|Don Hatfield, America’s Foremost Modern Impressionist: Rachel in the Vineyard|
Don Hatfield’s painting, Rachel in the Vineyard, arrived from the framer and finding a place for it meant shifting several other pieces of art into new places. My decorating mentor, Alexandra Stoddard teaches us to move our artwork so that we see it with fresh eyes. From my desk, which is really the bar in the kitchen and my desk chair a bar-stool, I am gaining a fresh appreciation for the original Rembrandt we bought in Maui a few years ago.
|Rembrandt’s ‘Descent From the Cross” 1633 Original in the Adytum Kitchen|
The unplanned purchase of Rembrandt’s Descent From the Cross was accompanied by one of the best glasses of Pinot Noir I’ve ever had…by Presidio Winery in Santa Barbara: http://www.presidiowinery.com/ .
|Anniversary Bouquet at LaHaina Galleries (http://www.lahainagalleries.com/)
We had just bought Yankel Ginzburg’s Anniversary Bouquet for my birthday and wandered into the gallery next door as we made our way to a restaurant ( http://higginshartegalleries.com/) Most of Rembrandt’s works are very small, and as soon as I saw this larger work on an easel I knew we weren’t leaving anytime soon. Donn had been collecting “Three Crosses” reproductions and several were framed in his day-trading office.
|Rembrandt’s “The Three Crosses”
To find a large original…well, I knew that we were about to acquire our first original Rembrandt regardless that we just spent our art budget for the next year….
Some things are worth going out on a limb for (Why not go out on a limb, that’s where all the fruit is…Will Rogers)
|Rembrandt in the assertive confidence of youth, still the piercing gaze…|
Many of you who have been to Adytum and seen our growing art collection know this story-
how Rembrandt sketched himself into Descent From the Cross. He made sure the original scene was replaced with Dutchmen – see the dress? as if to say, “The Jews didn’t put Jesus on the cross- we ALL did, the common, modern man.”
The Church found his piercing outward gaze sacrilegious and made him redo it with downcast eyes. Rembrandt, as you know, did more self-portraits than any artist, always with eyes boring into us as if to say, “So…what do YOU see then in My face? If you look hard you will find it in yourself too.” His nearly 100 self-portraits seemed an intentional autobiographical lifelong exploration of his many selves.
It’s really quite a miracle that we obtained this work of his. You see, he had one of the hardest lives of anyone I know of, except perhaps artist Don Hatfield who recently lost his Napa home of 15 years to foreclosure, went bankrupt, lost his wife to cancer and then lost his only daughter to murder by her own husband a month after his wife died…now Don at 64 raises his daughter’s three small children- baby to age 5….You can read his story and donate at www.rachelschildrensfund.com or http://hatfieldfineart.blogspot.com/. Can you imagine going through even ONE of these hard things?
When I ordered, Rachel in the Vineyard as a giclee
(Giclée ( /ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-klay or /dʒiːˈkleɪ/), is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on ink-jet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on IRIS printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any high quality ink-jet print and is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to denote such prints)
from Don this month to donate toward www.rachelschildrensfund.com, (and you can too!) I asked at the end of our conversation permission to share his whole story, “Blog on Kat” was his reply.
During this call Don’s depth of emotion was profound- his honesty about his grief after all he’s been through, I am feeling overcome as he speaks of his reality but he ministers to ME on this call and tells me that “his grief turns to celebration before His Lord and His God…that there is no death any longer for those in Christ. That the moment we accept Christ into our lives as our Savior, we pass into eternity – being eternal- whether in the body or not”. He tells me he communes in spirit with his beloved Janey and Rachel, before the throne of God and will join them when his work is done here on earth.
|Blaise Pascal…”Pascal’s Wager”|
For those that don’t share this belief, I would simply invite you to take Pascal’s wager. Have you heard of it?
Referencing Wikipedia I quote, “Pascal’s Wager (also known as Pascal’s Gambit) is a suggestion posed by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal that, since the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved through reason, and there is much to be gained from wagering that God exists and little to be gained from wagering that God doesn’t exist, a rational person should simply wager that God exists and live accordingly.
Following his argument establishing the Wager, Pascal addressed the fact that many rational people (in spite of being able to reason advantages) will have difficulty genuinely believing in God. He thus prescribed one to live “as though he had faith” and postulated that (like Tolstoy in his autobiographical “A Confession”) this might help to subvert their contrary passions and lead to more genuine belief.
Historically, Pascal’s Wager was groundbreaking because it charted new territory in probability theory, marked the first formal use of decision theory, and anticipated future philosophies such as existentialism, pragmatism, and voluntarism.
Pascal formulated his suggestion within a Christian framework, and set it out in ‘note 233’ of his Pensées, a posthumously published collection of notes made in his last years forming a treatise on Christian apologetics.”
