Late Winter

Late Winter
12×16 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson
Available, Price Includes Frame and Shipping to Continental US – Click for More 

Winter’s not over yet here in the high desert of New Mexico.  This evening, the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for most of the northern part of the state.  But it looks to be not much and, here, possibly mostly rain.  We sure need precipitation in some form.

This past week, though, you’d hardly know winter was still around.  We saw warm days, plenty of sunshine, and the return of flocks of songbirds.   I even saw a heron down at the lake.

The lake, and its surrounding layer-cake cliffs, continue to draw me.  I can’t seem to get enough of this particular view.  An earthen dam provides a good place to stand.  From its height, I can look across the marshy area to the water and cliffs beyond.

When I painted this piece, the honeybees came out.  Several landed — briefly — in my palette, before taking off to seek more sensible food sources.

A few cottonwoods and elms are starting to thicken at the tips, and it won’t be long before we start seeing green.  A little bit of winter this weekend won’t bother them.—
Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

Getting the Color Right: Can You?

How would you paint this?

To start with, you would need a moment to analyze what’s going on with the color.  Both the red and green look intense—and especially so, considering they are two complements juxtaposed.  It’s hard to look at this jarring image without getting a headache.

But is each color really as intense as it seems?  I’ve pulled samples of each color and put them against a white background.  Apart, they seem a little more neutral.

Most of my readers are already familiar with the idea of simultaneous contrast.  (If you aren’t, check out this article:  Adjacent colors affect each other, and in the case of complements, the contrast can be quite striking.

Now, let’s imagine you’re out in the field, painting a scene that has red rocks and green bushes among those red rocks.  (This is exactly what we paint in Sedona in my Paint The Southwest workshops there.)  Can you paint the scene as you see it?

Maybe, maybe not.  You lay in the color of the red rocks.  Next, you lay in the green of the bushes.  But something’s not quite right…the green looks a little too intense.  Yet you’re pretty sure you painted the green bushes as you saw them.  Hm.  The red looks too intense, too.  You were sure you had it right.

What went wrong?  You were looking at the scene overall, and it was a puzzle of little red shapes and little green shapes.  The reds affected the way you saw the greens; and vice versa.  You saw both reds and greens–when looked at individually and surrounded by their complements–as being more intense than they actually are.

This is where a “color isolator” comes in handy.  The View Catcher, which I described in an earlier post, has one.  Just as I used Photoshop to sample the colors in my illustration and to isolate them, you can do the same with the View Catcher.  This will help you see the true color.  Next, you will find a “color checker” handy.  After mixing your paint, you can put a dab of the mixture on your color checker, hold it against the part of the scene you are trying to paint, and compare the color.  The blade of your painting knife makes a good color checker, if you can hold it without getting a glare on the shiny blade.

This is all well and good, but in my mind, it’s unnecessary work.  It’s good training for you if you are having trouble discerning color relationships (keeping in mind that color is actually a composite of value, temperature, chroma and hue), but it’s good to get past it.   You can teach yourself to look at the overall scene and to make your “best guess” at these relationships.  In your initial block-in, get the value right, get the color close—and then spend the next stage of the painting adjusting the colors until they look like what you see.  It’s a more relaxing way—and a speedier way to paint—than picking out little color spots and trying to mix them exactly.  With practice, you get better at the “best guess” method.—
Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

zondag van het heilig Kruis

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9,1 Hij sprak tot hen: “Voorwaar, Ik zeg u: onder de hier aanwezigen zijn er die de dood zullen ervaren, voordat zij zien dat het Rijk Gods is gekomen in kracht.”


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3e zondag van de Grote Vasten




