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, December 24, 2015

The Angel's annunciation to the Shepherds - Maitre des Corteges' and Abraham Bloemart, Handel's Messiah, and Let the Stable Still Astonish - Leslie Leyland Fields

I hope you're enjoying this themed study as much as I am!  Maitre des Corteges' painting has some interesting details.  At first I thought it was a cave or a building that the angels were peeking into, but looking closer I think that it is perhaps just the heavy layer as if there was a barrier between earth and heaven he is depicting. I think his animals and people look fairly realistic and skillfully painted. The clothing is interesting. The second painting is by the Dutch painter Abraham Bloemart who was also featured last week.  It would be interesting to compare his two works.  

Maitre des Corteges - Annunciation to the Shepherds

Abraham Bloemaert - The Annunciation to the Shepherds

Here are the links again to Messiah: A Sacred Oratorio or Handel's Messiah.  One of the beautiful things about George Fredrick Handel's Messiah Oratorio is that it is full of Scripture.  

This beautiful poem this week:

Let the Stable Still Astonish

by Leslie Leyland Fields

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child--
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said,
“Yes,Let the God of Heaven and Earth
Be born in this place”?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
Of our hearts
And says,
“Yes,Let the God of Heaven and Earth
Be born in this place.”

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Abraham Hondius and Abraham Bloemaert - The Announcement to the Shepherds, George Fredrick Handel - Messiah A Sacred Oratorio, Charles Wesley - The Incarnation

Abraham Hondius and Abraham Bloemaert used similar colors in this week's paintings - dark contrasted with golden light and a bit of red and light blue or green thrown in.  Both have angels in a cloud of golden light. One is vertical which is more dramatic and the second is horizontal which tends to be more peaceful. The pose of the angels is similar though the first painting has a whole cloud of cherubs behind the announcing angel. The first painting again has that cow in the middle of the foreground, but the second has a herd of sheep. Note again this week the different responses of people depicted.

Abraham Hondius - The Annunciation to the Shepherds

Abraham Bloemaert - Announcement to the Shepherds
Let's continue listening to Handel's Messiah or Messiah: A Sacred Oratorio.  The second has a helpful brief introduction to George Fredrick Handel and the history of this oratorio.  I'm planning to let this play several times this week as background music.  

Today's poem is by the great hymn writer Charles Wesley


Glory be to God on high,
   And Peace on Earth descend:
God comes down:  He bows the Sky:
   He shows himself our Friend!
God th' Invisible appears,
    God the Blest, the Great I AM
Sojourns in this Vale of Tears,
    And JESUS is his Name.

Him the Angels all ador-d
    Their Maker and their King:
Tidings of their Humbled LORD
    They now to Mortals bring:

Emptied of his Majesty,
    Of His dazzling Glories shorn,
Beings Source begins to BE
   And GOD himself is BORN!

See th'Eternal Son of GOD
   A Mortal Son of Man,
Dwelling in an Earthly Clod
   Whom Heaven cannot contain!
Stand amaz'd ye Heavens at This!
   See the LORD of Earth and Skies
Humbled to the Dust He is,
   And in a Manger Lies!

We the Sons of Men rejoice,
   The Prince of Peace proclaim,
With Heaven's Host lift up our Voice,
   And shout Immanuel's Name;
Knees and Hearts to Him we bow;
   Of our Flesh, and of our Bone
JESUS is our Brother now,,
   And GOD is All our own!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thomas Buchanan Read and Jules Bastian Lepage - the Annunciation of the Shepherds, The Messiah by George Fredrick Handel and Nativity by James Montgomery (Angels From the Realms of Glory)

 This week I'd like to feature a painting by an American artist, Thomas Buchanan Read of the Angel announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds and one by Jules Bastien Lepage.  Their  perspective is quite different than last week's paintings as it is quite close and personal.  The angel is much closer to the shepherds rather than up in the clouds. Also there is just one angel in each of these paintings rather than a host of heavenly beings.  These two angels are both dressed in decidedly feminine apparel.  Thomas Buchanan Read's painting has the background image implying Bethlehem, like Thomas Cole's from last week, but Jules Bastien Lepage's painting is focuses on a close-up of the angel and shepherd's interaction.

