American Art – Part I of III: Vinnie Ream
28 July 1886 – At the age of 18, American sculptor Lavinia Ellen “Vinnie” Ream becomes the first female artist to receive a commission from the United States government. She was hired to create the statue of Abraham Lincoln that now stands in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. It was dedicated on 25 January 1871.
Below – The statue of Abraham Lincoln; Vinnie Ream; portrait of Ream with a Lincoln bust; Other work by Vinnie Ream: “Sappho”; “Sequoyah”; “Admiral Farragut.”
“Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble.” – Roger Tory Peterson, American ornithologist, naturalist, artist, educator, environmentalist, and creator of the indispensible “Peterson Field Guides,” who died on 28 July 1996.
American Art – Part II of III: Marcel Duchamp
“Anything is art if the artist says it is.” – Marcel Duchamp, French/American painter and sculptor whose work was extremely influential in the first decades of the twentieth century, who was born 28 July 1887.
“Man is always inclined to regard the small circle in which he lives as the center of the world and to make his particular, private life the standard of the universe and to make his particular, private life the standard of the universe. But he must give up this vain pretense, this petty provincial way of thinking and judging.” – Ernst Cassirer, German philosopher, educator, and author of “An Essay on Man,” who was born 28 July 1874.
Two quotes from the work of Ernst Cassirer:
“There is no remedy against this reversal of the natural order. Man cannot escape from his own achievement. He cannot but adopt the conditions of his own life. No longer in a merely physical universe, man lives in a symbolic universe. Language, myth, art, and religion are parts of this universe. They are the varied threads which weave the symbolic net, the tangled web of human experience. All human progress in thought and experience refines and strengthens this net. No longer can man confront reality immediately; he cannot see it, as it were, face to face. Physical reality seems to recede in proportion as man’s symbolic activity advances. Instead of dealing with the things themselves man is in a sense constantly conversing with himself.”
“Though myth is fictitious, it is an unconscious, not a conscious fiction. The primitive mind was not aware of the meaning of its own creations. But it is for us, it is for our scientific analysis, to reveal this meaning — to detect the true face behind these innumerable masks.”
American Art: – Part III of III: Greg Overton
Artist Greg Overton (born 1970) has been working in the Western art genre since he was very young, and he has become especially adept at painting Native American warriors. Many of his paintings are based on historical figures, such as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Geronimo. In the words of one art critic, “Overton does extensive research for each painting to better understand his subjects and maintain proper authenticity. He attends powwows and other Indian ceremonies to fine tune his appreciation of Native American culture, and he is a student of tribal history.” Greg Overton’s paintings are now in private collections all over the United States.
“What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
Oh let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.” – From “Inversnaid,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, an English poet and Jesuit priest, who was born 28 July 1844.
“No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief.”
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief.”‘
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
Here is the Artist Statement of Thai painter Daeng Buasand: “Night and day are incomplete without each other. My work is like that: It reflects both the dark and the beautiful; it shows a world that is both evening and dawn.”
“Bad, or good, as it happens to be, that is what it is to exist! . . . It is as though I have been silent and fuddled with sleep all my life. In spite of all, I know now that at least it is better to go always towards the summer, towards those burning seas of light; to sit at night in the forecastle lost in an unfamiliar dream, when the spirit becomes filled with stars, instead of wounds, and good and compassionate and tender. To sail into an unknown spring, or receive one’s baptism on storm’s promontory, where the solitary albatross heels over in the gale, and at last come to land. To know the earth under one’s foot and go, in wild delight, ways where there is water.” – From “Ultramarine,” by Malcolm Lowry, English poet, novelist, and author of “Under the Volcano,” who was born 28 July 1909.
Some quotes from the work of Malcolm Lowry:
“A little self-knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
“Try persuading the world not to cut its throat for half a decade or more…and it’ll begin to dawn on you that even your behavior’s part of its plan.”
“For with another part of his mind he felt the encroachment of a chilling fear, eclipsing all other feelings, that the thing they wanted was coming for him alone, before he was ready for it; it was a fear worse than the fear that when money was low one would have to stop drinking; it was compounded of harrowed longing and hatred, fathomless compunctions, and of a paradoxical remorse, for his failure to attempt finally something he was not going to have time for, to face the world honestly; it was the shadow of a city of dreadful night without splendour that fell on his soul.”
