Monthly Archives: April 2012

QUEST TO FIND YOUR OWN WAY

I thought passion pushed the artist. A gargantuan gut tumult right in the center of your body and words whirling in your head.

Threads of Wisdom by Gail Ingis Claus 36x36 Oil on canvas

“I must paint, I must write, I must sing. The drive is all consuming.

In last Sunday’s April 22, Connecticut Post, was the article, Art, religion collide in ‘My Name is Asher Lev.’ The article addresses the Chaim Potok novel “My Name is Asher Lev.” It tells the story of a Jewish boy determined to pursue a life in the world of modern art despite the opposition of his parents and the New York City religious community within which his family lives.

Potok set the novel in a very specific time and place, but the tale of a son having to battle his father to find his own way in the world has resonated with readers of all faiths since the book was first published in 1972.

Asher’s deeply religious father is puzzled and then outraged by his son’s fascination with drawing – from a very early age – ultimately forcing the boy to choose between his religion and his passion for art.

Hasidic praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

You don’t have to be Jewish or an artist to identify with Asher’s quest to be his own man and the result is a coming of age classic that has been added to many high school reading lists over the years.

My issue with this article are the words “quest to be his own man.” The passion to do art and the quest to be your own person are two separate issues. Writers must write, painters must paint, sculptors must sculpt. But growing up, finding your way in the world, the quest to be your own person is part of life. I am an artist, I must paint, I must draw, I have a quest to do art in some form, design, create, fill the negative space, but I am still finding my own way.

The recent stage adaptation, written by Aaron Posner, will be receiving its Connecticut premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Starting May 2.

Hasidic with Shawls

“It’s a universal story. It’s about Hasidic Jews and a painter, but I think  you could substitute almost anything you want,”

Actor Ari Brand

actor Ari Brand said of the way so many diverse people have related to the Potok tale for the past 40 years.

“The stronger the pull of the parents and the stronger the pull of a child’s passion, the greater the conflict,” Brand said of the battle so many young people have to go through over their career paths.

The quest to find your own way is a lifelong ambition. So tell me, are you still finding your own way? How, where, why?

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

Mr. Wright strolling the campus with his cane but without his cape. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the last two decades of his life overseeing the largest single-site collection of his designs.

I remembered my architectural studies of Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW) and his unusual life, when I read colleague and author PJ Sharon’s post about the windy city, Chicago. The windy city, changed by the impact of FLW, and where Paula attended Romantic Times Booklovers convention, has a collection of FLW designs, the likes of which are unsurpassed.  (Look for Paula’s convention link at the end If you want to read about her experience.)

Paula’s post reminded me of FLW and his dedication to architecture. FLW,  King of architecture, influenced the architectural community with his daring, his technology, his attitude. There was an irresistible charm about him. Women adored him, men admired him, architects envied him. He spoke to women’s groups telling them how to live, how to decorate, how to get out of the rut of loving dead things, things with no form. He managed to open up a new way for these women to see form. What is form? In order for form to resonate, make you feel good, it needs to have soul. Houses of the times were rigid boxes with no soul, until FLW opened them up. Victoriana had no soul, just lots and lots and lots of collections. His openness was a fresh new way to live. In his gentle way of talking to the women who listened with a passion, he said “Ornament is not about prettying the outside of something, but rather it should have balance, proportion, harmony.” All of which creates  what FLW called the natural house. A house that blends with the land, a house that is designed with views to let the outside in.

Built in 1934 for Malcolm and Nancy WIlley, this Minneapolis home was restored in 2007 using cypress, plaster and regional brick.
Photo by Terrence Moore
It was abandoned for seven years, and totally disheveled, but here it is restored to its natural house form.
FLW never earned a degree. He left engineering school to apprentice in Chicago in the office of Adler and Sullivan. He learned on the job, then his opened his own practice. His belief in the natural, organic architecture, evolved from his exposure to Japanese architecture, his belief in simplicity, the nature of materials and influence of England’s Arts and Crafts Movement. He integrated these ideas of his time as he would the parts of a house, composing a symphonic whole that transcended the parts.
FLW not only did lots of buildings, but also did many wives. Frank at 69 with one of his many wives.

