American Art – Part I of V: Jenny Harmon-Scott
In the words of one writer, “Born in Oklahoma City in 1962, Jenny Harmon-Scott started oil painting at the age of ten. From that early age, she knew that painting was her true passion and that creating would always be the driving force in her life. Jenny began studying oil painting with Oklahoma artist Maria De La Juen every week after school. It was during this time that Jenny became greatly inspired by the works of the Old Masters. She soon developed a love for the rich glazes and dark dramatic tones of the Dutch painters of the Delft School, which is still reflected in her work today. Jenny spent her summers on the Oregon coast, painting and attending art workshops by world-renown artist Frank Boyden. In 1980 Jenny moved to Oregon where she studied art at the University of Oregon and later at Oregon State University. After college she took time to follow her heart to paint and travel. Jenny returned a few years later to the Pacific Northwest, now ready for a challenge where she could use her skills in illustration, knowledge of color, and composition.
Jenny currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband Shay Scott and their crew of dogs and cat.”
“Common sense, a sense of humor, more common sense.” – Madame Helene Petrovna Blavatsky, Russian writer, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, author of “The Secret Doctrine,” mystic, and charlatan, who was born on 12 August 1931, detailing the requirements necessary for a study of Theosophy.
Actually, having common sense should be sufficient to deter most people from having anything to do with Theosophy, but human gullibility is boundless. Blavatsky was once quite influential in spiritualist circles, at least partly because she cultivated a mysterious persona that impressed individuals who lacked sufficient skepticism about the world and themselves. Despite being exposed as a plagiarist and a fraud, Blavatsky’s reputation remained largely undiminished during her lifetime – indeed, in some benighted circles it persists today – and much of the nonsense associated with the New Age, such as psychic powers, healing crystals, and channeling, was in large part inspired by Madame Blavatsky and her equally ridiculous ilk. These and similarly baseless absurdities have remained enduringly popular, as witnessed by the success of any number of recent “paranormal” and “occult” books, movies, and television programs. It is a sad fact of human history that so many people are perfectly willing to remain spiritual children and accept supernatural claims that lack solid evidence rather than undertake the difficult task of attaining intellectual puberty.
American Art – Part II of V: B. Kliban
Died 12 August 1990 – B. Kliban, an American cartoonist best known for his book “Cat,” which is a collection of cartoons featuring cats drawn in his distinctive style.
Died 12 August 30 B.C.E. – Cleopatra, member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, consort of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and one of history’s most famous and celebrated women. According to the traditional story, after her forces lost the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra committed suicide by allowing an asp to bite her – an event immortalized by numerous artists.
From the Movie Archives: “Wings”
12 August 1927 – The silent movie “Wings” opens in the United States. In the words of one historian, “‘Wings’ is a 1927 American silent war film set during the First World War produced by Lucien Hubbard, directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures. It stars Clara Bow, Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, and Richard Arlen, and Gary Cooper appears in a role which helped launch his career in Hollywood. It went on to win the first Academy Award for Best Picture at the first annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award ceremony in 1929, the only silent film to do so.”
Here is one critic describing the background of Brazilian painter Luiz De Souza: “An intuitive and self-taught person has been dedicated to the drawing since infancy, when he received his first awards. He worked as an illustrator with the technique of penalty peak. In 1997 he started oil painting, participating in group exhibitions and the same year, held his first personal exhibition. In the following years, he participated in some personal exhibition, and some group exhibitions and Art Shows and received various awards.
His early influences were the Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite painters. From his interest in the surrealist artists, he assimilated techniques and was influenced of Magritte, De Chirico, Dali and Campanella. He developed several techniques, re-interpreting and re-inventing concepts, creating an original approach mixing the some influences that have placed his workmanship in an atemporal context.”
Some quotes from the work of James Russell Lowell:
“Men in earnest have no time to waste in patching fig leaves for the naked truth.”
“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.”
“Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.”
“All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.”
“Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.”
“Things always seem fairer when we look back at them, and it is out of that inaccessible tower of the past that Longing leans and beckons.”
“A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.”
“A wise skepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.”
“Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or by the handle.”
“The nurse of full-grown souls is solitude.”
Australian Art – Part I of II: Charles Blackman
Born 12 August 1928 – Charles Blackman, an Australian artist best known for his “Alice in Wonderland” series of paintings.
Below – “Alice Amongst Flowers”; “Shrinking Alice”; “Children Playing”; “Alice Among the Trees”; “Dreaming Flowers.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Les Paul
Died 13 August 2009 – Les Paul, American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, and inventor of the solid-body electric guitar. Paul is one of the few artists honored with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Below – Les Paul playing “Sleepwalk,” one of his most famous tunes, on the occasion of this 90th birthday.
