For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice,
Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice-
Both different blues. And hills row after row
Are colored blue according to how for.
You know the bluejay's double-blur device
Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.
And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.
Harald Sohlberg, Norwegian (1869-1935)
Errol Le Cain, British (1941-1989)
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German (1880-1938)
The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621 was a harmonious collaboration between the Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag nation. Celebrating the colony's first successful harvest it featured cornbread made from the crop that the Native Americans had taught the staving Colonists to grow. The banquet also included venison, wild fowl, eel, lobster, onions, squash, and berries. Relations between the settlers and the original inhabitants did not remain cordial. In the early nineteenth century the American artist Charles Bird King (1785-1862) was commissioned by the government to create portraits of Native American leaders and their vanishing life. William H. Bradley (1868-1962) introduced Art Nouveau style to America in his 1895 Thanksgiving color lithograph for the literary journal The Chap-Book. The Boston born artist depicted two women wearing voluminous pumpkin shaped dresses and carrying abundant trays of food. A poster from 1880 promotes California as The Cornucopia of the World. It encouraged farmers to migrate West to a new land of health and wealth leaving behind cyclones and blizzards.
In the painting Love Magic, the unknown artist from the Lower Rhine depicts an alluring witch. Painted at the end of the fifteen century it shows her naked except for a diaphanous veil and phallic shaped patten slippers. The witch is pouring an intoxicating liquid over a red heart while being observed by a mysterious man in black. Is he a voyeur or her conjured lover? This erotic image is in contrast to the terrifying reality of the witch hunts that went on in Europe and North America between 1480 to 1750. The world was in chaos with rapid social, economic and political changes resulting in the witch becoming a symbol of life out of control. With the Age of Enlightenment there came an end to the hunts, trials, and executions of those accused of witchcraft. A more romanticized view of sorcery is seen in the watercolor by Australian artist Christian Waller (1894-1954) of Morgan le Fay. The figure of Arthurian myth was schooled in not only witchcraft but also powers of healing. In a 1930s illustration from Child Magazine three young witches dance under a full moon, happily unaware of any discord in the world.
October is a favorite month for Porcelains and Peacocks because of the wonderfully pagan holiday of Halloween. Going back to the Celts. the last night of October was viewed as a portal between the worlds of the living and the dead which gave the Druids clarity to see into the future. Perhaps this is where the tradition of an unmarried woman peering into a mirror on Halloween originates. She would sit in a darkened room with a candle lit and if she were lucky she would see the visage of her future husband in the mirror but if she saw the image of a skull she would die unwed. American illustrator C. Allan Gilbert (1873-1929) played with the theme by creating an optical illusion of a woman gazing into a boudoir mirror that forms the shape of a skull in All is Vanity. A happier outcome is revealed in a Halloween card of the same era. Hans Baldung Grien (1484-1545) was a German Renaissance artist; when his maiden gazes into the mirror she is met with an image of a skull as she accidentally treads on a deadly serpent.
Porcelains and Peacocks is blessed to have two very special Libra friends whose birthdays are this week: Heidi Gerpheide of California Homes Magazine and Kelly Hartgraves of Epoca San Francisco. Each of them lives their life in truth and balance much like the figure of Libra holding the celestial pair of scales.
Imagery for Libra is associated with the personification of Justice dating back to antiquity. The Roman Goddess Justitia, was shown wearing the blindfold of objectivity holding the scales of truth and fairness in one hand and the sword of reason in the other. In ancient Egypt she was known as Ma'at and would assist Osiris in the judgement of the dead by weighting their hearts
Dutch painter and draftsman Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574) was greatly influenced by Italianate style as seen in his illustration Justitia, His fellow countryman Johan Vermeer (1632-1675) painted an interior scene of a housewife holding an empty balance with a painting of The Last Judgement behind her. The Litany of Loreta Embroideries are a mysterious set of panels that incorporate Pre-Raphaelite style with exquisite needlework. From it the Mirror of Justice depicts the Virgin Mary holding a pair of balanced scales.(Image courtesy of Stitch Magazine)
Happy Birthday to our Just Friends.
Just wanted to let you know how much we are enjoying your blog - a truly lovely presentation. Also, the peacock images are luscious...We will be back again soon.
Seraph + Splendor
Your blog is perfect and wonderful. Sophisticated, informative, insightful, classy, excellent illustrations, knowledgeable, intelligent, first quality – and finally, thank God - not egocentric.