Saturday, March 31, 2012

Barbara Maxwell - Artist

If you are at Renningers at Mount Dora, among the many stand holders you will find fine artist Barbara Maxwell, shown here in her shop with several works of art by her hand. Isn't the painting of her dog delightful! The other painting is of "the rock bound coast of Maine" - Rockport Harbor to be precise. Barbara is a very talented artist whose career has included creating illustrations for Highlights magazine. If you are a baby boomer it is likely that you enjoyed Barbara's illustrations, the ones where 25 things are hidden in the drawing and you are invited to try to find them all. Our family general practitioner was a Highlights subscriber and I have good memories of hunting for ordinary objects hidden in the foliage of trees, or tree bark, or porch posts, or clouds. Maybe you do too and if so, you have Barbara to thank.

Barbara lived for a time in New York City, during the heady "American School" years and recalls one impromptu party she and another artist friend were invited to... Their studio was in the same building as another group of artists, who had just set up a gallery display. Those artists being Andy Warhol and friends, I am assuming this was the famous exhibit at The Loft Gallery. If so, she would have met my uncle Allan Hugh Clarke at that impromptu party, as his work was also in the show.

Judy and I happened to meet Barbara not long ago, when we were out looking for of all things some rather hard to find hardware and decided to try the great shop at Renningers that has all kinds of vintage hardware. Of course, we love poking around in antiques malls (I grew up going to the other Renningers in Pennsylvania) and when we came to Barbara's shop, I went in to admire a painting and ended up in a conversation that led to finding out about Barbara's Manhattan days and the likelihood of the connection from way back then. I like it when these "small world after all" serendipitous moments happen. Don't you?

Barbara's husband Robert is also an acclaimed artist. Barbara has served as a court artist (in medieval times that would have meant painting for kings and queens). Today, it means painting the scenes in a courtroom, catching the mood of the trial at key moments, and so forth. The most infamous subject she had to delineate was serial murderer Ted Bundy, whom she described to interviewers as handsome at first glance but frightening when studied by an artist's keen eye. Several fine articles about Barbara may be found on line. When you are at Renningers, be sure to stop in and see Barbara and admire her paintings.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Grace Dalles Clarke - Illustrator and Editor of Children's Books

"And now you must know what will happen when you can read..."

- Johana Spyri, "Heidi"

Grace Dalles Clarke is an American artist, children’s books illustrator, and children’s book editor whose active career occurred during the second half of the 20th century.

Clarke was born in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Lucy (Valicenti) Dalles. She attended public schools in Cheswick and Aspinwall Pennsylvania and graduated from Aspinwall High School. Thereafter, she enrolled in the fine arts program at Carnegie Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Her career as an illustrator began with a commission to design greeting cards for a British firm; the illustrations were sent to and printed in England but were sold in the U.S.A. She also created illustrations for "Highlights" magazine. At that time, she was advised by those in the publishing industry who admired her work that if she wanted to get anywhere in art world, she would have to be in New York. This resolve soon led to assignments with Western Publishing Company and its Golden Books, as Clarke created illustrations for children’s books, just as the baby boomers were being raised. Many of them, as well as succeeding generations, grew up with Clarke’s colorful and happy art work, as part of their early reading experience.


In books such as "The Golden Picture Book of Poems (shown above, rose cover with gazebo and children), Clarke often used family members and friends as models for her characters. Her parents, siblings and home town all feature as part of the charm. If one looks carefully at the train station shown on one of the pages, the name "Cheswick" appears on the station stop sign. Her conception of "Heidi" resembles Clarke, herself, at that age.

The Grandfather is patterned after Clarke's maternal grandfather, Klara resembles Clarke's youngest sister. One of her brothers served as the model for the miller's son in her illustration of Puss in Boots (above). Indeed, those who inhabit her pages have a verisimilitude, joy and freshness that are unmistakable. The books Clarke illustrated are collectors items now, and continue to be read and treasured. Throughout this time she was also creating watercolors, oils, charcoal sketches, both landscapes and portraits. She noted that the hands were the hardest part, when drawing people.

Nubble Light by Grace Dalles Clarke - Private Colleciton

In other illustrations, Clarke's training in the fine arts and admiration for artists of the Italian Renaissance is clear. Several of the stories she depicted in "The Blue Fairy Book" are recognizable homages to Paolo Uccello, and works such as his famous "San Romano Battle" with its colorful crowd of dashing horses and battle banners. Through such exacting and beautifully rendered classical allusions, young readers were introduced to the wonders of fine art, almost subliminally.

Eventually, Clarke moved from the illustration role in publishing, into the editorial realm. In a career that spanned forty years, Clarke worked with Western Publishing (Golden Books), Random House and Simon and Schuster. As "Publisher’s Weekly" editor Diane Roback noted in October of 1992: “Clarke joined S & S in 1986, with the mandate to overhaul the children's division. During her tenure, the division shifted its focus from licensed product and low-end activity books and merchandise to a more traditional trade list.” Highlights of Clarke’s editorial career included working with Ole Risom, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) at Random House, Walt Disney, as well as with John T. Sargent, Jr., President Jimmy Carter and Sarah, Duchess of York, on book projects at Simon and Schuster. The first draft of the first Budgie book, it should be noted, was lost on the 21st of December, 1988; it was en route on Pan Am Flight 103, which was destroyed by terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland.


