August 2023 Mailbag No 1

Being in London when I write this mailbag post I thought it appropriate that we commence with a couple of London's icons - and of course the lovely old mailbox outside Regent's Park is always a perfect reminder of where I am.

And the other reminder of where I am is Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster in which the House of Lords and the House of Commons are located. I was fortunate to be invited to sit in the House of Lords (as a visitor not politician!) and to be able to listen to some of the debating which was most interesting.

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, London 

Our next mailbag item comes from Maureen Donnellon in Birchup Central Victoria - a very long way from where I am at the moment. Maureen writes:

Thank you so much for the Millet paintings. I googled “the Angelus history” and read the history of saying the Angelus prayers and the bell that pealed 3 times then paused for enough time for Hail Mary prayer and a couple of responses and this was repeated so that 9 bell chimes were heard. The Angelus began in about 1100 AD and seems to have had bits added etc according to whoever ruled England or was hoping to do so. It was said at 6 am Midday and 6 pm to signal the beginning of the working day, lunch and prayer break and the end of the working day.

The videos (in the post) do not mention the wooden clogs worn by the workers which were prevalent in Europe in particular but did not rot as quickly as leather.

My boarding school teacher who taught English and who knew every poem and painting ever created I think, was from Swiss heritage. She also said that gleaners helped to keep the mice and rats under control by cleaning up spilled grain. Gleaners worked for more generous families as they were given food sometimes. Selfish greedy owners who charged a fee found Karma I guess we would call it came back to get them as their fields were last and the mice increased so their next crop was affected.

Another Art teacher in 1963 had a grandparent who had seen gleaners at work in Belgium and France.

At school we always were woken with a bell at 6.30 am and dropped to our knees for prayers then said the Angelus at 12 noon when the bells rang, prayers before each new class and grace before and after meals, before bed too. Didn’t seem to notice them as being onerous. It was just part of life as I’m sure it was for the people in the field. So many memories. Thank you.

Monica Joan in Tanzania also recounted that:

Like Maureen, I attended a Catholic Convent and every day, at mid day, we stood in class and said the Angelus. It is a prayer that is said, by the Sisters, at 6 am. In the morning, at noon, with their classes and at 6.p.m. in the evenings. But apart from that, I do want to advise you of the fact that my real interest in Art started forty years ago when I met and married, my husband, John.

He owned, among many other books, a series af quality black paperback books, with colour plates. Forty of them at least, that were biographies of artists. I read Van Gogh, but then I was drawn to a book about Millet! The first painting inside the book was "The Reaper" and I adored it. Of course I could not bring all these books to Tanzania, and in fact, John, knowing that he was near the end of his life, gave his books and art materials to fellow artist friends.

Somehow, I did not save the book Millet for myself. I can see clearly in my mind's eye the picture of "The Reaper" but he obviously painted several, as did Van Gogh after him. I have searched Google all afternoon, and have not been able to find that particular "Reaper!" His paintings with their muted (best word that I can think of) and rustic colours just enchanted me. Took me there, almost!

I do hope, that perhaps in your post you will find my "special" "Reaper!" Miller's work is wondrous!! M. B. Tanzania

If you missed the posts on Millet please follow the two bookmark links below.

Subscriber Maureen from Birchup in Central Victoria recently reminded us of the remarkably beautiful and reflective painting by Jean-Francois Millet and so let’s take a moment to send good thoughts to those we care about and love.
The second of the Millet paintings which arose out of a post on Tendai Makufa and Philippe de Kraan was The Gleaners. Here it is to set your mind athinking this morning. And thank you Maureen from Birchup for reminding me how beautiful are the Millet paintings - full of empathy and emotion.

Monica's husband was a most wonderfully creative artist and we have showcased his works in a series of posts. Please take time to follow the bookmark links below to see and appreciate the paintings of John Broom.

John Broom - The Accountant who wanted to be an Artist: Part One
Sometimes the AnArt4Life blog team get the opportunity to undertake a project that has extra special significance because we have been trusted to present art works from a very personal perspective. This is one such occasion. Meet John Broom - an accountant with a great passion to paint.
John Broom - The Accountant who wanted to be an Artist: Part Two
The seond post on John Broom reveals more about this remarkable man who worked as an accountant while passionately honing his artistic skills. We see today John’s series on “The Vanishing Church” which will give us all cause to think.
John Broom - The Accountant who wanted to be an Artist: Part Three
Post Three on John Broom takes us inside into a Greek taverna in Harare, Zimbabwe where John has depicted in his paintings the “joie de vivre” which he so embraced. The rhythm of the dancers is also captured in John’s still life paintings of flowers which dance within the composition.
John Broom - The Accountant who wanted to be an Artist: Part Four
In our final post on the wonderful sketches and paintings of John Broom we focus on the variety of subject matter he was interested in - from sketches of houses and flowers to a painting of a child asleep in a bed. I hope you enjoy our farewell to this remarkable man.

And although I have been wallowing in the depths and breadth of stunning Scotland we will conclude today with a little reminder of how beautiful my home country Australia really is - especially in terms of its native animals which we must do everything we can to protect. Andrew from the Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales has sent in this delightful photo of a young red necked wallaby with youngster - only metres from his back door.

Young red necked wallaby with youngster, Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales Photo: Andrew

We will be back tomorrow with August Mailbag No 2 with items from India, the Philippines, South Australia, United Kindgom - flying around in the ether sharing our joint love of all that is art!