Thursday, December 20, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

LRNArts Blog is taking a long-awaited holiday vacation but will return January 11, 2013, barring any delays in travel...

Greeting Card, Anonymous, circa 1925
 

Many thanks to my readers for their continuing support.  As of this writing, the blog has attracted visitors from over 90 nations.  This response has made the work which goes into the blog a labor of love...

 

Come January, we shall continue our explorations of art, pop culture, history, science...

 

We end the year with some photographs of the dry country in which I live.  My hope is that you enjoy them.  It is a hard land but is filled with beauty for those who take time to explore it...


 

And my prayer is that the year 2013 of the Common Era brings for each of you and all those whom you love, gifts of peace, love, health, prosperity, wisdom, and joy...

Phyrne Before The Judges, Albert Wein, 1948
 



THE MARKETPLACE


One very easy and inexpensive way to build a collection of work by some of today's finest painters, sculptors, and photographers:  Greeting cards from Fine Art America. 

Even easier: browse the Louis Nugent gallery at Fine Art America.  Choose from 250+ unique ideas for home and office decor or holiday and birthday cards for yourself or a special someone who deserves something extraordinary.  Individual cards cost less than $5.  Wall prints from $22.


Almost, Louis Nugent
 

Follow and Like Louis R Nugent Photography on Facebook @ louisnugent22.

 

Fine Art America now features painting, drawings, and photographs by 17 artists who celebrate the majestic and uncompromising landscapes, settlements, people, plants, and animals of West Texas.  Featured this week:


 

Fine Arts America now features  work celebrating the mysterious and lovely Bayou State of Louisiana and its unique lifestyle:



CREDITS

Note: All photographs for this essay were located through Google Images or Wikipedia, without authoritative source or ownership information except as noted:  Anonymous Greeting Card, circa 1925, from Art Deco Graphics by Patricia Frantz Kery, New York, 2002.  Phryne Before The Judges by Albert Wein from ossining.org. All other photography by Louis R Nugent.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BIRTH OF A PITCHMAN

"And out there in the night they listen.  Lying in bed, curled in a chair, driving a car, swinging on a porch-- in every likely and unlikely place-- the restless, the workers, the insomniacs, or just the 'night people,' wonder who will bring another fantasy to entertain them during the sleeping hours...."-- John Nebel, The Way Out World, 1961

 

Long John Nebel-- a man with a carnie's eye for an easy mark and a child's sense of wonder-- one of the most influential people in my life...


He paved the way for the Larry Kings and Art Bells of today, this 6' 4" man born John Zimmerman in Chicago in 1911.  His heaviest day on the bathroom scale saw the red needle pointing at 160 lbs.  He dropped out of school in the eighth grade.  But, being who he was, JZ had already become an avid reader who loved learning about almost everything under the sun almost as much as he loved learning how to pull off a con before he pulled it off...   
Flying Saucer contactee George Adamski (left) elucidates the finer points of
the utopian outer-space lifestyle led by his friend Orthon of Venus whom he
met one wintry day in the Mojave Desert.  A skeptical John Nebel holds up a
clearly authentic photograph of the Venusian mothership.


One biographer dubbed him "radio talk king, master salesman, magnificent charlatan"...


He married one of 1940s America's famous fashion models, Candy Jones, nee Jessica Arline Wilcox of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  Just a few months after their marriage on New Year's Eve, 1972, gabfest master Nebel came to believe his beloved wife was one of many victims of Project MKUltra, a sinister CIA mind-control project... 


By his own account, which should be viewed with affectionate suspicion, he found his way to New York around 1930.  In the introduction to his 1961 book, The Way Out World, Nebel had no real complaints about his childhood as the son of an advertising executive (Dad) and a dermatologist (Mom).  Life, he writes, was pretty good-- all the chocolate creams a kid could want without paying for it with pesky pimples...
A series of hypnotic sessions aimed at
shedding on light on the causes of mood
swings in Nebel's wife led the radio host
to believe she'd been part of a CIA
mind-control experiment.


