A couple of weeks ago we went to the Chicago Art Institute. There were three special exhibits I wanted to see: El Greco (16th century), Monet (19th century), and Malangatana (contemporary). There are many kinds of art and these artists illustrate how art has changed throughout history.
Doménikos Theotokópoulos, better known today by his Spanish moniker El Greco, was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. He usually signed his paintings with his name in the Greek alphabet. He moved to Toledo, Spain in 1577, where he received several commissions. He worked there until his death and it was there that he painted his best known works. His dramatic style was not well understood nor well accepted by his contemporaries, but has found appreciation in recent times. On at least one occasion, his patron was displeased with the painting El Greco had produced according to his commission, and while the painting was accepted and hung in a church, he only received half the amount he was supposed to have been paid. His most common subjects were religious themes. (Information obtained from Wikipedia.)
Claude Monet is one of the most famous and beloved impressionist painters; in fact, he was one of the founders of the French Impressionist movement. His interest was to capture the natural environment of the French countryside, and he would often make several versions of the same scene in order to capture the changing light and passing of the seasons. In fact, the term “impressionism” comes from the title of his painting, Impression, soleil levant which was in the first exhibition mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the traditional Salon de Paris. (Information obtained at the Chicago Art Institute and Wikipedia.)
Malangatana Ngwenya (1936-2011) was an artist and national hero in his native Mozambique. His paintings depicted vivid and colorful allegorical scenes, drawing from traditional religious practices, his cultural background, and life under Portuguese colonial rule. The paintings in the Art Institute’s exhibition were completed between 1959 and 1975, coinciding with Mozambique’s liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule.
What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of? Sears Tower (now officially Willis Tower, but Chicagoans still call it Sears Tower) – 104 floors! I went up by elevator but my 78-year-old brother-in-law climbs the stairs to the top once a year! Amazing!
What do you do to keep fit? Not enough, especially now with Covid + cold weather. I try to walk every day or most days. I try to get to the fitness center as often as allowed (3 days a week, 1/2 hour a day) and usually choose the stationary bike. I’m starting a new fitness program from New Zealand (called “Otago”) tomorrow for “older adults” to help with balance and reduce risk of falling. It has several types of exercises to be done each day.
What’s your jack-o-lantern carved to look like? I haven’t carved one in several years, for three reasons: 1. I’m really lousy at this and usually just was able to carve a rudimentary face with triangular eyes and smiling mouth with a couple of teeth sticking out. 2. My son is grown and moved out, and I’m retired from teaching, so there’s no incentive to do it. My husband has no interest. 3. When I used to put jack-o-lanterns on my front porch, either the squirrels got them or kids who had a thing about “smashing pumpkins” (isn’t there even a rock group with that name?) would steal them and smash them in the street.
Do you have hope or have you lost it? Bad day to ask (Monday, although I posted this Tuesday) – it has been a very depressing day in the news. On days like this, my heart feels heavy and I feel completely hopeless. Normally, I am fairly positive about life. *The U.S. Supreme Court now has a conservative majority of 6-3 thanks to the hypocrisy of the Republican Senate who pushed through Trump’s ultra-right-wing nominee one week before the election, when people have already been voting early all over the country. The Supreme Court is so politicized now, it’s no longer functioning as a “check” on the other branches of government! *Cases will be coming before this Supreme Court within weeks that may possibly take us backward by making abortion illegal and repealing the best health care system we’ve ever had (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) with nothing to replace it and people dying every day from coronavirus. *Another fallout from this is the increased possibility of an election decided by the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor. If the presidential election is close, if Biden wins by a small margin, Trump will surely intervene to contest the results. He’s been saying for weeks that the “Supreme Court will decide the election!” He’s polling at 43-45% nationally, way too high for comfort, in my opinion. If the Democrats don’t win a majority in the Senate, it won’t matter if Biden is elected president – they will block every legislation from the House and override the president’s veto on their (Republicans’) legislation. On the other hand, if the Dems take the Senate, they will play hardball with the GOP in the Senate and with Trump if he is (God forbid) reelected. There are several Senate races that are very close and it is possible the Democrats will win, but they also have to retain every seat they currently hold! *Today or yesterday Trump signed an executive order in which loyalty will be considered when deciding whether to hire applicants for federal government jobs. Disloyalty will be cause for dismissal. An official from some obscure government agency quit today because of this, and wrote a letter which was released to the press stating his reason for quitting. We are moving dangerously close to a dictatorship. *Then there’s the new spike in coronavirus cases, which seems to be happening everywhere, but in this country especially. Today it was announced officially that the Trump administration’s policy toward Covid-19 is to do nothing to stop or curb it, and just wait for a vaccine. Trump has been lying about that too, saying the vaccine will be available “in a matter of a few weeks.” He’s also saying “we’re turning the corner” when there are more cases than ever and some hospitals’ ICUs are filled to capacity. *Due to the spike in cases in our area, the governor has imposed new restrictions, including no more indoor dining at restaurants. This is sad for me because weekly lunches with friends have been my only chance to see them and I looked forward to it every week. I’m not saying the governor was wrong to do this, but it is hard especially now that the weather is getting colder. *It snowed today, earlier even than last year when we had snow on Halloween. It quickly melted, but I had to get out my winter coats, which turned out to have been mildewed during their storage in a bag at the top of my closet! Meteorologists are predicting lower than normal temperatures in the next couple of weeks, with a few days respite in between.
