American Art – Part I of III: Allan Hall
In the words of one writer, “Working from a detailed pencil sketch, Allan Hall uses oil paints against a linen canvas or masonite board to develop his three-dimensional images of vibrant color. The images are so realistic that they appear to jump off of the canvas. Hall completes the process with a technique called ‘glazing,’ which gives his paintings their characteristic luminescence. Hall’s still lifes include personal objects from his own life.”
British Art – Part I of III: Terry Frost
Born 13 October 1915 – Terry Frost, an abstract artist.
Written in the Stars – Part II of X: Canopus
British Art – Part II of III: Liz Ridgway
According to one critic, “Liz Ridgway was born in 1964 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. Her early art training in drawing and painting came from her father, who was an established artist. Later Ridgway studied at Sutton Coldfield College of Art and in 1986 Liz graduated from Cambridgeshire College of Arts in Art History and Fine Art.
Liz Ridgway takes her inspiration from a range of sources, from 1930s Picasso, the pre-Raphaelites and the paintings she grew up with in Birmingham, especially the work of British Artist Joseph Southall whose art work fills the walls of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Ridgeway aims for a simplicity of composition in her figurative contemporary paintings highlighting the play between the human presence and the flat patterning of the elements around them. She is particularly interested in showing the vulnerability and dignity that coexist in the human face. At times her paintings have a contemplative quality.”
13 October 1994 – The 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe for creating “an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.”
Some quotes from the work of Kenzaburo Oe:
“By reading Huckleberry Finn I felt I was able to justify my act of going into the mountain forest at night and sleeping among the trees with a sense of security which I could never find indoors.
“As I grew up, I was continually to suffer hardships in different realms of life – in my family, in my relationship to Japanese society, and in my way of living at large in the latter half of the twentieth century.
I have survived by representing these sufferings of mine in the form of the novel.”
“However, please allow me to say that the fundamental style of my writing has been to start from my personal matters and then to link it up with society, the state and the world.”
“The Japanese chose the principle of eternal peace as the basis of morality for our rebirth after the War.”
“The way Japan had tried to build up a modern state modeled on the West was cataclysmic.”
“Even though we now have the half-century-old new Constitution, there is a popular sentiment of support for the old one that lives on in reality in some quarters.”
“I am one of the writers who wish to create serious works of literature which dissociate themselves from those novels which are mere reflections of the vast consumer cultures of Tokyo and the subcultures of the world at large.”
“In Japan itself there have all along been attempts by some to obliterate the article about renunciation of war from the Constitution and for this purpose they have taken every opportunity to make use of pressures from abroad.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Paul Simon
“The thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and our brains.” – Paul Simon, American musician, singer, songwriter, actor, and member of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, who was born 13 October 1941.
Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes (from the Ancient Greek for “herdsman” or “plowman,” derived from “botein” – “to plow”). Its name comes from the Ancient Greek “Arktouros” – “Guardian of the Bear.” (In the night sky, Bootes is next to Ursa Major and Ursa Minor – the Greater and Lesser Bears.)
Argentinean Art – Part I of II: Silvana Robert
Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra (from the Latin for “lyre”). Its name comes from the Arabic “Waqi” – “falling” or “landing,” via the phrase “an-nasr al-waqi” – “the falling eagle.”
Argentinean Art – Part II of II: Diego Gravinese
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Franz Schubert
Here is one writer describing some of the accomplishments of Thai painter Suwannee Sarakana (born 1976): “Suwannee is a Thai artist whose paintings have won numerous international and regional awards, including 1st prize in the International Watercolor Competition in Rome, Italy, 1st Prize at the 13th Panasonic Painting of the Year in Thailand, and 1st Prize at the 2nd UOB Painting of the Year in Thailand and Special Mention at the 30th UOB Painting of the Year in Singapore.”
“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence.” – Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), American editor, publisher, artist, philosopher, writer, and author of “A Message To Garcia.” In the words of one historian, “He and his second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard, died aboard the RMS Lusitania, which was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915.”
Some quotes from the work of Elbert Hubbard:
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
“The supernatural is the natural not yet understood.”
“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”
“Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.”
“Art is not a thing; it is a way.”
“Little minds are interested in the extraordinary; great minds in the commonplace.”