Without explaining why to the reader, other than hinting he may have gotten in trouble for peddling stolen firecrackers, young John found himself shipped off to live with his grandparents in the metropolis of Wisconsin Dells.  Grandma was the president of the local Women's Christian Temperance Union.  Grandpa was a man who appreciated a good card game, cheap cigars, a shapely floozy, and properly distilled vegetation...


In the summer of his fourteenth year, the circus came to Wisconsin Dells...


Nebel's account of how young John Zimmerman eventually became John Nebel has it that one of the clowns took sick and that JZ, tall for his age and a smooth talker, talked the circus' owner into letting him fill in for the ailing funny man.  The clown stayed sick. John agreed to play the next show date in nearby Baraboo after getting the OK from Mom and Dad back home in Chicago.  His father gave him permission to spend two weeks with the circus.  John conveniently forgot when fourteen days had passed...
The circus came to town during young John Zimmerman's summer visit with
Grandma and Grandpa in Wisconsin Dells.  And then he met Lady Ester...


At the end of the summer, the eagle-eyed adolescent knew three things:  he loved show business, psychic phenomena and the occult world fascinated him (for reasons we shall see in a few paragraphs), and that selling was the greatest form of self-expression in the world...


Many years later, John Zimmerman transformed himself into John Nebel, an erstwhile Paramount Theater usher and New York City sidewalk salesman and auction house owner who'd approached the Big Apple's WOR radio station with a pitch for a late night interview program devoted to, as Nebel biographer Donald Bain put it, "discussing strange and unusual topics".  For Long John, the idea was a win-win proposition.  He'd hawk his auction business AND get paid a few extra bucks in the process.  The station management wasn't overly keen on the idea but decided it had little to lose.  WOR's ratings were in the tank and the station surely couldn't lose any more ad revenue than it was already losing in the 12 Midnight to 5:30 AM slot...


To everyone's great surprise, including Long John Nebel's,  his graveyard shift gabfest hooked almost every night owl within clear channel WOR's considerable range...
The circus life gave John Nebel three things-- a love of show business, a life-
long fascination with the strange and unusual, and a belief that selling was the
ultimate way of expressing himself.


[Exactly how popular was his late night talk show?  WNBC reportedly offered Long John a yearly salary of $100,000 to sign on after he left rival WOR in 1961.  Industry analysts believe this was one of the highest paychecks offered to a radio personality at the time.]


Why did they listen?...


Nebel's account of his years at WOR gives us a hint (and a good reason to revisit Long John and his show in future blog entries) with chapter titles like "Saturnian Lovers And Venusian Mistresses", "The $20,000,000 Ticket To The Moon Plus Some Impossible Inventions", "Edgar Cayce, Psychic Doctor, And John R Brinkley, King Of The Quacks", "Deros, Devils, And Snowmen"...


If you were bored, and it was 2 AM, what better way to while away the sleepless hours than hear Orfeo Angelucci weave his tale of his chance meeting with a dying physician named "Adam" in a nearly empty restaurant in Twenty Nine Palms, California, and the five-inch tall blonde, scantily clad, who materialized inside a glass filled with a fine but "very rare" champagne from Adam's home planet and danced in a frenzy until she had exhausted herself and disappeared as mysteriously as she'd appeared...
Long John Nebel-- Auctioneer Extraordinaire-- plugging
"The Value Center of New Jersey"


One suspects Long John became enamored of the world of the strange and bizarre, at least in part, due to a youthful crush on his fellow circus performer, 'The Lady Ester'...


We'll just let Long John tell us the story himself as he takes us back to the first time he heard the circus barker make his pitch for the hard-earned nickels and dimes of good hearted but easily fleeced backwoods rubes...


