August Offerings – Part VII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VIII: Lindsay Goodwin

In the words of one writer, “At the young age of 24, Lindsay Goodwin has captivated a tremendous following of art patrons for her artistic achievements and exquisite renderings of historic interiors and classical figures. Lindsay, who began her career teaching at O’Neill’s Fine Arts in Malibu, California, was already considered a stand-out emerging artist upon her graduation from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her true artistic passion began to unfold after she moved to Paris. The city’s decorative heritage truly elicited the full depth of Lindsay’s potential which then began to unfurl and attract national attention back home. Having returned to the United States, Lindsay now resides in Los Angeles, California, committing her visions to canvas for the galleries and collectors clamoring for her work coast to coast.”
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American Art – Part II of VIII: Barbara Rivera

In the words of one critic, “Artist Barbara Rivera focuses on the art of conceptual portraiture. Born in Puerto Rico, she came to Miami in 1987, and studied at the University of Miami where she received her BFA in painting and graphic design. She later received her MFA from Florida International University with a concentration in painting. Her paintings provide new possibilities of identification that can conceive the female subject, and its social relations with diverse alternatives. Some of the paintings are small in scale to provide a contemporary version of the eighteenth century tradition of decorative, fancy pictures.”
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“In every age of transition men are never so firmly bound to one way of life as when they are about to abandon it.” – Bernard Levin, English journalist, author, and broadcaster, who died 7 August 2004.

Some quotes from Bernard Levin:

“If you cannot understand my argument, and declare ‘It’s Greek to me,’ you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is father to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the devil his due – if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then – by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! – it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.”
” Ask a man which way he is going to vote, and he will probably tell you. Ask him, however, why, and vagueness is all.”
“On the whole, I am against mass murder. I rarely commit it myself, and often find myself quite out of sympathy with those who make a habit of it.”
“No amount of manifest absurdity… could deter those who wanted to believe from believing.”
“What has happened to architecture since the second world war that the only passers-by who can contemplate it without pain are those equipped with a white stick and a dog?”

The paintings of Spanish artist Dalila del Valle are in private collections around the world.
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“A big cat detained briefly in a poodle parlor, sharpening her claws on the velvet.” – Matthew Parris, English writer, who was born 7 August 1949, describing Margaret Thatcher during her visit to the House of Lords.

Matthew Parris endeared himself to me when he began a column for “The Times” with these words: “A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.” It was his belief that cyclists were guilty of many sins, especially a propensity for littering. Responses to the article were quite mean-spirited, particularly those made by irate cyclists. Parris later apologized, stating that he his remarks were intended to be humorous, but I nonetheless still respect him.

Some quotes from Matthew Parris:

“Nothing corrupts a politician quite as much as friendship. Good politicians don’t bribe; they make us like them.”
“Hypocrisy is like dry rot. Air and light will kill her. Her friends are anxiety, discretion, envy, embarrassment and fear.”
“Playing the world’s policeman is not
the answer to that catastrophe
in New York. Playing the world’s
policeman is what led to it.”
“All three of our major religions in Britain –
Christianity, Islam and Judaism –
have a hateful idea at the very core. That idea is Exclusion: the ‘othering,’
if you like, of the unredeemed.”

American Art – Part III of VIII: Grandma Moses

“If I didn’t start painting, I would have raised chickens.” – Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses, renowned folk artist, who was born 7 August (or 7 September) 1860.

Below – “Sugaring Off”; “The Old Checkered House”; “Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City”; “Thunderstorm”; “Quilting Bee”; “Halloween, 1955.”
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Argentinean artist Laura Lambre is a self-taught painter.

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From the Movie Archives: Oliver Hardy

“I don’t know much, but I know a little about a lot of things.” – Oliver Hardy, American actor and member of the peerless comedy team Laurel and Hardy, who died 7 August 1957.

Oliver Hardy knew more than a little about acting, singing, dancing, and, especially, comedy.