Thomas Buchanan Read - The Angel Appearing Before the Shepherds

Jules Bastian Lepage - The Annunciation of the Shepherds
I know that Handel's Messiah is not strictly Christmas music, but the Messiah is what Christmas is all about and we often sing at least parts at Christmas so I'd like to feature it during this season.  It's lengthy, you may want to listen to parts each week or put it on as background music during the week.  For me, some parts are more familiar than others.  But all is beautiful and much of it is Scripture and all of it is about our matchless Lord Jesus Christ.  

Our poem this week is by James Montgomery.  As a hymn it is known as Angels From the Realms of Glory, but it was titled Nativity in my poetry book.


Angels, from the realms of glory,
   Wing your flight o'er all the earth,
Ye who sang creation's story,
   Now proclaim Messiah's birth;
     Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
   Watching o'er  your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
   Yonder shines the infant-light;
      Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Sages, leave your contemplations,
   Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
   Ye have seen His natal star;
       Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Saints before the altar bending,
   Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending;
   In His temple shall appear;
      Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
   Doom'd for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
   Mercy calls you,--break your chains;
       Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new-born King.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Annunciation to the Shepherds - Govaert Flinck and Thomas Cole, Bach - Christmas Oratorio, In the Bleak Midwinter - Christina Rosetti

For art study the month of December I'd like to cover paintings with the birth of Christ as the subject and specifically of the angels making their announcement to the Shepherds.  I found about a dozen paintings, a fresco and a flemish minature. You can look at them or copy them using my Picasa Web Album to Paintings of the Annunciation to the Shepherds  or  Google Images has many interesting paintings of this subject if you want to choose your own.  I generally chose older images and ones that gave the artist's name.  I'd like to feature two paintings each week so we can cover ten during December. It was interesting to see the wide variety in how people imagine the story.  Some see angels as women or even cherubic children, others as men or generic, most have wings and are in light of some sort.  Some view the angels as far away in the heavens, others with them up close giving their news.  The animals in the scenes vary greatly as do the styles of dress for the shepherds and the background vegetation and shelters.  It might be a fun project to read the story aloud to your children from Luke 2 and have them illustrate it before you study the paintings.  Then again late in the  month or early in January after we have studied these 12 paintings you could have them draw or paint again and see how their ideas have changed. You might also have them act out this scene. If your children are older they might enjoy designing a needlework, clay figures or a quilted project depicting the story.  If you like how their projects turn out you could get them copied (photographs can also be made and copied) and made into prints for cards to send to friends and family.

Let's start with Govaert Flinck's The Annunciation to the Shepherds.
 The link for this painting has interesting information on this artist and painting.
Govaert Flinck - The Annunciation to the Shepherds

And a painting by my favorite American artist, Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole

This month I'd like to feature classical music for Christmas.  This week we'll listen to Johann Sebastian Bach's  Christmas Oratorio (in English)     This is just the beginning of the oratorio.  If you'd like to listen to the whole thing it is  here beautifully done, but not in English.

I'd like to recommend an advent devotional called Joy to the World.  You can download it free on Amazon.  It features a hymn and it's background story each day and has a link to a youtube rendition of the song, followed by a short prayer.  

One of my favorite Christmas poems by Christina Rossetti this week:  

          In the Bleak Midwinter 

 By Christina Rossetti
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hans Heysen - Sheep, The Nutcracker - Tchaikovsky, We Gather Together - Adrian Valerius

 In the excitement of Thanksgiving preparations and celebration with family this week, I forgot all about publishing this post I had prepared so, sorry it's late....  Hope your celebration was meaningful.... 

 Happy Thanksgiving!  We have so much to be thankful for!!  Don't miss the link to a lovely Thanksgiving medley at the end of this post....

