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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Archive for November 20th, 2009
by Gerald Boerner


“Anything simple always interests me.”
— David Hockney

“You do need to be interested in people.”
— David Hockney

“I think Picasso was, without doubt, the greatest portraitist of the 20th century, if not any other century.”
— David Hockney

Picasso’s portraits "tell you about the people. He’s looked at them, and they have something different from anybody else.”
— David Hockney

“It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work.”
— David Hockney

“But slowly I began to use cameras and then think about what it was that was going on. It took me a long time, I mean I actually played with cameras and photography for about 20 years.”
— David Hockney

“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”
— David Hockney

“I made a photograph of a garden in Kyoto, the Zen garden, which is a rectangle. But a photograph taken from any one point will not show, well it shows a rectangle, but not with ninety degree angles.” 
— David Hockney

“But the moment you use an ordinary camera, you are not seeing the picture, remember, meaning, you had to remember what you’ve taken. Now you could see it of course, with a digital thing, but remember in 1982 you couldn’t.”
— David Hockney

“Shadows sometimes people don’t see shadows. The Chinese of course never paint them in pictures, oriental art never deals with shadow. But I noticed these shadows and I knew it meant it was sunny.”
— David Hockney

“There are painters who are very good who are not necessarily portraitists; Richard Diebenkorn painted the figure in a very interesting way, but not particularly portraits. He didn’t care too much about the psychology of it.”
— David Hockney

“Remember that big pot that’s in Mexico City, that big serpent pot? I think they had it at the RA in the Aztecs show. Well, when Cortez [the Spanish conquistador of Mexico in the 16th century] saw that pot, it was the ugliest thing in the world, because it was meant to hold hot human hearts still pumping. It took them 300 years before they began to see the beauty in the pot. The use was so horrible, it would overpower form.”
— David Hockney


David Hockney (Born: 1937)

David Hockney 3 David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire, although he also maintains a base in London. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.


Hockney was born in Bradford and educated first at Wellington Primary School. He later went to Bradford Grammar School, Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, where he met R. B. Kitaj. While still a student at the Royal College of Art, Hockney was featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries—alongside Peter Blake—that announced the arrival of British Pop Art. He became associated with the movement, but his early works also display expressionist elements, not dissimilar to certain works by Francis Bacon. Sometimes, as in We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), named after a poem by Walt Whitman, these works make reference to his love for men.

Hockney,_We_Two_Boys_Together_Clinging From 1963 Hockney was represented by the influential art dealer John Kasmin. In 1963 Hockney visited New York, making contact with Andy Warhol. Later, a visit to California, where he lived for many years, inspired Hockney to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in Los Angeles using the comparatively new Acrylic medium, rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colours. In 1967, his painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick’s Pool, won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He also made prints, portraits of friends, and stage designs for the Royal Court Theatre, Glyndebourne, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

The "Joiners"

Hockney_Merced River David Hockney has also worked with photography, or, more precisely, photocollage. Using varying numbers of small Polaroid snaps or photolab-prints of a single subject Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. Because these photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work which has an affinity with Cubism, an affinity which was one of Hockney’s major aims – discussing the way human vision works. Some of these pieces are landscapes such as Pearblossom Highway #2, others being portraits, e.g. Kasmin 1982, and My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982.

Hockney_Annie Leibovitz These photomontage works appeared mostly between 1970 and 1986. He referred to them as "joiners". He began this style of art by taking Polaroid photographs of one subject and arranging them into a grid layout. The subject would actually move while being photographed so that the piece would show the movements of the subject seen from the photographer’s perspective. In later works Hockney changed his technique and moved the camera around the subject instead.

Hockney_photo montage Hockney’s creation of the "joiners" occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses to take pictures. He did not like such photographs because they always came out somewhat distorted. He was working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles. He took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. Upon looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer was moving through the room. He began to work more and more with photography after this discovery and even stopped painting for a period of time to exclusively pursue this new style of photography. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its ‘one eyed’ approach, he later returned to painting.

Later works

Hockney,_A_Bigger_Splash A Bigger Splash, 1967

In 1974, Hockney was the subject of Jack Hazan’s film, A Bigger Splash (named after one of Hockney’s swimming pool paintings from 1967).