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“Clever people master life; the wise illuminate it and create fresh difficulties.” – Emil Nolde, German/Danish painter, printmaker, and one of the first Expressionists, who was born 7 August 1887.

Below – “Lake Lucerne”; “Garden in Bloom”; “Harvest Day”; “The Sea”; “Bedeviled Dancing”; “Spectators at the Cabaret”; “Twilight”; “Ripe Sunflowers.”

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Nobel Laureates – Part I of II: Ralph Bunche

“There are no warlike peoples—just warlike leaders.” – Ralph Bunche, American political scientist, academic, diplomat, and recipient of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation in Palestine, who was born 7 August 1904.

Some quotes from the work of Ralph Bunche:

“Hearts are the strongest when they beat in response to noble ideals.”
“To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up.”
“The United Nations is our one great hope for a peaceful and free world.”
“If you want to get across an idea, wrap it up in person.”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Romanian painter Mihai Criste (born 1975): “The outstanding precision with which Mihai paints his surrealistic works is absolutely fascinating and immediately catches the recipient’s attention. Through his work he inspires thought and communicates symbols, dreams and tales that lie behind our world. Mihai Criste claims: ‘The beautiful in art is nothing else but the essence, the creation.’”
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Nobel Laureates – Part II of II: Rabindranath Tagore

“We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.” – Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali writer, musician, author of Gitanjali,” and recipient of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West,” who died 7 August 1941.

Some quotes from the work of Rabindranath Tagore:

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
“Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it.”
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”
“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of
Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”
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British Art – Part I of II: Toby Wiggins

Here is the Artist Statement of English painter Toby Wiggins:
“Portraiture is at the centre of my painting practice. Each portrait offers me the opportunity to develop further as a painter. It is a unique blend of my own vision and that of the clients. There are always fresh ideas to explore, formally through composition, light, colour and drawing, but also in the quest for likeness and character.”
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Guitar Maestros – Part I of II: George Van Eps

Born 7 August 1913 – George Van Eps, an American swing and mainstream jazz guitarist known as “the Father of the Seven String Guitar.”

British Art – Part II of II: Derek Kinzett

Here is one critic describing the artistry of English wire sculptor Derek Kinzett (born 1966): “Described as beyond beautiful, stunning & spiritual, Derek’s work has gained recognition and respect for its intricacy and detail, and can be found within private collections throughout the UK, America, Russia, and France.”
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Guitar Maestros – Part II of II: Manitas de Plata

Born 7 August 1913 – Manitas de Plata, a French flamenco guitarist. He was born in a Gypsy (Gitano) caravan in Sète in southern France, and he became famous by playing each year at the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Gypsy pilgrimage in Camargue, According to one writer, “Upon hearing him play at Arles in 1964, Pablo Picasso is said to have exclaimed ‘that man is of greater worth than I am!’ and proceeded to draw on the guitar.”

American Art – Part IV of VIII: Louis Morris

Louis Morris was an exponent of Color Field painting.

Below – “Where”; “Purple Fill”; “Seal”; “Beta Lambda”; “Tet”; “Russet.”
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From the Radio Archives: Garrison Keillor

“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.” – Garrison Keillor, American radio show host, author, storyteller, and humorist, who was born 7 August 1942.

Some quotes from Garrison Keillor:

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.”
“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.”
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.”
“I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it. ”
“When in doubt, look intelligent.”
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”
“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.”
“One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don’t read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining.”
“A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded gun on your coffee table- There’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about.”
“It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars.”
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”
“Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.”
“I’ve seen the truth, and it makes no sense.”
“Life is unjust and this is what makes it so beautiful. Every day is a gift. Be brave and take hold of it.”
“The most un-American thing you can say is, ‘You can’t say that.’”
“Intelligence is like four-wheel drive. It only allows you to get stuck in more remote places.”
“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. ”
“It is a sin to believe evil of others but it is seldom a mistake.”
“Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.”
“If you lived today as if it were your last, you’d buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn’t you?”
“That’s the news from Lake Woebegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

American Art – Part V of VIII: Albert Kotin

Born 7 August 1907 – Albert Kotin, a member of the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists.

