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Monday, April 18, 2011

WEATHERED HOMESTEAD, CHRISTINA'S WORLD, AND MOZART

WEATHERED FARM HOMESTEAD, ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, KENTUCKY
I spotted this farm homestead from a narrow country road that threaded itself through a lush sparsely populated countryside.  The homestead was perched on a grassy knoll with an old house that had seen better days. A few outbuildings  appeared in better shape than the house. An  exception was a small sagging outbuilding, a log structure, that might have been a corn crib at one time. It was the only log structure on the acreage. A fine weathered barn with a small wing attachment along with an equipment shed appeared vacant, as did all the buildings.A small family cemetery was tucked away in a wooded area. The property as a whole seemed adrift in a distant memory. A lonely memory.


The vacant farm before me reminded me of a particular painting, Christina's World, by artist Andrew Wyeth. It is a sensitive painting of a woman named Christina who is shown crawling up a grassy hill toward a weathered old house. It characterizes a lonely feeling as does the appearance of my above  Rockcastle homestead.  


As you can see in the following Wyeth painting it also has a desolate feeling as does my Rockcastle County photo -- the difference being  my photo shows no human life while Wyeth's has Christina. 


Christina's World a painting by artist Andrew Wyeth, 1948
Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Wikipedia

Surely, you have seen old homesteads sitting in this solitary emptiness. The air thick with spirit. 

I thought I should leave on an upbeat note after all this lonely talk. Here is a  touch of Mozart -- a rather  "pumped-up" classic. I think you'll enjoy the two minutes and fifty-two seconds of his great music. 


30 comments:

  1. Isn't it interesting how we all react differently to visuals: in seeing the farmstead, I was struck by the appealing nature of the farm itself. It gave me such a warm, comforting feeling, perhapts letting my mind paint pictures of a loving family working together to maintain a life of real independence...no sadness came to me. I could almost smell the Sunday afternoon chicken dinner; people returning from church; sitting down for the noon "dinner" and later visiting on the front porch, sitting in the rockers; then at the close of day, doing the evening chores, and finally, resting peacefully in the gentle quiet of the night, hearing the peepers as they court their mates. For me it's a beautiful setting,filled with love and possibilities! Oh, and how apropos...MM and I watched half of Amadeus last night, the rest this evening! Thank you for the timely musical interlude!

    Elora

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  2. Barbara, an interesting, thoughtful post. Perhaps you were in a blue mood when you visited the farm? Like Elora, I found it immediately appealing and would love to stand there.
    My husband and I visited the Brandywine River Museum in Pennsylvania last summer and were fortuante to be able to attend a tour with Wyeth's grandaughter. The Brandywine area, where Wyeth worked is just lovely. Isn't it funny then, that much of Wyeth's output is so stark?

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  3. I've seen lots of similar scenes here on the byways of Ohio. Thanks for your excellent perspective. I do so love Andrew Wyeth's work!

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  4. WT has ancestral ties to Rockcastle County on his maternal side. Love Christina's World. I'm a huge fan of the Wyeth artistic dynasty.

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  5. Elora -- Perhaps I was unclear about my presentation of the vacant homestead. My description of the place was lonely based on the idea that it was no longer frequented by human beings. It's buildings lived in solitude without the teeming life it once had. I was looking at today's reality of the place. It had nothing to do with sadness rather with past human characteristics, motivations and behaviors that brought the farmstead to its present condition.

    Enjoy Amadeus tonight -- the movie is so well done.

    -- barbara

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  6. Sheri -- My explanation of the vacant homestead post can be better understood if one reads my comment to Elora (above).

    My oldest daughter just moved to the Brandywine area in PA. I will tell her about your experience at the Wyeth home and suggest that she check it out. thanks -- barbara

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  7. Kay--

    Andrew Wyeth has been and still is a favorite of mine too. He says so much with so little.

    Ohio has such a beautifully rich farm culture. I hope that the farms are not folding like they are in so many places.

    Thanks -- barbara

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  8. Tess -- Rockcastle has beautiful back-country areas. I love to ride the roads and view the old outbuildings and homes.

    Three generations of Wyeth art works are gifts to us all. I love their simplicity.

    Thanks -- barbara

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  9. I agree seeing a whole homestead empty and going to ruin IS an unhappy sight, although the house seems quite tiny and may have felt cramped. Your choice of the Wyeth painting definitely increases the pathos -- Christina was crippled, she actually could not get up and walk to that house from where she was. She posed willingly and presumably was helped getting there and getting up. I love Wyeth's work, especially the drawings, and have read a great deal about him and his illustrious artistic family [father and son also.] You have a knack for capturing scenes very evocatively.

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  10. We have many farms such as this here in Green County. Many times either the farm is sold or a younger family member takes it over. Then, the old farmhouse (and a couple of buildings) are left to ruin. I really love this photograph. Such a beautiful view.

