Monday, November 19, 2007

Artists of Lanesville - WALKER HANCOCK

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

The range and variety of Walker Hancock’s sculpture is truly remarkable, and all of it is created with his characteristic artistic integrity. He prefers to call his work “sculpture for architecture” rather than “architectural sculpture.” He has completed countless portraits as well and still receives commissions for them.

The sculptor’s favorite is the thirty-nine foot War Memorial in Philadelphia’s Thirtieth Street Station. When the tall, winged angel grieving over a dying soldier figure was finally finished, Mr. Hancock said he hoped travelers from all walks of life would find it moving, yet austere enough to hold its place properly in the architecture of that great station.

The piece presented a tremendous challenge because, as he said, ‘‘There was great danger of falling into sentimentality on the one hand or lack of emotion on the other. Such matters can only be decided by one’s individual feeling. Nothing can be written about them.”

Leaders in the arts and literature have sat in Mr. Hancock’s granite studio by the quarry pit, people such as Booth Tarkington in 1934, who said to him, “Never criticize yourself while you are working. Wait until it’s all done, then stand back and criticize it.”

Robert Frost, the much loved American poet, came to sit for Mr. Hancock in 1950 and walk the paths in the woods there. The bust was finished in time for the poet’s birthday at the end of the week. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sat for him in Washington, D.C., and so did Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, and Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. He has sculpted other famous people from history such as President Abraham Lincoln for Washington Cathedral, a full-length heroic-size figure of General Douglas MacArthur, a head of President Woodrow Wilson and a seated figure of President James Madison. The list is long.

Born in St. Louis on June 28, 1901, Mr. Hancock had always wanted to be a sculptor, and became convinced when in kindergarten he successfully modeled a bird’s nest with eggs. A few years later he attended art school on Wednesday nights and Saturdays all day. His studies finally took him to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where his teacher, a person he admired and respected, was the taciturn Charles Grafly. “But he was worth it,” the sculptor said.

While at Lanesville in his early days, Mr. Hancock came for meals at Mrs. Frisbee’s at Folly Cove, Warren Poland’s home. To his pleasure he discovered as many as ten artists and writers at the table for dinner the first day. He enjoyed the conversation and when it seemed indicated, he related what he thought was an interesting story. Suddenly, to his amazement, Mr. Clymer, himself an artist, slammed both fists on the table and said in a loud voice, “Cut out the hot air and pass the beans!”

Mr. Hancock was combining studies with Mr. Grafly both in Philadelphia and in Lanesville in the summertime. One year, Mr. Grafly left him in charge of his studio with permission to work on his own projects. Immediately, Mr. Hancock did a head of Toivo Helberg, a Finnish boy, his “first really serious finished head.” With it he later won the Widener Memorial Gold Medal. Of course, when Mr. Grafly returned, he examined his pupil’s work, saying nothing good or bad. But picking up a small piece of clay, he put it lightly above the left side of the forehead of the bust before silently walking off. Mr. Hancock thought it over a long time, then sent it out to the competition without the change. “But do you know, I think he was right,” he commented recently.

That same winter the sculptor completed a portrait of Waino Natti, the first young man he met when he came to the village. That sculpture won the Pris de Rome and earned him three years at the American Academy there. Going to Rome always had been his dream. Despite Mr. Grafly’s urging to stay at the studio, he sailed to Italy and Rome to what he called “a whole life and a whole world.”

When Mr. Hancock returned from Rome he stayed in New York City for a while, then came once more to Lanesville to build his granite studio here in 1930. He could not forget the village nor its people. While the granite blocks were being shaped and set in, he took his meals with a few Finnish families who lived nearby, such as the Gusti Stenbergs and the John Erkkilas. At times, he stayed with Mrs. Idah Austin, a former dietitian who later operated Folly Cove Inn.

Mr. Hancock was immediately “adopted” by the whole village. He is so enthused about the smallest thing done for him and so appreciative. He always has had a sense of humor, a quick smile, just enough so one senses also the fine-tuned awareness and serious nature of the artist he is.