In 1977 David Hockney authored a book, including the poetry of Wallace Stevens, of etchings called "The Blue Guitar: Etchings By David Hockney Who Was Inspired By Wallace Stevens Who Was Inspired By Pablo Picasso". The etchings, inspired by and meant to represent the themes of Stevens’ poem, "The Man With The Blue Guitar". It was published as a portfolio and as a book in Spring, 1997 by Petersburg Press.

Hockney was commissioned to design the cover and a series of pages for the December 1985 issue of the French edition of Vogue magazine. Consistent with his interest in Cubism and admiration for Pablo Picasso, Hockney chose to paint Celia Birtwell (who appears in several of his works) with different views—her facial features as if the eye had scanned her face diagonally.

Another important commission of his was to draw with the Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that allowed the artist to sketch direct onto the monitor screen. This commission was taken by Hockney in December 1985. Using this program was similar to drawing on the PET film for prints which he had much experience in. His work created using the Quantel formed part of a BBC series featuring a number of artists.

Hockney,_A_Bigger_Grand_Canyon A Bigger Grand Canyon, 1998, National Gallery of Australia.

His A Bigger Grand Canyon, a series of 60 paintings which combined to produce one enormous picture, was bought by the National Gallery of Australia for $4.6 million.

On 21 June 2006, his painting of The Splash fetched £2.6 million – a record for a Hockney painting.

In October 2006 the National Portrait Gallery in London organized one of the largest ever displays of Hockney’s portraiture work, including 150 of his paintings, drawings, prints, sketchbooks and photocollages from over the course of five decades. The collection consisted of his earliest self-portraits up into his latest work completed in 2005. The exhibition proved to be one of the most successful in the gallery’s history, and Hockney himself assisted in displaying the works. The exhibition ran until January 2007.

Hockney_pearblossom-highway In June 2007, Hockney’s largest painting, Bigger Trees Near Warter, which measures 15 x 40-foot, was hung in the Royal Academy’s largest gallery in their annual Summer Exhibition. This work "is a monumental-scale view of a coppice in Hockney’s native Yorkshire, between Bridlington and York. It was painted on 50 individual canvases, mostly working in situ, over five weeks last winter." In 2008, he donated this work to the Tate Gallery in London, saying: "I thought if I’m going to give something to the Tate I want to give them something really good. It’s going to be here for a while. I don’t want to give things I’m not too proud of…I thought this was a good painting because it’s of England…it seems like a good thing to do".

Many of Hockney’s works are now housed in a converted industrial building called Salts Mill, in Saltaire, near his home town of Bradford.

Since 2009, Hockney has made drawings using the Brushes iPhone application. He spoke with Lawrence Weschler in an interview:

"It’s always there in my pocket, there’s no thrashing about, scrambling for the right color. One can set to work immediately, there’s this wonderful impromptu quality, this freshness, to the activity; and when it’s over, best of all, there’s no mess, no clean-up. You just turn off the machine. Or, even better, you hit Send, and your little cohort of friends around the world gets to experience a similar immediacy. There’s something, finally, very intimate about the whole process."


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

David Hockney that can be found at…

by Gerald Boerner


“My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they were there to meet the boat.”
Will Rogers

“It is more important to know where your children are tonight than where your ancestors were when the Mayflower sailed.”
Unknown Author

“I am glad my ancestors arrived on the Mayflower, but I am gladder that there are nine generations between us.”
William Lyon Phelps (American educator, journalist and professor)

“This is the snobbery of the people on the Mayflower looking down their noses at the people who came over ON THE SECOND BOAT!”
Mitchell Kapor

“What we know today is that children all over America have the right to learn-whether their ancestors came to America on slave ships or the Mayflower.”
Mark Pryor

“We are very proud to once again receive special recognition by Mayflower Transit of our high level of performance. It is especially satisfying to have three members of our team recognized as among the best in their profession.”
Jim Hooper

“American democracy was born of no theorist’s dream; it was not carried in the Susan Constant to Virginia, nor in the Mayflower to Plymouth. It came stark and strong and full of life out of the American forest, and it gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier.”
Frederick Jackson Turner

“The improved American highway system isolated the American-in-transit. On his speedway he had no contact with the towns which he by-passed. If he stopped for food or gas, he was served no local fare or local fuel, but had one of Howard Johnson’s nationally branded ice cream flavors, and so many gallons of Exxon. This vast ocean of superhighways was nearly as free of culture as the sea traversed by the Mayflower Pilgrims.”
Daniel J. Boorstin (American social historial and educator)