Selected Books illustrated by Grace Dalles Clarke:

Easy-to-Read Stories and Poems; Lilian Moore (Author), Grace Dalles Clarke (Illustrator); Golden Press, 1955

The Golden Picture Book Of Poems To Read And To Learn; Ilse Hayes & Smith, Dorothy Hall Govoni (Authors); Grace Dalles Clarke (Illustrator); Simon and Schuster; 1955

Heidi by Johanna Spyri, edited and abridged by Deborah Hill, Grace Dalles Clarke (Illustrator); Golden Picture Classics; 1956

The Blue Fairy Book, Andrew Lang (Author), Reisie Lonette, Grace Dalles Clarke (Illustrators); Random House; 1959

Red Fairy Book; Andrew Lang (Author), Grace Dalles Clarke (Illustrator); Random House, 1961

“Little Golden Books”, rear cover collage illustration with stegosaurus, Pinocchio, etc. Circa 1961

Where Were You When The Bell Rang? and The Three Tailors. (A Readingtime Book);
William D. Hayes (Author), Grace Dalles Clarke (Illustrator); Macmmillan; 1967

Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (A Big Golden Book); Nannie North Bedford (Author), Grace Clarke (Illustrator); Golden Press, New York; 1963

Sekected Books edited by Grace Dalles Clarke:

The President Builds a House: The Work of Habitat for Humanity; Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1989

Budgie Books by Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, including:

Budgie the Little Helicopter; Sarah The Duchess of York Ferguson; Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1989

Budgie At Bendick's Point; Sarah The Duchess of York Ferguson; Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1989

Among the many authors who note Clarke's contributions to the world of children's books in the 20th century, you may wish to consult this book: "Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way" (Deluxe Golden Book), by Leonard S. Marcus (2007).


This blog post is the most complete summary of Grace Dalles Clarke's life and work readily available. If you wish to have references, or have information to share, please contact me. Grace Dalles Clarke is my paternal aunt.

A Few More Bloopers...

The Fine Arts Group will sponsor a train trip to St. Augustine in May to tour the Old Town and shop. Everyone is welcome to take part; so look for additional derails.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday which we will reenact at the start of worship; plan to be here for the waving of the plums on this joyous occasion.

There will be a service of Holy Communion to accompany our Maundy Thursday worship. The elements will be served by intention.

Welcome to you worship on this Christmas Eve. We cordially invite you to turn off all mobile devices or place them on silent night during the worship hour.

The Men’s Association is sorry to say that the stamp collector’s show has been canceled.

Just a reminder: Next Sunday we will be presenting our One Great Shower of Herring Offering. Pew envelopes will be provided.

We are known as a warm congregation. Take a moment and say hell to the people next
to you in worship today.

This week, we welcome the Scared Youth Choir from Sanlando United Methodist Church. (From an actual Wekiva Presbyterian Church bulletin from the 1990s).
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - Today, do not lose heart. Look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen and eternal. This is a Wekivaword.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Do Synagogues (And Churches) Get Their Names?

Several weeks ago, Emma Jean and Shelli asked me a question I had never been asked before. They were on their way to a doctor appointment and passed a synagogue near the doctor's office. That made them wonder...and then they asked me...

"How Do Synagogues Get Their Names?"

As I say, I had never been asked that and so did a little bit of research and then wrote them a note as a follow up. I thought I would share it here...

Dear Emma Jean and Shelli,

You asked me about the names of synagogues and how they are selected. From what I could find, synagogues are named according to what the congregation wants to call them, with a large variety of name choices. In many ways this follows the practice of namimg church congregations

A. Many are named in Hebrew for some aspect of faith.

"Beth Shalom" is a good example of that. The name is unquestionably the "John Smith" of synagogue names. So many communities have this name. It means "House of Peace" in Hebrew (Beth=house; shalom=peace). There are Presbyterian churches that are named "Faith Presbyterian Church" or "Peace Presbyterian Church" or "Unity Presbyterian Church" or "Harmony Presbyterian Church" and so forth. It is the same idea.

B. Some of the synagogues are named for a person or persons.

The first synagogue in America is Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island. Touro Synagogue got its name from its benefactor, Abraham Touro, who was the son of Issac Touro (the first religious leader of the Jewish congregation in Newport). He left $ 10,000 in his will for the State of Rhode Island to use for the care of the synagogue and $ 5,000 for the care of the street (now known as Touro Street). It is in the legislative act accepting these funds that the building is first referred to as "Touro Synagogue".

The same is true with Christian congregations. For example, there is a Presbyterian Church in Flint Michigan called "The Bertha E R Strosacker Memorial Presbyterian Church". Guess who gave the money to build it!

C. Sometimes the actual location of the synagogue is part of its name. Sometimes the background of the people who worship there.

In the Bronx there were many synagogues. Names of specific geographic places were often included in those synagogue titles. For example, "Hungary", "Polish", "Bronx" are included, in some instances. European transliterations of names are included - Minsker (from the city of Minsk), Oestreicher (Austria) and Barabie (Bessarabia).

In addition, names of founders of synagogues are used. Rabbi Salanter, Rabbi Isak Leifer and Rabbi Borishansky are just a few of the names to be found. Here are some examples and their meanings (all of these were in the Bronx):

Anshei Oestreicher-Poilen=Men of Austria-Poland
Chevra Shomrei Shabath B'nai Israel=Society of Sabbath Observers, Sons of Israel
Beth Joseph Nusach Sfard=House of Joseph, Sephardic Ritual
K'hal Adath Yeshurun D'Bronx=Congregation of Israel of the Bronx
Chevra Mishnayoth=Society of Biblical Commentaries
Ahavath Achim=Brotherly Love
Temple Beth Elohim=Temple House of God
Chevra Bikur Cholim=Sick Benefit Society
Beth Hamidrash Hagadol V'tomchei Torah=Great House of Learning and Supporters of the Written Law
Linath Hatzedek Anshei Sfard=Visiting the Sick, People of the Sephardic Ritual
Agudath Achim D'Bronx=Fraternal Association of the Bronx
Talmud Torah Tifereth Israel=Parochial School Glory of Israel
Mesilath Yeshurun and Talmud Torah=Path of Israel and Parochial School
Adath Yeshurun=Congregation of Israel

Many of our Presbyterian Churches are named for where they are located or what they are made of:

Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brick Presbyterian Church, Old Stone Presbyterian Church, Limestone Presbyterian Church, Graystone Presbyterian Church, Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, Riverside Presbyterian Church and, yes, even Wekiva Presbyterian Church, so we understand about names based on location, or what they are made of.

