American Art – Part I of III: Mary Josephson
Artist Statement: “From the beginning, I wanted to capture in my paintings more than a likeness of the individual. I wanted the paintings to tell about the character or spirit of the person depicted.
These paintings tell the stories of people caught up in the heroics of everyday life, the commonplace events which color our lives and shape our days.
I feel humans are godlike, possessing Olympian qualities. We each have our myths, the tales of our lives. These stories are the subject of my work. People of every race color and creed are represented in my paintings in a manner meant to inspire and empower, to fill the viewer with hope. They are strong and capable, often visually monumental, reflecting their inner stature.
I see them as fragile, yet profoundly resilient, vessels immersed in life and surrounded by the people and things that have most deeply affected them. Their tales are woven together by family, friends, animals, birds, fruits, flowers and labor. They comprise a visual mythology grounded in a world filled with color.
Good humor pervades these images, along with a faith in the ability of an individual to rise above adversity. As time passes, I have come to recognize that I will never lack for subject matter; life provides a myriad of stories, I need only record them in paint.”
“Genius is the capacity for productive reaction against one’s training.” – Bernard Berenson, American art historian and author of “The Italian Painters of the Renaissance,” who was born 26 June 1865.
Some quotes from Bernard Berenson:
“I would if I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.”
“Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities.”
“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”
“When everything else physical and mental seems to diminish, the appreciation of beauty is on the increase.”
“You can parody and make fun of almost anything, but that does not turn the universe into a caricature.”
“Between truth and the search for it, I choose the second.”
“From childhood on I have had the dream of life lived as a sacrament… the dream implied taking life ritually as something holy.”
French Art – Part I of II: Delphine Cossais
Painter Delphine Cossais lives and works in Paris.
Nobel Laureate: Pearl S. Buck
“I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.” – Pearl S. Buck, American writer, author of “The Good Earth” (which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932), and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces,” who was born 26 June 1892.
Some quotes from the work of Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck:
“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”
“There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream — whatever that dream might be.”
“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. ”
“You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.”
“The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members”
“Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman.”
“Now, five years is nothing in a man’s life except when he is very young and very old…”
“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.”
“Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked.”
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word-excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”
“All things are possible until they are proved impossible and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.”
“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”
“I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.”
“One faces the future with one’s past.”
French Art – Part II of II: Gerard Schlosser
Painter Gerard Schlosser (born 1931) lives and works in Paris.
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Chris Isaak
Born 26 June 1956 – Christopher Joseph “Chris” Isaak, an American vocalist and musician.
When it was released, this music video was considered controversial:
Italian Art – Part I of III: Francesco Merletti
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Patty Smyth
Born 26 June 1957 – Patty Smyth, an American singer and songwriter.
Italian Art – Part II of III: Paolo dell’ Aquila
“Only two classes of books are of universal appeal. The very best and the very worst.” – Ford Madox Ford, English novelist, poet, critic, editor, and author of “The Good Soldier,” who died 26 June 1939.
Some quotes from the work of Ford Madox Ford:
“We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist. So, for a time, if such a passion come to fruition, the man will get what he wants. He will get the moral support, the encouragement, the relief from the sense of loneliness, the assurance of his own worth. But these things pass away; inevitably they pass away as the shadows pass across sundials. It is sad, but it is so. The pages of the book will become familiar; the beautiful corner of the road will have been turned too many times. Well, this is the saddest story.”
“Higher than the beasts, lower than the angels, stuck in our idiot Eden.”
“The world is full of places to which I want to return.”
“Why can’t people have what they want? The things were all there to content everybody; yet everybody has the wrong thing.”
“Yes, a war is inevitable. Firstly, there’s you fellows who can’t be trusted. And then there’s the multitude who mean to have bathrooms and white enamel. Millions of them; all over the world. Not merely here. And there aren’t enough bathrooms and white enamel in the world to go round.”
“It is not merely that people must die and people must suffer, if not here, then there. But what is dreadful is that the world goes on and people go on being stupidly cruel – in the old ways and all the time.”
Italian Art – Part III of III: Giuseppe Muscio
Here is how hyperrealist painter Giuseppe Muscio describes the genesis of his artistic vocation when he was a boy in Apulia: “I was fascinated by the majestic landscape around me and realized that I was born to be an artist and painter. If I close my eyes, I still can smell the perfume of the rows of vines, the fragrance of the olives and the almonds. I immediately began to reproduce what I could see onto drawing sheets, which my grandfather would give me. Soon, I moved to Milan with my family, leaving behind my roots and my love for the region. I was passionate about painting; I studied the painting’s techniques of the greatest painters of 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. I also experimented with various painting techniques using scientific methods.”
“Every American carries in his bloodstream the heritage of the malcontent and the dreamer.” –Dorothy Fuldheim, American journalist and television news anchor, who was born 26 June 1893.
