The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Flickr's Jacob Schere's "Trio Potted Garden with Drying Baskets"

"Potted Plants and Drying Baskets"

Not seen one of these in quite a time!
Once again, turns my mind to rhyme.
What is square, with what is round,
Plus rectangles, me does astound!
Colors all of the sky and earth,
All so palpable, of reality no dearth.

-- JW, for my good friend Jacob Schere, April 30th., 2012.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sacred Space for Easter Worship, 2012 : Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Warrenville, Illinois, USA

A friend asks: "But why the butterfly?" It's a fitting question and merits a full response, since this explains the Christian Easter liturgy:

Because a caterpillar, that creeps on the ground, goes into a chrysalis (dies as a caterpillar), and then reemerges as a butterfly, which flies in the sky. This has long been taken, in Christian tradition, as an image of the account of Christ, as recorded in the New Testament, and summarized in all the early Christian creeds, that are still recited by Christians universally, to this day, that "Christ was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell, and, on the third day, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven." (The Old Testament account of Jonah, swallowed by a whale, and spewed out, alive, on dry ground, three days later, is seen as a pre-figuring of the same process of death, descent into hell, and resurrection. This is why Jesus said to those who sought signs to prove that he was whom he claimed to be, said that no other sign would be given, than the sign of Jonah).

Now, as St. Paul writes, in one of his letters to the Churches, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then the hope of all Christians is in vain, and Christians, of all people, are most to be pitied, for the foundation of their hope is in vain, and they remain undelivered from both their sin, and from the lasting power of death. Paul's reasoning being that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then he was not who He said he was, the Son of God, but rather an impostor, and so rightly put to death, never to rise again.

Thus his death by crucifixion would not serve as a once-and-for-all-time sufficient sacrifice for sin, which would only be a sufficient sacrifice if he were God Incarnate in the flesh, and there would be no assurance that this sacrifice was acceptable to God, unless God Himself raised Christ from the dead, and then raised Him to glory, to sit at His right hand, as Christian Scripture proclaims, God the Father then also sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in the heart of all of humanity who believed in the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Therein lies the core of all Christian faith.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flickr's Canis Major's "Tree at Plas Glensevin," 2012


Tree at Plas Glensevin, originally uploaded by Canis Major.

Seen side-by-side in Flickr's Canis Major's always interesting photostream, from England, these two tree images - the other being as previously posted on my blog, provide endless fodder for the imagination, the contrasts of life span and experience being so great.

Flickr's Canis Major's "The Way We Were," 2012


The Way We Were, originally uploaded by Canis Major.

Trees Without Branches: Forced Farming of Trees - The Vegetable Equivalent of Pigs, Cows, or Chickens

Excellent juxtaposition, and moving title. I am also struck, though, that even when living, these trees were being forced to live like crowded pigs, cattle, chickens - you name it - on a factory farm. Poor little trees, never allowed to experience the joy of having branches, which surely is part of being a tree, for a tree's life and flourishing, and so little light that it was a race to the top - ever upward, ever upward, not knowing that the fastest growers would be the first to succumb to the executioners axe.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Flickr's Simon K's "Resurrection,'" Easter 2012


Resurrection, originally uploaded by Simon_K.

"Innocence Can Be Bliss"

Does the robin know on what s/he rests?
Has the robin tasted winter but once?
Has the robin yet faced the hard task
Of raising a family, and all that asks?

--JW, for Simon K, wishing you a blessed Easter, 2012!



This work, and Simon K's title for it, reminds me of an experience from years ago, when we were all in our twenties. I was at the bedside of the dying mother of a close friend, and she said to her two gathered children, and me, do not cry at my funeral, for I shall now be free, and singing like a bird. The funeral was on a dreary, wet, grey, November day, in England, and as we stood by the graveside, reciting the prayer of committal, the sun broke momentarily through the clouds, and a bird started singing and singing in the nearby yew tree. All three of us looked at each other, and as the hair tingled on our spines, a smile crossed all our faces.

Simon K's tender photograph brings all this to sweet remembrance. She was a lovely Christian lady, whose parents had been medical missionaries in China, at the turn of the last century. It is fitting to think of her again at Easter time.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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