When his studio was finished at “Deep Hole,” as the quarry is called, he invited the boys who swam in the pit to come back after supper to sit out on the granite terrace in summer until mosquitoes drove them inside. In winter they gathered around the fireplace to listen to classical music. He also shared with them his “discoveries” of art treasures in Italy, a subject entirely new to them, for it was not taught in the schools.

In return the boys brought in Finnish records of folk songs and dances. They also gave him the Finnish equivalent of his own complete name, calling him “Kavelia Kasikikko”. His old friends still greet him that way.

While in Rome the first time, Mr. Hancock completed a statue of Aphrodite for an estate in Chicago, and had it carved by the famous Piccirilli Bros. of Philadelphia, the stone carvers who did the Lincoln Memorial figure for Daniel Chester French.
For two years Mr. Hancock was a captain in the Army Intelligence Fine Arts and Archives Division, one of a team of ten special officers assigned to the European area north of the Alps for the purpose of preventing damage, where possible, to great works of arts hidden by the Germans. Sometimes paintings were discovered in castles, caves and even in remote hospitals. In one vast salt mine, 1,800 feet deep, Captain Hancock located his greatest find. Besides paintings by the great masters, there were treasures such as regalia dating back to the fifteenth century, the coffins of Frederick William I, first king of Prussia, his son, Frederick the Great, and also a vast library of that era. The last huge box of treasures was hoisted up the mine shaft to the surface on V-E Day, 1945. All treasures were later sorted and returned to their owners or to cathedrals as indicated.

Captain Hancock left Germany in December 1945 and returned home to join his wife, Saima Natti, a former schoolteacher, whom he had married December 4,1943.
One day, while demonstrating sculpture in Rockport at a church fair, Mr. Hancock began a portrait of his friend, Russel Crouse, the playwright, and decided to finish it later at his studio. The sculptor has often worked on a larger scale such as the heroic group for the St. Louis Memorial Building and works for Kansas City’s City Hall.

In August 1952, led by General Omar Bradley, the War Memorial for the 1,300 employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad who had died in the service was unveiled at Philadelphia’s Thirtieth Street Station with great ceremony. People have written from all over the country to tell Mr. Hancock about their own feelings on viewing the angel figure with the soldier. It’s an emotional experience, and there’s much pride, too, that the Lanesville sculptor created such an art treasure.

The Academy’s Gold Medal of Honor, the highest award given, was awarded to Mr. Hancock in Philadelphia on May 20,1953 during the National Cresson Day awards event at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Only five people had received the award in the previous thirty-three years.

Mr. Hancock, his wife, Saima, and their little daughter, Deane, returned to Rome in October of 1956 when he had been appointed sculptor-in-residence at the American Academy. While there he superintended the high-relief carving of his communication theme in white marble on black for the Bell Telephone Company, Montreal, Canada. Just previous to traveling there, he had finished a nine-foot statue of Admiral John Paul Jones, American Navy, for Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park.

Governor Percival P. Baxter of Portland, Maine, sailed to Rome while the sculptor was in residence to sit for him. Done in bronze, the statue is the first to be in the Maine State House. Meanwhile, at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, his sculptures had been grouped in a section called “The Hancock Oval.”

For thirty-eight years Mr. Hancock taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, on leave from 1956 to 1957 and again from 1962 to 1963.
Although the sculptor emphasizes he was only the consultant for the 300-foot wide carving on a section of the 800-foot high dome of granite comprising Stone Mountain, Georgia, left unfinished by Gutzon Borglum and then Augustus Lukeman in 1928, Mr. Hancock spent many months and completed many studies in his studio to “clean up the carving.”

The panel on the mountain includes the heads of General Robert
E. Lee riding his horse, Traveler (Lee’s face alone is twenty-one feet tall), General Stonewall Jackson and the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Granite had to be cut into new dimensions to finish the men’s heads, the heads of their horses and upper part of their bodies so the “arc of the finished sculpture would blend into the natural bald granite outline of Stone Mountain.” Mr. Hancock gave “emphasis to essential features while avoiding a stark realism where it would be inappropriate.” Dedication Day was May 9, 1970 with Mrs. Hancock and Deane there. Some of his neighbors flew down also.

In 1980 the sculptor completed a work called “Air” for the Civic Center in Philadelphia, in the garden in front of Exhibition Hall. The figure seems to hover over the global earth below, his arms and legs gently stretched out in a beneficent gesture. “The problem was to make it a powerful figure, yet in a gentle mood,” says Mr. Hancock.