“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”
“Responsibility is the price of freedom.”
“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.”
“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.”
“Never get married in college; it’s hard to get a start if a prospective employer finds you’ve already made one mistake.”
“God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars.”
“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”
“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.”
“We work to become, not to acquire.”
“Character is the result of two things: mental attitude and the way we spend our time.”
“We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.”
“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.”
“The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.”
“A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in the experience.”
“Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.”
“A pessimist? That’s a person who has been intimately acquainted with an optimist.”
“Life is just one damned thing after another.”
“The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.”
“So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private individuals will occasionally kill theirs.”
“This will never be a civilized country until we spend more money for books than we do for chewing gum.”
British Art – Part III of III: Gaynor Ostinelli and Paul Priest
Artists Statement: “The perfect opportunity to see two heads working as one. Drawing on our individual talents and strengths we have established a range of work that is both popular and collectable.
Inspiration is drawn from human animal and bird form on an ever-changing basis. We use texture, rhythm and colour into the clay to convey movement presence and humour into the work, these qualities being all-important in any piece.
Our workshops and demonstrations have proved immensely popular, educational but fun, embracing all our making techniques.”
Betelgeuse is the second-brightest star in the constellation Orion. Its name comes from the Arabic phrase “Yad al-Jauza” – “the hand of Orion.” (The Arabic character for ‘Y ‘was misread as ‘B’ by medieval translators, creating the initial ‘B’ in Betelgeuse.)
American Art – Part II of III: Mavis Smith
Artist Statement: “We come into contact with dozens of people on a daily basis, catch their eyes for a brief moment and move on, never knowing the intricate accumulation of experience that forms their reality. My work is about that moment – hinting at a narrative, yet remaining intentionally elusive.
My paintings are created by applying numerous semi-transparent layers of egg tempera on a true gesso ground. I rarely have a fully formed concept in mind when I begin a painting. Instead, I start out with a face or pose that intrigues me; then once I am caught up in the physical execution of the piece, other elements of the composition suggest themselves.”
Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus (from the Latin for “bull”). Its name comes from the Arabic “al-dabaran” – “the follower,” presumably because tit appears to follow the Pleiades (“Seven Sisters”) star cluster in the night sky.
A Poem for Today
“Elegy for Peter,”
By Bruce Weigl
That night we drank warm whiskey
in our parked car
beyond woods now lost to the suburbs,
I fell in love with you.
What waited was the war
like a bloody curtain,
and a righteous moment
when the lovely boy’s
spine was snapped,
then the long falling into hell.
But lately, you’ve been calling me
back through the years of bitter silence
to tell me of another river of blood
and of the highland’s
howl at dusk of human voices
blasted into ecstasy.
That night in sweet Lorain
we drank so long and hard
we raised ourselves
above the broken places,
Russian artist Stanislav Groz (born 1973) studied fine art at Saint Petersburg State University. In 2011, he moved to San Francisco, where he now lives and works. Here is how Groz describes his art: “My models are people that I know; however, the process of each painting’s creation is far from a simple portraying of a model. At first I develop an image I wish to reflect, and only when I get a strong visualization of this image, only then I start selecting a model. At the same time, in order to preserve an essence of the image I’m working on, I, myself, have to act as a model too, playing the role, and growing in myself the emotional state that I need. Thus, the painting becomes an‘emotional snapshot’ of a person that does not exist in reality. And so the way that I use my models has rather technical, anatomical perspective.”
A Second Poem for Today
“The Oven Bird,”
By Robert Frost
There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.
Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Jen Mann (born 1987): “My work comes from my own experience and understanding of society and how I fit into it. We forget that we are animals, we expect ourselves to not act like one or behave as one. As though we should fit into perfect molds and live up to unrealistic expectations. The series is called ‘Fera’ which is the Latin origin of the word feral. It’s a personal escape for me. I think artists are certainly people who feel the pressures to fit into society. But we just want to be wild.”
Written in the Stars – Part X of X: Deneb
A Third Poem for Today
“The Wild Swans at Coole,”
By William Butler Yeats
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
American Art – Part III of III: Alice Neel
Died 13 October 1984 – Alice Neel, an American expressionist painter. Barry Walker, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, called Neel “one of the greatest American painters of the 20th century.”