11
Aug
09

Dog Days of Summer

 

    When I was a child I often heard my parents speak of the “dog days of summer”. I am not sure where I got my definition of what the dog days actually were in those days of my youth, but I was led to believe that late summer was a time to avoid stray dogs because they were more likely to bite. Hmmmmmm. I own a t-shirt, a promotional piece from the Max & Erma’s restaurant chain, that pays homage to the dog days, but shows a happy dog who is more likely to hug you than bite you.

    Today I checked out the Merriam-Webster on line dictionary and found this:

1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity

Nothing about biting dogs. According to an article on the website TechRepublic, the Dog Days are named for the Dog Star, Sirius, which is the brightest star (discounting our own sun) visible in the sky. During mid-summer, Sirius is in conjunction with the sun (the two rise and set together), an astronomical coincidence that the ancient Romans and several other cultures couldn’t help but notice. When the two brightest stars sync up and the world simultaneously gets hotter, you tend to blame the Dog Star for the heat. Sirius is in the constellation Canis Major (which the Romans named), so the Romans called this period the carniculares dies –or days of the dogs. Thus, the 20 days before and after the conjunction of the Dog Star and the sun are called Dog Days.

    Chris and I have been anything but inactive during these recent days. We were in Charleston, WV recently to drop off some art work for the upcoming WV Juried Exhibition. While we were there we visited the newly renovated WV State Museum, and found it to be a wonderful space that really gets you engaged in the history of West Virginia. In addition to the historical aspect of the museum, there is also an art exhibition: Emerging Artists of West Virginia. It was great to see a piece in the show by our friend, Cheryl Harshman (and you can see the influence of her mentor, Mitch Lyons).

 

Me at the Emerging Artists of WV exhibition.

Me at the Emerging Artists of WV exhibition.

 

Clay print by Cheryl Harshman.

Clay print by Cheryl Harshman.

 

 

    The next week we headed up to Geneva on the Lake, Ohio to hook up with Chris’ parents and relax for a few days. I took along my camera, some art magazines, my watercolors, and a book, The Face on Your Plate, along with our bicycles. I did get my book finished and did some cycling on the new trail along Lake Erie, but unfortunately the watercolors did not make it out of the box.

    We discovered some new art in town! A mural painted on the side of THe Cove Nightclub showing images of many of the famous musicians who have played there over the years. Now I must confess that I found the execution of the mural to be a bit weak, and yet I was intrigued by its primitive, folk art-like quality. The mural appears unfinished, yet it is signed as to indicate its completion. 

 

Mural on the side of The Cove Nightclub.

Mural on the side of The Cove Nightclub.

 

Mural detail: The Coasters.

Mural detail: The Coasters.

 

Mural detail: James Brown.

Mural detail: James Brown.

Mural detail: The Temptations.

Mural detail: The Temptations.

    A few years ago I did an acrylic painting of one of the local business, Lake Package Store, and a few watercolor studies of the now defunct amusement park. I have thought about painting Eddie’s Grill for a long time, but I find it hard to put away the metal and found objects to make time for painting. Eddie’s has been around for about 60 years and still looks great, especially at night. Hmmmm….. perhaps a cut-tin version of Eddie’s? 

 

Eddie's Grill, Geneva on the Lake, Ohio.

Eddie's Grill, Geneva on the Lake, Ohio.

    On the way home from Geneva we stopped at Rogers Flea Market and then on to the Heritage Blues Fest. More on that later, it’s time to make some art (and work on a syllabus or two)!

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