Boisil heilige





Zijn opdracht was het onderricht van de broeders en hij sprak hun veel over de Goddelijke Personen van de heilige Drie-eenheid. De godsliefde die uit heel zijn wezen sprak, ontroerde vaak zijn toehoorders, die met vochtige ogen naar hem luisterden. En hij zei hun telkens weer hoe dankbaar we God moeten zijn dat Hij ons geroepen heeft om op deze wijze Hem te mogen dienen. Dat we daarom afstand moeten doen van alle gedachten en daden van eigenliefde die telkens weer in ons naar boven komen; dat we de band met God in stand moeten houden door onophoudelijk te bidden; en dat we alle krachten moeten inspannen om de reinheid van hart te verkrijgen die God mag zien.
Hij beperkte zich niet tot het onderrichten van zijn broeders, maar ging ook prediken in de omliggende dorpen en hij voerde vele gesprekken met de armen die hij hielp. Een bijzondere voorliefde had hij voor het Evangelie volgens de heilige Johannes, omdat daarin zulk een warme liefde tot Christus wordt getoond. Hij voorzegde de grote pestepidemie van 664. Toen Cuthbert, zijn leerling, daardoor werd aangetast maar weer herstelde, zei hij dat deze nog maar zeven dagen met hem zou kunnen spreken. En toen die vroeg wat hij nog zou kunnen leren in zo weinig tijd, antwoordde Boisil dat ze samen het Johannes-evangelie zouden lezen en erover nadenken: dat was genoeg.
De zevende dag bleek Boisil zwaar door de pest te zijn aangetast, en iedere dag dat zijn dood naderbij kwam, was hij zichtbaar meer verheugd. Maar hij kon niet meer dan telkens de woorden van de gestenigde Stefanos herhalen: ‘Heer Jezus, ontvang mijn geest’. Zo bereikte hij in datzelfde pestjaar zijn schone voleinding.

heiligenlevens voor elke dag, orth.klooster Den Haag

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Two Approaches to Plein Air Painting

Towering Cottonwood
12×9 Oil on paper by Michael Chesley Johnson
Available Here
In this study, I was trying to observe the scene carefully.  There’s not much
detail in it, as I was focusing more on shapes of value and color.  Is it art?

What’s your goal when you go out to paint?  Do you try to paint things just as you see them, or do you exercise your artistic license, rearranging the scene and pushing the color?

There are two ways to paint en plein air—either you paint things as they are, or you don’t.  The first is great for honing your observational skills, and the second, for refining your experience or the expression of that experience.  Some might say the first is nothing more than an exercise; the second, a way of creating authentic art.

I would contend that both ways can create art.

One of the goals in my plein air painting workshops is to help students see the world accurately.  Many of them have spent a lifetime working from photos, but they lack the valuable skill of observing from life.  We spend our time examining the color relationships of light and shadow; we ask how do value, temperature, chroma and hue differ?  Periodically, I go through these exercises myself.  There’s nothing more satisfying than spending a couple of hours observing and then translating, as accurately as possible, into paint or pastel what I see before me.  It’s almost like a meditation.

But sometimes, I might call the result of these exercises “art.”

To start with, let’s agree that a work of art is unique.  The uniqueness comes from the fact that we are all individuals.  My color vision and visual acuity differ from yours.  I am slightly red-green color-blind and very myopic, the latter of which is corrected with progressive lenses.  I would even say that my brain interprets differently what my eyes register, thanks to genetic, environmental and cultural factors.  Also, I have a bias as to what interests me.  Whereas I am fascinated by dominant dark patterns, you may focus instead on texture.  Finally, I’m right-handed and may hold the brush a certain way.  Were we to set up side-by-side, our paintings would be very different.

All these things together might achieve nothing more than a well-observed exercise—but they do not yet constitute art.  They will, of course, contribute to a unique style, yet style is not art.

But more can happen.

An artist can become such a finely-tuned instrument that the mere act of observing the world and then translating it into paint can make art.  This is not a conscious effort but an automatic one.  When an observation takes an instant, immediately followed by the mixing and application of paint, there is no time for thinking about how to make art.  But the mature artist has already thought about it—and has been thinking about it all his working life—and so his response becomes intuitive.  Through that intuition, he is making unconscious choices that, as I noted above, refine the experience or the expression of the  experience.  In another person’s hands, the result may be merely a carefully-observed study; but in his, it becomes something filled with power and beauty.—
Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

Augustinus : “Zij riepen uit: ‘Hij heeft alles wel gedaan, Hij laat stommen spreken’”




How Artists Use Social Media: Poll Results

Image by Jason Howie [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been doing research for a magazine article on the use of social media by artists.  As part of the research, I conducted a poll.  The most surprising revelation is how one’s use and expectations of social media don’t necessarily fit the results.

The most popular use for social media was to market and sell work, yet the artists polled felt social media was least successful at this.