The sculptor was working on a portrait of the late Vice President Hubert E. Humphrey in 1981, to be cast in plaster then carved in marble. He finished the seated figure of President James Madison for the new building of the Library of Congress and had it carved in the Italian village of Pietrasanta where stonecarvers have lived for hundreds of years.

In between his portrait busts, his commissions for sculpture for architecture and models for upcoming works, Mr. Hancock has somehow found time to complete forty figures, each about eight inches high, all studies of basketball players. The sculptor explained saying more action of the human body can be studied in basketball than any other sport.

At Washington Cathedral, Washington, D.C., the sculptor has completed the central figure of Christ in Majesty high in the reredos. On the north side there is a small chapel called the Good Shepherd, and there Mr. Hancock has a sculpture “The Shepherd."
Working on the heroic bronze of President Abraham Lincoln has given Mr. Hancock great pleasure and inner satisfaction. The statue was dedicated in February of 1984 in Washington Cathedral. The Great Emancipator is portrayed as he appeared to the people when he spoke his famous farewell in a cold drizzle in Springfield, Illinois on February 11, 1861. “His speech was only nine sentences long,” the sculptor points out.
When the Reverend Richard Bamforth of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Rockport returned from the dedication exercises for the Lincoln figure, he described the event to friends, concluding, “After thinking over all the compassion, warm feeling for his fellow man, and great dignity expressed in the Lincoln statue, I felt that the same attributes could well be applied to the sculptor.

Artists of Lanesville - LEE KINGMAN, Author, Editor

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

One of the best things about Lee Kingman, Lanesville author of children’s books and books for young people, is that she finds inspiration in small, everyday events or scenes around her. For forty years, she has been writing books as well as editing at home. She also is an artist, having been a member of the Folly Cove Designers. Her husband is Robert H. Natti, retired principal of Gloucester High School. They have two grown children, Susanna Mathilda and Peter. Miss Kingman’s book The Saturday Gang was chosen the Junior Literary Guild Outstanding Book Selection for Boys and Girls in 1961. Her first book written for the very young was Pierre Pidgeon with a Canadian Gaspe Peninsula background. Her most loved story is The Best Christmas, a child’s book eagerly read by all ages and treasured for its story of how Erkki Seppala discovered how to have a “best” Christmas as he worries about his big brother at sea on a granite “stone boat.” A new edition illustrated by Barbara Cooney of Rockport came out in 1984. Flivver, the Heroic Horse, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, was written in 1958. In it the author actually presented a solution to the problem of what to do with a derelict barge at Clam Cove (Lane’s Cove). A floating art gallery was the solution to the fictional problem. The Year of the Raccoon, a full-length book, was one of the best selling books for 1966. It was at about that time that wild raccoons emerged from the woods at night, often sitting at back doors waiting for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The Village Band Mystery marked another in Miss Kingman’s mysteries for young people-this one based on what she knew about the old-time Waino Band and the Wainola Hall before it burned down. A trip to Finland and Lapland set her writing Secret Journey of the Silver Reindeer. In 1981 there was Private Eyes: Adventures with the Saturday Gang, and then Head Over Wheels.

In the winter she and her husband often circle their huge quarry on cross country skis and they have friends come on Saturday for sauna, a long-time Finnish custom the Nattis observe. Many people have adopted the Finnish custom of taking a sauna bath on Saturdays or any day someone’s bathhouse is ready. Old-time saunas were heated by wood with round beach stones to be heated so they’d retain warmth for hours. Not really steam baths, blasts of heat came when as little as a cupful of water was dashed on the hot stones. There are a few saunas left today, but in the early part of this century, there must have been thirty in Lane’s Cove alone.

The author maintains a strict writing schedule and says the quiet at Blood Ledge helps her keep it successfully.

There were many women writers becoming recognized in the years from 1895 to 1950. Their stories and poems appeared in either the Cape Ann Weekly Advertiser or the Gloucester Daily Times. Sarah Hart was one of the first and she wrote with a touch of humor, an intriguing plot and authentic historical background. Lena Clark Wells found royalty in Britain was her chief interest so her characters always revolved in Europe. Sarah Duley and Nellie Saunders were village poets; Elizabeth A. Blood was another.

