American Art – Part I of IV: Dave Palumbo
Artist Statement: “As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be an artist. As a child, I enjoyed reading comic books that my father gave to me and watching hours and hours of science fiction movies. Not surprisingly, the subject matter of my drawings was mainly monsters, robots, superheroes, and spaceships. My mother and step father, both being fantasy artists themselves, were very encouraging and supportive for me to develop my skill in drawing and allowed me to start taking life drawing classes as early as twelve years old.”
“A sweet high treble threads its silvery song,
Voice of the restless aspen, fine and thin
It trills its pure soprano, light and long-
Like the vibretto of a mandolin.” – From “Aspens,” by Emily Pauline Johnson, Canadian writer whose work celebrated her First Nations heritage, who died 7 March 1913.
“The Song My Paddle Sings”
West wind, blow from your prairie nest,
Blow from the mountains, blow from the west
The sail is idle, the sailor too;
O! wind of the west, we wait for you.
I have wooed you so,
But never a favour you bestow.
You rock your cradle the hills between,
But scorn to notice my white lateen.
I stow the sail, unship the mast:
I wooed you long but my wooing’s past;
My paddle will lull you into rest.
O! drowsy wind of the drowsy west,
By your mountain steep,
Or down where the prairie grasses sweep!
Now fold in slumber your laggard wings,
For soft is the song my paddle sings.
August is laughing across the sky,
Laughing while paddle, canoe and I,
Where the hills uplift
On either side of the current swift.
The river rolls in its rocky bed;
My paddle is plying its way ahead;
While the water flip
In foam as over their breast we slip.
And oh, the river runs swifter now;
The eddies circle about my bow.
How the ripples curl
In many a dangerous pool awhirl!
And forward far the rapids roar,
Fretting their margin for evermore.
With a mighty crash,
They seethe, and boil, and bound, and splash.
Be strong, O paddle! be brave, canoe!
The reckless waves you must plunge into.
On your trembling keel,
But never a fear my craft will feel.
We’ve raced the rapid, we’re far ahead!
The river slips through its silent bed.
As the bubbles spray
And fall in tinkling tunes away.
And up on the hills against the sky,
A fir tree rocking its lullaby,
Its emerald wings,
Swelling the song that my paddle sings.
South African Art – Part I of II: Karin Preller
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of South African painter Karin Preller: “Her work can broadly be described as a specific kind of photo-based painting in oil on canvas. She uses photographs as source material mainly because of the particular visual ambiguities and ambivalences that occur both in the process of photography and in its translation into paint. The relation between painting and photography is reconsidered, not in an attempt to set them against each other, but to explore the discrepancies that arise in the interplay of different surface qualities.”
“If you would understand your own age, read the works of fiction produced in it. People in disguise speak freely.” – Sir Arthur Helps, English writer, who was born 7 March 1813 and who died 7 March 1875.
Some quotes from the work of Sir Arthur Helps:
“Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.”
“Routine is not organization, any more than paralysis is order.”
“Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.”
“There are no better cosmetics than a severe temperance and purity, modesty and humility, a gracious temper and calmness of spirit; and there is no true beauty without the signatures of these graces in the very countenance.”
“Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy.”
“A man’s action is only a picture book of his creed.”
“Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.”
“Is boredom anything less than the sense of one’s faculties slowly dying?”
“Man ceased to be an ape, vanquished the ape, on the day the first book was written.”
“We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice.”
“Choose an author as you choose a friend.”
“Every happiness is a hostage to fortune.”
“Everywhere I have sought rest and not found it, except sitting in a corner by myself with a little book.”
“Experience is the extract of suffering.”
“The greatest luxury of riches is that they enable you to escape so much good advice.”
“It has always appeared to me, that there is so much to be done in this world, that all self-inflicted suffering which cannot be turned to good account for others, is a loss – a loss, if you may so express it, to the spiritual world.”
South African Art – Part II of II: Diane McLean
“I am inspired by things that I see around me.” – South African painter Diane McLean (born 1963) who earned both a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (1984), with distinction in painting, and a Master of Fine Arts degree (1987) from Rhodes University.
Born 7 March 1602 – Kano Tanyu, a Japanese painter.
Below (left to right) – “Phoenixes by Paulownia Trees”; “Tiger”; “Confucius”; “Swallow and Lotus, Hotei, Sparrow and Bamboo”;
“Tiger Drinking Water.”
