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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hello Summer, Hello You

The Green Wall , pastel plein air sketch, 10" x 10" I had a lot of fun doing in late June, 2010.
The phalic looking tree trunk on the right is no longer there sticking
up like a sore.... it became compost this last winter.

The Green Wall  for real this morning,
May, 23, 2013. Totally uninspiring
Nevertheless, summer's here. Oh, I know it isn't official till the Solstice, but once Memorial Day arrives and Kathleen Turner nods approval for wearing white shoes, ( Serial Mom is a favorite movie of mine), I figure it's summer. Plus: The weed trees with the burgundy colored cone-like flowers throughout summer on the edge of the forest  have finally filled in with greenery and I'm walled in. With those leaves on the trees, this shut in is tending to  plans for continuous garden bloom and color through November.

My charcoal copy of a Peale sketch
of  a young George
While everyone I talk to is going away for Memorial Day weekend, we will be digging and hoeing and--hunting down  the hard-to-come-by, six  inch  pot, white geraniums I prefer because they are as cheerful at night as they are during the day. (How the patio, the deck or the garden looks from the house at night is as important as how it looks during the day, says the designing artist in me. In the dark, whites and yellows still sparkle while reds and blues go to shades of gloomy gray).

The painter in me says, "Shame on you." I haven't touched a canvas for nearly two weeks and don't feel particularly guilty. I've been outdoors soaking up the rays AM and indoors PM tied to my computer. My email program stopped sending and I've been absorbed in finding out why with absolutely no success. I should have given up  days ago, but being the stubborn bulldog I am, I just couldn't let the problem go. I have picked up a lot of computer lingo I never knew before--stuff like ISP and port protocols and profiles and smpt-- but who cares? I still can't send anyone a message. Socket error # 10060 and  Windows Live Mail error ID #0x800ccc0E won't let me. My ISP can't fix it. Microsoft was kinder than my ISP, but couldn't fix it either and turned me over to their online help, which didn't perform any miracles either. I figure there's a conspiracy and the culprit is Xfinity. I hate monopolies.

But on a positive note, I can still read. Did you know that according to Ron Churnow, author of George Washington, George, the first prez of the US and the guy who couldn't tell a lie was also the guy whose militia fired off the first shots on May 27th, 1754 that led to the French and Indian War (1756-1763) and a eventually to a world conflict (The Seven Years War)? So much for his Excellency Mr.Goody Two Shoes working his way up the ranks in the British Colonial Army.

George, a full-of-himself twenty two year old, was asked to deliver a letter asking the French to vacate the Ohio Valley; he was a surveyor who had mapped the area and knew it well.
When he got to the Fork of the Ohio and delivered the message, the French said no. George went home.
Gilbert Stuart's portrait
of George who didn't wear
wigs,but did powder his hair.
Then the French drove out the colonial traders and started to build Fort Duquesne in the area, so George was asked to return and ask the French to stop. They  refused  again and after George left,  sent off their own diplomat with a message for  the British about establishing some sort of peace... but it never got there.  George and his party of 100 Virginia militiamen and  a tribe of Irequois Indians ambushed the French diplomatic party in a bloody squirmish that turned into a massacre with hatchets thrown and scalps collected--including the scalp of Jumonville, the French attache. The massacre was called the Jumonville Affair--or more politely, just Jumonville Glen. It pissed  off the French who escallated their fort building, which launched  a war between the two great nations over the Ohio River Valley that lasted seven years.

The French despised George for the "assasination" of their guy--and he wasn't too popular with the British either, though they kept it hush-hush and stood by him. If they didn't, the Brits would have lost face having given this very young, self indulgent colonial the assignment and his first command.

Don't you just love a good cover up ? George always looked so dull and stern  in that copy of  the Gilbert Stuart painting in the auditoriums of so many American elementary schools. From his picture and with nothing-but-the cherry-tree tale we were told about his early life, who knew this guy was a social climbing, self indulgent, whatever it takes to get there, wanna-be aristoratic sombody as a kid, as a man? --Just the type that would be perfect for leading a young, whatever-it-takes-to-be free nation twenty some years later.

Have a good weekend, a safe weekend. May your skies be blue and your trees green.

This map of French, British and Spanish territories in the 'New World' when George took
 his first rides into the Ohio Territory fascinated me.I can't get over how large the French Louisianna
Territory and the disputed Ohio Territory was. The map came from a wonderful iPad App
 called Wikiview. Look up George Washington, George Washington and the French Indian
War, and Jumonville Glen.


  1. Sometimes it is a good thing to have a break, had two myself this year so far, and you never seem to slow down anyhow.
    One learn so much about computers when it doesn't work as it should. In a way that should happen more often, or not, but we would all be computer wizards.

    Looking forward to your future paintings..

    1. I'm looking forward to them too. It seems from comments, my last two, now to be known as the Woodland Series, paintings didn't go over very well. Unfortunately for me, I am liking them a lot. They are very strong and energetic. They are going in a direction that leads I don't know where? But I'm going to follow the path--as soon as I can send an e-mail:-))) Don't you will they had funny faces on Blogger. What dolts!

  2. Linda: I read Churnow's account of Washington and did not get the same overall impression. It is true that the author attempted to humanize Washington. In the process, he expressed several opinions that differed from those of most respected historians, but, in the long run, he saw Washington as fully prepared to lead his country during the Revolution, despite a severely underequipped military, and clearly expressed admiration for George as a selfless patriot. What was new and interesting about Chernow's work was a side of Washington about which we never hear. His relationships, family background, and reaction to the social events of his time was all new material to me.

    On a personal note, The Green Wall is one of my favorites. It seems you are painting quite a bit. I hope you enjoy a successful summer!