"Ladies and gentlemen.  I'd appreciate it if you'll now gather over to this platform.  Thank you.  Will you be kind enough, please, to move in a little closer.  Those ladies over there, would you please move in just a little closer.  It is a rare privilege and a great honor for the Lamont Brothers to have this season, as our star attraction, Lady Ester.  Lady Ester can read your mind without the aid of any mechanical or electrical equipment, or personal contact.
Andy Sinatra, The Mystic Barber, communicated with
folks on other planets by way of his home-made headband.


"She was the seventh born in a family of seven children.  She was born on the 31st day of October-- a day that we celebrate as Halloween.  At the age of seven, Lady Ester was able to answer her mother's questions and execute her mother's desires prior to the time they were orally stated.  At the age of fourteen, she had completed her high school education.  On her graduation day, she was giving the valedictory speech when all of a sudden she stopped.  For a period of time that seemed hours but evidently was just a matter of seconds, there was complete silence in that high school auditorium in Ashtabula, Ohio...


"Members of the audience began feeling sorry for this little youngster who evidently had forgotten the rest of her speech.  And just then little Ester said, in a quivering faint voice, 'There's a bad wreck that's going to happen at the railroad crossing in a few minutes'...


"A blanket of silence covered the auditorium.  In the distance could be heard the roar of an oncoming train"...
Nebel guest Orfeo Angelucci began to suspect his
acquaintance Dr Adam wasn't from around here when
a five-inch blonde, quite scantily clad, appeared out
of thin air and began dancing in a champagne glass.


Of course it happened!  Dear readers, don't waste your time looking for records of that tragic incident in Ashtabula, Ohio.  They were destroyed in a tragic fire that took place many years ago.  Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen, for just a few more minutes of your time at some point in the next few weeks, we'll learn who Lady Ester really was and what happened when a young Long John Nebel found himself standing in front of the same judge three times on one cold day after the Great Stock Market Crash...


But for just two quarters, half of a dollar, my good friends, I'll see to it you get the best seat in the house.  Perhaps Lady Ester, who so accurately and uncannily predicted the most tragic event in the annals of a lovely Ohio town, will take notice of you and speak of the many wonderful things yet to come in your life.  Who knows?  Love and fortune may be waiting just around the corner.  Just two quarters, ladies and gentlemen, yes-- you heard me right, friends-- a mere half dollar...   

 
Candy Jones in her 1940s super-model and
USO entertainer days.

 

THE MARKETPLACE

One very easy and inexpensive way to build a collection of work by some of today's finest painters, sculptors, and photographers:  Greeting cards from Fine Art America. 

Even easier: browse the Louis Nugent gallery at Fine Art America.  Choose from 250+ unique ideas for home and office decor or holiday and birthday cards for yourself or a special someone who deserves something extraordinary.  Individual cards cost less than $5.  Wall prints from $22.


Follow and Like Louis R Nugent Photography on Facebook @ louisnugent22.

 
Fine Art America now features painting, drawings, and photographs by 17 artists who celebrate the majestic and uncompromising landscapes, settlements, people, plants, and animals of West Texas.

http://fineartamerica.com/groups/west-texas.html

 
Fine Arts America now features  work celebrating the mysterious and lovely Bayou State of Louisiana and its unique lifestyle:

 

 

CREDITS

Note: All photographs for this essay were located through Google Images or Wikipedia, without authoritative source or ownership information except as noted:  John Nebel with George Adamski from obscurantist.com; Long John Nebel Auction House ad from songpoemmusic.com; Long John Nebel Presents The Flying Saucer Story from tower.com; Wisconsin Dells photo from wisconsinlakes.com; Circus Comes To Town from yesterdaystowns.blogspot.com., Orfeo Angelucci book jacket from radiantebooks.net   Lady Ester story quoted from The Way Out World, John Nebel, New York, 1961

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ANOTHER HOLIDAY TIME IN THE DESERT


Not quite a year ago, when the LRNArts blog was in its infancy, we took a tour of the holiday preparations going on around San Angelo...