From the Music Archives: Ali “Farka” Toure
Died 7 March 2006 – Ali “Farka” Toure, Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist whose art is regarded as a synthesis of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues.
Born 7 March 1903 – Maud Lewis, a Canadian folk artist.
“I do not ask for mercy for understanding for peace
And in these heavy days I do not ask for release
I do not ask that suffering shall cease.
I do not pray to God to let me die
To give an ear attentive to my cry
To pause in his marching and not hurry by.
I do not ask for anything I do not speak
I do not question and I do not seek
I used to in the day when I was weak.
Now I am strong and lapped in sorrow
As in a coat of magic mail and borrow
From Time today and care not for tomorrow.” – “I Do Not Speak,” by Florence Margaret “Stevie” Smith, English poet, novelist, and author of “The Holiday” and “Our Bog Is Dood,” who died 7 March 1971.
“Not Waving But Drowning”
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
“If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered.” – Stanley Kubrick, American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, and editor, who died 7 March 1999.
Some quotes from Stanley Kubrick:
“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”
“The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.”
“It’s a mistake to confuse pity with love.”
“You sit at the board and suddenly your heart leaps. Your hand trembles to pick up the piece and move it. But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly and think about whether it’s really a good idea and whether there are other, better ideas.”
“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
“If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.”
“You’re an idealist, and I pity you as I would the village idiot.”
Above – Stanley Kubrick.
Below – Still shots from five of Kubrick’s movies: “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), “The Shining” (1987), and “Full Metal Jacket” (1987).
American Art – Part II of IV: Kris Galli
Artist Statement: “Although I paint many things, the crux of my work revolves around this curious state of being a woman. As women, we’re deeply and naturally connected to the myriad energies swirling around us, at times a miraculous thing, at times an enormous challenge. I paint how this feels for me; it’s what I most want to communicate, and it’s my preferred way of connecting with the world at large.”
“Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.” – Aristotle, Greek philosopher and polymath, student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander, who died 7 March 322 BCE.
Among medieval Muslim intellectuals, Aristotle was revered as “The First Teacher,” and to Dante Alighieri he was “the Master of those who know.”
Some quotes from Aristotle:
“A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
“The soul never thinks without a picture.”
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
“Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.”
“Hope is the dream of a waking man.”
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
“A friend to all is a friend to none.”
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”
“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”
“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”
“Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.”
“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”
“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.”
“A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.”
“No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.”
“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.”
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”
“The law is reason, free from passion.”
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”
“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.”
“Wit is educated insolence.”
“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.”
“Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.”
“Bad men are full of repentance.”
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
“The secret to humor is surprise.”
“Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.”
“The end of labor is to gain leisure.”
“Well begun is half done.”
“It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.”
“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.”
“The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.”
“Man is by nature a political animal.”
“Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.”
“Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.”
“Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.”
“Men are swayed more by fear than by reverence.”
“Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.”
“It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.”
“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
“You will find rest from vain fancies if you do every act in life as though it were your last.”
“What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions.”
The young are permanently in a state resembling intoxication.”
“The gods too are fond of a joke.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Milton Avery
“Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms.” – Milton Avery, American painter, who was born 7 March 1885.
Below (left to right) – “Green Sea”; “Bucolic Landscape”; “Vermont Hills”; “Bridge to the Sea”; “Gaspe Pink Sky”; “Checker Players “; “Autumn”; “Figure by Pool”; “Self-Portrait.”
A Poem for Today
“Figure of Aeolus,”
By Kevin Craft
They found you under twenty feet
of loose ash — one vowel
solo in an archipelago
of strung-out vowels and doting volcanoes —
Isole Eolie — O hoop
of exhilaration, O sigh of relief
softening your votive mouth
if not blowing off steam
at the crater rim, crystalizing sulfur,
poring over tomes, the trade winds
and furies that fan through your realm,
O citizen-king, O sonorous persona
weaned on fumes and that old
itinerant intonation — air
your woes all over again.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Michael Ward
Artist Statement: “I began my artistic career doing pen and ink renderings of historical architecture. I began painting in 1980, first in gouache, then in acrylics. Artists whose work I admire and draw inspiration from include Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Richard Estes and Vermeer. I am most interested in depicting what Alan Watts called the mystery of the ordinary; the workaday world we live in without seeing until we are forced to focus upon it, as in a painting.”