February Offerings – Part XXI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Frederick Childe Hassam

In the words of one historian, “Frederick Childe Hassam (October 17, 1859 – August 27, 1935) was a prolific American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes.”

Below – “Late Afternoon, New York, Winter”; “Celia Thaxter’s Garden”; “Snowstorm, Madison Square”; “August Afternoon, Appledore”; “The Water Garden”; “Celia Thaxter in Her Garden”; “The Avenue in the Rain”; “Cannon Beach, Oregon”; “Surf and Rocks”; “The Butterfly.”
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Nobel Laureate: Mikhail Sholokhov

“The grass grows over the graves, time overgrows the pain. The wind blew away the traces of those who had departed; time blows away the bloody pain and the memory of those who did not live to see their dear ones again—and will not live, for brief is human life, and not for long is any of us granted to tread the grass.” – Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, Russian novelist, author of “And Quiet Flows the Don,” and recipient of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people,” who died 21 February 1984.

Some quotes from the work of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokov:

“And over the village slipped the days, passing into the nights; the weeks flowed by, the months crept on, the wind howled, and, glassified with an autumnal, translucent, greenish-azure, the Don flowed tranquilly down to the sea.”
“When swept out of its normal channel, life scatters into innumerable streams. It is difficult to foresee which it will take in its treacherous and winding course. Where to-day it flows in shallows, like a rivulet over sandbanks, so shallow that the shoals are visible, to-morrow it will flow richly and fully.”
“Sometimes life played with him, sometimes it hung on him like a stone round the neck of a drowned man.”
“The Don! The Don! The gentle Don! Our father; giver of our food! Hurrah!”
“In this winter night, long and ample for bitter memories, many a widow who lost her husband in the war and is now left alone will press her palms to her ageing face; and in the nocturnal darkness the burning tears, as bitter as wormwood, will scorch her fingers.”

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Japanese painter Ouka Fukui (born 1968) graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Tama Art University in 1993.
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“Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.” – Wystan Hugh Auden, Anglo-American poet, who was born 21 February 1907.

“Funeral Blues”

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
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“Life forms illogical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?” – Dame Margot Fonteyn, English ballerina widely regarded as one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time, who died 21 February 1991.

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“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” – Chuck Palahniuk, American novelist, journalist, and author of “Fight Club,” who was born 21 February 1961.

Some quotes from the work of Chuck Palahniuk:

“The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”
“All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.”
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
“I don’t want to die without any scars.”
“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
“This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.”
“You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.”
“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”
“No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention.
Well, get used to that feeling. That’s how your whole life will feel some day.
This is all practice.”
“You know how they say you only hurt the ones you love? Well, it works both ways.”
“When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves.”
“If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character…Would you slow down? Or speed up?”
“A girl calls and asks, ‘Does it hurt very much to die?’
‘Well, sweetheart,’ I tell her, ‘yes, but it hurts a lot more to keep living.’”
“Just for the record, the weather today is calm and sunny, but the air is full of bullshit.”
“The things you used to own, now they own you.”
“Parents are like God because you wanna know they’re out there, and you want them to think well of you, but you really only call when you need something.”
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
“At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.”
“We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heroes or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe it’s our job to invent something better.”
“Don’t do what you want. Do what you don’t want. Do what you’re trained not to want. Do the things that scare you the most.”
“Have your adventures, make your mistakes, and choose your friends poorly — all these make for great stories.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Andres Segovia

“Sometimes it is impossible to deal with her, but most of the time she is very sweet, and if you caress her properly she will sing beautifully.” – Andres Segovia, Spanish virtuoso guitarist and father of modern classical guitar, who was born 21 February 1893.

French Art – Part I of II: Alain Pontecorvo

In the words of one critic, “Alain Pontecorvo, a native and resident of France, has been a professional artist since he sold his first painting in 1960 as a student in the Decorative Art School of Paris.”

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From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Florence Ballard

Died 21 February 1976 – Florence Ballard, an American recording artist, vocalist, and member of The Supremes.

French Art – Part II of II: Bruno Schmeltz

According to one writer, in the work of French painter Bruno Schmeltz (born 1938) the style is “technical hyper-realistic, but the content surreal. His landscapes are obviously related to the beauty of Hautes-Pyrenees, land of the last shepherds and silence.”

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“We will go to the sun of freedom or to the death; if we die, our cause will continue living.” – Augusto Cesar Sandino, Nicaraguan revolutionary and leader of a rebellion between 1927 and 1933 against the U.S. military occupation of Nicaragua, who died 21 February 1934.