We still don't have any dreidel spinning contests in this part of West Texas, a sad fact noted in last year's ode to winter celebrations...

This year we revisit the Santa Fe Railroad depot and its wreath-bedecked engine sitting idly under an icy-blue desert sky... 


Our next stop is the Tom Green County Courthouse early one Sunday morning to view the Nativity Scene gracing its lawn.  Pesky ideas about separation of church and state don't hold much water in these parts, pardner...

 
Local merchants celebrate the season with outdoor displays, too, or fill their windows with holiday cheer.  They are private businesses and even the old Ebenezer Scrooge would have no real right to complain about their right to spend their funds as they see fit.  Near the entrance to Eggemeyer's General Store, a lamb peeks through slats in a makeshift manger at three wise dudes shlepping from the east...

 
Snow doesn't fall often in this part of the desert.  But it did on one long ago Christmas when poor Santa's reindeer had the flu and he had to don a ten gallon cowboy hat and ride his trusty steed, Tarbush Tom, over the cactus-studded plains to make sure all the good little boys of the Concho Valley awoke to stockings filled with licorice and shiny Indian Head pennies...


And there are elegant mannequins in store windows...


Not to be outdone, Pearl the Mermaid proves she can look just as fancy in a Christmas cap as any snooty uptown lady...


Locals know the start of the holiday season has nothing to do with Black Friday or even national chains putting up trees and playing Jingle Bells over store intercoms right after the Fourth of July fireworks show.  It really begins when two and half miles of Concho River banks downtown are lit up by over three million lights.  Visitors from across Texas and 27 states saw the lights last year.  A pedestrian crossing the bridge near the Visitor Center could see scenes from the Twelve Days of Christmas greeting the morning sun at dawn on another lovely West Texas desert day...     

 

 

THE MARKETPLACE:

One very easy and inexpensive way to build a collection of work by some of today's finest painters, sculptors, and photographers:  Greeting cards from Fine Art America. 

Even easier: browse the Louis Nugent gallery at Fine Art America.  Choose from 250+ unique ideas for home and office decor or holiday and birthday cards for yourself or a special someone who deserves something extraordinary.  Individual cards cost less than $5.  Wall prints from $22.
Louis Nugent: Electric Triangles
 


Follow and Like Louis R Nugent Photography on Facebook @ louisnugent22.

Fine Art America now features painting, drawings, and photographs by 17 artists who celebrate majestic and uncompromising landscapes, settlements, people, plants, and animals of West Texas.


Fine Arts America now features  work celebrating the mysterious and lovely Bayou State of Louisiana and its unique lifestyle:

http://fineartamerica.com/groups/cajun-country-louisiana.html

 

CREDITS

Note: All photographs for this essay were located through Google Images or Wikipedia, without authoritative source or ownership information except as noted: all photographs by Louis R Nugent.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

LIGHTNING BOLTS, ENCHANTED ISLES... PART TWO

"Mortals worshipped the gods and the gods honored Mother Earth.  They all had sprung from her, for she was the beginning of all life."... Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire, Book of Greek Myths, 1962
 

Ordinary men in ancient Greek times did their best to avoid speaking of Hades, brother of Zeus and Poseidon...


This was not because he was particularly cruel.  It certainly wasn't because he ruled the hidden treasures of the earth, its gold and silver and the minerals which made men rich.  (He was sometimes called "Pluto" from a word meaning "riches".)  And he was honored by farmers for bringing them agricultural wealth...
Gian Lorenzo Bernini: The Abduction of Proserpina


But Hades was also Lord of the Underworld, the grim place where shades of the dead journey after this life-- the righteous to the blissful Elysian Fields, the ordinary souls who were just as often good as they were bad to the monotony of the Asphodel Meadows where they had no memory of their earthly existence, the wicked to the pit of Tartarus and eternal suffering.  And it was for this reason that men trembled at the mention of his name and that few dared swear oaths invoking his wrath...


