“What did you do on election night, Martha?”

I can’t WAIT to hear and read the florabundance of BS that is about to bloom in America, rehashing the infinite election.

Last evening, on Twitter, I learned that my favorite TV art historian, Waldemar Januzsczak, has done a series for the BBC on American art. It’s called, “Big Skies, Big Dreams, Big Art.” I immediately attempted to log on to the BBC to stream it but guess what? If you’re not in Britain, you can’t stream the BBC. I guess it’s the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean that prevents that.

Wait, no, that’s not it. It’s $$. πŸ™‚

I tweeted at Waldemar and said, “Yeah but I can’t watch it and I’m out here under the big skies, with big dreams and big paintings — my own! I was hoping to get through this strange evening watching your series!”

He hooked me up with a link to his website from which I could buy or rent the series. I bought it. I often watch his shows more than once. I tweeted back, “Thanks, you’re the best, here’s a painting.” I attached the tree painting. He (as I choose to believe) — or one of his minions (impossible; it was him) tweeted back.

I was happy.

He starts out in the American West — which fascinates Europeans, I know from having taught ESL to a variety of Europeans back in the day. I felt his connections between things were a little tenuous, but I wasn’t watching him to learn American history. I was watching to get his take on Art from my world.

He started with Thomas Moran whose huge visionary romanticized views of American scenes have been part of my life since I was a kid. My favorite Teton is named after that artist. I don’t think Waldemar has been in the American west long enough at a time to see that Moran’s fabulous skies didn’t ONLY come from J. M. W. Turner, but from, well, our skies. Here’s an example of a post-thunderstorm sky in June out at Homelake here in Monte Vista.

But, Moran’s paintings of Venice are almost copies of Turner’s so what do I know?

Waldemar’s goal in the show was to get to Jackson Pollack. His route was a little convoluted — going past Frederick Remington and Theosophy — but he got there. I often learn things from Waldemar about painters, especially painters I don’t like and don’t get, Pollack being one of them. But it was cool to learn that Pollack came from Cody, Wyoming and not in the way Kanye West comes from Wyoming. Featured image: Mural by Jackson Pollack. There are horses in it.

As for the election? The one thing I’ve taken away from all this is I have to get myself together and let the future take care of itself. Fuck it. If that’s what the people want, who am I?


11 thoughts on ““What did you do on election night, Martha?”

  1. Learning to ignore bullshit is a mental health survival mechanism. And yeah, the world will go on no matter what we think. For awhile, anyway. πŸ™‚

  2. Time well spent on election night. And to think you could connect with the artist like you did! Bravo indeed. I am not well versed in art history, but I wrote a paper on John Constable back in college while in London for a January “semester” – it was truly a new world for me.
    Yeah, the future will have to take care of itself. I voted – no problem – and that’s all I could do. I had close to that same thought this morning…if this is what people want….

    • I would love to have that experience in London. For some reason, I never wanted to go to Britain. Strange. There’s medieval stuff everywhere and they speak English! John Constable was, IMO, a very fine painter. You might enjoy Waldemar’s discussion of Constable’s paintings. It’s entertaining and affectionate.

  3. Martha, another painting post. Good one. I like to know about the artists. During the 70’s, our new Labor government (back in power after 23 years in Opposition) purchased Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles” for our as yet built National Gallery of Australia. It cost $1.3 million β€” the most ever paid for an American painting in the world at that time. People were outraged. I remember standing in line at the ANU waiting to catch a glimpse of it. As a 12 year old, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. That painting means so much to me now.
    Anyway, I thought we needed a colourful word for the Ragtag prompt today and I chose the word, “paint”. Don’t tell anyone. πŸ˜‰

    • I’m so ready to paint on that topic. I don’t get Jackson Pollack, but that’s OK. If everyone got everything we’d all be the same person, but I always benefit from someone like Waldemar or Simon Schama who taught me to see Turner and showed me the most miraculous painting by Rembrandt. Maybe I’ll write about it tomorrow. πŸ™‚

  4. I didn’t watch the election returns. Instead I was busy doing other things – like calling my mother. She was a little subdued but hadn’t taken the Champaign out of the refrigerator yet. She and my sister were doing a marathon watching all the news!!

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