Friday, October 20, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ N.C. Wyeth & Family

It's not difficult to identify mini-dynasties, of sorts, among some who make their marks in different spheres of life: political dynasties (Adams; Kennedy; Clinton?) Acting dynasties (Bridges; Douglas; Carradine; Redgrave) etc. Painting/illustration dynasties, in the USA, include the Wyeths.

N.C. Wyeth, in full Newell Convers Wyeth
(born October 22, 1882, Needham, Massachusetts — died October 19, 1945, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania), American illustrator and muralist.

Wyeth was raised on a farm, and he learned drafting and illustration in Boston before studying with the master illustrator Howard Pyle. He first found success in depicting the American West. During his career he contributed his memorable illustrations to more than 100 books, including a famous series of children’s classics, including Treasure Island, Kidnapped, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and The Black Arrow, and he also produced numerous murals in public buildings. He was the teacher of his son, the painter Andrew Wyeth. [N.C. Wyeth was grandfather of Jamie Wyeth - also a painter.]

My blog-post relating to N.C. Wyeth's son, Andrew, mentions that: His father was a benevolent tyrant, dominating his five offspring while encouraging them to be geniuses by allowing only the best music, the best poetry in the house. Andrew was his favorite, a "daddy's boy."

N.C. Wyeth, described, elsewhere, as a strapping, engaging man, was also said to have suffered from depression and questioned the direction of his life and career. He died on October 19, 1945, in Chadds Ford, when the car he was driving was hit by a train; the automobile also contained a young grandson, who perished as well.

From Wikipedia:

"Wyeth's exuberant personality and talent made him a standout student. A robust, powerfully built young man with strangely delicate hands, he ate a lot less than his size implied. He admired great literature, music, and drama, and he enjoyed spirited conversation"

"Wyeth created a stimulating household for his talented children Andrew Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, Ann Wyeth McCoy, and Nathaniel C. Wyeth. Wyeth was very sociable, and frequent visitors included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Hergesheimer, Hugh Walpole, Lillian Gish, and John Gilbert. According to Andrew, who spent the most time with his father on account of his sickly childhood, Wyeth was a strict but patient father who did not talk down to his children. His hard work as an illustrator gave his family the financial freedom to follow their own artistic and scientific pursuits. Andrew went on to become one of the foremost American artists of the second half of the 20th century, and both Henriette and Carolyn became artists also; Ann became an artist and composer. Nathaniel became an engineer for DuPont and worked on the team that invented the plastic soda bottle. Henriette and Ann married two of Wyeth's protégés, Peter Hurd and John W. McCoy. Wyeth is the grandfather of artists Jamie Wyeth and Michael Hurd and the musician Howard Wyeth.[14]"

For some fine examples of N.C. Wyeth's illustrations, please do take a look at the large versions contained in a blog post by Nate Taylor - HERE.

I'll include just one of N.C.'s magazine cover illustrations, from 1921:

In 1945, Wyeth and his grandson (Nathaniel C. Wyeth's son) were killed when the automobile they were riding in was struck by a freight train at a railway crossing near his Chadds Ford home. At the time, Wyeth had been working on an ambitious series of murals for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company depicting the Pilgrims at Plymouth, a series completed by Andrew Wyeth and John McCoy.

No time of birth is available for N.C. Wyeth. A 12 noon chart for the day of his birth indicates:

"... exuberant personality...robust, powerfully built..." these observations, I'd say relate to natal Jupiter in harmonious trine to his Sun and Mercury on the cusp of Libra/Scorpio.

"...also said to have suffered from depression and questioned the direction of his life and career" - relates, in my opinion, to natal Mars and North Node in occasionally paranoid and intense Scorpio.

There's some orchestrated Fixed sign opposition going on between Fixed signs Scorpio and Taurus, this could account for the description of N.C. Wyeth as a "benevolent tyrant" - extremely fixed ideas on the way his children should develop.

