Saturday, July 31, 2010

Late Summer Daisies

Summer gardens wouldn't be complete without this form of Rudbeckia hirta, or commonly known as Gloriosa Daisies.
I must have sprinkled seeds two years ago around the boarder on the driveway, because a multitude of plants flowered this year.
This interesting biennial shows up with a variety of color patterns, emanating from the classic "black eye."
The petals are a bright yellow, but the centers can range in color from just a hint of brown, to orange, and
to just small spots.  The nature of these plants is more floppy than the other Rudbeckia, 
 The blossoms on this variety are smaller, and show up  with only the classic yellow petals with black eyes. The plant itself is sturdy and stiff, shorter and not so floppy.  It is a true perennial.  It spreads readily and can be easily transplanted.
Then there is this plant which is very tall, (around seven feet,) another perennial, and has yellow daisy like blossoms with a green center.  It is not the Jerusalem Artichoke, but it has a similar look.  If some one knows the name please e-mail me with the information.
The flowers are about the same size as the Rudbeckias.
These are the Shasta Daisies near the mailbox. These are another true perennial.
I learned something interesting about this plant.  When you  trim it in the Fall, stick the green stems into the soil.  Some of them will take root, just as the clippings from the Montauk Daisies do.  The Montauk Daisies are not out yet, their bloom time will come more in the fall.
 Just had to end with this, a picture of a basket of tomatoes and basil that my neighbors, Matt & Wendy presented me with.  They are very artful designers by trade, as you can see.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

William Starkweather an American Impressionist Whose Time Has Come

William Starkweather, 1879-1969,  is the featured artist in a wonderful new exhibition, "Inside and Out,"  at the Art League of Long Island. Click right on the paintings to see larger images.
Bringing William Starkweather into prominence is due totally to the efforts of Peter Falotico of Stony Brook, Long Island.
Starkweather in his studio.
This artist was  actually known to me because I worked as an art teacher for a Long Island School District, Northport-East Northport, where Peter Falotico  was my director. 
We had the love of collecting American art in common.  Peter was fortunate to have a father who was in the business, and collected and frequented auctions, buying and selling artworks in NYC.
This is a picture of Pete's dad, Peter Frank Falotico, and there is an accompanying explanation of their relationship and love of art and collecting.
 A lovely postcard invitation

came to my house inviting me to the gallery opening and lecture on Starkweather, by Peter Falotico,
and Dr. Marcus Burke, senior curator of the Hispanic Society of America.  The connection between the Hispanic Society of America and Starkweather came about because Joaquin Sarolla
a well known Hispanic-American artist,  was Starkweather's mentor.
This is the largest assembly of Starkweather's works to date.
One doesn't have to be from Europe to be considered a true Impressionist.  Starkweather's colorations and textured paint strokes attest to this.  His use of impasto paint, gives many of his landscapes, cityscapes, and seascapes dimension and an exciting vitality of passion.
One of the Starkweathers which was unlike the others, a watercolor, was a composition, an homage to Leonardo da Vinci.
There are two similar images of Leonardo in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, but although one was thought to be a self-portrait, they are both now considered to be by other artists.
Starkweather's Leonardo is the consummate teacher, artist,  and visionary.
In the background he had included a "picture within a picture"
Mona Lisa, c.1504, Leonardo da Vinci
of the Mona Lisa,


the Madonna of the Rocks,  Louvre version,

the enigmatic St. John the Baptist,
and the Virgin and Child With St. Anne and a Lamb.
Starkweather also included a cat in the painting, reflecting  Leonardo's many sketches of cats.
File:Uomo Vitruviano.jpg
The skull on the table

reminds us that Leonardo, a scientist,  made probably the most accurate anatomical drawings of humans ever done.
Across the bottom, of this painting, Starkweather wrote in the "mirror reflection" style writing that Leonardo used to keep his scientific studies secret.
In the end, the real topic of this lecture and exhibit  presented by the Art League and Falotico, a lifetime art educator, was about teaching students, mentoring them to love art, to strive to collect it, and to create artworks themselves.
An in depth review of this exhibit, by the Times Beacon Record can be found by clicking this link.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Huntington Harbor Lighthouse

 Huntington Harbor (Lloyd Harbor) Lighthouse was the location of the monthly meeting of the Huntington Historical Society's  Silas Wood Society.
We met at  The Town Of Huntington's Gold Star Beach to get aboard
a small boat that came up to the launching ramp
piloted by a Lighthouse volunteer, Frank Knoll.
Off in the distance, we could see the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse's distinctive shape.
Many groups and individuals have donated money and time
to restore and maintain the Huntington Lighthouse.
Steve Eckers, a loyal volunteer, starts our tour inside the stairwell.
Outside, solar collectors are positioned to supply the electrical power,
stored in batteries.
The next level was accessed by a steep metal ladder, which was why we were advised to wear flat shoes, when we registered for the trip.

The actual lamp at the top of the lighthouse has a carousel arrangement for its light bulbs.  Its lens is made not from glass, but a plastic which focuses the light.
Here Steve Eckers shows us one of the light bulbs.  As one bulb fails, the carousel rotates to the next back-up bulb.
He demonstrates hitting the bell.
The fog horn.
Stairs going down.
Back on the main floor, Sue Eckers gives us some of the history of the lighthouse and its light keepers.
Volunteers have done a fabulous job making the visitors center on this level informative,
and interesting,
displaying historic artifacts,
and architectural elements from the building's restoration.
Looking out the distinctive arched windows.
Toby Kissam, director of the Huntington Historical Society,  stands in front of the nautical chart of the harbor.
It was a perfect late afternoon, and sailboats were in the harbor
waiting for the gun to sound so that they could begin their race.
We said goodbye and thanks to the volunteers, as we made our way back to the shore,
Ospreys nesting in a Coastguard tower,  (which is still in use)
took flight to find food for their large offspring.
Where did she go?
We passed the Coindre Hall boathouse,
Coindre Hall, that's another post.  Thanks goes to Robert Hughes, Town of Huntington's historian, and Claudia Fortunato for arranging the trip and for maintaining the Silas Wood Society,  whose mission is, the preservation, protection, and enhancement, of cultural, natural,  and historical resources.  For information about visiting the Huntington Lighthouse, and supporting this historic local site,  click here.