This is our last painting by Hans Heysen and seems to me to be typical of his work.  The huge, wonderful trees and the far distant view, with a few cattle or sheep.  Such lovely colors are in his sky and in the middle distance and far off mountains!  Cool colors like blues and blue-greens make things recede while warm golds and browns bring things forward.  Notice also how he uses the sizes of trees to give you a feeling of distance.  The tree on the right is quite a bit smaller, as well as greyed in color and having less detail than the trees on the left, making it look distant.  Then look at the tiny trees in the distance which are miniscule in comparison with the two in the front that dominate the picture.  I love how he uses such lovely colors on the tree trunk, pinks, violet and blues as well as the golds and orange.  If you enjoy watercolor - this would be a fun painting to copy, even just the trees in the foreground.  

Let's finish up The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky this week. 

I hope to spend December celebrating the birth of Christ in art, music and poetry, but this week we'll have one more Thanksgiving poem in the form of a hymn.  We Gather Together is a favorite of mine.  The words are below and a link to aYoutube video of children singing this hymn:  We Gather Together ,by Adrian Valerius.

We Gather Together Hymn

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

And a lovely Thanksgiving Medley - Thanksgiving Medley

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hans Heysen - Onions, The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky and Father We Thank Thee, by Daniel J. Batchellor

I'm not sure if it's the costumes, the ship masts, or the building, but this painting makes me think of Holland.
This picture is not a quality reproduction and loses something if you blow it up so I'm also going to feature another painting by Hans Heysen today.  Last week we talked about painting fruit or vegetables - here is one of onions!  Simple but beautiful.  The colors are mostly golds, browns and blacks, yet the colors sing and are lovely!  I love how he manages to make that skin off to the left look almost transparent and the light shines off each onion as well as the bowl brim and the glass bottle.This would be a great time to see what fruits or vegetables you have on hand and try your hand at reproducing it, using whatever medium you enjoy most - or better yet, try a couple different mediums!  

 We continue this week with The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.  You can start wherever you left off.  

For our poem this week - a lovely hymn sung here by children, Father We Thank Thee by Daniel J. Batchellor.

        Father, We Thank Thee

Father, we thank Thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the world so fair.

Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good;
In all we do, in work or play,
To love Thee better day by day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hans Heysen - Pears and Grapes, Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker Ballet, Lydia Maria Child - Thanksgiving Day

The yellow of these pears against the dark purple and green of the grapes is so wonderful!  You might try coloring or painting a couple of grapes with your children.  It's fun to try to make them look round and shiny by shading and highlights..  Somehow Hans Heysen has managed to give them that frosted or powdery look that grapes often have.  Fruit and vegetables make good subjects for trying your hand at painting.  You can paint them live or take a picture and paint from that.  Sometimes it's easier to paint from a picture as it's already flat like your painting.

Our music for the next couple weeks is the The Nutcracker Ballet by Tchaikovsky.  It's almost an hour and a half long so perhaps you would like to listen to about a half hour a week.

We are still enjoying the poems we are memorizing by John Donne, but I  thought we'd take a break from challenging new poems by him to enjoy something for Thanksgiving - this  familiar poem celebrating gathering with family for the holiday is by Lydia Maria Child:

               Thanksgiving Day
Over the river and through the wood,
  To grandfather's house we go
    The horse knows the way
    To carry the sleigh
  Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood--
  Oh, how the wind does blow!
    It stings the toes
    And bites the nose,
  As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
  To have a first-rate play.
    Hear the bells ring,
  Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood
  Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
    Spring over the ground,
    Like a hunting-hound!
  For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the wood,
  And straight through the barnyard gate.
    We seem to go
    Extremely slow,--
  It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood--
  Now grandmother's cap I spy!
    Hurrah for the fun!
    Is the pudding done?
  Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hans Heysen - The South Coast, Tubby the Tuba, John Donne - A Lame Beggar

Another lovely landscape painting by Hans Heysen.  I love the blues and turquoise in the water and the contrasting lights and darks in the sharp rocks in the foreground of this painting titled, "The South Coast".  This scene appears to be viewed from a lofty height because of the size of the animals grazing on the nearest plateau.  The painting is  69.7 x 90 cm which is just over 27x35 inches or about 2 feet by 3 feet.  I'd love to see the original!  There are so many details I want to look at more closely.

