American Art – Part I of VIII: Ned Bittinger
In the words of one writer, “Ned Bittinger is an award winning portrait painter who enjoys painting figurative scenes, landscapes, and ilustrations. A native Washingtonian, Ned attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio and returned to D.C. to earn his Master of Fine Arts degree at George Washington University.
Influenced by such great artists as John Sargent, Tyla Repin, Valentin Serov and N.C. Wyeth, Ned paints in a style of realism that retains fresh and spontaneous brushwork thereby imparting energy and immediacy to his paintings.”
15 April 1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy see a “long belt” of daffodils during the course of a walk, an experience that inspired Wordsworth to write one of his most famous poems.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
American Art – Part II of VIII: 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.”
American Art – Part III of VIII: Michael Lasoff
Artist Statement: “My work as an open story. All the elements of a narrative are present as individual images within the painting. The viewer may arrange them in his own way. That’s not to say I have no intentions in my work. I am deeply involved in the ‘human situation’ and in that almost obsolete word, ‘beauty.’ However the power of effective visual art is that it speaks through itself and not language. My paintings speak for themselves.
Over the years I have developed a style that has no name nor can be placed within a movement. It is my own style and I think uniquely my own. It makes me happy to paint and even happier when my paintings speak to people in a positive way.”
“The First Amendment protects the right to speak, not the right to spend.” – Byron R. White, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1962-1993), who died 15 April 2002.
A few quotes from Justice Byron R. White:
“We’re the only branch of government that explains itself in writing every time it makes a decision.”
“The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution.”
“The risk of racial prejudice infecting a capital sentencing proceeding is especially serious in light of the complete finality of the death sentence.”
“Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from the failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so.”
Italian Art – Part I of II: Leonardo da Vinci
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance polymath and genius, who was born 15 April 1452.
Some quotes from the “Notebooks” of Leonardo da Vinci:
“I have learned from an early age to abjure the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”
“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”
“As you cannot do what you want, Want what you can do.”
“The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain.”
“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”
Italian Art – Part II of II: Rosario Catino
“Our freedom is but a light that breaks through from another world.” – Nikolay Gumilev, Russian poet, literary critic, traveler, and military officer, who was born 15 April 1886.
“Moon over the Sea”
The moon relinquished sharp-edge cliffs at sea line,
And with transparent gold: the waters shine;
On board of their pointed boat, this evening
The friends enjoy their heated glass of wine.
When looking at the clouds passing swiftly
Through the reflection of the moonlight post;
Some of the friends will find those clouds closely
Resembling the holy women’s ghosts.
Another group imagine those clouds
As heaven bound souls of pious men;
The third of friends insist without doubts,
The clouds resemble caravan of swans.
French Art – Part I of II: Zabh
French Art – Part II of II: Catherine Rebeyre
Painter Catherine Rebeyre (born 1965) lives and works in Argenteuil.
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Bessie Smith
“There’s nineteen men livin’ in my neighborhood –
eighteen of them are fools and the one ain’t no doggone good.” – Bessie Smith, nicknamed “The Empress of the Blues,” American jazz vocalist, who was born 15 April 1894.
American Art – Part IV of VIII: Aaron Board
Here is one critic describing the artistry of figurative realist painter Aaron Board: “Board’s large-scale, oil on canvas works draw the viewer into a world that must be discussed. It is a world that combines astounding painting technique with variegated, messaged content to ensure that the viewer will react.”
American Art – Part V of VIII: Edward Gorey
“I am a person before anything else. I never say I am a writer. I never say I am an artist…I am a person who does those things.” – Edward Gorey, American person who wrote and drew in a darkly charming style, who died 15 April 2000.
“Success is in the silences/Though fame is in the song.” – Bliss Carman, Canadian poet, who was born 15 April 1861.
“A Vagabond Song”
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
Below – Norman Rockwell: “A Walk in the Country”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Georgian painter Rafael Ruben: “He works mainly with a palette knife, with which he, in oil paint of course, builds complex compositions with very rich colour circuits divided over the complete canvas.
Each new artwork of Rafael seems a continuation of his previous work. Together they form an impressive, coloured carpet of mythical components, placed in tight alignment, in which the inspiration from oriental topics and cultures is clearly recognizable.”
Rafael Ruben lives and works in the Netherlands.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Joey Ramone
“The Ramones own the fountain of youth. Experiencing us is like having the fountain of youth.” – Joey Ramone, American singer and musician, who died 15 April 2001.
