Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chinese Art During America's Roaring 1920s

 xWhat do you think about when you picture life in the 1920s of America? Many people tend to recall old pictures of extravagant parties with people in outdated, funny clothes. Some times people living today think about the infamous crash of 1929 which followed financial indulgence for much of the decade. It is true that most people living today simply cannot remember the 1920s at all. Very few of us were actually alive during this time period. One little known additional fact about the "Roaring 20s" was that it was the decade where Chinese artwork became a permanent part of the national American life.

The sale and display of Chinese art rose quickly during this time period. It held future implications for the importation of Eastern culture in to North America. The vast majority of people living then never foresaw the larger, cultural reality unfolding in their day. Sadly, Charles L. Freer passed away in 1919. However, the man whose name authenticated the Freer Gallery of Art lived on in spirit. Four years later this leading American institution in the collecting, study, and display of Chinese artwork was open to the public. At the time the gallery was directed by John F. Lodge (1878-1942). It was through this man C.T. Loo, the famous Chinese art dealer and businessman, returned to the shores of America. In fact, Loo became the gallery's top supplier between the years 1921 to 1951. Loo was followed only by two other firms. In the next three decades, the gallery spent $860,340 on 124 pieces which Loo supplied. These purchases would constitute the core of the gallery's ancient Chinese bronze, jade, and stone sculpture holdings.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fine Art and Nature - Developing Your Artist Eye

Cape Conran is in the far North East corner of Victoria, Australia. This place is remarkable for its remoteness (no mobile phone coverage there- great for some people, frustrating for others, particularly teenagers. I found it great and liberating to be away from all the electronic "stuff"). Remarkable also for its rugged natural beauty; coastal flowering trees, gums and tea trees, miles of pristine, untouched ocean beaches, quiet lagoons and unusual rocks jutting vertically out of the sand; some dark, fossilised wood, others: pink, sensuous, monolithic boulders.

What was surprising, and insightful in a creative way, about the seascape, was how much it reminded me of my painting process; there were the large areas of colour and tones of the sea, sand and sky, swept in as in large pastel strokes. The dark tones and highlights in the waves had subtle changes of colour from aqua to ultramarine and deep violet. The sand provided a pleasing, warm, golden complementary to the seas cool blues. And then, the shoreline strewn with millions of pebbles that, at first glance looked the same size, shape and somewhat similar colours, but, on close inspection, were all different.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Fine Art of Obamacare Obfuscation

Even though it's the best on the planet, an excellent case can be made for the existence of weaknesses in America's health care system. When everyone from potentates to average Joes still travel to the U.S. for state of the art treatment, we must be doing something very right, which is not to say the system is flawless.

It's expensive, overloaded with paperwork and fraught with serious issues but few sick people go out of their way to go to places such as Great Britain to seek treatment in that country's bankrupt, socialistic National Health Service, the Obamacare model.

It was those issues, a cooperative press, and majorities in both houses of congress that enabled Democrats to ramrod a basically dishonest, 2309 page monstrosity which no legislators read and which the majority of Americans opposed through to law.

The fact that federal employees, including those same congresspersons who voted in favor of it, kept their existing and generous medical plan, their Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and were exempted from Obamacare is perhaps the most telling factor indicative of how farcical the "Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act" truly is. The PPAHCA was deemed good enough for the rabble, the hoi polloi, but the very people who brought us Obamacare wanted no part of it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Fine Art

One couple recently introduced their three-year-old daughter to the 'fine art' of dishwashing. She so enjoyed her time at the sink. It was regarded as quality playtime.

On sharing this news with other parents, some were shocked at a three-year-old washing dishes - and appearing to enjoy it. Apparently, other pre-schoolers had wanted to help in their kitchens but were dissuaded by their parents.

"How strange," commented the couple, "and then when the children become teenagers and no longer desire to clean plates, parents insist that they do!"

Of course, the issue is not simply about washing dishes. Rather, it has to do with loving, honouring and obeying God. As children love, honour and obey their parents, they are showing respect for God, and as they do that they can discover meaning and purpose in their lives.