Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Fine Art Tuesday (Guest commentary)

 

Harvest Time 1875

James Docharty born 1829 in Vale of Leven, Scotland. Died in Glasgow in 1876.

Over the Loch to the Hills

One thing that sticks with me about heaths is that they are essentially degraded habitats. English cultural dominance has varnished over that by giving them more due than they deserve. Docharty added to that. 

Nice paintings, though. There are many similar works and artists. I frequently see grouse hunting scenes on the heaths and moors by contemporary artists. I am into sporting art, a narrow genre, and art follows money. Heaths and grouse are a weird subculture for the upper classes. Fawning wannabes from the U.S. are a large part of what props it up. The heather has to be cropped to keep succession at bay.

Blueberry barrens/fields here are the same. They are biological deserts and usually do not reflect original conditions. (Except on exposed bluffs that were subject to frequent lightning strikes) We are all victims of shifting baselines. What we are born into we think is normal. This province (Nova Scotia) was burnt to the ground by settlers many times. Vast areas have no or little soil carbon which has produced more poorer land. Acid rain, and other abuse, has added to it.

When I was younger l heard the term heathen a lot. It was a pejorative that confused me until l found that it referenced the uncouth, irreligious, and poor from heath lands. How far back it dates would be interesting to know. Maybe, it goes back to the pagan fears in the middle ages. Cultures and empires have long half lives.

A tip of the hat to Lucas Machias of Nova Scotia who graciously supplied the commentary.

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