Usually, in a community where there is a First Presbyterian Church it truly was the first congregation of that denominaion in that city or town. In some places the numbers go way up. There are a bunch of Eighth Presbyterian Churches in large cities in the USA. Philadelphia has a Tenth Presbyterian Church.

Presbyterian Churches often have colorful names.

There is a Greenwood, Greenville, Green Valley, Green Hill, Green Lake, Level Green, and Bowling Green Presbyterian Church.

You can find a Red Bank, Redstone, Red Clay Creek, Red House, Red River, Red Oak or a Red Bluff Presbyterian Church.

Blue Ridge, Blue Ash, Blue Grass and simply Blue Presbyterian Churches are out there.

Yellow Frame, Yellow Springs and Yellowstone Presbyterian Church.

There's an Orange Hill, Orange Park, Orange Beach and simply Orange Presbyterian Church, too.

There is even a Pink Hill Presbyterian Church...!!!

Hope this is helpful,


Bulletin Bloopers - Old But Ever Effervescent

A bean supper will be held Saturday evening in the church basement. Music will follow.
A songfest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early, and listen to our choir practice.
Don't let worry kill you — let the church help.
During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when A. B. Doe supplied our pulpit.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
On Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the expense of the new carpet. All those wishing to to do something on the new carpet, come forward and get a piece of paper.
Our next song is "Angels We Have Heard Get High."
Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.
Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan in preparing for the girth of their first child.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge — Up Yours."
The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Shirley Green, who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens.
The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
The Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. Please use the back door.
The Lutheran Men's group will meet at 6 p.m. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread, and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.
The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."
We would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
The Rev. Adams spoke briefly, much to the delight of his audience.
The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
The service will close with "Little Drops of Water." One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
Thursday night — Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
Thursday, at 5:00 p.m., there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All those wishing to become little mothers, please meet the pastor in his study.
Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk, please come early.
Wednesday, the Ladies' Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing Put Me In My Little Bed accompanied Mr. Jonnes and his organ.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

And there's more...

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.
If you are going to be hospitalized for an operation, contact the pastor. Special prayer also for those who are seriously sick by request.
Don't miss this Saturday's exhibit by Christian Martian Arts...
This blooper showed up on the main page of the Internet web site for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: "In a show of near anonymity, the convention approved full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada."
Lift up our Messianic brothers and sisters in Israel who are suffering during our prayer time.
Glory of God to all and peas to his people on earth.
Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.
Brother Lamar has gone on to be the Lord.
The ushers will light their candle from the pastor's candle; the ushers will turn and light each worshipper in the first pew.
Song Lyrics: What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and briefs to bear.
(For the group of ladies called Moms Who Care and pray for the children in school). When their meeting was cancelled one week: "There will be no Moms who care this week."
Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.
Men's Prayer Breakfast. No charge, but your damnation will be gratefully accepted.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.
Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
If you choose to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.
There will not be any Women Worth Watching this week.
The Honeymooners are now having bile studies each Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall be live.
A song listed in the Church Bulletin at the Nazarene Church in Little Rock, Arkansas; in connection with a sermon on God's mantle..."Let's God Mangle Fall on Me."
A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.
The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
The "Over 60's Choir" will be disbanded for the summer with thanks.

And my personal favorites...

The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

Miss Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church. Come and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - Today, God who is faithful, will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, so that you may endure. This is a Wekivaword.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Palm Sunday is April 1st

Zephaniah 3:17 - Today, God will rejoice over you with gladness; and quiet you by His love. This is a Wekivaword.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Allan Hugh Clarke - Artist - 1919-1979

"Did He Who Made the Lamb Make Thee?"
Linocut by Allan Hugh Clarke, 1946

Record Changer #7 - 1954
Oil on canvas - 51 x 38 in.

"Promised Land" - watercolor - private collection

Allan Hugh Clarke - 1950

Record Changer Series - Oil on Canvas

Allan Hugh Clarke - 1954

Artist Allan Hugh Clarke was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1919, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Steadman Clarke, Sr. (Nellie E.) and was raised in New Kensington / Brackenridge, PA, along with his siblings Harriet and Gerald S. "Terry" Clarke (another child, Terry's twin, died in infancy). He was a student at Carnegie Institute of Technology before entering the army in August 1942. Resuming his studies there at the end of World War II, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Tech in 1947.
During World War II, Clarke was a member of the 453rd unit as a tail gunner on the B-24 liberator, “Jughead”. For participation in six bombing missions over enemy Europe, Staff Sgt. Allan Clarke was awarded the Air Medal. He used his off-duty hours to draw and paint the people and activities of the unit. A photo of Clarke with his plane and the crew is shown below:

Photo of the men of the "Jughead" - Clarke is in the front row,
third from the right (Courtesy of Thomas A. Fahey, Jr.)
Upon graduation from Carnegie Tech, Clarke served as instructor on the arts faculty of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Among the work he exhibited at that time was a watercolor titled “The Cut Glass Bowl” (1948), which Director Carlton V. Earle described as “vibrant with intense mystic quality”. Some of his paintings were entered in the Terry National Art Exhibit at Miami, Florida.
Clarke taught at the University of New Hampshire on the fine arts faculty when George Thomas (1906-1988) was the head of the art department there. Clarke and Thomas were friends as well as academic colleagues. At the University of New Hampshire, Clarke taught courses in Elementary Drawing and Design, Fundamental Forms, Lettering, Block Printing and Color, Advanced Drawing and Design, Advanced Painting, Renaissance Art, and Modern Western Art. As a reminder of his time there, the University of New Hampshire has a work by Clarke in its collection, titled "Mid-Summer Still Life" (1949).
Thereafter until the time of his death, he resided in Manhattan. He taught at Pratt Institute. Clarke had a one-man show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan shortly after it opened, in the early 1950s. He also had a one man show at the Feigl Gallery, Manhattan, of his oils and gouaches in September 1950 (exhibition held Sept. 26-Oct. 11, 1950; exhibition catalog is in the collection of The Frick Museum). Artists such as Kokoschka, Rouault, Soutine, Utrillo, Vuillard, and Marc Chagall were also being exhibited at the Feigl Gallery around that time.
In May of 1954, paintings by Andy Warhol and by Allan Hugh Clarke were displayed at the Loft Gallery, in Manhattan. The two were friends and fellow classmates at Carnegie Tech. His work was also displayed at the Zabriskie Gallery; November 5-24, 1956. That exhibition drew the notice of and an article in "The New York Times" on November 6, 1956, entitled: "Allan Clarke's Abstractions Reflect the City". One notice said: "This exhibition charts the movement of a firm and talented painter within the past three years from rhythmic, geometric landscapes and shifting planes to a more abstract style in which color-shapes, particularly spiral groupings, are superimposed upon prepared surfaces suggesting spiral depths and contrasts of light and dark. (Zabriskie Nov. 5-21)". In a statement accompanying his exhibition at the Zabriskie Gallery, Clarke explained that in his latest abstractions he was trying to find some painterly counterpart to the aesthetic excitement he found in the man-made forms of the city.
Earlier that year (September 17 - October 13) Clarke's work was part of a group exhibit at the Zabriskie Gallery that also included Pat Adams, Robert Conover, Edmund Casarella, and Lester Johnson, the success of which led to that one man show.
Here are several quotes from reviews of shows that included his work in 1953 at the Loft Gallery: "At the Loft Gallery, a new exhibition area, a group of new names makes its appearance. Wolfgang Beck, Allan Hugh Clarke, Vito Giallo, Gillian Jagger, Edward Rager, Andy Warhol, and Jacques B. Willaumez" ... "Allan Hugh Clarke who teaches at Pratt Institute displays a deft and tricky technique in a number of canvases which appear to have come right off a production line, polished and slick and vacant." (Art Digest, Volume 28, 1953, pages 18 & 20).
The Loft Gallery's Opening Exhibition Announcement is shown above. About that initial exhibit of Andy Warhol's art, and the art of his artist friends, the New York Times said (on April 14, 1954): "Seven young painters have collaborated in the establishment of a new gallery at 302 East Forty-fifth Street that, for reasons which will become apparent to the visitor, has been christened the Loft Gallery." The rest, as they say, is history.
Clarke’s mid-century modern art might be described as cubistic, or dynamic abstraction, or abstract expressionism. He is noted for a series of paintings of horses, a series based on the forms of record players (examples of which are shown in this post and in the post below), and abstract landscapes. Clarke made all of his own frames for his paintings—he worked in both oils and watercolors and is known to have produced linocuts as well (see above).
Correspondence, gallery show catalogues, and other materials pertaining to Clarke may be found in the following archives: The Liturgical Arts Society at The University of Notre Dame, The Pittsburgh Artists File at The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, The Frick Museum, The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Papers of The Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum and Library Archives, the Hans Hoffman Papers at the Archives of American Art, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Clarke died in New York in October of 1979.

I am pleased to note that there are several people who have commented on the duplicate biography I shared with the website Ask/Art. I am going to share them here in the hope that more of a conversation can occur regarding his work.
On 06/11/2011 Vito Giallo wrote this:
"I was a friend of Alan's in the early 1950's I formed the Loft Gallery in 1953 on East 45th St. N.Y.C. Alan and Andy Warhol was part of the group of aprox. 10 artists that I exhibited, as well as my self."
On 03/16/2007 Zygfryd Dabrowski said: "Allan Hugh Clarke is one of the lost treasures of the New York art scene in the era of the abstract expressionist movement. It would be great to see some of his work surface so that he can be appreciated by the art world and the public."

If you have news to share about Clarke's work, I would be glad to hear from you. Allan Hugh Clarke was my uncle.
I can recall my grandmother telling me that his paintings were for a time in storage, and that, unable to continue to pay for the storage, the owner of the storage company took possession of the art. One wonders where it is, today. Occasionally (very occasionally) I see something by him advertised on line, as indicated by this post.
(This is the most complete biography of Allan Hugh Clarke that is readily available on-line. If you wish to have references concerning my research, or if you know of other works by Clarke, please contact me.)

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Today, it seems, Google is reminding us it is a famous architect's birthday. That architect was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe whose elegantly spare modern buildings are best known for their glass and steel look. The Farnsworth House in Illinois comes to mind as does the Seagram Building in Manhattan and Lake Shore Apartments in Chicago, or the Barcelona Pavillion, with its jazzy Barcelona chairs. Mies was the darling of the architecture professors of Penn State in the 1970s, for this cool, crisp way of defining space. Mies was the master of "Less is More" (one of his best-remembered bits of architectural advice). Which may have simply been something lost in translation, such as "More or less...".

