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.

Gelett Burgess and cursive writing

cursive When I was younger, well, let us say much younger, back in the day when recess consisted of jump robes and hopscotch, there was one event that occurred which truly made you feel as though you were growing up. It was the time when the teacher announced that she was going to teach us how to write in cursive. Writing in cursive was a rite of passage…a style of penmanship that was introduced at the very end of second grade…directly before summer vacation… so that it gave you just a hint of what would be in store for you when you returned to third grade.

Writing in cursive separated you from the lower elementary classes; for if you could write it then you could also read it; with its swirly letters flaunting curlicues and slants… like deciphering a secret language… it was called “script”.

But today the teaching of cursive is becoming more and more obsolete… so much so that there are debates whether or not they should demote it from scholarship at all… Some arguments contest that it an antiquated skill; a form of writing that is not needed with the advent of computers and the like.
So, like many other things we may find that it will become a lost art, out with the old and in with the new…. However what will really be lost with its notoriety of becoming passé will be the extinction of a youthful celebration in one’s life.

Gelett BurgessToday blog brings back the esteemed thinker: Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) American poet, artist, and humorist. Best noted for his iconoclast creations, the Goops, those less than perfect children! As an illustrator, Burgess created not only the persona of his characters, but also what they looked like, round headed and wiggly!

From his book titled More Goops and How Not to Be One (1908), I have extracted the poem “Write Right”. For those of you who may have encountered a ‘stringent’ penmanship teacher in your youth, this may hit home a wee bit more!

“If you were writing with your nose,
You’d have to curl up, I suppose,
And lay your head upon your hand;
But now, I cannot understand,
For you are writing with your pen!
So sit erect, and smile again!
You need not scowl because you write,
Nor hold your fingers quite so tight!
And if you gnaw the holder so,
They’ll take you for a Goop, you know!”

First image: Elementary school children standing and watching teacher write at blackboard, Washington, D.C., Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer, 1899?

Christopher D. Morley and doors

doorThere are many things that we do in our lives that may generate your heart to beat a little faster. And though this activity may be a simple as turning the knob or pulling back on a handle, it is actually not the act, but rather the anticipation of what lies behind that stirs the thumping. Opening a door, a behavior that we do every day, is such an event that may cause your adrenalin to tingle and a lump in your throat to form.

From the very earliest time of your life to the present the door has made us grow limp at the knees. Take for example the first day of kindergarten, standing before the door that would suddenly escort you through a threshold that would forever leave you on one side and your mother on the other.

It was a door that stood between you and your first date, your prom, your visit to the doctor, the dentist, a driving test, and a job interview. A door, no matter what it may be made of…glass, paneled, steel, or wood, the door has the ability to cause us so much pain and so much happiness.
So the next time you come upon a door, I would venture to say, treat it kindly, for you may not know not what lies behind its portals.

christopher_morley(1)Today’s blog returns the esteemed thinker: Christopher D. Morley, (1890-1957) American author, journalist, poet, and essayist. Born in Haverford, PA, Morley wrote for the New York Evening Post (1920-1923) and the Saturday Review of Literature (1924-1941), which he helped found.

From his book, Mince Pie, I bring to you a snippet from “On Doors, ” a most profound look at a rather unassuming subject.

“…There are many kinds of doors. Revolving doors for hotels, shops and public buildings. These are typical of the brisk, bustling ways of modern life. Can you imagine John Milton or William Penn skipping through a revolving door? Then there are the curious little slatted doors that still swing outside denatured bar-rooms and extend only from shoulder to knee. There are trapdoors, sliding doors, double doors, stage doors, prison doors, glass doors. But the symbol and mystery of a door resides in its quality of concealment. A glass door is not a door at all, but a window. The meaning of a door is to hide what lies inside; to keep the heart in suspense.

Also, there are many ways of opening doors. There is the cheery push of elbow with which the waiter shoves open the kitchen door when he bears in your tray of supper. There is the suspicious and tentative withdrawal of a door before the unhappy book agent or peddler…
The opening and closing of doors is a part of the stern fluency of life. Life will not stay still and let us alone. We are continually opening doors with hope, closing them with despair. Life lasts not much longer than a pipe of tobacco, and destiny knocks us out like the ashes…”

Esteemed thinker: George Field

20140715_124832 There are three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, and three secondary colors, orange, purple, and green, which are created by mixing one primary color with another. For example: if you mix a dash of yellow with a dash of red you will produce orange. For our youngest members of society, this in itself is magic. As we turn our colors from one shade to another, we can become more creative with the names. Dark blue, resembling the night sky, can have the moniker of “midnight blue”, while a more vibrant blend of blue and green may be referred to as “turquoise”.

But it was just recently; upon a re-voyage to the Caribbean Sea that I decided the names of the blues did not satisfy my request for identification of the water’s color. There seemed to be nothing on the “proverbial” palette that would announce such grandeur, such beauty, for as one would venture from wave to wave, the sun upon the surface changed the blues like a chameleon dashing from leaf to leaf.

And so, my tongue was tied to the usual color selections however, I know better than to hold such radiance hostage within the framework of the color-wheel.