In 1963 A. Ross Burton wrote GI in World War II with illustrations by Eino A. Natti. Captain Chester Morrissey lived in the old firehouse when he retired from the sea in the 1950s. He composed verses about his fishing adventures on the Boston schooner Commonwealth. Later, Bob Morey wrote The Duley Street Lighthouse, a saga of making port at Lane’s Cove in a storm.

Following the trend in popular fiction today, Sharron Cohen writes romantic novels. Knowing how difficult it is to find tourist attractions and historic places to visit with children, Harriet Webster has made this her special writing project. Her husband, Jonathan, was a journalist.

Winter at Lane’s Cove is the time for spending hours with pen, pencil or typewriter, for there are at least twenty people working on books, many retired people researching local history, women who write about historical houses and their value to the community, and others who are active in writing groups.

Artists of Lanesville - NANCY HALE

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

There’s a feeling of great independence of spirit, a humorous insight into people’s frailties and a down-to-earth understanding of New England living woven into the writings of Nancy Hale, distinguished author who summered at Folly Cove. She had been coming to the family studio, built by her great-aunt, pioneer artist Ellen Day Hale, since she was two years old. The author died of a stroke in September 1988.

Miss Hale was born in Boston May 6, 1908 and attended the Winsor School. She studied art at the school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, for all her family were artists. But writing had been her forte since she wrote her first novel at the age of twenty-two. An exciting period in her life was the time when she was the first woman reporter on the staff of the New York Times in 1934, assigned to “follow” Eleanor Roosevelt-a real challenge to any member of the press. She had been an assistant editor at Vogue and Vanity Fair, and in 1974 won the Sarah-Josepha Hale Award given by the Friends Library in Newport, New Hampshire. (The name of the award was a coincidence.)

Her book A New England Girlhood has been particularly enjoyed in Lanesville for the description of rocky shores, open fields with wild flowers and the special smell of the sea at night in summer when all windows are open to salty breezes.

In the 1940s Miss Hale married Professor Fredson Bowers of Charlottesville, Virginia, an authority on seventeenth-century English drama.

When Miss Hale suffered her first stroke, she made a valiant recovery, standing tall and maintaining her usual distinctive presence, even though it was an effort to walk and she tired easily. She appears to have been the last of the proper Bostonian writers.

Among Miss Hale’s books are New England Girlhood, The Prodigal Women, The Sign of Jonah, The Young Die Good, Never Any More, The Earliest Dreams, Between the Dark and the Daylight, The Pattern of Perfection, The Empressy Ring, Dear Beast, Black Summer, and Heaven and Hardpan Farm.

Artists of Lanesville - FELIX P. A. BOSCH

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

Felix Peter Anton Bosch, gentle Dutch-born landscape artist, came to Lane’s Cove summers for many years with his wife, Bernetta Burgess. They usually stayed in the Cheves cottage on Lane’s Point. Mr. Bosch, his charcoal tucked into his hatband, painted in oil and mostly at Lane’s Cove. He never seemed to tire of changing light and shade among the familiar fish houses, gaunt trees and vessels at anchor. Surely he knew every plank and knothole in each fish house.

Mr. Bosch was born in Amsterdam, Holland, July 1, 1872, the son of Anton and Catherine Johanna (van Straelen) Bosch. He studied art in Holland before coming to this country in 1897, settling in Stoneham, Massachusetts in 1909. He didn’t visit Holland again until 1947 although he painted scenes of his homeland from memory.

Visitors to the Cove always looked for Mr. Bosch. He had to be somewhere, busy at his easel. It was a real delight to watch him paint and to carry on a conversation, hearing his quaint Dutch accented English. His appearance was always impeccable, and he was very much the old-fashioned gentleman. When children came to see him working, he always pretended to be hunting for his charcoal crayon. And, in gleeful laughter, they always “found” it for him, perhaps tucked behind his left ear.

Once in a while he brought friends up to the cottage to take tea with his wife. After her death, he continued the custom, but his heart wasn’t in it. Before long, he found it easier to board with others in the village.