At any rate, Mies' idea of pared down design caught on, and as it did, scads of architects brought you what we might call "airport waiting area meets your local middle school" style architecture as a result. Enough said.

A whole generation, nay, several generations, of architects, followed in his footsteps until Venturi and others pointed out that once you get Mies' geometries right, you have nowhere further to go and since he got them right, it might be time to try something different in the way of doing architecture. None of this is to take away from his genius, but it did have interesting consequences in that rosy glow period when his admirers were molding young minds about what was and was not good architecture.

One of our PUS professors loved to give "walking tours" of the campus in State College, where he would point out with glee all of the follies and foibles of the architects who had designed in this that or the other "style" whether it be Richardsonian Romanesque, Beaux Arts, Colonial Revival or Neoclassical. We would sail past the lovely little gem of a building called Schwab Auditorium and the robust brick aggie buildings and the imposing New Deal Neoclassical Patee Library and were taught to knowingly guffaw with gusto into the invariably chilly air. All the while I had a strong sense that perhaps the professor in question was overstating facts, and now that some of the architectural world has come to appreciate some of the work of those bygone days, I suppose that hunch had a bit of justification in it. I will also just mention that he quietly avoided commenting on "The Birdcage" that was tacked on to the end of the architectural engineering building, a nod to Mies and his vocabulary. An unsuccessful nod, nonetheless.

Along the way, we students did enjoy picking up the tidbits of lore about Mies, and one of my favorites is that when he designed the Farnsworth House (the quintessential glass house, soon very beautifully answered by Philip Johnson's version thereof), Mies did not provide for air conditioning... Let that sink in a moment. Glass house. Suburban Illinois. I have been there in the summertime. AC is mucho appreciated.

And I always wondered whether Dr. Farnsworth (or Little Philip Johnson as F L W used to call him) were ever taught the maxim about people who live in glass houses...?

Still, one of Mies' quotes is correct and would have fit the occasion of the Happy Valley walking tours, as well as his own work, so I will post it here:

"Architecture is the translation of its epoch into space."

Happy 126th birthday, dear Ludwig, happy birthday to you!

Jack Wolfgang Beck - Artist - 1923-1988

Jack Wolfgang Beck, was a graphic and fine art artist whose advertizing art helped to create a look that today we might call "Mad Men" mid-20th century style art. He was also one of seven artists who shared in the first group exhibition of works at The Loft Gallery in Manhattan; among the other artists was Andy Warhol.

Beck was born in Chicago, Illinois, January 23, 1923, the son of Robert and Bertha (Biermann) Beck. His parents had been married in Chicago on January 19, 1920.

As early as 1949 Beck’s work in advertising art was being noticed and commented on by art critics in the media in New York City.

In addition to this commercial art, Beck also joined forces with seven other artitst to hold an exibit of their work. The seven young painters collaborated in the establishment of a new gallery at 302 East Forty-fifth Street that was christened The Loft Gallery in April of 1954. It was Wolfgang Beck’s large midtown studio loft that was turned into The Loft Gallery, on the top of a five floor walk-up at East 49th Street between First and York.

Those whose work was presented were: Wolfgang Beck, Allan Hugh Clarke, Vito Giallo, Gillian Jagger, Edward Rager, Andy Warhol, and Jacques B. Willaumez.

The gallery of Theater East showed his work in October of 1956. One critic wrote: “The exception was Jackson Wolfgang: Beck, whos curious figures recall the childhood dreamlife”. (Village Voice, Oct 31, 1956).

In 1956 several artists of note, including Beck, produced a series of subway posters. The subway posters (art directed by Silas Rhodes) were by George Tscherny, Ivan Chermayeff, Phil Hays, Robert Weaver, Bob Gill, and Jack Wolfgang Beck, all of whom taught at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) at the time.

In September of 1957, Beck’s art was shown in a New York City gallery show as well.

Throughout his career, Beck’s work moved deftly between a variety of applications, as a graphic artist, he created promotional and advertising design, book design and editorial design.

Selected work:

- “Trees in the Sun”, oil, Oil, Signed Lower Right, n.d.
- Drawings for “Life” magazine; May 30, 1955
- Poster of the quotation: "To the ideal of freedom, law and morality are indispensably requisite...Society and the state are the very conditions in which freedom is realized."--George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of History, 1837. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man, 1956, Acrylic on canvas 28 x 18 1/8 in. (71.1 x 46.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Container Corporation of America 1984.124.32 (Not currently on view).
- Drawings for Life magazine; Oct 14, 1957
- “William Morris”, Book Cover Drawing, 1957
- Haymakers Lady's Shoes Ad, 1957
- “Without Art…” poster; (School of Visual Arts Collection), late 1950s
School of Visual Arts Department of Illustration Exhibition, 1961: Jack Wolfgang Beck
- “Blitzkrieg” (story illustrations) in Boys Life, October 1963
- Hamlet, By William Shakespeare, design by Daniel Haberman, illus. by Jack Wolfgang Beck.
- “Untitled,” mid-1900s; ink, watercolor on board. Gift of Esquire, Inc. Not on display. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. n.d.

