What should I compost?

If you don’t want to tend to a compost pile, an easier way may be worms and Vermicomposting. You could start by calling your plant stores/nurseries and see if they have anything.

It was good timing then for the website! Check these sections out especially…

This is a nifty set of pamphlets the NRCS put together…

University of Wisconsin did these, here’s a link to all sections which are formulated for the Midwest, especially Wisconsin/Michigan along the lakeshore. You should be able to download all the info. They changed it slightly in the 2 years since I initially found it – but all the info should be there.

Ingres: Critiques and Line

Michelle Lasley | Art History 481: Prof. Lee Stewart

Born in 1780, Ingres came into a world rife with conflict and revolution. Trained in the school of neo-classicism, Ingres is known for using his own system for the art he created. In addition, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the eldest of seven children1, maintained a childlike hypersensitivity2 that would provide him the motivation to quit the Salon and the French Academy and move to Rome after much criticism over his painting The Martyrdom of St. Symphorien (Image 1). Andrew C. Shelton, in his thorough review, describes how the conflict surrounding St. Symphorien is less about Ingres’ technique and more about the politics of the time. In this paper, I will argue that Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is more concerned with maintaining his style and securing commissions than in fully participating in contemporary politics.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was commissioned to paint The Martyrdom of St. Symphorien in 1824 after his Vow of Louis XIV was shown at the Salon of the same year. Monseigneur Roch-Étienne de Vichy, the Bishop of Autun requested that Ingres paint the martyr at the most dramatic moment preceding his death, outlining seven points in which he required Ingres to follow. Although Ingres hesitated, at first, in the end he followed exactly the Bishop’s recommendations. The painting was to replace Fra Bartolomeo’s The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine in Autun in the Romanesque Cathedral Saint-Lazare. Ingres reworked St. Symphorien several times during the ten years taken to complete the work before it was exhibited, untimely, at the Salon of 1834, during the July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe. As a result, instead of being viewed as a simple commission completed under specific criteria, many critics at the Salon condemned the piece as warming to a religious monarchy instead of a free republic.3 4

The amateur’s eye sees the Martyrdom of St. Symphorien as a dramatic piece that focuses on the Saint, who stands nearly in the center of the canvas, slightly to the left, with his arms and body making an “X” shape, like he his parting the crowd that surrounds him. The eye is directed up and to the left where we see Augusta, Symphorien’s mother, reaching over the edge of the monumental architecture behind which she stands. She reaches toward her son in a manner reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel. The eye travels the canvas to the right along the monstrous Roman architecture down to a spired colonnade amidst the crowds, and back to the left where we come full circle to St. Symphorien. The light comes from the right side of the canvas illuminating the saint to emphasize his godly qualities while casting the crowd to the viewer’s left and behind him in shadows. A man directly above the Saint’s right hand, in a diagonal line between the saint and his mother, points to the painting’s right side toward a sign, with illegible text, held by one of the lictors leading Symphorien away.

Ignoring the politics surrounding the piece, one can clearly see how Ingres interpreted the painting in his own style while following, verbatim, the Bishop’s instructions.

The moment chosen is that in which the young Symphorien, dragged outside the gates of the city by the governor’s satellites and executioners, is being conducted to the temple of Berecynthia in order either to sacrifice to the idols there or lose his life. 5

The Bishop’s description clearly explains how Ingres was to visual the piece. The viewer sees Symphorien as the centerpiece of the painting, illuminated in white, forming the diagonals in which the rest of the painting is based. The eye next moves onto the Saint’s mother.

His mother, situated nearby atop the walls of the city, encourages her son to suffer courageously the agony that is before him and reminds him of the immortal rewards that God reserves for him in the afterlife.

The young martyr turns toward his mother in order to bid her a final farewell and to show her that his heart, fortified by faith, was ready to brave torture and death, and that he yearned to confirm with all his blood the Gospels of Jesus Christ. 6

Symphorien’s right hand is extended in a defiant pose, points towards his mother, who reaches down frantically repeating the Saint’s pose, which emphasizes the strife of fighting for religion. Although the proportions of the mother are exaggerated, it fits well within Ingres’ style and only serves to reinforce the bond between mother and son by making her appear nearly the same size as he. The viewer sees the gloriousness of answering to a higher calling, turning towards God and abandoning all worldly possessions for dying for honor of faith. The Saint’s steadfastness is juxtaposed to the mixed reactions of the crowd.

A large crowd of onlookers displays the various sentiments of astonishment and indignation, sadness and pity, that such a spectacle would inspire in a city that was still almost entirely pagan. 7

Cast in shadow, the various onlookers of the crowd, from rich to poor, individuals, and mothers with their children, surround St. Symphorien. All gaze towards him with varied emotions on their faces.
Next, the Bishop outlines the placement of the painting.

