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Posts Tagged ‘family’

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… a little boy with big bottles of bubbles. Photos of one of my littlest cousins taken by his older cousin. Hope that smile and those bubbles brighten your day.  🙂

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Thanks, L!

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Dorcas is one of a set of two windows purchased by William Amory (1808-1888) in memory of his parents Thomas Coffin Amory (1767-1812) and Hannah Rowe Linzee Amory (1775-1845).

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Located in the north transept of Trinity Church in Copley Square, the window was installed between 1877-1878. According to the literature, both the Amory and Linzee families had long been associated with the parish which was found in 1733. Designed and executed by Burlison & Grylls of London, the window depicts the biblical figure of Dorcas, a woman of wealth, who aided those who were in need. In this case the artist shows Dorcas throwing a garment over someone beseeching her for aid.

 

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It is a beautifully rendered window full of drama and rich colorful detail. See for yourself when you have the chance: http://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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On my birthday I have to celebrate my parents … the good, the bad and all of the beauty in between.

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From her lovely garden in Brooklyn. These that weren’t eaten on the road back to Boston were sliced up with some cucumbers and celery and tossed with oil and vinegar. Good stuff! 🙂

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I finally found the leaf, curled but not crumbled, at the bottom of a bag. It survived the trip from South Carolina through three states before returning to Massachusetts. It came from a tree in my uncle’s yard originally planted by his wife. One day at the kitchen table she mentioned making a cup of fig tea. I’d never heard of such a thing.

She pointed to the tree outside, wide canopied with dark flat leaves, and said it was too bad we hadn’t been visiting when the branches had been weighted down with fruit and the birds were all about. She sometimes made a jam, she said, but this year she just pulled off some leaves to dry and make tea. As I snapped off my leaf, I promised to photograph it as it dried and then its final journey into tea. She laughed.

I think this leaf has a bit more drying to do and until then makes a fun photographic subject.

 

 

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My earliest memories of my uncle are of a dapper man from New York visiting his big sister (my mother) in Virginia during the summers. He would hang out with my dad drinking my dad’s homemade wine. Then in later years I remember that we would receive beautifully printed Christmas cards that were unlike anything my younger brother and I had ever seen. Several decades have passed since then. My parents have passed away. He’s since moved from New York to settle in South Carolina. Now that travel is difficult for him visiting him was the primary impetus for my recent southern travels.

Uncle Freeman was a silkscreen printer in New York who, while employed at institutions like American Image Editions, printed the works of Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Robert Indiana, Ed Paschke and many other artists. Once he’d learned the art of screen printing he informally taught others including Isabelle Collin Dufresne, known as Ultra Violet. A signed copy of her memoir sits on his bookshelf. “She was famous, right?” I asked my uncle. He said, “She wanted to be.”

When we went to visit my uncle, now 80 years old, I was anticipating an interview where I’d collect tawdry details of Warhol and his parties, the lowdown on the New York arts scene of the 80s and 90s, and so on. But my uncle, ever the gentleman, would only chuckle or smile as we queried him relentlessly. He did share some of the prints he still has in his possession and would describe the techniques used to produce the colors and shading on the page. His wife, who loves butterflies, mentioned accidentally cutting up a Salvador Dali screen print because she was so intent on obtaining the butterflies at the top of the page she did not notice Dali’s signature at the bottom. The altered print hangs quite lovely on a bedroom wall.

It was the art on the walls that kept drawing my attention in my uncle’s modest home. A few screen prints hung,  but mostly the walls were lined with canvas paintings. I began to notice artwork outside as well, paintings on trees and wooden panels. Finally I asked who did all of the paintings and he said, “I did.” His wife pulled more from under a bed and those tucked away in closets.  As for when he did them, he said the majority were done while recovering from prostate cancer. As he received treatment, “I couldn’t do much but I could paint.”

He shared no rhyme or reason for his subjects. “Just whatever came to mind and whatever pens and paints I had available.”

Birds seemed to be a favorite theme.

And then there was Obama. Born in the south in the 1930s, having experienced the realities of racism firsthand, Obama’s election meant a great deal. “I have a better painting of him,” he said as I gazed at this one on the wall, but we never got around to finding it.

He hadn’t painted before the cancer, he said, and he hasn’t really painted since his recovery. But I have encouraged him to do so. In fact I suggested a subject.