Beck died in New York City on August 10, 1988.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Terry Art Institute and The Terry National Art Exhibit

The Terry National Art Exhibit was a prestigious and exciting development in the fine art world in the 1950s. Edward B. Terry devised the exhibit in conjunction with the Terry Art Institute, which was located in the Coral Gables neighborhood of Miami, on SW 27th Avenue at 10th Street. The Terry Art Institute boasted one of the most beautiful, spacious and modern buildings in the South, used exclusively for art. It billed itself as, "Florida's Outstanding Art Institution."

Artist Marion Terry served as president and head of the Terry Art Institute and E. B. Terry served as treasurer. The institute offered day and evening classes in all forms of commercial art and costume design, as well as the fine arts. An excellent faculty included such well-known artists as Marion Terry, Paul Laessle, Chester Tingler, and Joe Adams.

Registrations resulted in students from such places as Winnipeg, Canada, New Mexico, Ohio and many other far off places in the States.

In 1951, the Terry National Art Exhibit caused a nationwide stir in art circles. The concept behind the huge national art show was to feature the best work of artists from every section of the country. Said E. B. Terry, promoter of the show, “I don’t care if they all go to Kalamazoo or New York or Coral Gables. Pick the best paintings regardless of place.” Which the exhibit curators did, with the result that the artists featured spanned the country; many achieved broad recognition in the art world.

Exhibits were held in subsequent years. One article claimed that among the art events of 1952 none attracted more attention among artists than the Terry National Art Exhibit held in Miami, Florida.

In 1953, the media characterized the exhibit as “extravagant” with very generous prizes awarded, at the Dinner Key auditorium in Miami. The exhibition was said to have cost $85,000 and featured some of
the highest art awards in history, with $13,000, given out. Artists from 47 states were represented. The Terry Art Institute was short-lived; by 1955 Marion Terry had relocated to St. Petersburg, Florida, where she continued her art career independently.

Among those whose works won the Terry National Art Exhibit prizes were James Brown (First Place), Lamar Dodd (Honorable Mention) and Ellis Wilson, whose $3,000 award allowed him to travel to and paint in Haiti.

Selected List of Artists Associated With and/or Whose Work was Featured at the Terry:

Will Peterson
Leopold Segedin
Paul Laessle
Chester Tingler
Marion E. Terry
Joe Adams
Ruth Erb Hoffman
Ellis Wilson - who received a $3000 award
Allan Hugh Clarke
Patricia Lee Morrison
Lamar Dodd
Hans Burkhartd
Maxwell Simpson
Margo Hoff
James Brown
Alexander Millar

Phyllis Rosen Cohen
Mary Lee Cull
Dorothy Lake Gregory
Elmo Gideon
Howard A. Jacobs
John Klinkenberg
Myrtle Anne Charles Otto
Rudi Pozzatti
Samuel Salko
Clay Spohn
Nahum Tschacbasov
G. Russell Tolton
Annie Truxell
Bettie Moran
Don Adams - yes, the actor from “Get Smart”
George Kachergis
Bruce Gregory

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wekiva Presbyterian Rent-a-Yute Workers...

PROVERBS 12:25 – Speak encouraging words, today. This is a Wekivaword.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Church Cat

I wish I had a photo to share with you of the sweetest thing that happened last evening. Judy, Anne and I stopped briefly at the church around 10 p.m. to get Judy's car (we had met there at five to go on to see a movie). It was drizzling very lightly.

When we drove up, standing in the otherwise empty parking lot, right in front of the Campanile, was the cutest cat. Mostly black with some white here and there. I am sure there is a technical name for that kind of marking. Jellicle? Billicat? Tuxedo? I think perhaps Tuxedo is right since there was much more black than white.

The cat saw the car coming toward the Campanile, and began going around the Campanile the same way we were intending to drive. Yes, the way that the arrows indicate--counterclockwise. The cat kept looking over his shoulder watching the car, and we all sort of giggled that the little fellow must have been thinking we were intentionally following him.

At any rate, when we got to just in front of the main doors we stopped. The cat ducked through one of the arches and into the base of the Campanile area. From our angle at that point, we could no longer see him; since one of the corners blocked our view.

But when we started up again, there he was, lying there, looking out at us, and lazily moving his tail, purrrfectly happy as could be, on the center "date stone", as if the entire bell tower had been built just for his enjoyment. Even though he was dressed rather formally, he looked so casual, as only a cat can.

Of course our response was: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Philippians 2:14-15 – Do everything without complaining, today. This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In the Garden

"I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily." - Hosea 14:5

"The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." - Isaiah 35:1

"Like a lily among thorns is my darling" - Song of Songs 2:2

I took a brief walk in the church's Memorial Garden this afternoon at 4 p.m.

The plantings in the Garden were carefully selected for our region of Central Florida to provide four seasons of blossoming color, a collection of foliage that will soothe the senses and delight the eye. Many are also favorites of butterflies that visit and ensure a constant living presence in the Garden. A Fountain and Wind Sculpture at the center of the Garden remind us of the “streams that make glad…” Brick pathways lead to the fountain “whence the healing streams doth flow”. Of course, water also reminds us of our church’s name “Wekiva” the Creek word for “flowing water”.

As you can see from my photos, it is a beautiful spot where something is blooming no matter what the day or season. This offers hope to those who visit it, whether they are here to remember loved ones or to reflect upon God's creation or to simply pause in the middle of a busy day. Below is an informational article about the Memorial Garden.

The Courtyard Memorial and Meditation Garden for
Wekiva Presbyterian Church

The Courtyard Memorial and Meditation Garden which had been anticipated for many years was dedicated in 2005. The Garden was designed by our own member, Elder Tom Stahl, and is a lovely and fitting centerpiece to the church campus. Over the course of about three years, about half the costs of The Garden were given to the church as memorial and honor gifts, including a memorial gift for the fountain and the special Advent giving in 2004. Also in 2004 a generous couple in our congregation gave the church a gift for the remaining half of the cost of The Garden. The benches were fabricated by church members, to a Tom Stahl design, as well.

