Esteemed thinker: Winslow Homer

landscape Nature’s influence is as expansive as the wonders she endows upon us. And with this thought one can only turn to the arts for examples of such marvels. From poets, to painters, to musicians, the natural surroundings have inspired.

Our inspirations come from the both large and small, tiny and grandiose. A warm breeze or a tidal storm; all products of nature; she is the source, the “ah ha moment” that stirs the creative process… gets the brush dipped into paint, the fingers flowing across the keyboard, and the first notes on the staff.
It is not hard to become inspired by nature; what is difficult is taming her for our distractions. It is true that some may pass her by with a carefree smile; however there are others who are propelled into her world as great as the passion provoked.

Today’s blog brings to you the esteemed thinker: Winslow Homer,( 1836- 1910) a American artist and illustrator. Homer, considered to be one of the greatest American painters, was born in Boston, Mass. His career as an artist began at the age of 19 when he apprenticed at John.H Bufford’s lithography shop, teaching himself to draw by illustrating or the copying of photographs for sheet music covers of popular songs (1855-57). Two years later he moved to New York, attended a few art classes, later freelancing for Harper’s Weekly where he was sent to Virginia as an artist correspondent to cover the Civil War. winslow-homer

Homer travels and paints in France for a short time, only to return to the United States developing an impressionist style of painting years before the established school of Impressionism. His return to the United States takes him to seasides and rural communities where he is surrounded and enchanted by the beauty of nature, enticing him to experiment with technique, style, watercolor and oils. Throughout his life he travels to destinations such as the Caribbean, the Adirondacks, and rural Maine where he completes some of the most dramatic paintings. To date he continues to motivate and awe with his energy and artistic skills…for to see a Winslow Homer” is to be in the presence of greatness.

I now present to you one of our great American paintings, The Gulf Stream, 1899, an oil on canvas, inspired by Mother Nature and two winter trips to the Bahamas in 1884-85 and 1898-99. Painted by none other than Winslow Homer, take a moment from your hectic day and enjoy!

The Gulf Stream Winslow Homer

Tribute to summer

As the earth rotates and we near the Autumnal Equinox, I feel it is only fitting to give a tribute to summer for its sandy walks and the dipping of toes into water. I bid thanks to the season that shines.

And so, today’s blog brings you my piece, As the Shore Unfolds

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Esteemed thinker: Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz We humans believe that we are a sophisticated species having the ability to control so many aspects of our lives. We can decide where we live, when we eat, and how we spend days.

However, one small finicky component that we often do not seem to have as much control over is our mood. The disposition of our day can be easily altered and what began as a glorious morning may be modified, turning a seemingly pleasant afternoon into a dreary day. And the culprit for our gloom may be something that we, like it or not, have no control over… none other than Mother Nature.

Mother Nature has the ability to malign our attitude as quickly as she can turn the blue sky grey. How often do we find ourselves in a sour mood when it rains or complain when it is too hot? Her seasonal whims can make entire nations grumpy, putting scowls upon the faces of folks who only a few weeks before were delighting outside, now shielding themselves from the harsh and cold winter winds.

So as much as we would like to believe we are in control …take heed, there is a force greater than our own that “shall we say” owns our temperaments…it is our dear Mother…nature!

Today’s blog finds a path to the esteemed thinker: Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946). Acclaimed photographer and art promoter, he was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, but received his formal education in engineering in Germany. Upon his return to the New York City in 1890, he set his sights on establishing photography as a “legitimate” form of art. Early in his career Stieglitz led a movement called Pictorialism, which promoted the photograph as art, with an emphasis that a photograph was created when the camera was used as a tool, like a paintbrush or palette knife was a tool. His own work grew with his artistic achievements where he began to use the natural elements, such a weather, to create effects and the camera’s focusing abilities to soften the frames.

In 1905, he founded the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York, with Edward Steichen, which later became known simply as 291. Here he was able to elevate photography to the status of sculpture and painting. His own work

In 1917 he met the great American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who becomes his lover and finally his wife in 1924. Over a period of 20 years, he had taken over 300 individual pictures of her, which demonstrates his unique and undeniable artistic ability to capture many facets of a single subject.

I now present to you a photogravure (1892) titled Winter – Fifth Avenue by the great photographer, Steiglitz. His ability to transport a mood is forever a testimony to his creative talents and artistic eye.

Winter - Fifth Avenue

Winter – Fifth Avenue

First image: Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz (1902) by Käsebier, Gertrude

Paul Cézanne and what is reality

cezanne Self-portrait-1887 What is reality and what is our perspective of it; a perplexing question, indeed. Some may think of this as one’s point of view, some may think of it as one’s opinion, some may think of it as one’s judgment. Where fact meet, converge, and often collide can make quite a difference in how we look at ourselves and others.