Greeks told few stories in which Hades left his gloomy domain.  One occasionally told tale suggested he left to receive treatment for an arrow wound inflicted upon him by the hero Heracles (Hercules).  But it was Hades' abduction of Persephone from the land of the living to become his queen that was known throughout Greece...


Centuries later, Gian Lorenzo Bernini captured the drama of this world-altering event in a work finally completed in 1625.  The sculptor was a versatile artist-- known to us today for his role in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture in addition to stints as a painter and playwright.  Deeply religious, Bernini used light and shadow to intensify the spiritual experience of those who viewed his work.  Few people can look at his sculpture and not be amazed by his ability to create a sense of fluid motion from stone. 

Tintoretto: Vulcan Surprises Venus and Mars

Critics tell us his Rape of Proserpina (Persephone) unfolds as a narrative in three acts.  From the left, we see the struggle and ultimately futile resistance of Demeter's daughter.  A frontal view shows us Hades entering the underworld with his subdued bride-to-be.  Looking at the sculpture from the right reveals the aftermath of abduction: the tears of a goddess and the inevitability of her future in the darkness of a realm guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog who sees that none save his master enter or exit the Underworld...


A sense of humor helps in theological matters and the Greeks likely applied theirs in choosing Hephaestus as the husband of Aphrodite. The personification of flawless female beauty found herself wedded to the least handsome or attractive god living on Mount Olympus-- a deity lame, barrel-chested, and sweaty from physical labor.  In earliest times, Hephaestus was a fire god whose cult arose on the volcanic island of Lemnos.  He came to personify beneficial fire as a celestial blacksmith who made the lives of gods more beautiful and the lives of mortals more tolerable as a teacher of mechanical arts...
Roman copy from a Greek original:
Ares Ludovisi


Hephaestus was not lame at his birth but became so almost immediately.  The son of Zeus and Hera, his ugliness so horrified his mother that she tossed him to earth from Olympus shortly after he took his first breath.  He was adopted by the sea-goddesses Thetis and Eurynome.  Myth tells us he eventually exacted revenge on Hera.  Biding time, Hephaestus let years pass before he crafted a golden throne as a gift for his not-so-loving mother.  Delighted at the throne's beauty, Hera sat on it.  Invisible bands sprang forth and clamped her down.  No other Immortal had the knowledge or cunning to release the Queen of Gods.  After a few fistfights with his divine brothers, an undefeated Hephaestus set Hera free-- after Zeus agreed to give him Aphrodite as his bride.  Oddly enough, after Hephaestus had his revenge, he became Hera's most loyal son, never hesitating to step between her and his father when Zeus raised his hand in anger...


One might expect Aphrodite had no desire to marry Hephaestus.  She didn't, taking the god of war as her lover.  Ares commanded the least respect among his fellow divine beings and mortals.  Brutal and savage, he was a vain and arrogant coward.  His father Zeus calls him a whiner and a double-faced liar in the Iliad and says he would gladly cast him from the heavens if it were not for the fact Ares was his son.  His cult merged with that of Mars after Rome conquered Greece and brought her gods home with them.  But the ancient Roman god was held in high regard in the Latin world, second only to Jupiter/Zeus in importance.  His original duties were to protect fields and farmers, using military force only to secure peace and prosperity.  Our illustration, Ares Ludovisi, is a Roman copy of a Greek original dating to circa 320 BCE...
Jean Boulogne: The Flying Mercury

 
[We should note the warlike Spartans honored Ares greatly.  Some classical writers say they even honored him with human sacrifices but these claims may have been made to cement opposition against them.  Archaeologists have found no firm evidence of human sacrifice as a common practice in ancient Greece although some myths suggest it took place in very olden times.  For the most part, Greeks and later Romans shuddered at the mere thought of either human sacrifice or cannibalism.]

