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

American Art – Part I of IV: Steven Christopher Seward

Artist Statement: “I was born into a family of artists, my parents having met as students at the Art Institute of Chicago. My father, James E. Seward, a freelance illustrator and historical and portrait painter, worked at home, enabling him to teach me to paint from an early age in an arrangement comparable to the old master/apprentice system. Three of my four siblings also became professional artists.
After high school, I went to a prestigious art school where I learned virtually nothing (!) and dropped out after a year-and-a-half. Then followed a short career teaching community art classes and an even shorter career at American Greetings Corporation, where I was abruptly fired after three months. This apparent set-back, paradoxically, allowed me to concentrate on my first passion, portrait painting, which I have now been doing independently for over 30 years.
I usually prefer to paint people either doing something or in an environment that is significant or reflective of their lives. This may be due to my father’s illustrator’s influence as well as my admiration for 16th Century Flemish painting. This period of art often exhibited vivid coloring and a strong sense of design.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Lionel Hampton

Died 31 August 2002 –Lionel Hampton, an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader, and actor.

Indian artist M. V. Renju graduated from Bharathiar Palkalaikoodam in Puducherry.
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From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Jerry Allison

Born 31 August 1939 – Jerry Allison, an American musician best known for being the drummer of The
Crickets and the co-writer of “That’ll Be The Day” and “Peggy Sue.”

Here is one writer describing the background of painter Georgios Kitsos: “Born in Berlin of a Greek father and a German mother, Georgios Kitsos spent part of his childhood in Athens.
He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. There he received the highly prestigious Deutsche Studienstiftung Scholarship, a stipend that enabled him to undertake extensive travels in Asia, including a half-year stay in Japan. In 1991 he was Artist in Residence at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs.
Kitsos lives and works in Berlin.”
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From “The Department of Wanton Muses”:

“God granted me the privilege of knowing the brilliant works of our time before they left the hands of their creators. And if I was allowed to assist these knights for a while, then my existence is justified and blessed!” – Alma Schindler Mahler Kokoschka Gropius Werfel, Austrian writer, musician, socialite, and harlot, who was married to Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, and Franz Werfel, and who had affairs with Oskar Kokoschka, Gustav Klimt, Arnold Schoenberg, Gerhart Hauptman, Alban Berg, Enrico Caruso, Alexander Zemlinksy, Johannes Hollnsteiner, and many other prominent men, who was born on 31 August 1879.

In her later years, this vivacious woman’s salon became an important feature of the artistic scene, first in Vienna, and then – unsurprisingly – in Los Angeles, the City of Fallen Angels and Celebrity Whores.

American Art – Part II of IV: Thomas Blackshear

Thomas Blackshear is a contemporary African-American painter who possesses an extraordinary sense of color, execution, and design. Blackshear calls his style “Afro-Nouveau,” and in his words, it “reflects not only my visions as a black man and the unique visions of black people, it represents visions we all share regardless of the color of our skin. Emotions like hope, love, tenderness, faith, and serenity know no boundaries.”
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“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.” – Georges Braque, French painter and sculptor who, along with Pablo Picasso, helped develop the style known as Cubism, who died 31 August 1963.

Some quotes from Georges Braque:

“Truth exists; only lies are invented.”
“Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry. ”
“Emotion should not be rendered by an excited trembling; it can neither be added on nor be imitated. It is the seed, the work is the flower. ”
“Nature is a mere pretext for a decorative composition, plus sentiment. It suggests emotion, and I translate that emotion into art. ”
“One has to guard against a formula that is good for everything, that can interpret reality in addition to the other arts, and that rather than creating can only result in a style, or a stylization.”
“Art is made to disturb, science reassures.”
“We must not imitate that which we seek to create.”
“We will never have repose. The present is perpetual.”

Below – “Viaduct at L’Estaque”; “Little Harbor in Normandie”; “Woman with a Guitar”; “Violin and Candlestick”; “The Chair”; “The Echo.”
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“Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will.” – Charles Baudelaire, French poet, essayist, art critic, and translator, who died 31 August 1867.

Some quotes from the Work of Charles Baudelaire:

“One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.”
“Remembering is only a new form of suffering.”
“Life has but one true charm: the charm of the game. But what if we’re indifferent to whether we win or lose?”
“I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.”
“What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.”
“I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.”
“A multitude of small delights constitute happiness”
“Extract the eternal from the ephemeral.”
“Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.”
“Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.”
“Let us beware of common folk, common sense, sentiment, inspiration, and the obvious. ”
“I set out to discover the why of it, and to transform my pleasure into knowledge.”

And a poem:

“The Owls”

Under the overhanging yews,
The dark owls sit in solemn state,
Like stranger gods; by twos and twos
Their red eyes gleam. They meditate.

