1930s Automobile Front-End Styling Detailing

Modernist design purists during the first half of the twentieth century made avoiding decoration a central part of their design religion: Thou Shalt Not Decorate!

Easier said than done, once one moves away from architecture and perhaps furniture and dining-wear design. That's because it's possible to take functional elements of the object and arrange them in a pleasing and, yes, decorative manner ("function" was another religious tenet, especially for architects and industrial designers). Actually, one can do that for architectural objects as well.

During the mid-1920s, once automobiles became reliable to operate, it began to dawn on manufacturers that a car's appearance could become a selling point if customers no longer felt it necessary to shop with reliability in mind. So styling operations began to emerge in the larger companies as well as in firms specializing in providing car bodies.

Speaking of "function," an important function for any consumer-goods product is saleability, and a good designer needs to keep this in mind. Even if car stylists were of the modernist-purist school of thought, design proposals for production cars had to face approval by corporate officers whose fields included engineering and sales as well as general management. Which is why automobiles have almost always included styling elements that might be considered decorative.

The 1930s were years when automobile styling was becoming established along with the new field of industrial design. Those years also marked the transition in decorative fashion from what we now call Art Deco to "Moderne," a simpler style incorporating elements related to streamlining.

Below are some examples of front-end or "face" styling elements from that period. I took those photos during visits to various automobile museums over the past few years.


Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow - 1933
Phil Wright's sensational (for its time) Silver Arrow is noted for his predictive design for the main body of the car: it includes a number of features that did not appear on mass-production cars until around the 1948 model year. The front end is not heavily decorated, this in keeping with early 1930s practices on the luxury end of the automobile spectrum.

Studebaker - 1933
Studebaker (which at the time owned Pierce-Arrow) presented a transitional front end, also typical of 1933. Decorative elements include the radiator cap "mascot," the crest on the grille V-divider and those curious, sad-looking oval headlamps.

Chrysler Airflow - 1934
Chrysler's radical, but ill-fated (sales-wise) Airflow used several Deco/Moderne elements. The front seats featured chromed tubing as frames. Above the radiator intake opening are extensions of the vertical grille-bars over the hood's sheet metal as a decorative element that are shown here. Also note the winged mascot coupled with the Chrysler blue ribbon symbol.

Hudson - 1936
Hudson came out with a completely new body for 1936 and for a reason I cannot fathom, Frank Spring's styling crew planted a bizarre grille design on it. "Fencer's mask" (noticeably convex) grilles were the rage across the industry that year, but they took the form of uniform bar or mesh patterns. Instead, Hudson opted for a central section featuring vertical bars that was flanked by areas of thick mesh created by perforating some sheet metal. Note the baroque curve along the top end of the grillework that transitions to the centerline of the hood. The oddest detail is that winged, aerodynamically-shaped amber-like plastic mascot. It resembles a winged cigar. Hudson used a different mascot for its 1937 cars for some strange reason.

Hispano-Suiza - 1937
Shown is one of the last of the famed Hispano-Suiza line of luxury cars built in France. Very conservative in terms of decoration, though the shapes of the hood, grille and headlamp-fender ensemble has a decorative cast. Pseudo-streamlining was the rage by the mid-30s, so we see teardrop-shaped front fenders and blended headlamp housings offsetting a hood-grille combination more appropriate for 1931.

Lagonda - 1939
lagonda was a British luxury automobile, and British styling at all price levels was conservative well beyond World War 2. The Lagonda grille-hood grouping is rounded as a bow to aerodynamics, as are the fenders. But the headlamps, fog lights and exterior-mounted horns make for an interesting older-fashion decorative counterpoint.

Plymouth - 1939
The 1939 Plymouth's front end is in line with American Streamlined Moderne styling of that year. Note that the headlamps are buried in the front fenders and the grille in in the process of transitioning from a vertical to a horizontal shape. The mascot is a streamlined version of the good ship Mayflower that deposited the Pilgrim Fathers and their families at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620; Plymouth used similar mascot designs for many years. The most decorative bits are the thin chromed strips that define the grille openings -- flutings, speed lines and similar touches being the height of fashion in those days.