Natal chart for N.C.'s son Andrew is available at the link provided in the post. There's evidence of a Watery Cancerian inheritance from the father - a softer version, strengthened considerably by Leo input and an Aries Moon. Jupiter on his ascendant could also be an inheritance from Dad, a whisper from the Jupiter trine Sun in his father's chart.

 Left to right:  Jamie, Andrew, N.C.

As for Jamie Wyeth (James Browning Wyeth, born July 6, 1946, he might be fodder for some future Arty Farty post; I can see, even from here, that the Watery Cancerian element has seeped through!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

With bells on...

I'm at a loss how to comment, with any good sense, about US politics (or even about British politics, especially Brexit) these days. "Sometimes the only thing you can do is stare blankly."* For now, I'll rely on anyone remaining more clear-headed than I'm feeling:
(*A line from "The Long Earth" by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter - my current read.)

Jim Haygood, a regular in the comments section at naked capitalism, on 17 October wrote, in the afternoon "Water Cooler" segment:

Truthdig has posted an awesome interview of Chris Hedges by WSWS.

Cris Hedges: Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power.

The Democratic Party doesn’t actually function as a political party. It’s about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They’re not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.
Bring it, Lord!

INDEEDY! (With bells on!)

I'll add a little more from the Chris Hedges interview, this on identity politics:
Chris Hedges: Well, identity politics defines the immaturity of the left. The corporate state embraced identity politics. We saw where identity politics got us with Barack Obama, which is worse than nowhere. He was, as Cornel West said, a black mascot for Wall Street, and now he is going around to collect his fees for selling us out.

My favorite kind of anecdotal story about identity politics:
Cornel West and I, along with others, led a march of homeless people on the Democratic National Convention session in Philadelphia. There was an event that night. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly angry Bernie Sanders supporters. I had been asked to come speak. And in the back room, there was a group of younger activists, one who said, “We’re not letting the white guy go first.” Then he got up and gave a speech about how everybody now had to vote for Hillary Clinton. That’s kind of where identity politics gets you. There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation.....The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression....

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Being Human in 2049 - and at Other Times

Our recent trip to the High Plains had a science fiction underside - sort of. During much driving time, on often deserted string-straight roads, we listened to an audio version of a volume of short stories by famous sci-fi master, Arthur C. Clarke. One of my favourites, History Lesson written in 1949, can be read in a pdf file HERE.

On the last afternoon of our trip, with a storm threatening, we hopped into a cinema in northern Oklahoma to see Blade Runner 2049.

The original Blade Runner movie, now thought of by many sci-fi fans as "iconic" has melted from my memory, almost completely, apart from the fact that its lead actor was Harrison Ford. I'm not too sure I enjoyed that movie, back in the 1980s, otherwise I'd recall it more easily. The 2049 sequel/update movie might prove to have better staying power in the old memory banks. The new story picks up some 30 years after the original ended.

Were the 2049 movie one of those big, pretentious coffee table volumes, I'd love to wander and linger through the photographs, again and again, ignoring most of the text. The visual interest of the movie far outshone the story-line, for me. Fascinating, yet chilling and easily imagined views of what the future might bring, came one after another, and were made somehow beautiful, while remaining also heartrendingly sad.

Flying vehicles, imagined by the 1980's original story's author Philip K. Dick should have been flying overhead right now - as I type. As in the case of so many early sci-fi writers' flights of imagination , they pre-supposed a much faster rate of progress,in certain areas, than has actually happened. Driverless cars are on the drawing board now, but still will remain earth-bound. Philip K. Dick's ashes, by the way, were buried in a cemetery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, one of our two-night stop-overs.

We both thought there were several iffy assumptions going on in 2049 - unless we'd missed something crucial in the dialogue that is (not at all unlikely!) Ryan Gosling, as I've probably written before in these pages, is not a favourite of either of us, though in this leading role he did....alright. I can't think of anyone who would have better fit this particular character and story-line.

No detail of the plot here from me - spoilers would definitely spoil this one. A quick read through the synopsis of the original Blade Runner, before seeing 2049 wouldn't go amiss, however.

