Thursday, April 19, 2007

The little red hen has hatched ten beautiful chicks. Five are dark and five are light with stripes. She hid her nest in a back corner on the floor of the goat shed to keep those eggs from being collected for breakfast. A smart choice on her part, away from dogs and other predators. Unforeseen, was the recent cold snap which brought six freezing cold freshly sheared goats cramming into the shed to keep warm. Somehow this brave girl kept her eggs safe from all the trampling feet and kept up the incubation through several nights of sub freezing weather. A marvelous accomplishment!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In our local Amish community, their church rule is to not hang paintings or photographs on the wall. It is not disallowed though to have decorative useful objects in the home. So as a way of getting around the first rule, not of of rebellion of course, but just following the natural human desire for ornament- any item which could be hung on a wall (including the shelf itself) or placed on that shelf, like a clock, calendar, canister set or set of drinking glasses- will usually be chosen or painted for it's inevitable decorative value in the home.
A baby boy was born to some friends of mine who had moved far away. The baby's uncle who still lives locally contacted me and asked if I might paint a hunting scene on a gun-stock as a gift for the baby. He said that he has many nieces and nephews, but that baby John was the first of them to be named for him and he was so proud that he wanted to spoil the baby. I agreed to do the job, but was a little confused over how to proceed. There is not much precedent for hand painted gun-stocks and I didn't know how I would be able to protect my artists paints without changing the finish already on the stock. It presented a technical problem. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that wood burning was a more appropriate style for a gun and would not need any clear coat or change the finish on the wood.
I did this scene and inscribed the back and delivered the gun last night. Uncle John was thrilled and I was relieved that he was happy with the wood burning. He told me that actually he had wanted it wood burned but didn't know anyone who did that, so he just asked me to paint it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Recently I posted a picture of my father and I at the Parthenon. I have lots of stories from that trip to Greece during the orthodox Easter in 1982. There were many sights we were able to enjoy directly related to the Holy Day, for example riding a train through villages and urban neighborhoods and virtually every home had a spitted lamb on an open fire in the yard. One night we had a view from roof of the hotel- of the beautiful nighttime parade of lights...worshipers descending the zig-zagging footpath of the Acropolis, carrying candles from the midnight service at the Parthenon to take home. Later, a flush of car traffic coming through the downtown streets, each car with a candle visible inside.

We had not anticipated that our trip was going to occur during their holy week because we had already celebrated Easter. Unfamiliar with the Greek Orthodox tradition we were not prepared for tourism snafus, like museums being closed or trains being canceled. Should I mention that our journey began with a missed flight due to my mother's inability to ever master the 24 hour clock in Austria? The resulting train adventure (without proper visas or provisions) through Hungary and Yugoslavia will get it's own page one day.

While in Greece we rented a car and made several day trips, one time driving to Epidaurus to see the famous Amphitheater from the 4th century. Unfortunately we arrived to closed and locked gates. The guard on duty made it clear that the site was closed for the Holy day. My mother said, using her only Greek,"Christos Anesti." (Christ is risen) to which the guard replied, "Alithos Anesti!" (He is risen indeed!") and he unlocked the gates for us. We had the entire Amphitheater to ourselves. It is true what they say about the acoustics, you could hear a person's foot shuffle in the gravel from the floor all the way up to the top. My father set up his camera on a tripod and took a giant panoramic scene in about seven shots. Here's one I found online- same ancient wonder- minus the gangly twelve year old from my father's series.
Panoramic view of the theater

This website has more pictures and information about the Greek Easter, she reminds me with her mention of wildflowers how green and lush Greece was at that time of year. It was also the first and only time I ever saw a field of poppies.

Here in Indiana, we enjoyed a puppet show at the historic Hoosier Theater put on by the Frisch Marrionette Company. Afterwards was the town egg hunt on the courthouse lawn. Our pretty spring weather had a shocking recoil the past few days, we had snow yesterday and freezing temps today. The winter coats, not blossoms are more indicative of the day's weather. The children were sorted into age groups and John took baby Angus to his first egg scramble. From across the lawn I tried to get a shot of my guys... and... is that really?... the Easter Bunny giving Angus a pair of bunny ears? (there is a person in a giant white rabbit suit on the other side of the fence)

Much to John's delight, in his first egg scramble- baby Angus displayed perfect gathering form...

Other fathers apparently were not as happy with their child's performance. This is a view of the four year old section... odd balance of girls, I hope that this does not present a problem in years to come. My Fiona is in this picture, she's the one in pink and blue.

Happy Easter everyone... all around the world- no matter how you celebrate.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

John 3:16