American Art – Part I of IV: Barbara D. Hultmann
“There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel.” – Anthony Trollope, English novelist, who died on 6 December 1882.
Life affords us few more civilized pleasures than to sit in a comfortable chair before a warm fire on a chill winter evening and read “Barchester Towers.”
Born 6 December 1841 – Jean Frederic Bazille, French Impressionist painter whose canvases frequently depict figures situated outdoors within a landscape. Bazille preferred to paint en plein air, because, in the words of one critic, “He believed that light was inseparable from the object it illuminated, so to capture the light at a precise moment, he worked from direct observation.”
“Know, or listen to those who know.” – Baltasar Gracian, Spanish cleric, author of “The Art of Worldly Wisdom,” and philosopher whose writings were admired by both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, who died on 6 December 1658.
Some quotes from Baltasar Gracian:
“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.”
“Don’t show off every day, or you’ll stop surprising people. There must always be some novelty left over. The person who displays a little more of it each day keeps up expectations, and no one ever discovers the limits of his talent.”
“Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.”
“The wise does at once what the fool does at last.”
“Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.”
“Never have a companion that casts you in the shade.”
“Always leave something to wish for; otherwise you will be miserable from your very happiness.”
“Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.”
“A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”
“Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong.”
“A beautiful woman should break her mirror early.”
“Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose.”
“Quit while you’re ahead. All the best gamblers do.”
“A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.”
“Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.”
“Even knowledge has to be in the fashion, and where it is not, it is wise to affect ignorance.”
“Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.”
“Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.”
“It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it.
Let the first impulse pass, wait for the second.”
“Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets.”
“True knowledge lies in knowing how to live.”
“Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration. She soon tires of carrying any one long on her shoulders.”
“Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.”
“It is better to have too much courtesy than too little, provided you are not equally courteous to all, for that would be injustice.”
“It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.”
“It is good to vary in order that you may frustrate the curious, especially those who envy you.”
“Let him that hath no power of patience retire within himself, though even there he will have to put up with himself.”
“Little said is soon amended. There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.”
“Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.”
“One must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity.”
“Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.”
“Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.”
“Work is the price which is paid for reputation.”
“The things we remember best are those better forgotten.”
Born 6 December 1890 – Rudolf Schlichter, a German artist.
“Rooftop Studio”; “Dance Scene in a Bar”; “Gilded Youth”; “Speedy Schlichter”;”Woman with Tie.”
6 December 1933 – U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey rules that James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” is not obscene.
American Art – Part II of IV: Joseph Piccillo
In the words of one writer, “Joseph Piccillo’s meticulous charcoal and graphite drawings and paintings reveal an exquisite draftsmanship tempered by emotional sensitivity. Piccillo presents an action-based assemblage of images and symbols by combining dancers, horses, divers, and sometimes mysterious and arbitrarily placed figures producing a surreal effect. His compositional logic, for example, contrasts the gracefully elongated ballerinas to the compressed and invigorated musculature of horses and divers. Piccillo’s horse series details anatomical studies from varying angles of the horse as ‘supreme beast’ while also reflecting a classic homage to their heroism. In short, Piccillo’s charcoal and graphite drawings reveal the mind of a master draftsman at work.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Lead Belly
“The blues is like this. You lay down some night and you turn from one side of the bed to the other: all night long. It’s not too cold in that bed, and it ain’t too hot. But what’s the matter? The blues has got you.” – Lead Belly, American folk and blues musician, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist, who died on 6 December 1949.
From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Mike Smith
Born 6 December 1943 – Mike Smith, English singer, songwriter, keyboard player, and member of The Dave Clark Five.
From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Headman Tshabalala
Died 6 December 1991 – Headman Tshabalala, South African singer and an original member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Born in Naples in 1953, Gianni Strino studied Fine Art at the acclaimed Naples Art Institute, winning the medal for the best graduate artist in 1970. After completing his studies in the Neapolitan Artistic Lyceum, he briefly enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture, but soon decided to devote himself to the pictorial arts.
From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Roy Orbison
“Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight.” – Roy Orbison, American singer, songwriter, and balladeer whose remarkable voice caused one critic to dub him “the Caruso of Rock,” who died on 6 December 1988.
From the Cinema Archives – Part I of II: William S. Hart
Born 6 December 1864 – William S. Hart, American silent film actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and prototypical hero of the Western movie genre.
Hart was a successful Shakespearean actor on the stages of both Broadway and London before his fascination with the Old West (he was friends with Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson) convinced him to begin a career in films, a decision that quickly elevated him to stardom. The man and his work deserve to be better known, particularly among fans of classic Westerns.
