American Art – Part I of V: Oliver Bulman, The Early Years
Here is one critic describing the early life and career of Oliver Bulman (1904-1978): “Orville Bulman, a self-taught mid-twentieth century modern artist, was born in 1904 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A year later his father, Elvah O. Bulman, invented what was to become a long line of ingenious products, a twine holder and dispenser. Subsequently, Elvah (or E. O. as he was called) continued to create dispensers and cutters for virtually all goods that could be rolled up. Before long, the Bulman Paper Cutter became de rigueur for any self-respecting grocery or dry goods establishment in the early 1900s. Bulman was expected to carry on the hugely successful family business, which dutifully, he did. After graduating from Grand Rapids Central High School, however, he traveled to Chicago for one year to work as a newspaper cartoonist before entering the business world.
While helping his father run the company, Bulman’s true artistic calling was too loud for him to ignore. After devoting himself to the corporation in the twenties and thirties, he exhibited at New York’s Society of Independent Artists in 1937 and for a short time around 1948 exhibited with the Woodstock Art Colony. In the late 1940s he was painting New York City social realist paintings as well as dark, haunting pictures of old barns and churches.
Bulman’s life in Palm Beach, Florida, began around 1946 when he, after sustaining recurring injuries to his neck, began to spend the winters in that small affluent town. Although he was in traction intermittently for eight years, he was still able to paint, and he took advantage of being away from the company to devote himself to his art. He adopted Palm Beach as his second home, exhibited frequent one-man shows at the renowned Worth Avenue Gallery, and traveled extensively throughout Florida, Louisiana and Alabama to paint African-American inspired genre scenes. These poignant paintings of the segregated south (especially the Florida scenes) brought national attention to his art.”
American Art – Part II of V: Orville Bulman, The Inspired Years
Here is one critic describing the event that transformed the career of self-taught artist Orville Bulman: “During the early 1950s, while painting regionalist scenes of American country and southern life, Bulman happened to see pictures of Haiti and admired the island’s style, verve and gracefully trimmed houses with lacy appliqué carved wood. Painting seven imaginative works inspired by photographs, he subsequently visited Haiti for the first time in March of 1952, and traveled to other Caribbean islands during the 1950s as well. Bulman loved Haiti and its people and felt that they were the best inspiration for further work. He lived with the islanders in the rustic hills for a time and felt like he was a part of their village, deeply experiencing their religion, humor and lifestyle and respecting their way of life far better than other Americans. They loved his art and encouraged him to continue creating his whimsical scenes of elegant women and men and playful children.”
American Art – Part III of V: Mark Beard
In the words of one writer, “Mark Beard (born 1956) works in prints, paint, and as a sculptor, in addition to being a noted stage set designer. His portraits, nudes, bronzes, and handcrafted books are exhibited all over the world.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Romare Bearden
“If you’re any kind of artist, you make a miraculous journey, and you come back and make some statements in shapes and colors of where you were.” – Romare Bearden, African-American artist and writer, who was born 2 September 1911.
According to one critic, “Frank Gardner was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1986 with a BFA in painting. A desire to find true inspiration for his paintings eventually led him to Mexico in 1990. His studio is in San Miguel de Allende, where he resides with his wife and daughter.”
“Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go;
Or else, were this not so,
What need to chain the hours,
For Youth were always ours?
Time goes, you say?-ah no!” – From “The Paradox of Time,” by Austin Dobson, English poet and essayist, who died 2 September 1921.
“To A Greek Girl”
With breath of thyme and bees that hum,
Across the years you seem to come,—
Across the years with nymph-like head,
And wind-blown brows unfilleted;
A girlish shape that slips the bud
In lines of unspoiled symmetry;
A girlish shape that stirs the blood
With pulse of Spring, Autonoe!
Where’er you pass,—where’er you go,
I hear the pebbly rillet flow;
Where’er you go,—where’er you pass,
There comes a gladness on the grass;
You bring blithe airs where’er you tread,—
Blithe airs that blow from down and sea;
You wake in me a Pan not dead,—
Not wholly dead!—Autonoe!
How sweet with you on some green sod
To wreathe the rustic garden-god;
How sweet beneath the chestnut’s shade
With you to weave a basket-braid;
To watch across the stricken chords
Your rosy-twinkling fingers flee;
To woo you in soft woodland words,
With woodland pipe, Autonoe!
In vain,—in vain! The years divide:
Where Thames rolls a murky tide,
I sit and fill my painful reams,
And see you only in my dreams;—
A vision, like Alcestis, brought
From under-lands of Memory,—
A dream of Form in days of Thought,—
A dream,—a dream, Autonoe!
Italian Art – Part I of II: Luca Alinari
Luca Alinari (born 1943) lives and works in Florence.
Italian Art – Part II of II: Davide Puma
“Joy to you, we’ve won. Joy to you.” – The last words of Pheidippides, hero of ancient Greece who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a military victory against the Persians, who died 2 September 490 B.C.E. (traditional date).
Below – Statue of Pheidippides along the Marathon Road.
British Art – Part I of II: Jane Lewis
Artist Statement: “I do not dream, my paintings are waking dreams. The pictures are a personal narrative of visual, musical and physical obsessions.”
In the words of one writer, “Jane was born in London in 1953 and attended Hornsey College of Art and the Slade.”
British Art – Part II of II: Helen Masacz
In the words of one critic, “Helen Masacz (born 1968) is a painter with a growing reputation, having been selected for exhibition in the BP Awards at the National Portrait Gallery in 2004 after completing a BA Honors in Fine Art, and she was selected again in 2010. She lives and works in London.”
“Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.” – Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, founder of logotherapy (a form of existential analysis), and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning,” who died 2 September 1997.
Some quotes from the work of Viktor Frankl:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.”
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
Died 2 September 1996 – Emily Kame Kngwarreye, an Australian Aboriginal artist.
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Juan Carlos Martinez
In the words of one writer, “Juan Carlos Martínez is an award-winning artist living in Toronto, Canada, whose work has been featured in various publications and exhibitions around the world. He was trained classical atelier and works in what is now considered the classical realist tradition. Juan studied in Toronto, Canada, and Florence, Italy, under the tutelage of master painter, M. John Angel. Prior to that period he had been, among other things, a lawyer, but gave up that life to pursue his vocation as a professional classical painter.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Arthur Lismer
In the words of one writer, “Arthur Lismer was an English-Canadian painter, known for his involvement in the Group of Seven. Lismer was born in Sheffield, England. As a child, he worked at a photo engraving company, which peaked his interest in the arts. Lismer received a scholarship to take courses at the Sheffield School of Arts. In 1905 Lismer moved to Belgium to study art full-time at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Before the Group of Seven became fully developed, Lismer spent some years moving around Canada. Lismer worked at the Victoria School of Art and Design in British Columbia and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. In 1918 Lismer returned to Toronto, where he became the vice-president of the Ontario College of Art and Design.”
A Poem for Today
“Whose Mouth Do I Speak With”
By Suzanne Rancourt
I can remember my father bringing home spruce gum.
He worked in the woods and filled his pockets
with golden chunks of pitch.
For his children
he provided this special sacrament
and we’d gather at this feet, around his legs,
bumping his lunchbox, and his empty thermos rattled inside.
Our skin would stick to Daddy’s gluey clothing
and we’d smell like Mumma’s Pine Sol.
We had no money for store bought gum
but that’s all right.
The spruce gum
was so close to chewing amber
as though in our mouths we held the eyes of Coyote
and how many other children had fathers
that placed on their innocent, anxious tongue
the blood of tree?