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Monday Mood

Whoops. ‘Can still enjoy the palette though.

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Painterly Pleasures

(Inspired by Physics – Focus: Oil Droplets Form Surprising Structures)

Found this again today:

Quand vous serez bien Veille (Ronsard)

Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,
Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant :
Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j’étais belle.

Lors, vous n’aurez servante oyant telle nouvelle,
Déjà sous le labeur à demi sommeillant,
Qui au bruit de mon nom ne s’aille réveillant,
Bénissant votre nom de louange immortelle.

Je serai sous la terre et fantôme sans os :
Par les ombres myrteux je prendrai mon repos :
Vous serez au foyer une vieille accroupie,

Regrettant mon amour et votre fier dédain.
Vivez, si m’en croyez, n’attendez à demain :
Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie.

— Sonnets pour Hélène, 1587 (via Bewildering Stories)

Goodness Gracious, it’s Greed and Goody-Two-Shoes

Greed (Avarita, the yellow toad) 48"x48", acrylic, Michelle de Villiers, CC
Greed (Avarita, the yellow toad) 48″x48″, acrylic, Michelle de Villiers, CC

Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins septych. Not everyone sees greed as a sin, of course. It is arguably the very foundation of capitalism. (Milton Friedman: see this YouTube clip; Searches yield articles like: What motivates online social participation? …good SEO… well, after first re-defining greed as “enlightened self-interest.”) I was more interested in the artistic portrayal of such a remarkable motivator though.

English: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four La...
English: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, completed in 1485. The painting is oil on wood panels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Wikipedia then, this definition:

Greed is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one’s self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. It is applied to a markedly high desire for and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. (My bold: thus devolved from ‘enlightened self-interest‘ to ‘avarice‘)

As a secular psychological concept, greed is, similarly, an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs. It is typically used to criticize those who seek excessive material wealth, although it may apply to the need to feel more excessively moralsocial, or otherwise better than someone else.

Oh, dopaMine! Oh, sanctiMony! Oh, Narcissism!

Goody Two Shoes
Goody Two Shoes

Furthermore, these quotations from people whose work I have enjoyed:

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry” (Edgar Allen Poe)

“No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” (P. J. O’Rourke)

“To make a business decision, you don’t need much philosophy; all you need is greed, and maybe a little knowledge of how the game works.” (Bill Watterson)

“It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, aquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and selfinterest are the traits of sucess. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.” (John Steinbeck)

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sin...
Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Vices – Avarice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why the toad? Animals are often anthropomorphized unfairly. (Stereotypes) I chose the toad because it had a nice big mouth. Here is an interesting site that shows the yellow frog as the symbol for greed as well: 7 Deadly Sins. It is perfectly possible that all my casual research into the sins just spat out the yellow toad. This same site points us to the delightful punishment for being greedy:

You’ll be boiled alive in oil. Bear in mind that it’s the finest, most luxurious boiling oil that money can buy, but it’s still boiling.

(Don’t use olive oil, olive oil is not suitable for boiling at high temperatures…on the other hand, maybe that’s just if you want to eat the boileé… Also, there’s no accounting for hellish taste. Avocado oil has a good smoke point. If it has to be olive-, go with the pomace grade, I say.)

I have strayed badly from my initial art-only interest. Since I’m well into ramble-land now, I have to add this, by Voltaire:

I just discovered this gem in Voltaire’s Letters on England. Voltaire responds to Blaise Pascal’s pronouncement that,

“We are born unjust, for each of us is out for himself. That is against all order. We should work for the general good, and the tendency towards self-interest is the beginning of all disorder, in warfare, government, economy, etc.”

with this rejoinder (emphasis added):

“That is perfectly in order. It is as impossible for a society to be formed and be durable without self-interest as it would be to produce children without carnal desire or to think of eating without appetite, etc. It is love of self that encourages love of others, it is through our mutual needs that we are useful to the human race. That is the foundation of all commerce, the eternal link between men. Without it not a single art would have been invented, no society of ten people formed.”

(via The Ludwig von Mises Institute discussion board)

 It’s much easier not to explain paintings…now I have tons to read…I HAVE to find out how it is possible that “Education is Ignorance” à-la-Chomsky

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Oh Hai: Goats Galore

Sloth (Acedia, the blue goat); 48"x48", acrylic; Michelle de Villiers, CC
Sloth (Acedia, the blue goat); 48″x48″, acrylic; Michelle de Villiers, CC

Let me get my goats together. Sloth is one of the Seven Sins  septych. Why did I go with the blue goat interpretation? It’s a long story. But, before I get to that–and I will not expound on it– I need to mention that I don’t enjoy wordy interpretations of art. The cliché is in the eye of the beholder.

Just a glimmer taste then. Acedia translates to sloth (not the animal or the company of bears) or laziness, either physical or spiritual. A failure to do the things you should do, a failure to use your talents. One interpretation names the penance for such a lack of launch to be “running continuously at top speed”, another more kindly suggests being thrown in a pit of vipers. I don’t recall all the mixed metaphors that got mishmashed into the painting.

Another interpretation of Acedia is dejection, or discouragement. I guess I was feeling a bit dejected right then, and probably very lazy. In Afrikaans, one would say “bokbek” which literally translates to goat mouth, or being dejected. I had many paintings to finish for a planned show. I just ran with that theme. Now, goat is sometimes associated with “lust”, and I was “lusteloos”, which means “without oomph”, or “dejected”. So, a little blue…an aquamarinish blue.  If you read up about Acedia, you’ll also notice that it is sometimes translated as “shai” :

During Ptolemaic Egypt, Shai, as god of fate, was identified with the Greek god Agathodaemon, who was the god of fortune telling. Thus, since Agathodaemon was considered to be a serpent, and the word Shai was also the Egyptian word for pig, in the Hellenic period, Shai was sometimes depicted as a serpent-headed pig, known to Egyptologists as the Shai animal.; from Wikipedia.

Ah, more serpents. But, more salient, here is the amalgam of the goat and the pig, my respective astrologic(heh,logic)al symbols! (Capricorn and Earth Pig) Who can resist being a shy goddess of fortune telling for one painting? Especially if you have to do battle with yon hornéd Belphegor, one of the seven dark princes! I had already rehearsed the pig for the role of the orange Gula, so a Medusalian goat was perfect. There are so many myths to choose from, one might as well be interpretative, no?

So, there. I could clothe all that musing in respectable highfalutin language, but that would be disingenuous. Have a $cape-goat instead. Or, even better, some cute kids. I am off in search of truffles and cappuccino.



Besides MoonDogs


MoonDog (Invidia, the green dog) 48"x48"; Acrylic, Michelle de Villiers, CC
MoonDog (Invidia, the green dog) 48″x48″; Acrylic, Michelle de Villiers, CC

Invidia is one of the Seven Sins Series. You could go with Envy, or (if the Divine Comedy of that doesn’t appeal) you could see the green dog in the shapes of the moon landscape, which might be more pleasant, after all. There is something else called a moon dog:

“A moon dogmoondog, or mock moon,[1] (scientific name paraselene,[1] plural paraselenae, i.e. “beside the moon”) is a relatively rare bright circular spot on a lunar halo caused by the refraction of moonlight by hexagonal-plate-shaped ice crystals in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds.” (via Wikipedia).

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