April Offerings – Part XXVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Fealing Lin

Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Fealing Lin:
“Award-winning watercolorist Fealing Lin of San Marino, California was born in Taiwan and began her journey into artistic expression as a protégé of renowned professor Ching-Jung Chen in Taiwan, subsequently pursuing her career in the United States with watercolorist and senior art historian professor Verna Wells.
With a fluidity of colors, Ms. Lin combines impressionistic strokes and semi-abstract techniques to elicit life and movement in her portrait and landscape watercolors. Her paintings adorn the paper with both harmony and emotion.”
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“Kiss me with rain on your eyelashes,
come on, let us sway together,
under the trees, and to hell with thunder.” – Edwin Morgan, Scottish poet and translator, who was born 27 April 1920.

“Absence”

My shadow — 

I woke to a wind swirling the curtains light and dark 

and the birds twittering on the roofs, I lay cold
in the early light in my room high over London. 

What fear was it that made the wind sound like a fire 

so that I got up and looked out half-asleep 

at the calm rows of street-lights fading far below? 

Without fire 

Only the wind blew. 

But in the dream I woke from, you 

came running through the traffic, tugging me, clinging 

to my elbow, your eyes spoke 

what I could not grasp — 
Nothing,
if you were here! 



The wind of the early quiet 

merges slowly now with a thousand rolling wheels. 

The lights are out, the air is loud. 

It is an ordinary January day. 

My shadow, do you hear the streets? 

Are you at my heels? Are you here? 

And I throw back the sheets.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Gary Cody: “When people speak of a single, defining moment that was instrumental in shaping their careers, I remember a show that was featured at the Alberta College of Art when I was there as a painting student.
Two paintings absolutely entranced me- a pair of still life pieces by Giorgio Morandi. I really hadn’t appreciated what could be done with still life until that moment. And although my work has little in common visually with Morandi, he continues to be a hero of mine.
Morandi’s work illustrates what, for me, is the paradox of still life painting – the simpler the work becomes, the more complex it becomes. I’m continually surprised at the visual complexity and richness of something as simple as an apple refracted through a glass jar- ‘worlds within worlds,’ all around us but rarely appreciated. It’s the need to capture and share this wonderful complexity- these visual surprises- that is my motivation to paint.
My main interest remains glass – its transparency, distortion, and how it affects objects around it. However, I’m trying to get away from more traditional elements such as fruit, vases etc. and replacing them with non-traditional objects – rusted metal, old toys, broken clock faces, cheap plastic flowers.
I’m also exploring variations on point-of-view, using more extreme ‘camera angles’ than people might be used to. The third element I’ve been playing with is the format of the painting. They’ve been getting more extreme in their dimensions, both vertically and horizontally.
And perhaps the biggest area of ongoing change is the work’s complexity. The pieces are becoming more complex as I add more and more elements to each piece. I love the complexity of composition that results from this.”

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From the Music Archives: Ludwig van Beethoven

27 April 1810 – Ludwig van Beethoven composes Bagatelle No. 25 for solo piano, commonly known as “Fur Elise.”

Here’s a modern interpretation of this composition, followed by “Moonlight Sonata.”

American Art – Part II of IV: Kim Leutwyler

Artist Statement: “I create large scale figure paintings of LGBTQ-identified women, most recently focusing on those who have impacted my life in some way. My work toys with the concept of glorification vs. objectification vs. modification. I incorporate various facets of nature in to my work in order to comment on the mutability of life, gender and beauty. I have come to focus on painting as a medium because of its primarily masculine history in the western art canon.
I am dedicated to my studio practice and intend to continue making art throughout the course of my life, no matter what path my career may take. In the future, I see my artwork marking a sexually fluid presence and stimulating dialogue in both the feminist and mainstream art worlds.”
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“A jury is a group of twelve people of average ignorance.” – Herbert Spencer, English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and political theorist, who was born 27 April 1820.

Some quotes from Herbert Spencer:

“The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.”
“No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.”
“Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom.”
“Marriage: A word which should be pronounced ‘mirage’.”
“When a man’s knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has the greater will be his confusion.”
“Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources.”
“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools.”
“How often misused words generate misleading thoughts.”
“Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.”
“Marriage: a ceremony in which rings are put on the finger of the lady and through the nose of the gentleman.”
“Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts – as the one which, more than any other, ministers to the human spirit.”
“Education has for its object the formation of character.”
“In science the important thing is to modify and change one’s ideas as science advances.”
“Our lives are universally shortened by our ignorance.”
“Science is organized knowledge.”
“Society exists for the benefit of its members, not the members for the benefit of society.”
“The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.”
“The Republican form of government is the highest form of government: but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature, a type nowhere at present existing.”
“Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Ukrainian painter Stanislav Zvolsky: “All my artworks are created in awe and with love. Women’s images occupy an important place in my paintings, because women are the most beautiful creatures on this planet, and the universe has a feminine nature too.”
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27 April 1870 – Heinrich Schliemann, a German businessman and a pioneer in field archaeology, first uncovers the ruins that are generally (but not conclusively) identified with Homeric Troy.