Sufjan Stevens Musician

Christian music, New England Music, Boston arts
Sufjan "comes with sword" Stevens

I learned about Sufjan after doing publicity for a Rosie Thomas show at Cafe Bella a few years ago. Rosie held us gratefully captive in the chamber setting with her authenticity, tenderness, and exquisite music. She and Sufjan once were rumored to have married, but actually it seems they are good friends and colleagues. I describe Stevens as a "Peter Gabriel meets Jesus", or performance art meets dialogue with divinity. He and Rosie and a few others are going to be in New England in late December at Fete in Providence Friday, December 19 and  The Royale in Boston on December 20. Ticket prices are extremely reasonable. It will be a mix of mystical and comedy as "Sheila Saputo" will be stealing the stage, too. It's time she became a household word.

Mark Tobey: "Local" Boy Made Good

When I was a lad, Mark Tobey (1890-1976) was Seattle's claim to artistic fame. Tobey was born in Wisconsin and died in Switzerland, living only parts of his life in or near Seattle, as his Wikipedia entry indicates. He was associated with a school of Pacific Northwest painters that I wrote about here.

Tobey seems to hold a marginal place in standard histories of modernist painting despite the honors and showings of his work in major museums during his lifetime (see the Wikipedia link above for details). He isn't completely ignored, yet he isn't featured with the likes of de Kooning, Rothko, Kline or even Pollock whose famous "drip" paintings look similar to the careful calligraphic abstractions Tobey was creating a few years earlier.

Tobey's signature "white writing" style of abstract or almost-abstract painting gelled in the early 1940s and, so far as I can tell, he never really transcended it during the remaining 30 years of his career. Here are examples of his work.


Self-Portrait - 1953

Man with Closed Eyes - c.1925
These two portraits indicate that Tobey was perfectly capable of producing representational art.

Farmer's Market - 1941

From farmer's market series
In the 1930s and 40s when Tobey used what now is known as the Pike Place Market for subject matter. Seattle was hardly the sleek, world-class city it is today. The market back then was perched above a long row of working piers topped by warehouses and on its uphill side was First Avenue, in those days a street lined with taverns, pawn shops, girlie show theaters, third-run movie houses, flop houses and missions. Such grittiness seems to appeal to many artists, Tobey among them.

Image containing people - 1945

The New Day - c.1945
Tobey had been doing "white writing" for a few years, but still was willing to include more recognizable human figures and other colors in some of his works.

Meditative Series VIII - 1954
An example of the visually dense works he made as his preferred technique evolved a little.

Lovers of Light - 1961
This small "white writing" tempera measures 4.5 x 6.5 inches (11 x 16.5 cm).

Edwin Holgate's Apogee and Fall

Edwin Holgate (1892-1977), Wikipedia entry here, was part of Canada's legendary Group of Seven painters. But he wasn't one of the original Seven, having joined in 1930 during one of the membership turnovers.

Group of Seven artists had their similarities and differences. I posted on Frederick Varley here and Lawren Harris here, discussing their styles and subject preferences. Like Varley and Harris, Holgate painted landscapes (the one thing common to Group of Seven members), but otherwise went his own way, as did the others.

At his peak, Holgate painted strong images, particularly of people. I like them in general, though this source is less enthusiastic.

Many artists of his vintage, perhaps for career reasons, eventually compromised more than they should have (in my judgment) to modernism, and Holgate was no exception. Below are presented examples of his work over nearly 50 years of his career. Missing are images of his earliest paintings, so I'm not sure what he was doing while in his early 20s. At any rate, so far as I am concerned, he started strongly, but was losing his grip by the mid-1940s. For example, about 1946 he painted "Lady by the Window" a flabby, dabby work at odds with what he was doing ten or 20 years before. I couldn't find the image on the Web, but it's on page 102 of this book, if you are curious.