“I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” – Abraham Lincoln, twelfth President of the United States of America, who died 15 April 1865.
Some quotes from Abraham Lincoln:
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
“The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.”
“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.”
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
“Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.”
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
“A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.”
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.” – Matthew Arnold, British poet and cultural critic, who died 15 April 1888.
The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
American Art – Part VI of VIII: Scott E. Bartner
“I do not see a delegation for the four-footed. I see no seat for the eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation. And we must continue to understand where we are. And we stand between the mountain and the ant, somewhere and there only, as a part and parcel of the Creation. It is our responsibility since we have been given the minds to take care of these things.” – Oren R. Lyons, Jr. (born 1930), a Faithkeeper (an upholder of history and traditions) of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations.
Some quotes from the work of Oren R. Lyons, Jr.:
“The law says if you poison the water, you’ll die. The law says that if you poison the air, you’ll suffer. The law says if you degrade where you live, you’ll suffer… If you don’t learn that, you can only suffer. There’s no discussion with this law.”
“It seems to me that we are living in a time of prophecy, a time of definitions and decisions. We are the generation with the responsibilities and the option to choose the The Path of Life for the future of our children or the path which defies the Laws of Regeneration.”
“500 years ago, you came to our pristine lands of great forests, rolling plains, crystal clear lakes and streams and rivers. And we have suffered in your quest for God, for Glory, for Gold. But, we have survived. Can we survive another 500 years of ‘sustainable development?’ I don’t think so. Not in the definitions that put ‘sustainable’ in today. I don’t think so.”
“Although we are in different boats you in your boat and we in our canoe we share the same river of life.”
“The environment isn’t over here. The environment isn’t over there. You are the environment.”
“The young generation can influence their elders and can make them understand the environmental problems that are faced by us today. The youth can make them see that our environment is deteriorating day by day.”
“Global warming is real. It is imminent. It is upon us. It’s a lot closer than you think, and I don’t think we’re ready for what’s coming. We’re not instructing our people, we’re not instructing our children, we’re not preparing for what is coming. And it surely is coming. We’ve pulled the trigger, and there is nothing we can do now to stop it. The event is underway.”
“The chiefs, and I personally, feel that we have not passed the point of no return. Not yet, but we’re approaching it. And the day when we do pass that point, there will be no boom, no sonic sound. It will be just like any other day.”
“We can still alter our course. It is NOT too late. We still have options. We need the courage to change our values to the regeneration of our families, the life that surrounds us. Given this opportunity, we can raise ourselves. We must join hands with the rest of Creation and speak of Common Sense, Responsibility, Brotherhood, and PEACE. We must understand that The Law is the Seed and only as True Partners can we survive.”
Below – James Oberle: “Turtle Island” (North America)
American Art – Part VII of VIII: John Singer Sargent
“Cultivate an ever-continuous power of observation. Wherever you are, be always ready to make slight notes of postures, groups and incidents. Store up in the mind… a continuous stream of observations from which to make selections later. Above all things get abroad, see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.” – John Singer Sargent, American artist considered the leading portrait painter of his generation, who died 15 April 1925.
Below (left to right) – “Girl Fishing”; “Two Women Asleep in a Punt under the Willows”; “Robert Louis Stevenson”; “An Out-Of-Doors Study”; “Morning Walk”; “Muddy Alligators”; “Theodore Roosevelt”; “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood”; “Self-Portrait.”
A Poem for Today
“Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks,”
By Jane Kenyon
I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .
I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper….
When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me. . . .
I am food on the prisoner’s plate. . . .
I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .
I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden. . . .
I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge. . . .
I am the heart contracted by joy. . . .
the longest hair, white
before the rest. . . .
I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow. . . .
I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .
I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .
American Art – Part VIII of VIII: Thomas Hart Benton
“Art is not life, nor a reproduction of life, but a representation carried out within the specific terms, conversions and limitations of the particular art used. Hence, absolute truth, with reference to objective fact, is not to be found in the business. The most realistic art is considerably removed from reality. Art does not give real things or imitations of real things. The thing that art gives is strained first through the artist’s selections and judgments, and then through the specific techniques
which he used to present them. If you are to enjoy an art, you must first accept its terms.” – Thomas Hart Benton, American painter and muralist, who was born 15 April 1889.
Below – “Arts of the West”; “High Plains”; “The Wreck of the Old ‘97”; “Achelous and Hercules”; “Deep South”; “Persephone”; “Cut the Line”; “Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley”; “Martha’s Vineyard”; “Trail Riders.”