NPG D20848; George Field by David Lucas, after  Richard RothwellToday’s blog introduces the esteemed thinker: George Field (1777- 1854), the British chemist, who helped alter British painting both aesthetically and practically. It was during the industrial revolution that an increased knowledge of chemistry allowed early nineteenth-century painters to benefit from the most dramatic increase in the number of new natural and synthetic pigments and refined color processing developments. Field, buttressed his theories with reliable information about light-fast, durable pigments, all based on his own scientific experiments and manufacturing processes.

In 1835, he published Chromatography, although already recognized by professional painters as London’s most important color-maker and supplier.

I now bring you a piece of his writing from FIELD’S CHROMATOGRAPHY; OR, TREATISE ON COLOURS AND PIGMENTS AS USED BY ARTISTS. From the essay, The relations of harmony and colour, here is something to ponder.

“Assured as we must be of the importance of colouring as a branch of art, colours in all their bearings become interesting to the artist, and on their use and arrangement his reputation as a colourist must depend.
Colour, remarks Ruskin, is wholly relative; each hue throughout a work is altered by every touch added in other places. Thus, to place white beside a colour is to heighten its tone; to set black beside a colour is to weaken its tone; while to put grey beside a colour, is to render it more brilliant. If a dark colour be placed near a different, but lighter colour, the tone of the first is heightened, while that of the second is lowered. An important consequence of this principle is, that the first effect may neutralize the second, or even destroy it altogether. …

We learn from these relations of colours, why dapplings of two or more produce effects in painting so much more clear and brilliant than uniform tints obtained by compounding the same colours: and why hatchings, or a touch of their contrasts, thrown as it were by accident upon local tints, have the same effect. We see, too, why colours mixed deteriorate each other, which they do more—in many cases—by imperfectly neutralizing or subduing each other chromatically, than by any chemical action. Finally, we are impressed with the necessity, not only of using colours pure, but of using pure colours; although pure colouring and brilliancy differ as much from crudeness and harshness, as tone and harmony from murkiness and monotony.

The powers of colours in contrasting each other agree with their correlative powers of light and shade, and are to be distinguished from their powers individually on the eye, which are those of light alone. Thus, although orange and blue are equal powers with respect to each other, as regards the eye they are totally different and opposed. Orange is a luminous colour, and has a powerfully irritating effect, while blue is a shadowy colour, possessing a soothing quality—and it is the same, in various degrees, with other colours …”

Second image: Portrait by David Lucas, after Richard Rothwell mezzotint, 1845 (1839)

Sun Safely

Educating children and teens is our first defense in helping prevent skin cancer later in life!

A digitally free copy is available to upload …. teaching our our kids to be ‘sun safe’ is a smart choice!

Sun Safely Alphabet Book

By Nanette Avery in Sun Safely

12 pages, published 8/2/2011

An illustrated alphabet book promoting sun protection for kids! It’s as easy as A to Z to learn how to be sun safe and protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun. Follow each of the 26 letters and learn how to be sun smart! Find out how animals like elephants, rhinos, meerkats, and even polar bears protect themselves from the sun. Both parents and children will be encouraged to “sun safely”!

P.T. Barnum and debt

debtIf you wanted to know where to look for advice you would only have to twist your head from side to side for it rests on both of your shoulders. Advice are those “either or suggestions” that we grapple with; they are the suggestions we often do not know which one to adhere to. For when we are in need, both sides can be ever so convincing.

Advice is the food we feed our indecisions, sometimes it is fattening…filled with saturated fats and sugars….not very good for us but very satisfying; and then there is the more nutritious proposals, not as immediately fulfilling but in the long run more wholesome. And there lies the problem, which advice to ignore and which one to adopt; for as we twist our head from side-to-side, our hunger for contentment amplifies. Perhaps this is why many a person has succumbed to advice that grants immediate rewards… deciding to attend to the details later. But when “later” comes round such advice heaves and sighs under the weight of debt and disappointment. And with poor advice it is often too late to realize that like unwanted calories, debt increase at a rate where suddenly we are quite a bit stouter.

Alas, the burden of deciding which advice to take is not easy. And wouldn’t it be nice if there was the proverbial crystal ball that could tell us which side of our head to listen to. But like the little devil and angel on either shoulder, we can only hope our choice is correct.

Barnum circus posterToday’s post returns to you a man who presumes to have the right advice: the esteemed thinker: P.T. Barnum (1801-1891). Although the Barnum name is part of the American circus legacy, Mr. Barnum was 61 years old when the circus collaboration was presented to him. It was in his marketing ingenuity and genius that brought him to the forefront of 19th century society. He crafted his life by taking chances and making changes. He was mostly successful in business although at times suffered for under his miscalculations

From his book The Art of Money Getting, I have extracted some words of advice in the essay, “Avoid Debt”.

“Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get in, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his “teens,” running in debt… Grunting and groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and now when he is called upon to pay up, he has nothing to show for his money; this is properly termed “working for a dead horse.” I do not speak of merchants buying and selling on credit, or of those who buy on credit in order to turn the purchase to a profit…

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master. When you have it mastering you; when interest is constantly piling up against you, it will keep you down in the worst kind of slavery. But let money work for you, and you have the most devoted servant in the world. It is no “eye-servant.” There is nothing animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as money when placed at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry weather…”