Tag Archives: The Library of Catholic Devotion

Ben Stahl, Bob Ross, Stations of the Cross

This is just a tidbit I found interesting. I was falling asleep to a Bob Ross The Joy of Painting Episode the other week, when I saw he had a rather distinguished guest in Ben Stahl. Well, distinguished by the rather extravagant introduction that Ross heaped upon him. The funny part about the episode is Stahl talked all through his painting demonstration and everything he said was basically “everything this hippie behind me has told you for the last several years is wrong.”

And while I agree with a tiny portion of what he contradicted, basically what the two did was quite different. The Alexander/Ross technique for landscape painting produces good results. Although it is one method among many and certain aspects of it are better suited than others. For instance, I always found the buildings to be lacking and messy. On the other hand, if there is a better way to produce clouds I’d be hard pressed to think of what it could be.

Anyway, watching the episode I knew I had encountered the name Ben Stahl before. This guy is famous for something in particular, and I have run across the name before. Well, that was true just that day I had purchased the Library of Catholic Devotion set from 1954 and in the Prayer Book it has the fourteen station of the cross that Stahl was commissioned to paint in the 50’s.

They are quite good although I would not put him up with the masters. Although I would put him above the 20th century.


New Acquisitions

Someone please stop me!!

First pick-up was:

I love C.S. Lewis’s work in general and his theological work in particular (although do I prefer Chesterton over Lewis? hmmm). And how can I pass up a book that contains an essay titled “Fern Seeds and Elephants.”

Second Pic was:

This is from 1954 and is pre-Vatican Two. It has some lovely (and some rather homely) art in it and a wealth of information on many things Catholic: stations of the cross, extreme unction, baptism, the thingamabobs that make up a priests “uniform”, etc, etc.

In the Missal (a thing I still find hard to penetrate conceptually) they give you the years 1954 thru 1972 instead of using a generic system by which you identity which of the possible fourteen calendars you are in for any possible year, say 2017? Can you imagine someone throwing this set out and getting a new one in 1973 because they ran out of years?

Ah, and the smell of the set. That old book smell. I don’t know what it is. Do books that come out now end up with that smell? Is it the ink? This is a closed box set so the aging of the pages and ink and binding is somewhat preserved in a hermetical atmosphere and the tones are that much more sweet. You can’t get that out of a digital book. And they will always be at a loss for it.

But it proves a nice thing to begin the day looking them over.

But as it is I am four weeks into N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God and I am only on page 67. My reading slows to an absolute crawl during allergy season and my waking hours are usually less than sleeping hours.

Of course a crawl is about 200 pages a week, but it has been all fiction as I can’t attain the level of focus required for Wright’s subject at this time. I hope the Cottonwood clears up by next week.

Interestingly, my wife has just recently started to suffer from seasonal allergies and she is hating it. “This is what you have been living under all these years?! I feel as if I’m having a stroke!”

Yeah, love, it sucks big time.