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

American Art – Part I of VI: Lorado Taft

Born 29 April 1860 – Lorado Taft, an American sculptor.

Below – “The Solitude of the Soul” (Chicago); “Black Hawk” (Oregon, Illinois); “ Fountain of the Great Lakes” (Chicago); “Thatcher Memorial Fountain” (Denver); “Pastoral” (Chicago).
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From the Music Archives – Part I of VI: Duke Ellington

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” – Duke Ellington, American composer, pianist, and bandleader of jazz orchestras, who was born 29 April 1899.

American Art – Part II of VI: Kathy Jones

Artist Statement: “I was born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University. My work is greatly influenced by my experience as a Californian, and by the affinity I feel for the Bay Area Figurative painters. My paintings are about silence, solitude, space, and shadows—about the moments between actions. I paint people waiting, or gazing, or pausing, or moving from one place to another.
The surface of the painting is as important to me as the image. I am always experimenting with surfaces and textures. I explore color relationships and the unexpected juxtapositions that happen while painting: the surface of the painting and layers of paint must be rich and exotic, the colors luminous and mysterious. I pull colors up– push them one against the other and look for places where the colors make the most of each other.
I never know where a painting will end up. The backgrounds and moods emerge and change as the work progresses. My goal is to create paintings that are challenging and provocative. My hope is that people who see my work are moved to bring their own history to the painting and to tell their own stories.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of VI: Carl Gardner

Born 29 April 1928 – Carl Gardner, an American singer and founder of The Coasters, a group best known for the song “Yakety Yak,” a song which spent a week as number one on the Hot 100 list.

Romanian painter Codruta Cernea lives and works in Bucharest.
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Born 29 April 1882 – Hendrick Nicolaas Werkman, a Dutch painter and printmaker who was executed by the Gestapo for being a member of the Resistance.

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Died 29 April 1943 – Sidney Keyes, an English poet killed in combat during World War II just days before his twenty-first birthday.

“War Poem”

I am the man who looked for peace and found
My own eyes barbed,
I am the man who groped for words and found
An arrow in my hand.
I am the builder whose firm walls surround
A slipping land.
When I grow sick or mad
Mock me not nor chain me:
When I reach for the wind
Cast me not down:
Though my face is a burnt book
And a wasted town.

“Elegy”

April again, and it is a year again
Since you walked out and slammed the door
Leaving us tangled in your words. Your brain
Lives in the bank-book, and your eyes look up
Laughing from the carpet on the floor:
And we still drink from your silver cup.

Above – Sidney Keyes.
Below – Alex J. Ingram: “Takrouna – Two Miles West of Enfidaville, in Tunisia during World War II:” April blossoms.

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French Art – Part I of II: Moise Kisling

Died 29 April 1953 – Moise Kisling, a Polish-born French painter.

Below – “A Siesta in Saint-Tropez”; “Provencal Landscape”; “Portrait of Renee Kisling”; “Still Life”; “Nude on a Black Sofa.”

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French Art – Part II of II: Nadine Le Prince

Here is one historian describing the background of French painter Nadine Le Prince: “Born in Paris, she is the descendant of a long line of artists dating back to the sixteenth century. Her most renowned ancestor, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, lived in the eighteenth century; he was a friend of Diderot’s and painter for the Russian Court.
As a child she showed an outstanding gift for drawing and practiced it passionately. At a very early age, she turned to painting still lifes and portraits of relatives and friends in oils. She was only seventeen when she first took part in an exhibition and was still a teenager when she joined the ‘Painters of Reality.’
The way she scrutinizes nature and translates light reveals how truly she admires the seventeenth century painting, which she updates with subjects chosen and composed in a new spirit.”
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“Virtual reality is just air guitar writ large.” – Robert J. Sawyer, Canadian science fiction writer and winner of the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, who was born 29 April 1960.

Some quotes from the work of Robert J. Sawyer:

“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.”
“Not darkness, for that implies an understanding of light. Not silence, for that suggests a familiarity with sound. Not loneliness, for that requires knowledge of others. But still, faintly, so tenuous that if it were any less it wouldn’t exist at all: awareness. Nothing more than that. Just awareness—a vague, ethereal sense of being. Being . . . but not becoming. No marking of time, no past or future—only an endless, featureless now, and, just barely there in that boundless moment, inchoate and raw, the dawning of perception . . .”
“The sky above the island was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel—which is to say it was a bright, cheery blue.”

Boris Grigoriev (1886-1939) was a Russian painter and graphic artist. In the words of one critic, after studying at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, “Grigoriev lived for a time in Paris, where he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In Paris he was strongly influenced by Paul Cézanne.
After his return to Saint Petersburg in 1913 he became part of the Bohemian scene in St. Petersburg and was close to many artists and writers of the time…Grigoriev was also interested in the Russian countryside, its peasants and village life. From 1916 to 1918 he created a series of paintings and graphic works, depicting the poverty and strength of the Russian peasantry and village life.”

