23 August, 2011

Winslow Homer Timeline

I have been selecting art prints to teach this fall in an Art Study (aka via Charlotte Mason "Picture Talk") Class. I spent hours at my favorite used bookstore about three weeks ago (with my married daughter and with friends, of course!) perusing dozens of art books to choose for my background research. It has been years since I taught Winslow Homer in our homeschool. I purchased two books of Homer, two books of Van Gogh, and one new, large book of Norman Rockwell to fill out the 2011-2012 schoolyear.

(Snap the Whip - probably Homer's most popular, well-known painting)

Since then, I have also spent a good deal of time researching prints online, to help choose from different time periods of Homer's work, but also to compare the different media he used over the course of his artistic career. I like to find the obscure works, or the lesser known and find the stories behind them. I am odd that way ;-). Though, finding works from the beginning, middle, and latter part of an artist's career is what Charlotte Mason recommended. For my part, I have been both enriched and enlightened!

Many may know that he began as an apprentice learning how to make lithographic illustrations. He studied with John H. Buford of Boston. Then he did some freelance work before moving to New York, where he began working for Harper's Weekly doing illustrations of the Civil War. How many of you know the rest of his story?

I stumbled upon this chronology at the National Gallery of Art website, which includes thumbnail prints of his work, with a brief timeline of his life to the right. Once you click on one of the small prints, it opens up a new window with more information. What a treasure of concise and visual information! Almost better than a book. ALMOST!

I also happened upon a lecture by Peter H. Wood, author of the book Near Andersonville. His book is about a print of Homer's that was lost for about 100 years, how it was discovered, and what Civil War -related meanings exist throughout the seemingly simple painting. I am thrilled to have found this information. Now my husband and I both want this book on the shelves of our home library. (He is an American Lit. teacher and a Homer fan, too).
What are my fellow readers and friends studying in the arts this first term of the new schoolyear? Answer on either FB or the blog link! I really want to hear!

Ciao for now,


01 August, 2011

~ August ~

by James Whitcomb Riley

A day of torpor in the sullen heat
Of Summer's passion: In the sluggish stream
The panting cattle lave their lazy feet,
With drowsy eyes, and dream.

Long since the winds have died, and in the sky
There lives no cloud to hint of Nature's grief;
The sun glares ever like an evil eye,
And withers flower and leaf.

Upon the gleaming harvest-field remote
The thresher lies deserted, like some old
Dismantled galleon that hangs afloat
Upon a sea of gold.

The yearning cry of some bewildered bird
Above an empty nest, and truant boys
Along the river's shady margin heard--
A harmony of noise--

A melody of wrangling voices blent
With liquid laughter, and with rippling calls
Of piping lips and thrilling echoes sent
To mimic waterfalls.

And through the hazy veil the atmosphere
Has draped about the gleaming face of Day,
The sifted glances of the sun appear
In splinterings of spray.

The dusty highway, like a cloud of dawn,
Trails o'er the hillside, and the passer-by,
A tired ghost in misty shroud, toils on
His journey to the sky.

And down across the valley's drooping sweep,
Withdrawn to farthest limit of the glade,
The forest stands in silence, drinking deep
Its purple wine of shade.

The gossamer floats up on phantom wing;
The sailor-vision voyages the skies
And carries into chaos everything
That freights the weary eyes:

Till, throbbing on and on, the pulse of heat
Increases--reaches--passes fever's height,
And Day sinks into slumber, cool and sweet,
Within the arms of Night.