Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Fine Art Tuesday


Still life with Vegetables and Fish

Fanny Churberg born 1845 in Finland. Died 1892 in Finland. Churberg's painting career ended suddenly in 1880 at the age of 35 for reasons much speculated about. She had produced approximately 300 paintings in that time.

Unlike many painters who moved to France or Italy, Churberg painted scenes of Finland  after training in Germany and France.

What attracted me to this artist is the fact that she is Finnish. Michigan's Upper Peninsula attracted many Finish immigrants. Some attribute it to the fact that the iron and copper mines were hiring when Finnish immigrants were leaving Finland. Others claim that the Upper Peninsula reminded them of home.

The truth is probably somewhere between the two reasons. Few immigrants "shopped" for where they settled. More likely, the Finns ended up in the Upper Peninsula because long winters and extreme, rural isolation were not as terrifying to the Finns as it was to immigrants from the Mediterranean and from big cities. 

With respect to the landscape? I think Coyote Ken will attest that many of these landscapes look like Ontonagon County with their glacier-polished boulders.

The garden plots on the other side of the water seems impossibly "black" to people living in the southern United States. Northern local means cold climate. Cold climate equates to cold soil. Cold soil is less biologically active and organic material accumulates. Highly organic soils are black, hold much water and are usually fertil.e The garden plots appear to be approximately 3000-to-5000 square feet each.

A final reason I like Churberg's paintings is because they provide a road-map should Grand Solar Minimum be a future reality.

Churberg did not paint oranges and pears and figs and 3 pound clusters of grapes. She planted what grew in Finland. Forage crops and livestock. Cabbages and kin. Potatoes and onions. Fish.

It worked then. It would work again.

Note from the management: I was thrilled by the response I got from the gardeners in last week's Fine Art Tuesday. Please chime in again, especially those of you in Canada, Alaska and other challenging places to grow food.

Also, I appreciate suggestions for artists to look at. Today's artist was suggested by Lucas Machias in Nova Scotia. Thank-you Lucas.

---Video of Finland landscape suggested by Coyote Ken---


  1. Yes, I so attest. In Ontonagon County and all of the way up the Keweenaw Peninsula and across northern Baraga and western Marquette Counties where the glaciers dug up Lake Superior and scraped the surface of the hard igneous rock bare leaving the Porcupine and Huron Mountains and the high ground of the Keweenaw. On many high places you can see the gouges in the rock from the glaciers even now. I have never been to Finland but have many friends who have, and still have close family there, and they all say that you could get dropped off most places there or here and not be able to tell the difference. ---ken

  2. Another reason for the really black earth might be the extensive use of cow manure for fertilizer. Even today, the farmers in Germany live much like they lived hundreds of years ago where the stable for their animals was/is under the main house and the manure is cleaned out everyday and deposited in huge piles in their fields outside of town. I was stationed in Germany in the late 70's and the farmers still walked their livestock to the fields and back every day. I imagine it was the same in Finland.


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