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  11. I see the photo as Elora does. Sending hopes that this is a future visual. When the old place comes alive again. Perhaps inhabited by a family from India who saved enough from running the local hotel or service station. Or perhaps a family from Mexico. I like to think that America is still a melting pot to make us stronger. To revive the old farms. I am not a follower of classic are but I do remember this Wyeth painting. The pose of the woman captivating the simple scene and opening up questions in the mind.

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  12. Barbara, Great explanation. Thank you! I'm curious: I would like to learn how to embed audio files as you did with the Mozart piece. Here's my email: eloram@frontier.com If you can send me in a direction for further study, I would love it. If it's too much trouble, don't fool with it!

    Elora

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  13. June -- Many of the photos that draw me to Wyeth paintings have the complexity of life played out in simple representation. That is my interpretation. Do you have any book recommendations on any or all of the Wyeths?

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  14. Farmchick -- I have observed that in this area of KY too. A trailer will be parked on a beautiful piece of land and folks are using it as a home when nearby is a lovely old homestead. Perhaps it's just easier to do it that way in today's world???

    Thanks -- barbara

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  15. Grampy -- Your hopes are the hopes many folks I've talked with have. It's a rush to the finish line. which shall win -- the decay of the buildings or the reincarnation of its former self. I think about the resources that went into building the structures ans ask myself why can't we at least save the materials instead of having them end up many times in landfills? -- barbara

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  16. Elora -- I emailed you about embeding. I hope it makes sense. -- barbara

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  17. Barbara, do pop over to my blog and claim your award, and don't bother about doing the rules if you'd rather not, very time consuming.

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  18. Over the years I have found three books of Wyeth's work, one called ANDREW WYETH, Autobiography, intro by Thomas Hoving [more pictures than text], UNKNOWN TERRAIN, landscapes, and THE HELGA PICTURES edited by John Wilmerding. I've loaned my daughter one about three generations of Wyeth, Andrew's father was a well known illustrator whose work was often things like Colliers and Sat. Evening Post. His son Jamie is a respected artist living, I think, in Maine. I've been lucky enough to have seen the first show of the Helga Pictures at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and a retrospective of drawing at the Whitney Museum of American Art. I'm totally hooked.

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  19. I love Wyeth and I understand how the farm made you think of Christina. Nice post!

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  20. Carole Anne -- you are so thoughtful to give me an award. I really do appreciate you thinking of me.

    I perused your blog again and realized how talented and gutsy you are. Taking early
    retirement to follow your bliss is fantastic.

    -- barbara

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  21. June -- thanks for all the Wyeth mentions. I have put in an online request to my library for 1) Andrew Wyeth, Hoving and 2) Unknown Terrain. I am not sure about the Helga Pictures. I went on Amazon and all the Wyeth books were highly rated. I found one that is a children's book but is reputed to have some of the best Wyeth paintings. It was less than a dollar used so I thought why not.

    Living in a large city has its benefits when it comes to exhibitions. Is that when you attended the shows? Maybe I am being too judgmental on the Helga Pictures. I guess I will give it a try.

    I love the compositional qualities of Andrew's paintings although there are so many I am not acquainted with. Thanks -- barbara

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  22. Vicki -- Christina is certainly in the arena for personal interpretation. That is what I like about art. -- barbara

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  23. The old homestead reminds me of the play Trip to Bountiful. I saw this while visitng my Aunt Marge in Sheboygan WI, another small town. I don't like the Wythe picture, never have. Don't know why. I like buildings standing on their own I guess. Dianne

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  24. Yes, I saw the Wyeth shows while living in NYC -- now on Cape Cod I miss that kind of thing although we do have some fine painters and it's not all sea and sand and sunsets. I go to an art movie house with a ceiling painted in stars and Greek gods by Rockwell Kent - just wonderful.

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  25. love the way you look at it. have always loved countryside.

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  26. I have been to this Wyeth painting site in Cushing, Maine often. It is such a treat to go into the ols Olson farmhouse and look out at the 'world' he painted here.

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  27. Dianne -- Like I mentioned to Vicki -- art is in the realm of interpretation -- what appeals to one may not to another. There are many pieces of art -- music, photography, paintings etc. that are hailed as magnificent which aren't my cup of tea.Thanks for your valued input -- barbara

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  28. June -- Your area has many forms of art -- from the beauty of the sand and sea and all that it contains to the theaters and organizations you occasionally mention on your posts. You picked a great area to retire to. The best of both worlds as they say. Thanks -- barbara

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  29. Birdman -- Yes, what a treat it would be to look at the real world of the Wyeths. When do I leave for Cushing? Thanks -- barbara

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  30. lines and shades -- thanks you for the nice comment. The countryside keeps me balanced. -- barbara

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