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From the Music Archives – Part III of VI: Tommy James

Born 29 April 1947 – Tommy James (born Thomas Gregory Jackson), an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and leader of the group Tommy James and the Shondells.

German painter Christian Schad (1894-1982) was influenced by many of the most important art movements of the twentieth century. He is perhaps most highly regarded for his portraits.
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“There is a distinct difference between ‘suspense’ and ‘surprise,’ and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean.
We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: ‘You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!’
In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.” – Alfred Hitchcock, English film director and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres, who died 29 April 1980.

An example of Hitchcock’s masterful work:

The paintings of Indian artist Ganesh Chougule have won many awards.
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of VI: April Stevens

“When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls

And the stars begin to twinkle in the night

In the mist of a memory you wander on back to me

Breathing my name with a sigh.” – From “Deep Purple,” sung by April Stevens, American singer who performed with her brother Nino Tempo, who was born 29 April 1936.

April Stevens and Nino Tempo won the Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Record in 1963 for “Deep Purple.”

American Art – Part III of VI: Zaria Forman

Artist Statement: “The inspiration for my drawings began in early childhood when I traveled with my family throughout several of the world’s most remote landscapes, which were the subject of my mother’s fine art photography. After my formal training at Skidmore college I now exhibit extensively in galleries and venues throughout the United States and overseas.
In August 2012 I led Chasing the Light, an art expedition sailing up the northwest coast of Greenland, retracing the 1869 journey of American painter William Bradford and artistically documenting the rapidly changing arctic landscape.”
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From the Music Archives – Part V of VI: Aretha Franklin

28 April 1967 – Aretha Franklin releases “Respect.”

American Art – Part IV of VI: Leah Waichulis

Artist Statement: “I’m an artist living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I like to paint places that I find interesting, mostly interiors and landscapes.”
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Scottish painter Anthony Scullion (born 1967) is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art.

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From the Music Archives – Part VI of VI: “Hair”

28 April 1968 – The rock musical “Hair” opens at the Biltmore Theater in New York City and runs for 1,750 performances.

Painter Edward Zentsik is a graduate of the Tallinn Art Academy and a member of the Union of Russian Artists in Estonia.
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Greek artist Miltos Pantelias (born 1954) studied painting in Paris for eleven years. In the words of one critic, “Paper’s fragility and sensibility becomes a predilection place for his drawings with the blooming figures. The oscillation between painting and drawing under sepia undulations and his wanderings between the image and the script spread over his canvases a mist of palimpsest of matter and time, the time of the confused memory.
The fold in palimpsest, the ‘inhabited’ fold defines actually the new domain of his art language.”

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“You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
 This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighbourhoods, turn grey in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world” – From “The City,” by Constantine Cavafy, a Greek poet who lived in Alexandria, who died 29 April 1933.

“Ithaca”

When you set sail for Ithaca,
wish for the road to be long,
full of adventures, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
an angry Poseidon — do not fear.
You will never find such on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, and your spirit
and body are touched by a fine emotion.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
a savage Poseidon you will not encounter,
if you do not carry them within your spirit,
if your spirit does not place them before you.
Wish for the road to be long.
Many the summer mornings to be when
with what pleasure, what joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time.
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase the fine goods,
nacre and coral, amber and ebony,
and exquisite perfumes of all sorts,
the most delicate fragrances you can find.
To many Egyptian cities you must go,
to learn and learn from the cultivated.
Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your final destination.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better for it to last many years,
and when old to rest in the island,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to offer you wealth.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey.
Without her you would not have set out on the road.
Nothing more does she have to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.
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American Art – Part V of VI: Arlynn Bloom

Bay Area award-winning watercolor artist Arlynn Bloom (born 1975) is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art and the University of Pennsylvania. aBloom1
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A Poem for Today

“Little Rooms,”
By William Stafford

I rock high in the oak – secure, big branches –
at home while darkness comes. It gets lonely up here
as lights needle forth below, through airy space.
Tinkling dishwashing noises drift up, and a faint
smooth gush of air through leaves, cool evening
moving out over the earth. Our town leans farther
away, and I ride through the arch toward midnight,
holding on, listening, hearing deep roots grow.

There are rooms in a life, apart from the others, rich
with whatever happens, a glimpse of moon, a breeze.
You who come years from now to this brief spell
of nothing that was mine: the open, slow passing
of time was a gift going by. I have put my hand out
on the mane of the wind, like this, to give it to you.
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Aaron Coberly

Here is one critic describing the artistry of self-taught painter Aaron Coberly (born 1971): “He has been drawing for as long as he can remember. He started taking art seriously as a teenager after being invited to attend a life drawing class. Living and traveling in Europe further inspired him. He began oil painting in 1999. His work is primarily figurative with a stylistic nod to the Masters and the Impressionists. Aaron runs an open painting and drawing session in Seattle. He resides in the greater Seattle area and is married with a young son.”
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