[Part 2 of a series on our Thanksgiving Celebration]


Thanksgiving Celebration: The Pilgrims’ Crossing the Atlantic

The name Pilgrims was probably not in popular use before about 1798. Even though Plymouth celebrated Forefathers’ Day several times between 1769 and 1798, and used a variety of terms to honor Plymouth’s founders, Pilgrims was not mentioned, other than in Robbins’ 1793 recitation. The first documented use of Pilgrims (that was not simply quoting Bradford) was at a December 22, 1798 celebration of Forefathers’ Day, in Boston. A song composed for the occasion used the word Pilgrims, and the participants drank a toast to "The Pilgrims of Leyden." The term was used prominently during Plymouth’s next Forefather’s Day celebration in 1800, and was used in Forefathers’ Day observances thereafter.

By the 1820s, the term Pilgrims was becoming more common. Daniel Webster repeatedly referred to "the Pilgrims" in his December 22, 1820 address for Plymouth’s bicentennial, which was widely read. The term also gained popularity with the 1825 publication of Felicia Hemans’ classic poem, "The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers."

The Mayflower

In July 1620, Speedwell departed Delfshaven with the Leiden colonists. Reaching Southampton, Hampshire, they met with Mayflower and the additional colonists hired by the investors. With final arrangements made, the two vessels set out on August 5 (Old Style)/August 15 (New Style).

Mayflower Harbor Soon thereafter, the Speedwell crew reported that their ship was taking in water, so both were diverted to Dartmouth, Devon. There it was inspected for leaks and sealed, but a second attempt to depart also failed, bringing them only so far as Plymouth, Devon. It was decided that Speedwell was untrustworthy, and it was sold. It would later be learned that crew members had deliberately caused the ship to leak, allowing them to abandon their year-long commitments. The ship’s master and some of the crew transferred to Mayflower for the trip.

The Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future US. With their religion oppressed by the English Church and government, the small party of religious Puritan separatists who comprised about half of the passengers on the ship desired a life where they could practice their religion freely. This symbol of religious freedom resonates in US society and the story of the Mayflower is a staple of any American history textbook. Americans whose roots are traceable back to New England often believe themselves to be descended from Mayflower passengers.

The main record for the voyage of the Mayflower and the disposition of the Plymouth Colony comes from William Bradford who was a guiding force and later the governor of the colony.

Atlantic crossing

Of the 121 combined passengers, 102 were chosen to travel on Mayflower with the supplies consolidated. Of these, about half had come by way of Leiden, and about 28 of the adults were members of the congregation. The reduced party finally sailed successfully on September 6/September 16, 1620.

Initially the trip went smoothly, but under way they were met with strong winds and storms. One of these caused a main beam to crack, and although they were more than half the way to their destination, the possibility of turning back was considered. Using a "great iron screw" (probably a piece of house construction equipment) brought along by the colonists, they repaired the ship sufficiently to continue. One passenger, John Howland, was washed overboard in the storm but caught a rope and was rescued.

One crew member and one passenger died before they reached land. A child was born at sea and named "Oceanus".

Arrival in America

Cape_Cod_1620.svg 1620 place names mentioned
by Bradford

Land was sighted on November 10/November 20, 1620. It was confirmed that the area was Cape Cod, within the New England territory recommended by Weston. An attempt was made to sail the ship around the cape towards the Hudson River, also within the New England grant area, but they encountered shoals and difficult currents around Malabar (a land mass that formerly existed in the vicinity of present-day Monomoy). It was decided to turn around, and by November 11/November 21 the ship was anchored in what is today known as Provincetown Harbor.

Mayflower Compact

With the charter for the Plymouth Council for New England incomplete by the time the colonists departed England (it would be granted while they were in transit, on November 3/November 13), they arrived without a patent; the older Wincob patent was from their abandoned dealings with the London Company. Some of the passengers, aware of the situation, suggested that without a patent in place, they were free to do as they chose upon landing and ignore the contract with the investors.

To address this issue, a brief contract, later to be known as the Mayflower Compact, was drafted promising cooperation among the settlers "for the general good of the Colony unto which we promise all due submission and obedience." It was ratified by majority rule, with 41 adult male passengers signing. At this time, John Carver was chosen as the colony’s first governor.