In the evenings as we sat down to dinner he would make his way slowly to the front door and open it wide. For the first few days that we visited, there was nothing to see but then the final evening, he said, “Cynthia, come over here.” And there they were, this magnificent flock of birds flying overhead, filling the sky with their dark silhouettes. They all seemed to settle in one far distant tree. My uncle said, “Sometimes there are so many in the canopy they turn the tree into a square.” “That’s it!” I said. “That’s what you should paint next. The birds in the sky.” He listened patiently as I described my vision but in the end he just shook his head and chuckled. 🙂

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Titian, active about 1506; died 1576 Bacchus and Ariadne 1520-3 Oil on canvas, 176.5 x 191 cm Bought, 1826 NG35 http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG35

Bacchus and Ariadne, 1520-3, by Titian

In Titian’s painting of Bacchus and Ariadne, Bacchus, god of wine, emerges with his followers from the landscape. Falling in love with Ariadne, he leaps from his chariot, drawn by two cheetahs. Ariadne had been abandoned on the Greek island of Naxos by Theseus, whose ship is shown in the distance. Initially she is fearful. Eventually Bacchus raises her to heaven and turns her into a constellation, represented by the stars above her head. So the story is told on the website of the UK National Gallery where the painting is now housed. While wonderful to see such a work in a book or on the computer screen, it is a whole other experience to view it in person.

Painter Donald Langosy wrote about such an experience. He was a young poet chasing Ezra Pound around Venice. “But my meeting with Pound was overshadowed, quite unexpectedly, by entering the Frari church one day and finding myself facing Titian’s Assumption. … My encounter with Titian’s painting was an aesthetic epiphany.”

Assumption of the Virgin, by Titian

Assumption of the Virgin, by Titian

From Titian and other Venetian masters, Langosy would begin to understand how artistic technique was the servant of ideas.  He would share their work with his daughter, Zoe. “I learned what it meant when my father pointed to the sky and said, “It’s a Titian blue.”

Diana and Callisto by Titian

Diana and Callisto by Titian

Viewing Titian’s painting in person certainly influenced Langosy’s early work.

Detail from Flora by Langosy

Detail from Flora by Langosy

Pucinello by Langosy

Seeing Titian in later years would become an unexpected opportunity for two artists, father and daughter, to focus on the beauty to be found even during challenging times. In Zoe’s own words:

“Over the years, my father developed multiple sclerosis, and our once-frequent visits to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts or the Gardner Museum became increasingly rare. Shortly before my father lost the ability to walk entirely, he and my mother traveled to London, where I was living at the time. Walking with a cane and with great difficulty, he set out one day with one purpose: to see Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne at the National Gallery. It was a masterwork that he had never before seen in person and, of all the great works of art in London, it was the one he refused to miss.  While my mother and I wandered through the nearby exhibits, he sat studying that single painting for nearly an hour.”

Detail from Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian

Detail from Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian

“As the years progressed, my father’s MS caused physical discomfort and fatigue that made it increasingly difficult for him to travel even as far as the local art museums we had enjoyed together. Our conversations about art never took place outside the comfort of the studio, living room, or kitchen at my parent’s home in the Boston suburb of Medford. Then, one day, we read in the newspaper about the “Rivals of Renaissance Venice” show at the MFA. That moment created a breakthrough. My father knew this was a show that he could not and would not miss.”

Detail from Venus with a Mirror by Titian, at the MFA 2009 Exhibit

Detail from Venus with a Mirror by Titian, at the MFA 2009 Exhibit

“We chose a time when we knew the museum would be quiet, and, on a hot summer morning, my father, mother, and I traveled into Boston to see the exhibit. Above all, we went to see the Titians. As I pushed my father in his wheelchair, we stopped for a long time at each painting. Sometimes we would quietly look at the art, while other times we would talk about what we saw. For the first time in many years, I was given the gift of being able to walk through a museum with my father again and share with him one of the things that we both love most: art. Visiting the show was highly enriching for all of us.  Since then, my father has found renewed strength to combat the hold that MS had placed on his activities, and he is determined to attempt such outings on a more regular basis.”

Zoe with her father's portrait of Elizabeth

Zoe with her father’s portrait of Elizabeth

Want to learn more?

View Langosy’s The Story of My Art: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

View four decades of Langosy’s work at http://www.donald.langosy.net/

See what’s current on Langosy’s Facebook page.

His contact: Zoe Langosy at zlangosy@me.com.

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