Monday, June 21, 2010
Summer Solstice and the daylight is lo-hong...
Summer Solstice today, aka Midsummer's Day, aka, first day of Summer. I just found out how the apparent contradiction came about: earlier the year was divided into Summer and Winter! and summer was supposed to start in May (wishful thinking in England, I'd say, but I digress). So June 21, or thereabouts, was considered midsummer. Then later the year was divided differently, using the solstices as only two of the dividers, so summer now starts at the solstice.
Anyhow, it's the longest day of daylight or near to it, and it reminds me all the time of those friends who grew up in the US, on rather a southerly latitude, really,and in summer it would get dark by about 8 p.m. latest. They'd go on a trip to England, and never having believed me when I said it was broad daylight till well into the evening, and in midsummer there were a couple of days when it didn't get dark at all, would come back with snapshots of, look, ME, out playing TENNIS, at 10 o clock at NIGHT!!! all excited.
But if you study your maps, you'll find that the north of England where I grew up is a pretty northerly latitude, something like Hudson's Bay. And then of course in winter I warn people going for a lovely Dickensian Christmas trip to England, that they'd better get their sightseeing in between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., because it's mostly dark outside those hours. Equally not believed until experienced. Despite my saying there were days when you went to school in the dark, basically, and came home in the dark.
Anyway, what I'm reading and doing and planning has nothing at all to do with any of that, I just felt obliged to say something to mark the day.
The reading and listening, is a mixed bag.
The Jane Austen period costume book by Sarah Jane Downing, perfect Austenian name, is excellent, more of an illustrated long essay than a book, very well researched and lovely reading, quoting from Jane herself as well as her characters and explaining a lot of the comments in the novels that referred to contemporary fashion and mores and had got by me until then. Highly recommended if you can find it.
And the CDs "Who Let the Dogs In" by Molly Ivins, the late lamented very funny political writer and unabashed Texas person, is a compilation of many of her columns. Consummate professional writer: you'd never know from her attention to her work what a tormented and sad person she was in private life, with terrible demons to battle, and how gallantly she battled. I just read her biography and it was almost too sad in places. But I thought I owed it to her to read it.
The Think Smart book, about improving the brain's performance by Richard Restak, is kind of okay. Having reached the age where I am tired of crossing the room only to wonder what I wanted when I started the trip, I thought I'd give it a look. He talks about flexibility of mind, and focusing and all that. Actually, an artist already does a lot of this stuff naturally, I find.
The part where it falls down is where he talks about creativity, when all he really means is inventiveness. Fifty ways to use a brick is not creative, just divergent thinking. And that isn't creativity. It only opens the beginning of the first door to it. The puzzles he presents have more solutions that he will admit to, with logical reasons for them (translation, I found different ways of solving them that he didn't seem to have noticed) and he's rigid on the point of these are the rules of these puzzles, just DO THEM. Hm. Not very flexible!
He also claims that if you have a quick answer to a puzzle, it's your left brain at work, and if your right brain is involved, that requires a whole lot more time. I think he's got this backwards. The whole point of the right brain is that it swoops on to the end of the path, or many paths at once, instantly, and then lets the left brain go back patiently filling in the gaps, and choosing which is the one it will follow.
And I don't think he realizes that unmade artwork is present in the brain neither in picture form nor in verbal form. It's more like a kind of heavenly vibration quivering there waiting to be released! but I guess you have to be there..
Nonetheless it's fun to read and play at the puzzles.
Speaking of waiting to be released, tomorrow I hang the show of paintings, which explains the luggage this entry started out with, and I show you Duncan guarding the precious cargo,
two of the bags full of painting, all wrapped in pillowslips, plus the visitors' book I made to go with. Note the painting on the side of one bag,
couldn't resist, since it's canvas...and you should see the other side..The rest of the paintings are downstairs, but I can only carry them in bits, they being heavy, wood and glass, you know.
This is the show destination:
It's going to be the first solo show in the all new and improved Library Gallery at the new Plainsboro Libe!
It amuses me hugely when I unload works at a group show where other people are doing the same, and see their expensive portfolios and crates and what have you being swung around, while I peacefully unpack my old pillowslips with artworks in them. They are perfect for the purpose, since I rarely make art too big for pillowslips. I don't actually paint to fit into the slips, I should explain.
I had a few corporate solo shows, and one time as I was bringing in 50 count them framed monotypes for a gallery show, the people helping me unload said, what? they're ALL in that Plymouth Horizon (tiny compact car with a hatchback, great for art purposes, for them as is not on this continong).
And as more and more works came out, like a clown car, one of the committee said, well, if you had a bigger vehicle, say a van, would you make bigger art then? so I explained that it was the other way around, really, that if I made bigger art, I'd have to get a bigger van, but I wasn't shrinking to fit, heh. Nice man, very good humored about it all.
And that was a wonderful show, great attention from the hanging committee, wonderful questions at the opening, and the company officially bought several pieces for their corporate collection. That was in the olden days when if you had a corporate show, they always liked to add to their collection.
Nowadays, I am not really free to have an opening, can't get away at the right time, but will invite people to go in, enjoy, sign the book, and with any luck, need to buy a painting to take home.
Usually that's what those red dots mean that you see in a show. The piece stays in place till the end of the exhibit (in this case July 31), then is delivered to the buyer or they pick it up, all arranged ahead of time. One time I got an urgent message from someone who totally wanted to buy a pastel as a special Christmas deal for his wife, all to be done in secrecy but he HAD to have it out of the show before the end, in order to give it to her. So I smuggled a substitute pastel into its place, removed the one he wanted, he collected it, all secretly, and it was great fun, but I often wondered if people thought they were seeing things, when a painting totally changed overnight...
I'm also on the brink of another blogging adventure, in addition to Field and Fen. F and F will continue unabated, but the new one, still in the planning stage, will be more of a gallery place, with current artworks on exhibit, that kind of thing.
More when I know more! meanwhile, enjoy the longest day if you're in this hemisphere, and step it up there if you're in the opposite one, since I guess you have the shortest day today.