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Posted 3/13/2012 10:21pm by Eugene Wyatt.

La Gioconda is, in the truest sense, Leonardo’s masterpiece, the revealing instance of his mode of thought and work...no crude symbolism disturbs the effect of its subdued and graceful mystery...
The presence that rose thus so strangely beside the waters, is expressive of what in the ways of a thousand years men had come to desire.

Hers is the head upon which all “the ends of the world are come,” and the eyelids are a little weary.

It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions.

Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity, and how would they be troubled by this beauty, into which the soul with all its maladies has passed!

All the thoughts and experience of the world have etched and moulded there, in that which they have of power to refine and make expressive the outward form, the animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the mysticism of the middle age with its spiritual ambition and imaginative loves, the return of the Pagan world, the sins of the Borgias.

She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her; and trafficked for strange webs with Eastern merchants; and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen of Troy, and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary; and all this has been to her but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and lives only in the delicacy with which it has moulded the changing lineaments, and tinged the eyelids and the hands.

The fancy of a perpetual life, sweeping together ten thousand experiences, is an old one; and modern philosophy has conceived the idea of humanity as wrought upon by, and summing up in itself, all modes of thought and life.

Certainly Lady Lisa might stand as the embodiment of the old fancy, the symbol of the modern idea.

The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry from the essay, Leonardo Da Vinci HOMO MINISTER ET INTERPRES NATURAE by Walter Pater 1869

"...probably still the most famous piece of writing about any picture in the world." Michael Levey, The Case of Walter Pater: a Biography 1974 

Posted 3/13/2012 10:00pm by Eugene Wyatt.

This the is second* time I've come across this usage.

On the other hand, those who have dwelt most emphatically on the distinction between prose and verse, prose and poetry, may sometimes have been tempted to limit the proper functions of prose too narrowly; and this again is at least false economy, as being, in effect, the renunciation of a certain means or faculty, in a world where after all we must needs make the most of things.

Style, Walter Pater from Appreciations 1889

Needs adv 

(preceded by must) of necessity; we must needs go we will go, if needs must

From The Free Dictionary

*a third occurs later in the essay.

Tags: Needs, Pater, Style
Posted 3/13/2012 9:57pm by Eugene Wyatt.

New from Dragon Lady Knits: the Market Day Cowl in a sport weight Saxon Merino yarn that will keep you warm and good looking on those still chilly Spring days. 


 Market Day Cowl

"The Half and Half on its own create’s a beautiful self striping design. I mixed it up by using an elongated slip stitch which created a fun “tie dye” effect. It takes just 2 skeins to knit up. You get a really large 44″ cowl that can be worn long or doubled for a little additional warmth." _Olivia Sethney


Red Half & Half

Buy the Market Day Cowl pattern at Dragon Lady and the Red Half and Half from the Catskill Merino Yarn Store.

Posted 3/13/2012 9:22pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Photo by Francesco Mastalia for his book on farmers and chefs of the Hudson Valley

Well, you can knock me down,
Step in my face,
Slander my name
All over the place.

Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,
Honey, lay off of them shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
Well you can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.

Carl Perkins, 1955

Posted 3/13/2012 7:01pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) modeled Mrs Ramsay after her mother, Julia Stephen, in To The Lighthouse, which is a fictionalized reminiscence of the Stephen family summering on the coast of Scotland before the turn of the century, and set on two days, one before the Great War and one after.

Julia Stephen 1867, photographed by her aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron

No, she thought, putting together some of the pictures he had cut out — a refrigerator, a mowing machine, a gentleman in evening dress — children never forget. For this reason, it was so important what one said, and what one did, and it was a relief when they went to bed. For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of — to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself; and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless. And to everybody there was always this sense of unlimited resources, she supposed; one after another, she, Lily, Augustus Carmichael, must feel, our apparitions, the things you know us by, are simply childish. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by. Her horizon seemed to her limitless. There were all the places she had not seen; the Indian plains; she felt herself pushing aside the thick leather curtain of a church in Rome. saw it. They could not stop it, she thought, exulting. There was freedom, there was peace, there was, most welcome of all, a summoning together, a resting on a platform of stability. Not as oneself did one find rest ever, in her experience (she accomplished here something dexterous with her needles) but as a wedge of darkness. Losing personality, one lost the fret, the hurry, the stir; and there rose to her lips always some exclamation of triumph over life when things came together in this peace, this rest, this eternity; and pausing there she looked out to meet that stroke of the Lighthouse, the long steady stroke, the last of the three, which was her stroke, for watching them in this mood always at this hour one could not help attaching oneself to one thing especially of the things one saw; and this thing, the long steady stroke, was her stroke. Often she found herself sitting and looking, sitting and looking, with her work in her hands until she became the thing she looked at — that light, for example. And it would lift up on it some little phrase or other which had been lying in her mind like that —”Children don’t forget, children don’t forget”— which she would repeat and begin adding to it, It will end, it will end, she said. It will come, it will come, when suddenly she added, We are in the hands of the Lord.