First landings

Thorough exploration of the area was delayed for over two weeks because the shallop or pinnace (a smaller sailing vessel) they brought had been partially dismantled to fit aboard the Mayflower and was further damaged in transit. Small parties, however, waded to the beach to fetch firewood and attend to long-deferred personal hygiene.

While awaiting the shallop, exploratory parties led by Myles Standish—an English soldier the colonists had met while in Leiden—and Christopher Jones were undertaken. They encountered several old buildings, both European-built and Native-built, and a few recently cultivated fields.

An artificial mound was found near the dunes, which they partially uncovered and found to be a Native grave. Further along, a similar mound, more recently made, was found, and as the colonists feared they might otherwise starve, they ventured to remove some of the provisions which had been placed in the grave. Baskets of maize were found inside, some of which the colonists took and placed into an iron kettle they also found nearby, while they reburied the rest, intending to use the borrowed corn as seed for planting.

William Bradford later recorded in his book, "Of Plymouth Plantation", that after the shallop had been repaired,

"They also found two of the Indian’s houses covered with mats, and some of their implements in them; but the people had run away and could not be seen. They also found more corn, and beans of various colors. These they brought away, intending to give them full satisfaction (repayment) when they should meet with any of them, – as about six months afterwards they did.

"And it is to be noted as a special providence of God, and a great mercy to this poor people, that they thus got seed to plant corn the next year, or they might have starved; for they had none, nor any likelihood of getting any, till too late for the planting season."

By December, most of the passengers and crew had become ill, coughing violently. Many were also suffering from the effects of scurvy. There had already been ice and snowfall, hampering exploration efforts. During the first winter, 47% of them died.


Continuing westward, the shallop’s mast and rudder were broken by storms, and their sail was lost. Rowing for safety, they encountered the harbor formed by the current Duxbury and Plymouth barrier beaches and stumbled on land in the darkness. They remained at this spot—Clark’s Island—for two days to recuperate and repair equipment.

Resuming exploration on Monday, December 11/December 21, 1620, the party crossed over to the mainland and surveyed the area that ultimately became the settlement. The anniversary of this survey is observed in Massachusetts as Forefathers’ Day and is traditionally associated with the Plymouth Rock landing legend. This land was especially suited to winter building because the land had already been cleared, and the tall hills provided a good defensive position.

Port_St_Louis_Annotated Samuel de Champlain’s 1605
map of Plymouth Harbor,
showing Wampanoag village
Patuxet, with some modern
place names added for reference.

The cleared village, known as Patuxet to the Wampanoag people, was abandoned about three years earlier following a plague that killed all of its residents. Because the disease involved hemorrhaging, the "Indian fever" is assumed to have been fulminating smallpox introduced by European traders. The outbreak had been severe enough that the colonists discovered unburied skeletons in abandoned dwellings. With the local population in such a weakened state, the colonists faced no resistance to settling there.

The exploratory party returned to Mayflower, which was then brought to the harbor on December 16/December 26. Only nearby sites were evaluated, with a hill in Plymouth (so named on earlier charts) chosen on December 19/December 29.

Construction commenced immediately, with the first common house nearly completed by January 9/January 19. At this point, single men were ordered to join with families. Each extended family was assigned a plot and built its own dwelling. Supplies were brought ashore, and the settlement was mostly complete by early February.

Between the landing and March, only 47 colonists had survived the diseases they contracted on the ship. During the worst of the sickness, only six or seven of the group were able and willing to feed and care for the rest. In this time, half the Mayflower crew also died.


This concludes the second part of this exploration leading up to the celebration of the first Thanksgiving and how our current celebrations relate to these antecedents. Join us again tomorrow and onward through the Thanksgiving holidays.

It is our hope that these postings will heighten not only your enjoyment of Thanksgiving, but that you may also gain an enhanced understanding of how it came about… [GLB]


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Migration of the Pilgrims to the New World which can be found at…

The Mayflower which can be found at…

by Gerald Boerner


“There is no ‘I’ in TEAM.”
— U.S. Navy Seals

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
— Various Special Ops Instructors

“These things we do that others may live.”
— USAF Pararescue

“Anyone can just go in there and kill someone, but you can’t get information from a corpse.”
— Seal Motto

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
— John Paul Jones

“For the operators, whom a wise commander uses with great skill and forethought, and whom the fool throws away in ignorance and contempt.”
— Greg Walker

“Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”
— Sir Winston Churchill quote from a sign in a Seal Training Facility

Military Unit Mottos: United States

The United States Army awards nicknames, officially called Special Designations, to units which are recognized as having earned or otherwise been associated with said designations. Mottos are also officially awarded to units by the U.S. Army. Under Army regulations, only those units to which official Special Designations (nicknames) and mottos have been awarded may associate themselves with said nicknames and mottos. In addition, members of these units are permitted to wear said nicknames and mottos on their uniforms. Under army regulations units with officially awarded nicknames and mottos may have only one of each.

Additional nicknames and mottos are unofficial. Units and members of units with unofficial nicknames and mottos are prohibited by army regulations from adding said items to their division insignia, wear them on their uniforms, or mount them on their official guidons. Further, no unit may use or otherwise adopt a nickname or motto officially assigned to another unit. The following list of army nicknames and mottos contains both those which are officially recognized by the Army, as well as those which are not. The complete listing of official U.S. Army Special Designations can be seen at the U.S. Army Center of Military History website: U.S. Army Special Designations. If a unit is not listed here, its nickname is unofficial.

Each of the U.S. Military branches have their own set/sets of mottos. Some of the mottos of the uniformed services who defend us (some official, some unofficial) include:

  • Army…
    This We’ll Defend
  • Navy…
    Non sibi sed patriae (Not for self, but for country)
  • Air Force…
    Above All
  • Marine Corps…
    Semper Fidelis (Always Loyal)
  • Coast Guard…
    Semper Paratus (Always Prepared)
  • National Guard…
    Always ready, always there
  • U.S. Military Academy at West Point…
    Duty, Honor, Country
  • U.S. Naval Academy…
    Ex Scientia Tridens (From Knowledge, Sea Power)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy…
    Scientiae Cedit Mare (The sea yields to knowledge)
  • Green Berets…
    De Oppresso Liber (To liberate the oppressed)
  • Army Rangers…
    Sua Sponte (Of Their Own Accord) and Rangers Lead the Way
  • Army Corps of Engineers…
    Essayons (Let Us Try)
  • Navy Seals…
    The only easy day was yesterday
  • Seabees…
    Construimus, Batuimus (We Build, We Fight) and Can Do!
Special Designation

An official Special Designation is a “nickname granted to a military organization” which has been authorized by the Center of Military History and recognized through a certificate signed by the Secretary of the Army.

A division’s nickname may derive from numerous sources:

  • it may be inspired by the division’s badge or insignia, such as the 1st Infantry Division’s “Big Red One”. On the other hand, some division’s badges are actually suggested by the nickname, such as the “CY” patch of the “Cyclone Division” (38th Infantry Division);
  • it may derive from the place where the division was raised or trained (36th Infantry Division, “Texas”), or the places of origin of the division’s soldiers (29th Infantry Division, “Blue and Gray”, for northern and southern states);
  • it may be bestowed by the enemy in battle, such as the moniker “Red Devils”, a nickname for the 5th Infantry Division “granted” by the Germans at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, World War I;
  • it may be the pairing of an adjective (such as “Fighting”) paired with the division’s ordinal, such as “The Fighting First” for the 1st Infantry Division; or
  • it may defy accurate explanation (albeit not without numerous theories), such as the 9th Infantry Division, or “Old Reliables”.

No distinction has been made between regular Army divisions and those of the Army Reserve or National Guard. The origin of the nickname is noted where possible. In some cases, the nickname was officially adopted by the division in question; this is indicated along with date of adoption (where known). Official status might also be inferred by the presence of the nickname on official distinctive unit insignia or in official military source materials.

Other Events on this Day
  • In 1620…
    Peregrine White, the first child born of English parents in New England, is born aboard the Mayflower off Cape Cod.
  • In 1789…
    New Jersey becomes the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
  • In 1820…
    The Nantucket whaler Essex is attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the South Pacific, an event that helps inspire Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
  • In 1943…
    One of the bloodiest battles in Marines Corps history begins on Tarawa Atoll in the Pacific; the U.S. prevails, but at a cost of approximately 1,000 dead.
  • In 1953…
    Flying a Douglas Skyrocket at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Scott Crossfield becomes the first pilot to break Mach 2.

Dates and events based on:

William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Vietnam POWs that can be found at…