Winslow Homer, American painter

Winslow Homer, American, 1836-1910, “best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America and a preeminent figure in American art.”

I saw a painting from Homer in le Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, a long time ago (it’s the first of the works I chose for you). The last one (the reader, at the bottom of this page) was my choice for my Journal, years and years ago…

I’m not a critic, I can’t talk about this guy. I just keep amazed by his… poise, his ease. It’s perfect, elegant, gorgeous, and sometimes even risky (see what he does with silhouettes, with the light, or weird angles…).

Is he well known? If you like him, you’ll find plenty more on Google Images.

In all these, I can… see the Wyeth family coming. The grand-father with his almost mythological America, the father with some dark moods, and the son : the sea, the sense of wind in the seashore… I’ll blog about them very soon.

Thanks for reading!

 

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“During an eclipse, be careful not to look at the sun”

“During an Eclipse, be careful not to look at the sun” is the boring advice you’ve heard 8754 times this last week. OF COURSE you won’t look at it, silly! Tell it firmly to the kids, and voilà.

BUT

As the “protect your eyes” thing is obvious, there’s another reason you shouldn’t look at the sun…

In 1999, a total eclipse of the sun happened in France. It was plain summer, and it’s been quite an event… I was at work, but needless to say we were all allowed to go outside to see this. “Be careful not to look at the sun”, right? OKey.

Ten minutes before it began, the Grand Place de Lille was FULL of a nervous what-if-it-was-the-end-of-the-world crowd. A small percentage of human beings had the appropriate device to “watch it face to face”. Then… it began.

And I can tell you that NO-BO-DY was watching the sun with their stupid glasses. You know why?

The mood of the world changed surreptitiously. Then it became darker. Then DARKER. The birds suddenly stopped singing, the cars stopped, the city stopped. The women, children and men on the place became silent. The night was there. In this quit surreal crowded silent mood, I saw the stars (ohhh), I was cold (yes, it was the night, really), and I’m pretty sure my hand was on my opened-in-a-awe mouth. And it’s pretty long!
I remember quite well the big quiet SIGH of the crowd, after the moon decided to go shadowing the Earth elsewhere – “Ahhhhh… It’s not the end of the world”. And nobody had their eyes burned!

 

Before an eclipse, you are allowed not to desperately shop for “Magic Stare at the Eclipse Glasses”, they’re useless : Be with your family on a hill. Be in a crowd on a place, and feel little and equal on our little planet.

Be prepared to be thrilled…

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day! Bonne journée!

 

Kar

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The warm haunted trumpet of Jon Hassell could suit your summer evening…

Do you know Jon Hassell? He’s an American trumpet player. Wikipedia says : “He is known for developing the musical aesthetic which unifies ideas from minimalism, various world music sources, and his unusual electronic manipulation of the trumpet”. He uses an unusual softer way of blowing into his instrument.

I chose here three albums which suit perfectly with your summer loving evenings.

  • Fourth World is the “easiest”. The trumpet is a veil, a triple breathe, a moanplaint, and Brian Eno (who produced the album) draws landscapes and mysterious sounds around it. It’s like a nocturnal African dream. Put it in loop and watch the stars.
  • Surgeon is more… like… drunk. Swampy (like the sleeve)? Some moments are haunting and gorgeous. Hide three candles in a room, in a hot night, and this album in loop. Be slow.
  • Powerspot is more urban, electronics are different here. Beatboxes build impossible architectures. Futuristic and sweaty, like Miles Davis in another century…

The first two albums are in the link. Powerspot : only a track (explore the others!).

Like it, or too much?

Thanks for reading!

 

Olathe means “Beautiful” – My Ouisconsin Toponymy Bliss

France is smaller than Texas alone, but like everywhere, it’s divided into regions, with different cultures, crowded (Paris region) or not (l’Auvergne), near the sea (Bretagne) or near Germany (l’Alsace).

Some regions have city names with the same suffix. Next to Lille (North of France), we have many towns finishing by “in” : Carvin, Camphin, Phalempin, Wavrin…

In Normandy you find many “ville” : Dauville, Trouville…

In Brittany : Bannalec, Carnac, Le Drennec, Glénac, Iffendic…

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You know that I’m a little obsessed with America, and I often wander on the USA map, trying to find the origins of the cities. Indian native, or English, French, Spanish? I check on Wikipedia…

For example, there’s a List_of_Swedish_place_names_in_the_United_States

More interesting : List_of_non-US_cities_with_a_US_namesake, where I find a Chantilly, Missouri (Aawweeeeeeee) or a Versailles, Kentucky (oh really?). Paris, Texas, remember?

22 American city names comes from Norway! (Drammen, Wisconsin, OMG).

So, let’s see the States names. Alabama is Choctaw. Arizona means “The Good Oak” in Basque (South-West of France), Nevada means “snow-covered” in Spanish, and OMG, Wisconsin : “Originally spelled Mescousing by the French, and later corrupted to Ouisconsin” : That’s cute, n’est-ce pas?

 

For each city, you can open this little box of shells. I chose Olathe, Texas, gives :

Olathe was founded by Dr. John T. Barton in the spring of 1857. He rode to the center of Johnson County, Kansas, and staked two quarter sections of land as the town site. He later described his ride to friends: “…the prairie was covered with verbena and other wild flowers. I kept thinking the land was beautiful and that I should name the town Beautiful.” Purportedly, Barton asked a Shawnee interpreter how to say “Beautiful” in his native language. The interpreter responded, “Olathe.”

