American Art – Part I of III: Jeffrey G. Batchelor
Artist Statement: “After years of working as a theatrical scenic painter, I had a broad command of many different styles, but when I decided to embark upon my fine art painting career, it was realism that proved to be my strong suit. Although time-consuming and labor-intensive, it was always in realism that I found my voice, and in realism that I was able to stand out from the throngs of hopeful artists. I have continued to reach for higher levels of detail, and to show realism in a way that allows the viewer to see and embrace my subjects with an understanding that they might not have had otherwise. I do not use an airbrush, a tool often prized by artists who paint on my level of realism. I have great respect for those artists who use it well, but I myself prefer glazes and blending, and a more tactile involvement with my work.
Conceptually, my work ranges from straight realism to surrealism, and from rectangular canvases to shaped canvas panels that I build, thanks to my extensive training in theatrical scenic construction. In my glass pieces I seek to produce a spectacle of understanding within complexity. Often working with magnifiers, I delineate and define the myriad of reflections and refractions that exist within thick blown and cut crystal – realism for realism’s sake. When realism becomes too constraining for me, I like to reach into surrealism, to take an idea or a concept and develop it with a magical flavor. This allows me to elicit the viewer’s thought processes and visually define a concept, idea, or feeling. When a rectangle becomes constraining, I create shaped panels that I paint in trompe-l’oiel fashion. This gives me endless possibilities for shape and depth illusions.
I have great appreciation for all styles and approaches to painting, but I know what is the truth for me, so, ‘To thine own self be true…’ I am an ultra-realist painter. It is hard. It is a lot of work, and I’ll never be able to create as much as I’d like. However, I must paint to the best of my ability; to do less would be to do dishonor to the gift I’ve been given. I must, at the end of the day, be proud of my work. And I am.”
From the Music Archives: Janis Joplin
“Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable.” – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter and lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company, who was born 19 January 1943.
“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne, influential French Post-Impressionist painter, who was born 19 January 1839.
From the Cinema Archives: Snub Pollard
Died 19 January 1962 – Harry “Snub” Pollard, an American silent film comic actor.
“It’s a Gift” (1923) is the most highly-regarded of Pollard’s short features.
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe, American author, editor, literary critic, and influential poet, who was born 19 January 1809.
“A Dream Within a Dream”
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
American Art – Part II of III: John Mark Gleadow
In the words of one art critic, “Born in 1976, John Mark Gleadow had already achieved gallery representation by the time he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1999. Renowned for his skill as a draftsman and ability for creating hyperrealstic oil paintings, he has gone on to garner various awards, solo shows and grants and has been met with commercial success in the numerous galleries carrying his work from coast to coast in the United States and beyond.
Early influences on the young artist were Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and VerMeer.” In Gleadow’s words, “I fell in love with the beauty of their imagery and have always been in awe of their amazing gift for depicting reality, or their version of it. My desire is that my abilities would be used for creating works that are beautiful and that, when viewed as a whole, convince the viewer not only that what they’re seeing is real but that there’s truth in it. For that reason I find strict photorealism a somewhat unsatisfying undertaking.”
A Poem for Today
By Jennifer Barber
They used to mass
in the crowns of oaks
on every street for blocks around
but have gone elsewhere,
the evening no longer
gathered by their feathers
but by the leaves, which blot
whatever light is left to the sky.
Whether we saw the crows
as a barely worth mentioning
image of death for the way
they took over branches
with perfect authority,
whether, where did I hear it, their
numbers were thinned by disease,
nothing avails. They are
missing, the crackle of wings
against the weight of their flight,
beaks that broke open
broadcasting any scrap of news.
Like our children, they carry off
whole years, like the wind-borne thought
of cries never welcome enough
day or night in our ears.
Spanish Art – Part I of II: Imma Merino
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Spanish painter Imma Merino (born 1964): “Since Imma Merino was a child, she needed to express herself and she resorted to the act of drawing and painting in a natural way. She passed her childhood and youth studying and becoming perfect in an art that she finds enthusiastic. This art offers her a way of expressing all the love she feels for every living thing, and the opportunity of analyzing the spirituality and beauty of what surrounds her.”
“And I to my motorcycle
Parked like the soul of the junkyard
Restored, a bicycle fleshed
With power, and tore off
Up Highway 106 continually
Drunk on the wind in my mouth
Wringing the handlebar for speed
Wild to be wreckage forever.” – From “Cherrylog Road,” by James Dickey, American poet and novelist, who died 19 January 1997.
“The Heaven of Animals”
Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.
Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.
To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.
For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey
May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk
Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain
At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.
Spanish Art – Part II of II: Cesar Prada
Here is one critic describing the background of Spanish painter Cesar Prada: “But the future painter and sculptor (now in the prime artistic coming of age) is a restless, maverick, who feels a deep curiosity before any new experience. For the irresistible call of the horizon of dreams, to plunge into the adventure of the unknown, the adventure of living. Therefore, it is risky not imagine on the streets, at home, in the Garden of Posío exciting learning and assimilating the lesson of life. Ultimately learning the lesson of Scherezade, i.e., save life with the help of art and survive the squalor, mediocrity, and narrowness of each threatening destination.”
A Second Poem for Today
“I Found a 1950s ‘Answer and Color-in Book’,”
By Jennifer Barber
One day the children played
in the kitchen.
in the cellar.
in the yard.
The yard looked like
an island in the sea.
The children forgot their
when a girl taught them
folded paper boats.
Late afternoon, whispering, they lay
in a sandbox.
on the sidewalk.
in the grass.
Each knew the others had
brothers, sisters, dogs.
They traded blood oaths that foretold
American Art – Part III of III: George Yepes
Artist Statement: “I speak with my brush.”
Here is how one writer describes Yepes’ artistry: “When it comes to sheer touch that combines beautiful control over line and brushwork, yet seemingly spontaneous expression, George Yepes is among the best. His darkly romantic excess can’t help but make you think he would have been Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s (1828 – 1882, London, England), equal among the Pre-Raphaelites. But these saints and sinners are hardly a throwback. Yepes’ painting has a visual density and suggestiveness that is as
tantalizing to the intellect as it is arresting for the eye.”
Back to The Pond: Quotes from “Walden” – Part I of III
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
Below – Flowers at Walden Pond.
Back to The Pond: Quotes from “Walden” – Part II of III
“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
Back to The Pond: Quotes from “Walden” – Part III of III
“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”
Below – A replica of Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin at Walden Pond.