In 1947 George and Jinnee Demetrios had a bon voyage party for Mr. Bosch at their Folly Cove home. A few days later he later sailed home to Holland to see his sister after a thirty-eight year absence.

Many homes in the village have Felix Bosch landscapes hanging on their walls. He must have painted at least fifty canvases in many sizes ranging from one of the northeast breakwater looking across flat ledges twenty inches by fourteen to smaller sizes.

There were views of Stoneham where he stayed in the winter. It seemed that as the artist grew older, he painted smaller and smaller canvases. Whether the effort was too much, or he was becoming too frail physically to do larger ones, is not certain. But he never lost his welcoming smile for a friend.

Artists of Lanesville - LEON KROLL

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

A Folly Cove artist who, with a strong technique painted river barges in New York, or delicately painted a nude woman in an idyllic garden setting, was Leon Kroll, national academician. He was born in 1884 in New York and studied in Paris under Jean Paul Laurens. That is where he met his future wife, Genevieve.

Mr. Kroll was not a tall man, and certainly was not handsome, but he had a wonderful personality. He often asked for criticisms of his latest work, whether a scene of “The Squall” at Lane’s Cove painted in 1932 or the Worcester War Memorial in 1941.

The artist painted in France in 1924 and taught in Paris. His portrait “Mary at Breakfast” was done at that time. In 1930 he won his first gold medal, the Beck Gold Medal given by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for his canvases, “The Ploughed Field” and “The Path by the Sea.” In 1932 he won the First Altman Prize for the Best Figure Painting for his “Summer, New York.”

Mr. Kroll seemed to be on his way to win perhaps more awards than any artist in America at that time. His painting “Cape Ann” won the Altman Landscape Prize in 1935, his “The Road from the Cove” was awarded the Carnegie First International Prize. At that time, he also did “The Red Tarn” depicting a woman wearing a tam-o’shanter with a scarf to match. His canvas “In the Hills” won the National Academy of Design 96th Annual Thomas E. Clark Prize. In this painting, there is a woman with long hair and a young woman, probably her daughter, against a Folly Cove hillside.

When Mr. Kroll finished his painting Building New York” he was praised for having not just the vision of big things but also the power to visualize them successfully on canvas. Critics commented, “He lifts one into loftier conceptions,” and “Laborers are not necessarily earthbound.” And all is done with strong, vigorous brush strokes.

The Folly Cove artist once tackled a mosaic painting for the chapel dome in Anzio, Italy, which was eighty feet in circumference. It was a “most exacting work and a mathematical problem all the way through.” In 1952 he finished his three-panel mural for the Indiana State Capitol. This work was especially popular among young people in Lanesville, for he called them in to pose for the figures in it. Eino Natti was his assistant at the time.

When he stayed with his wife and daughter, Marie-Claude, at Folly Cove each summer, he painted many nudes. First he asked the model to pose in the garden, later working the figure into the rock background of a granite quarry nearby. “Heroic and handsome, that’s the way women look to me,” said the artist. Speaking of his types of subjects, he said he liked paintings warm with human understanding, the natural gesture, “the touch of people, and landscapes where people live and work and play. I try to express this feeling without being too obvious about it.”

Many Kroll canvases hang in the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute at Pittsburgh and San Francisco Museum of Art.

Mr. Kroll reflected, “An artist is a fortunate human being, and creating something with his hands gives him a grand life.”

Artists of Lanesville - ELLEN DAY HALE

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

Ellen Day Hale, Folly Cove artist, who painted from her summer home, The Thickets, beginning in 1883, was an exception to most women of the nineteenth century. Miss Hale was a leader in Folly Cove’s art colony, composed mostly of women like herself who had stuck “to their own guns” and studied art despite family traditions of becoming decorative hostesses while men achieved their own goals.

Miss Hale was born on February 11, 1855 in Worcester of a socially prominent family. Her great-great-uncle was Nathan Hale, the patriot; her grandfather was Lyman Beecher, the noted Calvinist; and her father was the great orator and clergyman, Edward Everett Hale. Her nephew, Philip Leslie Hale, shared her love for art and painted in Boston. His wife, Lilian Westcott Hale, also an artist, became known nationally for her portraits.