Here’s how the breakdown went.  Going from most to least, artists used social media to:

#1 – Market/sell work
#2 – Join a virtual community of like-minded artists for learning and support
#3 – Communicate with galleries/buyers

And how successful were they with these goals?  Going in the same order as before:

1# – Market/sell work – Average was 36% successful
2# – Learning and support – Average was 68% successful
3# – Communicate with galleries/buyers – Average was 41% successful

How expectations can be adjusted to match results—or perhaps better, how results can be adjusted to match expectations—will be the subject of another blog post.

Before I give you the rest of the results, I offer a couple of warnings.  First, I posted my poll to various artist groups only on Facebook, so obviously this created a bias.  Second, I had a total of only 76 responses.  This is a small sample for a poll, but I do think it’s representative of the larger picture.

92% of the artists use social media regularly as part of their art life
Facebook, Instagram and blogs were the top three platforms used

Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

zondag van de heilige Gregorius Palamas

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Toen Hij enkele dagen later weer in Kafarnaüm kwam, hoorde men dat Hij thuis was. Er liepen zoveel mensen te hoop dat ze zelfs niet meer bij de deur konden komen, en Hij sprak hen toe. ] Ze kwamen een verlamde bij Hem brengen, door vier man gedragen. Omdat ze de man niet bij Hem konden krijgen vanwege de menigte, haalden ze de dakbedekking weg boven zijn hoofd, en toen ze een opening gemaakt hadden, lieten ze het bed waar de verlamde op lag, zakken. Bij het zien van hun vertrouwen zei Jezus tegen de verlamde: ‘Vriend, uw zonden worden u vergeven.’ Nu zaten daar een paar schriftgeleerden die hun bedenkingen hadden: ‘Hoe kan die man zoiets zeggen? Hij lastert God. Wie anders dan de enige God kan zonden vergeven?’ Jezus doorzag meteen dat ze deze bezwaren hadden en zei tegen hen: ‘Waarom hebt u eigenlijk bezwaren? Wat is eenvoudiger? Tegen de verlamde zeggen: “Uw zonden worden vergeven”, of zeggen: “Sta op en pak uw bed en loop?” Maar opdat u weet dat de Mensenzoon bevoegd is om op aarde zonden te vergeven ‘, zei Hij, nu tegen de verlamde: ‘Ik zeg u, sta op, pak uw bed en ga naar huis.’ En hij stond op, pakte meteen zijn bed en ging weg voor het oog van iedereen, zodat ze allemaal verrukt waren en God verheerlijkten. ‘Zoiets hebben we nog nooit gezien’, zeiden ze.


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tweede zondag van de grote vasten




March News from Michael

Winter Comes to Northern New Mexico

March 2018Ramah, New Mexico
[What follows is my March newsletter that I mailed out today to collectors, patrons, past students and other interested parties.  If you have already received this, my apologies!  Feel free to forward it on to a friend. – MCJ]

It’s been a very mild winter here in northern New Mexico. Trina and I have been able to get out most days for a good hike. But as much as we like the great weather, we could use more snow to stave off drought. As I write, spring is nearly upon us. Ducks, coots and geese have already returned to our lake, and the cottonwoods are starting to show some color. All this, of course, means that our annual migration back to Campobello Island isn’t far off. Even so, the time left to us is packed with activity.

Exhibitions and Events

Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. In September, 2018, I will make my fifth appearance as an invited artist at this prestigious plein air painting event. A portion of the proceeds goes to a very worthy cause, which is the establishment of a permanent art museum on the South Rim in Grand Canyon National Park. The Canyon has been inspiring beautiful art even before it became a national park, and the Park’s large collection, currently sitting in a warehouse, needs a better and more accessible home. Dates for the event are September 9-16, with the sales continuing through January 14, 2019. You can learn more at Also, please don’t forget my workshop at Grand Canyon in October! (See below.)

Phippen Museum. I am honored to have two of my large Sedona paintings selected for a special exhibit at the Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona. The exhibit, “Cool, Cool Water,” runs March 2-July 22, 2018. My paintings, on loan from Goldenstein Gallery, show Oak Creek at two different locations; one north of Sedona at Slide Rock, and another south of town at Red Rock Crossing. You can get details at

Scotland. As you may know, Trina and I have extended our Scotland painting trip in June. My request for sponsorship still stands! For only $200, you can get a 6×8 oil painting of Scotland, which includes frame and shipping to the continental US. My previous newsletter has details on this: And thank you to those who have already helped out!