“They were the cars at the fair that were whirling around her; no, they were the planets, while the sun stood, burning and spinning and guttering in the centre; here they came again, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto; but they were not planets, for it was not the merry-go-round at all, but the Ferris wheel, they were constellations, in the hub of which, like a great cold eye, burned Polaris, and round and round it here they went: Cassiopeia, Cepheus, the Lynx, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and the Dragon; yet they were not constellations, but, somehow, myriads of beautiful butterflies, she was sailing into Acapulco harbour through a hurricane of beautiful butterflies, zigzagging overhead and endlessly vanishing astern over the sea, the sea, rough and pure, the long dawn rollers advancing, rising, and crashing down to glide in colourless ellipses over the sand, sinking, sinking, someone was calling her name far away and she remembered, they were in a dark wood, she heard the wind and the rain rushing through the forest and saw the tremours of lightning shuddering through the heavens and the horse—great God, the horse—and would this scene repeat itself endlessly and forever?—the horse, rearing, poised over her, petrified in midair, a statue, somebody was sitting on the statue, it was Yvonne Griffaton, no, it was the statue of Huerta, the drunkard, the murderer, it was the Consul, or it was a mechanical horse on the merry-go-round, the carrousel, but the carrousel had stopped and she was in a ravine down which a million horses were thundering towards her, and she must escape, through the friendly forest to their house, their little home by the sea.”
Here is one critic describing the background of Italian painter Alessandro Marziano: “Alessandro Marziano was born in 1977. He began painting as a child in his father’s studio. He graduated from the School of Arts in Catanzaro in 1994. He attended the School of Theater in 1992 and became interested in set design. He has since become involved in stage design for plays in throughout Italy, winning the first price at the Theater Festival of Terracina in 2000.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Antonio Vivaldi
“Human feelings are difficult to predict.” – Antonio Vivaldi, Italian Baroque composer and violinist, who died 28 July 1741.
“All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife. . . . Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.” – Beatrix Potter, English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, conservationist, and author of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” who was born 28 July 1866.
Renee Zellweger portrays Beatrix Potter to perfection in the 2006 film “Miss Potter,” directed by Christ Noonan.
Some quotes from the work of Beatrix Potter:
“Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were–Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. ”
“I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense.”
“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.”
“The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.”
“There was another story in the paper a week or so since. A gentleman had a favourite cat whom he taught to sit at the dinner table where it behaved very well. He was in the habit of putting any scraps he left onto the cat’s plate. One day puss did not take his place punctually, but presently appeared with two mice, one of which it placed on its master’s plate, the other on its own.”
“With opportunity the world is very interesting.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Graeme Balchin: “We live in a time where technology has advanced to the point we no longer need a camera to make a great image. For the commercial world, technology is the future, for it has embraced the new mediums with open arms. With this in mind, I am constantly amazed with the amount of artists who still use traditional mediums and methods simply because they wish to. I am one of those people, who has a compelling desire that borders on an insane obsession, to paint and draw. Painting has been and still is a successful way of recording history, but I feel it is also an integral part of human endeavor, the need to achieve excellence in creation.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Johann Sebastian Bach
“What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.” – Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer, musician, and genius of the Baroque period, who died 28 July 1750.
“Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents,
through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?” – John Ashbery, American poet and author of “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” (which in 1976 won the Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award), who was born 28 July 1927.
“The Picture of Little J. A. in a Prospect of Flowers”
He was spoilt from childhood
by the future, which he mastered
rather early and apparently
without great difficulty.
Darkness falls like a wet sponge
And Dick gives Genevieve a swift punch
In the pajamas. “Aroint thee, witch.”
Her tongue from previous ecstasy
Releases thoughts like little hats.
“He clap’d me first during the eclipse.
Afterwards I noted his manner
Much altered. But he sending
At that time certain handsome jewels
I durst not seem to take offence.”
In a far recess of summer
Monks are playing soccer.
So far is goodness a mere memory
Or naming of recent scenes of badness
That even these lives, children,
You may pass through to be blessed,
So fair does each invent his virtue.
And coming from a white world, music
Will sparkle at the lips of many who are
Beloved. Then these, as dirty handmaidens
To some transparent witch, will dream
Of a white hero’s subtle wooing,
And time shall force a gift on each.
That beggar to whom you gave no cent
Striped the night with his strange descant.
Yet I cannot escape the picture
Of my small self in that bank of flowers:
My head among the blazing phlox
Seemed a pale and gigantic fungus.