There was surprise in art circles when, in 1868, William Morris Hunt, innovative teacher and well-known artist, invited women to join his classes. He believed in women’s artistic sensibilities. Ellen Day Hale had studied in Dr. William Rimmer’s classes in Boston to determine whether or not she really had artistic ability. When she decided she certainly did, she went to Hunt’s classes in 1874, and also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at Hunt’s recommendation. She was also instructed by Miss Helen Knowlton in Boston, and in 1881 she traveled to Europe with her. While there she studied under Emmanuel Fremiet at Jardin Des Plantes.

Artist friends of Miss Hale have pointed out that the influence of her teacher, William Morris Hunt, shows, for instance, in her “Landscape In Normandy,” an oil on canvas done in broad brush strokes, strong highlights and absence of line. (Hunt had studied with Thomas Couture of Paris and Jean-Francois Millet in Barbizon.)

Miss Hale had hardly touched base again in the United States when, in 1882, she began a tour of Spain with her father and her aunt, Susan Hale, also an artist. She decided to find more instruction and attended classes in Paris by Carolus-Duran for four months, then studied at the Academia Julian with Tony Robert-Fleury, Rodolphe Julian, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Jacques Henner.

The year 1883 was an important one for Miss Hale. She had met a Philadelphia artist and etcher, Gabrielle deVeaux Clements, and the two became lifelong friends and traveling companions. They lived side-by-side in Folly Cove in almost identical fishermen’s cottages until they became elderly and Miss Clements moved in with Miss Hale.

One winter the two artists traveled in the Southwest, another season they took the train to Missouri, Colorado and Santa Barbara, California. They had already toured Europe a few times. Languages were never a problem since Miss Hale spoke seven of them She was already seventy when she decided to tackle Finnish, but she was frustrated with the difficult grammar and gave it up.

In 1885 Miss Hale exhibited “Lady with a Fan,” a self portrait, in the Paris Salon, a painting that made her an artist in her own right. She also began her first etchings being taught by Miss Clements, and later exhibited her work. One is of a barefooted boy high up in a willow tree, leaning against its broad trunk, enjoying his hand-whittled whistle. In 1888, after writing to the Boston Traveler about her experiences as an art student in Europe, she finished a book, History of Art, on the great Renaissance men. In 1902 Miss Hale was living in Washington, D.C. for a while to help her father entertain. He was then a chaplain in the United States Senate. She exhibited at The Corcoran Gallery and later won first prize at the Society of Washington Artists. In 1905 Miss Hale painted her large canvas, “Morning News,” a most sensitive portrait of a woman quickly scanning the newspaper as though she had just picked it up at the sunlit door. The light in the portrait is beautifully done, much more highly emphasized than the usual portrait painter would have done in those times. That was the era of the new Boston School.

With her artist friends at Folly Cove, Margaret Yeaton Hoyt and Gabrielle Clements, Ellen Day Hale painted murals for churches, dividing up the work so all three could paint together. At that time, Miss Hoyt was becoming recognized as well, although much younger than the other two.

In 1930 and in 1935 Ellen Day Hale exhibited in the North Shore Arts Association in Gloucester. She suffered from arthritis, and in her last years was not able to continue her work. She died in 1940, but left a legacy of many paintings and etchings representing the days during the close of the last century when a middle-of-the-road Boston was beginning to absorb the Impressionists, painters of light.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nothing Like a Little Stormy Weather...

There's nothing like a little stormy weather to up the number hits on the Lanes Cove webcam. As Noel turned from a hurricane to a Nor'easter, people wanted to see what was going on as it passed Cape Ann. I suspect that the other webcams in the area saw a flurry of hits as well, but since we have a good view of the water we probably got our fair share.

From our position, northeast winds drive the waves parallel to the breakwater. Strong winds from the north or north-northwest start to drive waves into the breakwater with the resulting wind driven spray that flies over the walls. It has been many years since the last time the wall was breached by massive waves, and the last repair of the breakwater place enough material outside of the walls to dissipate most of the energy of the waves before plowing into them. As the storm moved away from us, the winds did shift more northerly and a little spray was see across the walls, but this certainly wasn't "the big one" a lot of people were watching for. directory