Above – Heinrich Schliemann.
Below – The excavation of the Athena temple in Troy – a drawing made by Heinrich Schliemann.
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Bulgarian painter Ivo Petrov (born 1971) has a degree in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Veliko Turnovo University. He lives and works in Spain.
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“Still, the last sad memory hovers round, and sometimes drifts across like floating mist, cutting off sunshine and chilling the remembrance of happier times. There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell; and with these in mind I say: Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” – From “Scrambles Amongst the Alps,” by Edward Whymper, English mountaineer, explorer, illustrator, and author best known for making the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, who was born 27 April 1840.

Four members of Whymper’s party were killed during the descent of the Matterhorn.

Above – Edward Whymper, engraving, 1881.
Below – Edward Whymper in 1910 (He died in 1911.); the Matterhorn.

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Spanish watercolorist Jesus Lozano Saorin (born 1957) lives and works in Alicante.
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“Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.” – Cecil Day-Lewis, Anglo-Irish poet and the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1968 until his death in 1972, who was born 27 April 1904.

“Walking Away” (1962)

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of British painter Nicholas Charles Williams: “Indeed there is no one else that I can think of who places himself quite so firmly in the great tradition of early Baroque, yet with no sense of anachronism or pastiche…steeped not just in the imagery and techniques of the Renaissance and the Baroque, but daring the attempt to match them in pictorial scope and ambition. And in taking on their great allegorical and spiritual themes, in spirit at least if not always to the actual letter, he is particularly close to the masters of the early Baroque and the followers of Caravaggio, and especially to Georges de la Tour and perhaps Valentin.
Contrary to photographic and digital realism, Williams’ studio practice would be recognisable to Caravaggio or his immediate followers; working in a darkened studio with a single light source on the subject, exclusively from life and directly onto the canvas without preparatory drawings.”

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Singing America – Part I of III: Don McLean

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“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement, who died 27 April 1882.

Some quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
“Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.”
“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”
“It is not length of life, but depth of life.”
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
“Every artist was first an amateur.”
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.”
“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.”
“Earth laughs in flowers.”
“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”
“In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.”
“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”
“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”
“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.”
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
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Italian painter Sergio Cerchi lives and works in Florence. According to one critic, “The figures and shapes make his vision of reality, marked by an ethical impulse that expresses values not only artistic, but philosophical, historical and psychosocial.”
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Singing America – Part II of III: Arlo Guthrie

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“And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.” – From “The Broken Tower,” by Hart Crane, American poet, who died 27 April 1932.

“At Melville’s Tomb”

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death’s bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.

Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.

Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides . . . High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.

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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Australian painter Tom Alberts (born 1962): “Tom Alberts chronicles contemporary life, yet figures often seem to have entered the stage from another era and the events that are about to engross them are yet to begin. Time is therefore uncertain, the only imprecise element in a pictorial space that is extremely precise. This paradox is at the core of his approach to picture making. Drawing from sources as divergent as film noir, numerous artists from the Renaissance, Rembrandt, and everyday experience, he has constructed a body of work that engages us in a tangible sense of confrontation with the mysteries and incongruities of the commonplace.”
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Singing America – Part III of III: Marc Cohn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK5YGWS5H84

American Art – Part III of IV: Z. L. Feng

Artist Statement: “With watercolor you cannot cover your mistakes, so you must know what you are doing…Usually I go around­­ – to the river, the forest, the lake – to try and find interesting compositions…Capturing the personality and character is very important, and painting eyes is the most difficult aspect of portraiture. I concentrate on serious portraits expressing my subject’s character, their life struggle and their vision. I am still learning and experimenting. My goal is to develop empathy between the viewer and my subject.”
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A Poem for Today

“Sending These Messages,”
By William Stafford

Over these writings I bent my head.
Now you are considering them. If you
turn away I will look up: a bridge
that was there will be gone.
For the rest of your life I will stand here,
reaching across.
If these writings can bring a turn
or an echo that touches you ~ maybe
a face, a slant, a tune ~ you will stop
too and bend over them. When you
look up, your thought will reach
wherever I am.
I know it is strange. And there is no measure
for this. The only connection we make
is like a twinge when sometimes they change
the beat in music, and we sprawl with it
and hear another world for a minute
that is almost there.

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A Second Poem for Today

“You Reading This, Be Ready,”
By William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
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A Third Poem for Today

“A Message from the Wanderer,”
By William Stafford

Today outside your prison I stand
and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;
you have relatives outside. And there are
thousands of ways to escape.

Years ago I bent my skill to keep my
cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,
and shouted my plans to jailers;
but always new plans occured to me,
or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,
or some stupid jailer would forget
and leave the keys.

Inside, I dreamed of constellations—
those feeding creatures outlined by stars,
their skeletons a darkness between jewels,
heroes that exist only where they are not.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then—even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Now—these few more words, and then I’m
gone: Tell everyone just to remember
their names, and remind others, later, when we
find each other. Tell the little ones
to cry and then go to sleep, curled up
where they can. And if any of us get lost,
if any of us cannot come all the way—
remember: there will come a time when
all we have said and all we have hoped
will be all right.

There will be that form in the grass.

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American Art – Part IV of IV: Samantha French

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Samantha French: “Samantha French’s paintings and mixed media drawings reflect a connection to the past and her own memories of life in Minnesota. Her series focusing on bathers is her link to home and the continual search for the feeling of sun on your face, warm summer days at the lake. Shades of blue dominate her work as gestural figures in swimming attire represent memories of her past and a romanticized time far before hers with wool suits, dark eyeliner and bob haircuts.”

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