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MalcolmGladwell1

Malcolm Gladwell talks books, banned books, Beatles books, and the godmother of forensic science: newsletter, September 20, 2019

American Watercolor, an e-zine begun by Kelly Kane, has a short feature on my watercolors — thanks in great part to you, my faithful newsletter readers. I was named ambassador of the week and got into the running for that title because, several weeks ago, I asked those of you who were interested to sign up […]

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Diedrich Knickerbocker

The father of American illustration – F.O.C. Darley

Illustrators deserve a more prominent place in the history of American art — and in our own minds — than they have been given. This is especially true in America, where we have a rich cadre of great artists who have made their living, and their fame, by being illustrators. Chances are, with just a […]

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What we see, and what we think we see

One of my favorite artists — and YouTube video star — is James Gurney, who produces amazing paintings on-site (plein-air is the artistic term) and videos the process so that he can share them with his thousands of subscribers. Gurney also has a website on which something new appears just about every day. This past […]

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ToStriveToSeek1

Walking, Arthur Ashe, and a new video: newsletter, Aug. 2, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,716) on Friday, August 9, 2019. ​ Living well, as any sensible person knows, is not just a matter of diet and exercise. It’s a whole range of behaviors, attitudes, habits, and choices. Susan Saunders and Annabel Streets, two women who have looked deeply into the science […]

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Writing the national anthem, ripping off Dickens, publishing a Civil War memoir: newsletter, July 5, 2019

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 […]

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AntoniaFraser

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 […]

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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 […]

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Casey at the Bat, the poem and the video

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. […]

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Notre Dame

Watercolour World: watercolors as the pre-20th century photography

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 […]

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Charles Willson Peale (caricature)

Charles Willson Peale and the image of the American Revolution

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 […]

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The ‘Lightning Sketch Artist,’ a vaudeville act in the early 1900s

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 […]

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Shadows of Summer - 1

Shadows of Summer – four line and wash drawings

  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: […]

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Wrigley Field

Urban Sketching is among us – so pay attention

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 […]

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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. […]

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Cades Cove Sunday morning - 3

Testing the palette: One subject, three paintings

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:

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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 […]

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typewriter-cup

Raymond Chandler and the development of the ‘private eye’; newsletter, Jan. 12, 2018

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 […]

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High in the Air, watercolor © 2018

High in the Air, watercolor

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 […]

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Banjo at Rest

At the corner of Banjo and 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 […]

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Queen Anne's lace, watercolor, 11 x 14

Watercolors for the beekeepers

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 […]

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