This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,747) on Friday, July 5, 2019. I hope that everyone in America (and elsewhere) is having a happy Fourth of July and its aftermath. In America, we celebrate with fireworks, ice cream, baseball, cherry pie, cookouts, and just about anything else we can think of […]
Writing the national anthem, ripping off Dickens, publishing a Civil War memoir: newsletter, July 5, 2019
Hemingway on writing, Fraser at writing, counterfeit books, and a podcast: newsletter, June 28, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,7xx) on Friday, June 28, 2019. The great satisfaction of a project nearing completion came for me this week with the arrival of proof copies of Loyal Mountaineers: The Civil War Memoirs of Will McTeer. McTeer left his home near the Great Smoky Mountains in […]
Sir Walter Scott writes himself out of debt, more on libraries, competing definitions of journalism: newsletter, May 31, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,7xx) on Friday, May 31, 2019. For the past six or seven weeks, we have left our beehives alone. This is the main honey-making season, and we did not want to do anything to disturb them. That changed this week when I opened them to make […]
The most famous baseball poem in history is Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Its subtitle is “A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888.” The poem was first published in the San Francisco Chronicle and tells the story of one game of the baseball team of Mudville and its mighty hitting star Casey. […]
How can we know what something or some location looked like 200 or 300 years ago? If some master painter depicted someone or something and it hung in a museum, gallery, or collection, that would be one means. Usually, these works were done in oil and took much time and training to complete. Consequently, they […]
A big part of George Washington’s image was, well, Washington’s image. What Washington looked like was essential — more important than we probably understand — to what we think of him and ultimately how we think of America. The American revolutionaries of the 18th century understood that very well. It was an age well before […]
Not long ago, a friend alerted me to Gurney Journey, the website of artist James Gurney, and it has become one of my daily stops on my web rounds. Gurney comes up with a wide variety of fascinating items, including the video above that shows sometimes about which I was completely unaware: the lightning sketch […]
These drawings come from a watercolor class that I am taking at the local community college (Pellissippi State) this semester. They were executed in about an hour and a half. The main point of these drawings was for me to learn something about “hot press” paper. In watercolor there are three kinds of paper: […]
People who draw and paint outside the confines of their studio are now known as urban sketchers. In fact, there is a world-wide organization — a long-standing one, I understand — of Urban Sketchers with a substantial website. Here’s the Urban Sketchers manifesto: We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from […]
Shakespeare’s appearance, Eleanor’s mastery, and Cronkite’s broadcast – plus a new book giveaway: newsletter, March 2, 2018
One of the seminal events in America’s long involvement in Vietnam occurred 50 years ago this past week. CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite — often called “the most trusted man in America” — narrated a prime-time documentary that called into question the American government’s rosy predictions about the war’s progress. Cronkite did not come out against the war. […]
Painting a subject more than one, especially within a short span of time, is not my usual thing. But this was different. I wanted to test out three color approaches, and I wanted to do it with a landscape that would not be too difficult to render. So here’s the result:
Another painting giveaway; Amazon gift cards; Pliny the Younger, Rome’s great eyewitness reporter; newsletter, Feb. 2, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,222) on Friday, February 2, 2018. Hi, I watched a super moon, a blood moon, and a lunar eclipse this week. Not as spectacular as the solar eclipse we saw last summer but still pretty phenomenal. Nature has its moments — many of them, in fact, if we would […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,500) on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Special note: If you have unsubscribed to this list previously, I apologize for this email. I had some problems with the list over the past couple of weeks — due mainly to my incompetence — and some unsubscribers may have […]
Even this grouchy ex-prof (football coaches are paid too much) who is not even a football fan (baseball is the only REAL game) has a touch of championship fever. Congratulations to Alabama and Georgia, and best of luck to my many friends on both sides of the stadium. For those who are interested: This watercolor […]
A couple of weeks ago, I went onto YouTube (the modern source of all wisdom and knowledge) to find a video of someone playing or singing “Cumberland Mountain Deer Chase,” an old Uncle Dave Macon tune. My local dulcimer group was playing it, and I needed to get a good idea of the melody. I […]
Here are a couple of recently-completed watercolors that I am donating to the Blount County Beekeepers Association annual auction on Monday evening. Both have mountain-ish backgrounds, and one is based on a recent photograph by my good friend Jim Bennett. The BCBA auction raises money for grants to new beekeepers, one of the many great things the […]
A watercolor of Ayres Hall on the University of Tennessee campus was one of my contributions to the silent auction for the Front Page Follies last year, and a couple of people told me they bid on it unsuccessfully. Well, this year they get another shot. This is a watercolor of the big building at the top of […]
The Front Page Follies is happening in a couple of weeks, and I am donating a couple of items to the silent auction. One is this watercolor, Cades Cove in winter, which I completed this week. The Front Page Follies is the annual musical revue and roast of politicians and events from the previous year. […]
To Althea, from Prison by Richard Lovelace
In this week’s newsletter
Read about the new book Ole Bert: Sage of the Smokies that Jim has just edited and produced for the Blount County Public Library.
Point Spread on Amazon
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