American Art – Part I of II: Renee McGinnis
In the words of one critic, “These paintings are so well – executed that we have to admire McGinnis’ commitment to both ideas and technique, a breath of fresh air in an art world that is long on conceptual whimsy and short on craft.
McGinnis claims that she aims through her paintings to help us ‘gain self knowledge, so we can better protect ourselves and our planet.'”
“Failure: the renewable resource.” – Kay Ryan, American poet, educator, and recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “The Best of It: New and Selected Poems”), who was born 21 September 1945.
“A Certain Kind of Eden”
It seems like you could, but
you can’t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’s all too deep for that.
You’ve overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you’re given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them—
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,
twisting back down its upward course
a strong and then a stronger rope,
the greenest saddest strongest
kind of hope.
From the Music Archives: Leonard Cohen
Born 21 September 1934 – Leonard Cohen, a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist.
“With what heart am I sitting
– serene and unperturbed –
Contemplating the death of water, air and plant?
The death of life?” - From “Repressed Rage,” by Fereydoon Moshiri, prominent Persian poet, who died 21 September 2000.
From the realm of sea
With maternal love
Rushed to sandy shores,
Round the sand she turned
Washed away the gloom
Off its dusty face,
“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher and author of “The World as Will and Representation,” who died 21 September 1860.
Some quotes from the work of Arthur Schopenhauer:
“Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”
“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”
“We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.”
“The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.”
“A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man.”
“Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability.”
According to one writer, “Peter Randall-Page was born in the UK in 1954 and studied sculpture at Bath Academy of Art (1973-77) and is one of Britain’s foremost artists. During the last 25 years his sculpture, drawings and prints have been exhibited widely in the UK and elsewhere.”
“No one really wants to admit they are lonely, and it is never really addressed very much between friends and family. But I have felt lonely many times in my life.” –Bill Murray, American actor, producer, comedian, and screenwriter, who was born 21 September 1950.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of French ceramicist Hilda Soyer: “As a child, inspired by my mother and grandmother artists themselves, the world of creation was an attraction at … As my existence, it became obvious, a necessity. Lulled by the stories of my childhood home, the fairy world has always enchanted me.
This enchantment was born my desire to shape, sculpt the characters in my imagination. Earth allows me to give them life.
Then more and more attracted to sculpture and ceramics, I did two years of training workshops with ‘Earth and Fire’ to perfect my knowledge and technique.”
“It does not require many words to speak the truth.” – Chief Joseph, Native American leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce tribe, who died 21 September 1904.
Some quotes from the work of Chief Joseph:
“I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.”
“The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.”
“Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself — and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.”
“Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we shall have no more wars. We shall all be alike, brothers of one father and one mother with one sky above us and one country around us and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers’ hands upon the face of the Earth.”
“We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them. They were not; and would change the rivers and mountains if they did not suit them.”
“The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same.”
“The Earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was. The country was made with no lines of demarcation, and it’s no man’s business to divide it. I see the whites all over the country gaining wealth, and I see the desire to give us lands which are worthless.
The Earth and myself are of one mind. Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the creator, I might he induced to think you had a right to dispose of me.
Do not misunderstand me; but understand me fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I choose. The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to return to yours.
Brother, we have listened to your talk coming from our father, the Great White Chief in Washington, and my people have called upon me to reply to you.
The winds which pass through these aged pines we hear the moaning of departed ghosts, and if the voice of our people could have been heard, that act would never have been done. But alas though they stood around they could neither be seen nor heard. Their tears fell like drops of rain.
I hear my voice in the depths of the forest but no answering voice comes back to me. All is silent around me. My words must therefore be few. I can now say no more. He is silent for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.”
“From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more, forever.”
Born 21 September 1957 – Ethan Coen, an Academy Award-winning American director, producer, screenwriter, and editor, who was born 21 September 1957.
A Poem for Today
“Walking the Marshland,”
By Stephen Dunn
It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,
Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.
The girls liked saying the words,
egret, whooping crane, and they liked
when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier
and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,
the gnats and black flies
weren’t out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn’t risen
from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.
I loved these girls. The world
awaited their beauty and beauty
is what others want to own.
I’d keep that
to myself. The obvious
was so sufficient just then.
Blackbird. “Yes,” I said.
American Art – Part II of II: R. J. Clark
Artist Statement: “Every painting or drawing is a new beginning for me: each a new project, perhaps a new direction, a new way to paint, or sketch, or draw. I paint still lifes, figures, landscapes, and ‘pool paintings.’ I’m just as likely to jump from a landscape to a portrait or a still life. Even though I often work on series they usually span several years and are interrupted by detours to other themes or series.
Regardless of theme or medium, I am always obsessed with detail. Even when I view work by others I find myself focusing on individual brush strokes or pencil lines. I often start a painting using large brushes but soon I find myself rifling through cans looking for the smallest ones. I spend hours fretting over detail and repeatedly return to the same areas of a painting so that I can rework them. Detail takes time. Progress is slow. Each work starts out exciting, then turns aggravating then becomes exciting once again. The trick is to finish a work while things are exciting. Pencil takes time and it smears. Watercolor is nerve wracking as there is little room for correction and every stroke is final. Oil is tedious, sometimes a chemistry experiment, but it allows for correction and the vibrant nature of oil paint is exciting and adds life to the canvas.