In the words of one historian, “(Sandino) was referred to as a ‘bandit’ by the United States government; his exploits made him a hero throughout much of Latin America, where he became a symbol of resistance to United States’ domination. Drawing units of the United States Marine Corps into an undeclared guerrilla war, his insurgents never defeated the Americans in battle. The United States troops withdrew from the country in 1933 after overseeing the election and inauguration of President Juan Bautista Sacasa, who had returned from exile. The re-call of the Marines was largely due to the Great Depression. Sandino was assassinated in 1934 by National Guard forces of Gen. Anastasio Somoza García, who went on to seize power in a coup d’état two years later.”
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Peruvian painter Danilo Hilario Ramirez: “(He) is a renowned artist and well known for his interpretation of Neo-Figurative style of art. Danilo was born in Peru, and studied art in Macedonio De La Torres School of Bellas Artes in Trujillo. His distinctive style has been highly influenced by his Muchica-Chimu culture and by his early childhood dreams.”
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From the American History Archives Part I of II: The “Cherokee Phoenix”

21 February 1828 – “Cherokee Phoenix,” the first Native American newspaper in the United States, begins publication.

Above – The front page of the ‘Cherokee Phoenix’ on 21 February 1828.
Below – The reconstructed print shop in Georgia where the ‘Cherokee Phoenix’ was originally printed.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Belarusian painter Yury Darashkevich (born 1962): “My works are about visual perception and the ways in which the face or body or sometimes even a simple cup responds to the color, line, texture or pattern. The ‘Thing’ or ‘Subject’ by itself, surrounded by ‘Great Nothing,’ is my excitement. I try to establish a very private dialog between the viewer and the subject matter of my painting. It is a simple and sincere conversation without any unnecessary details.”
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From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Manuelito

21 February 1861 – The Navajo tribe elects Manuelito to be their chief. In the words of one historian, “Manuelito was a prominent Navajo leader who rallied his nation against the oppression of the United States military. For several years he led a group of warriors in resisting federal efforts to forcibly remove the Navajo people to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico via the Long Walk in 1864. After being relocated to Bosque Redondo, Manuelito was among the leaders who signed the 1868 treaty, ending a period of imprisonment in United States government internment camps and establishing a reservation for the Navajo.”

Above – Map of the Long Walk routes.
Below – Manuelito.
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American Art – Part II of III: Nelson Boren

In the words of one writer, “Born and raised in Tempe, Arizona, Nelson studied to be an architect earning a degree from Arizona State University. After practicing for 15 years, during which time he owned a successful firm and won numerous awards, Nelson made the pivotal decision to leave the field in 1990 to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time artist. Nelson credits his life-long love of both art and math with his dual-career path of architecture and fine art. His mother, a painter herself, was his earliest influence. Years later he resumed watercolor classes, this time with a higher degree of dedication and more realistic goals. It was during this phase of training when Nelson developed his signature style, which he credits most to the principle of ‘gestalt.’ He wanted to be a full-time artist but to justify a career change he knew he needed to sell some art. He got his art represented by several Scottsdale galleries by showing his work door-to-door. Within two weeks, two of his paintings sold. Since then, some of the leading galleries in the U.S. have sought to represent his work, recognizing his unique combination of incredible detail and big, bold and graphic images.”

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A Poem for Today

“Epigram for Wall Street,”
By Edgar Allan Poe

I’ll tell you a plan for gaining wealth,
Better than banking, trade or leases —
Take a bank note and fold it up,
And then you will find your money in creases!
This wonderful plan, without danger or loss,
Keeps your cash in your hands, where nothing can trouble it;
And every time that you fold it across,
‘Tis as plain as the light of the day that you double it!

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A Second Poem for Today

“Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg,”
By Richard Hugo

You might come here Sunday on a whim.
Say your life broke down. The last good kiss
you had was years ago. You walk these streets
laid out by the insane, past hotels
that didn’t last, bars that did, the tortured try
of local drivers to accelerate their lives.
Only churches are kept up. The jail
turned 70 this year. The only prisoner
is always in, not knowing what he’s done.

The principal supporting business now
is rage. Hatred of the various grays
the mountain sends, hatred of the mill,
The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls
who leave each year for Butte. One good
restaurant and bars can’t wipe the boredom out.
The 1907 boom, eight going silver mines,
a dance floor built on springs—
all memory resolves itself in gaze,
in panoramic green you know the cattle eat
or two stacks high above the town,
two dead kilns, the huge mill in collapse
for fifty years that won’t fall finally down.

Isn’t this your life? That ancient kiss
still burning out your eyes? Isn’t this defeat
so accurate, the church bell simply seems
a pure announcement: ring and no one comes?
Don’t empty houses ring? Are magnesium
and scorn sufficient to support a town,
not just Philipsburg, but towns
of towering blondes, good jazz and booze
the world will never let you have
until the town you came from dies inside?

Say no to yourself. The old man, twenty
when the jail was built, still laughs
although his lips collapse. Someday soon,
he says, I’ll go to sleep and not wake up.
You tell him no. You’re talking to yourself.
The car that brought you here still runs.
The money you buy lunch with,
no matter where it’s mined, is silver
and the girl who serves your food
is slender and her red hair lights the wall.

Below – Philipsburg, Montana; the Granite County jail in Philipsburg.
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American Art – Part III of III: Carolyn Epperly

Artist Statement: “After working in several media, I finally discovered watercolor. The splendid colors and the transparency allowed me to succeed in my goal of depicting dramatic light on an object. Although my favorite subjects are figures, I am fascinated by the influence of light on colorand impact. In fact, as I work, I am actually painting the light and its effect rather than the subject itself.”
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