Below – “Predators”; untitled; “Struggle Between Plants and Insects”; “Spanish Dancers”; untitled; untitled.
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From the American History Archives: Operation Watchtower

7 August 1942 – United States Marines come ashore on Guadalcanal, in the first major land effort by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.
The general history of the campaign: “On 7 August 1942, Allied forces, predominantly American, landed on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands with the objective of denying their use by the Japanese to threaten the supply and communication routes between the US, Australia, and New Zealand. The Allies also intended to use Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases to support a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Allies overwhelmed the outnumbered Japanese defenders, who had occupied the islands since May 1942, and captured Tulagi and Florida, as well as an airfield (later named Henderson Field) that was under construction on Guadalcanal. Powerful US naval forces supported the landings.
Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November 1942 to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five nighttime surface actions and two carrier battles), and continual, almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November 1942, in which the last Japanese attempt to bombard Henderson Field from the sea and land with enough troops to retake it was defeated. In December 1942, the Japanese abandoned further efforts to retake Guadalcanal and evacuated their remaining forces by 7 February 1943 in the face of an offensive by the US Army’s XIV Corps, conceding the island to the Allies.”
The preceding description does not do justice either to the incredible savagery of the battle, or to the appalling conditions under which it was fought (perhaps the worst conditions in World War II), or to the courage exhibited by the combatants on both sides of the conflict. For a better understanding of the Guadalcanal campaign and the Pacific Theater, I recommend two books: “Good-bye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War,” by William Manchester (an American historian and a former marine who fought in the Pacific during World War II), and “The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945,” by John Toland (which won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction).

Below – A map of Guadalcanal; American marines coming ashore on Guadalcanal on 7 August; Japanese reinforcements arriving on Guadalcanal in September 1942.
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American Art – Part VI of VIII: Jo Baer

In the words of one critic, “Jo Baer was a key figure among the celebrated protagonists of Minimalist painting in New York in the 1960s and first half of the ’70s. It was during that period that she executed her series of different-sized squares as well as vertical and horizontal rectangles in the hard-edge style, works she later expanded into multipartite arrangements as diptychs and triptychs.
Jo Baer’s ‘image’ paintings are often distinguished by their forceful colours and emphatic chiaroscuro contrasts. Other compositions are dominated by white surfaces. By the use of a pronounced positioning of colour as well as translucent and opaque areas in her current works, Jo Baer once again brings her own artistic origins to light, placing them on an equal footing with the newer elements.”

Below (left to right) – “Memorial for an Art World Body (Nevermore)”; “Altar of the Egos (Through a Glass Darkly)”; “Time Line (Spheres, Angles and the Negative of the 2nd Derivative)”; “Royal Families (Curves, Points and Little Ones)”; “Of a Fearful Symmetry (Bound Hand and Foot)”; “When Every Lamplight Spent…(Right side diptych, ‘It’s Time’).”
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American Genius: James Randi

“There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.” – James “Amazing” Randi, Canadian-American stage magician, scientific skeptic and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience, who was born 7 August 1928.

In the words of one historian, “Although often referred to as a ‘debunker,’ Randi dislikes the term’s connotations and prefers to describe himself as an ‘investigator.’ He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic… The JREF sponsors The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offering a prize of US$1,000,000 to eligible applicants who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event under test conditions agreed to by both parties.”

Arthur C. Clark: “I regard Randi as a national treasure, and perhaps one of the remaining antidotes that may prevent the rotting of the American mind.” I agree with Clark, and I think that everyone would benefit from visiting the JREF website, if for no other reason than to be astonished at the persistence of folly and delusion in a world that presumes to think of itself as “advanced.”