Near Amiens - c.1917
Holgate was a war artist during the Great War; I'm guessing as to the date this was painted.

Suzy - 1921
A strong image in the spirit of his later work. He seems to have attained his artistic maturity by age 30.

Evening, Baie-Saint-Paul - 1922
Though not yet a Group of Seven member, Holgate was painting in their landscape style and in the kind of setting favored by other Canadian artists.

Ludivine - 1930
Marie Hinde Huestis - 1930
Nude in Landscape - 1930
The three paintings above are credited as being completed in 1930. There are stylistic differences, the least typical being the portrait of Marie Heustis probably because Holgate was painting on commission rather than for himself. He painted a series of nudes about this time. The image shown at the bottom is perhaps the best of that lot. Nudes in landscape settings can be difficult to pull off due to matters of color. Holgate's painting is successful thanks to his treatment of values (light and dark); note that the shading around the woman's head is linked to the darker part of the background.

Stephen Leacock - 1943
Leacock was a popular essayist both in his native Canada and elsewhere.

Laurentian Cemetery - c.1948
An example of his post-World War 2 painting style. Like the Baie-Saint-Paul painting above, it is less crisp than his stronger works. Moreover, it strikes me as being too sketchy as well as too soft. Some people are fond of this style, but not me.

Ski Patroller - 1949
A portrait from the same period. Again, Holgate is showing comparative flabbiness in part due to a limited value range on the face and clothing.

Pastures Under Gabriel - 1952
Like the painting mentioned in the main text, I consider this a low point for Holgate; a weak piece of work.

The Pool - 1965
He redeems himself somewhat in this painting done in his early 70s.

Same Basics, Different Looks: Sonata and Optima

As I've probably noted before, automobile makers can reduce expenses by having different brands share important components such as motors and the basic body shell. This has been done in many places for many years. Sometimes the strategy has been effective and sometimes not. Certain British makes during the 1960s were noted for their "badge engineering" (differentiating brands through small changes in exterior trim) as did Chrysler's brands from the 1970s on. A low point was encapsulated in Fortune magazine's 22 August 1963 cover showing identically painted cars from four different General Motors brands positioned so that they looked essentially the same. Implicit was a contrast from the days when GM brands had distinctive appearances even when sharing major body components.

Avoiding this problem costs money in the form of having differently shaped sheet metal for different brands using the same underlying components. I could cite a number of good examples, but for this post I'll use the current Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima models. At first glance, they look entirely different. But statistics show they share the same basic dimensions -- wheelbase length, for example. And close inspection of the shapes of doorposts, cut lines and other body essentials confirms underlying commonality.

Let's take a look.

Sonata front 3/4 view
Optima front 3/4 view
Note the shape of the windshields (the black parts behind the glass, not the exterior metal shapes), and the shape and locations of the front and center roof pillars. Also look at the cut lines of the doors in relation to other features such as the front wheel well openings.

Sonata rear 3/4 view
Optima rear 3/4 view
These views offer a different perspective regarding the same features just mentioned, especially the cut lines and pillars.

Which car's styling do I like better? I find the Sonata more dramatic, but the sweeping side creases seem a little awkward as they wrap around the rear of the car. I marginally prefer the Optima. In particular, I like the way Peter Schreyer's "Tiger Nose" grille shape is echoed along the top of the windshield.

"Si tiene que salir, que salga cortando,,,"

