“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
Died 6 July 1916 – Odilon Redon, a French symbolist painter, printmaker, and draughtsman.
American Art – Part I of II: Linda Post
Artist Statement: “My work is always figurative, with a distinct psychological edge. I am intrigued by the very tenuous balance of conscious and unconscious, the conjunction of dreaming and waking states. Many of my paintings take place at twilight or dawn – the most ambiguous times of day, when even the sky is ambivalent about its intentions and the improbable becomes possible. My most recent work, an exploration of the cusp of adolescence and the nature of personal relationships, is both more introspective and less overtly dreamlike than the imagery that has preoccupied me for the last twenty years.
The heightened emotional state of each work gives them an almost prescient quality. There is a sense that something is either in the middle of happening or is about to happen. My paintings are suggestive of feelings that we are familiar with, images that are part of our collective unconscious. The underlying narratives describe our dreams and memories.
I anchor my paintings in the places I know best. I grew up in New England near the ocean, and I have a special predilection for the clear light, sand dunes and salt marshes of islands and the seashore. Much of my adult life has been spent in western Massachusetts, so my work also often includes the rolling hills and sinuous waterways of the Pioneer Valley.”
“I love the night passionately. I love it as I love my country, or my mistress, with an instinctive, deep, and unshakeable love. I love it with all my senses: I love to see it, I love to breathe it in, I love to open my ears to its silence, I love my whole body to be caressed by its blackness. Skylarks sing in the sunshine, the blue sky, the warm air, in the fresh morning light. The owl flies by night, a dark shadow passing through the darkness; he hoots his sinister, quivering hoot, as though he delights in the intoxicating black immensity of space. ” – Guy de Maupassant, a French writer considered one of the fathers of the modern short story, who died 6 July 1893.
Some quotes from the work of Guy de Maupassant:
“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.”
“Solitude is indeed dangerous for a working intelligence. We need to have around us people who think and speak. When we are alone for a long time we people the void with phantoms”
“A strange art – music – the most poetic and precise of all the arts, vague as a dream and precise as algebra.”
“One sometimes weeps over one’s illusions with as much bitterness as over a death.”
There are some delightful places in this world which have a sensual charm for the eyes. One loves them with a physical love. We people who are attracted by the countryside cherish fond memories of certain springs, certain woods, certain ponds, certain hills, which have become familiar sights and can touch our hearts like happy events.
Sometimes indeed the memory goes back towards a forest glade, or a spot on a river bank or an orchard in blossom, glimpsed only once on a happy day, but preserved in our heart.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Zimbabwe-born painter Craig Wylie: “Having lived most of his life in Southern Africa, light and space is an important part of his work. Much of Craig’s work to date is concerned with the body and, more recently, he has expanded his subject matter to cover cityscapes, landscapes and seascapes. However, still life work has always been of particular interest to Craig, something he describes as deceptively simple: ‘In the face of much contemporary art it seems anachronistic, probably is. Somehow I’ve managed by attention to nuance of colour and detail to conjure up work which has a sort of robust delicacy. The objects involved seem to have a kind of shining light within them, personified even.’ Craig’s interpretation of these traditional and often intimate subjects allows him to create paintings of unique contemporary freshness that demonstrate his almost effortless virtuosity and sophistication as an artist.”
From the Music Archives: Jefferson Airplane
6 July 1965 – The American rock group Jefferson Airplane forms in San Francisco.
Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Dutch painter Joop Frohwein: “Already in his early childhood it was clear that Joop Frohwein (The Hague, 1952) had the strong urge to liberty for self expression. But unfortunately he was not able to fulfil this need earlier then in the eighties of last century, mainly because of the fact that he was raised in a business family, in which there was no place for art as a living.
When he finished his education on Art Academy he moved from his roots town, the governmental city of The Hague to the more quiet countryside and beach shores of the South of The Netherlands. By doing so he was able to take some distance from family obligations and expectations. And in this quietness of the sweat seashore and beaches he felt for the first time in his life the inner piece to paint. It was the beginning of his passionate artistic career. Later on his need for a romantic lifestyle overcame definitely the secure path of family tradition. He moved from the Dutch seaside to the even more quiet and beautiful Mediterranean landscape, nowadays he lives and works in the sunshiny Turkish coastal region.
When we know the story of his life journey, the paintings of Joop Frohwein become easier to understand. His youth is one of the keys to his works, combined with his desire for comfort, quietness and happiness. He gives birth to peaceful and harmonious images. In fact these images reflect the painters wishes for his real life. And so he transforms his own life experiences into a kind of magic realistic atmosphere in which we find all kind of nice and quiet things. Things Frohwein not only longs for himself, but together with him so many of us, in order to find an escape from our busy and hasty modern life. In his paintings we find personifications, mostly female, of acquiescence and modesty. In other paintings we see nice architectonic villas or swimming pools, true oases of tranquility and comfort. Its easy to understand the paintings of Frohwein have found their way to all parts of the world, because the need for quietness is strongly growing all over the globe. Who doesn’t want to welcome such great peace, while sitting on a comfortable couch in his living-room, without the necessity of even leaving the house?”