In the words of one historian, “Fuldheim has a role in American television news history; she is credited with being the first woman in the United States to anchor a television news broadcast as well to host her own television show. She has been referred to as the ‘First Lady of Television News.’”
Another quote from Dorothy Fuldheim: “This is a youth-oriented society, and the joke is on them because youth is a disease from which we all recover.”
Born 26 June 1895 – Jankel Adler, a Polish painter and printmaker.
Below – “Reclining Nude”; “The Poet”; “Composition”; “Woman with a Cat”; “Composition”; “Homage to Naum Gabo”; “Composition.”
“The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.” – Colin Henry Wilson, English novelist, philosopher, and author of “The Outsider,” who was born 26 June 1931.
Some quotes from the work of Colin Henry Wilson:
“Life itself is an exile. The way home is not the way back.”
“In (our) civilisation a new law of hostility prevails. And to call it the law of the jungle is unfair to the jungle.”
“The Outsider is not sure who he is. He has found an ‘I,’ but it is not his true ‘I.’ His main business is to find his way back to himself.”
“Man is not a ‘fixed and limited animal whose nature is absolutely constant.’ He changed drastically when he developed ‘divided consciousness’ to cope with complexities of civilisation, and has been changing steadily ever since. His greatest problem, the problem that has caused most of his agonies and miseries, has been his attempt to compensate for the narrowing of consciousness and the entrapment in the left-brain ego. His favorite method of compensation has been to seek out excitement. He feels most free in moments of conquest; so for the past three thousand years or so, most of the greatest men have led armies into their neighbours’ territory, and turned order into chaos. This has plainly been a retrogressive step; the evolutionary urge has been defeating its own purpose.”
“Human beings do not realise the extent to which their own sense of defeat prevents them from doing things they could do perfectly well.”
“Man is brilliant at solving problems; but solving them only makes him the victim of his own childishness and laziness. It is this recognition that has made almost every major philosopher in history a pessimist.”
“Ask the Outsider what he ultimately wants, and he will admit he doesn’t know. Why? Because he wants it instinctively, and it is not always possible to tell what your instincts are driving towards.”
“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.”
Born 26 June 1763 – George Morland, an English painter of animals and rustic scenes.
26 June 1284 – The citizens of Hamelin, Germany hire the Pied Piper to lure rats out of their town with his magic pipe. When he finishes the job, the townspeople refuse to pay him, and so he retaliates by turning his magic on Hamelin’s children, leading them away from the town, just as he had the other brutes.
Spanish Art – Part I of III: Luis Ricardo Falero
Spanish painter Luis Ricardo Falero (1851-1896) specialized in portraying female nudes and mythological, oriental, and fantasy settings. In the words of one critic, “(Falero) is one of a number of painters concentrating on the nude, shown in a highly-finished manner, and in a mythological or fairy tale setting. At his best, Falero’s paintings show an almost super-realist talent for depicting the female form, but many of his girls are rather coy, with an emphasis on sexiness and not much effort at a subject – pin-ups rather than high art. Falero wavers on both sides of the line between a beautiful nude and artistic girl, and an oversweet coquettish Salon painting.”
“It was a world that I wanted to record because it was such a miracle visitation to me.” – Laurence Edward Alan “Laurie” Lee, English poet, novelist, and screenwriter, who was born 26 June 1914.
“Home From Abroad”
Far-fetched with tales of other worlds and ways,
My skin well-oiled with wines of the Levant,
I set my face into a filial smile
To greet the pale, domestic kiss of Kent.
But shall I never learn? That gawky girl,
Recalled so primly in my foreign thoughts,
Becomes again the green-haired queen of love
Whose wanton form dilates as it delights.
Her rolling tidal landscape floods the eye
And drowns Chianti in a dusky stream;
her flower-flecked grasses swim with simple horses,
The hedges choke with roses fat as cream.
Spanish Art – Part II of III: Alejandro Cabeza
In the words of one critic, Spanish painter Alejandro Cabeza (born 1971) “excels in the painting of portraits.”
Died 26 June 1961 – Kenneth Fearing, an American poet and novelist.
A masterful dramatic monologue:
“Love 20 Cents The First Quarter Mile”
All right. I may have lied to you and about you, and made a
few pronouncements a bit too sweeping, perhaps, and
possibly forgotten to tag the bases here or there,
And damned your extravagance, and maligned your tastes,
and libeled your relatives, and slandered a few of your
Nevertheless, come back.
Come home. I will agree to forget the statements that you
issued so copiously to the neighbors and the press,
And you will forget that figment of your imagination, the
blonde from Detroit;
I will agree that your lady friend who lives above us is not
crazy, bats, nutty as they come, but on the contrary rather bright,
And you will concede that poor old Steinberg is neither a
drunk, nor a swindler, but simply a guy, on the eccentric
side, trying to get along.
