Tuesday 2 July 2024

Blue Moon Rising ... or not ...

 

To look out of my third floor flat window and see a blue ball rearing its ugly or beautiful nose over the rooves … was a bit of a surprise.


Church Tower ahead, Town Hall clock
distantly on the left - but I can hear its chimes,
when the wind is in the right direction ... 

I know we're into yellow/green ball season – which I'm very happy has arrived … bringing back lovely memories of summer days playing tennis, Wimbledon, and now Eastbourne – while watching some (a lot!) on the tv … but only in the summertime and on the grass.


... and here behind the branches you can
just see the College's tower
So that blue ball … I thought might rise high into the air – but no … it floated around – hiding behind the church tower, before peeping out the other side … but obviously tethered to an unimportant part of the playing fields (cricket) in front of Eastbourne College.


It's a-rising ... two halves ... 
It blew itself up, backed down … as the day went on – but never rose into the sky to meet one of its yellow mates high, high above … and most definitely wasn't as interesting as the ones Elephant Child's finds for us.


As I walked down the road - up it bobbed
But it amused … the thought that sprang to mind for this very non-musical blogger … was as you might have guessed 'Bad Moon Rising' … by Creedence Clearwater Revival …




What interested me though … when I had a look at their Wiki page … was one of their early names … totally infra-dig now-a-days … was a character originally drawn by Florence Kate Upton that was around for nearly 70 years … but certainly came into my childhood memories …

Tethered to the main playing
field ... 
We're about to hit our election polls … and then what next – I really don't want to think – here, I guess, we'll get on with things … but I do 'worry' about what's happening elsewhere … so with apologies to Creedence Clearwater Revival …




I see the blue moon a-risin' …

I see trouble on the way

I see earthquakes and lightnin'

I see bad times today …


... probably tomorrow … or the days a-followin' …


what will be will be …


A slightly better view of the College's
buildings ... it's lovely to walk by on 
my way to town (behind the other church 
tower that rears up between the buildings)

Eastbourne tennis had three wonderful very sunny days, then the wind blew for 2 days, before easing up for finals … being by the seaside has its fun!



Happy summer days, or winter days as EC loves, to you all – I'll stick with my summer ones for now … yet true to form ... it's drizzling!

Elephant's Child - Balloon Spectacular 2020, Canberra, Australia 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday 24 June 2024

Horses and Exotic Animals in the 1700s ...

 

I gave a talk recently on George Stubbs (1724 – 1806) – known as the 'horse painter' … a man who shunned the conventional way of artistic learning: copying others' works – he taught himself.

Whistlejacket (1762)
Probably his most famous painting


He'd have none of it … his drawings, paintings, etchings would be 'all done from Nature'. Starting young, aged 8, he drew bones loaned from a doctor in his home town of Liverpool, unfortunately none survive …




Horses coming in, in all directions


... and that is the (lack of) story of Stubbs' life – he was a loner … silent to the world ... other than the extraordinary artistic works he left us.




side view Skeleton of a horse (1766)
{Courtesy of Wellcome Cllection}


Some notes were correlated in the 1800s – which became known as the (Ozias) Humphry (1742-1810)/(Joseph) Mayer(1803-1886) 'essay'.





Poor little zebra - her mate died on the
journey over; Stubbs painted her in her
green setting - not at all usual - but his
backgrounds were guessed at ... he never
left Europe. (1763)
He is known today mostly for his incredible horse paintings … yet probably his greatest skill was in the study of anatomy of animals. Two hundred and fifty years later … his horse ones are still considered definitive …



Cheetah and Stag with two Indians (1765)
It is painted as the Indian way of hunting with
cheetah, using a collar and sash to restrain
the animal, the hood has been pushed back
as she's about to be released.
(This was commissioned by Lord Pigot, who
had been Governor of Madras)

Before I go on – a thought … how will future generations think of us: 250 years on (2275 AD or so)??… as we are progressing life, so were our ancestors – many not in a way we approve of today.



