Constable painted oil sketches … usually outdoors. This meant that he could quickly and freely capture the ever-changing light and movement in the landscape. Later in the studio, he could refer back to these sketches as he planned out larger compositions. Constable also sketched small objects and vignettes, using the oil medium to consider subjects simultaneously through form, colour and texture. In these small paintings, which were intended to be impressions and not final works, we can really see Constable’s virtuoso ability to paint wet in wet, or alla prima, creating fresh and spontaneous illustrations of the world around him.
Alla prima (from the Italian, meaning ‘at first attempt’), is a technique where layers of wet paint are applied on top of other layers of wet paint. It is used in both oil and watercolour painting, and it demands a high level of skill since the completed work must be finished in one sitting. The technique allows a much more spontaneous approach to capturing the mood and feel of a subject in oil paint - particularly of in landscape painting - and Constable used it to great effect.
To George Felton Mathew Sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong,
And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song; Nor can remembrance, Mathew! bring to view A fate more pleasing, a delight more true Than that in which the brother Poets joy'd, Who with combined powers, their wit employ'd To raise a trophy to the drama's muses. The thought of this great partnership diffuses Over the genius loving heart, a feeling Of all that's high, and great, and good, and healing.
Too partial friend! fain would I follow thee Past each horizon of fine poesy; Fain would I echo back each pleasant note As o'er Sicilian seas, clear anthems float 'Mong the light skimming gondolas far parted, Just when the sun his farewell beam has darted: But 'tis impossible; far different cares Beckon me sternly from soft "Lydian airs," And hold my faculties so long in thrall, That I am oft in doubt whether at all I shall again see Phoebus in the morning: Or flush'd Aurora in the roseate dawning! Or a white Naiad in a rippling stream; Or a rapt seraph in a moonlight beam; Or again witness what with thee I've seen, The dew by fairy feet swept from the green, After a night of some quaint jubilee Which every elf and fay had come to see: When bright processions took their airy march Beneath the curved moon's triumphal arch.
But might I now each passing moment give To the coy muse, with me she would not live In this dark city, nor would condescend 'Mid contradictions her delights to lend. Should e'er the fine-eyed maid to me be kind, Ah! surely it must be whene'er I find Some flowery spot, sequester'd, wild, romantic, That often must have seen a poet frantic; Where oaks, that erst the Druid knew, are growing, And flowers, the glory of one day, are blowing; Where the dark-leav'd laburnum's drooping clusters Reflect athwart the stream their yellow lustres, And intertwined the cassia's arms unite, With its own drooping buds, but very white. Where on one side are covert branches hung, 'Mong which the nightingales have always sung In leafy quiet; where to pry, aloof, Atween the pillars of the sylvan roof, Would be to find where violet beds were nestling, And where the bee with cowslip bells was wrestling. There must be too a ruin dark, and gloomy, To say "joy not too much in all that's bloomy."
Yet this is vain—O Mathew lend thy aid To find a place where I may greet the maid— Where we may soft humanity put on, And sit, and rhyme and think on Chatterton; And that warm-hearted Shakspeare sent to meet him Four laurell'd spirits, heaven-ward to intreat him. With reverence would we speak of all the sages Who have left streaks of light athwart their ages: And thou shouldst moralize on Milton's blindness, And mourn the fearful dearth of human kindness To those who strove with the bright golden wing Of genius, to flap away each sting Thrown by the pitiless world. We next could tell Of those who in the cause of freedom fell: Of our own Alfred, of Helvetian Tell; Of him whose name to ev'ry heart's a solace, High-minded and unbending William Wallace. While to the rugged north our musing turns We well might drop a tear for him, and Burns.
Felton! without incitements such as these, How vain for me the niggard Muse to tease: For thee, she will thy every dwelling grace, And make "a sun-shine in a shady place:" For thou wast once a flowret blooming wild, Close to the source, bright, pure, and undefil'd, Whence gush the streams of song: in happy hour Came chaste Diana from her shady bower, Just as the sun was from the east uprising; And, as for him some gift she was devising, Beheld thee, pluck'd thee, cast thee in the stream To meet her glorious brother's greeting beam. I marvel much that thou hast never told How, from a flower, into a fish of gold Apollo chang'd thee; how thou next didst seem A black-eyed swan upon the widening stream; And when thou first didst in that mirror trace The placid features of a human face: That thou hast never told thy travels strange. And all the wonders of the mazy range O'er pebbly crystal, and o'er golden sands; Kissing thy daily food from Naiad's pearly hands.
We were at the Ritz Bar. I was on my third
martini and Hemingway was on his fourth when the bartender made a speech. Though the accolades were directed at
him, Hemingway leaned into my ear and said, “Bartenders should stick to what
they do best – bartending.” I had to agree. The acoustics weren’t conducive to
formal speeches, especially long ones.
