Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Harvest


couldn’t have asked for anything more

This non-season always finds Across the Bored in a transitional frame of mind – we balk at putting on socks and practical shoes (or even hose and stilettoes for that matter) for it would mean summer is truly over and we have given ourselves over to autumn, brief precursor of long winter. Here in the Great White North, Thanksgiving comes unnaturally early leaving those of us who have not yet fully acclimatized scrambling for fall fare to put on the table when we would much rather just throw something on the BBQ and soak up the last of the sun’s feeble rays. Trips to the countryside to see the foliage look doubtful if the leaves piling up in our backyard are any indicator, so we must content ourselves with what the local farmers have brought to market to satisfy those seasonal urges.

Although blessed by the bounty the land brings us when you live in a climate like ours, no, we are not thankful that the freedom of hot August days are long gone. Now we have to hunker down, put up, store away, make sure that there is enough of everything to span those months when the possibility of no electricity or heat surrounded by six feet of snow are much more of a reality than any television show. Everyone around us seems off-balance, suddenly reminded that there is much to do before December’s clarion call of familial duty and forced cheerfulness – so throw in one long weekend, a turkey, too many carbohydrates and a few vices of choice and you have a recipe for interesting times.

Did our ancestors feel the same way? Did our French forebears complain about having to go out and shoot one more grouse because ma tante had decided that she was going to grace them with her presence after all? Did our First Nations brethren grumble that it really wasn’t the best time of year for Still Water and his brood to stay for a few days? Did our English and Irish pioneers rue the day they left green pastures and a good cup of tea as they looked out into the wilderness? Perhaps, and like this week’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge, they also may have been comforted by their new world’s rich – Harvest – one that, in essence, has not changed a whole lot over the course of a few centuries.

“How do you see harvest at this time of year?” – Pumpkins sweet and squash to eat, family near,the holiday blear, pilgrims and the past or things that don’t last, falling leaves or the hopes we retrieve …

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.


F is also for Friday: Views of Castel Gandolfo

John Robert Cozens
 the18th century British painter of romantic watercolour landscapes often visited Italy finding the tranquil vistas, and that of Castel Gandolfo in particular, inspirational to his work. Although John Constable considered him “the greatest genius that ever touched landscape” his work was rejected by the Royal Academy, no doubt contributing to the nervous breakdown which eventually led to his hospitalization at the Bethlem Royal Hospital Asylum. In June 2010 Cozen’s Lake Albano (c.1777) sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London to David Thomson the Canadian media tycoon for £2.4 million, a record for any 18th-century British watercolour and quadruple its estimated price.

Lake Albano with Castel Gandolfo

The above detail of Francis Towne‘s panorama (1781) is a lovely example of a watercolour-tinted drawing: soft tints of colour are layered over the dark ink wash with the details picked up in pen and ink to sharpen and highlight the details of the foreground. Unlike Cozens, who inspired William Turner and other English contemporaries, Towne’s more lithographic and antiquated style seems to have had little influence (apart from perhaps John Varley and John Sell Cotman) on the succeeding generation of romantic artists. His elegant loose drawing style and almost abstract wash designs nonetheless convey the serenity and warmth of the region of Lazio.

Lake RemiSelf-taught landscape and portrait painter Joseph Wright of Derby is best known for his canvases capturing the spirit of the Industrial Revolution. Some twenty years after Cozens, he must also have felt the call of warmer climes and the less frantic pace of the countryside surrounding Castel Gandolfo. Although a frequent contributor to exhibitions at the Royal Academy, he declined becoming a full member due to a slight he believed had been directed at him by members.

Like many other French painters of the early 19th Century, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot journeyed to Italy in 1825 to refine his skills. He was extraordinarily productive completing over 200 drawings and 150 paintings during his three-year stay.  Corot made two return visits to the country where he had been so prolific and each time returned to the same spot to capture once again the scenery of that had so entranced him as a novice.

Castel Gandolfo

The American painter George Inness spent almost eight years in Italy in the 1870s perfecting his picturesque and panoramic style.  Influenced by the old Masters, Nicolas Poussin, and the Hudson River and Barbizon Schools, his  paintings are meticulously composed, saturated with colour and include precise detail. The wide open skies and views from the hillsides surrounding Lake Albano seem to have nurtured his predilection for the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg for upon his return to America his work became infused with a more abstract, mystical component. Inness died in 1894 in Scotland where, according to his son, he was enjoying the setting sun when all of a sudden he threw his hands into the air with the exclamation “My God! oh, how beautiful!”, upon which he fell to the ground and passed away minutes later.

A multitude of artists, past and present, famous and unknown, have set up their easels and balanced sketchbooks on their knees to capture Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo – though the details of the landscape may change with the passing of the years and man though managed encroaches, its beauty like the art it inspired remains timeless.

Read more on Landscape Art here…

F is also for Friday: Japanese Pre-War Painting

The first snows are almost upon us.  The light is changing, becoming more muted, much like the sky filtering through in this late 19th century watercolour.   There is nothing like a good mystery to keep indoor life interesting and the search for information about the artist who captured the very breath of winter in these few sure brushstrokes proved riveting.

We have become accustomed to being able to find what we want with a tap on the keyboard – names, biographies, archives – and when all else fails we resort to Wikipedia, but sometimes the trail has been cold for so long that little remains.  Such is the case with Japanese Pre-War painter Ginnosuke Yokouchi (1870 -1942) whose slate, apart from images of some recent reprints and works in a private collection, seems to have been wiped clean.

Oddly, the scene (above) of the little group on their way through the snow to the local temple made one think of Pissarro – it is as if the two painters were inspired by the same soft light, the crispness of the winter air and the serenity of daily village life unfolding around them, even though they were worlds and years apart.

Road to Versailles at Louveciennes – Camille Pissarro, 1869

Was Yokouchi a part of the group of Japanese painters during the Taishō period so greatly influenced by European Impressionist works?  Perhaps, but for lack of a backstory, we may never know…

More to look at:

Ginnosuke Yokouchi at the Hanga Gallery
Japanese Watercolours
Camille Pissarro