Motionless thus they sit and dream
Until that melancholy hour
When, with the sun’s last fading gleam,
The nightly shades assume their power.

From their still attitude the wise
Will learn with terror to despise
All tumult, movement, and unrest;

For he who follows every shade,
Carries the memory in his breast,
Of each unhappy journey made.

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In the words of one historian, Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910) was an “Ottoman statesman, painter and art expert who put forth legislation aimed at regulating finds made by various archaeological enterprises in the Ottoman Empire and preventing the antiquities from being smuggled abroad. As a painter, he became famous while he was alive. He worked on compositions with figures and portraits, and he was the first Turkish artist who painted figures. In his paintings, there are many architectural and decorative details. He frequently appears as the main character; he used photos taken of him in different outfits and poses for his drawings. Today, many domestic and foreign museum collections include his paintings as well.”

Note: Bey’s painting “The Tortoise Trainer” (1906 – the first work shown below) broke a record in Turkey by being sold for 3.5 million dollars in December 2004.
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“The sunset caught me, turned the brush to copper,
set the clouds
to one great roof of flame
above the earth.” – Elizabeth Coatsworth, American writer and recipient of the 1931 Newberry Medal for “The Cat Who Went to Heaven,” who died 31 August 1986.

“The Cat Who Went to Heaven” will delight and edify both children and adults.

Some quotes from Elizabeth Coatsworth:

“The magic of autumn has seized the countryside; now that the sun isn’t ripening anything it shines for the sake of the golden age; for the sake of Eden; to please the moon for all I know.”
“I say that almost everywhere there is beauty enough to fill a person’s life if one would only be sensitive to it. but Henry says No: that broken beauty is only a torment, that one must have a whole beauty with man living in relation to it to have a rich civilization and art. . . . Is it because I am a woman that I accept what crumbs I may have, accept the hot-dog stands and amusement parks if I must, if the blue is bright beyond them and the sunset flushes the breasts of sea birds?”
“We who dance hungry and wild…under a winter’s moon.”
“Only of one thing am I sure:
when I dream
I am always ageless.”
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According to one art critic, “Japanese painter Ikenaga Yasunari’s serene and soothing portraits of modern women evoke a dreamy nostalgia through their faded golden hues and elegant floating poses. Using a Menso brush, mineral pigments, and soot ink on linen cloth, Yasunari (born 1965) continues the ancient tradition of Nihonga painting while simultaneously bringing modern elements to play, such as present-day clothing styles and floral textile designs. The result is both beautiful and melancholy, capturing the timelessness of the Nihonga style as well as its dimming presence through the years.”

Note: “Nihonga” (“Japanese-style paintings”) are those that have been created in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques, and materials. While based on traditions over a thousand years old, the term was coined in the Meiji period (1868-1912) of Imperial Japan, to distinguish such works from Western-style paintings.

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“I began to imitate nature.
A Greek, passing through my heart, said to me:
‘The only thing that is mysterious is that which exists,
And the only thing that is logical is that which does not.’” –
Nichita Stanescu, Romanian poet, 1933-1983.

“The Golden Age of Love”

My hands are in love,
alas, my mouth loves –
and see, I am suddenly aware
that things are so close to me
I can hardly walk among them
without suffering.

It is a sweet feeling
of waking, of dreaming,
and I am here now, without sleep –
I clearly see the ivory gods,
I take them in my hands and
thrust them, laughing, in the moon
up to their sculpted hilts –
the wheel of an ancient ship, adorned
and spun by sailors.

Jupiter is yellow, Hera
the magnificent shades to silver.
I strike the wheel with my left hand and it moves.
It is a dance of sentiments, my love,
many a goddess of the air, between the two of us.
And I, the sail of my soul
billowed with longing,
look for you everywhere, and things come
ever closer,
crowding my chest, hurting me.

Below – Leonid Afremov: “Candles of Love”

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American Art – Part III of IV: Chris Dellorco

In the words of one critic, “Born in Los Angeles, Chris’s initial interest in the interplay between art and architectural history began with a degree in Developmental Economics from U.C. Berkeley. Desiring a more creative field, he switched his focus from academics to art and went on to establish himself as one of the county’s foremost illustrators. Although completely self-taught, his art career has spanned all aspects of illustration while specializing in the film industry, children’s products and children’s books. A true renaissance man, along with a degree in Economics and a successful art career, he has also successfully written and directed an award winning short film, receiving international recognition.”

From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Bob Welch

Born 31 August 1945 – Bob Welch, an American musician and a member of Fleetwood Mac.

