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, January 1, 2015

John Constable - Wivenhoe Park, Felix Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture Op.21, Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Love

I looked up John Constable's work after reading Frank Boreham's essay, "Telling the Truth" from his book, The Last Milestone.  His essays are well worth reading!  The following is a quote from this essay:  "Gradually, however, the Idealists have come to recognize that there is more poetry in reality than they had supposed.  Once upon a time our painters confined their attention to gorgeous sunsets, panoramic landscapes, laughing-eyed children and lovely women.  They told us, that is to say, that beautiful things are beautiful, a fact that we more than half suspected.  Then, almost simultaneously, two babies were born, John Constable and Joseph Turner, who took it into their heads to prove that lots of things are exquisitely beautiful whose beauty had been cunningly camouflaged.
     Constable led in the new age. 'Give me,' he cried, 'leafless willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts and crumbling brickwork; I love such things and want to paint them!'  The pontiffs protested that such work was too true to be good; but, loyal to his conviction, Constable insisted on seeing the world through his own eyes and on depicting it as he himself beheld it.  
    ...Surveying the inspired masterpieces of Constable and Turner, men felt that, if beauty lurked in such things, it might be found in any one of a million places in which it had never occurred to them to look for it.  It just shows, as Richard Jefferies, the eminent naturalist, said at the time, that, if a man carries a sense of beauty in his eye, he will see beauty in every daily ditch he passes."   

Here is Wikipedia's article on John Constable 

John Constable the Complete Works 

File:John Constable - Wivenhoe Park, Essex - Google Art Project.jpg
Wivenhoe Park

Our new composer for this term is Felix Mendelssohn.  I recommend the Music Masters' CD of his life and works.  These are well-known and you may be able to find a copy at your local library, but if not, they are not expensive. I first discovered this series through Rainbow Resource Catalog.  Here is a link to their listings. I imagine if you just Google Music Masters you will come up with a source for these.  

Two Biographical sketches: 
Wikipedia - Felix Mendelssohn 
Felix Mendelssohn Biography 

Our first work by Felix Mendelssohn is A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture Op. 21.  If you haven't already chosen a work of Shakespeare's to study this term, you might consider the play by this same title.  I found This podcast with Sarah McKenzie and Ken Ludwig about his book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare inspiring. 

And for your background listening this term: A link to the Best of Mendelssohn.

This post by Nancy Kelly at Sage Parnassus inspired me to choose Elizabeth Barrett Browning as our poet for the coming quarter.  She recommends The Silver Answer, by Constance Buel Burnett.  I've ordered this book and plan to read it aloud.
There were many different biographies listed for Elizabeth Barrett Browning, perhaps your local library has one.  

Wikipedia - Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning - 

I've been thinking a lot about the unselfish love that God asks of us lately - so I was drawn to this poem: 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

We cannot live, except thus mutually
We alternate, aware or unaware,
The reflex act of life: and when we bear
Our virtue onward most impulsively,
Most full of invocation, and to be
Most instantly compellant, certes*, there
We live most life, whoever breathes most air
And counts his dying years by sun and sea.
But when a soul, by choice and conscience, doth
Throw out her full force on another soul,
The conscience and the concentration both make
mere life, Love. For Life in perfect whole
And aim consummated, is Love in sooth,
As nature's magnet-heat rounds pole with pole.
*Certes means in truth, certainly. 


  1. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I love Charlotte Mason's philosophy, but have never yet found an easy way to incorporate art and music into our homeschool on a regular basis. Your blog looks like a perfect resource, and comes at the perfect time when I am just planning out what our next semester will look like. I look forward to seeing your posts and sharing them with my two children (ages 4 and 7). Thank you!

    1. Welcome, Sarah! Have you clicked into the "welcome" from the top of the blog yet? It links to an article that explains more in depth about using this blog. Also, if at any time an artist, composer or poet isn't to your liking or seems too advanced for the ages of your children there are lots of past posts to enjoy - many of my favorites have already been covered so I'm delving into new territory now, but the old ones are wonderful! Young children might especially enjoy Peter and the Wolf (as it is a story), or The Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens, and if you have time you might browse through the artists seeing what appeals to you. I've featured some fun children's poets like Christina Rosetti, and William Blake. You can either just browse through or use the search button. I used to stagger the introduction of new artist, composer, and poet rather than introduce them all at once for the term but each was featured for at least four weeks. Hope that's not confusing as you look back.... Blessings as you disciple your precious children and I hope you find some useful posts on this blog. Patti

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    3. Thanks Patti! I did read the welcome, and I am just so very pleased to have found this site. I posted a link to your site on the Thomas Jefferson Education Facebook page too (which has over 5,000 members), so hopefully others will be able to benefit from this fantastic resource as well.

      My children loved the painting from this week (I am going to print one each week on glossy paper and put them on the wall), and the Midsummer Night's Dream was timely as we just watched a movie adaptation of the play a few weeks ago.

      I was looking through your archives and happy to see Copeland featured recently (as he is one of my favorite composers), and the paintings by Ivan Aivasovsky are superb!

      Thanks again!

  2. Dear Patti,
    Your blog is a charming resource! Do let me know how your study of EBB goes. Our lives were definitely enriched by her.

    May this new year bring you abundant blessings!

    1. Dear Nancy - Already in reading her poetry I am finding tremendous blessing. She thought and felt deeply and made powerful statements about life through her poetry! I'm looking forward to reading the recommended biography about her life... Thank you for bringing this wonderful poet to my attention through your blog! Patti

  3. Patti, John Constable is probably my favourite artist from that time.....I only wish I could paint clouds half as well as he did. Thanks for the links - I found some works I hadn't seen before!

    1. Dear Erin: Thanks for taking time to comment.... Do you have a favorite work by John Constable? It would be fun to feature a reader favorite.... What medium do you paint in? I've mostly worked in watercolors and chalk pastels, but I have a daughter who has tried acrylic and now is working in oils and I'm hoping to try an oil painting one of these days soon....Artists' clouds look so simple but I have found that it's not nearly as easy as it looks to get them on paper or canvas!! Blessings, Patti