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1001. Engendering debate and collaboration in African universities

A quick scan of issues of the most highly-ranked African studies journals published within the past year will reveal only a handful of articles published by Africa-based authors. The results would not be any better in other fields of study. This under representation of scholars from the continent has led to calls for changes in African universities, with a focus on capacity building. The barriers to research and publication in most public universities in Africa are many.

The post Engendering debate and collaboration in African universities appeared first on OUPblog.

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1002. How much do you know about al‐Kindī? [quiz]

This October, the OUP Philosophy team honors al-Kindī (c. 800-870) as their Philosopher of the Month. Known as the “first philosopher of the Arabs,” al-Kindī was one of the most important mathematicians, physicians, astronomers and philosophers of his time.

The post How much do you know about al‐Kindī? [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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1003. The library – 100 years from now

I want to live to be 100 years old. Yes, that is a bold statement, and I'll admit this goal may be a bit unrealistic and potentially impossible, but my curiosity pushes me to beat the laws of nature. As a 22-year-old avid reader working for a publishing company, I can’t help but wonder: what will be the future of the printed book? Since the creation of the world wide web by Tim Burners-Lee in 1989 and it's continual expansion since then, this question has haunted the publishing industry, raising profound questions about the state of the industry and the printed book.

The post The library – 100 years from now appeared first on OUPblog.

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1004. A Writing Conference with an English Language Learner Using Google Translate

Read on for a snippet of a writing conference using Google Translate with an upper elementary student who is learning English.

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1005. The University: past, present, … and future?

By nearly all accounts, higher education has in recent years been lurching towards a period of creative destruction. Presumed job prospects and state budgetary battles pit the STEM disciplines against the humanities in much of our popular and political discourse. On many fronts, the future of the university, at least in its recognizable form as a veritable institution of knowledge, has been cast into doubt.

The post The University: past, present, … and future? appeared first on OUPblog.

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1006. A person-less variant of the Bernadete paradox

Before looking at the person-less variant of the Bernedete paradox, lets review the original: Imagine that Alice is walking towards a point – call it A – and will continue walking past A unless something prevents her from progressing further.

The post A person-less variant of the Bernadete paradox appeared first on OUPblog.

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1007. गुरूर

आसमान की सैर कर,
घर पहुँचा वो तैर कर,
चालीस साल की दूरी का,
गुरूर था उसे अमीरी का,

आहट पर न आँखे थी,
सूनी सारी बातें थी,
हैरानी में डूब गया वो,
तन्हा काहे छोड़ गया वो,

बूढ़ी आँखे खोल न पाया,
पैसो ने न साथ निभाया,
अश्रु की फिर नदी बहाई,

साँसे पर वापस न आई || Dr DV ||

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1008. Video Sunday: One Earworm to Rule Them All

I usually begin with a video of myself whenever I’ve a chance, but this week I’m preempting my own face because this video is the coolest thing ever.  By the time I left New York Public Library its Rose Reading Room had already been closed for half a year.  Now you get to see the room in a time lapse video looking cooler than ever.  52,000 books are shelved here in two minutes.  Trust me – you won’t be bored.

This month I hosted one of those fun little interviews I do from time to time on my show Ladybird and Friends. This month the interviewee was Mike Grosso of the new feminist middle grade novel I Am Drums.  He’s great.  The book’s great.  We have fun.  But if you really want to skip to the weird part, be sure to also go to about 28:34.

And just to keep it all in the family, my husband’s book The Secrets of Story is out and available for purchase.  To prep you a bit, Matt’s been creating short interesting videos to highlight some of the ideas in the book.  This one’s about objects.  I’m a fan.  Check it:

You’ve heard of book trailers, surely, but audiobook trailers? This one for Adam Gidwitz’s magnificent The Inquisitor’s Tale will make you a believer. Let’s see more of these in the future!

Meanwhile, over at 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker swore that if he ever heard of a children’s book creator on television, he’d watch. Then he heard that Oliver Jeffers was on an Irish talk show called The Late Late Show. So what does he do? He tracks down the Irish video link. That’s dedication, people. That’s chutzpah. And we are the beneficiaries:


N.D. Wilson.  He writes middle grade children’s books.  Good ones too.  Books that get a lot of critical attention.  But apparently that’s not enough for Mr. Wilson. Oh no.  He has to go out and actually write and direct a real as real movie.  It’s called The River Thief and it has a limited national release and is on VOD.  Check out the trailer here if you’re curious:

Fun Fact: The creation of this movie, from concept to end of production, was three weeks. That includes the three days it took to write the script. Here’s a behind the scenes on that, if you’re curious.

Next UP: Not safe for work.  Not really.  But anything that takes the “sexy librarian” stereotype and turns it on its head/tongue is fine by me.

And for the off-topic video, I warn you.  This bad lip-reading will get caught in your head.  This is the earworm to rule all earworms.


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1009. Inktober Day 16: Tree

Day 15 of #Inktober2016. Last night's sketchbook while half-watching the telly.

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1010. Book Review: Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt

Title: Break Me Like a Promise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Published: 2016
Source: NetGalley

Summary: Maggie is the spoilt princess of an organ-transplant mafia family, but her life is not completely sunshine and roses. She's still struggling with her grief over her secret boyfriend's violent death, and her father is actually supporting an act of Congress that would implode their whole business model. When she accidentally opens a suspicious email and infects her computer (and by extension all the computers in the house) with nasty spyware, the only person who can help is Alejandro - and the only way he'll do it is if she pulls a few strings and gets him the kidney he so desperately needs. She agrees, never planning to keep her promise, but finds out she's not getting off the hook so easily.

First Impressions: I found Maggie supremely unlikeable in the first quarter of the book or so, but after that it improved. The ending felt very abrupt though, with some sequelitis.

Later On: Somehow I missed that this book is based on "The Frog Prince" until partway through. I think if I'd known this going in, I would have been a lot more secure in the main character and where the story was going. Yes, Maggie has it very, very rough at the start. But she still makes a promise that she never intends to keep, seemingly because it's to someone who's gross to look at. And what can you say about a character who whines about her emotional pain not being respected by a boy who is terminally ill?

If you can get past the unpleasant start, Maggie improves a lot in the course of the book. She learns to be less self-centered and comes to see the bigger picture of her family's business and where it's headed after paid organ donation is legalized. She also learns to see the human impact of what they do as well as the economic one, and works through her grief and her feeling of being stuck in a realistic way.

I worried about the portrayal of Alex, who is Latino and definitely not of Maggie's social class. For awhile there it seemed like he was going to be the Inspirational Minority or the Inspirational Sick Person. In some ways he still was, unfortunately. We got a little exposition about his family but mainly he was a guest in Maggie's world, upending her notions of the world but ultimately remaining a static character himself.

This is the second book in a series, and some of the loose threads and rushed finish can be attributed to that.

More: my review of the first book in the series, Hold Me Like a Breath

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1011. Some Shameless Self Promotion

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Sometimes people ask me if I'll ever write a book about storyboarding. I would never want to do that...I enjoy sharing what little I know for free, and I've always felt that the whole point of having knowledge is to share it with others. So I'm glad people have found my posts helpful over the years. It's been very gratifying and you have all been a great audience.

Over the past six years I have been working on a book, however...I've been writing and drawing a graphic novel that i'm planning on releasing next year, and now I need your help (don't worry, it's easy). In a shameless and transparent ploy to seem relevant and like I have an audience, I'm trying to get followers on social media. So if you wouldn't mind following me on Twitter, Tumblr and/or Instagram, I'd really, really appreciate it. I'm going to start posting a bunch of artwork from my graphic novel as well as other stuff I've done, so I promise to make it interesting.

Twitter link: https://twitter.com/Mark_D_Kennedy

Tumblr link: http://ift.tt/2dfxFW1

Instagram link: http://ift.tt/2dfzbY7

Thanks to everyone who still visits and thanks for all the nice things you've said over the years. I will continue to write posts here and I hope you'll continue to come!

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1012. Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne of Windy Poplars. L.M. Montgomery. 1936. 288 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence:  DEAREST: Isn't that an address! Did you ever hear anything so delicious? Windy Poplars is the name of my new home and I love it. I also love Spook's Lane, which has no legal existence. It should be Trent Street but it is never called Trent Street except on the rare occasions when it is mentioned in the Weekly Courier . . . and then people look at each other and say, 'Where on earth is that?' Spook's Lane it is . . . although for what reason I cannot tell you. I have already asked Rebecca Dew about it, but all she can say is that it has always been Spook's Lane and there was some old yarn years ago of its being haunted. But she has never seen anything worse-looking than herself in it. 

Premise/plot: Anne and Gilbert are engaged at last! But Gilbert still has three years of school to go, and, so Anne finds herself a job as principal of a school in Summerside. Anne of Windy Poplars gives us an intimate look at those three years. Much of the book provides glimpses into the letters Anne writes Gilbert. But there are some traditional chapters as well.

My thoughts: Anne of Windy Poplars is such a delightful (late) addition to the Anne series by L.M. Montgomery. I love, love, love it. Even if Gilbert himself is absent. (We only see her letters to him, never his letters to her.)

This book showcases what Montgomery does BEST: bring her characters to life. It doesn't seem to matter if we spend two paragraphs with a character or two chapters. I CARE about every character she introduces.

Some of the characters we meet in this one: Aunt Kate, Aunt Chatty, Rebecca Dew, Dusty Miller (cats count as characters, right?!), Little Elizabeth, Nora Nelson, Jim Wilcox, Esme Taylor, Dr. Lennox Carter, Cyrus Taylor, Teddy Armstrong, Lewis Allen, Katherine Brooke, Mrs. Adoniram Gibson and Pauline, Cousin Ernestine Bugle, Jarvis Morrow, Dovie Westcott, Frank Westcott.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1013. Query Letters

There are five basic parts to a successful query letter.


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1014. स्वादिष्ट खाना बनाने के टिप्स

स्वादिष्ट खाना बनाने के टिप्स क्या हो हमारा विचार  इसी पर चलता रहता है और इसी चक्कर में हम अच्छा रिफांईड , पोष्टिकता से भरपूर खाना बनाना और खाना पसंद करते हैं पर क्या हो कि सब कुछ होते हुए भी स्वादिष्ट खाना ना बनें … आईए जाने एक सच्चाई ऐसी भी स्वादिष्ट खाना बनाने के […]

The post स्वादिष्ट खाना बनाने के टिप्स appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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1015. ‘Borrowed Time’ by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj

A weathered sheriff returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget.

The post ‘Borrowed Time’ by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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1016. Raymond Chandler on Character

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I often talk about how creating distinct and interesting characters with unique personalities is one of the most important parts of our trade. I'm warning you now, this is another one of those posts!

Raymond Chandler was a writer of detective novels and the creator of the iconic hard boiled detective Philip Marlowe. Towards the end of his career, he sat down for an interview with Ian Fleming, the writer of the James Bond novels.

If you Google something like "Raymond Chandler Ian Fleming interviews", you'll be able to find transcriptions and youtube excerpts so you can read it, or listen to it, or both. The entire thing is in a SoundCloud file that can be heard here.

Here's the passage that I thought was the most interesting and relevant to this particular topic:

Ian Fleming: I wonder what the basic ingredients of a good thriller really are. Of course, you should have pace; it should start on the first page and carry you straight through. And I think you've got to have violence, I think you've got to have a certain amount of sex, you've got to have a basic plot, people have got to want to know what's going to happen by the end of it.

Raymond Chandler: Yes, I agree. There has to be an element of mystery, in fact there has to be a mysterious situation. The detective doesn't know what it's all about, he knows that there's something strange about it, but he doesn't know just what it's all about. It seems to me that the real mystery is not who killed Sir John in his study, but what the situation really was, what the people were after, what sort of people they were.

Ian Fleming: That's exactly what you write about, of course - you develop your characters very much more than I do, and the thriller element it seems to me in your books is in the people, the character building, and to a considerable extent in the dialogue, which of course I think is some of the finest dialogue written in any prose today.

The part I found the most interesting was this one:

It seems to me that the real mystery is not who killed Sir John in his study, but what the situation really was, what the people were after, what sort of people they were. 

I think there's a lot of truth in this sentence and shows what made Chandler such a popular writer. I think many people are convinced that the elements that make a good mystery story are things like an intricate plot, twists and turns and startling surprises.  

Similarly, I also think that many people--when they're writing about a movie or a TV show that they like--will focus on the most tangible and obvious elements to judge whether a story works or fails. They will point to things like clever foreshadowing or visuals that contain powerful symbolism. I read so many articles online that focus on these things to explain why a film is powerful and why it appeals to a wide audience. 

I think these elements can really benefit a film and give a film depth and emotional resonance, but without great, well developed characters at the heart of a story, that story will ultimately fall short.

Characters are important because they're our avatars in the movie. The way we watch movies is by relating to the characters and projecting ourselves onto them and experiencing the stories through their shoes. So as Chandler is saying here, I think the most important aspect of any story is who the characters are, what they want, and why they are doing what they are doing.

I've seen articles online where people talk about stories like "Harry Potter", "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones", and these articles tend to focus on what wonderful worlds those authors have created. People marvel at the imagination of J. K. Rowling and how she's thought through every nuance of the world that Harry Potter lives in.

That's undoubtable true, but it's not why those stories speak to people, in my opinion. I think Rowling is actually really good at writing characters that we can relate to. Her characters are so wonderfully universal and yet feel specific and not at all generic. We've all met the kinds of students she describes when we were in school. We've all had teachers like the ones she describes. They may be wizards but they are full of real human qualities, both good and bad. They're very rich characters. And Rowling does a really good job of always letting us know why they're doing what they're doing. Some are motivated by greed, some by fear, some by good intentions, some by guilt, etc.

As Chandler says, in Rowling's stories we always know "what the people were after". Knowing what drives a character and how far they will go to get what they want is as much a part of their personality as anything else. We're all driven by different wants and needs at different times and we can relate to characters who are driven by similar wants and needs. Once we can relate to characters, then you can really get an audience to feel empathy for a character and worry about them, or feel full of dread for them, or feel sorry for them or feel happy for that character.

If we create characters that feel false, then the viewer can never really relate to them and it becomes impossible to get the audience to feel anything for that character. We've all seen movies where something terrible happens to the hero, and we should feel awful about it, but instead we're sneaking a peek at our phone to see how much longer until the movie's over.

Yes, the magical world Rowling created is amazing, but imagine if, instead of writing the Harry potter novels, Rowling had simply written a book describing the world of Hogwarts as though it were a catalog for prospective students. Or if she had written a book describing all the locales in Harry's world as though it were an Encyclopedia for wizards. There's no way that book would have ever become as popular as her novels. So the world itself--no matter how interesting--is not the core of the story. An imaginative world is not enough to enthrall an audience. Great characters are key.

The Star Wars universe is another example. There are many, many books describing all the planets and aliens of the Star Wars universe. I'm sure they're imaginative and interesting. But they aren't read an enjoyed nearly as much as the films are watched and enjoyed by audiences. Because the atlases and alien encyclopedias don't have the compelling characters that the films do.

Creating a fascinating world with lots of imagination is a great way to appeal to the intellect of an audience. The audience says to themselves "wow, that's clever." They can admire how interesting the world is, but they're not feeling anything yet. Once you create characters and give them human traits and foibles and problems, then you can appeal to the emotions of an audience, and that's when you can truly get them to invest in your movie and get them to feel joy or despair.

To sum up...don't get me wrong, great characters aren't the only thing that a story needs. Of course a great world for the story to take place in is important. A plot that makes sense is important as well. I just find that--in my opinion--many critics, bloggers and online posters focus too much on plot mechanics and visuals when they're judging a film. I think this happens because those are the most obvious and tangible elements when you're watching a film. Character is deeper and more difficult to talk about, and when it's done well, it can seem so natural that it seems effortless and obvious. But it's not.

Part of why I discuss this stuff all the time is because of my personal experience. People who write films and work in story tend to fall into the trap of focusing too much on plot and the mechanics of the story. We're guilty of the same thing that many critics and bloggers fall into. Plot elements are very tangible and easy to talk about. There's a logic and a concrete nature to the plot events of a story that make them easier to wrestle with and define than character.

Creating unique and interesting characters and digging deep into the psychology of those characters and figuring out why they are driven to do what they do is much, much more challenging. Creating characters that feel real and that are doing things out of real motivation is much harder than just creating a plot and manipulating characters into doing what they need to do to service the plot.

Chandler's plots don't always make a lot of sense (at least as I remember them). On his Wikipedia page, there's an excerpt from a reviewer that described his work as "rambling at best and incoherent at worst". That's about how I remember his books. But his well-defined characters and wonderful sense of atmosphere outshine the weakness of his plots and have kept his work popular with readers.

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1017. I've Just Reread... Pagan's Crusade by Catherine Jinks!

Yesterday, while I was with my mother, I ran out of reading brought with me, so went to my old shelves in what was my room and found my old copy of Pagan's Crusade, the first of five novels in the series. Pagan's Vows, the third book, is the last one with Pagan as the hero. By the fourth book, Pagan's Scribe, he's a middle-aged archdeacon and the story is seen from the viewpoint of his young scribe. By the fifth book, Pagan's Daughter, he's dead and it's seen from the viewpoint of a teenage girl who should never have been born, due to celibacy vows, but her parents were both stressed out at the time and, well, just that once... It's the book that begins with the line, "Oh, no! I've killed the chicken!"

Anyway, it has been many years since I've read Pagan's Crusade and I had forgotten how good it was. I reread it in a single sitting. It's written in very modern English, but that seems to work for Pagan, the streetwise young man who finds himself as squire to Lord Roland, a Templar knight and decent man who at the same time needs looking after and teaches Pagan a thing or two. He's also surprisingly clean for a Templar, as the Templar policy was never to wash, and even in this novel it's mentioned with reference to another character. Maybe it's hard for modern readers to sympathise with a grubby character who's happy to be dirty...

Catherine Jinks is a prolific writer who has done a wide variety of books, from science fiction to ghost stories to eighteenth century adventure that reads like Leon Garfield. This, I think, may have been her first - and a fine start to a writing career it was too!

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1018. Writing Your Story - Non-fiction

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1019. ट्रंप हिलेरी – ट्रंप ने की तारीफ

ट्रंप हिलेरी – ट्रंप ने भारत और मोदी जी की जो तारीफ की वो कितनी सही है या गलत ये अलग मुद्दा है पर राष्ट्रपति पद के रिपब्लिकन उम्मीदवार डोनाल्ड ट्रंप की महिलाओ के प्रति सोच कुछ अलग ही तस्वीर पेश करती है   ट्रंप हिलेरी – ट्रंप ने की तारीफ ट्रंप हिलेरी – का […]

The post ट्रंप हिलेरी – ट्रंप ने की तारीफ appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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1020. पेटीएम कैशबैक – पेटीएम करो, बाय बुआ

पेटीएम कैशबैक  के आजकल ढेरों विज्ञापन दिखाए जा रहे हैं और बहुत आसान भी है इसलिए हर कोई स्मार्ट बनाना चाहता है इसका असर भिखारी पर भी साफ दिखाई दे रहा है पेटीएम कैशबैक – पेटीएम करो, बाय बुआ हर मौके को कैश करो …

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1021. Once, Twice, Thrice

A little girl "reads" to her father at bedtime.  "One mouse, two mouses, three mouses."

So begins my friend's new picture book, "Once, Twice, Thrice" by Kim Chatel.  Like parents everywhere in the English speaking world, the father explains that when you add one mouse to another mouse, you get two mice.  Are two houses called hice, then?

The father daughter duo explore other irregular plurals in this cleverly written and charmingly illustrated book.  Artist Kathleen Bullock picks just the right color palette for a night time tale.

Besides being a sweet bedtime story, this book will be a winner in primary language arts classes and with ESL teachers. 

Click here to get your own copy.

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1022. The first 1000 days

Nowadays we use the term ‘first ‘1000 days’ to mean the time between conception and a child’s second birthday. We know that providing good nutrients and care during this period are key to child development and giving a baby the optimum start in life.

The post The first 1000 days appeared first on OUPblog.

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1023. A drawing a day

Keeps the doctor away?

How about them apples

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1024. The Executioner's Daughter

In  The Excutioner's Daughter  by Jane Hardstaff, Moss is almost 12.  She has lived her whole life in the Tower of London where her father is King Henry VIII's executioner.  Moss's father told her that they must stay in the Tower as punishment for a crime he committed years ago. 

Moss is the basket girl.  She carries the newly chopped off heads from the block to the gates of the Tower where they will be on display.  When she is pressed into service in the kitchen ,she makes friends with the King's latest enemy, an abbot.  The day of the abbot's death, Moss runs away.

In her debut novel, Jane Hardstaff paints a realistic picture of the Tower and the river that flows by it during King Henry VIII's reign. The jacket blurb hints at a touch of fantasy in this otherwise historically accurate book.  The touch of fantasy adds suspense and terror to the sotry of Moss's coming of age.

Moss learns about the flawed nature of people who must struggle to survive.  She also learns about acceptance, love and forgiveness.

The Executioner's Daughter by Jane Hardstaff is a fine book. 

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1025. Art for Autumn

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Watercoloring Fall

Andrew Wyeth, Maine Door, watercolor on paper, 1970, Private Collection

There is something about the fall season that makes for appealing art.  I love a good pumpkin painting or an autumn tree.  I've gathered some paintings, mostly watercolors, that depict the season.  Let's start with a few works by the incredibly skilled and talented Andrew Wyeth from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Happy fall!

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth, Picking Apples, Made of watercolor and charcoal on paper laid down on board
Andrew Wyeth, Picking Apples, watercolor and charcoal on paper on board, 1945

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth, Pumpkin Hill, Made of watercolor and drybrush on paper laid down on board
Andrew Wyeth, Pumpkin Hill, watercolor and drybrush on paper on board, 1977, Private Collection

Theses spooky scenes, by Andrew Wyeth, are perfect for Halloween.
Watercolor and ink on paper painting by Andrew Wyeth (PA/ME, 1917-2009) featured at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries' Summer 2015 Fine Art & Antiques Auction on August 29 & 30
Andrew Wyeth, Bert's Cabin, watercolor and ink on paper, 1947, Private Collection

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth, After Lunch, Made of watercolor, drybrush and pencil on paper
Andrew Wyeth, After Lunch, watercolor, drybrush and pencil on paper, c.1991, Private Collection

Wyeth may or may not shown fall in the painting below.  It definitely captures what it can look like after an autumn rainstorm. Isn't the texture lovely?
Andrew Wyeth, Waldboro Woods, watercolor and gouache on paper, 1947, Private Collection

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth, Carrying Corn, Made of watercolor with traces of pencil on paper
Andrew Wyeth, Carrying Corn, watercolor and pencil on paper, 1933

Corn Shocks and Jump Mountain, 1950 - Pierre Daura
Pierre Daura, Corn Shocks and Jump Mountain, 1950

Autumn Trees, possibly Rockbridge County, Virginia - Pierre Daura
Pierre Daura(1896 -1976)Autumn Trees, possibly Rockbridge County, Virginia

AJ Casson (1898 -1992), a Canadian and part of the group of seven, created these next works of art, some in oils, others in watercolor.  Their graphic quality is similar to that of other artists from the group of seven, artists who worked to capture the beauty of the Canadian landscape. His simplified forms and color palette remind me of Georgia O'Keeffe fall paintings.

AJ Casson, Road at Yantha Lake

Does anyone else think these clouds are pretty spectacular?
AJ Casson, October Storm

Can you believe all the color in this nearly monochromatic painting? 
AJ Casson, Autumn on the York River

AJ Casson, Near Nobel

AJ Casson, Morning Mist- Rouge River

AJ Casson, Tea Lake, Algonquin Park

AJ Casson, Hazy October Morning

Prints of the AJ Casson artworks are available for purchase here.  I am not affiliated with the site or have any experience ordering through it, just thought the images looked interesting.

Hope you enjoyed the fall images.  I've collected a few more-
Another Canadian who worked with the group of seven-

Can you tell I like fall?  I hope you do too.

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