It is lovely to think that the longing to be creative is something innate. Now we know that at least 100,000 years ago, people were experiencing that urge and acting on it.

Read more here.

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