The South Coast (Oil on Canvas by Hans Heysen)

This weeks piece of music Tubby the Tuba, is a fun cartoon that introduces several instruments from the orchestra focusing on a Tuba named Tubby. You can watch a really old version of it here.

Today's poem by John Donne is just two lines long - a play on words....

      A Lame Beggar

I am unable, yonder beggar cries,
To stand, or move; if he say true, he lies.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hans Heysen, Benjamin Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Henry Purcell, John Donne -

I found this house by Hans Heysen interesting and the depth created in the backround is lovely.  

We'll listen to the second half of Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Part 2) this week.  Music by Henry Purcel.

Our poet, John Donne, is quite advanced and challenging, so if you have young children or children new to poetry appreciation, I recommend you find a good poetry anthology and just read poems your young children enjoy.  Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Farris is a good choice. You might also enjoy A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Or you could look back through this blog and choose a different poet, that is more readable and understandable for your children.  Christina Rosetti would be a good choice, or Amy Carmichael, or William Blake to name a few, if you haven't already studied their work.  You can use the search button on this blog if you like or just go back to older posts and browse.

          The Good-Morrow
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hans Heysen - Landscape, Benjamin Britton: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Britten, John Donne - The Legacy

This watercolor landscape by Hans Heysen has wonderful contrasts and shadows.  It is mostly blue and peach or brown.  I like the shadow shapes on the rock wall, but the sky has the same colors in it as do the trees and the foreground though your eye is drawn to the foreground as the details are sharper and the blues are darkest and brightest there.  He has skillfully painted his cattle from different angles.  I like the bit of turquoise against the periwinkle (almost purple) blue in the water the cattle are drinking.

I'd like to introduce you to the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra if you haven't already shared it with your children. (If you've already listened to it, you may be interested in the Kid's Orchestra Movie below instead.)
Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Part 1

I found this introduction to the orchestra put together by a father for his 4-year old son.

Kids Orchestra Movie

John Donne poem this week
     The Legacy

 When I died last, and, Dear, I die
 As often as from thee I go,
 Though it be but an hour ago,
And Lovers' hours be full eternity,
I can remember yet, that I
 Something did say, and something did bestow;
Though I be dead, which sent me, I should be
Mine own executor and legacy.

I heard me say, "Tell her anon,
 That myself, that is you, not I,
 Did kill me," and when I felt me die,
I bid me send my heart, when I was gone,
But alas could there find none,
 When I had ripp'd me, and search'd where hearts should lie;
It kill'd me again, that I who still was true,
In life, in my last will should cozen you.

Yet I found something like a heart,
 But colors it, and corners had,
 It was not good, it was not bad,
It was intire to none, and few had part.

As good as could be made by art
 It seem'd, and therefore for our losses sad,
I meant to send this heart in stead of mine,
But oh, no man could hold it, for 'twas thine.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hans Heysen, Camille Saint-Saens - Carnival of the animals, John Donne - Temple

Another lovely still life by Hans Heysen this week.  So many bright colors against that dark background.  Do you grow zinnias?  I like how they have so many colors and they stay nice for a long time after you cut them....  Lots of different colors and kinds of fruit here, too.  A bunch of grapes makes a fun painting project.  Colored pencils or pastels would work as well as paint.  Notice how each grape has different colors in it and that wonderful white spot for a reflective highlight.  Good practice at looking for what color a thing really is, not what it looks like....

Continuing this week with Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens, Here is the playlist you can start wherever you left off last week, or listen to your favorites again.  Can your children start to pick out some of the animals by hearing the piece of music?  

I'm finding John Donne's poetry a bit difficult, but thought provoking.  The pieces we're memorizing take on the most meaning as we recite and think them through.  Today's poem is based on the Biblical account of Jesus in the Temple with the teachers of the law when he was 12.  