Aberrante, la remodelación de “La Tallera”: Híjar

"La Tallera" de Siqueiros
"La Tallera" de Siqueiros
Para crear un centro cultural en lo que fue La Tallera, a decir del crítico e investigador de artes plásticas Alberto Híjar y especialista en la obra de David Alfaro Siqueiros, se alteró sustancialmente la casa donde este artista vivió en Cuernavaca, pero sobre todo el concepto de “taller industrial”, pionero dentro del muralismo. Híjar va más allá, hasta la denuncia: todo va orientado hacia el mercantilismo, despojaron a La Tallera de todo sentido político e histórico al constituirla “en un destino turístico-cultural notable”, como dijo Felipe Calderón durante la apertura.
MÉXICO, D.F. (Proceso).- Abandonada durante 26 años la casa-estudio La Tallera, donde David Alfaro Siqueiros inició la creación de su gran mural La Marcha de la Humanidad y del Polyforum, reabrió sus puertas a finales de septiembre pasado luego de un proceso de remodelación en el cual el Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) invirtió 46 millones de pesos.
Pero a decir del crítico e historiador de arte Alberto Híjar, especialista en la obra del pintor e incluso considerado su heredero teórico, se cometieron arbitrariedades y daños en el edificio que si bien no cuenta con la declaratoria de monumento nacional, debió respetarse en su arquitectura y su concepto de taller industrial, el primero en su tipo para el muralismo.
El espacio creado por Siqueiros en 1965 en Cuernavaca, Morelos, funcionará ahora como un centro cultural y educativo en el cual se albergarán el archivo y biblioteca del muralista. Además será residencia para artistas, críticos y curadores nacionales y extranjeros, quienes en retribución con los morelenses impartirán talleres, conferencias, charlas y asesorías, según informó la curadora Mónica Montes durante la reapertura del recinto.
So pretexto de estas residencias, se alteró sin necesidad la casa donde habitó y murió Siqueiros, lamenta Híjar, investigador del Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información de Artes Plásticas (Cenidiap) del INBA. Dice que hay jardín de sobra donde pudieron construir lo que quisieran; había una pequeña palapa en la cual el pintor recibía a sus visitas –que ya no existe– y podría haber funcionado como un café o cualquier cosa; se alteró la fachada y no se sabe qué sucedió con los muebles y el equipamiento que atesoró Angélica Arenal, esposa de Siqueiros, en sus viajes. Todo ello es arbitrario:
“La casa fue inaugurada por el entonces director de Bellas Artes, Javier Barros Valero, de modo que aunque no tuviera declaración de patrimonio, son excesos. La arquitectura de La Tallera es espectacular y se modificó la fachada de gratis. Le quitaron la torre donde Manuel Suárez (dueño original del Polyforum) ponía a los visitantes para que no interrumpieran el trabajo, a petición de Siqueiros. Tiraron ese mirador también de gratis.”
Además “se perdió el sentido de taller industrial porque pusieron un puente, un pasadizo en la nave, construido con madera y con un barandal hecho con palos que más bien da la idea de artesanía mal hecha, está bonito pero no tiene nada que ver con la idea de orden fabril que Siqueiros quiso y logró en La Tallera”.
Le gusta cómo quedó la plaza que es una especie de teatro al aire libre y la presentación en power point de la investigadora Irene Herner. En su ensayo Siqueiros disputado, enviado a esta redacción, describe también:
“La nueva entrada es espectacular con los dos proyectos murales colocados a los lados de la gran puerta que da paso a un vestíbulo, desde donde se advierte un nivel bajo gracias al predominio del cristal y el aluminio, a diferencia del interior de la gran nave con sus poleas y rieles en el techo para delizar los rectángulos y rombos de asbesto.”
Y si bien no le parece mal lo expuesto, deplora las cédulas que “padecen de gringocentrismo formalista”. Explica en su texto que en ningún lugar se aclara que Siqueiros llamó en femenino a su taller por ser “más demandante que una mujer celosa”. Más aún, como verdaderamente “alucinante” califica que en la cédula de entrada se invente el término “muralismo mestizo mexicano” cuando Siqueiros nada tuvo qué ver con las clasificaciones estilísticas:
“Eso es un recurso para los historiadores del arte formalistas y para los artistas dependientes del mercado, preocupados por mantener una misma forma para hacerla rentable. Siqueiros fue todo lo contrario a esto.”
En su opinión se pudieron haber utilizado frases del propio creador, quien desconfiado de los críticos e historiadores editó la Revista Arte Público dedicada al Polyforum, así como su propia voz describiendo La Marcha de la Humanidad, que puede escucharse en dicho espacio. Lo que hay son “cédulas que reducen todo a pura experimentación formal y algo escándaloso.En la conclusión de la cédula de entrada se dice que la influencia principal es de Walt Disney y del cine de Hollywood”.
–¿Así lo dice?
–Textualmente, te lo juro. Está bien que a Siqueiros sí lo impresionó el desarrollo industrial norteamericano y la publicidad, en su célebre texto de la pintura dialéctico-subersiva de 1932 dice que hasta los andamios hacen arte refiriéndose al dolly de los fotógrafos de cine y de los directores que trepan en este andamio móvil y claro para el muralismo y sobre todo al exterior es excelente. Pero nada tiene que ver con que haya sido influido de manera determinante y menos por Walt Disney, aunque pinte figuras con movimiento.
“De modo que ese espacio espectacular logrado parece deformar la figura histórica de Siqueiros y su propia posición estética más que puramente artística. Todo esto vuelve muy sospechosa la reapertura de La Tallera, porque no hay catálogo.”