Two Leopards  (c1776)

The 1700s were when lots of change was happening … scientific, exploration and agricultural revolutions … menageries were held by the wealthy and royals …



Rhinoceros (1780 - 91)
This was commissioned by Dr John Hunter -
the brother of William Hunter both Scottish
physicians and anatomists.
Poor animal died of injuries inflicted as a 
result of its predilection for sweet wine -
it's hard to be sure!


The art work I show here are of his exotics … due to the demand of the wealthy … whereby Stubbs could spend time at menageries to study these creatures … so accurate, even today …





Soldiers of the 10th Light Infantry (1793)
The King commissioned it.  Very stilted -
as was the norm in the 1700s

Then I came across the work being done by Pauleen Bennett an Australian scientist studying anthrozoology at La Trobe University, in Victoria, Australia – a field of study she founded.



The human body


Stubbs at the end of his life was wanting to compare the anatomy of the Human Body ... 


Common fowl


... with a common fowl, and a tiger body - sadly they were never finished.




Tiger body
We have moved on … we continue to learn, study, research – yet George Stubbs gave us this amazing record of anatomy … while letting us see his beautiful art works …



Self-portrait in 1782


I'd love to know what our successors will think about us in 250 years time … and obviously your thoughts on George Stubbs' …



I've included many of his exotics with notes, together with one or two of his anatomical horse engravings ... 

Royal Academy of Arts – George Stubbs …

The artsdesk.com – review of exhibition I saw in 2019 in Milton Keynes, UK

Wikipedia's article on Pauleen Bennett - anthrozoologist

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday 11 June 2024

D-day and world pain: 'Weltschmerz' ...

 

As it was D-day and I was remembering my parents who were 19 or 20 at the beginning of the war and 24 or 25 at the end … my father's birthday being at this time of year.


Melancholy - 1891


So in these tempestuous times … I wondered how to title the post … then frustratingly after the internet went down for nigh on 24 hours ...



… just when I needed it to be up and running for work that needed to get done, the ideal title for this post courtesy of Big Think appearedlink also below ... 


Suits me … melancholy at this time, yet uplifting as we're so fortunate to be alive and well … we all have our ups and downs …


Anxiety (1894)


... while in the last 80 years – since the end of the 2nd World War - which was meant to be the end of all wars … discord never stopped and perhaps more so now as there's the non-stop news, social media traction – all of which add to people's insecurity …



... so rightly described in this article … where reality often doesn't live up to people's ideals and expectations.


Separation (1896)
I was going to include photos of three churches I visited recently ... covering 1,000 years of history - including many skirmishes, conflicts, war-mongering peoples ... locals and invaders ... but that can wait ... weltschmerz is more suitable ... 


An Optimist and a Pessimist by the
Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky (1893)

World Pain - unfairly affects the poor, the disenfranchised ... it also applies to our communities ... especially in these days of the 21st century ... 



As the BigThink article mentions … we can soften our weltschmerz by keeping our positivity out there, and refusing to be dulled by others … our spirits need to be up … 


Syrian girl in Istanbul ... looking wistful 
but with hope ... 

... we can all do it, I know we can … all those little positive actions, optimistic thoughts add up giving us a more generous view of life.



Big Think article: The upside of feeling dissatisfied with the world: How to work your "weltschmerz".

Please note unless mentioned the art is by Edvard Munch (1863 - 1944) - his Melancholy is the one chosen by Big Think to illustrate their article.  


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday 1 June 2024

WEP Get Togethers # 3 … Spring blues, with a touch of 'flambeau' …


It's ridiculous … it's still blowing a gale, and heaping lots of that chilly wet stuff on us … everything is green, when really we should be enjoying Spring blues. No doubt we'll be having water rationing later on – as we haven't enough reservoirs … but so be it …


June togetherness ... 

Our election is going to be in early July I'm very glad to say – let's get it out of the way so we get on with life … there's far too much discord going on: here, there, and everywhere … so I'll be happy to have ours over and done with.


