Violet, Sienna and Gray: 2012-08-05

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I KNEW IT!! THE FINE ARTS WERE AN OLYMPIC CATEGORY!!

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!! Of course the fine arts were an Olympic event!
Olympia im Herzen von London

YES, PAINTING, DRAWING, SCULPTURE AND WRITING WERE OLYMPIC EVENTS!!!!
I may have actually heard that fact years ago, but every time the Olympics come back around, a nagging thought lingers in the back of my mind. I think of all of the artists in the world, working hours and hours every day to be better at their art, or even the best at it.

 We all know how hard those athlete's work to be the very best at their passion. We see it, hear it, watch it; all day, everyday. Over and over and over.  How many ESPN channels are there now?? And wow, with all of those endorsements, and all of that praise showered upon you. The whole world watching and amazed by your every little accomplishment! I don't want to sound negative or bitter here, I am just honestly puzzled.

Here's a fact most of you know already know about me. I am not passionate about sports. There, I said it. Period. True. (I know I am going out on a limb here, it is positively unAmerican to not glorify and worship sports.) I know, I've just risked my popularity.

 I have spent decades of my life listening to people talk about sports. Golf, tennis, swimming, training for a marathon; yep, I've heard about all of the trials, the effort, the challenges.  Don't even get me started on our kids and sports!!! Wow, I've listened to how athletes must constantly work and practice, everyday, in order to improve......in order to finish that marathon.

I guess you know where I'm going with this. A couple of year's ago, a dear friend of mine, who excels at the game of golf,  (Country Club champ, how many years running? I hear she plays a Beautiful game!) was here for dinner with her husband. As we were in the kitchen tossing a salad, she looked around the great room, and waved her hand at all of my paintings, and said "Kathy, why do you work so hard at this?" I stared back blankly. She continued, "I mean, your classes are full. You've won awards. Your work is great, so why do you work so many long, hard hours everyday, when you don't have to?"

Ahhh, to be an artist. So misunderstood. Doesn't she know I'm competing in the Fine Art Olympics? Or at least trying to get into the regionals! (Fellow artists, you know what I'm talking about; OPA Eastern Regionals, perhaps?) Seriously, I don't want to improve for any other reason than I know that I can, and I must. If God's given me a talent, and a passion, how can I let a day go by without nurturing it, honing it? Sharing it with others; especially my students.

My husband begged me out of the studio the other night. He said I just had to come down and see this story about a high school age Olympian, who gushed on and on about her passion (swimming or soccer, I didn't really pay attention) and she thanked everyone for supporting her, etc, So many people gave their lives to helping her follow this passion. Making sure she could devote thousands of hours towards this gift. She simply must follow this passion! It was a great story. Can I go back to the studio now?

One more thing, someone once mentioned a little mind game; similar to "What one food would you have if you were on a deserted island the rest of your life, and could only have that one food? But, the question was this "Would you accept a million dollars, with the contingency that you would have to  give up your one true passion, for the rest of your life?" So, the point of the game is tell me what that one passion would be, and could you accept that offer? It makes me very sad when people have no answer to this, and I've seen it many times. Life, and passion, in so many forms are out there-go grab one, and run with it!!! Be inspired by those Olympic athletes, if that works for you. Or perhaps, be inspired by that quiet artist, musician or writer, working alone in their little studio!

Here is the full Olympics and Fine Arts article that I came across in the blog, Artist Daily.

It's that time again: the time for nations big and small to meet and lay claim to their dominance based on overinflated biceps--um, I mean, athletic prowess. I'm talking about the Olympics, of course.
Whether you're an avid Games-watcher or you could care less, chances are you didn't know that the Olympics used to be more than just a brawn-fest. It also used to award gold medals to artists.

Fine art competitions were originally part of the Olympics in ancient Greek times and were later reinstated, during the 1912 Games.
Fine art competitions were originally part
of the Olympics in ancient Greek times
and were later reinstated, during the 1912 Games.
As Mental Floss notes, fine art competitions were originally part of the Olympics in ancient Greek times and were later reinstated, during the 1912 Games.
The first modern Olympics were held in 1896 in Athens. The man who revived the Games, Pierre de Fr├ędy, Baron de Coubertin, was also the force behind the inclusion of art as sport.
According to Mental Floss, "Coubertin's vision for the modern Olympics was only partly realized with the Athens Games. In the ensuing years, he devoted himself to reestablishing art competitions--a staple of the Games in ancient Greece--as part of the quadrennial Olympiad. Coubertin felt strongly that art was as much a part of the Olympic ideal as athletics. As documented in Richard Stanton's thoroughly researched book on the subject, The Forgotten Olympic Art Competitions, Coubertin once wrote: 'Deprived of the aura of the art contests, Olympic games are only world championships.'"