But instantly she was annoyed with herself for saying that. Who had said it? Not she; she had been trapped into saying something she did not mean. She looked up over her knitting and met the third stroke and it seemed to her like her own eyes meeting her own eyes, searching as she alone could search into her mind and her heart, purifying out of existence that lie, any lie. She praised herself in praising the light, without vanity, for she was stern, she was searching, she was beautiful like that light. It was odd, she thought, how if one was alone, one leant to inanimate things; trees, streams, flowers; felt they expressed one; felt they became one; felt they knew one, in a sense were one; felt an irrational tenderness thus (she looked at that long steady light) as for oneself. There rose, and she looked and looked with her needles suspended, there curled up off the floor of the mind, rose from the lake of one’s being, a mist, a bride to meet her lover.

What brought her to say that: “We are in the hands of the Lord?” she wondered. The insincerity slipping in among the truths roused her, annoyed her. She returned to her knitting again. How could any Lord have made this world? she asked. With her mind she had always seized the fact that there is no reason, order, justice: but suffering, death, the poor. There was no treachery too base for the world to commit; she knew that. No happiness lasted; she knew that. She knitted with firm composure, slightly pursing her lips and, without being aware of it, so stiffened and composed the lines of her face in a habit of sternness that when her husband passed, though he was chuckling at the thought that Hume, the philosopher, grown enormously fat, had stuck in a bog, he could not help noting, as he passed, the sternness at the heart of her beauty. It saddened him, and her remoteness pained him, and he felt, as he passed, that he could not protect her, and, when he reached the hedge, he was sad. He could do nothing to help her. He must stand by and watch her. Indeed, the infernal truth was, he made things worse for her. He was irritable — he was touchy. He had lost his temper over the Lighthouse. He looked into the hedge, into its intricacy, its darkness.

Always, Mrs Ramsay felt, one helped oneself out of solitude reluctantly by laying hold of some little odd or end, some sound, some sight. She listened, but it was all very still; cricket was over; the children were in their baths; there was only the sound of the sea. She stopped knitting; she held the long reddish-brown stocking dangling in her hands a moment. She saw the light again. With some irony in her interrogation, for when one woke at all, one’s relations changed, she looked at the steady light, the pitiless, the remorseless, which was so much her, yet so little her, which had her at its beck and call (she woke in the night and saw it bent across their bed, stroking the floor), but for all that she thought, watching it with fascination, hypnotised, as if it were stroking with its silver fingers some sealed vessel in her brain whose bursting would flood her with delight, she had known happiness, exquisite happiness, intense happiness, and it silvered the rough waves a little more brightly, as daylight faded, and the blue went out of the sea and it rolled in waves of pure lemon which curved and swelled and broke upon the beach and the ecstasy burst in her eyes and waves of pure delight raced over the floor of her mind and she felt, It is enough! It is enough!

He turned and saw her. Ah! She was lovely, lovelier now than ever he thought. But he could not speak to her. He could not interrupt her. He wanted urgently to speak to her now that James was gone and she was alone at last. But he resolved, no; he would not interrupt her. She was aloof from him now in her beauty, in her sadness. He would let her be, and he passed her without a word, though it hurt him that she should look so distant, and he could not reach her, he could do nothing to help her. And again he would have passed her without a word had she not, at that very moment, given him of her own free will what she knew he would never ask, and called to him and taken the green shawl off the picture frame, and gone to him. For he wished, she knew, to protect her.

