December Offerings – Part XXX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Mark Shasha

In the words of one writer, “Mark Shasha is an Award-winning American artist. He is also an award-winning author and illustrator, an award-winning educator, an actor and a songwriter. His paintings, drawings and prints are found in public and private collections around the world and have appeared in museums and galleries for more than three decades. His children’s books appear regularly on bestseller lists and have been read by millions worldwide.”
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Nobel Laureate: Rudyard Kipling

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.” – Rudyard Kipling, English author and recipient of the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first English-language writer to receive the award and to date its youngest recipient, who was born 30 December 1865.

Some quotes from the work of Rudyard Kipling:

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”
“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”
“I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
“You must learn to forgive a man when he’s in love. He’s always a nuisance.”
“The world is very lovely, and it’s very horrible–and it doesn’t care about your life or mine or anything else.”
“This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.”

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American Art – Part II of VI: Hodges Soileau

In the words of one writer, “painter Hodges Soileau is a native of Southwest Louisiana with a career that has taken him to live in many parts of the country. His Cajun accent is all but gone, but his cultural ties remain strong. His most successful 25 year illustration career has presented him with opportunities to work with major publishing houses in New York City gracing the covers of more than 300 books. Hodges was a 23-year member of the prestigious Society of Illustrators in New York City. During this time, he received many citations of merit for work exhibited in annual shows. He was selected to execute the painting for the Illustrators 29th Annual Call for Entries, and chaired 35 annual exhibitions.”
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Monkee Business – Part I of II: Michael Nesmith

“You can’t get the Monkees back together as a rock’n’roll group. That would be like Raymond Burr opening up a law practice.” – Michael Nesmith, American singer, songwriter, and member of the Monkees, who was born 30 December 1942.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfuBREMXxts

Monkee Business – Part II of II: Davy Jones

“The Monkees are like the mafia. You’re in for life. Nobody gets out.” – Davy Jones, English singer, actor, and dancer, and member of the Monkees, who was born 30 December 1945.

Hungarian Art – Part I of II: Laszlo Gulyas

In the words of one writer, “Born in Budapest, Hungarian painter Laszlo Gulyas graduated at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. Laszlo continued his studies as a student of the Academy of Fine Arts between 1983-1987. He has been member of the National Society of Hungarian Artists since 1987. The artist developed his individual world of images and acquired the painting techniques of the early masters of painting under the influence of the universal art of Rembrandt.
This is what makes him distinct form his contemporaries. He seems to be charmed by the revival of heritage rather than by demolishing the art of painting or by recording its death struggle. In his works he applies the contrastive effects of the light and the shade with brilliant skills. Besides the clear colours his sketching appears to be remarkable. The principal values of his gift are exhibited in his portrays of his family, which are full of vitality and harmony.”

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From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Skeeter Davis

Born 30 December 1931 – Skeeter Davis, an American singer whose best-known hit is “The End of the World” (1963).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgcy-V6YIuI

From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Del Shannon

Born 30 December 1939 – Del Shannon, an American singer and songwriter whose best-known hit is “Runaway” (1961):

Hungarian Art – Part II of II: Istvan Sandorfi

In the words of one writer, “Hungarian painter Istvan [known as Etienne] Sandorfi was born in Budapest in 1948 and died in 2007. His father was director of the American company, IBM, in Hungary. Because of this association he served five years in Stalinist prisons during the Communist regime and his family was deported to an isolated Hungarian village. At the time of the 1956 uprising the Sandorfi family fled the country and became expatriates, first in Germany, then in France. Greatly affected by the violence of the revolution and by the aberration of political systems in general, Istvan took refuge in drawing, and then, at the age of 12, in oil painting.”

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From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Paul Stookey

Born 30 December 1937 – Paul Stookey, an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist best known for being a member of the group Peter, Paul, and Mary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTvr79Oe5w8

From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Jeff Lynne

Born 30 December 1947 – Jeff Lynne, an English singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and member of the Traveling Wilburys.