Nobel Laureate – Part I of II: Verner von Heidenstam
Born 6 July 1859 – Verner von Heidenstam, a Swedish poet, author, and recipient of the 1916 Nobel Prize in Literature “in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature.”
“At the ending of the path”
Wise, oh human creature, you’ll first be
when you gain the lofty summit in its
evening coolness, with the earth spread out below.
King, turn round at the ending of the path,
rest there a while and look behind you!
All is explained there, all is reconciled,
and once more your youth’s realms appear to shimmer,
still strewn with early light and morning dew.
Nobel Laureate – Part II of II: William Faulkner
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” – William Faulkner, American writer, author of “The Sound and the Fury,” “As I Lay Dying,” “Light in August,” and “The Bear,” two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and recipient of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel,” who died 6 July 1962.
Some quotes from the work of William Faulkner:
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
“I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.”
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
“Perhaps they were right putting love into books. Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.”
“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
“Pouring out liquor is like burning books.”
“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”
“Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.”
“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”
“I decline to accept the end of man… I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”
From the Cinema Archives: Janet Leigh
“‘Psycho’ gave me very wrinkled skin. I was in that shower for seven days—70 set-ups. At least he (Hitchcock) made sure the water was warm.” – Janet Leigh, American actress, who was born 6 July 1927.
“When my time comes, just skin me and put me up there on Trigger, just as though nothing had ever changed.” – Roy Rogers, American singer and cowboy actor, who died 6 July 1998.
“They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it’s some kind of federal program.” – George W. Bush, forty-third President of the United States of America, who was born 6 July 1946.
“Neither conscience nor sanity itself suggests that the United States is, should or could be the global gendarme.” – Robert McNamara, American businessman, the eighth Secretary of Defense, and the architect of the Vietnam war, who died 6 July 2009.
Americans would benefit immensely from watching the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.”
Some quotes from Robert McNamara:
“I want to say, and this is very important: at the end we lucked out. It was luck that prevented nuclear war. We came that close to nuclear war at the end. Rational individuals: Kennedy was rational; Khrushchev was rational; Castro was rational. Rational individuals came that close to total destruction of their societies. And that danger exists today.”
“We see what we want to believe.”
“Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning.”
“Rationality will not save us.”
“One cannot fashion a credible deterrent out of an incredible action.”
“A computer does not substitute for judgment any more than a pencil substitutes for literacy.”
“It would be our policy to use nuclear weapons wherever we felt it necessary to protect our forces and achieve our objectives.”
“We burned to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo – men, women and children. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?”
“Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.”
Prize-winning Italian painter and illustrator Toni Demuro (born 1974) graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Sassari in 1997. In 2012 he held an exhibition called “Trees,” in honor of the International Year of the Forest, and some of the illustrations from that show appear among the works posted below.
From the Television Archives: Pat Paulsen
“All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.” – Pat Paulsen, American comedian, satirist, winemaker, and six-time candidate for the Presidency of the United States, who was born 6 July 1927.
Some things seem not to have changed very much in America in the past forty years:
Mexican Art – Part I of II: Jose Maria Velasco Gomez
Born 6 July 1840, Jose Maria Velasco Gomez was one of thee most popular Mexican artists of the time, partly because he made his country’s geography a symbol of national identity through his paintings.
“Comparing information and knowledge is like asking whether the fatness of a pig is more or less green than the designated hitter rule.” – David Guaspari, American writer and mathematician, who was born 6 July 1948.
Mexican Art – Part II of II: Frida Kahlo
Born 6 July 1907, Frida Kahlo is best known for her remarkable self-portraits.
“Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo,” by Hayden Herrera, is excellent, as is the movie based on it – “Frida” (2002), directed by Julie Taymor and starring Selma Hayek, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance.
Some quotes from Frida Kahlo:
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
“I drank to drown my sorrows, but the damned things learned how to swim.”
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”
“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.”
“They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore….I [would] rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those ‘artistic’ bitches of Paris.”
“I paint flowers so they will not die.”
“The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.”
“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
“I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.”
Below – “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird”; “The Two Fridas”; “Self-Portrait with Bonito”; “My Grandparents, My Parents, and Me”; “The Love Embrace of the Universe”; “Self-Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser.”
“The fiery force is nothing more than the life force as we know it. It is the flame of desire and love, of sex and beauty, of pleasure and joy as we consume and are consumed, as we burn with pleasure and burn out in time.” – Harold Norse, American writer, poet, and expatriate artist of the Beat generation, who was born 6 July 1916.
In the words of one critic, “(Norse) was beat before the Beats, hip before the hippies, and out of the closet long before gay liberation.”