I knowww, I will never be cured 🙂

Good day !

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Sad Heart, Merry Spirit : Chronicle 9

I read in a Claude Roy diary, as he’s around 70 years old, that he would like to reach this season, this state : “Le temps du cœur triste et de l’esprit gai” – the time of the sad heart and the merry spirit.

Here I have a vocabulary problem : is “gai” happy, merry, gay, jolly? I don’t know. I chose merry.

But I’m very fascinated by this “goal”, from an aged author I liked very much. As if he knew he could never heal his heart. But, knowing this, building his own happiness, a “merry spirit”. This touched me, a lot.

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Just read an article evoking Robert Osborne, a TCM Television Presenter who just died at 87 years old. It is told that Olivia de Havilland had with him :

One phone call a week, for decades.

Awwweeee! (-> this was the sound of my merry spirit). I wish I had a friend so close that she would call me once a week until I die at 87. Like a whatever-happens-I-want-to-talk-with-you. Awwweeee again (my merry spirit if very merried by this idea).

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I read (but where, is it Casanova or Jünger?) about the Venice Purse, a knack which says that when you have to go to a “dangerous” place (which was Venice at the time), you needed to have two purses, one with a little money in case you’re robbed, attacked, knocked out, and another one with the main part of it – well hidden.

It’s just funny to know, but then you realize that when you travel abroad you really have to think about what you do with your passport, the amount of money you have with you, etc. I wonder what this concept can tell us about life in general : Be cautious? Watch the exits? Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket? But also : GO to places where you need to think about the Venice Purse, right?

Venice, in French, is VENISE. A perfect word to say : Venizzz. Elegant as a swan, right? Venice is more like braking at the end. No good. French better, sorry.

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Elmore Leonard says somewhere about novels writing : “If it seems written, I rewrite”.

What a beautiful idea, right? Writing Style Dissimulation Efforts.

And a paradox many artists know well : work, work, work, until nobody sees you worked. It’s an interesting goal, and the path itself is enthralling too. How to reach?

There’s a balance to find, I suppose. It means you have the eyes to know when it’s not OK, when it is OK. Experience.

Well I have a vocabulary problem again. When do you use “enthralling“, dear? Can you say that about a person? How is it radioactivitied? Thrilling? Fearful? Exciting? Or more like “plainfully satisfying”?

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I watched the Iowa episode of Aerial America yesterday. It’s amazing how many times I hear “French” in these. Detroits and Illinois were “frenchised” words, and how Iowa is a piece of this territory called Louisiana, the US bought to the French 214 years ago.

These TV programs tell me how BIG are the United States. Tonight I’ll watch Illinois, following the path of Bill Bryson’s book across America in car (cf Fixin’to traveling in the USA).

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OK, it’s too long. I seize the run-up since a few weeks (is “seize the run-up” a good title?), like making the most of an epistolary energy…

I stop here. Next Chronicle next week. Here’s le hug by Ze French :

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Have a nice day!

 

Fixin’to #traveling (again without moving) in the #USA

Sweatin’ like a sinner in church…

I downloaded a bunch of Smithsonian TV episodes of Aerial America. I just watched the Michigan one, and, say, I’ll probably watch the whole pack!

It’s just one hour long, it’s “taken from helicopter” so I see the country from above, it’s… interesting. There’s a little of History and some funny stories (Kellog’s, Detroit, Eminem, General Motors, Ford, the German population, lakes, and the fact it’s divided in two pieces). The flaws are : there are not enough maps to explain things. It’s not linked enough to the neighbor states. And the narration is a little too much American-TV (so everything is “THE BEST OF THE WORLD” – or the biggest stadium of the country, the greatest factory of the fifties in America, or the longest bridge EVER, etc).

I also have a pack of movies about American History. It’ll help, this summer, I bet, to move forward.

You’ll find plenty of arrogant European people telling that people in USA are non traveling ignorants who don’t even know where Belgium or Italy are on a map. But ask a French what is the capital of Colorado, or to place Oklahoma on the US Map, and you’ll see.

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I began to read the hilarious Bill Bryson book called The Lost Continent. This guy is from Iowa and decided one day to explore his country with two big loops (cf map). So my next episodes will be Iowa and maybe Missouri. It’s another way to visit without moving, right?

When Bryson crosses some cities like Des Moines, Hannibal or Palmyra, I often stop reading and I go on Instagram. I search Pella, Iowa, for example, and, well, I see the land, the sky, the church, the roads, what people do, what people like (cycling or all terrain vehicles?). Do I see vineyards or corn fields? I can’t wait for Wiscasset, Maine, right? I Google-mapped too, a little.

I wonder what you people “feel” when you see one of yours words written in the UK way. For example with realise/realize or colour/color.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on YouTube exploring accents. What is really the Southern Accent? So I watched this :

 

Sorry for my English, it’s difficult some days. I’m French, after all!…

Thanks for reading!

JP

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#vintage #cocacola

I like this little one, improbable combination of classic Coca-Cola vintage America and the soooo French “Délicieux avec de bons mets”.

Mets means “dish” (as a “food course”), but it’s unused today, dated and… vintage.

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