Acadia Invitational III. The “Acadia Invitational III” exhibition continues at Argosy Gallery in Bar Harbor, Maine. I attended the opening last July, and I can say this is a stunning show with many masterful paintings. The exhibit will continue until October 2018, but don’t delay! Paintings are selling. You can get more details at and see the paintings online at


One-on-One Painting Intensive. I have just completed my Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 schedule for this program. Are you an experienced painter looking to take your craft to the next level? Then please consider this one-on-one intensive at my home studio in New Mexico. We’ll work side-by-side in a program customized entirely for you. The price includes six nights’ lodging and all meals. (There is also a tuition-only option available.) You can find full details at I wish I’d had a program like this available to me when I was in the middle of my career!

All-Level Group Workshops in Sedona, Arizona. Although I no longer live near Sedona, I have decided to return twice a year (spring and fall) to conduct an all-level, group workshop. As before, this program runs four days, and we work in the mornings with your afternoons free to paint on your own or to explore. Many painters traveling with non-painting friends or spouses have found this to be a perfect solution—everybody’s happy! We also have limited lodging available the studio. For full details, visit

Michigan. Although my Santa Fe and Indiana painting retreats are filled for this spring, I am teaching a workhop in Lowell, Michigan, at the Franciscan Life Process Center, May 7-9, 2018. For details or to register:

Ohio Plein Air Society. I am honored to be the judge for the annual 2018 plein air event for this active group—and also to teach a workshop immediately following the judging. The workshop runs October 1-3, 2018. For details, you can view the workshop flyer with details here and registration here.

Maine. My summer program of workshops in Lubec, Maine, resumes July and August 2018. There are only a few spaces left in these, so if you’d like to paint some of Maine’s best (and least busy!) landscapes, sign up now. Read the full details are at

And yet more Maine! Every other year, I teach a workshop in Bernard, on Mount Desert Island, near Acadia National Park. Usually, this is in the fall, but this year, I’ll be teaching in August. We’ll have warm, glorious weather on what is called Mount Desert Island’s “quiet side.” Dates are August 21-24, 2018, with details at:

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. October 24-27, 2018. This is a once-in-a-lifetime workshop for me, since the workshop is sponsored not only by the Grand Canyon Field Institute but also Grand Canyon National Park. We’ll have special access to the park and a van, so we won’t have to ride the shuttles. After several years of painting at the Canyon, I have many great spots to share. Also, if you like to camp, you get complimentary camping during the workshop—as well as free access to the Park. Sign up now at

As always, you can go to my website,, to see a full list of workshops and to find out about new ones.

That’s all for now. Spring is coming!

Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

Dead Her | Sonia Shiel at Void, Derry

Saturday 20 January, 4pm

Sonia Shiel is a Dublin born visual artist, whose works synthesise object, image and sound in performative and immersive installations. At Void, Shiel will premiere Dead Her, a narrated visual presentation, written, directed and performed by the artist. Dead Her is one of a number of recent narrative works that will feature in her brand-new book of short stories each exploring the pursuit of creative agency, – or living – with and without art. It will be published in 2018, by UCD’s Parity Studios Press.

Part of ‘The Winter Series’; performances and screenings at Void, running between 11 – 20th January.

Void, Patrick Street, Derry, BT48 7EL Northern Ireland
T: +44(0)28 7130 8080

Sysco Leasing Software exhibit at the Aviation Festival Asia 2018, Singapore

Sysco Leasing Software in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland (STAND H29), are exhibiting at the prestigious Aviation Festival Asia event showcasing the aviation industries best-in-class business solutions, technology and innovation at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Singapore on the 27th – 28th February 2018.

The Aviation Festival Asia is the region’s largest and most prestigious aviation trade event with senior airline and airport executives expected to make their appearances as guest speakers and panellists at the 2-day trade show & conference.

We welcome you to visit the Sysco Leasing Software team and learn how airlines and aircraft leasing companies in the aviation industry can benefit from a complete aircraft leasing management solution built upon Microsoft Dynamics.

In Collaboration With

What is Sysco Lease Management Software?

