Introduction and Welcome

Welcome to All Things Bright and Beautiful. If you are new to this site, I would recommend that you read my very first entry - which is an introduction and welcome to this blog. You can view it here

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Havanaise, The Good Part That Shall Not Be Taken Away, Dandelions

Jean Francois Millet
 Today's painting by Millet is different than the others we've looked at so far as it is a small study of nature rather than a scene with people.  He does have several works like this and it is valuable to see the variety in Millet's work.   

"Dandelions" by Jean-Francois Millet
If you are interested in making copies of these pictures the following is how I do it.  (All the pictures on this blog are at least 100 years old so they are legally in the public domain and free for all to copy and enjoy).
1. Open a document, Format it for no margins or very small margins so your picture is as large as possible on the paper. Then if your picture is wider horizontally you will want to choose "Landscape" rather than "Portrait."
2.  Go to the picture you want to copy and right click on it.  Click the "Copy" option.
3.  Now go back to your margin-less document.  Right click and choose the "Paste" option.  The picture should be there.  If it is small you can pull it out until it fills the page.  Try to keep the proportions accurate.  
4.  If you have room at the bottom you may want to type the name of the painting and the artist.
5.  File:  "save as" - name and save your document.
6.  Copy to a flash drive or burn to a disc.
7. Take it to your favorite copy store (we use Office Max) and have them copy it for you on cardstock or photo paper.

Camille Saint-Saens
Today's piece is called Havanaise.  Listen on the following link.

 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Good Part, That Shall Not Be Taken Away

She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side,
In valleys green and cool;
And all her hope and all her pride
Are in the village school.

Her soul, like the transparent air
That robes the hills above,
Though not of earth, encircles there
All things with arms of love.

And thus she walks among her girls
With praise and mild rebukes;
Subduing e'en rude village churls
By her angelic looks.

She reads to them at eventide
Of One who came to save;
To cast the captive's chains aside
And liberate the slave.

And oft the blessed time foretells
When all men shall be free;
And musical, as silver bells,
Their falling chains shall be.

And following her beloved Lord,
In decent poverty,
She makes her life one sweet record
And deed of charity.

For she was rich, and gave up all
To break the iron bands
Of those who waited in her hall,
And labored in her lands.

Long since beyond the Southern Sea
Their outbound sails have sped,
While she, in meek humility,
Now earns her daily bread.

It is their prayers, which never cease,
That clothe her with such grace;
Their blessing is the light of peace
That shines upon her face.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Piano Concerto No. 2, A Psalm of Life, and Shepherdess with Her Flock

Jean-Francois Millet 

"Shepherdess With Her Sheep" by  Jean Francois Millet

Camille Saint-Saens, composer of "The Carnival of the Animals" also composed Piano Concerto No. 2.  Click on the link below to listen to it played.  You-tube has several different performances of this concerto if you want to listen to different ones and compare them.  I liked the performance of the second link better except that the picture and sound get out of sync after a few minutes.  .

If you are interested there is a playlist of music we have featured on this blog at the bottom.  You can click on the pop-out button at the bottom of the playlist to play it longer when you're ready to leave this site.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Angelus, et Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28, and The Village Blacksmith

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Jean-Francois Millet

"The Angelus" Jean-Francois Millet

The following link give information about Jean-Francois Millet:

the following link has over 100 of Millet's paintings. This site does include some nudity.

This week we will continue with another work by Camille Saint-Saens the composer of Carnival of the Animals.  Today's work is called, et Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28.  You can watch a performance of it on You-tube at the following link.

If your family is new to classical music you may want to continue for another week or two with the carnival of the animals instead of introducing a new piece.  The link is listed again below: 

You can find a biographical sketch of Camille Saint-Saens at the following link:

The following is a link describing todays piece of classical music by Camille Saint-Saens.  Toward the bottom of the article to the right of the external links section you can play today's piece.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipe
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Carnival of the Animals, The Children's Hour, and The Gleaners

Charles-Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns (9 October 1835 – 16 December 1921) was a French composer.  His "Carnival of the Animals" is a humorous work depicting different animals.  Your children will have fun listening for the different animals.  The links given have nice pieces of artwork displayed during the different parts.  and part two:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Children's Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupation,
That is know as the children's hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes,
They are plotting and planning together,
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me,
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
And will not let you depart,
But put you down in the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The following are links to articles about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 

Jean-Francois Millet

"The Gleaners" by Jean-Francois Millet

Jean-Francois Millet was a French painter who painted in a naturalistic and realistic style.  He often painted the local peasant farmers.  This picture shows three women gleaning which is gathering up the remains after the harvest has been completed.  This was one way the poor people found food for their families.  There are many wonderful details to study in this picture.  Study the picture with your children until you feel satisfied that you are familiar with the whole picture.  Now put the picture out of sight and take turns describing the scene from memory.  When no one can think of any more details look again at the picture. 