With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe,
Joseph, turn back ; see where your child doth sit,
Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit,
Which Himself on the doctors did bestow.
The Word but lately could not speak, and lo !
It suddenly speaks wonders ; whence comes it,
That all which was, and all which should be writ,
A shallow seeming child should deeply know ?
His Godhead was not soul to His manhood,
Nor had time mellow'd Him to this ripeness ;
But as for one which hath a long task, 'tis good,
With the sun to begin His business,
He in His age's morning thus began,
By miracles exceeding power of man.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hans Heysen, Camille Saint Saens - Carnival of the Animals, John Donne - Death, Be Not Proud

This is a bit early, but we're going to be camping for a few days, so I won't be home to post this Thursday....  I liked these Fall leaves, though we don't have this type of tree around here, perhaps it's native in Austraillia where Hans Heysen lived and painted.

Today's music is from the Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens.  Here's a link to a playlist Carnival of the Animals.  I haven't viewed the whole thing so I'm not sure how the pictures will be, but a playlist may give you a chance to choose your favorite animals or favorite pieces.  We'll spend a couple of weeks on this fun music. 

Here's a link with a recommendation for a book and CD that looks good.

And a poem by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke;  why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more;  Death, thou shalt die.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hans Heysen - Sewing, Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf, John Donne - Nativity

I really like today's painting by Hans Heysen!  I like the bits of light and shadow, the simple setting and the woman sewing, the window bringing all the greens into the picture....  What do you see to remember?

I feel satisfied with what we've listened to by Engelbert Humperdinck and I'm not inclined to pursue more of his works, so I think we'll go back to some of the fun elementary children's works we covered some years ago, like Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.  If you and your children have never listened to this piece before I think you will enjoy it.  Different instruments and parts of the tune represent different characters in the story.  This is about a half hour long so if you don't want to listen to the whole thing at once you can break it up into several sittings.  

Today's poem by John Donne is about the wonder of the nativity. 


Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-beloved imprisonment.
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come.
But O! for thee, for Him, hath th’ inn no room?        5
Yet lay Him in this stall,  and from th’ orient,
Stars, and wise men will travel to prevent
The effects  of Herod’s jealous general doom.
See’st thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eye,  how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?        10
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hans Heysen, Engelbert Humperdinck - overture for Konigkinder, John Donne - A Hymn to God Our Father

Another beautiful landscape by our artist Hans Heysen this week, a lovely watercolor painting.  Notice how he left flecks of white paper near the sailboats as the sparkle on the waves.  If you've worked at all with watercolors this would be a fun painting to try to copy.

This weeks music by Engelbert Humperdinck is the overture for Konigkinder (German for the King's Children).  Here's a link for Wikipedia's article on Konigskinder.

John Donne had a keen sense of his own sinfulness and tendency to return to sin.  But he also counted on the mercy of God. This poem is typical of his work in that way.

       A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hans Heysen - A Bowl of Roses, Engelbert Humperdinck - Hansel and Gretel: Evening Song, John Donne - Death Be Not Proud

This week we're looking at another lovely still life by Hans Heysen - A Bowl  of Roses.
A Bowl of Roses - Hans Heysen
You might try drawing or painting one of these roses with your children (colored pencils might work, too) - they are a light color with darker shades marking the shadowed areas between petals.  Notice what colors are used to make the shadows in these flowers. There isn't a lot of color in this painting - mostly subtle neutral shades making it restful.  Still - the contrast is green against red which is complementary (across the color wheel) and each heightens its opposite.  Also the artist has used the dark green (almost black in places) leaves behind the light blooms to highlight them.

 Today's piece from Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert HumperdinckDream Pantomime, is more dramatic than last week's piece.  Do your children like it?  I like to listen to these pieces repeatedly through the week because I've found that as music becomes familiar we get more enjoyment out of it.  

Death Be Not Proud is the third poem by John Donne that we plan to memorize this term.  It's here in its old English spelling. 

 Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hans Heysen-Droving into the Light, Engelbert Humperdinck-Hansel and Gretel:Evening Prayer, John Donne - Daybreak

This painting by Hans Heysen is a typical landscape.  Seeing his trees and the mountains in the distance makes me want to visit Australlia.  The drover on the horse gives you a feeling of motion while the light and the scenery give a feeling of standing in awe.

