24 June 2012

To See the Summer Sky




To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie --
True Poems flee --

Emily Dickinson

Images:
M.V. Leblan, Russian, (1874-1940)
James McNeil Whistler, American, (1834-1903)
Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowicz, Polish, ( 1857-1893)

03 June 2012

Gemini: Mirror Image


The astrological sign of Gemini is represented by the "twins". Geminis are thought to have dual natures and mercurial personalities. They love to interact with others exchanging intellectual ideas which makes them both interesting and interested. In mythology they are depicted by the twin brothers Castor and Pollux whose mother was Leda. Castor was mortal, the son of King Tyndareus while his brother was the immortal offspring of Zeus who seduced Leda by taking the form of a swan. When his mortal brother was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to reunite them in the heavens where they were set as stars in the constellation of Gemini.

Happy Birthday to a pair of interesting Geminis:
Eric Petsinger and Tom Shaub

Images:

Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), French, Sketch of Castor and Pollux
Cary-Yale Visconti Tarot Deck, Italian c. 1466, Lovers
John Everett Millais (1829-1896), English, Twins Grace and Kate Hoare

27 May 2012

Memorial Day: Serving Those Who Served Us




Memorial Day started as Decoration Day after the American Civil War to honor the Union soldiers who died during that war. Its origins go back to the South when in the late Spring or early Summer, relatives wood clean the cemeteries where their loved ones were buried decorating them with flowers. There would often be a religions ceremony and "dinner on the ground", a noon potluck served on the grounds of the cemetery. In the South after the Civil War, the graves of the fallen soldiers were decorated with Confederate flags. The tradition spread to the North and over time the holiday became Memorial Day and would honor all of the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Services.

Images:

Alfred Rudolph Waud, Anglo-American, 1828-1891
American Soldiers at the Eiffel Tower, August 25, 1944
Vojtěch Preissig, Czech, 1873-1944

13 May 2012

Hero and Beast: Happy Birthday Taurus

The astrological sign of Taurus, is associated with the shape shifter Zeus. The Greek god took the form of a bull to carry off the Phoenician princess Europa. Taureans are also identified with the myth of the Minotaur, the creature who had the head of a bull and the body of a man. For the Taurean there is always the conflict between the beast and the hero. As a hero, people born under this sign are strong, tenacious and dependable. Their beast side makes them sensuous; they delight in visual beauty, an exquisite meal, the laughter of friends, the scent of a memory, the touch of a lover's hand.

Happy Birthday to a beloved Taurean, Billy Bragg!

Images:
Valentin Serov; The Rape of Europa, 1910
William Blake; Dante Hell XII, 1826
Franz Marc; Lying Bull, 1913

29 April 2012

Spring Cleaning: The May Queen


And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean from the May Queen
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him
Dear lady, can't you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.
Robert Plant


Images:
Julia Margaret Cameron The May Queen, 1874
Howard Pyle The Lady Guinevere 1903
Margaret MacDonald The May Queen, 1900

22 April 2012

Turned to Stone: Medusa


Medusa was one of three Gorgon sisters. All three were vicious with sharp fangs, brass hands and hair composed of living venomous snakes. Medusa was mortal while Stheno and Euryale were immortals. But her sisters could not turn men into stone with their gaze. Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) was a German Symbolist/ Art Nouveau artist, designer and architect who often chose mythological subjects for his work. His painting of Medusa shows the hero Perseus holding her severed head as a shield and weapon. Swiss Symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) believed that art should make people dream as he does with his disturbing interpretation of the disembodied monster. Perhaps most provocative is a woman’s view of Medusa. American painter Alice Pike Barney (1857-1931) used her daughter, Laura Clifford Barney as the model for her blue hued creature trapped by circumstance.