The Courtyard Memorial and Meditation Garden is a spiritually appropriate place on our church campus for the internment of ashes from cremation. The ashes of church members and friends who have died are put to rest in the garden, and their names are placed on a bronze wall tablet adjacent to the entry into Education Hall. Such a garden is ecologically responsible as well as an answer in part to the age-old concern of the Christian community to participate in the proper disposition and identification of the earthly remains of those who have shared in Christian fellowship here. Christians sometimes have questions about cremation, which is an acceleration of natural processes, consistent with the belief in resurrection and eternal life. While it is not everyone’s choice, it is both appropriate and accepted in Christian practice.

The Garden is also a place for members and guests to find a lovely, peaceful retreat for reflection and prayer as they listen to the fountain and appreciate the calm surroundings. The Garden is also utilized from time to time as a place of congregational fellowship. It is a dignified and beautiful place of peace and serenity.

You are invited to visit The Memorial Garden and savor it when next you are with us.
Here follows our Litany of Dedication for The Memorial Garden:

The Courtyard Memorial and Meditation Garden
Of Wekiva Presbyterian Church

Litany of Dedication

Leader: Hear God’s Word as recorded in Genesis Chapter Two: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there God placed the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”

All: From the beginning, God envisioned that the perfect place for God’s people to dwell is in a Garden.

Leader: The Psalmist says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.”

All: God gently calls us to us, to be beside Him, in those green and water-blessed places where we may find rest and experience renewal.

Leader: In the Garden, according to John: Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept… She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone standing behind her. It was Jesus, but she didn't recognize him. "Why are you crying?" Jesus asked her. "Who are you looking for?" She thought he was the gardener." Sir," she said, "if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him." "Mary!" Jesus said. She turned toward him and exclaimed, "Teacher!"

All: We cherish the wonder of resurrection on the first Easter day, as it was revealed to Mary and through her, to all of humankind, in the Garden.

Leader: We are blessed by the promise of the Living Christ and are assured that all who trust in Him will share in His Kingdom, which will have no end. Now, we offer this Prayer of Dedication:

All: Dear Lord, We ask for Your blessing upon this Garden. May it serve as a tranquil place for meditation and prayer, a place where we may enjoy the beauty of Your world, a place where we may feel Your living presence, and a place where we may remember our loved ones who have gone before us. As it is said, “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.” We pray this shall be true, as we come to the Garden alone, or in the presence of others, in Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Please join in our Hymn of Dedication: “In The Garden”

Following the Benediction, you are invited to visit the Memorial and Mediation Garden and share in refreshments there.

Please Drive With Extraordinary Care!

The parking lot now has stripes, as you can see in these photos which I made when I arrived this morning. The lot is looking mighty nice in black and white. The Property Committee and Property Manager Vic are to be thanked for making it happen. This Sunday, our worshipers will have the happy pleasure of driving and parking on the newly refurbished lot for the very first time. (Curb your excitement, angels!)

In addition to the newly sealed blacktop surface and the glistening white stripes, there are a few other innovations, including a new location for the "First Time Guests" spaces, which at the suggestion of Elder Fred and the input of the various members of the staff, have been placed in a more visible place. Please do keep those spots open for the "First Time Guests" ON SUNDAYS. At any time else during the week you are fine to park there even if you are a Charter Member...!

A reminder, that in addition to our newly refurbished lots, ON SUNDAYS you may also park in the Bank parking lot or in the Watson parking lot, if you wish. For some of our church members, these are actually more convenient, depending on your route to and from worship. And we do encourage the staff and officers and their families to park in one or the other of those lots on Sundays, too, to keep the church lots less congested. Personally, I find that I enjoy my stroll from one of those neighboring lots every Sunday morning around seven a.m. as I arrive for the day's activities. There are usually hawks, mocking birds, finches and jays to be seen. Sometimes egrets, herons and ibis. Occasionally possum and armadillo. Rarely, bear.

We are glad we have that mutual arrangement with the Bank and with Watson (their patrons or staff do use our lots during the week). But do remember, at any time that those businesses are open for business, Wekiva folks are asked to please park in the church lots only.

I wish I did not need to remind one and all of several parking lot courtesies we encourage, but I would be remiss if I did not do so:

First, please ALWAYS obey the arrows and directional signs, which make the lot traffic "one way" loops, whether you are in the front lot or the side lot, whether the lot is full or empty.

Also, please NEVER use your cell phone while driving or walking in the parking lot, so that you can give your complete attention to where you are going.

At all times, as they say on the signs when you drive into our near-by city of Winter Park:

"Please Drive With Extraordinary Care"
Psalm 37:23-24 – God is holding your hand, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Halfway Up The Stairs

Okay Martha told me a good story today, and I have to pass it on.

Martha is recuperating from surgery and doing very well. She was over at the Library and as everyone who knows it knows, at the Seminole County Library in Casselberry the books are on the second floor. Martha was halfway up the stairs when she suddenly remembered that her doctor told her not to do stairs, just yet.

And so she wondered. Should she go up? Or should she go back down?

(The illustration will remind many of their own childhood and the incomparable A. A. Milne)

Look Ma! No Stripes!