Atractivo turístico

Lo que sí hay, denuncia en su escrito, es el folleto Guía de Restaurantes, Spa’s y jardines para eventos y más de Morelos, de octubre-noviembre, en cuya portada se reproduce un fragmento de figuras geométricas y la leyenda: “La Tallera de Siqueiros, espacio de arte y creatividad”, y donde la creación del pintor “es presentada como atracción turística”. En las páginas interiores, todas de publicidad para hoteles y lugares recreativos, se dedica un par al centro cultural.
En La Tallera tampoco hay lugar para “las frases-consigna características de la lucha ideológica impulsada por el pintor comunista, insatisfecho de la crítica de arte y las políticas culturales del Estado mexicano, al que exigió cumplirle a la Revolución de 1910 con publicaciones combativas constantes. Nada se exhibe de los trabajos políticos de Siqueiros más que la mención incidental a sus prisiones”, agrega el historiador en su texto.
Ello, sumado a la pretensión de darle a la antigua casa-estudio una orientación hacia el mercantilismo y la relación turismo-cultura (expresada también en el discurso inaugural del ejecutivo, Felipe Calderón, quien destacó que La Tallera “constituye un destino turístico-cultural notable”) le parece al crítico “una derrota político-cultural”, pues si bien Siqueiros tuvo “una posición más positivista que marxista de la historia y todo iba ‘arriba y adelante’ como decía su amigo Luis Echeverría, sí lo despojaron de todo sentido político e histórico”.
Y el peligro, alerta, es que el lugar se convierta en lo mismo que la Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, y argumentando que se impulsa el arte experimental “acabe siendo sede de becarios llegados de quién sabe dónde, patrocinados por Jumex o alguna aberración semejante para hacer instalaciones dizque conceptuales que no son sino juguetes que necesitan una cédula extensa para explicarse, porque nadie les encuentra el menor sentido”.
Una de las críticas constantes a los museos del INBA es que han ido sacrificando sus perfiles originales para apoyar este tipo de arte, se le dice:
“Efectivamente, como el MUAC (Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo) en la universidad. Nos han ido despojando no sólo de las figuras históricas sino de los espacios y dándole cuerda a este posmodernismo chafa espantoso. Nos vamos quedando sin espacios públicos, salvo los que vamos construyendo en las luchas populares.”
–¿Le sorprende que, como con el Palacio de Bellas Artes, el propio INBA haga ese tipo de remodelaciones, distorsionando el sentido y el concepto que Siqueiros quiso dar al inmueble?
–Por eso considero que estamos derrotados, pues no es sólo el INBA, son los gobiernos de todos lados a los que les vale madres esta socialización del espacio público. Ahora todo está señalizado por los mamotretos de Sebastián o cosas semejantes. De modo que estamos sufriendo una derrota histórica que va junto con otra derrota histórica: ese clasismo brutal que nos están aplicando ahora mismo que están recibiendo en la presidencia la reforma laboral para ser publicada. Entonces es la clase poderosa, la burguesía que va para delante y nosotros para atrás, perdiendo todo lo construido a lo largo de nuestra historia.
–Argumentarán algunos funcionarios que México necesita de esa vinculación entre la cultura y el turismo para atraer recursos y salir adelante.
–¡Claro! Es la posición del Estado brutalmente clasista, ¿no? Convirtamos a México en una gran escenografía, esto fue desde el gobierno de Salinas con aquella exposición de México: Esplendores de Treinta Siglos que fue inaugurada, casualmente, en ‘Niu York’ con esa posición: a la fregada los nacionalismos cualquiera que estos sean, entramos de lleno a la globalización, vivan las inversiones extranjeras y el desarrollo que ellos llaman sustentable, pero sustentable en la explotación.
Al final, dice, los ciudadanos no sólo no se benefician de esa relación, sino todo lo contrario, pues se ha ido destruyendo la historia nacional. Y en cuanto al arte, enfatiza que ya hay lugares “para que se diviertan los conceptualistas chafas” como el Ex-Teresa Arte Actual o el Laboratorio Arte Alameda, y se prevé que la emrpesa Jumex construya su museo:
“Entonces, ¡que no frieguen! En todo caso habría lugar para todos, pero que no oculten, que no deformen la memoria Siqueiros. El Anahuacalli de Rivera está en absoluto abandono, sacaron las colecciones de Diego. Como que no es justo, ¿no?”