    1. A difference of opinion is the fun of discusssions! According to what I read in Wikiview, historians are still discussing what really happened in the Jumonville Affair. My interpretation from Chernow's accounting is just that--an interpretation. I wasn't being facitious when I said his personality, his drive for recognition and success in the field that gave him the status he was seeking, is what made him the perfect Commander of the Continental Army--losing was out of the question with him. He had done that--at Jumonville Glen--and the battle of Necessity Fort(when Jumonville's brother attacked seeking revenge for his brother's "assasination," as the French government described it.

      But he was also a social climber. While his family did very well over generations in America and eventually owned large parcels of land, they were still farmers. Being in the military, put his foot on the ladder to be in the social class he wished to be. Unfortunately Lawrence, his most admired brother, had to die in order to get him his first military assignment: to go deliver this message to the French to stop building forts in the Ohio valley.

      We would have such fun discussing Chernow's book--and I'm only on page 55! I'm loving it even though I get distracted by wanting to know more about the events from other sources and do take the time out to seek them out.

      The Green Wall is really just a sketch done one morning on the deck with my coffee in 2010. I am not painting as much as I was. My email problem has totally consumed me. Tomorrow, I intend to put the matter to rest. I've decided to pay for help--though it aggravates me to no end.

      We should have a blogger live chat room. OMG, how do you think you do that?

  3. Bella la tua parete verde e splendido il tuo Washington,interessante la storia!
    Complimenti Linda!
    Ciao,buon fine settimana!

    1. Thanks Franz. The sketch is a 'doodle.' Doesn't everyone take their coffee out onto the balcony with a box of pastels and liven up the greenery with flecks of red?

      Washington is a much more interesting person than I was taught. Of course, the women I know do look at me as being the odd bird who reads history and doesn't belong to a book club. Romance novels are not me. Steven King, yes. Ray Bradbury, yes. Hemmingway, wonderful writer. And the other fiction I've read is Harry Potter, of course. But historical points of view are fascinating. There are so many of them wherein somewhere lies the truth. Great reading.

  4. Have a great Memorial Day weekend tending to your garden and enjoying the out of doors. I hope to do some of the same. I bought 3 new rose bushes and have been waiting to plant them. Its been extremely windy here and now we are in the middle of another cold snap - 36 degrees when I left for my life session at 8:30 this morning! I am still learning about weather in the mountains! The azaleas I planted 2 weeks ago are brown and crispy - I don't think they are supposed to be like that! Perhaps I should stick to painting! :).

    1. No,no,no. It's a joy to 'play' in the dirt. Most of the time, what we plant takes off eventually, but there are also times, we have to remember 'it's just produce' and pull it up, take it back to the nursery and start again. I'm doing roses too. Three new bushes in the entrance garden. Two in pots on the deck. Meanwhile, I noticed aphids on the established ones. Get out the spray! It's 36 degrees out now with highs for the weekend predicted in the low sixties. The after effects of that horrible tornado no doubt. We'll wear jackets. We're the lucky ones--this time.

    2. Wow - what a story about George! It just confirms my cynical "believe nothing" attitude. Great post. Really cool plein air pastel! Must have been fun to do.

    3. It was. History is fun at this age. We were fed such positively colored stories way back in our school days; it's fascinating to read the different historians' accounts today, years later when we've absorbed our own history and know what does go down in governmental agencies and are no longer wearing rose colored glasses.

      Washington was a great man, but on his first command, he was a boy just twenty two who had aspirations, who had never fought in battle, who had fears. I think Chernow's accounting and the fact that it was backed up by France's response, Britan's response, does suggest his judgement was faulty that day in May. He did resign his command shortly after.

      The drawing is just a drawing. A spur of the moment doodle sitting outside having my second cup of coffee. I like spontaneously sketching like that with no aspirations of crating any real art, just jotting down my impressions and punching up the color. All painting to be is about punching up the color.

      Have a nice holiday weekend Dan. I'm planting rose bushes--even if the temps are low enough where a coat is required.

  5. Quite a story about George ! That's exactly how most wars start even today. An escalation of small differences and POW, one day everything explodes and it's nobody's fault. I wonder if women leaders are more or less prone to violence. But putting all this aside, have a great weekend in your garden. Lots of success with your flowers and Bravo for your summer painting. It's a real celebration of nature.

    1. George was just one of the guys. A young man on a mission in threatening surroundings with his colonial militia of younger guys and a band of Indians. Bear in mind. he didn't fire the first shot himself--he was still deciding what to do--one of the other youngsters in the group did and bedlam took over, sort of a mob rule syndrome. We humans unfortunately are not always angelic. We have demonic moments when good sense is totally lost.

      I'm looking at that little sketch here in the blog and thinking, it needs a bit more yellow in the upper left area. We always know what we should have done in retrospect.

  6. Love how you love history and pass along what you've learned. So interesting! That drawing of George W sure is good...and I love the plein air from the past. I agree with you, when you feel like laying off from art --it's ok! (As long as you don't make it forevah!)

    1. My time is up. Passed by the easels yesterday on my way to find a pot caddy in the storage room and got sidetracked from my mission by a Woodland Series abstract. The values caught my attention. They weren't dimensional enough. So, a few brighter strokes here and there and there went a half hour. When I remembered what I was really doing down there, I put my brush down to go do it and thought this BTW method might be the best way to paint--No thinking, just responding on the spur of the moment while thinking of something else? Not a good way to paint if the business of art is your real subject, but a great way to paint when you just want to get it right.

  7. Great history lesson!
    Wonderful sketch of George Washington!
    Enjoy your break and whatever you do!
    Living life is art!