Rembrandt had it hard too, and like Don Hatfield, created even more beauty the more he went through. Robert Housden writes in How Rembrandt Reveals Your Beautiful Imperfect Self, (http://www.amazon.com/Rembrandt-Reveals-Your-Beautiful-Imperfect/dp/B002ECEW1U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333936181&sr=8-1) “He knew great success and spectacular failure. He went from being the talk of the town to bankruptcy; he lost his house and had to watch all his belongings being bundled off to the auction room. Over the course of time, he witnessed the death of all but one of his five children, as well as the death of the two loves of his life, one from the plague and the other from tuberculosis. All the while, he labored in his studio, creating some of the most remarkable works of art the World had ever seen. All the while he was sustained by a faith that was profoundly Christian and yet uniquely his own, a faith whose source came from within and was bound by no external dogma or creed.” Rembrandt and Don Hatfield both remind us how much we can endure and not only survive but create and thrive. We are powerful beyond belief….
Simon Schama in The Power of Art, Rembrandt’s Eyes among many other books and DVDs he’s done tells these stories so well. I love listening to his voice….he’s passionate and it takes me there…Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia, died young and he remarried to his housekeeper. When she, too died, he was so poor he had to dig up Saskia’s bones to put his latest wife in the grave. Meantime his great art was being rejected, he remained unpaid and this great etching done in 1633, Descent From the Cross, was given unstricken, to his neighbor as payment for floating him along in his financial ruin another month. Normally an artist would strike the plate through with a solid line, much like we cut our credit cards up so they cannot be reused. This survived intact because there was a deal made…
It is a miracle for our time that this surfaced in an art house in the 70’s, an original plate from Rembrandt dated 1633. 100 pressings were made and we now share it with you in – of all places- the Adytum kitchen and I enjoy it anew as it is now located directly opposite my computer where I spend so much of my time. When I glance up from work, I am grounded in Reality. I am a spiritual being having a physical experience because of this Reality.
Easter last year was spent with family, our beautiful daughter-in-law making her first family meal for us all and we’d attended a fantastic church service earlier with them. The year before that, Donn and I saw one of those horrific reenactments complete with pounding of nails and much blood… seeing a crucifixion – it was just too much for sensitive me…It was so deeply disturbing that instead of driving me into my inner sanctuary to contemplate the death of Christ on the cross for me, it drove me out the door. We ended up at Powell’s bookstore in Portland where we sat cross-legged in the aisles for hours on end looking at the artist’s depictions of Christ on the cross in many old, used art books- gentler without the harsh reality that He endured… Arriving back at Adytum, we played Beethoven’s 9th– Ode to Joy and ended Easter on a very high note listening to inspired music turned up quite loud in the fabulous acoustics of the Tower Room, and contemplated The Descent From the Cross. It was one of the best Easter’s ever…very deep and meaningful- after we escaped the horror of the Easter play anyway.
|Lovely Guests of Adytum Sanctuary, Each One Such a Beautiful Person….|
This Easter weekend we have guests at Adytum so our routines are creative – we will be in Muir’s Cathedral of the Woods, “sharing the sky with the mountains and trees, gaining something of their strength and peace”.
We will hike to the cross on the other end of Birley Mountain- Adytum is on one end and the huge white cross on the other – along the way are the “Stations of the Cross” which from scripture explain the various scenes that took place on that eventful day that now divides history.
|DeGoede’s Church for the Hispanic Workers (and we enjoyed it too…)|
I’ve never been Catholic but I have to say I appreciated the simple way that the major points of faith were addressed both in the church the DeGoede Family built for their workers and also in the pictures of Christ’s journey to the cross and His resurrection from the dead which are contained in the shrines as we ascended the steep hill to the viewpoint where the cross resides.
It was, after living here five years, a first for us and to be honest, it really ‘made’ Easter like no sermon ever did. Simple and pure. Just the facts and no hidden agendas.
|I love the Spanish and English….Even the Shrine Aspect Works in this Setting…So appropriate|
We will enjoy the presence of God, actively cultivating our awareness of his pervasive presence here in this sanctuary dedicated to Him: Soli Deo Gloria” (Glory to God which is our “matrix) is our motto and it is on the sign at the entry gates to Adytum.
We will, again, contemplate fine inspired art – Rembrandt’s in particular and listen to Beethoven’s 9thand sing along, “Joyful, joyful we adore Thee!”, arms raised in adoration and worship to the God that loves us so much He gave his only son….Don Hatfield can relate having lost his only daughter; excruciating is an understatement…. how much love it takes to be actively willing to do this great thing. My heart expands when I write this….and my favorite Psalm comes to mind: 139- this part in particular…
Psalm 139: 13 –
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.