An ordinary mirror in our homes or the dressing room of a clothing store can take on the eye of an opposing point of view or similar reaction. The mirror may agree with us, whereupon we feel quite content with our dress, or it may show us a rather disagreeable figure of ourselves and we become disgusted with the reflection it has imparted.
Reality of a view or landscape, such as a mountain range, may be met with appreciation of nature’s vestibules or it may be overlooked as an impedance in our journey.

Such is the task of the artist, to present to us a reality that is wholly personal or universal. Sometimes we connect with a painting, feeling that its presence is greater than the canvas it is painted on, and other times our perspective of it falls short and we pass it by with a mere shrug of detachment .

And so, as we go on with our day, we are confronted with the decisions of what is reality. For some it remains unimportant, and for others it is a daily search for truth.

Today’s blog brings back the esteemed thinker: Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), French artist whose work demonstrates mastery of design, color, and the transition from 19th century art to the 20th century. Renown all over the world, Cézanne is considered the father of modern painting.

In his artistic endeavor, I present to you his oil on canvas titled, Mont Sainte–Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley. Take a moment to look at his reality through your reality and see where they converge. It is worth a moment out of your hectic day.

Cezanne painting

First image: Cézanne Self-portrait, 1887

Esteemed thinker: Paul Cézanne

chef_2 If there is one activity that seems to be enjoyed by both men and women, it is eating. Dining out has become a pastime that stirs everyone’s taste buds from the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed. From breakfast to mid-night snacks food is our minds. Much of one’s morning drudgery at work is survivable by much collaboration with colleagues on where to go to lunch. Dates consist of a dinner out, while a get-together with friends at a sporting event first involves a well-executed tailgate party. Our time at the grocery store is extended by squeezing and smelling…to find just the right colored vegetables and fruits; reading ingredients on labels (that always need glasses to see), and making sure the fish at the seafood counter is “wild”.

The multitude of television programs that host reality shows with restaurant chefs, culinary hopefuls, and celebrity cooks who concoct dishes under bizarre circumstances illustrates our fascination with food. Travel shows that take us to places we cannot pronounce with hosts who eat things that challenge the stomach and palate have become ever more popular with armchair chefs. It is clear that the world has become enamored with food.

So with all this eating and cooking, why is it that when we come home from the grocery store and put away our purchases we seem to always open the refrigerator and say, “There is nothing good to eat!” Hmmmm, perhaps that’s why we head directly to the television…because there is always something delicious to virtually eat!

cezanne fruit still lifeToday’s blog brings you the esteemed thinker: Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) born in Aix-en-Provence, France, one of the most influential artist. Falling in the category of Post Impressionists, his painting inspired generations of artists having formed the bridge from late impressionist’s movement to the cubist movement. Much of his work seemed to ignore what was considered classical perspective, painting objects that allowed each item to be “independent within the space of a picture while the relationship of one object to another takes precedence over traditional single-point perspective.”

Having brought to you a great painter in today’s post we must look at his thoughts in a different way; for his ideas are to be interpreted not through words but rather transported by way of the medium he creates best, painting. And so I bring you an oil on canvas titled, Still Life with Jar, Cup, and Apples (1877) by the great Paul Cézanne. Take a virtual bite out of his work and enjoy!

First image: Chef in North Beach Italian restaurant. San Francisco, California, Photographer: Collier, John, Date Created: 1941 .

Esteemed thinker: Albert Einstein

the thinker There is a notion that the intellect of men and women are determined by the dominant part of the brain they favor, the right or the left. According to some, people who are right- brained thinkers are those that are more creative in the arts, more intuitive and subjective; while the left- brained people are those that are gifted in the sciences and mathematics, more logical and analytical. This simple division has made for wonderful excuses not to perform certain tasks… for those who find calculating the sales tax a burden or drawing a map on a paper napkin excruciatingly painful can simply flit their hand up and smile, blaming their inadequacies to their lop-sided brain.

On the other hand, just like the color wheel is not just black and white; in between the two extremes we have hues of grey. And though we often think of the color grey as so distasteful when we find it upon the head, that we wash it away as soon as a single strand appears, we should think not negatively of this color.

On the contrary, a person who uses both the left and right side of his or her brain is to be thought of in a positive light, which I will now coin as “grey brained” ….one that utilizes all senses to accomplish what ever task is at hand. Perhaps if everyone thought with their “grey matter” all the time, what a rational world we might have!

Einstein Today’s blog returns the illustrious, esteemed thinker: Albert Einstein (1879- 1955) born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany. A man that needs little introduction, he is one of the most important and influential physicist of the 20th century. Well acknowledged for having developed the special and general theories of relativity, in 1921, he won the Nobel Prize for physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

And so, I have snipped a most profound statement from his book titled The world as I see it (1949). Upon reading his words I believe you will agree that both the left and right side of the brain, if you contend we favor one to another, are both essential…! And who can argue with his genius?

“…The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle…”

Second image: Turner, Orren Jack, photographer, c1947.