Monthly Archives: May 2012
This is the road many of us are on right now, the road of Perseverance.
Do you know it well? It is a tiring, dusty, and exhausting road. Sometimes very scenic, sometimes not so much.
Fellow writers, I hope you get something out of Sherryl’s piece here,
The DPR of Writing -Perseverance. It spoke to me today.
Just for your viewing amusement:
A statue of Noah Webster on the campus of Amherst College
One of the girls on his lap is my daughter. The other is the daughter of a friend. Both are children of Amherst alums who celebrated their 20th reunion this past weekend. (My husband and I got together with his former roommates and their families. We had a BLAST!)
The question that this picture likely brings to mind is: Who knew Noah Webster wore a toga?
Have a beautiful and memorable Memorial Day weekend everyone. I’m getting an early start and won’t resume blogging until next week.
Rebecca Of Tomorrow
Two posts today for the price of one:
This one will be fun, I assure you. Less writing, more pics! Hooray!
I don’t know if there’s ever been a piece of art more parodied, than Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. You can Google this and find scads of them. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!
The Original (and still the best):
An homage, by The Simpsons:
Legos taking things a bit too far:
A new one, featuring The Avengers:
The Disney heroine version:
A living, That 70′s Show, version:
The ubiquitous Marilyn, Elvis, Bogart & James Dean version:
There are SO many more. There’s a Sesame Street version, a My Little Pony version, an X-Ray version – in which we see their skeletons, and even a Far Side version.
Hope you enjoyed my little “art appreciation” slide show.
Two posts today for the price of one!
(Because I’ll be going out of town and not taking my laptop!)
Here’s the first. I was going to write up some information on Edward Hopper and his famous Nighthawks, but other people have already done a far better job at it than I would, so I’m going to share one that I particularly like.
This is a writeup by J.M. Pressley. This is NOT MY WRITING, but I like it. I’m including the full text here, but also the following link, in case you want some more information or would like to browse Mr. Pressley’s other works: http://writing.jmpressley.net/essays/nighthawks.html
Edward Hopper (1882-1967) represents arguably the zenith of 20th century American Realism. After training with Robert Henri (1869-1929) at the New York School of Art, Hopper worked primarily as a commercial illustrator for the first half of his life. In fact, although Hopper readily sold a variety of prints and watercolors on the side, he did not achieve his first artistic success until he was forty-three. At the Rehn Gallery in 1924, Hopper’s solo show sold every work in the gallery; this was followed by his personal watershed painting, The House by the Railroad, in 1925. From that point on, Edward Hopper would be defined by his use of light, isolation, and implied narrative in composition. Hopper’s dramatic impact was such that Hitchcock would later use The House by the Railroad as the basis for the Bates Motel in Psycho.
The painting at the right, Nighthawks, is Hopper’s most famous work. On display at the Art Institute of Chicago, Nighthawks is an oil and canvas work that represents Hopper at his most iconic—and most popular. This 1942 work epitomizes Hopper as a painter of loneliness and existential solitude, rendered as the contrast between the mute colors of night and the harsh fluorescent glare of the diner lights. Hopper often drew on his immediate surroundings for inspiration, most notably New York City and Cape Cod. Nighthawks is drawn, in Hopper’s words from “a restaurant on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.” Though the building that inspired him no longer exists, the evocative, transcendental diner that he depicted endures.
At first glance, as with many of Hopper’s works, it might be easy to dismiss the subject as mundane. However, the trademark tension between light and shadow immediately draws the eyes in the composition. In this, Hopper reflects a painter’s sense of film noir, particularly in his urban subjects. Equally distinctive in Nighthawks is the distance Hopper places, both literally and figuratively, between the viewer and the four subjects framed within the diner. Although Hopper’s interests lay much more in the play of light than in human subjects, the intentionally ambiguous scene created by the interaction—or lack thereof—between the characters is rich in narrative possibilities.
The undercurrent of desperation that makes the work so intriguing is subtly reinforced by the artist in a number of ways. Note that the selective angle chosen for the point of view precludes the entryway; these four human beings drawn together by happenstance seem trapped within the glass walls, specimens for our imaginations. The couple in the background hunch over the cherry wood counter, their faces tired and gaunt. The woman examines her nails, seemingly oblivious to the man sitting next to her. The man in the foreground sits apart from the rest, a mystery with his back turned and partially obscured from the light. And linking them, the soda jerk who seems trapped within the confines of the counter, eyeing the customers with perhaps a hint of suspicion. The time of night, the fluorescent glare, and the posturing all create a bleak, almost menacing solitude. Even the title, Nighthawks, carries tension with it. Hopper combines all these elements with a pervasive barrenness in the composition that haunts the viewer.
Hopper never abandoned the themes that made his reputation as an artist. His art reflects the intense strains of loneliness and isolation that fueled his personal life, despite Hopper’s protestations to the contrary. In Nighthawks, even Hopper admitted that “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.” Although the waxing of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s would dampen the art world’s enthusiasm for Hopper’s style of realism in general, Edward Hopper has been posthumously recognized for his contributions precisely because of the timeless power of works such as Nighthawks. The painting still conjures compelling, if often bleak, fits of the imagination.
When were you introduced to your favorite painting?
For me, it was in 1990, first semester, freshman year of college. Yes, that dates me. Of course, I was only five years old when I started college, so it doesn’t date me overmuch .
I was in Art Appreciation, and this course was a wonderful one for me. Yes, it was 8:00 a.m. Yes, it was a little hard to stay awake in a warm and darkened auditorium looking up at the art projected up on the screen. Yes, many of my peers thought it was a waste of time. But I, for one, did not. I have always loved art. I love looking at it, studying it, as well as creating it myself.
I fell instantly in love, as did a lot of college students, with Edward Hopper’s famous painting, Nighthawks.
We had to write a research paper on a piece of art and artist of our choosing for that class, and I asked the professor if I could write a short story based on the painting instead. He was intrigued. He agreed. I made an A-.
Want to read it? Want to read this deliciously (slightly embarrassing) youthful piece of creative writing from when I was barely 18 . . . I mean 5 . . . years old?
Well then, come back tomorrow for it.
And come back the rest of the week for more on the artist and painting, and the so many, various parodies and homages to Nighthawks.
I think this week I’ll post about my favorite painting.
I’ll start with the painting itself: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper,
currently located in my favorite art museum, The Art Institute of Chicago.
What would it be like to have the visual acuity of an owl?
As it zeroes in on its tiny, scurrying prey in the otherwise dark and unmoving night?
What would it be like to have the hearing of a whale?
To listen and understand the complex songs of their cousins half an ocean away?
What would it be like to feel the world for the first time, as tiny baby?
Always held, always kissed, tummy always blown upon, piggies always tickled, always swaddled in the softest of chenille blankets?
To discern the subtle difference between black and white truffles, to negotiate the blend of cocoa to milk, to pair the driest of wines with the savoriest of fish courses?
What would it be like to have the sense of smell of a dog?
It intrigues me a little bit, how my dogs sniff my legs if I’ve been in close proximity to other dogs. How their nose must register these molecules of another canine’s scent, how they process this in their mind as being that of another dog, and not a cat . . . because they don’t give my legs that kind of sniff over if our cats have rubbed against them. They are always wary of the interloping dog.