When I wrote this post – I'd got no idea about the background to said 'flambeau' … we did have fun and games ??!!, which took a few days to get over … our fire-alarm goes off quite often, particularly since a challenged-family moved in to the basement flat next door.


Spring Blues ...

The house is divided into a variety of flats, but at one stage both sides of the house was a school – so the layout isn't the normal 'semi' that most would expect.



Two Thirty am (yes, early morning) – the alarm goes off … and stops, and goes off, and repeat, repeat … we're all tired of it – as it's usually set off by that family.



Hand held brazier by Joan
in the 1928 film Joan of Arc


I couldn't see anything serious, and looking at how other flat members were reacting, so went back to bed … but was then surprised to see two fire engines and an ambulance turn up.




The firemen went to work … by then I was up and about again watching from on high … got the hoses out, put their smoke equipment on … and went in – but that really was it.


I've since found out – curiosity necessitated itself … the wife was there on her own, so I could chat to her – apparently her husband doesn't sleep – he put some oil on for some french fries (what we call chips!), went to the loo … when he came back the pan was on fire … he managed to tip that over his foot …


Issam Kourbaj - exhibit at Kettles Yard, 
Cambridge in 2016

The place was full of smoke, the extractor fan had caught fire, the walls are in a state … he's now not in a fit state to do much, his wife is grafting to clean up … the two kids – another story – are away for now (bliss – no screeching from the little girl) …



This scenario … got me thinking … I was wise not to go out into the street in the early hours of the morning … common sense by me prevailing.




But brought to mind … Hilaire Belloc's 1907 poem 'Matilda' ...


Struwwelpeter

 ... and the one I was even happier to have happy memories of 'Struwwelpeter' by Heinrich Hoffman – which is available on Project Gutenberg … 'Merry Stories and Funny Pictures' – particularly 'The Dreadful Story of Harriet and the Matches' … and of course Struwwelpeter himself – just like the chap next door …




There are plans for a move to a better area for the family, where their friends are … the little girl turned off a tap – so one of the flats this side of the house didn't have any water – they borrowed from me … not a problem – but the actual tap-stuff was turned off by Amelia the amoeba of the aqua world



Life in Hilary land … and oh yes … after the peregrinations of the night-time … guess what – it was fire-alarm test day for the flats, then I was meeting friends for coffee up at a local hotel – and yes … you guessed it – the fire-alarm went off there too … thankfully a test … that day I'd had it! Three alarms in less than twelve hours …


That's summed up recent days ... I do hope there will be no more fire alarms, and that the weather will improve … summer really is due soon … isn't it?!

Hilaire Belloc's poem 'Matilda' ... 

Project Gutenberg - includes Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffman

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday 17 May 2024

Biographic, Graphic and Curious books …

 

Inadvertently … I've found some genre of books … inspired from my introduction to Afrofuturism via Kugali (blog posts) in April and May 2019 … that I never thought to look at, or consider … but we get wiser as we get older – don't we - do we?!


Back cover
The first is Biographic Dickens … I borrowed from the library – and would love to read the rest … I've ordered Bowie, and one on Francoise Gilot – Picasso's muse and for a time wife – though I'm not sure it's from Ammonite Press – Biographic Lives in Graphic Form … anyway I shall see courtesy of the library …


This page shows their take on Victorian
Britain in Dickens' era


Other Biographic titles listed per their webpage – Prince; Van Gogh; the Beatles; Tesla; Sherlock; Shakespeare; Rembrandt; Picasso; Cezanne; Bowie; Austen; Audrey; Abba; Hemingway; Einstein; Dior; Beethoven; Hendrix; Dickens; Degas; Coco; Churchill; Monet; Marley; Marilyn; Leonardo; Klimt; Kahlo ...