American Art – Part III of VI: Heather Arenas

Artist Statement: “Art has been a constant for me since I was very little. I studied art through high school but also took 3 years of Latin because my goal was to become an orthopedic surgeon. I took a few classes in college to create balance while I worked on my biology degree. It was not until I was in medical school that I decided I was not cut out for that line of work since it would mean I wouldn’t have time to paint!
When I left school, I tried many different careers including veterinary technician, database architect and alpaca rancher and continued drawing and painting tributes to my experiences. Ultimately it didn’t matter what I did to pay the bills, I still found time to paint. Although I have painted many different subjects, I particularly love figure painting. Anatomy is still my favorite subject. Now that I am older and more settled, I can paint everyday, sometimes on location and often with a live model to keep my skills sharp.
My goal as an artist is to make beautiful art. I study art and techniques constantly to try to make that happen.”
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30 December 1853 – The Gadsen Purchase treaty is signed. In the words of one historian, “The Gadsden Purchase (known as Venta de La Mesilla, or Sale of La Mesilla, in Mexico) is a 29,640-square-mile (76,800 km2) region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the US Senate on April 25, 1854, and signed by President Franklin Pierce, with final approval action taken by Mexico on June 8, 1854. The purchase was the last territorial acquisition in the contiguous United States to add a large area to the country.”

Above – The Gadsden Purchase (shown in yellow with present-day state boundaries and cities).
Below – Territorial expansion of the United States, with the Gadsden Purchase shown in red-orange.
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Tim Gaydos

Artist Statement: “I paint directly from life. For landscapes, this requires working in sometime arduous circumstances often requiring me to walk long distances carrying all my gear. I feel the emotional impact and energy of a place is best captured when one is experiencing it with all one’s senses.
For me, the composition of a painting is its most important technical aspect. The stronger the composition, the greater the impact.
In recent years, I have been moving more and more toward abstracting the landscape by eliminating detail, simplifying shapes, and exaggerating colors with the intent of creating stronger composition. In the studio, I study the paintings and often adjust the compositions. I will then go back to the actual scene and continue to work. This process may go on for some time.”
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Greek painter Pavlos Samios (born 1948) attended workshops at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he studied with famous artists.
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“The sky hides the night behind it, and shelters the people beneath from the horror that lies above.” – Paul Bowles, American expatriate writer, composer, translator, and author of “The Sheltering Sky,” who was born 30 December 1910.

American author Paul Theroux credits his reading of Bowles’s novel “The Sheltering Sky” (1949) for inspiring him to become a travel writer, and Gore Vidal considered the short stories of Paul Bowles to be “among the best ever written by an American.”

Some quotes from the work of Paul Bowles:

“I’ve always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born. Far both geographically and spiritually. To leave it behind … I feel that life is very short and the world is there to see and one should know as much about it as possible. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.”
“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
“The soul is the weariest part of the body.”
“There is a way to master silence
Control its curves, inhabit its dark corners
And listen to the hiss of time outside.”
“Security is a false God. Begin to make sacrifices to it and you are lost.”
“Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely where it was he had felt most at home.”
“Another important difference between tourist and traveler is that the former accepts his own civilization without question; not so the traveler, who compares it with the others, and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking.”

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American Art – Part V of VI: Kim English

In the words of one writer, “Kim English’s award-winning paintings capture the moments of everyday life. Kim, American painter, was born in 1957 in Omaha, Nebraska and raised in a rural community near Colorado Springs. After graduation from the Rocky Mountain School of Art he joined the faculty and later began teaching at the Art Students League of Denver and the Scottsdale Artists School. He has exhibited at the Allied Artists of America, winning the Gold Medal of Honor and won both the Certificate of Merit and the Joseph Hartly Memorial Award at two Salmagundi Club Exhibitions.”
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A Poem for Today

“Almost Nowhere in the World, as Far as Anyone Can Tell,”
By Dick Allen

It is pleasant, very pleasant, to sit at a wooden booth
surrounded by parrots, wheels, right-turning conch shells,
the victory banner and the endless knot,
the lotus, the treasure vase, the golden fishes—
is this not so? Is it not pleasant
to sip Tsingtao beer, or Zhujiang, or Yanjing,
and tap your fingers on the bamboo mats?
After we’ve drunk enough, there will be Buddhist Delight,
Mongolian beef side dishes, a whole host of sauces,
even some pizza and chicken wings if children are present,
as well as the small ice-cream machine, lotus paste, pears,
smiles and bows all around. It is pleasant, is it not,
to linger outside the door that opens to the parking lot
of this small strip mall beside this secondary road
and look upon the scattered cars all come to rest here
like boats in China, floating on a quiet evening tide.
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Jeremy Lipking

In the words of one writer, “Lipking enrolled in the California Art Institute, where he dedicated himself to long hours of drawing and painting, and now teaches his skills in art workshops throughout the country. A versatile painter, Lipking’s artistic output includes landscapes and still lifes, however he feels especially compelled to paint the most classical of artistic subjects, the human figure. By painting his subjects in outdoor settings, Lipking’s paintings are reminiscent of the artists of the nineteenth century naturalist movement, and like those painters, Lipking prefers to work in a cool, limited palette to create his unique sense of mood.”
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