A Southwest Landscape from Albuquerque Museum

Enchanted Mesa by Carl Redin (1280x1009)

This wonderful painting did not satisfy its creator.  This is Enchanted Mesa, painted about 1930 by Carl Redin.  Like the southwest landscape in my previous post, I love this, the lines and the “weight” of the rocks and dark clouds. Here is a detail of the mesa and its rainbow-colored rock in shadow.

Detail of Enchanted Mesa

A surprising quote from the artist beside this beautiful painting at the Albuquerque Museum:

“Every painting is an adventure.  But when it is finished, then always for me comes a disappointment…I burned once a whole year’s work–12 canvases–because they irritated me.  Never have I been quite satisfied with a painting.”   –Carl Redin

Something to think about for all of us, especially those of us who write.

Two Paintings by Artists of Taos, New Mexico

The Taos art colony began about 1900.  American Oscar Berninghaus arrived in Taos, New Mexico, in 1899 and painted this portrait, Pueblo Woman of Taos, in 1925. People have lived in the Taos Pueblo, adjacent to town, for a thousand years.

The model is believed to be Marina Martinez of Taos Pueblo, wife of an artist.
The model is believed to be Marina Martinez of Taos Pueblo, wife of an artist.

Both this painting and the one below are from the Albuquerque Museum. Taos Valley Landscape, below, is undated, painted by Victor Higgins (1884-1949) who came to Taos in 1914.   Look how architectural this landscape is.

Taos Valley Landscape (1280x1143)

There is red earth in the foreground, and throughout, horizontal and vertical lines and rectangles:  the trees, the fields and clouds.  I include the picture frame to show how the artist truncated the tops of the two tall, narrow trees on either side.  Here is a detail below, with a closer view of the rectangular fields and clouds.

Note the brushstrokes in this detail of Taos Valley Landscape.
Note the brushstrokes in this detail of Taos Valley Landscape.

I took these while on a tour with the 2012 Women Writing the West Conference in Albuquerque.  I will post another painting from Albuquerque Museum early Friday morning.  Have a good week and enjoy the beauty around us.

Anxiety and Change: The Jazz Age and Wedding Gowns of the 1920s

A global war with staggering loss of life. The very air became a battlefield, with airplanes, invented not long before, turned into death machines. An influenza epidemic killed 50 million worldwide.

Young American men returned from war, and women from military offices and civilian wartime industries.  They worried that another war or epidemic could end their lives, so many of them did not want to live the quiet, seemingly dull, lives of their Edwardian parents.

The young were hyped up from the war, accustomed to the anxiety of wartime.  Popular music and dances became more energetic. Clothing became relaxed.

This zeitgeist (spirit of the era) is shown well in the recent movie “The Great Gatsby.”

To add to the woes, Prohibition spread nationwide in 1920.

In the 1920s, the Jazz Age, women changed.
– They voted,
– Imitated boys and men by compressing their bust with undergarments and cutting their hair short,
– Wore makeup and smoked cigarettes openly, actions that had previously been associated with prostitutes,
– Wore short skirts to reveal their legs, which had not been done for thousands of years.

Imagine how the older generation felt about women’s behavior and appearance.  These two bridal gowns, worn before the 1920s, show rising hemlines.

The 1913 wedding dress on the right has a peekaboo effect.  The underskirt stops above the ankles.

The bridal gown on the left is later, during the war.  The skirt is short and a detachable train fastens at the shoulders.

1920s wedding gown.  Asymmetrical hem.
1920s wedding gown. Asymmetrical hem.

In the 1920s, women used undergarments to deemphasize their bust and hips, just the opposite effect of the old-fashioned corsets.  The goal was an androgynous figure, so dresses no longer nipped in at the waist, as shown in the gown at the right.

This gown has embroidered lace.  We think of the 1920s as the era of beaded dresses.

The Pasadena Museum of History, where over 40 antique and vintage bridal gowns are on display until July 14, has three gorgeous 1920s beaded bridal gowns.  One is  a pastel color.

Jazz-Age brides often wore elaborate headdresses or caps.  Here is a photo of Dorothea Underwood.  There are closeups of her dress at the end of this post.

Dorothea’s dress is sleeveless, but she wore gloves past the elbow, revealing her upper arms.  Although the dress is short, she wore a long train, which you can see near the toes of the little girl in the wedding party.  Dorothea’s bridal cap is attached to, or part of, a long, filmy veil.

The 1924 Sabin-Underwood Wedding Party
The 1924 Sabin-Underwood Wedding Party

Her silk gown has faux pearls, some of them clustered and surrounded by beads.

PMH wedding dresses 051 (600x800)

Her shoes are silk satin with faux orange blossoms.

PMH wedding dresses 028 (640x392)

PMH wedding dresses 027 (600x800)
Dorothea’s 1924 silk gown with dropped waist

Come back on Friday for wedding dresses of the 1930s.

Bridal Gowns of the Early 1900s

1906-09 wedding dress “Complex works of art,” curator Sheryl Peters said of wedding gowns dating from about 1906 to 1915.

In this, our first dress, the lace around this collar is the most delicate I have ever seen.  It looks as if it would dissolve if I breathe on it.