File:Heysen Droving.jpg
Droving into the Light - Hans Heysen
I need to apologize for not previewing the whole opera of Hansel and Gretel before choosing it.  Listening to the next section I decided that though the music is beautiful, the scenes and content aren't something I want to show my children or can recommend to you.  If you have time to preview, you may want to continue with the whole opera - it's not worse than many Disney movies, so it may depend on your family's taste and exposure to movies.  But I did find this lovely piece from the opera that we can all enjoy this week, Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel: Evening Prayer

I got the title wrong on the second poem by John Donne that I am memorizing with my children - it is Daybreak rather than Break of Day which is a more adult love poem.  So here is Daybreak by John Donne...

Stay, O sweet, and do not rise;
The light that shines comes from thine eyes;
The day breaks not, it is my heart,
Because that you and I  must part.
Stay, or else my joys will die
And perish in their infancy.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hans Heysen - Still Life With Onions and Pumpkins, Engelbert Humperdinck - Hansel and Gretel, John Donne - No Man is an Island

Hi!  I'm glad to be back, we're ready to start school next week and it feels good to be getting ready again.  It was a very busy summer and I'm hoping for some quieter days to enjoy studying with the children.
Hans Heysen is an australian artist.  Many of his paintings were landscapes, but like his still life paintings as well. I fell in love with this "Still life with Onions and  Pumpkins"!   Notice all the reflected light in this painting (see the white spots on pumpkins and onions and the lights and darks and reflected colors in the brass pot).  One of my favorite parts of Fall is the evening our family heads out to our garden to gather in the squashes and pumpkins - usually right before the first frost.  We take a wagon and wheel barrow and all head out to the garden together.  It's usually dark by the time we're done but it's a fun frolic and has become a tradition.  I've tried to choose a variety of his paintings to study this term. Hope you enjoy them with us.  If you want to view the paintings chosen for this term or copy them here is the link to my Picasa Web Album of Hans Heysen Paintings.

Hans HEYSEN | Still life with pumpkins and onions

You can watch a slide show of Hans Heysen's paintings as well as view a gallery of his paintings here.

Our composer this term is Engelbert Humperdinck who was a German composer (not to be confused with the performer of the same name...).  We are going to be studying his best known work, an opera titled Hansel and Gretel.  I'd like to take this in small pieces rather than study many different works this term, So just listen to the first 22 minutes this week. We haven't done much with opera to this point, so this is an introduction to that musical form. Here is Wikipedia's entry for Opera. The Opera starts out with a lovely instrumental piece by the orchestra.  The singing parts are not in English but this version has English subtitles you can read aloud for your children or they can read themselves if they are capable readers.  I'm looking into a couple of English versions that I may be able to recommend later.  

Wikipedia has an entry for Engelbert Humperdinck.

Here is an article explaining John Donne and his poetry.  John Donne and his poetry.

And a list of quotes by John Donne 

As well as a short biographical synopsis of the life and poetry of John Donne.

My children and I plan to memorize the following three poems by John Donne this term:

No Man is an Island, Break of Day, and Death-Be not Proud.

This week's featured poem follows:

                No Man is an Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Preview for Fall Term

Thank you for your patience, I hope you've had a good summer.  Our daughter's wedding was beautiful and meaningful.  I'm getting ready for school again, so we're ready for a new artist, composer and poet to study.  This is notice so you can make prints or purchase a DVD.

I'll be back next week with our new poet - John Donne and since he's a rather advanced poet, I'll perhaps feature some for young children by various authors as well.  Our Artist will be Australian, Hans Heysen.   You can see his paintings I'll be featuring over the next three months at my Picasa Web Album of Hans Heysen Paintings.  You can print them if you'd like to for your family's educational use.  Our music this term will be Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel opera.  You can preview it here.  It's not in English, but has English subtitles.  We'll be listening to it a bit each week.  I'm also previewing some other versions that you could purchase, or if you and your children aren't interested in opera, you can choose from a composer already featured on this blog or look for one you'd like to study on your own. Until next week - blessings as you serve our King by serving your families.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An apology...