Besides, our cocktails were getting warm. We chinked glasses, exchanged nods and sneaked sips during
1929? 1949? Nope: Aug. 24, 1999. The Hemingway in question? Jack
Hemingway, son of Ernest and Hadley, father to Margaux and Mariel. The
occasion?An exclusive party to
celebrate the 55th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s “liberation” of
For those of you who don’t know this particular
footnote in Hemingway lore, just after the Allied troops declared victory on
Aug. 24, 1944, Hemingway, with a band of irregulars just outside the Paris
periphery, sped straight to the Place Vendome.
Their self-appointed mission was to relieve
the Nazi officers of their occupation headquarters: the Hotel Ritz. That night, as word spread that the war
was over, Papa and crew played host to one of the most jubilant parties the
Ritz has ever seen. Fifty-five years later, people were still celebrating, and
Jo Reed: You said music is most important when you're not hearing it.
Michael Tilson Thomas: Yes, I believe that for that exact reason. What do you take away from the performance? Do you take away a melody, or a harmony, or a rhythm, or a kind of mood, or certain kind of energy, but something that is either confirming something that you already believe, or deepening that understanding, or perhaps giving you a completely new understanding of the way someone thinks about life, someone feels about life.
So classical music is unique in the world in that it is a continuous tradition about now 1200 years old. So from the first time music began to be written down, Gregorian Chant, you know, in the 800s, right through to now, it's one progression of ideas of the way people have thought about their lives, about their feelings and the process they've gone through which, believe me, it was a really difficult process to take all of those thoughts and write them down in what's essentially code books, that's what music scores really are, in ways that by hearing those exact melodies we can more directly experience the kind of inner life that these people had, much more so than we can through reading their words, which require complex shadings of translation or historical perspective. Through this music we can really have a sense of, "How do these experiences of love of mournfulness, of humor, of the drive for conquest or whatever the different themes that run through civilization, how did these give themselves voice in these people of long ago?" and from this, I think, we learn a lot about ourselves.
Novel I We aren't serious when we're seventeen. —One fine evening, to hell with beer and lemonade, Noisy cafés with their shining lamps! We walk under the green linden trees of the park The lindens smell good in the good June evenings! At times the air is so scented that we close our eyes. The wind laden with sounds—the town isn't far— Has the smell of grapevines and beer . . . II —There you can see a very small patch Of dark blue, framed by a little branch, Pinned up by a naughty star, that melts In gentle quivers, small and very white . . . Night in June! Seventeen years old! —We are overcome by it all The sap is champagne and goes to our head . . . We talked a lot and feel a kiss on our lips Trembling there like a small insect . . . III Our wild heart moves through novels like Robinson Crusoe, —When, in the light of a pale street lamp, A girl goes by attractive and charming Under the shadow of her father's terrible collar . . . And as she finds you incredibly naïve, While clicking her little boots, She turns abruptly and in a lively way . . . —Then cavatinas die on your lips . . . IV You are in love. Occupied until the month of August. You are in love. —Your sonnets make Her laugh. All your friends go off, you are ridiculous. —Then one evening the girl you worship deigned to write to you . . . ! —That evening, . . . —you return to the bright cafés, You ask for beer or lemonade . . . —We're not serious when we are seventeen And when we have green linden trees in the park. Arthur Rimbaud
In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world.
Meriwether Lewis was born on this date in 1774. This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the hapiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existance, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself. Meriwether Lewis CONNECT
All my life I've been harassed by questions: Why is
something this way and not another? How do you account for that? This rage to
understand, to fill in the blanks, only makes life more banal. If we could only
find the courage to leave our destiny to chance, to accept the fundamental
mystery of our lives, then we might be closer to the sort of happiness that
comes with innocence. Somewhere between chance and mystery lies
imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that
people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether.
[M]ysteries have a longer half-life than puzzles, giving the example of Shakespeare, who commonly adapted story lines to his own ends up until the mid-1590’s. Around this time, his son passed away, and Shakespeare began to remove “crucial planks” from these older narrative structures, which created a greater sense of mystery because not everything in the narrative could be logically explained, in the way a puzzle can. This is also true in science. As Einstein remarked: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious…It is the source of all true art and science.” CONNECT
[C]lassic literature can have the salutary effect of tempering our high sensitivity to every breaking piece of news and distracting piece of trivia, giving us the ballast of historical perspective. In our current culture, in which we live perpetually plugged into information machines that amplify every signal and every bit of noise, such a remedy seems indispensable. CONNECT The Paris Review's "The Art of Fiction" with Italo Calvino, here.
Given a cavernous gallery space at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade in São Paulo, artist Henrique Oliveira has created Transarquitetônica, a breathtaking installationfrom plywood, which fills the room with twisted tree roots large enough for gallery visitors to walk inside. CONNECT
Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal. Mother Teresa Her "How To" on humility ...
