Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Color and light

For some reason I like doing art.

I use the term loosely. I do not have any pretentions as an artist. But late at night, or of an afternoon when I have been busy with work most of the day, it is fun to sit down with watercolors and relax. What is it about watercolors? They are just so cheap and easy.

Especially cheap. I have this $5 watercolor set I have been working off of forever. That is it in the picture above! I also have a sneaking affection for oil pastels because they, too, are cheap. That masterpiece in the sketchbook visible in thePain back on the right was done with oil pastels.

Not only that but they were oil pastels I purchased in Tupperware at a garage sale! I think I paid a quarter. The brand is Loew-Cornell, which despite the patrician name is made in China, let's not kid ourselves.

I remember my mom telling me at that garage sale that buying the pastels was worth it just to get the Tupperware! LOL! Anyway, those are the pastels that painted that picture in the picture.

HOWEVER. Once at another garage sale I bought a little wooden box of oil pastels of the Van Gogh brand. Van Gogh is not an exalted brand. Looking it up, I see it is a "student brand." However. sets of 10 or something (mine has 15) go for a cool $30 or something. So when I get better at oil pastel I will let myself use the Van Gogh pastels instead of the Loew-Cornells.

I will be the Leonard Pennario of pastels!

Jeoffry also enjoys art.

Good boy! Good boy!!

We are artists!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mozart's mysterious last year

I have been wanting to get my, ahem, Music Critic Web log going again. It has been what, a year?

This seems like a great time to do it.

There is a recent story in Britain's The Telegraph about Mozart and his last year. I saw it yesterday morning and put it aside to enjoy later that day, appropriately with tea. So I could take it slow and digest it.

I love reading about Mozart, anything Mozart. Just so you understand, being a Mozart nerd I awoke this morning and my first thought upon hearing it was August 4 was, this is Mozart's wedding anniversary. It is! He got married August 4, 1782.

About Mozart's last year, 1791, there is so much that will never be figured out. However this story is not going to put us any closer to figuring anything out, I will tell you that right now.

One thing right off the top, there is this portrait they say is of Mozart. I pasted it up above.

I know, Mozart was painted by a lot of incompetent artists, but even allowing for the artists' incompetence, that is not Mozart. I think it might be Beethoven. It does not look like Mozart at all. Mozart had blue eyes, for starters. And the fashions are all wrong too for Mozart's time. I think it is Beethoven. I am just saying.

That stupid play "Amadeus," we are going to spend the rest of our lives pointing out how so much of it is B.S., and the author does a good job of debunking it, even if he does not point out that the idea did not start with Peter Shaffer. However, there is this.

Mozart returned to Vienna after the premiere at the end of September. During the two months of his life, he was furiously productive, polishing off Die Zauberflöte, which proved an enormous hit – perhaps the biggest of his career – with a non-aristocratic audience in a large suburban theatre in Vienna. He also wrote the enchanting clarinet concerto and started work on a requiem, commissioned anonymously by a nobleman grieving for his wife.

Then it just goes on, la la la la la, as if all this is normal.

I am sorry, that business about the anonymous Requiem commission, that is not normal! It is not normal now, nor was it in 1791, for a stranger to appear at your door dressed all in gray, like someone out of a masquerade, and wordlessly hand you a commission for a Requiem Mass. Once again ...

Not. Normal.


Another thing, I am getting a little tired of people explaining to me patiently how under Joseph II, it was customary for people to be buried in unmarked mass graves. I have never read one other biography that ends with the person being buried that way. What other subject of Joseph II who was famous was buried that way? Name me one other person and maybe I will take this explanation more seriously. Maybe not. It depends who the person is.

Anyway, I have issues.

It feels good too be venting again!