From the Editors of American Artist magazine
It wasn't until the 1912 Summer Olympics in Sweden, however, that Coubertin's vision was finally realized: "We are to reunite in the bonds of legitimate wedlock a long-divorced couple--Muscle and Mind." The original fine art categories were architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and literature. All entries were to be inspired by the theme of sport.
After the 1928 Games, painting was split into three categories: drawing, graphic art, and painting. These changed again in 1932, this time to painting, prints, and watercolors, and they continued to morph alongside the larger trends of the art world.
The fine art portion of the Olympics was discontinued in 1948 because artists were deemed "professionals," and Olympic athletes were required to be amateurs. And to think--you coulda been a contender!

Jean Jacoby's Olympic winning drawing.
Jean Jacoby's Olympic winning
figure drawing.
Jean Jacoby remains the only artist to win two gold medals; he won his second with the figure drawing, titled Rugby.
Whether you're an Olympic-level painter or more of a weekend watercolorist, why not challenge yourself to reach further with your art this summer? Find out how you stack up by entering in our own version of the Olympics, the 75th Anniversary American Artist competition.
--Amy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday's Recipe: Hint-5 Things You Never Knew About the Tomato

It's August. How can I share anything other than tomato recipes? (Yes, plural!) I am also going to share five little things you never (I'm betting) knew about the tomato. And, yes, this picture is actually the tomatoes from my garden! What to do with them all???
But, let's look into a little tomato folklore!

First:  Did you know in Colonial times, it was thought that the tomato was poisonous and one bite would turn your blood to acid; they were grown for decoration only.
Second:   The early bad reputation came from the fact that they looked like the plant "deadly nightshade" of the Solanacae family, relating it to the German "wolf peach"; yes, used to call up the werewolves!!
Third:  The French call it the "pomme d'amore", Apple of Love. But, historians generally think  this was a misuse of the Spanish term, "pome dei Moro" or Apple of the Moors.
Fourth:   It is generally accepted that the tomato originated in South America, was taken back to Europe and then brought, the long way, to America.
Fifth:  The reason most of us think it is a vegetable, rather than the fruit that it is, is because our early government threw it into a higher taxable category by calling it a vegetable!



Now for the good part! This first recipe is from the cookbook, " Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan. (Awesome cookbook, sent to me for Christmas, by my sister-in-law, who is a chef and caterer in Philadelphia.) The cook book is available through my website, www.kathryngrayart.com, look under Art Books for Cook Books. Watermelon, Tomatoes and Mozarella!  Ok, so I promised more than one recipe! My DEAR friend went out of her way to drop off this wonderful Tomato Pie recipe today. We all have good ones, but, I'm not sure if it's just her touch, or if this truly is one of the better ones! Thank you, K. for your super speedy reply today! Enjoy! (But, seriously, you could buy the pie shell!)


Sunday, August 5, 2012


I've been searching for inspiration for a blog post the last couple of days, something worthy of your time. Something upbeat, humorous, motivating; but, to be honest today's blog is none of those.
My heart is heavy this morning. We had house guests last night. A young couple from St. Louis; Robyn used to work for Robbie. They came in to see another young banker and friend, named Lisa, mother of two, who is battling cancer for the second time in her life. I believe her tumors now number in the teens. Lisa arranged for the guys to go play golf, so she and Robyn could have lunch, get manicures and run a few errands. 

It was not an easy day. It began with a struggle with Lisa's wig, once a gorgeous blonde, it was important for her to feel attractive for her day out. When she was ready Robyn helped into her wheelchair and into the car. After the manicure Lisa wanted to stop at Stein Mart, she heard they had stylish "readers" there. Sensing she was too weak to go in, Robyn asked the manager if she could carry a half dozen pairs to the parking lot. Lisa liked them all, so Robyn went back in and bought them all!!

When they returned home Lisa fell to the ground getting out of her wheelchair. Although Lisa is slight little thing, Robyn couldn't get her up onto the sofa. They decided to wait on the floor for an hour or so, until the guys returned. As, they hadn't eaten the lunch Lisa had arranged for, Robyn thought the best thing to do would be to eat dessert! So, they laid on the floor together, eating cookies.

We comforted Robyn and her husband last night with a cozy dinner on our porch. It certainly wasn't a day she could have ever imagined beforehand, but it will always be a bittersweet memory. I painted this rose yesterday, and I'll call it "Lisa's Rose".

Finally, I want to share a little C.S. Lewis with you. I won the summer reading contest in the sixth grade. I read every Chronicles of Narnia book that I could squeeze in! When I know someone is near the end of their life, I go back to this final paragraph of the chronicles, and I get goosebumps! Words of wisdom, for Lisa, for us all. 

"And for us this is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

"The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning." - ASLAN