Dutch painter Rein Pol (born 1949) trained at the Groningen Academy of Arts “Minerva” (1971-1976). In the words of one critic, “Each subject painted by Pol is represented in a clear, harmonic composition with particular attention to light, expression of matter, space- and colour-effect. The paintings are not meant to copy the reality around us, but as a representation of his own reality.”
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Layla Al-Attar (1944-1993) was an Iraqi painter and Director of the Iraqi National Art Museum whose work was exhibited internationally. Tragically, Layla, her husband, and their housekeeper were killed in a U.S. missile attack on Baghdad which was ordered by President Bill Clinton in retaliation for the attempted assassination of George H.W. Bush by Iraqi intelligence agents during his visit to Kuwait.
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Van Morrison

Born 31 August 1945 – Van Morrison, a Northern Irish singer, songwriter, and musician.

Viktor Sheleg is a self-taught Russian painter whose creative spirit is, in his words, “inspired by chaos” and whose work is “guided by emotions and energy.”
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A Poem for Today

“Bus Stop”
By Donald Justice

Lights are burning
In quiet rooms
Where lives go on
Resembling ours.

The quiet lives
That follow us—
These lives we lead
But do not own—

Stand in the rain
So quietly
When we are gone,
So quietly . . .
And the last bus
Comes letting dark
Umbrellas out—
Black flowers, black flowers.

And lives go on.
And lives go on
Like sudden lights
At street corners

Or like the lights
In quiet rooms
Left on for hours,
Burning, burning.
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Artist Jennifer McRae is a graduate of Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Her paintings have won many awards.
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A Second Poem for Today

“Sonnet (1928),”
By Elizabeth Bishop

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

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Latvian painter Laine Kainaize (born 1953) graduated from the State Academy of Arts in Riga.
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Argentinean painter Diego Gravinese (born 1871) graduated from the Fine Arts School of Prilidiano Pueyrredon in Buenos Aires.

Below – “The Lagoon”; “After the Gold Rush”; “The Method”; “Hercules”; “Colossus”; “Milk Girl”; “Wall Mart”; “Mimesis”; “On the Sea”; “Hot Cakes.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Milton by Firelight,”
By Gary Snyder

Piute Creek, August 1955

“O hell, what do mine eyes
with grief behold?”
Working with an old
Singlejack miner, who can sense
The vein and cleavage
In the very guts of rock, can
Blast granite, build
Switchbacks that last for years
Under the beat of snow, thaw, mule-hooves.
What use, Milton, a silly story
Of our lost general parents,
eaters of fruit?

The Indian, the chainsaw boy,
And a string of six mules
Came riding down to camp
Hungry for tomatoes and green apples.
Sleeping in saddle-blankets
Under a bright night-sky
Han River slantwise by morning.
Jays squall
Coffee boils

In ten thousand years the Sierras
Will be dry and dead, home of the scorpion.
Ice-scratched slabs and bent trees.
No paradise, no fall,
Only the weathering land
The wheeling sky,
Man, with his Satan
Scouring the chaos of the mind.
Oh Hell!

Fire down
Too dark to read, miles from a road
The bell-mare clangs in the meadow
That packed dirt for a fill-in
Scrambling through loose rocks
On an old trail
All of a summer’s day.
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Romanian painter Nicolae Maniu (born 1944): “Maniu’s conception of art embraces two aspects: on one hand, the elaboration of a three dimensional composition in a Trompe l’Oeil effect, and on the other, the pushing back of boundaries. He uses a hyperrealist technique to show some surrealist images where the real is mixed with the irrational, the logic with the absurd. The spectator is then astonished by this confusing combination, and enchanted by this mastery in creating such unknown territories. Thus the delight of anyone looking at Maniu’s painting will be complete.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Natural Music,”
By Robinson Jeffers

The old voice of the ocean, the bird-chatter of little rivers,
(Winter has given them gold for silver
To stain their water and bladed green for brown to line their banks)
From different throats intone one language.
So I believe if we were strong enough to listen without
Divisions of desire and terror
To the storm of the sick nations, the rage of the hunger smitten cities,
Those voices also would be found
Clean as a child’s; or like some girl’s breathing who dances alone
By the ocean-shore, dreaming of lovers.
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Adrienne Stein

In the words of one critic, “ From an early age, Adrienne identified within herself a passion for drawing and painting. She subsequently devoted herself to studying the Old Masters and seeking classical training. She perpetually cultivates her skills toward mastery. Her work is the conduit through which she hopes to communicate reverence for all of creation’s inherent value and dignity.
Her paintings are an investigation of light and form and their spiritual symbolism. For inspiration, she looks to the exquisite works of the Dutch Golden Age, the Italian Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites, the art of the Ancient Near East and India, as well as the contemporaries with whom she has studied.”
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