To The Lighthouse 1927, Virginia Woolf

Posted 3/12/2012 9:17pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf. Photograph: George C Beresford

"...Virginia Woolf writes so exquisitely well. In Between the Acts, Giles arrives home from work in the city and finds a car at the door, which tells him there are visitors to lunch. "The ghost of convention rose to the surface, as a blush or a tear rises to the surface at the pressure of emotion; so the car touched his training. He must change." That's so characteristic in its delicate evanescence – there's not a solid word in there (except for the dread car). Everything floats, and yet in its floating is precise. The theme is characteristic Woolf too: the capture of the under-layers of consciousness, and how the fixity of social forms ("he must change" – his clothes and his demeanour, himself), imposes cruelly on their fluidity."

Virginia Woolf by Alexandra Harris – reviewed by Tessa Hadley in The Guardian, 10/21/11

Posted 3/11/2012 9:00am by Eugene Wyatt.

Spring Vogue Knitting Patterns, 1772 on sale for $2.99 each from today until March 16th.

Tags: Patterns
Posted 3/11/2012 8:05am by Eugene Wyatt.

Titus, the Artists's Son 1657, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 

The Wallace Collection in London, England from Art Knowledge News

Posted 3/11/2012 8:00am by Eugene Wyatt.

"Here, for example, is Mrs. Dalloway, walking toward Bond Street in London and thinking about her inevitable demise:

Did it matter then, she asked herself, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely; all this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? but that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things, here, there, she survived, Peter survived, lived in each other, she being part, she was positive, of the trees at home; of the house there, ugly, rambling all to bits and pieces as it was; part of people she had never met; being laid out like a mist between the people she knew best, who lifted her on their branches as she had seen the trees lift the mist, but it spread ever so far, her life, herself.

Mrs. Dalloway 1925, Virginia Woolf

Is this a sentence? It doesn't have a beginning, middle, or end, and as you read it you can't chart its progress toward a designed close. Who says 'she was positive'? Is it Woolf, standing outside her character and pronouncing authoritatively on Mrs. Dalloway's inner state? The questions are unanswerable, for as Erich Auerbach observes (Mimesis, 1946), 'we are given not merely one person whose consciousness ... is rendered, but many persons, with frequent'—and, I would add, unannounced—'shifts from one to the other.' For a second, when 'Did it matter then" is followed by "she asked herself,' we seem to be in the company of a conventional narrator-novelist who reports the speech of her character. But then 'did it matter' is repeated, and it is clear that what we're hearing is a musing. The perspective now ruling is an interior one; even though the third-person pronoun 'she' carries the train of thought along, we sense that this is merely her form of self-reference. A sequence like 'she survived, Peter survived' shows how it is done. 'She survived' might be spoken by a narrator, but 'Peter survived' is obviously uttered by someone who shares an intimacy with him; we cannot believe that the observation is made at a distance, by a third person, but then again, 'lived in each other' seems to belong at once to Mrs. Dalloway and to her creator. As the sentence continues, Mrs. Dalloway shares an intimacy not only with Peter but with everything—a house, trees, people, mist, branches—all of which ebb and flow with her and through her. Everything enters her, and she enters everything. Near its end the sentence names the action it is imitating; it spreads; she spreads, 'ever so far, her life herself.' Formally, the sentence is fragmentary; no, it is fragments, held together barely by a soft 'but,' which is more like an 'and,' many participles, many ofs, all tumbling forward, all jumbled up, yet unified somehow by her consciousness, streaming, variegated, and always the same."

How To Write A Sentence 2011, Stanley Fish

Tags: Fish, Woolf
Posted 3/7/2012 8:36pm by Eugene Wyatt.

The catch pen holds sheep until shearing

Tom shearing in his "belly bouncer"

Mike shears the right flank of a ram lamb

A good view of the handpiece as Aaron finishes a blow

David and his son Emmett, at his first sheep shearing, with booties and a blanket that Kris knit from our Saxon Merino wool

You can see photos of shearing 2012 taken with the camera of an iPhone 4S that I posted on Twitter; click @CatskillMerino and scroll down.  I like the limitations of using the stripped down camera of a phone; the photos feel more immediate, less planned, some even feel more honest. Plus, having a crude zoom lens is good; you must move the camera to suitably frame the subject; the zoom inhibits the physicality and even the intimacy of the relationship between the photographer and the subject, not to mention the viewer.

The photos above were taken with a Nikon D700 mounted with a Nikon f2.8 24mm-70mm zoom lens. These images have more information, they have greater gradations of light and dark, and they capture more colors than those taken with the camera of an iPhone 4S.