Australian Art – Part II of II: Kieran Ingram
Here is one writer describing the background of painter Kieran Ingram (born 1989): “Kieran Ingram is a classically trained professional artist. The time Kieran spent in Florence studying the methods and work of the Old Masters has provided him with a keen eye and appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of the world around him. Kieran chooses to work from life as he believes that this is the only way truly capture the essence of his subjects.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Mark Knopfler
“I don’t like definitions, but if there is a definition of freedom, it would be when you have control over your reality to transform it, to change it, rather than having it imposed upon you. You can’t really ask for more than that.” – Mark Knopfler, British songwriter, film score composer, guitarist, and record producer best known as the lead guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist for Dire Straits, which he co-founded with his brother David in 1977, who was born 12 August 1949.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.” – William Blake, English painter, printmaker, poet, and genius, who died 12 August 1827.
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
“A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.” – Thomas Mann, German novelist, short story writer, social critic, essayist, author of “Buddenbrooks,” “Death in Venice,” and “The Magic Mountain,” and winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature “”principally for his great novel, ‘Buddenbrooks,’ which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature,” who died on 12 August 1955.
Some quotes from the work of Thomas Mann:
“A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries.”
“But my deepest and most secret love belongs to the fair-haired and the blue-eyed, the bright children of life, the happy, the charming and the ordinary.”
“Democracy is timelessly human, and timelessness always implies a certain amount of potential youthfulness.”
“Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.”
“For I must tell you that we artists cannot tread the path of Beauty without Eros keeping company with us and appointing himself as our guide.”
“Everything is politics.”
“For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious.”
“Has the world ever been changed by anything save the thought and its magic vehicle the Word?”
“I don’t think anyone is thinking long-term now.”
“It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive.”
“Literature… is the union of suffering with the instinct for form.”
“Reduced to a miserable mass level, the level of a Hitler, German Romanticism broke out into hysterical barbarism.”
“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.”
“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Ukrainian painter Oxana Yambykh (born 1966): “The topic of loneliness, and the place of a given person in the great space of life are still vital for me. I want to understand psychology of happiness, and integrated perception of the world by a man or a woman.
I want to draw honest pictures, and I want to express myself in my pictures, I want to express my outlook of life and world.
Such pictures are not comprehensible for everybody, and some people just do not want to understand them.”
“Theories that go counter to the facts of human nature are foredoomed.” – Edith Hamilton, German-American educator, Classical scholar, and author of “Mythology” and “The Greek Way,” who was born on 12 August 1867.
Some quotes from the work of Edith Hamilton:
“When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
“When the mind withdraws into itself and dispenses with facts it makes only chaos.”
“A people’s literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them. The writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can.”
“None but a poet can write a tragedy. For tragedy is nothing less than pain transmuted into exaltation by the alchemy of poetry.”
“The fullness of life is in the hazards of life.”
“The power of good is shown not by triumphantly conquering evil, but by continuing to resist evil while facing certain defeat.”
“The modern mind is never popular in its own day. People hate being made to think.”
“It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought—that is to be educated.”
Below – At age 90, Edith Hamilton traveled to Greece, where she was made an honorary citizen.
American Art – Part III of V: Amy Crehore
According to one writer, “Amy Crehore was born in the mountains of Virginia. She spent her childhood in the suburbs of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but returned to Virginia to earn her BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. There she studied filmmaking, animation, photography and design. After college, she began to teach herself to paint with oils while earning a living as a graphic artist. It wasn’t long before her paintings were included in prestigious shows at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Portland Art Museum. Am Crehore has lived on the west coast in Eugene, Oregon for the past 20 years.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Barnaby Whitfield
In the words of one critic, “Whitfield’s works are at once hopelessly romantic and urgently contemporary. His work simultaneously pulls inspiration from Rococo era portraiture and contemporary fashion advertising. He seamlessly weaves cleverly appropriated Old-Master quotations with images sifted spontaneously from Internet sources. The result is works loaded with inside jokes that belong to our twenty-first century psyche. Whitfield’s characters are rendered in gorgeously soft and dreamy pastel, their bodies glowing with eerie internal light, but perversely marred with sickly hues that allude to bruising, rotting, sweltering flesh. Something menacing seems to have a grip on these pastel beauties and the narrative clues are compellingly composed to allow the viewer partial access but ultimate suspense. The indecipherability of Whitfield’s highly personal symbolism begins to breakdown as clues to the artist’s appropriations surface, illuminating the development of his personal artistic vocabulary.”
“’Nature’ is what we see –,“
By Emily Dickinson
“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.
American Art – Part V of V: Zak Barnes
Artist Statement: “Born and raised in Kansas, I feel a deep connection to the prairie landscape and to the people of this land. These are the base and anchor of my work, and set the emotional tone for any narrative that plays itself out in the paintings. My strongest influences are my immediate environment, life experience, and the way my mind interprets this information. I live alternatively within remote and more cosmopolitan settings, working both in the studio and in the landscape. In this way I am able to explore a wide range of physical and emotional experience.”