Sysco Lease Management Software is a full-featured aircraft lease management solution built upon a secure, cloud managed system. It empowers aircraft lessors’ deal management, lease management, asset management, fund management, profit management and reports management within Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Sysco Lease Management Software provides real-time business intelligence across all lessor teams including legal, risk, sales and operations. Sysco’s solution enables lessor teams to communicate and collaborate on deals and leases anywhere in the world – from any device.

Leasing Software modules include:

Deal Manager: Manage Deals from the initial tender to the LOI to the execution.

Lease Manager: Manage all aspects of the lease from initial negotiation to completion and future redelivery.

Asset Manager: Manage all company assets with integration to the general ledger.

Fund Manager: Manage fund life cycles from set-up to rate escalations, hour cycle adjustment and maintenance claims.

Profit Manager: Manage the purchase of new assets and the redelivery of second and future leases.

Reports Manager: Real-time reports that provide financial forecasts enabling decision making.

For Additional Information

Visit for more information contact:

UK – David Reid +44 28 9050 8550,

The post Sysco Leasing Software exhibit at the Aviation Festival Asia 2018, Singapore appeared first on Sysco Software Solutions.

Three-Color Palette

In my previous post, I mentioned my three-color palette.  I’m really in love with these three colors—yellow ochre, burnt sienna and Prussian blue.  Together, they can mix a good range of muted colors, with the blue intense enough to punch things up a bit.  I thought I’d share a color wheel made from these colors and also a second painting made with them.  (I used Gamblin colors for this.)

It’s hard to get into trouble with this palette.  Yellow ochre and burnt sienna harmonize so well.  And Prussian blue, when mixed with them, yields everything from an olivey green to an almost-neutral grey.  But better yet, if things start seeming too sleepy, you can let the Prussian blue sing a little louder.

Prussian blue, by the way, is a wonderful color for Southwestern skies.  Here’s a Grand Canyon painting, done in the late afternoon as thunderstorms rolled in from the North Rim.   Reds, oranges and yellows dominate; and the little patches of blue add a welcome note.

Rain Over the River
14×18 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson
A Grand Canyon Painting
Available at a Special Price for a Short Time

Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

Auch ich bin ganz entzückt von all den schönen Ein…

Auch ich bin ganz entzückt von every one of den schönen Eindrücken, die du uns da gezeigt hast. Die Rinder gefallen mir ausgezeichnet, die sehen so kuschelig aus, ich würde die gerne mal streicheln. Da muß ich wohl auch mal hin, du hast uns den Mund so richtig wässerig gemacht. In einer Woche kann man schon viele Eindrücke sammeln, gibt es noch mehr???
Lieber Gruß
von Edith

Fleeting Snow

Bloomfield Street
14×18 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson
Available – Special Pricing for a Short Time!
(Includes frame and shipping to continental US)

You’d think snow this deep would last weeks, but that’s not the case here in my part of New Mexico.  Four inches of heavy, wet snow lasts maybe a day or two in the intense sun of late winter.  Because of the generally low humidity, however, it will persist in shaded spots–sometimes for a month!  Right now, the snow depicted in the painting above is mostly gone, except for a scrap here and there, tucked into the shadows.

All that is an explanation of why this painting was made from a photograph.  Trina and I were driving through our town, came to a stop sign, and there it was:  my favorite stone house, surrounded by Lombardy poplars.  The shadows on the snow were a lovely blue; the house, built a long time ago of the local sandstone, shone yellow; and the underbelly of the tree tops glowed with a subtle warmth.  So, I snapped a photo, knowing it wasn’t possible to paint this scene en plein air.  I knew the snow would soon melt, and I felt comfortable painting this scene from a photo because I’ve painted many, many snow paintings over the years.

Back in the studio, I got to work.    For those of you curious about color palettes,  it felt right to go with mostly earth colors.  I used only burnt sienna, yellow ochre and Prussian blue, plus a little naphthol red to intensify the bounced light in the trees.  (These are all Gamblin colors.)