Feel free to share something you’re grateful for! Images and photos or poems, essays or free writing (stream of consciousness) pieces are all acceptable! AND you don’t have to do this part, it’s always optional! Two things! 1. Some former art teachers are forming an art class, mostly people from our art class that was discontinued last spring. It starts tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it! 2. The fall colors have been very beautiful this year, much better than the last few years. Here are a few photos I have taken on our campus recently:
I don’t ordinarily participate in this challenge, hosted by Paula Light, but today I have a big peeve with WordPress, as other participants and the host do!!
This morning, I chose about 20 photos to include in a gallery for a “special edition” of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The theme this week was orange and green. I had already posted several photos for this challenge last week, but over the weekend, I was looking at my photos of Bryce Canyon National Park and I started thinking, these photos would be the perfect gallery for a photo challenge about orange and green!
I selected the photos I wanted to use and then started a gallery block on the “block editor.” They were taking quite a bit of time to download into the gallery, but I didn’t worry about that, because I’ve had that happen hundreds of times in the past (pre-Block Editor!) and the photos always downloaded eventually and appeared in my Media Library, and from there I put them into the post.
I guess the idea was to bypass the Media Library when WP designed the Block Editor, because you just select the block “gallery” or “collage” or “tiled gallery” and then download the photos directly. They do appear in Media Library, but you don’t have to go through the step of selecting them from there anymore, unless you want to use them again.
Well, apparently in this new system, you have to wait for one or two photos to download completely into the gallery before you can add others, because otherwise the others will not appear. Once I realized this, I painstakingly downloaded one or two at a time and waited until they appeared fully before adding more. I then discovered that if I tried to add a caption to the ones that already were fully downloaded into the gallery while at the same time others were downloading, once the download was complete, those captions disappear or revert back to whatever original caption was assigned to them.
When I got them all in the “gallery” (which is what I selected for the block), I added/deleted captions, and decided they would look better in a collage or tiled format, because some were vertical and some were horizontal and in the gallery they all appeared as squares. I thought, no problem – the photos are in the Media Library, so I can just delete this gallery and select the entire collection to put into a tiled gallery. So I deleted the gallery blocks and selected the “tiled block”, then clicked on “select images” and “Media Library.” What to my surprise and frustration, I found that only seven of the images were still in the Media Library even thought I had originally downloaded all 20!
By this time, I had worked on this one post for nearly an hour and I wasn’t going to go through the lengthy process of redownloading all the remaining images, since that had taken so long. So I simply posted the seven that were in the Media Library but was peeved that after all that work, my other photos would not appear in the post.
I learned a new word today: psephology, which means the study of elections, specifically “the quantitative analysis of elections and balloting.” It is a branch of political science. It is pronounced see-FAW-loh-gee. Used in a sentence, we might say Brian was a political science major with a specialization in psephology.
The etymology of this word is interesting: psephology comes from the Greek word psēphos, which means “pebble.” Pebbles were used by ancient Greeks in voting, so “psephologist” describes a person who does the work of analyzing elections. The word first came into known usage in 1952.
Similarly, the word for “ballot” derives from the Italian word balla, meaning “ball” because the Italians at one time placed balls in a container to cast votes.
Wise words from the late great John Lewis:
Compatriots of the USA, if you haven’t done so already, please VOTE!!
I’m back after a bit of a hiatus from blogging and participating in this challenge, so this time I’m including multiple photos for Becky’s October KindaSquare challenge, because there are many different KINDs of markets around the world!
I already participated in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the theme orange and green. But later I remembered this beautiful national park we visited two years ago, so I wanted to share some of the beautiful vistas we saw there! Here is a gallery of orangeandgreen at Bryce Canyon National Park! Click on the photos to enlarge. (I had intended to include more photos but the new “Block” system on WordPress deleted all but these when I tried to change the format from “Gallery” to “Tiled Gallery.” Since I had already spent quite a bit of time downloading the photos, I decided to give up at that point!)
The Bird Weekly photo challenge this week invites us to share the feathered friends that visit or live in our home space. We have a lot of birds on the campus of our senior community, but I am only including those who actually come into our yard – ducks, geese, and robins!
Although this particular Canada goose was not in our yard at the time I took this photo (I just really like this photo), we do often get visits from flocks of these guys who think they own the place!
Here are three photos I took in sequence of several ducks who hang out together – in the pond, taking a nap on shore, or taking walks in people’s yards! Over the summer, these ducks proliferated, and now that their young have grown, large groups of ducks are in abundance!