Category Archives: Art

art and reading – and contentment

This painting by Frederick Childe Hassam is beautiful and speaks to me of a feeling of contentment while reading (reading is as necessary as breathing).  Can’t you see this lovely woman reading a chapter or two and glancing up to see a bird flitting from tree to tree, hearing the distant sound of children playing up the street, the muted sounds coming from conversations in the house – then eyes back to the next chapter.  What a relaxing and peaceful respite.


We are  fortunate to have easy access to the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio.  There will be an exhibition this  year that particularly interests me.  The Halff Collection will be exhibited at the McNay February 3 through May 9.  This collection is  entitled An Impressionist Sensibility and was shown in the Smithsonian in 2008.

Hugh and Marie Halff  live in San Antonio and have generously loaned and donated paintings to several  museums and exhibitions.

Twenty-six American paintings from the Impressionist era from the remarkable private collection of San Antonians Marie and Hugh Halff. Key artists in the exhibition are John Singer Sargent, William Merritt

Chase, Childe Hassam, and Theodore Robinson. Paintings in the collection are notable for both their

range and quality and include superb examples by leading American masters from the 1870s to 1930.

The Sulphur Match

John Singer Sargent

Matches originated during the reign of the Roman Empire, but they were not self igniting. The matches were composed of thin strips of wood tipped with sulphur. The sulphurous match head was touched against a hot surface, such as fire embers or a heated poker, whereupon the sulphur would ignite. This form of match persisted into the 18th century. These matches were not an original ignition source; typically a fire would have to be lit, using steel and flint, to light the match.
In 1786 sulphur matches were sold in Paris and London with a bottle, the inside of which was coated with phosphorus. The sulphur match head was rubbed in the phosphorus and then on the cork stopper of the bottle, thereafter the match ignited.

” An Angel for Avery”

High school classmate J. K. Lamkin sent a beautiful Christmas card (as she does every year).

J. K. Lamkin is an artist who lives in Taos, New Mexico and her art reflects the colors and traditions of New Mexico. She titled this work “An Angel for Avery.”

J. K. Lamkin’s representational work shows a warmth and compassion of living within the land, rather that upon it. Non-objective, Lamkin’s work probes a highly emotional and intensely spiritual response to her world. It shows sensitive and dynamic introspection with a deep concern for the essence of freedom. Every color has a symbolic meaning.

An Angel for Avery

a granddaughter’s art (which I treasure!)

Excerpt from Art Therapy by Eve C. Jarboe:

Scribble Stage
The scribbling stage appears at about eighteen months to two years of age. According to most researchers, this scribble is not just aimless motion created at random by the child, but demonstrates an awareness of pattern and growing hand-eye coordination. (Silk & Thomas, 1990; Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1987)

Soon after children start scribbling, they will start to name what it was they drew after they have finished drawing it. Around two years of age, children will sometimes label their drawing before they have started working on it, but if the drawing looks like something else to them, they may just change the label. Their scribbles progressively become more recognizable and separate shapes appear on the same page. At around three and a half years, children begin incorporating details like fingers on hands. (Silk & Thomas, 1990; Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1987)

“Pre-Schematic” Stage
The next stage of drawing, identified by Lowenfeld as the “Pre-Schematic” stage, typically occurs between four and seven years. In the emergence of this stage, children may draw a human figure with a circle and two dangling lines for legs. Sometimes they include a rectangular shape for trunks of bodies, and often little marks inside the circle to represent facial features. This tadpole schema is used for animals as well as people. Drawings at this level are often described as symbolic realism because a child is perfectly happy with a simple symbol of an object. (Silk & Thomas, 1990; Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1987)

“Schematic” Stage
The “Schematic” stage of drawing generally occurs at ages 7-9. Some characteristics that commonly occur in this stage are indicative of what the child is thinking versus what is actually seen by the child. An interesting phenomenon that occurs in many children’s drawings during this stage is called “x-ray drawing”. In these, a child will draw things that aren’t really visible in life. A good example of this is a man on a horse with both legs showing, even though we would really only see one. Pregnant women are often shown with a visible baby in their abdomens. Details like hands, fingers, and clothing are added with greater and greater frequency. (Silk & Thomas, 1990) As they progress further, overlapped objects, such as a tree partially obscured by the edge of a house, also emerge. The farther away something is, the smaller it will be portrayed, regardless of the real relationship in size between the objects. This indicates a growing comprehension of perspective. In many cases, children have begun using one-point perspective. (Silk & Thomas, 1990; Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1987)

“Dawning Realism” Stage
Around the age of nine or ten, children’s drawings become increasingly standardized. An emphasis on depicting how things really look can begin to frustrate them. This is referred to as the “Gang Age” or “Dawning Realism.” Children will often bring comic strip figures or commercial logos into their drawings and it is at this point that many children lose interest in drawing, as they become dissatisfied with their results. Adults often draw at this level or slightly below because this is where they ended their art education.

principles of uncertainty

I love the way Maira Kalman looks at the world and shares it with us.

RTD Art – Denver, Colorado


Wait staffers rules

eisenstaedt_alfred_Ice Skating Waiter St. Moritz 1932_Leating out and enjoying it . . . with good service . . . makes a difference . . .

tennis in the 1920s

hanging in the guest bathroom

on the wall in the guest bathroom . . .


French woman Suzanne Lenglen dominated women’s tennis in Europe in the 1920s, not only with her successes on court but also with her flamboyant style which brought crowds to women’s tennis for the first time.  Lenglen was born 70km north of Paris and took up tennis at the age of 11 when her father introduced her to the game in the hope that the exercise would mend some of his daughter’s health problems.  She took to the game very quickly and reached the final of the French Championships just four years later.  Although she lost in Paris, she won the World Hardcourt Championships later that year before her career was put on hold by the onset of World War I.  With the return of the Grand Slam tournaments, Lenglen immediately dominated, winning Wimbledon every year bar 1924 from 1919 to 1925. Her final win was the last win for a French woman at Wimbledon until 2006, when Maurismo triumphed. However, she also gained attention for her “risqué” dress on the courts, revealing bare arms with the cut just above the calf.  Lenglen’s dress, flamboyance and passion for the game drew crowds to women’s tennis for the first time, and she was honoured for this in 1997 when the second court at Roland Garros was renamed Court Suzanne Lenglen.  The French Championships were only open to French players until 1925 and the equivalent of today’s Roland Garros was the World Hardcourt Championships which Lenglen won in 1921, 1922 and 1923.  She then won two more Roland Garros titles in 1925 and 1926 once the competition was open to all nationalities. In 1920, Lenglen competed at the Olympic Games in Antwerp, easily winning gold in the singles tournament before winning another gold medal in the mixed doubles.  She also won bronze in the women’s doubles.  Lenglen retired in 1927 after a short professional tour and ran a tennis school in Paris as well as writing books on the sport. She died at the age of 39 after contracting leukemia.

[extracted from Wall of Fame]

suzanne lenglen

Here we are . . .

How did we get here?

Maria Kalman has a unique and beautiful way of telling a story.  She is a visual columnist, illustrator, artist and I am so grateful to have discovered her.

From her website:

Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated twelve children’s books including Ooh-la-la- Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Swami on Rye . She often illustrates for The New Yorker magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the NewYorkistan cover in 2001. Recent projects include The Elements of Style (illustrated), and a monthly on-line column entitled Principles of Uncertainty for The New York Times.

She has had three exhibitions at the Julie Saul Gallery since 2003.

She lives in New York and walks a lot.


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