 
Popular opinion held Hermes in far higher regard than it did his bellicose brother.  Our illustration, Giovanni da Bologna's The Flying Mercury, ranks among the better known sculptures completed in 1580.  Most people recognize it if only because it inspired the trademark for the FTD florist network.  Hermes aka Mercury in Rome can be found in crossword puzzles asking for a 6 letter messenger of the gods.  He was far more-- the patron of travelers and protector of thieves, the divine sponsor for inventors and poets and athletes, the guide for souls of the dead into the underworld.  This last would be appropriate for some myths carry a hint that he was once, early in his career, a god of the twilight...
Bas relief at Eleusis: Demeter, Persephone,
and Triptolemus


Mythologists believe Hermes' cult originated in Thrace, an area that is now the extreme northeastern corner of Greece and the south-central part of Bulgaria, as a protector of shepherds and their flocks and simple huts.  He later became the guardian of travelers (and commerce, by extension, since few people wandered the roads in ancient times unless they had business to conduct).  Since Hermes came to be associated with profit, he also kept a kindly eye on gamblers and others involved in risky ventures...


Jean Boulougne, sometimes called Giovanni da Bologna, was a Frenchman influenced by Michelangelo.  He developed his own Mannerist style that emphasized elegance, beauty, and refined surfaces while downplaying the emotional.  He grew rich thanks to the patronage of the Church and the Medici banking family.  The Medicis were so afraid he would go to work for Hapsburgs in Spain or Austria that they forbade him to leave Florence, effectively making him a prisoner in a very golden and very luxurious cage...


Winter came into the world as one of the earth-shattering consequences we mentioned earlier in connection with Hades' abduction of Persephone.  This was because Demeter was Persephone's mother and Demeter was the beloved goddess who nourished the crops of the earth and made its fields fertile...
Amphora: Dionysus and Ariadne
 

Demeter wandered the earth, half mad with grief, searching for her lost daughter who had vanished without a trace.  She heard Persephone's cries for help since they were loud enough to reach the heights of Mount Olympus.  But no one seemed to have any useful information until Hecate, goddess of magic and crosswords, advised her to demand answers of Helios, the Sun god.  He finally admitted that Zeus had agreed to give Persephone to his brother Hades to become his wife.  Unfortunately, neither girl nor mother was consulted...


Zeus demonstrated fraternal loyalty and was not inclined to ask his sibling to give up his bride.  Utterly inconsolable, Demeter abandoned Olympus, going to live at her temple at Eleusis.  Crops withered and the winds grew cold as Demeter's tears became more bitter.  One by one, every god, even the vain and cowardly Ares, traveled to Eleusis to plead with her to show mercy to the dying earth and its creatures...

 
The solution to this cosmic disaster became part of the Mysteries of Eleusis, a scene of which is depicted in a bas relief, dating to about 440 BCE, from the temple in that town.  Hades eventually relented and returned Persephone to her mother.  But since his wife had eaten a pomegranate and since six of its seeds remained in her teeth, Hades had claim to her company for six months of the year.  And for this reason we have autumn and winter while Demeter grieves the temporary loss of her daughter each year...


Dionysus, the wine god, had his own connection to the Mystery Religions.  Followers of his cults entranced themselves, drunk or drugged, seeking liberation from the drudgery of ordinary life or the pain they felt daily.  It is no surprise many of his worshippers were slaves and women given the status of both in ancient times.  But he had believers from among the wealthy classes who felt trapped by social constraints.  In a sense, he was a democratic god who closed the doors to liberation to none who accepted the freedom he offered...
Guido Renaldi: Hercules Slays The Hydra


Our illustration is a decorated amphora dating to around 525 BCE and shows Dionysus in the company of his wife Ariadne.  Her name means "most holy" and some scholars, including Robert Graves, believe she was originally the Great Goddess of Crete whose province was to embody the entire Earth, fertility, and motherhood...