You can see a much larger version of this painting here.—
Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

Caesarius van Arles : Komt gezegenden van mijn vader


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Dat iedereen naar zijn vermogen moeite doet om niet met lege handen naar de kerk te komen: degene die verlangt te ontvangen, moet iets geven. Dat degene die het zich kan permitteren, de arme met een nieuw kledingstuk bedekt; dat degene die dat niet kan, tenminste een oud kledingstuk geeft. Wat degene betreft, die zich daarvoor niet voldoende rijk acht, dat hij een stuk brood geeft, dat hij een reiziger ontvangt, dat hij een bed klaarmaakt, dat hij hem de voeten wast; om te verdienen dat Christus tegen hem zegt: “Kom gezegende van mijn Vader, neem bezit van het Koninkrijk; want Ik had honger en u hebt Me te eten gegeven; Ik was een vreemdeling en u hebt Me ontvangen.” Niemand zal zich kunnen verontschuldigen dat hij geen aalmoes geeft, wanneer Christus heeft beloofd om een beloning te geven in ruil voor een glas water (Mt 10,42).



Caesarius van Arles : Komt gezegenden van de Vader….




Schön, endlich mal wieder von dir zu hören, hatte …

Schön, endlich mal wieder von dir zu hören, hatte mir schon Gedanken gemacht ….
Und dann mit diesen stimmungsvollen Fotos, das muß herrlich sein.

Exhibition at the Phippen Museum

“Autumns’ Turn” by Michael Chesley Johnson
24×36 Oil
On Loan from Goldenstein Gallery

I’m proud to announce that two of my large paintings will be on exhibit at the Phippen Museum in
Prescott, Arizona, starting March 2, 2018.  The exhibit, “Cool, Cool Water,” will display landscape paintings that feature water in the Southwest, and will run until July 22nd.

Water is, of course, essential for life.  In the desert, where there is so little of it, it is highly sought for — and also highly fought over.  I’ve been blessed to have lived in places that, for now, have plenty of water.  There’s always some creek or lake nearby, and the wells don’t seem to run dry.  I hope these places stay that way, but unfortunately, the odds are against it.

“Slide Rock Fault” by Michael Chesley Johnson
16×20 Oil
On Loan from Goldenstein Gallery

“Autumn’s Turn” (24×36 oil) shows Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing.  The creek is full in the autumn after the thirst-quenching summer rains.  The cottonwoods and willows, now turning yellow and orange, have enjoyed a good summer.

“Slide Rock Fault” (16×20 oil) shows Oak Creek at Slide Rock State Park, in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Sedona.  Here, much less water is flowing, but you can tell from the bare slick rock that awesome floods course through here regularly.  The Canyon occupies a geological fault that allows the creek to run from Flagstaff down to Sedona and finally to the Verde River in Cottonwood.

I love painting water, and I am honored to have been asked to send these paintings to the Phippen Museum.

Phippen Museum
4701 Highway 89 North (online map)
Prescott, Arizona 86301 | (928) 778-1385 | phippen@phippenartmuseum.org

Michael Chesley Johnson, AIS PSA MPAC PSNM

eerste zondag van de grote vasten


De volgende dag, toen Hij besloten had om naar Galilea te gaan, ontmoette Hij Filippus. ‘Volg Mij’, zei Jezus tegen hem. Filippus was afkomstig uit Betsaïda, de stad waar ook Andreas en Petrus vandaan kwamen.Filippus ging Natanaël opzoeken en zei tegen hem: ‘Degene over wie Mozes in de Wet en ook de profeten hebben geschreven, die hebben we gevonden: Jezus, de zoon van Jozef, uit Nazaret.”Nazaret?’ zei Natanaël. ‘Kan daar iets goeds vandaan komen?’ Maar Filippus hield vol: ‘Kom mee en je zult het zien.’ Jezus zag dat Natanaël naar Hem toe kwam en zei over hem: ‘Daar heb je een echte Israëliet, in wie geen oneerlijkheid is.’ ‘Waar kent U mij van?’ vroeg Natanaël. Jezus gaf hem 10 antwoord: ‘Nog voordat Filippus je kwam roepen, toen je onder de vijgenboom zat, had Ik je al gezien.’ ‘Rabbi,’ zei Natanaël, ‘U bent de Zoon van God, U bent de koning van Israël!’ Waarop Jezus zei: ‘Je gelooft dus omdat Ik zei dat Ik je gezien heb onder de vijgenboom? Je zult nog grotere dingen zien!’ En Hij voegde eraan toe: ‘Waarachtig, Ik verzeker jullie: je zult zien hoe de hemel geopend is en Gods engelen opstijgen en neerdalen boven de Mensenzoon.’

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Serafim van Sarov 

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heiligen Constantijn en Helena

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heilige Spiridon

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Heilige Maria van Egypte



A GCSE in Natural History – now.

