American Art – Part I of III: Jeannie Vodden
Artist Statement: “I love painting the complex textures, forms and patterns found in nature. The scales of a reptile, the random branches of a nest, the tousled hair of a young child, a dried leaf, are some of my favorites. It’s fun to compare and contrast man-made textures. A few I’ve attempted are: a crocheted scarf, the floral print in the folds of a woman’s dress, a glass vase. And when I add beautiful, natural light it changes the whole look and feel of each surface and pattern, overlaying complexity and changing form.”
“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.” – Jules Verne, French novelist, poet, playwright, author of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and “Around the World in Eighty Days,” and one of the fathers of science fiction literature, who was born 8 February 1828.
Some quotes from the work of Jules Verne:
“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.”
“We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read.”
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite. ”
“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.”
“We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.”
“Reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them.”
“If there were no thunder, men would have little fear of lightning.”
“The earth does not need new continents, but new men.”
“The human mind delights in grand conceptions of supernatural beings.”
“It seems wisest to assume the worst from the beginning…and let anything better come as a surprise.”
Born 8 February 1880 – Franz Marc, a German painter, printmaker, and a key figure of the Expressionist movement in Germany.
Below – “Large Blue Horses”; “Fighting Forms”; “The Bewitched Mill”; “The Fate of the Animals”; “Yellow Cow”; “Deer in the Forest”; “Dog Lying in the Snow”; “Little Blue Horse”; “Tiger.”
“It is only those who do nothing who make no mistakes.” – Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin, Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, philologist, economist, activist, anarcho-communist, geographer, writer, and author of “Fields, Factories, and Workshops,” who died 8 February 1921.
Some quotes from the work of Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin:
“Prisons are universities of crime, maintained by the state.”
“The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.”
“Men passionately desire to live after death, but they often pass away without noticing the fact that the memory of a really good person always lives. It is impressed upon the next generation, and is transmitted again to the children. Is that not an immortality worth striving for? ”
“Do not the bewitching power of all studies lie in that they continually open up to us new, unsuspected horizons, not yet understood, which entice us to proceed further and further in the penetration of what appears at first sight only in vague outline?”
“America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.”
“It often happens that men pull in a certain political, social, or familiar harness simply because they never have time to ask themselves whether the position they stand in and the work they accomplish are right; whether their occupations really suit their inner desires and capacities, and give them the satisfaction which everyone has the right to expect from his work. Active men are especially liable to find themselves in such a position. Every day brings with it a fresh batch of work, and a man throws himself into his bed late at night without having completed what he had expected to do; then in the morning he hurries to the unfinished task of the previous day. Life goes, and there is no time left to think, no time to consider the direction that one’s life is taking. So it was with me.”
“Throughout the history of our civilisation, two traditions, two opposed tendencies, have been in conflict: the Roman tradition and the popular tradition, the imperial tradition and the federalist tradition, the authoritarian tradition and the libertarian tradition.”
Died 8 February 1935 – Max Liebermann, a German Impressionist painter and graphic artist.
Below – “Flowers in Front of the Gardner’s House to the North”; “Potato Gatherers”; “Playing Children”; “Women Plucking Geese”; “At the Canning Factory”; “Self-Portrait.”
“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality. But given the state of the world, is it wise?” – Iris Murdoch, Irish-born British writer, philosopher, and author of “Under the Net,” who died 8 February 1999.
Some quotes from the work of Iris Murdoch:
“Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”
“I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same.”
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”
“I hate solitude, but I’m afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. The company which I need is the company which a pub or a cafe will provide. I have never wanted a communion of souls. It’s already hard enough to tell the truth to oneself.”
“Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free – if we are. Or because we’ve been educated – if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance – the confidence – to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.”
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”
“The most essential and fundamental aspect of culture is the study of literature, since this is an education in how to picture and understand human situations.”
“One should go easy on smashing other people’s lies. Better to concentrate on one’s own.”
“Only the very greatest art invigorates without consoling.”