Apparently the deeper layers of Blade Runner 2049, and its predecessor, are meant to relate to the question: what does it mean to be human? Perhaps so... perhaps. For me though, a movie we saw on TV back in the hotel room, later that night, offered another way of seeking the answer to that particular "what?" - Monster's Ball. Wow! There was some really first class+ acting going on in that one, by Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton, and the lost, lamented Heath Ledger. All our human faults, failings and yes - our better sides - were on show, and in-yer-face. Some scenes were hard to watch, but all worthwhile. Monster's Ball is an excellent movie, a no nonsense look at our all-too-human frailties!

As I finished typing that paragraph an old post of mine from way back popped into my head - from 2008 - a post about a song. I recall it easily because, at the time, it gathered lots of comments. Are We Human or Are We Dancer? It was memorably performed by The Killers. I don't think the theme of Blade Runner was in the mind of many listeners back then, but maybe now....?

Monday, October 16, 2017

High Pains Drifting

Home again, home again jiggity jig.....

We enjoyed a longer than usual trip - a drift around the US's High Plains, travelling through, or in, three panhandles: Oklahoma panhandle, the Texas panhandle, and the Nebraska panhandle. The latter was a new one for us, and very nice too - possibly one of those "hidden gems" travel writers sometimes mention. We also hit the plains of Colorado in Fort Morgan, and the eastern edge of Wyoming at Torrington; home again via Kansas and northern Oklahoma.

We'd have ventured further into Colorado or Wyoming but for the weather forecast. Snow arrived in the Rockies. We experienced just an icing sugar scattering in Scottsbluff, Nebraska where we were staying at the time.

(Clicking on them should bring up clearer versions of husband's photos below.)

Fall has definitely fallen in parts of Colorado and Nebraska. The area around Scottsbluff was especially bright with golden Maples plentiful and practically fluorescent. I like Nebraska! Don't know exactly why, I just do - it feels like "me". I wondered if, perhaps, the feeling connected to the state's latitude. It is nearer to England's Yorkshire latitude than is south-western Oklahoma, for sure, but I'd have to be well into Canada to find similar latitude to my birthplace in the north of England.

Points of special interest were: Carhenge in Nebraska - someone had the peculiar idea of building a kind of stonehenge (as in England) from old cars. The morning of our visit was very windy and plenty cold, though not quite bad enough to keep us inside our car.

Later in the trip, in Kansas, we stumbled upon what was once known as the Cathedral of the Plains, now slightly downgraded from Cathedral to The Basilica of St Fidelis because it's not the seat of a Bishop. In any city the huge church would seem quite unremarkable, but rising from those barely populated plains, it stands out some...well...actually it stands out a lot.

We also stumbled upon Greensburg, Kansas without, at first, remembering its recent history. The cinema caught our attention, named after me too!

"Looks brand new, but who would build a new cinema in a tiny town these days?"

Hey, look - they spelled theatre the British way - just noticed!

The whole of Greensburg looked new too - strange indeed, in these parts, where dilapidation and abandonment are common. We found the small town's antique store where the answer awaited, in newspaper cuttings and photographs in the store's entrance. "Of course! I remember now - a tornado devastated this town some years ago!" Ten years ago, in fact. The antique store owner told us that the town had been in the middle of painting and tidying itself up, when the tornado hit and undid the handiwork. Still, Greensburg looks great now, and, we were told, it has been rebuilt to be, appropriately enough - "green". Locals have no argument at all when they see the drop in their energy bills each month, we were told.

We arrived home Sunday afternoon after our High Plains drifting. We forgot to take our whip along but, happily, didn't meet this legendary fellow-drifter! We did have a little "excitement" one evening though. Husband accidentally pressed the emergency button on the phone in our room, while shifting the telephone. Next thing : cops at the door wanting to know....Oops! Indeed!