I had a hard stare, accepting
Everything, taking nothing,
As though the rolled-up future might stink
As loud as stood the sick moment
The shutter clicked. Though I was wrong,
Still, as the loveliest feelings
Must soon find words, and these, yes,
Displace them, so I am not wrong
In calling this comic version of myself
The true one. For as change is horror,
Virtue is really stubbornness
Born 28 July 1868 – George Morren, a Flemish painter.
From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Jerry Lee Lewis
28 July 1957 – Jerry Lee Lewis makes his first television appearance on the Steve Allen Show.
From the American History Archives – Part I of III: The Memnon
28 July 1849 – After 120 days at sea, the Memnon becomes the first clipper ship to reach San Francisco from New York City.
From the American History Archives – Part II of III: The Metric System
28 July 1866 – The metric system becomes a legal measurement system in the United States. Happily, this transparent attempt to impose One World Government on our Republic failed, and so the metric system in America has remained merely “a” legal measurement system and not “the” legal measurement system. All patriotic Americans should be proud that we have so steadfastly resisted the tyrannical appeals of reason and good sense in this matter. Take a moment to ponder the diagram below, and then imagine our freedom-loving nation oppressed by such obviously socialist principles. As Abraham Simpson so eloquently put the matter, “The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that’s the way I likes it.”
From the American History Archives – Part III of III: B-25 Crash
California Landscape Painters, The Pioneers– Part I of III:
Mary Agnes Yerkes
Mary Agnes Yerkes (1886-1921) was a skilled painter and watercolorist. After studying art in Rockford College and the Art Institute of Chicago, she settled in San Mateo, California in 1930, where she lives and worked. While she mostly painted plein-air, Yerkes also worked at home in a studio.
California Landscape Painters, The Pioneers– Part II of III:
Guy Rose (1867-1925) was born in San Gabriel, California.
After studying at the Academie Julian in Paris (1888-1889), he worked as an illustrator in New York City during the 1890s. He returned to France in 1900, and from 1904 to 1912 he and his wife lived in Giverny, where he was influenced by his friend and mentor Claude Monet. Rose and his wife moved to Los Angeles in 1912.
California Landscape Painters, The Pioneers– Part III of III:
Granville Redmond (1871-1935) studied art while a student at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley. He then enrolled at the California School of Design in San Francisco, and in 1893 Redmond won a scholarship that made it possible for him to study in Paris at the Academie Julian. In 1893 he returned to California and settled in Los Angeles, where he became friends with Charlie Chaplin, for whom he became an acting coach and who, in turn, collected Redmond’s paintings.
“Praise In Summer,”
By Richard Wilbur
Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,
As sometimes summer calls us all, I said
The hills are heavens full of branching ways
Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;
I said the trees are mines in air, I said
See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!
And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savour’s in this wrenching things awry.
Does sense so stale that it must needs derange
The world to know it? To a praiseful eye
Should it not be enough of fresh and strange
That trees grow green, and moles can course
And sparrows sweep the ceiling of our day?
Below – The Buffalo River
California Landscape Painters, Contemporary Heirs of the Pioneers – Part I of III: Peter Adams
Peter Adams (born 1952) is known for his landscape and figurative paintings. He is the longest serving President of the California Art Club.
Below – “Twilight Time”; “Tejon Forest”; “High Sierra”; “Early Spring Afternoon Light on Mt. Baldy”; “Winter on Lake Maine, Mammoth”; “Mount Lowe”; “Canyon – Near Batiquitos Lagoon, CA”; “Sillouettes at Dawn, Grand Canyon.”
California Landscape Painters, Contemporary Heirs of the Pioneers – Part II of III: Tim Solliday
Tim Solliday (born 1952) is known for his San Gabriel Valley landscapes and his paintings of American Indians and other western subjects.
Below – “California Landscape”; “Tangled Sycamores”; “Winter Woods”; “Looking for Water”; “Sycamore Hillside Near Artist’s Home”; “Serene Pastures”; “Woodland Song.”
California Landscape Painters, Contemporary Heirs of the Pioneers – Part III of III: Armand Cabrera
Armand Carbrera (born 1955) is best known for his landscape art and seascapes.
Below – “Big Sur”; “Fly Fishing on the Carson River”; “Winter Evening”; “San Gabriels Autumn”; “Overcast Light”; “Autumn Vineyards”; “Iceberg Lake.”