“Then I felt too that I might take this opportunity to tie up a few loose ends, only of course loose ends can never be properly tied, one is always producing new ones. Time, like the sea, unties all knots. Judgments on people are never final, they emerge from summings up which at once suggest the need of a reconsideration. Human arrangements are nothing but loose ends and hazy reckoning, whatever art may otherwise pretend in order to console us.”
“The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular body and its indifference to substitutes is one of life’s major mysteries.”
“Time can divorce us from the reality of people, it can separate us from people and turn them into ghosts. Or rather it is we who turn them into ghosts or demons. Some kinds of fruitless preoccupations with the past can create such simulacra, and they can exercise power, like those heroes at Troy fighting for a phantom Helen.”
“Anything that consoles is fake.”
“We are such inward secret creatures, that inwardness the most amazing thing about us, even more amazing than our reason. But we cannot just walk into the cavern and look around. Most of what we think we know about our minds is pseudo-knowledge. We are all such shocking poseurs, so good at inflating the importance of what we think we value.”
“The theatre is certainly a place for learning about the brevity of human glory: oh all those wonderful glittering absolutely vanished pantomime! Now I shall abjure magic and become a hermit: put myself in a situation where I can honestly say that I have nothing else to do but to learn to be good.”
“Emotions really exist at the bottom of the personality or at the top. in the middle they are acted. This is why all the world is a stage.”
“People have obsessions and fears and passions which they don’t admit to. I think every character is interesting and has extremes. It’s the novelist privilege to see how odd everyone is.”
Died 8 February 2008 – Chu Ek Kay, a Singaporean artist who, in the words of one critic, employed “a unique painting style using Chinese ink on paper that demonstrated an ingenious blend of traditional Chinese painting forms with Western art theories and techniques.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: The Supremes
8 February 1965 – The Supremes release “Stop in the Name of Love.”
Here is how one writer describes the artistry of Canadian painter Angela Morgan: “Angela Morgan’s work celebrates humanity through the use of colour, pattern, and line. Her human figures express the poses of life; the jubilation of dance, the contemplation of parenthood, and the melancholy of summer’s end. Colours fuse and meld to achieve gesture, transforming abstract images into living moments.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Del Shannon
Died 8 February 1990 – Charles Weedon Westover, known professionally as Del Shannon, an American rock and roll singer-songwriter best known for his 1961 hit single “The Runaway.”
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Nilgun Akyol, a figurative painter from Turkey: “(She is) a contemporary symbolist whose works express her feelings. A lover of figurative art and people, she usually includes females in her paintings. Her interests include ancient history, mythology, and Turkish fairy tales.”
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” – Kate Chopin, American writer of short stories and novels and author of “The Awakening,” who was born 8 February 1851.
Some quotes from the work of Kate Chopin:
“Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.”
“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”
“The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies.”
“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
“There were days when she was very happy without knowing why. She was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day. She liked then to wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places. She discovered many a sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in. And she found it good to dream and to be alone and unmolested.
There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why—when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation.”
“She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of space and solitude, which the vast expanse of water, meeting and melting with the moonlit sky, conveyed to her excited fancy. As she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself.”
A Poem for Today
“Of Mere Being,”
By Wallace Stevens
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
American Art – Part II of III: Alex Gross
In the words of one writer, “Painter Alex Gross received a B.F.A. with honors from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1990. He has done extensive study of Japanese fine and commercial art.”
“All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper just running down the edges of different countries and continents, looking for something.” – Elizabeth Bishop, American poet, short story writer, and recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1956) and the National Book Award (1970), who was born 8 February 1911.
“I Am in Need of Music”
“I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!
There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.
A Second Poem for Today
By Heather Allen
So still at heart,
They respond like water
To the slightest breeze,
Rippling as one body,
And, as one mind,
The perfect confidants,
They keep to themselves,
A web of trails and nests,
Burrows and hidden entrances—
Do not reveal
American Art – Part III of III: Stephen Wright
In the words of one writer, “Stephen is a figure painter working in a realist genre. His clarity and sense of form lend a palpable edge to his restrained yet psychologically charged paintings. Stephen’s subtle vision pervades his canvases with unnerving consistency, and imparts a sense of disquieting beauty in the viewer.”