I realized yesterday that I had missed my post the end of last week....  Life seems to have me by the tail right now.  We're in the middle of gardening, out of town company, and getting ready for our daughter's wedding next month.  So I've decided that rather than try to squeeze one more thing in, I'll put the blog on hold for a few weeks....  If you're new here, there are lots of wonderful artists, composers and poets in the archives, hope you can find something you'd like to use.  For those of you who have been with me all along - maybe a revisiting of an old favorite? Or you could launch out on your own.  Artcyclopedia might be a place to start in looking for artists as they have their works listed by style and artist.  I hope to be back later this summer in time to get ready for the Fall season.  Blessings on you all in your sharing joy and beauty with your precious children. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Albert Anker - Girl Knitting, Hector Berlioz - Les Troyens - Royal Hunt and Storm, Robert Browning - Apparent Failure

Our last painting by Albert Anker is of a lovely young girl knitting.  I use four needles to knit like this when I make sleeves or socks.  I love the color of her skin and the curly wisps of hair around her face.  Do you or any of your children like to knit?  

Our final work by Hector Berlioz is Les Troyens - Royal Hunt and Storm.

I don't know if it's really fitting to choose this poem as the last by Robert Browning, but he has a lot of wisdom and sees things from a different angle than most and isn't afraid to take on difficult subjects to make his point.  Here he describes visiting Paris for the baptism of the prince and then walking along the Seine River and visiting the morgue.  He talks about three men he saw there that had drowned themselves in the river and surmises what their lives were like and why they had wanted to end it all.  He completes his poem with some sound wisdom on what to seek in life -"It’s wiser being good than bad;  It’s safer being meek than fierce: It’s fitter being sane than mad." and "what began best, can’t end worst, Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst."

              Apparent Failure

NO, for I ’ll save it! Seven years since,
    I passed through Paris, stopped a day
To see the baptism of your Prince;
    Saw, made my bow, and went my way
Walking the heat and headache off,
    I took the Seine-side, you surmise,
Thought of the Congress, Gortschakoff,
    Cavour’s appeal and Buol’s replies,
So sauntered till—what met my eyes?

Only the Doric little Morgue!
    The dead-house where you show your drowned
Petrarch’s Vaucluse makes proud the Sorgue,
    Your Morgue has made the Seine renowned.
One pays one’s debt in such a case;
    I plucked up heart and entered,—stalked,
Keeping a tolerable face
    Compared with some whose cheeks were chalked
Let them! No Briton’s to be baulked!

First came the silent gazers; next,
    A screen of glass, we’re thankful for;
Last, the sight’s self, the sermon’s text,
    The three men who did most abhor
Their life in Paris yesterday,
    So killed themselves: and now, enthroned
Each on his copper couch, they lay
    Fronting me, waiting to be owned.
I thought, and think, their sin’s atoned.

IV. Poor men, God made, and all for that! The reverence struck me; o’er each head Religiously was hung its hat, Each coat dripped by the owner’s bed, Sacred from touch: each had his berth, His bounds, his proper place of rest, Who last night tenanted on earth Some arch, where twelve such slept abreast,— Unless the plain asphalte seemed best. V. How did it happen, my poor boy? You wanted to be Buonaparte And have the Tuileries for toy, And could not, so it broke your heart? You, old one by his side, I judge, Were red as blood, a socialist. A leveller! Does the Empire grudge You’ve gained what no Republic missed? Be quiet, and unclench your fist! VI. And this—why, he was red in vain, Or black,—poor fellow that is blue! What fancy was it turned your brain? Oh, women were the prize for you! Money gets women, cards and dice Get money, and ill-luck gets just The copper couch and one clear nice Cool squirt of water o’er your bust, The right thing to extinguish lust! VII. It’s wiser being good than bad; It’s safer being meek than fierce: It’s fitter being sane than mad. My own hope is, a sun will pierce The thickest cloud earth ever stretched; That, after Last, returns the First, Though a wide compass round be fetched; That what began best, can’t end worst, Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst.