Friday, March 02, 2012

Arty Farty Friday ~ Two March 3rd Birthdays: Ceramicist Beatrice Wood & Cartoonist Ronald Searle

Two characters from the art world, would both have celebrated birthdays tomorrow, 3 March. Both lived long, varied and productive lives, one to age 105, the other 91:

Born in San Francisco, USA, Beatrice Wood
(March 3, 1893 – March 12, 1998)
Artist, potter, ceramicist.

Born in Cambridge, UK, Ronald Searle CBE
(3 March 1920 – 30 December 2011)

First a brief outlines of their lives, and their natal charts follow.


Paragraph from a book description at Amazon, relating to Beatrice Wood's Autobiography, I Shock Myself~
Beatrice Wood's Life was extraordinary in every way, from earliest childhood, when her dominating Victorian mother realized she "wasn't like the rest of them," to her still productive life at ninety-five in California's Ojiai Valley. Rebellious, radical and romantic, Beatrice Wood was determined to be an artist. She fled to Paris for several bohemian seasons as a painter and actress, then returned to New York where she fell into the loving clutches of two Frenchmen: Henri-Pierre Roche, the author of Jules and Jim, and Marcel Duchamp, the iconoclastic Dadaist. Her promising youth was followed by a disastrous marriage, financial woes and a debilitating physical affliction; but in 1933, at the age of forty, she discovered the passion that would change her life: pottery. One of America's acclaimed ceramicists, Beatrice Wood shared the intriguing details of her unconventional life in I Shock Myself.

Three examples of her fine work, more can be seen via Google Image.


Information taken from obituaries of Ronald Searle from BBC and The GuardianSearle Obit BBC

For many Searle's cartoon adventures depicting the tearaway girls' school St Trinian's, with their black humour, something fairly new in 1950s Britain, defined the cartoonist's career, in fact though they occupied only five years of his life.

Searle's terrible World War II experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese, after being captured in 1942 during army service in Singapore, were less widely known.
He spent the rest of the war in appalling, lethal conditions, at first in prison, then as a forced labourer, building the Burma Railway in Thailand.

He later said that what he witnessed as a prisoner of war marked him for life. "I was in conditions of total isolation, total brutality - it was slavery. I woke up day after day with men dead on each side of me."

Searle, a published cartoonist since teenage, made hundreds of small sketches of the squalor and misery of life in the Japanese camps, having to hide them, sometimes under bodies of sick and dying men.

Amazingly he survived the war, and was able to slowly regain his health and strength, and to begin cartooning in earnest, supplying famous magazines of the time such as Punch and The Strand, and later with his St Trinians and Molesworth books and cartoons. I have copies of two of his non-Trinian/Molesworth books: Searle's Zodiac and Searle's Cats, both of which are a constant delight.

Having separated from his wife and family in England, in 1961 Searle went to live in France - Paris, then Provence. He later married again, and remained in Provence until his death in late December 2011.

Searle "created an alternative to the conformity of Harold Macmillan's Britain", said his publisher Simon Winder. "He gave Britain in the 1950s particularly a sense of anarchy. He was extraordinarily sceptical about all forms of authority [and] there's something just astonishingly anarchic about Molesworth and St Trinian's," said Winder. "That's why they have appealed to so many generations."

These illustrations are used, with Fair Use Guidelines in mind, as examples and expalantion of the artist's style and are not intended to infringe copyright.

The first two are scanned from my own copy of Searle's Zodiac

From Searle's Cats

And this from

Varied selection of Searle's works at Perpetua, a Ronald Searle Tribute


I've shown both charts as at 12 noon. Astrodatabank gives 1.45pm for Ronald Searle, but with only a "C" rating, so not to be trusted. That time of birth would put Leo ascending, with Jupiter/Neptune close to ascendant degree - a little too convenient? For a brief look at these charts 12 noon will show planetary positions, apart from that of Moon. Moon for Ms Wood would have been in late Virgo to early Libra, Mr Searle's Moon late-ish Leo or early Virgo if born later than 10 PM.

The only common factors in Searle's and Wood's charts are their Pisces Sun and Aquarius Venus. Uranus makes an harmonious trine to Ms Wood's natal Sun, and manifested in her unconventional lifestyle. In Mr Searle's chart Uranus is just 10 degrees from his natal Sun, a wide conjunction, but Uranus's eccentricities are easily seen reflected in all Searle cartoons.

In Beatrice Wood's chart there's a Yod (Finger of Fate) which brings to mind a quote of hers: "Very few people know how to work. Inspiration, everyone has inspiration, that's just hot air."

The Yod links the sextile (60*) between her natal Sun (self) and Mars(energy, dynamism) to Saturn (work and discipline) by quincunx aspect (150*).

In Ronald Searle's chart there's a Grand Trine - a triangular configuration: three 120* aspects form a harmonious linkage between, in Mr Searle's case, his natal Sun and Uranus (self and out-of-the-ordinary style) to Mars (energy, dynamism, and in this case perhaps his war experiences) and Pluto (darkness, intensity, death, and maybe here, again his war experiences).


Anonymous said...

GP: Why would Searle present Aquarius as I see it in the form of a "soaked, shabby rat"? Is it his Venus in Aquarius, opposed by three planets in Leo, by sign at least???

PS: A bit of a thrilling news out of Arizona ( etc.).

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~

LOL! I think it's a dog rather than a rat, GP. In his book the Aquarius pages have cartoons of a woman pouring water from an urn over the dog, who holds out a glass with a despairing look on his face. And second page has the poor old dog staggering from the sea carrying 2 buckets of water. Just plays on the "water carrier" symbol of Aquarius. I don't mind being represented by a dog though, they're loyal and loving....

Thank you for the pointer to Sheriff Joe's stuff about the President's birth certificate - AGAIN. This will just not go away! It keeps coming back (like a dissonant song) in different guises, pushed by different individuals.

This sheriff could be seeking to deflect interest from his own rather iffy conduct during this time period when he seeks re-election.

I don't know.

I just can't see this going anywhere though GP. If there truly is something yet to be uncovered in Obama's background, it'll stay well and truly covered, he will have too many helpers among the real Powers That Be - the ones who helped him to the position he now occupies.

Anonymous said...

GP: Just for sports (astrological, that is): When Trump, an equal fighting a similar bluffer, called for O's birth-certificate being released (mid March 2011), Mars was at 14 degr. Pisces, exactly opposing Michele Obama's Pluto. Today Mars (R) is conjunct her Pluto.

May be that the powers as you say knew all along about the true birth place of O. but found it convenient to have him at the Whit House, even receiving a Nobel Price, as that's a supreme way to be able to manipulate!

However, O. humiliated Trump so badly at the Press event that he (and other lesser ones not accepted by the "powers") may come back with a revenge!

And there you may get (finally) some movement which I know you're hoping for.

Twilight said...

Anon/Gian Paul ~~~ Nothing much would surprise me these days, GP!
It'll be interesting to note exactly how this latest effort is forced to bite the dust - or not.

Christina said...

Hey, thanks for introducing me to Beatrice Wood. What a woman - and what an advertisement for the mid-life career change!

Twilight said...

Christina ~~ Yes, true - a real "force of nature"!

JD said...

In case you haven't seen it, there is piece about Searle in the Maily Dail today-

Twilight said...

JD ~~ Thank you - I hadn't see that piece, and probably wouldn't have. Nice one! :-)