“At the Café Trieste”
The music of ancient Greece
and Rome did not come down to us
but this morning
I read Virgil’s Eclogues
struck by the prophecy
of a new era:
“A great cycle of centuries
begins. Justice returns to earth,
the Golden Age returns,” he wrote
30 years before the end
of his millennium, describing
the birth of the infant god, come down
from heaven. Jesus was 19
when Virgil died at 89.
Will the Golden Age ever come?
Same faces throw up each generation,
same races, emotions, struggles!
all those centuries, those countries!
languages, songs, discontents!
They return here in San Francisco
as I sit in the Cafe Trieste.
O recitative of years!
O Paradiso! sings the jukebox
as Virgil and Verdi combine
in this life to show
this is the only Golden Age
there’ll ever be
“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.” – Kenneth Grahame, Scottish writer and author of “The Wind in the Willows,” who died 6 July 1932.
Every child on the planet should read “The Wind in the Willows,” as should every adult.
Some quotes from the work of Kenneth Grahame:
“But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties.”
“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
“Home! That was what they meant, those caressing appeals, Those soft touches wafted through the air, those invisible little hands pulling and tugging, all one way.”
“Beyond the Wild Wood comes the wild world,” said the Rat.” And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or to me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going’ nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all.”
“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”
“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
“When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
“He saw clearly how plain and simple – how narrow, even – it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one’s existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.”
“Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of your old life and into the new!”
“Badger hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing.”
“The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”
“Secrets had an immense attraction to him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal, after having faithfully promised not to.”
“When tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”
“Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror – indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy – but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august presence was very, very near.”
“There seemed to be no end to this wood, and no beginning, and no difference in it, and, worse of all, no way out.”
“‘Everything seems asleep, and yet going on all the time. It’s a goodly life that you lead, friends; no doubt the best in the world, if only you are strong enough to lead it!’ ‘Yes, it’s the life, the only life, to live,’ responded the Water Rat dreamily, and without his usual whole-hearted conviction. ‘I did not exactly say that,’ the stranger replied cautiously, ‘but no doubt it’s the best. I’ve tried it, and I know. And because I’ve tried it – six months of it – and know it’s the best, here I am, footsore and hungry, tramping away from it, tramping southward, following the old call, back to the old life, the life which is mine and which will not let me go.’”
“Good, bad, and indifferent – It takes all sorts to make a world.”
“Toad, with no one to check his statements or to criticize in an unfriendly spirit, rather let himself go. Indeed, much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures; and why should they not be truly ours, as much as the somewhat inadequate things that really come off?”
“It seemed a place where heroes could fitly feast after victory, where weary harvesters could line up in scores along the table and keep their Harvest Home with mirth and song, or where two or three friends of simple tastes could sit about as they pleased and eat and smoke and talk in comfort and contentment.”
“It was a cold still afternoon with a hard steely sky overhead, when he slipped out of the warm parlour into the open air. The country lay bare and entirely leafless around him, and he thought that he had never seen so far and intimately into the insides of things as on that winter day when Nature was deep in her annual slumber and seemed to have kicked the clothes off. Copses, dells, quarries and all hidden places, which had been mysterious mines for exploration in leafy summer, now exposed themselves and their secrets pathetically, and seemed to ask him to overlook their shabby poverty for a while, til they could riot in rich masquerade as before, and trick and entice him with the old deceptions. It was pitiful in a way, and yet cheering-even exhilarating. He was glad that he liked the country undecorated, hard, and stripped of its finery. He had got down to the bare bones of it, and they were fine and strong and simple. He did not want the warm clover and the play of seeding grasses; the screens of quickset, the billowy drapery of beech and elm seemed best away; and with great cheerfulness of spirit he pushed on towards the Wild Wood, which lay before him low and threatening, like a black reef in some still southern sea.”
“There he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger’s origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.”
In the words of one critic, Australian painter David Wells (born 1977) “is an eclectic artist having worked professionally as an actor, graphic artist, dancer, web designer, circus and street performer, musician, children’s entertainer and visual artist.”
A Poem for Today
“Leda and the Swan,”
By William Butler Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
Below – Peter Paul Rubens: “Leda and the Swan” (a 16th century copy of a lost painting by Michelangelo); Paul Cezanne: “Leda and the Swan” (circa 1880); Rapiti Giovanni: “Leda and the Swan, passionate” (2008)
American Art – Part II of II: Richard T. Scott
“Whether it is in his portraits, his compositions, or either still in his interiors, Richard T. Scott always tries to produce, on his spectators, a certain effect of strangeness, or at least, something like a feeling of longing. That’s why, maybe, his compositions are populated for the greater part with mirrors in which appear, not simply beings just like those who face us – but of real spectres having the function to destabilize our glance while giving the fourth dimension for us to see” – Frédéric Charles Baitinger, Critic, “Artension”