1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid being inquisitive.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
In the back parking lot of Radio Radio, a dank Indianapolis music venue, sits a white panel van. Its wheels are rusting, most of its passengers are standing and smoking cigarettes, kicking up gravel. Affixed to its bumper is a pointed sticker: "If you don't believe in Jesus — go to hell." This is Billy Joe Shaver's ride. CONNECT
We would like to be quiet, but our restlessness will not
allow it. Hence we believe that for us there can be no peace except in a life
filled up with movement and activity, with speech, news, communication,
recreation, and distraction. We seek the meaning of our life in activity for
its own sake. There is a perverse form of contemporary violence [that is]
activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of
violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting
concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many
projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence.
The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our
inner capacity for peace.
Your soul is as a moonlit landscape fair, Peopled with maskers delicate and dim, That play on lutes and dance and have an air Of being sad in their fantastic trim.
The while they celebrate in minor strain Triumphant love, effective enterprise, They have an air of knowing all is vain,— And through the quiet moonlight their songs rise,
The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone, That makes to dream the birds upon the tree, And in their polished basins of white stone The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy. Paul Verlaine Claude Debussy, Suite bergamasque, No. 3, "Clair de Lune," performed on guitar by John Williams and Julian Bream …
What Adele Diamond is learning about the brain challenges
basic assumptions in modern education. Her work is scientifically illustrating
the educational power of things like play, sports, music, memorization, and
reflection. What nourishes the human spirit, the whole person, it turns out,
also hones our minds.
Like all full moons, this month’s full moon on August 10 has many names. It’s the Sturgeon Moon in North America, harking back to bygone centuries when this large fish roamed plentifully in the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay. The August full moon is also known as the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon. In 2014, the August 10 full moon also gives us this year’s closest supermoon. According to NASA, this full moon will be 14% closer and 30% brighter than other full moons of the year. CONNECT
We have to know from ourselves, there are certain states of mindthat are conducive to this flourishing, to this well-being,what the Greeks called eudaimonia, flourishing.There are some which are adverse to this well-being.And so, if we look from our own experience,anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance, obsessive desire, strong grasping,they don't leave us in such a good state after we have experienced it.And also, they are detrimental to others' happiness.So we may consider that the more those are invading our mind,and, like a chain reaction, the more we feel miserable, we feel tormented.At the opposite, everyone knows deep within that an act of selfless generosity,if from the distance, without anyone knowing anything about it,we could save a child's life, make someone happy.We don't need the recognition. We don't need any gratitude.Just the mere fact of doing that fills such a sense of adequation with our deep nature.And we would like to be like that all the time.
10:55So is that possible, to change our way of being, to transform one's mind?Aren't those negative emotions, or destructive emotions,inherent to the nature of mind?Is change possible in our emotions, in our traits, in our moods?For that we have to ask, what is nature of mind?And if we look from the experiential point of view,there is a primary quality of consciousnessthat's just the mere fact to be cognitive, to be aware.Consciousness is like a mirror that allows all images to rise on it.You can have ugly faces, beautiful faces in the mirror.The mirror allows that, but the mirror is not tainted,is not modified, is not altered by those images.Likewise, behind every single thought there is the bare consciousness, pure awareness.This is the nature. It cannot be tainted intrinsically with hatred or jealousy because,then, if it was always there -- like a dye that would permeate the whole cloth --then it would be found all the time, somewhere.We know we're not always angry, always jealous, always generous.
Music is a universal language - its appeal runs across the
world in many cultures. In its various forms, music unites human beings in a
uniquely pleasurable experience - like eating, sleeping, or sex - yet, of
itself, it has no practical value.
Moreover, music is able to trigger physiological changes in
the human body - most people report occasionally experiencing the 'tingles'
when listening to music. So what is going on in our bodies and brains when we
experience this (usually) pleasurable phenomenon?
"The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions but by his habitual acts.” Blaise Pascal
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"It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions."
"Barring love I'll take my life in large doses alone--rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs."
TAO TE CHING, Lao Tzu
The Lone Boat, North Woods Club, Adirondacks, 1892
"There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! Sapere aude. 'Have the courage to use your own understanding,' is therefore the motto of the enlightenment."
"Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing."
"Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained."
"Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours."
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
"You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"
Spitzweg, The Bookworm, 1850
"Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” Fernando Pessoa
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes)."
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. But this business, alas, is fatal to the placid moods and fine other-worldliness of the poet."
"I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea."
"We all come from our own little planets. That's why we're all different. That's what makes life interesting."
"We're just dancing in the rain ..."
"If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you."
"It is hard to go on living without some hope of encountering the extraordinary."
I'm reading ...
Unlikely General: "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America
"I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; Garlands from window to window; Golden chains from star to star ... And I dance."
"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”