A GCSE in Natural History – why it is needed.

I would like you to sign a petition for a GCSE in Natural History – and here is why.
The idea for a GCSE in Natural History came to me while chatting with Tony Juniper back in 2011.  Tony then wrote a piece for the Guardian, and I produced a flyer to sell the idea, and wrote a blog, for my own site and for Mark Avery. Despite a flurry of interest nothing much happened, and I became distracted by life. 
Then, in 2013, the first State of Nature Report was published.  It sent shockwaves around the media.  60% of wildlife has declined over the last 50 years, and out of those species assessed, one in ten faces extinction. Much loved creatures were slipping away – hedgehogs, skylarks, lapwings, cornflowers, curlew, common lizards, many butterflies, all of them edging closer to the edge of the abyss. 
There is often a spurt of activity following announcements like this, but it fades after a while.  We absorb the bad news, get a little more hardened, and carry on.  After all, what can an individual do when the pressures facing wildlife are as huge as methods of agriculture, increasing human population and climate change?
Scroll on another three years to 2016, to the second State of Nature Report.  The decline continues.  It showed that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.  More than half of our farmland birds are in danger of extinction for example. This report highlighted some good news stories too, showing where targeted conservation has worked, but on the whole the picture was just as dispiriting, and getting worse.
These reports came at a time when it was also increasingly clear that we are disengaging from the natural world as never before.  We are in a new territory, British society has never been so hands off and ignorant when it comes to nature.  We can no longer name common species or know the basics of their life cycles and what they need to survive. It is therefore not surprising that as nature thins out we hardly notice. It is a perfect storm.  As we lose species we lose interest. 
It hasn’t always been the case.  For generations, the British Isles were the best studied islands in the world.  In the 2013 report it says:
For over 200 years, amateur naturalists have been investigating the birds, plants, bugs and every other form of life that shares the country with us. For most of these enthusiasts, their primary motivation has been simple curiosity and fascination with the natural world. This world is indeed fascinating, and incredibly diverse. Most people have no idea that they share the UK with 4,000 species of beetle, 7,000 species of fly or 17,361 species of fungus. A detailed study of most British gardens would reveal hundreds of different types of moths. And our countryside is surrounded by seas full of enormous numbers of species even less well known than those on land.
Yes, the natural world is indeed utterly fascinating.  It is the source of wonder, joy, astonishment, mystery, sometimes fear. It is both beautiful and raw.  It challenges us to the heart. It makes us human.  It is irreplaceable. So why are we losing interest? 
The same report then goes on to say:
Worryingly, there are signs that people are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature. But scratch beneath the surface and there is a huge interest in nature – almost every child is interested in animals, at least when young. How can we bring this interest even further into the mainstream? What can we do through our schools, for example, to help city kids learn the pleasures of getting muddy while hunting for bugs? This is one of the big challenges we need to tackle if we wish to continue our tradition of volunteer wildlife recording. If we can inspire the next generation, we will create a huge force for nature.