Frederick Bosley, Nearly-Unknown Bostonian

Frederick Andrew Bosley apparently was an artist of at least some consequence in Boston during the early decades of the 20th century. Today he is so little-known that only a few images of his paintings can be found on the Internet. Moreover, biographical information is so skimpy that I can't be certain when he was born or died; birth years are either 1881 or 1884 and he died either in 1941 or 1942, depending on what source one uses, though the majority have it as 1941.

Biographical information can be found here and here. From these I offer the following:

Bosley was a star pupil at Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts, graduating in 1906. He won the Sears Prize in 1904 and the Paige Traveling Fellowship in 1907. Following two years in Europe he returned to Boston, married, and taught painting at the Abbott Academy and the Groton School. He was charter member of the Guild of Boston Painters. In 1915 he won a medal at San Francisco's Pan-Pacific Exposition. In 1912 he replaced Edmund Tarbell at the Museum School, resigning in 1931 when the school introduced modern art into its program. That same year he became an Associate National Academician.

Here are most of the images of his work that I could find on the Web.


Reverie - 1913

Looking at Prints

The Letter - 1919

Peggy Reading to Elizabeth

Catherine Whyte (neé Robb)

Miss Peggy Bush in the Blue Mandarin Coat - 1927

Turkey Alternative

If you are feeling tired of the same old Thanksgiving turkey celebration, why not start now working on a turkey hat? There's still time to put one of these very cool headdresses together. Do you know what New England art museum has this in their collection? 

Thanksgiving, Yale art museum, mardi gras hat
Mardi Gras Turkey 

Seeing this type of papier-mache sculpture never fails to spark a desire in me to unleash a torrent of giddy color, shape and flash in three dimensions. There's something about hand-crafted sculpture for me, and I'm still trying to define what it is.

Paper mache, new england art museum
Pilgrim's Hat

Maybe you have seen a hat someplace that can inspire us all. If so, please post your pictures here!

What's a Crack Addict To Do?

Answer: Hit the concrete floor in Federal prison and say,"I don't want this life anymore!" Sheila Raye Charles visited Massachusetts this week and spoke and sang on invitation to school groups, recovery groups, and anyone who called her agent. I think she stopped in at the Hard Rock Boston, too.

Christian Recovery, Crack, prostitution, prison
Kirsten Borror & Sheila Raye Charles

Tonight she shared her story with conviction, humor and humility to a large crowd gathered at Celebrate Recovery, North River Community Church, Pembroke MA. The theme was "doing me" as she described the glory of being fawned over as Ray Charles' daughter and the horror of  having every one of her five children taken away from her as she tried to stuff her pain in a crack pipe and smoke it. The guts she has to share where she's been comes from a deep well of Almighty love, grace and forgiveness.