Some quotes from James Randi:

“I want to be, if I can, as sure of the world–the real world–around me as is possible. Now, you can only attain that to a certain degree, but I want the greatest degree of control. I’ve never involved myself in narcotics of any kind, I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink because that can easily just fuzz the edges of my rationality–fuzz the edges of my reasoning powers–and I want to be as aware as I possibly can. That means giving up a lot of fantasies that might be comforting in some ways, but I’m willing to give that up in order to live in an actually real world, or as close as I can get to it.”
“There exists in society a very special class of persons that I have always referred to as the Believers. These are folks who have chosen to accept a certain religion, philosophy, theory, idea or notion and cling to that belief regardless of any evidence that might, for anyone else, bring it into doubt. They are the ones who encourage and support the fanatics and the frauds of any given age. No amount of evidence, no matter how strong, will bring them any enlightenment. They are the sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and who will battle fiercely to preserve their right to be victimized… patent offices handle an endless succession of inventors who still produce perpetual-motion machines that don’t work, but no number of idle flywheels will convince these zealots of their folly; dozens of these patent applications flow in every year. In ashrams all over the world, hopping devotees of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi will never abandon their goal of blissful levitation of their bodies by mind power, despite bruises and sprains aplenty suffered as they bounce about on gym mats like demented (though smiling) frogs, trying to get airborne. Absolutely nothing will discourage them.”
“I suggest that we might want to depose this incumbent God and start dealing with The Real World. He’s proven — time and again — to be cruel, capricious, and vindictive. He drowns, crushes, burns, and starves millions of us every day. He created cancer, viruses, and germs to invade and destroy our bodies as He sees fit, and uses them very effectively. In His wisdom, He directed those in charge to impede stem cell research so that such a powerful approach would not be available to us and He wouldn’t have to strain the Divine Intellect to disarm that defense. We amuse Him as we flail about vainly trying to appease Him. I vote that we dump Him.”
“The conjuror or con man is a very good provider of information. He supplies lots of data, by inference or direct statement, but it’s false data. Scientists aren’t used to that scenario. An electron or a galaxy is not capricious, nor deceptive; but a human can be either or both.”
“To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place — not to mention the ‘ethnic cleansing’ presently being performed by Christians in our world — and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women.”

American Art – Part VII of VIII: Ryan Pickart

In the words of one critic, “(Pickart’s) work features portraits in oil bridging the gap between abstract and realism.”

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A Poem for Today

“Aliens,”
By Neal Bowers

The world has caves and crevices enough
for everything that lurks just at the edge
of vision, thin and quick as mist
or ponderous with fur and lumbering
into the matted shadow of the woods.

By following, we learn how little we
possess the land we own, how willfully
it holds onto its secrets, opening
a door for its familiars, closing out
unwelcome strangers breathless in pursuit.

When finally a way is forced for us,
a passage hacked into the stubborn clay,
it is an antechamber with no larger room,
no welcome home in the unyielding ground.

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American Art – Part VIII of VIII: Sean Diediker

Artist Statement: “I enjoy subjects that are tangible to me. You might say my work is directly affected by where I’m living: the people, the landscape, the things I see everyday. I enjoy observing the stimulus and reaction of different human situations. Environment should affect an artist’s work; if it doesn’t, you’re painting decorations.”
In the words of one critic, ”Sean Diediker is a painter’s painter. His sweeping, faceted brushstrokes and painterly surfaces generate works that reveal the artist’s sensitivity to his medium and attention to the act of painting itself. Diediker assembles bold colors, chiaroscuro and a cutting-edge sense of design to create a highly original body of work that separates him from his contemporaries. His imagery captures biblical allegories, narratives and concepts and renders them contemporary. Classical iconography, in Diediker’s hands, becomes a thoroughly modern symbolic language that is fresh, visually striking, and germane to our times.”
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