A little contemplation of where the next trip might take us needed a hat (TSK!) and a drink:

Saturday, September 30, 2017


So would we! I'm not sure how far we'll get this time (if we ever get on the road, that is) probably not as far as we did on our last big adventure in Colorado, back in 2006. Posts about that trip are 11 years old, but I'll link to them, and to some of husband's photos on Flickr, in the highly unlikely event of any passing reader being short of reading matter.

"...all this travelling and seeing things is fine but there’s also a lot of fun to be had in having been. You know, sticking all your pictures in a book and remembering things."

(Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic)


Photos at Flickr

Also, from a later trip, in 2010, to a different area of Colorado.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Anthony Green R.A.

Anthony Green R.A.
(born 30 September 1939) is an English realist painter and printmaker best known for his paintings of his own middle-class domestic life.

From Alfred Hickling in The Guardian, 2001
(SNIP) - -

Anthony Green may be one of our least fashionable senior painters, but he is no square - nor any regular shape at all. Green is a homespun visionary, the Stanley Spencer of the Pop generation, who decided in the 1960s that since he did not dream in rectangles, he should not paint in them either.

Green's highly keyed images have a peculiar intensity, the kind of second sight that comes from contemplating your cabbage patch for too long. He paints his cottage in Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire, and domestic life with his wife Mary with an obsessiveness that makes Spencer's relationship with Cookham look like a passing interest. But it is neither this, nor the Pre-Raphaelite palette, that makes his work so distinctive; rather it is his hallucinatory tendency to twist the very outlines of the paintings askew.

Many more examples at Google Image.

Mr Green loves angles doesn't he? He loves angles as much as Jean Arp the sculptor, featured Friday 15 September, seemed to dislike them!

A 12 noon natal chart (as no time of birth is known) for the day of Anthony Green's birth, 30 September 1939, in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK. Moon position and rising sign here will not be accurate.

It's tempting to relate the artist's love of angles to the several hard (square, 90 degree) angles in his natal chart, but that could well be simple coincidence. A more reliable astro-indication of the man's personality is the fact that his natal Sun, Mercury and Venus were conjoined in charming, Venus-ruled Libra. There's an opposition from jovial Jupiter in impulsive Aries, indicating that while of a charming and tactful nature, this is balanced by a fun, ebullient side. I'll hazard a guess that Mr Green was born before noon, putting Moon somewhat earlier in Aries, which would further underline a warm and enthusiastic nature. There's lots more, but that'll do for now!

Snips from this interview highlight something of Anthony Green's personality:
.......The man himself exuded enthusiasm, warmth and charm, similar to the atmosphere he creates in his vivid narrative paintings. However the magic well and truly begins when he speaks to you; it’s a flow of eloquent words delivered with passion and bursting with excitement. The first thing I notice when interviewing Anthony Green is how utterly down to earth he is, despite his eminence in the art world. He has achieved success on a grand scale; from being elected Royal Academician, being appointed trustee of the Royal Academy and being elected to the New English Art Club, to name but a few........

But what inspires such a talented artist? His answer is simple: “Love”. Green describes the dilemma that hit him in 1960 after he left art school, “I didn’t know what artist I wanted to be, I could be Picasso, or Damien Hirst, or Tracey Emin. So I came up with a question; what am I really interested in? And the answer was; I had fallen in love with this girl – so basically I was a young man in love and I thought I ought to be painting about that.” And that is exactly what he did. The first few paintings of his future wife were very raw, but Green says that once you’ve got the reason for being an artist, then you can start refining your work and it becomes a journey through your life........

Green is keen to point out that he never got up in the morning and thought; “What art shall I create today?” he simply got up and thought; “I’m telling a story about me, and my life.” This is how he creates such personal and emotive paintings: art is his life and life is his art. Green says “Everyday that happened I was a day older and it was a different story. As I’ve gone through life, the story has evolved, so there is always something fresh to add to the mix.” Almost all of Green’s paintings in his current exhibition portray his wife, daughter, himself and his early married life, as “That is what I care most about in the world”.