From the Cinema Archives – Part II of II: Janet Munro
Died 6 December 1972 – Janet Munro, an English actress.
Janet Munro portrayed Anne Pilgrim in the 1958 science fiction classic “The Trollenberg Terror” (released as “The Crawling Eye” in the United States).
A Poem for Today
By Emily Rosko
Everywhere is a nowhere,
and here we are
in the middle of it.
For as long as we
could we galloped through
the cross-hatched daisies,
threw out our lungs
from the limestone
bluffs. The streams ran
long with a clay-jammed
soft bottom. Flood plains
turned for the richest
yield. It stunk high-fish,
green enough to breathe.
Sky was all
circumference, bell, or
curve, or big empty.
As with you. The husk-
American Art – Part III of IV: John Wellington
Artist Statement: ”Ever since I can remember I have created my own world through drawing and painting. As a child it was a way I could leave the real world for a little while and have some control over the feelings I experienced. Today I still create worlds with my art, but now they reveal the many contradictory aspects of my hidden self.
The purest themes of my work have been the passing of life and the sensuous and erotic aspects of devotion. My still-lifes and portraits are often composed as shrines or altars. Contrast is an important aspect of my work and I take a diverse collection of objects—turned fruit, religious symbols, erotic images, historical works of art—and bring them together. Although the objects can have a specific purpose when seen on their own, as I paint, their meanings change. An objectified pin-up of a woman might become a muse or goddess and a Buddha might transform into a lustful and happy man. When all the different objects are placed together, a new story unfolds. Occasionally the meanings are clear to me from the outset, but more often they evolve with the paintings.
The technical qualities of my work are an anachronism in the 21st Century. In a world that becomes increasingly digitized, I realize how important the act of painting is for me. I am inspired by the physical qualities of the paint, by the surfaces of copper and wood panel, and by the magic of seeing the painting develop over weeks and months.
The focus of my paintings often shifts with the changes in my life. The process is the art. At times my work has been classical, claustrophobic, fetishistic, beautiful, vulgar, architectural, humorous, morbid, decorative, and sexual. Sometimes it is all of these at once.
Painting for me is a devotional profession. At the best of moments I paint in an enlightened state. This is how I felt as a child.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Walking with My Delaware Grandfather,”
By Denise Low
Walking home I feel a presence following
and realize he is always there
that Native man with coal-black-hair who is
my grandfather. In my first memories
he is present, mostly wordless,
resident in the house where I was born.
My mother shows him the cleft in my chin
identical to his. I am swaddled
and blinking in the kitchen light. So
we are introduced. We never part.
Sometimes I forget he lodges in my house still
the bone-house where my heart beats.
I carry his mother’s framework
a sturdy structure. I learn his birthright.
I hear his mother’s teachings through
what my mother said of her:
She kept a pot of stew on the stove
all day for anyone to eat.
She never went to church but said
you could be a good person anyway.
She fed hoboes during the ‘30s,
her back porch a regular stop-over.
Every person has rights no matter
what color. Be respectful.
This son of hers, my grandfather,
still walks the streets with me.
Some twist of blood and heat still spark
across the time bridge. Here, listen:
Air draws through these lungs made from his.
His blood still pulses through this hand.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Rodney Wood
Artist Statement: “These paintings represent a body of work that came about after a major shift in my artistic mission. Long a sculptor and jeweler with forays into printmaking, photography and drawing, a series of amazing circumstances compelled me to experiment with painting. This journey was also motivated by the desire to make work that is less temporal, more universal and that might challenge current art trends. The tendency for many academic and institutional venues continues to be the presentation and celebration of work that is dominated by conceptual art, technology and/or new media. This pattern makes the ideals of Post Modernism one of the longest lived paradigms in western art history. Perhaps the most unconventional, challenging and edgy work a living contemporary artist could create would be realistic oil painting or marble sculpture with a spiritual or emotional theme.
Our world is dominated by technology and speed. Supposed new ideas are honored above not only emotion but vision. When a tool or technique along with intellectualism becomes the “art”, it has lost it’s soul. Many artists like to say that “art is process”, while I understand the concept, I find that to be very selfish and short-sighted because it excludes the viewer. Part of my objective is to bridge the gap between art/artist and the beholder – to do so in a respectful yet unique manner is paramount. Paintings about painting or technique are craft not art. If a someone looks at my paintings and is engaged by the technical skill more than the content or message, I have failed.”