Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Holmes County On a Roll And a Diverfsion

As you can see I have been painting a lot. Maybe I’ll take a rest, but I am enjoying it immensely. Here are two more that I have cranked out in the last week. There are numerous little schoolhouses in their communities where Amish folks live. Sometimes they are devoted to a particular sect. Some of the Amish children attend regular public schools, too. It used to be that most children went to school through the eighth grade, and in the stricter sects that is still the case.
The things that  look like little witches are wheat sheaves. You can see them lined up in the fields in late summer, and it's a lovely sight. (and a lot of hard work for the women.)

Making these paintings  has almost  become an addiction. Since I have all these photos there seems to be no end to it. But I shall try to post something different soon.

Maybe about gun control. God knows somebody has to mention it. What has happened that no one is talking about it in the wake of the Colorado horror? Obviously the guy has lost his mind, but has access to the kinds of weapons used in war. Columbine, Virginia Tech, the psycho army psychologist (!!!???) – dozens of people dead and critically wounded for no reason except that guns are so easy to buy and we live in a gun-loving vulture which spends more on fire power than on mental health services and research.

I hate to write about this in the midst of the pictures of the pacifist Amish community, but in this election year when the two candidates for president apparently don’t want to or are afraid to piss off the NRA, I feel the need to rant.

I guess that’s why I feel so drawn to the Amish. They don’t use Uzis when deer hunting.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Here a some more Amish houses, from pictures taken a number of years ago, The one below is quite unusual, and looks as if it had not started out as a house. For one thing, it was not a wooden house, and the shape is very different from the usual architecture.  

There was a storm coming in and  the house shone out like a beacon against the dark sky, as the sun still was shining on the front of it.

The otter house stands on the road to Doughty Valley and was a new house, which hadn’t been there earlier. Again, it was late afternoon, so the light was that intense brightness you get in late winter at that time of day.

I’m still looking for summer photos, which I must have taken at some point, when things were green instead of brown and ocher.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amish Farm Houses

For years I have driven through Amish country in Holmes and Geauga Counties, and have taken lots of pictures. I seem to have spent a lot of time there in the autumn or winter. I decided to give them the Munter treatment, so I have been painting away for the last few weeks, splashing paint around and having fun.
All Amish houses are white, but I have used reflected colors and tried to see what  results. I can't find any photos taken in the middle of summer, when everything is green. I don't know why that is. I have searched through dozens old albums from thirty years back. I haven't searched through my digital photos, so maybe I have some summer ones there.
I am working in the style of Gabriele Munter, about whom I have written before. I don't have the Alps as a backdrop, but Holmes County has a few hills and valleys. My favorite place down there is Doughty Valley, through which runs Doughty Creek. it is the most serene place. You have to park in a little Mennonite cemetery. I have photographed it in three seasons, but not summer. It is so quiet there that you can hear cow bells and once in a while the creak of a windmill. I haven't been down there for several years. For all I know, it could be a development by now.
So here are a couple of Amish houses. one in winter, one in autumn, both late afternoon, both in Holmes County, Ohio..

Hard of Seeing, Part II

I have a coupe of new “Hard of Seeing” goofs, both of which happened yesterday and today. I had been doing quite well for a long while, but for some reason, these two cropped up practically back to back. And at my last appointment with the4 retinologist, I had not even needed a treatment. I think it is just the random juxtaposition of letters that does it.

The first comes from the latest AARP magazine. It headlined a letter to the editor and seemed quite ominous and out of place in the current political climate. It read (to me) “A Warning About President Carter.” What ob earth was this person going on about here? He’s not even running. The magnifying glass cleared that up. It was actually a warning about Prostate Cancer. Now that may not look like President Carter to those of you with 20/20 vision, but it certainly did to me.

The second was in today’s paper and it read “Starting Pistols Behind Spread of TV Blackouts.” Of course it didn’t make any sense, but then a lot of today’s technology seems to possess magical powers, so it could be.

However, on closer examination, it was “Stalling Profits” that are the actual problem.

When I was telling a friend about this, he said that he had read somewhere that you should be able to read the first and last letters of any word and understand it. I said, “Not if you have macular degeneration, you can’t, or sat least you can’t read it correctly.”

And so it goes.

Had a nice, quick visit with Nancy and Joe from Near Philadelphia. They were in town to visit their friends Roberta and Lloyd, who invited me to join them for dinner. Lovely to see them in person. I keep up with them via blog posts, but face to face is always better.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's July, Dammit

I know there is climate change, global warming going on, but this is not the hottest summer I have ever tried to live through. I remember summers of month long 90 plus degree temps, when we would eat down in the basement because it was the only cool place in the house.
Weather people like to claim things like: "This is the hottest 2:00  P.M. on July 3rd on record  or, since 1905." TV channels are in love with their weather gadgetry, pinpointing tornadoes on your very own street, and urging you to get into the nearest closet. We have become edgy about weather, thanks to 24/7 availability of dire news. And lots of sweaty whingeing form the populace.
I remember when I was a kid in Georgia, sitting on the brown, dry grass in the back yard, listening to the cicadas and locusts or whatever bugs made shrill noises. . I don't remember feeling particularly hot. We used to go swimming almost every day at Mosely Park, where it was free before noon. Somehow that cooled us off for the rest of the day, even though we had to walk to get there, through some dusty old roads which felt good on our bare feet. (We had a neighbor who was convinced we would get hook worm by goinng around without shoes. She was sure I had worms because I ate a lot but was very skinny. But the, she had grown up in the country.)
Change of Subject (whatever that may be...)
PBS is running a neat series on arts on Friday nights. The first was called "Two Gentlemen of Cremona," and was about Amati, Stradivari and Guarnieri del Gesu. Emily took me once to Mittenwald, a Bavarian town noted for its violin makers, with a museum and an informative video on the violin.viola,cello making process.Theyy are lovely, hand made instruments, but not considered quite up to the standard of the Crenmona masters' work.
PBS show had more of that sort of thing. It is hard to imagine that these delicate instruments can last hundreds of years. The program compared the two main masters, Strad and Guarn, demonstrating the different tones they created. I guess if you're a violinist, you can discern the difference: Strads are brighter, Guarns are mellower. Since they are both worth millions, I don't think the average string player will ever have a chance to compare them by playing.
Last night (Friday) the program was about Islamic art, mainly architecture, which is sublimely beautiful. One of the most interesting was a mosque in an African town, made of adobe i.e., mud. It is so unique and a fine example of people adapting their own unique style and materials. The other mosques are grand and full of outstanding sculpture and marble and mosaics and intricate and sophisticated carving. Great show about something I know nothing about.
And almost all of this great Islamic art has been done in countries where is is VERY HOT most of
the time.