(Are you listening, you bitch, and have you got this straight?)
Because I forgive you, yes, for everything. I forgive you for
being beautiful and generous and wise,
I forgive you, to put it simply, for being alive, and pardon
you, in short, for being you.
Because tonight you are in my hair and eyes,
And every street light that our taxi passes shows me you
again, still you,
And because tonight all other nights are black, all other hours
are cold and far away, and now, this minute, the stars are
very near and bright.
Come back. We will have a celebration to end all celebrations.
We will invite the undertaker who lives beneath us, and a
couple of boys from the office, and some other friends.
And Steinberg, who is off the wagon, and that
insane woman who lives upstairs, and a few reporters, if
anything should break.
Spanish Art – Part III of III: Paco Segovia
In the words of one critic Spanish artist Paco Segovia (born 1952) is a “designer working in architecture studios drawing plans and perspectives, with an fine arts background, who is mainly a self-taught artist.
His realistic works express a social awareness that leads him to depict the extreme anguish of the man of our times in his solitude within the large city.”
A Poem for Today
“Mahayana in Vermont,”
By Sydney Lea
My objectives this morning were vague.
As always I’d hike these hills—
a way to keep going
against the odds age deals,
a way to keep body and soul
together, and not so much thinking
as letting things steal into mind—
but I started counting
from the very first step I took.
I wore rank old boots, ill-laced,
and patchwork pants.
Around my neck hung the frayed
lanyard of a whistle I use
to summon our trio of dogs,
who capered and yelped their pleasure
at one of our walks,
and more miraculous still,
at having me for a master.
It’s true in a sense
that I always count as I wander,
though it’s usually the beats of a tune
(Thelonious’s “Blue Monk”
a favorite) that mark my time.
These counts felt odder,
better. We scattered a brood
of grouse at step 91.
The deerflies strafed us.
At 500 a late trillium
glowed by a ledge like a lotus.
Right along the rain kept pounding.
I was mindful of all these things
but I never stopped counting.
Life was good, and more.
It was worthy of better response.
At 1000 I thought,
Enough—and counted on.
Nothing was coming to mind.
Nothing is coming again
from my hike half the day ago
with three dogs through rain
but a mystic sense of well-being
in quietly chanted numbers.
Whatever this trance,
I treasured it as a wonder
not to be wrenched into meaning,
as in Every second counts,
as in You should count your blessings,
though of those there seems no doubt.
American Art – Part II of III: Abby Heller-Burnham
Artist Statement: “I use a combination of naturalism and spontaneity to represent certain aspects of what I have seen and experienced during semi-conscious dream states. My work portrays an ethereal luminosity that creates life-like spaces which the viewer can visually enter. My goal is to create increasingly complex compositions by combining multiple images from a vast collection of visual references. With a highly disciplined background in traditional methods and techniques as a base, I nevertheless strive to expand its boundaries to find new artistic approaches through continual experimentation.
I find nineteenth century naturalism to be particularly inspiring. Its simplicity of design, complex esthetic content, and distinct atmospheric quality all resonate with my artistic sensibilities. Klimt and Mucha, for example, have been important influences, particularly their unique blend of graphic patterns and textures with natural realism.
I am always in the process of finding my own delicate balance between naturalism and other contradictory interests that also inspire me. I believe that a versatile and experimental approach leads to the resolution of this conflict, and allows me to reach beyond realism to more fully express my ideas.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Calligraphy Accompanied by the Mood of a Calm but Definitive Sauce,”
By Dick Allen
Make your strokes thus: the horizontal:
as a cloud that slowly drifts across the horizon;
the vertical: as an ancient but strong vine stem;
the dot: a falling rock;
and learn to master the sheep leg, the tiger’s claw,
an apricot kernel, a dewdrop, the new moon,
the wave rising and falling. Do these
while holding your arm out above the paper
like the outstretched leg of a crane.
The strength of your hand
will give the stroke its bone.
But for real accomplishment, it would be well
if you would go to live solitary in a forest silence,
or beside a river flowing serenely.
It might also be useful
to look down a lonesome road,
and for the future
to stare into the gray static of a television screen,
or when lost in a video game
to accept you may never reach the final level,
where the dragon awaits, guarding the pot of gold,
and that you’ve left no footprints, not a single one,
despite all your adventures,
anyone following you could ever follow.
American Art – Part III of III: Casey Baugh
In the words of one writer, Casey Baugh (born 1984) “believes that good art ‘requires a distinct idea and a thorough knowledge of the language [of art] by which to communicate it. A good artist always has something to say, but truly great artists have obtained the ability to say it through experience and sheer determination.’ It is with this mind-set that Baugh is doing work comparable to artists three times his age and has continued to conduct workshops, offer demonstrations, and give lectures in order to teach aspiring artists how to effectively communicate their interpretation of the beauty of creation and life through art.”