November Offerings – Part XI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Robin Kimball

Artist Statement: “My work can best be described as ‘modern realism’ and is heavily influenced by the artists of the Boston School, the Impressionists, and Contemporary Realists. Although I do work on the landscape ‘en plein air,’ I prefer the control of the studio light and expand upon my outdoor work there as well as paint still life. Most importantly it is about the process of painting and achieving a reality that is bathed in color and light.”
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“Autumn is marching on: even the scarecrows are wearing dead leaves.”
- Otsuyu Nakagawa
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American Art – Part II of IV: Dorian Vallejo

In the words of one writer, “Born in New York City on March 1, 1968, Dorian Vallejo’s passion for drawing came at an early age. Inspired by his father, the fantasy artist and illustrator Boris Vallejo, Dorian had pencil in hand by the age of three and was working as a professional illustrator before reaching college age, regularly producing covers for Marvel Comics and numerous paperback novels. Today, he is one of the country’s most accomplished and versatile portrait painters creating everything from traditional commissioned oil portraits and sketches to pencil drawings and intimate life portraits.”
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Australian Symbolism – Part I of IV: Abbey Alston

Below – “The Golden Age”: “The Silence”; “The Bathing Pool.”
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“So dull and dark are November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The space we occupy seems all the world.” – John Clare

Below – Claude Monet: “Morning Haze”
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Australian Symbolism – Part II of IV: Charles Conder

Below – “Departure of the S.S. Orient from Circular Quay”; “Moonlight at Mustapha”; “The Hot Sands, Mustapha.”
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“The great wheel of fire of ancient wisdom, silence and word engendering the myth of the origin, human action engendering the epic voyage toward the other; historical violence revealing the tragic flaw of the hero who must then return to the land of origin; myth of death and renewal and silence from which new words and images will arise, keeps on turning in spite of the blindness of purely linear thought.” – Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist, essayist, and author of “The Death of Artemio Cruz,” who was born 11 November 1928.

Some quotes from the work of Carlos Fuentes:

“I discovered very quickly that criticism is a form of optimism, and that when you are silent about the shortcomings of your society, you’re very pessimistic about that society. And it’s only when you speak truthfully about it that you show your faith in that society.”
“Culture consists of connections, not of separations: to specialize is to isolate.”
“I need; therefore, I imagine.”
“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”
“Love can isolate us from everything around us. But in its absence, we can be filled with the fear that something comparable exists.”
“Chaos: it has no plural.”
“Memory is satisfied desire.”
“She begins to feel that the reality show is the university she never attended. Vicarious reality. Emotion without a value-added tax. Movement without danger. Alma finds her reality. She no longer has a reason to put herself at risk and go out into the hostile, degrading world.”
“Robinson Crusoe, the first capitalist hero, is a self-made man who accepts objective reality and then fashions it to his needs through the work ethic, common sense, resilience, technology, and, if need be, racism and imperialism.”
“If the Soviet Union can give up the Brezhnev Doctrine for the Sinatra Doctrine, the United States can give up the James Monroe Doctrine for the Marilyn Monroe Doctrine: Let’s all go to bed wearing the perfume we like best.”
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“Walked for half an hour in the garden. A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered about the distant mountains – a melancholy nature. The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.”
- Henri Frederic Amiel

Below – Chinese landscape paintings.
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“Only in books do we learn what’s really going on.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., American writer, pacifist intellectual, humanist, social critic, and author of “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “A Man Without a Country,” who was born 11 November 1922.

Some quotes from Kurt Vonnegut’s “A Man Without a Country”:

“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.
So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
“Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being? Isn’t it such a relief to have somebody say that?”
“Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn’t even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.”
“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
‘Blessed are the merciful’ in a courtroom? ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
“The biggest truth to face now – what is probably making me unfunny now for the remainder of my life – is that I don’t think people give a damn whether the planet goes or not. It seems to me as if everyone is living as members of Alcoholics Anonymous do, day by day. And a few more days will be enough. I know of very few people who are dreaming of a world for their grandchildren.”
“If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcome in Washington, D.C.”
“‘Socialism’ is no more an evil word than ‘Christianity.’ Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.”
“Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.”
“And I apologize to all of you who are the same age as my grandchildren. And many of you reading this are the same age as my grandchildren. They, like you, are being royally shafted and lied to by our Baby Boomer corporations and government.”
“Humor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself.”
“And my car back then, a Studebaker as I recall, was powered, as are most of all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused, addictive, and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.
When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any left. Cold turkey.
Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t the TV news is it? Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.”
“But I replied that what made being alive almost worthwhile for me, besides music, was all the saints I met, who could be anywhere. By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society.”
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11 November 1918 – At 11 a.m., the Armistice ending World War I went into effect. During more than four years of conflict, 17 million people were killed (10 million military, 7 million civilian) and 20 million were wounded.

Anyone interested in a brilliant, poignant, and edifying exploration of some of the largely forgotten ways that World War I changed the values and cultural character of Western Civilization should read “The Great War and Modern Memory,” by Paul Fussell.

Below – The ruins of Passchendaele village in Belgium; British troops manning a trench in France; French soldiers near the Marne; a Russian forest trench at the Battle of Sarikamish; German troops at the Battle of the Marne; American troops of the 64th regiment celebrating the news of the Armistice.
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November 11th: Veterans Day in the United States; Armistice Day in Europe.

A Poem for Today

“In Flanders Fields,”
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Below – Mike Ashworth: “Flanders Field”
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Australian Symbolism – Part III of IV: Arthur Streeton

Below – “The Spirit of the Drought”; Golden Summer, Eaglemont”;
“Still glides the stream, and shall forever glide.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Night in Day,”
By Joseph Stroud

The night never wants to end, to give itself over
to light. So it traps itself in things: obsidian, crows.
Even on summer solstice, the day of light’s great
triumph, where fields of sunflowers guzzle in the sun—
we break open the watermelon and spit out
black seeds, bits of night glistening on the grass.
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American Art – Part III of IV: Charles Dwyer, Jr.

American painter Charles Dwyer, Jr. (born 1961) graduated from the Milwaukee School of Art, where he studied fine arts, painting, and printmaking. In the words of one critic, “Those who view Dwyer’s art are captivated by the combination of the female form with autobiographical elements or hidden images. In many of the works, Dwyer combines hand-written script with the images. Working in mixed media for both his limited edition prints and unique works of art, the artist builds up a tactile surface. Style and technique enhance each other to present a romantic form of his very personal expressionism.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“A Minor Bird,”
By Robert Frost

I have wished a bird would fly away,

And not sing by my house all day;



Have clapped my hands at him from the door

When it seemed as if I could bear no more.



The fault must partly have been in me.

The bird was not to blame for his key.



And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.
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Australian Symbolism – Part IV of IV: Bertram Mackennal

Below – “Circe”; “Sappho”; “Truth”; “Tragedy Enveloping Comedy”; “For She Sitteth…in the High Places of the City.”
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Anna Weber

Anna Weber earned a B.F.A. in Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2006.
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