Saturday, July 11, 2020

An Important Date

I noticed that today was July 11th, which I remembered as St Olga's feast day, which I knew from this print, which was the first postcard I ever made, having done it for my MFA show in 1995.  A lot has changed since then.  

I still like the piece, a strong but simple image with bold colors.  I think it tells part of the story well, though I have some knowledge of what it is about.  The Butler's Lives of the Saints books are in chronological order by feast days, but I started with volume 3, July to September, so for the first postcard, I went with one of the first ones I had completed. And it fits with the whole series.  St Olga had been the first lady of her kingdom, and when her husband was assassinated, she had those responsible scalded to death with steam. If this seems somewhat un-saint like, you're right, she converted to Christianity later and helped Christianize Russia.  Part of the Everyman series (and I have done maybe 75 or 80 of these over the years) is the concept that saints came from a lot of different backgrounds and had done a lot of different things along the way, sometimes not so good.  The idea is that if such people can become saints, perhaps everyone can. 

Did she deserve sainthood?   Not for me or you to say.  I know that she reformed and did some good works.  And today is the anniversary of her death, because that is how feast days work. So think about St Olga and what she did in life.  Are you better or worse than her?  That is for you to say.

As for postcards, they seem to have gone the way of St Olga- no one seems be making them anymore.  I blame this on today's youth, who don't like anything that can't be downloaded to their smart phones.  They might look at this blog post, but they wouldn't take a card if you put it in their hand, and even though they cost less than a quarter each, a lot of artists just won't bother any more.
Once upon a time, every gallery had a table full of postcards, free for the taking, souvenirs of what you just saw and a way of spreading the word. These days, not so much.


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