It's never too late, no, not ever too late for anyone. She stayed after meeting one on one with anyone who wanted to be consoled, loved and prayed over. Did I mention that she can "Mmm mmm" sing? Her contact info is at the end of the documentary. She's also on Facebook, and encourages you to get in touch. Amen! and Alleluia!

J.C. Leyendecker's Lighting from Below

J.C. (Joseph Christian, "Joe") Leyendecker (1874-1951) was one of the most famous American illustrators during the first four decades of the 20th century. The most important general-interest magazine in those days was the Saturday Evening Post, and Leyendecker's count of cover illustrations for it was in the same ballpark as that for Norman Rockwell, the top illustrator 1920-1960.

Leyendecker's Wikipedia entry is here, another biographical entry is
here and a site with more examples of his work is here.

Leyendecker had a distinctive style featuring crisp delineation of shapes along with hatching and cross-hatching on his subject's surfaces. This made attempts at imitation too obvious for rival illustrators to try, reinforcing his distinctiveness. Moreover, Leyendecker stuck close to his signature style for most of his career, unlike Dean Cornwell, Mead Schaeffer and other prominent illustrators who modified their styles as illustration fashions and demands of art directors shifted over time.

The Leyendecker dazzle distracted my attention from a tactic that he occasionally made use of. Thumbing through a collection of Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations recently, it suddenly struck me that he was using a light source positioned below the level of his subject's heads in some of his work. The effect of such a light source is nothing unusual for illustrating evil villains and other pulp fiction dramatic scenes. But Leyendecker was using it for elegant subjects.

Consider: a low light source can cast the shadow of a lovely woman's nose upward over the region of one of her beautiful eyes. Painting this effect while maintaining the attractiveness of the subject can be tricky to pull off, yet Leyendecker managed it.

Here are examples of his work that incorporate this form of lighting.


Saturday Evening Post cover - 3 December, 1904

Saturday Evening Post cover - 25 December, 1926

Illustration for Arrow shirt advertisement - 1932

Arrow Shirt advertisement - 1930

Illustration for Arrow collar advertisement - 1920s

God, Art and People

Kirsten Borror, Christian art ministry
Bill Whitehill, Yours Truly, Rosa Whitehill

At church about a month ago, Rosa Whitehill invited me to be part of the Art in Heaven art workshop at Union Congregational Church in Taunton, MA. The timing was right for me to see this husband and wife team doing their ministry. Both Bill and Rosa have studied art and are professionals in fashion design, graphic design and illustration. They are intensely talented as artists and as nurturing spirits to other creatives, which I saw displayed on Saturday as they prayed, shared life stories, taught us how to felt, and opened our minds to European textile history and the gospel message woven in it. 

Rosa Whitehill, Bill Whitehill, Art in Community
Felting Project 

Bill is North River Community Church's resident sermon artist who will call up Pastor Paul Atwater on Saturday night asking what the sermon topic is for Sunday. Bill will then create a simple painting on a long rolled out piece of tar paper, which he installs near the church pulpit sometime in the night.

Come to see it on any given Sunday at 9 or 11 am.

New England Christian arts
Art Supply costs covered by donations

They offer a variety of art projects including but not limited to painting, drawing, portraits, candle making, sculpture, mosaic, techniques of the Renaissance and more. You can get more details on their website. If your church or organization is interested in hosting them please get in touch with them!

Admiring creations by adults and children

The host church prepared the room, lunch and handled the publicity. The Whitehills brought the supplies, the art history power point, and music.

Christian art ministry, Felting
Local Church as Home for Creativity

Rosa is a talented fashion designer, and storyteller who is uninhibited in front of a crowd. (She also runs a Spanish language Bible study for Latinas on the South Shore of Massachusetts.) I am particularly fond of "True Beauty" a fashion design and self-awareness program for grades 6-12 that explores principles of fashion design as well as media messages about women. What a timely course for this age.