 
Early Christianity benefitted from the widespread cult of Dionysus who took on a Greek form in Thrace after borrowing traits from the Cretan deity Zagreus, the Phoenician god Sabazius, and the Lydian divinity Bassareus.  Missionaries spreading the gospel of the new messiah had but to retell the story of Jesus transforming water into wine and speak of the Nazarene's message that all men and women were brothers and sisters, each a uniquely precious soul loved by the One God who made all things... 


Not all, of course, embraced Dionysus...


 
Pentheus, king of Thebes and whose name means "Man of Sorrows", was a puritanical soul who had been warned by the blind seer Tiresias to accept the rule of Dionysus lest his mother and sister be covered in his blood.  He didn't listen...

The great strength of Greek myths which has allowed them to endure for century after century is their humanity.  Unlike the deities of many other lands, the Greek gods looked like men and women, only more perfectly so.  They were not half hippopotamus or half hawk or a giant snake demanding the burned bodies of babies as sacrifices.  And the Greeks told rousing tales of heroes, most of them sons of an immortal god and a mortal woman, who appeared at the very last minute of mankind's darkest hour on the backs of flying horses to do battle with titanic monsters bent on utter destruction...


D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths:
The Family Tree of Olympus

Heracles was one of the most popular heroes in Greece.  Romans called him Hercules and they too celebrated his strength and courage.  We see him here in Hercules Slays The Hydra, a 1620 painting by Guido Reni, which takes as its inspiration the second of twelve "Labors" imposed upon him as penance for killing his own sons after Hera drove him to madness.  Truth be told, Hera wanted the nine-headed serpent with poisonous breath to kill Heracles simply because he was one of the many sons of mortal women fathered by her philandering husband-brother Zeus...


Guido Reni, our painter, was born in 1575 to a family of musicians living in Bologna but was apprenticed at the age of nine to Flemish painter Denys Calvaert who found a new home in Italy after leaving his native Antwerp.  Both master and apprentice belonged to the Baroque school of painting-- as did Peter Paul Rubens.  These artists utilized clear detail and exaggerated motion to create the drama and tension.  Many Baroque artists were deeply religious men-- like Calvaert and Reni-- whose paintings of Biblical scenes hint at the ecstasy born of faith...

Even when these Greek heroes were not demigods and only mortal men like Odysseus, who may or may not have actually once lived as King of Ithaca, they know lives touched by magic.  Odysseus knew the horror of ten years of war at Troy and felt the pain of yet ten more years of wandering as he tried to find his way back home to his beloved queen Penelope.  Along the way, he encountered deadly singing sirens, a man-eating Cyclops, and a most lovely sorceress who bade him dally with her on her enchanted isle... 


Great was his hardship, long was his journey but no other man traveled the same roads he traveled.  And no other man, save Odysseus, earned quite the same degree of chaste affection from Athena who first sends him on his wanderings as punishment for desecrating her temple and then comes to admire his courage and quick wit as he faces all the woe heaven can hurl at him...

 
Alfred Drury: Circe


 

THE MARKETPLACE

One very easy and inexpensive way to build a collection of work by some of today's finest painters, sculptors, and photographers:  Greeting cards from Fine Art America. 

Even easier: browse the Louis R Nugent gallery at Fine Art America.  Choose from 250+ unique ideas for home and office decor or holiday and birthday cards for yourself or a special someone who deserves something extraordinary.  Individual cards cost less than $5.  Wall prints from $22.
http://louis-nugent.artistwebsites.com/
 
Louis Nugent: Carlsbad Caverns
 
Follow and Like Louis R Nugent Photography on Facebook @ louisnugent22.
 