The scene takes place just outside the gate that is currently called the Portail Sante-André, which should occupy at least a portion of the background of the painting. It should be rendered faithfully after the drawing that is engraved in the work of M. Delebrode on the monuments of France.

One should perceive a bit further in the distance the colonnade forming the peristyle of the temple of Berecynthia. This last detail is left to the discretion of the artist. 8

Since the city of Autun was under Roman domination at this time, the costumes should be Roman from the time of the Antoinines’ reign.9

The people portrayed are all dressed in the age-appropriate garb, the colonnade forms the diagonal opposite Symphorien’s mother, and the location seems accurate without having visited. Regarding the politics of the time, Shelton with his thorough review points out that of sixty-three reviews, thirty-five are opposed to Ingres’ piece, twenty-five curry favor with the Saint, and three reviews are non-committal.10 Shelton further points out that the negative reviews are often found in political journals and compare Ingres to an aristocratic supporter of despotic regimes, instead of looking at the commissioned instructions. Symphorien’s mother is a strong female character, taking the role of the father figure as portrayed by David’s Brutus, for example, so it can be believed that Ingres tailored his portrayal to the request of his patron, and not to the politics of the time. For example, when painting commissioned works for Napoleon, Ingres and David both portrayed women as weaker to parlay towards Napoleon’s desires and wants for how his painting should look.11

Ingres reworked paintings and subjects for the length of his career. He is known for maintaining a style, ingrisme, which was a blend of classical and romantic intentions, although not juste milieu. He is known for his design interests and consistency. He is also known as a superb draftsman, using hard graphite points on a coated paper12 to achieve the magnificent look of being able to define texture with what appears only a few simple strokes, such as in his Portrait of Paganini. Ingres was guided “by the marvelous functional design of the ideal human body, and … the linear and spatial pictorial design which Raphael perfected.”13 With this style and sure hand, Ingres supported himself and his family by charging for graphite portraits he made for tourists when stipend dollars ran out in Rome.14 To understand Ingres’ method, it is important to look at his own words such as, “Line is drawing. It is everything,” and when instructing, “Draw for a long time before thinking of painting. When one builds on a solid foundation, one sleeps in peace.”15 One can understand better why he reworked pieces several times and exhibited a piece twenty years after its completion to show his consistency, wanting to say, “Look from where I have departed and where I have arrived.”16 He desired to be a safe investment for his patrons, and that too confined him to a particular style and level of production.17

Although Ingres was part of contemporary politics, when it came to satisfying his patrons requests, he focused more on those requests and his design elements rather than creating an overt political piece. By focusing, and refocusing on line and reworking his pieces for years, Ingres created a solid foundation, his system, for establishing his consistent type and stature as an artiste. St. Symphorien serves as a great example of how politics muddied the commissioned intent and Ingres’ interpretation, and it is understandable why the thin-skinned artist gave up the Salon and its hype and retreated to a place where perhaps he would be freer to express himself and his system of art.

References

  • Boime, Albert. 1985. Declassicizing the academic: A realist view of Ingres. Art History. 8(1)(03):50-65.
  • Brown, Marilyn R., and Rose R. Weil. 1984. Ingres’s pursuit of perfection. Art Journal. 44(2)(06):179.
  • Carrier, David. 2007. Politically incorrect art. Foundation for International Art Criticism.
  • Mitchell, Mark G. 2007. Learning from the masters: Ingres’ miraculous lines. Drawing. 4(12):42-57.
  • Shelton, Andrew Carrington. 2000. Ingres versus Delacroix. Art History. 23(5)(12):726.
  • Shelton, Andrew Carrington. 2001. Art, politics, and the politics of art: Ingres’s Saint Symphorien. Art Bulletin. 83(4)(12):711.
  • Shelton, Andrew Carrington. 2005. Ingres and His Critics. Cambridge University Press: New York, New York. Pp 320.
  • Siegfried, Susan L. 2000. Ingres’s reading – the undoing of narrative. Art History. 23(5)(12):654.
  • Skira, Albert. 1967. Ingres: The Taste of Our Time. The World Publishing Company: Cleveland, Ohio. Pp 131.
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The Tolman Guide to Green Living

This blog is intended to spread the word about the project I have been working on for the last two years, The Tolman Guide to Green Living in Portland.

Do you want to learn how to eat organic in Portland on $7 a day? Every wonder what happens to all that water that hits your roof and spills down the gutters? Do you want more resources for raising urban chickens? The Tolman Guide tells you how and what to do with all that water. The Tolman Guide is a guide designed to help the homeowner move away from harmful practices to the earth, to earth-friendly practices. Born from a Natural Resource Management class offered Spring 2006 from the Department of Geography at Portland State University, the Guide features 230 tips for the eager do-it-yourselfer.

