A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Inspired By Winslow Homer
Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, when we celebrated our Thanksgiving had one uniquely pleasant moment that extended for the 49 minutes of Winslow Homer – An American Original a DVD film I took out from the Vancouver Public Library. In the past we had seen a series of films on composers like Bach and Beethoven involving children so that the composers were seen as humans with human foibles. These composer series had been a success but I was not ready for the sheer beauty of this one featuring Wayne Best as Homer and the wonderful Ryan DeBoer and Tamara Hope as the two children who befriend the artist who seeks escape and quiet from hauntings of the civil way battles he sketched for Harper’s Weekly.

Rebecca knew a bit about my fondness for
Winslow Homer
as I had taken her to Washington DC’s National Gallery to show her my favourite American painting, Right and Left by Homer when she was 6. I had to explain to her that Homer had sketched battle scenes but mostly scenes of soldiers waiting in their camps for Harper’s because there was yet no method for printing photographs onto magazines. The halftone process had to wait until the late 1870s and the photogravure was much too expensive, and it too was also only perfected in the 1870s.

The film inspired me to take portraits of Rebecca in the garden but I was somewhat thwarted by her contemporary T-shirt and jeans. Had we only had a dress! But Rebecca is going through a period where she hates dresses and she cries and stamps her feet when I demand she wear one. This time around I covered her with an old Scottish sweater of mine. Rebecca is sensitive to wool and complained constantly on how it made her itch. Still, she did pose for me and I was able to take a few images that pleased me. I took advantage of the situation to mention the plants in our pictures which have such nice fall colours. In particular I noted the peeling bark maple or Acer griseum that Rebecca is leaning on. The other plant is a perennial called Kirengeshoma koreana. Next spring we are going to add other plants, shrubs and trees to Rebecca's present excellent knowledge of roses and hostas.

I hope that spring brings a new aesthetic to Rebecca and she just might pose in dresses.


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