THE BARNS THAT BUILT AMERICA

‘BARN IN NYACK’/gunther

February 18, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook) 

    The thing about barns is that many of us have a thing for them.

      Barns are America. Well, they are also Germany, the Netherlands, the British Isles, Spain, varieties almost anywhere in the world. In the United States, with its Yankee, English, prairie, round, Dutch, bank and other barns, you see the history of the nation, its decades and centuries, its progress toward manifest destiny and, most of all, the incredible diversity of the people.

     They built the barns with post and beam, with native timber, rough hewn. They built the nation with the learning of their foreign forebears and the acquired spirit and shared lessons of the new world. They used Native-American construction ways as well.

     Both have endured, these barns, these people because as with barn styles the purposes may be similar but perhaps not the style. All can stand proud.

     Barns are instant nostalgia, their worn red color or nature’s coat after so much time pulling us back to simpler times though we forget the before-dawn labor that lasted past dusk.

     Today, people recycle barn post and beam, the side planks, too, for houses most beautiful but perhaps way too grand for the old farmer or the dairyman. 

     Passing by in the passing parade that is America’s generations we the people momentarily drop the pulse rate, lower the blood pressure as we glance over at the barns that built us. We are home again, if only for a quick moment.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com or on Facebook Messenger.

 

 

LIGHT DEFINING LIFE

Light emerging from Edward Hopper’s childhood birthplace/room in Nyack, N.Y. (Gunther photo)

February 11, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

 

     Imagine being born into light, not necessarily spiritual though it cannot be denied. The first opening of the child’s eyes, then awakening each morning into young adulthood with strong, white/yellow luminescence bathing the room, moving along the walls, onto the bed, a life of its own as the sun rises.

     This was the daily world of Edward Hopper, the famed American realist painter born July 22, 1882, in Nyack, N.Y.

     The son of a village shop owner and a mother who was artistic, the young Hopper was uncharacteristically encouraged to be creative, to draw, his parents simply insisting that he attend an art school that would prepare him for a living in illustration.

     But the young Hopper, who would hatch himself from long gestation to give the world such classics as “Nighthawks” and “Early Sunday Morning,” did not enjoy the working world. 

     Doubtless he was always thinking back to the utter brightness of his childhood room, the magnificent Hudson River light shooting up Second Avenue through two front windows to awaken him to dreams not yet realized.

     The man who said “… what I wanted to do was paint sunlight on the side of a house” was swaddled, then reared and always infused with light. He gave us that visibility in his extraordinary paintings.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com or Facebook Messenger.

     

‘LINE, FORM, COLOR’

‘JOURNEY’/gunther

February 4, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     You do not have to be a painter to appreciate line, form and color. They are part of the staff of life — not staples like grain — but humankind does not live by bread alone.

     “Line,” for example, is how we view the world, in a vertical or horizontal or angular way. It defines our taste in clothes, houses, other people, art, how neatly we keep our penmanship in a straight row, probably whether we yearn to live in a city high-rise or the wide expanse of the countryside. Line helps us choose our cars, tools, partners.

     “Form” is related to line because it is an extension of it, the 3D of it. We unconsciously and then in learned ways choose form for taste, need, to make us purr in relationships — all that, as in painting, to give depth, substance, the yin/yang of breathing, living our lives.

   “Color” is sun itself on line and form, also as in a piece of art. It is the spotlight, even in black and white, officially not color but life is full of nuance, and there are few absolutes. Who is to say there is no blue in black, no yellow in white, no sunlight in a seemingly mundane existence? There is color to be found.

     So, line, form, color, all part of the staff — the necessity — of living.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com or Facebook Messenger.