Next the graphic novel author, Pénélope Bagieu (illustrator and comic designer), who profiles the lives of '30 Rebel Ladies Who Brazen Rocked the World' … all with indomitable spirits … such as (see below) Nzinga – Queen of the Ambundu kingdoms in present-day northern Angola …



... and Georgina Anzulata-Reid whose life story is told … who in the 1980s saved the Montauk Point Light for twenty years by planting reeds to shore up the bluff … at minimal cost …



... before the engineers took over its continuing restoration and protection in the 2020s … costing a mere $44 million! I mentioned her in my previous post.




I've added Temple Grandin's graphic – the Animal Whisperer - with many cows … her speciality …





... and Nzinga ... Queen of the Ambundu kingdoms ... 




The third book – 'The Art of Curiosity' – could have been written for me … but it gives a summary about 50 people who are visionaries, artists, scientists, poets, makers and dreamers - who are changing the way we see our world … that last phrase perhaps fits me in an old-fashioned way …



I'm going to revert to that book later … as there is one guy, about whom I want to highlight in another post …



Cheryl Lee McKenzie – mentioned another book 'Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime (A MusiComic Manifesto)' which is coming out later this year … by Ge Wang … who cannot be categorised … amazing man, by the sound of it.



Just occasionally I wish I lived in California … but I'm happy in my own little world of East Sussex! A quieter place perhaps ... though?! …



Then I remembered I'd bought 'The Complete Maus' by Art Spiegelman – which I will now read in this new genre that I'm beguiled by …



There are now two anthologies
here's the link


It looks like I'll not be reading reading books – but looking at comic, graphic and other types of books in future … though I suspect I'll revert to the written word




Thoughts for the brain …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Open Door theme prompt ...

 

I remembered my Write Edit Publish bloghop Caged Bird post from five years ago … into which the new theme could fit with some obvious changes – from closed to open … I need that closed one for another prompt next week … but …


What to post … so many rabbit holes I will be going down … graphic books, submarine canyons, Western Australian indigenous art, Siberian oil field exploration, lighthouses, nettles, blue stockings … and so it goes … and yes, of course, a fish banana recipe …



then this week I remembered something I could write about for a prompt and a memoir note on an open door incident that happened in the mid 1970s … 'killing three 'birds' at once' …


A rather too posh
dormer window mine
was definitely plainer

... this probably happened in the very hot summer of 1976 when I lived in Arundel Gardens –which I wrote about in 2020, link below – when my sitting room balcony doors would have been wide open onto the tiny balcony of my card-house flat – up five storeys …



I lived at the top - where
those three bedroom
windows appear - the balcony
is on the south facing side
Suddenly at the doors there appeared a man – strange but true – five floors up – where from, and why … and what do I do … thankfully he was obviously not 'a thug' … but getting away from a drug bust in one of the houses further down the street – and had managed 'to escape' along the roof tops and balconies – thus avoiding the police.




I had no idea what to do – call the police, let him out, send him further along at five storeys up … so for a while we talked – I cannot for the life of me remember what about … I was bemused!



Graphic story about Giorgina Anzulata
from the book by Penelope Bagieu -
more to follow soon (see link below)

Anyway in the end after some time I let him downstairs … presumably by then he could evade the police … and I never saw him again – nor did I have another interloper high up in the skies above Notting Hill …



Here endeth this post … to solve one of my problems – another easy one after my fables … which yesterday claimed another thought process – when someone produced a dictionary of proverbs … and wondered about the term 'Belling the Cat' – attributed as a fable to Aesop – but set under Mediaeval attributions outside the Aesopic canon.


'Belling the Cat' - painting
by Breugel (1559)

I'd never heard of it … yet Gustave Doré created an illustration (1868), as too Peter Bruegel in his paintings of Netherlandish Proverbs (1559).



My sortie into May … gosh I waffle on – things might come straight sometime soon – if I'm lucky and all being well …......


Congo submarine canyon, west Africa

Welcome month of May and in the northern hemisphere some sunnier, warmer weather – well for us in the UK at least … I hoped!


Penelope Bagieu - illustrator and comic designer ...  see Wiki ...  

My earlier post on Portobello and Ladbroke Gardens estate in west London ... 

Caged Bird - Write Edit Publish post ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories