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Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This week, my focus is on two artists born on the same day, December 2nd, but 84 years apart. Georges Seurat was born in 1859 and William Wegman in 1943. Aside from their birth dates and chosen professions, they have little in common, as you will learn below.

But if you share a birthday with someone famous or infamous it can be interesting to compare personalities. For example, if you were born on December 25 and have always lamented being short-changed by presents doing double-duty, forgetting the fact that practically the whole world is joyously lit up for your day, consider others who share (or have shared) your fate: Clara Barton, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Buffet, Cab Calloway, Conrad Hilton, Annie Lennox, Anwar Sadat, and Justin Trudeau to name just a few.

I hope you find these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com) And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

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The Quirky Quote
My Weimaraners are perfect fashion models. Their elegant, slinky forms are covered in gray – and gray, everyone knows, goes with anything. ~ William Wegman

The Quirky Facts
Georges Seurat made extensive use of complementary colors in his paintings, believing that he could use color to create harmony and emotion in art in the same way that a musician uses counterpoint and variation to create harmony in music. He took two years to complete his most famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” which now hangs at the Art Institute in Chicago. The painting is roughly 7 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Reduced to this size, the pointillism is not obvious.

But at right is a detail of another of his paintings found here. And just to prove he didn’t always use this painstaking technique, at left is a self-portrait.

You can learn more about his tragically short life here.

According to his official website, William Wegman is a highly trained artist who has exhibited his work and had retrospective shows in many museums in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. It was while he was living and teaching in Long Beach in 1971 that he acquired his first-to-be-famous dog, a Weimaraner whom he named Man Ray. In addition to his whimsical photography and the books that were inspired by it, he has created many other drawings, paintings (sample here), and videos. He now lives in New York and Maine where he continues those pursuits including making videos and taking “photographs with his dogs Flo and Topper.”

The Quirky Observations
I do not share William Wegman’s love for his Weimaraner dogs, many generations and siblings of which have appeared in his photography, but I do love his quirky sense of humor and humility about them. “As soon as I got funny, I killed any majestic intentions in my work,” he says, which is a great counterpoint to arrogance.

The more serious Georges Seurat was strongly influenced by science writers who had studied the effects of light and color and showed that two colors slightly overlapping or very close together had the effect of creating a third color when seen from a distance. For example, closely placed red and blue dots appear purple as you step back.

Few artists at the time or since then have had Seurat’s patience with the tiny dots of pointillism, but all mosaics for thousands of years have traded on the effect of colors placed near one another. In another variation, Australian Aboriginal art has always used dots and circles. (Pictured: A detail from “Dreamtime Sisters” by Aboriginal artist Colleen Wallace Nungari) And Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has built her whole career on the delight of polka dots. Dots make a point in many ways.










The Featured Product
I could have chosen a word game about dots, circles, or points for this week’s quiz in order to promote my slide show “Fun with Dots and Lines” that highlights Georges Seurat and does include such word games, but chose instead to go with a quiz on famous dogs, excerpted from my slide show “Pondering Pets” as a fun twist. I hope you’ll click on the links to learn more about both. Each contains many exercises, and you will be surprised by how widely I have pondered pets, and the lengths to which I have taken the topic of dots and lines.

The Questions
1) Do you know what famous people were born on the same day you were? Do you have anything in common with them? Is there any famous person that you wish shared your birthday? Who and why?

2) Do you have a preference for either the art of Georges Seurat or William Wegman? If neither, whose art do you like?

3) Can you imagine having the patience of Seurat to put dots on a painting for two years? Is there anything you have great patience for?

4) Are you a dog lover? Are there any breeds you are partial toward? William Wegman likes Weimaraners for their deadpan look no matter what is happening (or how they are dressed). Do you find that funny, too?
 
The Quiz - Famous TV and Movie Dogs
This quiz has been excerpted from the slide show “Pondering Pets” as noted above. Use the hints at the bottom, if needed. Answers are at the end of the document.

1.  This Sherlock Holmes tale featured a character with a tail. It was called “The Hound of the ________.” 

2.  One of the most famous movie dogs of all time was Judy Garland’s in “The Wizard of Oz.” Its name was _______.
 
3.  In the 1950s, a popular TV show featured a collie dog with a female name (always played by a male dog) living through most of the long-running series in a small farm community. The dog’s name was _______.
 
4.  This 1955 Disney animated film was named after two dogs, the first of whom was named ________. Her most famous “love scene” features a shared strand of spaghetti.
 
5.  If you or your children grew up watching “The Brady Bunch” you might remember that in the first season they had a dog with the inappropriate name of _________.

6.  It should be no surprise that Doc Brown, the brilliant, eccentric scientist of the “Back to the Future” movies had a dog named ___________.
 
7.  Reese Witherspoon’s character in the “Legally Blonde” movies has a tiny dog named __________.
 
8.  This 2008 movie, “__________ and Me,” grew out of a book by John Grogan about a puppy that became a 100-pound dog without every outgrowing its puppy energy or impulsiveness.

Choices:  
Baskervilles       Bruiser      Einstein      Lady
Lassie             Marley        Tiger          Toto

The Shameless Request
If you enjoy my weekly eblasts, please share them, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, send me a note at Kathy@WiserNow.com.

The Resources
There’s so much more to learn about these artists. Click on the links. Answer to the Quiz
1. Baskervilles
2. Toto
3. Lassie
4. Lady
5. Tiger
6. Einstein
7. Bruiser
8. Marley
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com)
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