OK – so here’s one solution. Let’s launch a GCSE in Natural History.  Let’s teach young people to name the world around them, to follow it through the year, to monitor numbers and to record it so that we can see changes over time.  Let’s teach them how to listen to and identify birdsong.  To know what flowers you can expect to find where and at what time of year.  Let’s teach them what feeds on what – to understand the web of interdependence that is all around us.  Let’s teach them the common trees and what they provide, not just for our benefit, but also for the wildlife that lives on, under and in them.  And so it goes on.  Let’s teach about spiders and earthworms, beetles and butterflies and why they are so vital to the functioning of our planet. Why you won’t find a Heath Fritillary in woodland or a guillemot on a river.  Let’s show them that a city park is full of wonder, as is an estuary or beach or oak woodland.  But that is not all.  Let’s introduce them the wealth of wonderful literature that has been inspired by nature, from ancient times to today.  Let’s celebrate Silent Spring, A Natural History of Selbourne, The Goshawk, Last Child in the Woods, the poetry of  John Clare; as well as the works of Robert MacFarlane, Richard Maybe and the many other superb writers today. And what about the influence of nature films and radio documentaries? More youngpeople watched Planet Earth 2 than X Factor.  This is what GCSE in Natural History could look like, and it should be compulsory for anyone who wants to go into politics.  It isn’t a silver bullet, but it is a concrete idea for putting nature back onto the agenda. 
Many people are enthusiastic about the idea, but I have also had objections.  None of which I feel are sound.  Some of them are:  It is too middle class, too esoteric, too late (better in Primary school).  It will not be accessible to everyone.  It should be spread through the curriculum rather than singled out.  Here are some responses: It is not too middle class, no more so than history or geography.  Nature is for everyone and we need to instil that.  Yes of course nature should be part of education from day one – but it is sorely missing from secondary schools.  It is a t secondary school where it seems youngsters lose interest in the natural world.  A GCSE allows rigour. too and structure, rather than being soft.  No, it may not be as easy to study it in a city as in the countryside, but that is not a reason for dismissing it.  Nothing is the same everywhere – there is no level playing field.  And some cities have excellent green spaces.  Surely it is better to teach it where it is possible, rather than nothing at all?  And yes, it should be spread through all subjects, but for those who want to take it further and go deeper, it could be an inspirational course.   At the moment that is not an option.  I did an O Level in Geology, not available everywhere, fell in love with the subject and did a degree.
If we can teach GCSEs in Politics, Economics, Business Studies, why not Natural History? It is just as important – some would argue even more so.
This course will also require the assistance of the wildlife organisations throughout the country, get them into the classroom and out in the fresh air, helping with teaching and inspiring and thus building community relations. Museums too.
Nature deserves better than resignation and negativity.  The natural world needs us to be positive and forward looking like never before.  We have to do something that is long term and solid, and we have to do it now. This will help.
It will take time to reverse declines and to build a society that is nature literate, so we have to start – this is for the long run.  We are in the Great Age of Forgetting, forgetting what it is like to live surrounded by an abundant and fascinating natural world.  We need to get back to a richness and variety, and the joy and wellbeing it brings.
Please sign the petition.  Thank you. 

‘Ghost-Haunted Land: Contemporary art and post-Troubles Northern Ireland’ Book Launch | Declan Long at Void, Derry

2 March 2018 at 6:30pm

Void welcomes Declan Long to launch his brand-new book ‘Ghost-Haunted Land: Contemporary art and post-Troubles Northern Ireland’ at the gallery on Friday 2nd March from 6:30pm when he will be in conversation with Willie Doherty.

Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 – the formal end-point of the thirty-year modern ‘Troubles’ – contemporary visual artists have offered diverse responses to post-conflict circumstances in Northern Ireland. In Ghost-Haunted Land – the first book-length examination of post-Troubles contemporary art – Declan Long highlights artists who have reflected on the ongoing anxieties of aftermath.

This wide-ranging study addresses developments in video, photography, painting, sculpture, performance and more, offering detailed analyses of key works by artists based in Ireland and beyond – including 2014 Turner Prize winner Duncan Campbell and internationally acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Willie Doherty. ‘Post-Troubles’ contemporary art is discussed in the context of both local transformations and global operations – and numerous of the main points of reference in the book come from broader debates about the place and purpose of contemporary art in today’s world.

Patrick Street, Derry, BT48 7EL Northern Ireland
T: +44(0)28 7130 8080

Sysco Software exhibit Microsoft Dynamics at #PublicService2020

For those who follow Sysco Software Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter, you will have noticed that Sysco Software Solutions exhibited at #PublicService2020 in Croke Park on Wednesday 21st February.

Irish Public Sector delegates met with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Manager Vincent Fitzpatrick and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Lead Joaquim Lavos to learn about Sysco’s flagship CRM contract with the Health Service Executive (HSE) (Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte).

“The importance of promoting Microsoft Dynamics to the public sector at events such as this is paramount to show attendees first-hand how ambitious changes can be accomplished through adopting world class software and combining it with the local support services and expertise that Sysco provide.”

Vincent Fitzpatrick
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Manager

What does Sysco offer to public sector clients?

Sysco Software lead the way in understanding and deploying proven Microsoft Dynamics solutions that enable the public sector to interact and deliver key services to its citizens and service users.

What’s Next for Sysco in the Public Sector?

The next event Sysco Software are attending is the Northern Ireland Digital Government Conference on 8th March.

The post Sysco Software exhibit Microsoft Dynamics at #PublicService2020 appeared first on Sysco Software Solutions.

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