Introduction and Welcome to All Things Bright and Beautiful!!

Friends have sometimes said to me, I'd love to do picture study and classical music and poetry with my children, but I just never find the time.  If you find yourself in this position and would like to share these things with your children but just don't know where to begin or don't have the time to prepare, or maybe you'd just like a little culture in your life but don't have time to pursue it on your own this blog is a gift for you. I enjoy sharing classical music, art and poetry with my children and wanted to invite others to share the wonder and beauty of what we are discovering together.  I hope to post regularly - hopefully weekly so you can use these in your home school if you would like.  We will look at one artist's work for a few weeks in a row and one composer's work and a poet in that way, also.  I hope to give a little introduction and perhaps a few links the week we switch to a new composer, artist or poet.  Since all three are new this time, I may stagger the introductions through the next few weeks.

Picture Study:  Charlotte Mason recommends that we expose our children to great art and let them make their own connections.  Look carefully at the pictures - teach your children to focus and pay careful attention.  Then put the picture out of sight and ask them to narrate (tell back) what they remember.  Then look at the picture again.  If you enjoy these studies but want to pursue them further there are ideas below.

The pictures I plan to use are in the public domain as they are over 100 years old, so they are free to be used by all - no copyrights to worry about.  You can copy and print them as you will.  It's helpful to have them on display for your family to become familiar with.  You can print them in photograph size for each of your students or get an 8 X 10  or larger printed to display.  You could keep these in a notebook in plastic sleeves comparing one artist's works over the weeks and collecting artists you are familiar with over time.  Our local Office Max prints 8 1/2 x 11 color cardstock print for just over a $1.  You can copy and paste the picture into a document and take it in on a disc or flash drive and get it printed.  Alternately you may want to buy a book of the artists work or borrow one from your library with the artist's work. I will be choosing works that are acceptable for family viewing but many artists have nude pictures etc. so you may want to be careful when purchasing or borrowing books.  You can check online first and see a sampling of an artist's work.  Artcyclopedia would be a good site to check for samples of many artists works. 

If your family is new to classical music it may take time to begin to really enjoy it.  Our brains have trails or pathways that information travels and areas that are more visited than others.  We enjoy what we are familiar with.  New foods, new styles, new music all becomes more enjoyable as we become accustomed to it.  I read once that a missionary to a tribe in the jungle introduced them to Jello.  Everyone likes Jello, right?  These people did not!!  They said, "It's alive in our mouth!" and spit it out.  What we are accustomed to from our childhood is what we go back to and enjoy.  It may take time for your family to begin to actually enjoy classical music.  You will want to find ways to make it familiar - playing each piece more than once if possible throughout the week.  Your children may want to color or work on other hand work while they listen or you could play the piece during lunch each day.  Listening to Mozart has been proven to improve your mathematical reasoning skills as well as your ability to learn a new language.  It makes connections across your brain - those trails again.  Baroque music (a style of classical music which includes Bach, Beethoven and Mozart) has been shown to slow your heart rate to a relaxed and healthy 60 beats per minute.  It takes more work to listen when the music is new, like making a new trail through the woods, but when it becomes familiar you will enjoy it on a subconscious level and reap benefits of health and increased brain ability as well as enjoyment.

Our family has very much enjoyed learning about many composers through the Music Masters series.  Each CD covers the life of one composer interspersing samples of his music with a narration of his life story. I purchased mine through Rainbow Resource Center for $3.50.  You can probably get them other places too.  If you haven't already started you can build up a collection of classical CDs slowly.  Rainbow Resource Center also has some inexpensive - Best of... CDs.  I watch second hand stores, too.  Of course your local library will have classical music on CD.  You can also find many pieces performed on You-tube.  It's nice to listen to a whole CD of one composer's work for a time so that you become familiar with his style.  

Check out the playlist at the bottom of the blog. I will be adding pieces to it regularly as we have new composers.  You can use this to continue listening to the music in your home.  

I enjoy collecting books of poetry.  I've received them as gifts, and found them at yard sales, second hand stores, and used book sales.  I've even purchased one or two new.  A book of children's poetry can often be found in our stack of library books.  Our youngest, now five, actually enjoys sitting and listening through a book of poetry for young children.  You may have to pick and choose which you read as values come through both the poetry and the pictures.  I am usually drawn to the older books with their simpler more realistic art work and classic poetry.  Rod and Staff has a nice book of poetry by grade level for memorizing, Poems for Memorization.  You can also find poetry online. 

Don't let any of this become overwhelming - it shouldn't be a duty, but a joy to share beauty with your children do as much or as little as you can do well and cheerfully. The above ideas are just in case you want to pursue these further or want to begin searching on your own.  Making it easy is the point of this blog.

The human heart is drawn to beauty and I believe it is a reflection of the Creator.  All things good and lovely originate with Him and ultimately point to Him.  I hope that you and your children will find joy and inspiration in the works recommended on this blog.