I thought I would take a stroll round the church and photograph it when the lot is not only empty but also freshly resealed and as yet without any stripes. It is a perfect day with N. C. Wyeth clouds, as Martha likes to say. (I do, too!) Martha is our Thursday afternoon "Ring Catcher" and also is with her sister Kathy, in charge of Wekiva's free tutoring program called "Tutor House". Martha and I have a running joke that if it is Thursday it is raining. But that is not the case at all today. It is a marvelous spring day in every way.

Did I mention that Martha's husband Vic is our Property Manager, so he is the one who has helped us spruce up the parking lot. Hooray! It really does look pretty.

The stripes are yet to come. The cones are still up. If they were not, we would be having "free style" parking, or if you prefer "improvisational parking". Not recommended. Otherwise, I would have to use Lady Violet's line to advise the errant drivers, "You're not Toad of Toad Hall." Indeed, often, with or without stripes, the lot looks more like this:

More on Macadam...

You know how much I enjoy a bad pun.

Well so apparently did others, back in the days of road building in Scotland and Britain. John Loudon McAdam's second surviving son, James Nicholl McAdam, who continued in his father's very successful line of road building, was nicknamed...

...wait for it...

"The Colossus of Roads".

Sad but true. I did NOT make that one up!

And yes, I can hear you groaning from here.

Sir James Nicoll McAdam, the son of John Loudon McAdam, the "macadamiser" of roads, was born in 1786, and was knighted in 1834. "The Colossus of Roads" was chief trustee and surveyor of the metropolitan turnpike roads. He died in 1852.

Nothing Quite Like the Smell of Tar...

Today, the workers are putting down the new surface on the church parking lot, as you can see in these several photos.

Here in Central Florida, it is a gorgeous day. One that would normally casue us to want to stop and breathe in the spring air. Nope. Not today! Not with the noxious fumes of tar or whatever the black, smelly substance is that goes down as the new layer on the parking lot.

Pardon me, but does anyone have an aroma therapy candle I can light?

Once again, we who are holding down the fort at the church office while the teachers, families and administrators of our nursery school are off enjoying Spring Break, are sure as sure can be that the staff of the Christian Child Center must be exceeding glad that they are not there to smell what's in the air!

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is the sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits; it is a substance classed as a pitch. Until the 20th century, the term "asphaltum" was also used. I could make a terrible pun about that but see what restraint I am using...

Did you know that the primary use of asphalt is not as an air freshener, but rather in road construction? Yes indeed! It is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. Its other main uses are for bituminous waterproofing products, including production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs.

It is a little known fact that the use of asphalt or bitumen for waterproofing and as an adhesive dates at least to the third millennium B.C. In fact, what we are doing today in the parking lot is quite Biblical and harkens all the way back to Genesis 6:13-15, where God said to Noah:

“I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high."

If the flood waters didn't finish off the others, the smell of the pitch probably did! I wonder how long Noah let the pitch dry before he took the animals and his family on board the Ark? I hope he waited long enough for the odor to dissipate. Then again, there were all those animals on board. Double hoo-wee!

All things considered, what's a little asphalt, among friends?

In keeping with the fact that we are resurfacing a Presbyterian parking lot, I suppose that we should offer a shout-out to two Scots Presbyterians who made our modern asphalt surfaces what they are, Thomas Telford and John Loudon McAdam, the second of whom, of course, has lent his name to the other word we often use for a "blacktop" road: Macadam. (What, you thought I was going to say "Loudon"?)

The first macadam road built in the United States was constructed between Hagerstown and Boonsboro, Maryland and was named Boonsboro Turnpike Road. The Boonsboro Turnpike began in 1822 and established a link between Boonsboro, Funkstown and Hagerstown. It is now US Alternate Route 40. This road was built using McAdam's road techniques, except that the finished road was compacted with a cast-iron roller instead of relying on road traffic for compaction. If you look at it on a map you will see that it is nearly a straight line. Click here for the MAP.

The second American road built using McAdam principles was a portion of the Cumberland Road (or National Road). The macadam section was 73 miles long and required five years of work. It was the first improved road in the U.S.A. to be funded by the Federal Government, authorized on March 29, 1806, by President Thomas Jefferson. Today much of the road is US 40 or Alternate US 40, and it would make a very pleasant motoring experience for those who enjoy a good drive, that is, unless they are putting down a new macadam surface!

Key Dates of Interest in United States Road Building:
1625 - Earliest Known Paved American Road - Colonial city street - Pemaquid, Maine
1795 - First Engineered American Road - Philadelphia to Lancaster toll turnpike
1823 - First Macadam Road Constructed in America - State of Maryland
1877 - First Asphalt Paving in N. America - Pennsylvania Avenue - Washington, DC
1893 - First Rural Brick Road - The Wooster Pike, Cleveland to Wooster, Ohio
1906 - First Bituminous Macadam Road Constructed - Rhode Island
2012 - (March) Resurfacing of Wekiva Presbyterian Church lot - Longwood, Florida
Jesus calls each of us in the secret recesses of the heart and mind,
to make certain sacrifices which always involve a risk,
even though the risk may differ from person to person.
Jesus speaks to the crowd, but Jesus' call comes to individuals,
and through their personal obedience, Jesus acts.
Jesus does not promise them success,
or even final victory in this life.
Jesus does promise the Holy Spirit's presence,
and everlasting meaning throughout this life.
The Master's call to follow is a call to adventurous living.
The adventure to which Jesus commits them begins here and now
and leads to God's kingdom.
Jesus does not promise to protect them from trials,
from material cares, from sickness, from physical or moral suffering.
Jesus does promise to be with them in all these trials,
to help carry these cares, to honor their trust in Him,
to provide a spiritual wholeness and peace in the midst of suffering,
and to sustain them even as they remain faithful.