FLW home and studio with great gift shop

Here’s a FLW gift shop link: http://www.shopwright.org/

 

 

Do you have a FLW house or wish you had one?

Paula’s convention link:    http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/rt-recap.

“Inspiration is fifty percent dedication and fifty percent discipline. Together they equal progress.”

TITANIC FAMOUS FABLES

Did you have a relative that was on the Titanic? Who do you know that was booked on the Titanic? A great, great aunt, uncle, grandparent? This is the Titanic famous fables year of remembrance.

Spirit of the Blythe Titanic 24x30 Oil by Gail Ingis Claus

In its innocence, the Titanic was cruising along not realizing it was about to change the lives of twenty-two hundred people.  It is one hundred years since the maiden voyage of the Titanic. What is magical about its one hundred years? The14th of April is the date, one hundred years ago, that it sunk. It sunk taking 1523 men, women and children and crew and everyone’s worldly goods with it. No one noticed the iceberg, no one heeded warnings from other ships, no one believed the Titanic could sink.

Only ten percent of an iceberg is above water. If you see six feet, then there is sixty more feet of iceberg beneath the water.

Iceberg above and below

By the time the captain of the Titanic discovered the iceberg, the ship was along side it as it ripped a gash in its hull. The ship’s engineers claimed the Titanic was unsinkable.  If a disaster  happened, it would be its own lifeboat. It was compartmentalized to contain any water so that most of the ship would be safe from filling with the sea water.

Some, 705 passengers, did escape the watery death, most of them women and children, who watched in horror from their lifeboats, as their husbands and fathers went down with the ship or languished in the Atlantic’s frigid waters until the freezing cold pulled the life from them or they got sucked down with the ship. Distress calls reached the Carpathia. But they were  four hours away. When they finally reached the  site, it was too late.

According to history, the sinking of this ship robbed the lives of folks who were lower on the pay scale than the wealthy, like those in steerage, restaurant workers, folks who were coming to the USA to find a better life. Since sinking ships know no class, the rich went down with the poor.

It is strange and newsworthy, the wealthy paid hefty sums for their cabins, according to the History Channel’s report on April 10th, sums of $90,000 for a cabin were not unusual.

Would you come to our Titanic Collaboration show?

We would love to have you. Come to Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum on Thursday, April 26, 5-7 P.M. The Titanic Collaboration Art Show will be opening for your viewing pleasure. Free. Please RSVP 203-838-9799 extension 4.

 

PLACE AND POLITICS

…History says it takes a village, an army, the world to save the planet. Devastation of the earth

Floating planet

is happening at an alarming rate. After lifetimes of disposing, denigrating and devastating our waterways, our parks, our forests, we, as a human race, are reviewing and working on mending our ways. Hopefully. Are we getting smarter? Are we learning about greening our planet? Oil spills into our ocean, rivers, lakes, wildlife kills in our parks, desecrating our rain forests.

Rain Forest

And what about air pollution? What formations do you see in the clouds, the sky, the flowers. Pollution affects cloud formation. In the case of aerosol pollutants, if the air pollutants reflect the sun’s light, the cloud cover increases. If they absorb it, cloud growth is stunted. Look at the cloud masses.

Typhoon clouds

In the 70’s we tried to get industries to stop filling the air with the end products of mass production. And for awhile, a short while, manufacturers stopped the smoke, the ground fill, the medical waste. Who is in control, the government, the people, commerce? It always seems to boil down to the who gets the mega money.

What do the once beautiful waterways, parks and forests look like to you?

Polar bear walking in water

The ice the polar bears walked on to find fish is melting. Now they have to swim for their dinner, or starve, or become vegan.

Mother of two cubs in snow

 

 

 

Oil around rig

Oil floats around a rig at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Photograph: Jae C. Hong/AP.

The White House says the BP oil spill is probably the greatest environmental disaster the US has faced, but the true impact on surrounding ecosystems could take years to emerge. Experts say the unprecedented depth of the spill, combined with the use of chemicals that broke the oil down before it reached the surface, pose an unknown threat.

Yosemite waterfall

How would you express your views on “Place and Politics” as an artist, a writer, a philosopher, from your life/your travels?