Fine Art America now features painting, drawings, and photographs by sixteen artists who celebrate the majestic and uncompromising landscapes, settlements, people, plants, and animals of West Texas.
http://fineartamerica.com/groups/west-texas.html
 

Fine Arts America now features  work celebrating the mysterious and lovely Bayou State of Louisiana and its unique lifestyle:
 
CREDITS

Note: All photographs for this essay were located through Google Images or Wikipedia, without authoritative source or ownership information except as noted: Circe from http://www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/drury/50.html; information about the Greek gods, goddesses, and their cults from the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, London, 1959; critical assessment of Bernini's The Rape of Proserpina from http://maitaly.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/bernini-galleria-borghese-the-rape-of-persephone/; the family tree of Olympus from D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, New York, 1962

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

 *** Note:  This edition appears early due to holiday commitments.***


My readers stateside celebrate Thanksgiving this week.  For readers overseas who are unfamiliar with the tradition, the holiday has its roots in a 1621 celebration by colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts who wished to give thanks to Providence while enjoying a bountiful harvest...


Michael Flood: Three Trees at Sunset
Steve Bailey: Desert Outlook
 

We Americans tend to rush ourselves at this unofficial beginning of the winter's season holidays celebrating the gradual return of the sun, the birth of prophets, and miracles in the face of oppression... 


Ashley Mann: The Old Window
Chandra Henne: Casa Grande From Behind
Linda Cox: Midnight In The Garden
 

This week, I hope to share a few minutes of your time with a visit to a group of painters and photographers... 


Jason Tricktop Matthews: Trooper 2
Jeniffer Stapher-Thomas: The Moon, The Mountains, Cacti, A Cat
 

Each belongs to the West Texas group of Fine Art America (http://fineartamerica.com/), a group I am privileged to host...


Paula Loftin: The Cowboy
Karen Slagle: The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God
Ken Brown Pioneer: Oil Boom or Bust
 

These images have been selected from the West Texas group itself and portfolios of the artists.  My sole regret in offering them to you for your perusal is that they just hint at the variety of work created by each group member... 


Suzanne Guirard Theis: The Plains of Texas
Judi Bagwell: Jubilance
Karen Boudreaux: Courthouse Roof Silhouette 1
 

Feel free to take a break from holiday hustle and bustle by following the link to the group in The Marketplace section below... 


Joe Jake Pratt: The Ascension
David Pike: Windmill at Dust
 

Happy Holidays!  Next week we turn our attention once again to the gods and the artists who help us enjoy their myths...   

 

Louis Nugent: Agave lechuguilla with Opuntia engelmanni
 

 THE MARKETPLACE

One very easy and inexpensive way to build a collection of work by some of today's finest painters, sculptors, and photographers:  Greeting cards from Fine Art America. 

Even easier: browse the Louis Nugent gallery at Fine Art America.  Choose from 250+ unique ideas for home and office decor or holiday and birthday cards for yourself or a special someone who deserves something extraordinary.  Individual cards cost less than $5.  Wall prints from $22.

http://louis-nugent.artistwebsites.com/

Louis Nugent: The Bluff
 
Follow and Like Louis R Nugent Photography on Facebook @ louisnugent22.

 

Fine Art America now features painting, drawings, and photographs by sixteen artists who celebrate the majestic and uncompromising landscapes, settlements, people, plants, and animals of West Texas.

http://fineartamerica.com/groups/west-texas.html

 
Fine Arts America now features  work celebrating the mysterious and lovely Bayou State of Louisiana and its unique lifestyle:

 

 

CREDITS

Note: All photographs for this essay were located through Google Images or Wikipedia, without authoritative source or ownership information except as noted: all images from the Fine Art America portfolios of Michael Flood, Steve Bailey, Ashley Mann, Chandra Henne, Jason Tricktop Matthews, Jeniffer Stapher-Thomas, Paula Loftin, Karen Slagle, Linda Cox, Suzanne Guirard Theis, Judi Bagwell, Karen Boudreaux, Joe Jake Pratt, David Pratt, Ken Brown Pioneer, and Louis R Nugent.  All images remain property of the individual artists listed above and are used here solely to familiarize readers of this blog with their work.