Silk cord runs just above it, at the top of the collar, and also below the lace.  It is looped.

That same silk cord is pulled through net elsewhere on this dress to make elaborate designs on the bodice, cuffs and the belt.

And around the hem.

Long gloves would have been worn with all of these dresses, extending under the sleeve.

Wedding dress and jacket (800x600)

This bridal gown was worn in 1910, with the jacket over it.

PMH wedding dresses 006 (600x800)

This silk gown was worn by bride Louvena Grace Dolson in 1911.  The long, narrow pleated portions, like the one running down the center of this dress, were made on a separate piece of silk.  That piece of silk was pleated and stitched, then cut into strips.  The seamstress then sewed lace trim all around each strip of pleated silk before she inserted them into this opulent creation.

PMH wedding dresses 008 (800x800)

This 1914 gown has faux orange blossoms.  Orange trees bear fruit and bloom at the same time, and so are a symbol of fertility.  This gown has a beautiful train that is pleated when viewed from the side.

PMH wedding dresses 018 (800x600)

When I give tours of  “I Do, I Do, Pasadena Ties the Knot, 1850-1950,” patrons ask which of the forty-two dresses is my favorite.  My favorite, pictured below, was worn in 1915 by Margaret Whitney Collins and almost fifty years later by Julia Collins Haselton.  I would have worn this dress if I’d had the chance.

Worn 1915 and 1964 (600x800)

Swags and big tassels of faux pearls.

Handle on train (800x600)

The train has a handle on it — you can see it at the top of this photo — so the bride could hold up the train at the reception while she walked.  And danced with her groom.

These and many other beautiful dresses are on display at the Pasadena Museum of History, only until July 14.  My next post will feature beaded wedding gowns from the 1920s, and the following post will highlight dresses from the 1930s in historical context.

Here’s information on seeing this exhibit in person:

http://pasadenahistory.org/thingstosee/IDoPartI.html

Springtime in a California Paradise

Poppies and Lupines by Frank Moore (1877-1967), The Irvine Museum
Poppies and Lupines by Frank Moore (1877-1967),
The Irvine Museum

The paintings in Paradise Found:  Summer in California, evoke a sunny natural landscape —  the sparsely populated Southern California of the past.  Spring brought fresh, green grass, orange poppies and purple lupines, shown above.   Even now, the hills and mountains turn green this time of year.

Beverly Hills by Paul Grimm (1891-1974), Private Collection, Courtesy of The Irvine Museum
Beverly Hills by Paul Grimm (1891-1974), Private Collection, Courtesy of The Irvine Museum

Beverly Hills is no longer known for its natural landscapes.

Around 1900, people stepping off ships near Los Angeles were in luck if they arrived in springtime.  They could see, forty miles north, fields of California poppies shimmering orange in the sunshine, on a gentle slope rising above Pasadena and just below mountains.

Poppies Near Pasadena by Benjamin Brown (1865-1942). Private Collection, Courtesy The Irvine Museum
Poppies Near Pasadena by Benjamin Brown (1865-1942). Private Collection, Courtesy The Irvine Museum

In the last blog post, I wrote about Frank Capra’s desert writing retreat, where he hit the jackpot, the five greatest Academy Awards, with this movie.  Here are two clips from this romantic comedy, It Happened One Night.

Here’s the link to the famous hitchhiking scene. It was filmed in the Great Depression. Do you know the reference to farmer’s daughter? He means a sexy joke.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/358189/It-Happened-One-Night-Movie-Clip-You-Mind-If-I-Try-.html

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert took home Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars.  She plays a runaway heiress, and he portrays a down-on-his-luck newspaperman following her for a big story.

In the following scene, they pretend to be married so they can split the cost of a room.  Remember, it is the Great Depression.  I heard Gable created a sensation when he took off his shirt and revealed his bare chest.  Men wore undershirts at the time.  Don’t miss this charming scene.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/29309/It-Happened-One-Night-Movie-Clip-Every-Man-For-Himself.html

Winter Warmth and Sunshine

Palm Springs Desert

Palm Springs is the most famous city in the Coachella Valley.  Today, in early February, the forecast is in the mid-70s, which is about 25 Celsius, and visitors flock here to play golf and tennis in the pleasant winter weather.

It’s warmer and drier than winters in Los Angeles, about 150 miles away, and early Hollywood stars made the trek out here in the days before the interstate and airport, not to work but to enjoy themselves by playing the same sports we do today, dancing in the evenings, and relaxing.

John Frost needed this climate for his ill health.  He often painted Mt. San Jacinto, which borders this valley near Palm Springs. He painted the one below in 1926.

Mount San Jacinto by John Frost, 1926

This same year, the La Quinta Hotel was established nearby (no connection with the chain of the same name).  It attracted old-time Hollywood stars and is still open for business, 87 years later.  I’ll write more about the La Quinta resort next Wednesday.  Here’s a photo below.

La Quinta Resort

Enjoy your week.  If you are busy, you might take a little time for yourself and curl up with a book.  Make your own warmth with a blanket over your legs and a cup of tea.   Next Wednesday we’ll go back to the desert and the 1920s and 30s.