If words can’t say it all, art and music can. Visual art speaks through its subjects and textures; music can awaken our deepest emotions.

But in the case of a Valentine’s program Feb. 12 at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, a storyteller’s words will say it. Dolores Hydock will share some tender and true stories about passion and heartbreak in history, centering on lovers more romantic and frantic than we could ever imagine.

Leonard Bernstein program rescheduled

Michael Gagliardo’s presentation on “One Hundred Years of Leonard Bernstein” at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County is now planned for Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. The program was rescheduled due to the threat of snow on Jan. 27.

The theme for the Knox Concerts program on Feb. 16 by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra is a tribute to Bernstein, who was a celebrated conductor, composer and pianist.

Gagliardo is director of the Etowah Youth Orchestras and has given several programs on music at the library. His most recent focus was “Poets of Rock and Roll.”

‘Fools for Love’ storytelling Feb. 12

There’s no telling what people will do when Cupid’s arrows make mischief! “Fools for Love,” a program by storyteller Dolores Hydock, is a fun look at a fascinating time in history, and a reminder that as long as there are people — even as far back as 300 B.C. — there will always be fools for love.

Take a peek between the covers of a history book, between the covers of an artist’s portfolio, and under the covers of a scandalous secret marriage. The program is part fun facts from history, part royal scandal, part true romance, and part foolishness.

As these true stories show, people do all kinds of strange things for love. There are also funny, sweet and surprising stories about fads of the time, like mouse fur wigs and engraved toothpick cases.

The program is on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Originally from Reading, Pa., Hydock now lives in Birmingham. She has performed in concerts, festivals and special events across the U.S. The storyteller’s 10 CDs with original stories have received awards from Storytelling World magazine. While her past jobs — a blues DJ, a teacher of Cajun dancing, a computer sales representative and a house parent in a center for juvenile delinquents — have led her on a strange path, they have supplied material for her narratives, she said.

Art exhibit in OPAC gallery

James Brantley’s paintings on display in the art gallery at Oxford Performing Arts Center do not have hidden meanings or agendas, the Opelika artist said. Working in watercolor, oil and egg tempera (paint made by mixing finely ground colored powders with egg yolk), his pieces mirror the people, landscapes and animals that he has found especially fascinating.

 “I just paint what I like,” he said.

Yet his collection does have a message for this viewer: taking time to observe — rather than simply looking — at people and places results in discovering that the South, Brantley’s favorite region, has more attractions than we know about. And there are more aspects to each subject than meets the eye.

Here are a few of Brantley’s paintings that I enjoyed seeing:

“The Basket Maker,” a watercolor of a man he met in an Opelika crafts show. “He had retired from farming and was then making baskets for his livelihood,” Brantley said. “He was, it seemed to me, from a bygone era. He had learned his craft from his father. This man was so interesting.”

“The Girl in Blue,” a portrait of a one of Brantley’s students. Her hands holding her coat close to her body suggest the chill of a winter day

“The Little Boy,” a portrait of the artist’s grandson. The pencil drawing recalls the day when the two went hiking on Mount Cheaha.

A grist mill in Smoky Mountains State Park — which still grinds corn — is reflected in “The Small House.” Brantley was at Mingus Mill, a historic site in North Carolina, when he painted this watercolor. “It was truly a different kind of thing to see,” he said. “I stayed there a long time.”

Two painters Brantley admires in art history are Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) and Antonio Allegri Caravaggio (1573-1610).

Vermeer established a reputation as the greatest colorist among the Dutch painters in his century. His forms, especially of people in interiors, illuminated by sunlight often present moral allegories. His style is described as “quiet and examining,” according to “The Encyclopedia of Art” by Rosalind Ragans.

Italian artist Caravaggio was one of the originators of Baroque style. In his highly dramatic, almost theatrical, compositions he reproduced his subjects with careful detail to the textures of objects and their glowing surfaces.

A violent man in life and art, he was not one of the leading painters of his day. His portrayal of real people and real life and powerful use of light and shadow had a direct influence on painters of the next 300 years, and he is known now as a pioneer of his style, according to “Masters of Painting” by Bernardine Kielty.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.

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