The PDF is available online at tolmanguide.geog.pdx.edu or get a hard copy from Metro, Ecotrust, or the Office of Sustainable Development. Going green has never been so easy.

Cradle to Cradle

G.M. Reports Quarterly Loss of $722 Million. This was the headline of the NY Times as I checked the headlines this morning. The article goes on to explain that it’s $1.28 a share and compared with the $950 million profit or $1.68 a share from the same period last year. That’s a difference of $1.672 billion dollars. Peter keeps saying, you just watch, G.M. will close all its U.S. plants and head to Mexico (or whatever 3rd World Country wins the next smokestacking bid).

Why can’t they utilize, though, something more inclusive in their planning? Why do we have to stay stuck in the same pattern? Wasn’t it Einstein who said, “Insane is defined as doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” Let’s change our practice from Cradle to Grave to Cradle to Cradle.

With Cradle to Cradle a company would be responsible for their creation for the entire lifecycle. This would put the burden of disposal on the producer. If the producer is forced to care for their product, they would have a resource to build new products without mining for many new raw materials. They would create jobs within their sector for properly servicing their product and it would be in their best interest to create quality products.

So, what do you all think would happen if G.M. decided because of this what seems to me a huge loss, that they would take this information, learn from it and decide we need to do something differently. Let’s take up the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and build quality cars that people could drive for 50 years, we’ll truly service them, and we will use the old cars for new cars. Then, we could be more Green than Honda or Toyota could dream of. Or would people pooh-pooh it, and when the economy has an upswing, they’ll be fried again? Can it happen? In our lifetime? Our grandfather’s fought for those union jobs, and now they are disappearing.

Is there a natural way to relax at the end of the day?

Yes, there is.  Instead of being tempted to use gallons of water in the bath, buy a bottle of Lavender Essential Oil.  Sprinkle a few drops on your pillow before bed to let the healing powers of lavender relax you into a good night’s sleep.

Or, if you’d rather not purchase an essential oil, visit a local lavender farm and buy a bunch of dried herbs or your own lavender plant.  Once the herbs loose their scent, take small portions and place in a sachet bag.  Give the bag a squeeze every now and again to re-release the oils for the fresh, clean lavender smell.  Place bag in clothing drawers or in your pillow.

Our Digital Age

I’ve written about this topic before. But, I suppose it will never cease to amaze me, kind of like the pager craze. My brother and his friends (Rob & Jeremy) all had pagers more than half a decade ago. It kind of felt like they were our special friends with their pagers. But now, we have phones that are music players, voice records, schedulers, and phones too. It makes sense to condense all these items we now deem oh, so important into one, but I wonder sometimes when it will stop. Will we be able to create full presentations, publication-ready documents, or maps from our palm-centrals in a few years? Or will it hold steady at basic functions like Word and Internet Exploring?

I’m also, always, amazed at how difficult it can be to get a hold of people in our digital age. We have email, phones, and regular-old in person contact, but how many of us are really connecting with each other? We have people who are tech-crazy and we have people who’d rather take the technology and shove it. It’s like we have this odd dichotomy brewing which is aiding in the loneliness our society, as a whole, feels.

I’m taking two Geography classes this term, each will require a project. In my quest to define, study, and understand this concept called Sustainability, one facet I have not really explored is Waste. Overall, however, I am interested in the education of the topic, educating people different ways of living our lives. A few years ago I was able to define it as “Educating people about the importance of a sustainable society.” So, in these classes, Thursday, we got together and discussed base tenants of our interest, this case being waste.

Regarding waste, I am interested in the cycles of waste. For example, why do we buy compost at the store when if we did things differently around our yard, we’d have a “free” supply? I’m interested in waste, how we waste things; and I’m interested in the concept of throwing things away. Some recycling advocates, some environmental advocates, and other “greens” want our vocabulary to change regarding trash. If we think of everything as trash, then we lose the potential to do other things with this “trash”. A point was made by one of the gentlemen in my group. He pointed out that since we live in such a disposable society, basically, everything we’re living in is trash. So, because we ultimately throw everything away in the end, we’re living in trash at different stages of its life. And he thinks that this is a major factor contributing to our depression and loneliness in our society.

Since our communication age doesn’t help us communicate any more, and we’re constantly living in and surrounding ourselves with trash, is there any hope? I will end with a question I would like answered. What’s your view of our disposable society, and do you agree with that claim, that living in trash leads to our dysfunction?