Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Artistic Inheritance

This is a painting by my grandfather William Alexander C. In Florida. He worked for the Florida Times Union newspaper for much of his career as I believe what was called an engraver. He did the work to produce pictures for the paper. Photography did exist but I do not think the ability to transfer a photograph onto the printed page was very well developed and still had to be etched into a plate for the printing press when he began his profession back around 1895. Compare that process to what I am doing now for this blog in my own home with a digital camera and a computer.

My grandfather was 20 plus a few years older than my grandmother and died at the age of 92 when I was 3 months old. I never knew much of him except for the four seasons landscape paintings that lived in our house with us as we grew up.

This painting has always fascinated me because of the expressions on the faces of the women as they all look at the younger man. I have always called this painting The Fisherwomen or The Fishwives because of the element of displeasure seen in some of the expressions.

I have always wondered what this scene was all about until it dawned on me as I was starting this post that my grandfather was the only son and youngest child of six. He had five older sisters. I can hear them now saying "Where have you been child? There are chores to do boy." His sisters now gaze at him, each with their own reaction as he tells them some tale about what he has been up to, where he has been. People may not change as much or as quickly as technology has. This painting may be a memory of my grandfather's childhood in Scotland where he was born and lived until he immigrated to America when he was in his twenties.

We are having Gatorade weather which means I can not consume enough water to stay hydrated and need to drink Gatorade to keep my salt and electrolyte levels balanced, otherwise I tend to get dizzy and light headed. A combination I think of middle age, Oh Lord, and global warming. Maui was not like this 19 years ago when I first moved here. Coming from Florida I scoffed at people here who complained that it was hot.

Still by the time I get home my brain is pretty much mush. The distance from my brain to my fingertips and the keyboard has become immense. It is going to be slow going here for a spell.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Your grandfather certainly was a highly skilled artist. The keen eye for fine detail made evident by his work here, is a trait I’ve long admired and envied. Looking at the facial expressions of all the siblings, I get the impression that the likely scenario you offered is very close to the mark. I can easily imagine the interaction between his older sisters and himself being very much the way you described. We older sisters worry about our little brothers almost as much as mothers do, you know.

Do you know which city or town in Scotland your grandfather and your great-aunts grew up in? Obviously, they lived in a sea-side home.

About that Gatorade weather you’re experiencing... I just checked your Local Kihei Weather link under your contact info, and I saw that the dew point there is 66 degrees right now. To use one of your terms -- it’s swamp muggy. No wonder you feel so hot. The air is already heavily saturated with moisture, so sweat has nowhere to evaporate to. Maybe it’s time to spoil yourself and get an air conditioner. The Energy Star rated ones are really efficient, so they don’t use much energy. You’d barely notice a difference in your electric bill.

Cheryl V in Alabama said...

Your term "gatorade weather" caught my attention. Does it give you more trouble than your neighbors? If so, it's not necessarily just getting older. Take a look at potsplace.com & ndrf.org. Even if you don't have POTS, you may find some of the suggestions helpful.

I've been enjoying your posts & gardening. Since I live in the semi-tropics, it's nice to see the tropical gardening.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

My cousin and uncle have been to the town in Scotland where they were from and she told me the name but it did not sink in.

A freak downpour has driven me inside so you can imagine the humidity level right now. It has cooled off nicely though.

The thing about this Gatorade weather is that I do landscape maintenance work outside all day. In the winter it is no problem and usually we have cool and dry trade winds. Right now once I am done and go inside with the fan or in the shade it isn't a problem. On any given day I do four times or more as much physical labor/exercise as the average American. The physical exsertion in
this weather is the cause of the dehydration.

I am too cheap to pay for AC and while I will admit to some symptoms of that POTS thing Cheryl,
it is not chronic and I prefer to err on the side of believing I am healthy. Daily vitamins would be a good idea for me though.

My cat has stepped on my keyboard and done some strange erasure function that is driving me nuts. Got to figure this out now.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I didn’t realize you were still doing so much of the landscape maintenance side of your work. I thought maybe you were able to spend a lot more time working in the nursery. Being a manual laborer myself, I can appreciate how physically draining that type of work can be. But I always work indoors. I can only imagine how grueling your work must be out in the mid-day sun. Because I’m very pale, I’m a wimp in the hot, humid weather. Like most people, I do enjoy the sun during the cooler seasons, but during the summer, I start to feel weak after only about a quarter hour in direct sunlight. For me, outdoor activities have to be timed very carefully, or else scheduled in spring and fall only.

My next-to-the-youngest brother does work similar to yours. He maintains the golf course for the country club behind my Mom’s house. We do get some very hot, humid days here too, but usually only sporadically and for a few days in a row at the worst. On those days, my brother gets dehydrated too, but since he’s working so close to my Mom’s house, he’s able to stop in for a break to cool off and get something to drink. Sometimes the heat gets to him so much that he has to kick back on the couch for a bit. Thankfully, his boss doesn’t mind it, as my brother is his most experienced and most dependable worker.