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

American Art – Part I of V: Michele Mitchell-Ostlund

In the words of one critic, “Mitchell initially attended the University of Illinois only to realize the study of nature was not offered; nor the study of realism accessible.
Expanding her powers in the art of seeing, Mitchell was able to exhibit the highest level of craftsmanship. Her Atelier Lack experience strengthened her picture-making capabilities and deepened her grasp of the rich traditions of the Old Masters. Her work serves as a direct link to the great classical painters predating the 17th century, the French Academic and the Impressionists.
She embarked upon extensive studies in Europe, scrutinizing the Renaissance Masterpieces at such renowned museums as the Ufizzi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris and the Tate in London. She later returned to Florence where she painted for two years, studying the Masters at the Palazzo Pitti and other museums and churches. The traditions she studied and taught are something that transcend time, being held by individuals along the way who aspire to articulate ‘love’ in its purest form.
Mitchell’s artistic passion is color, and she commands her palette with proficiency that unmistakably links her to Titian, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Through trained observation and creative vision, Mitchell fuses Impressionism and Realism into a unified language of the eye.”
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A Poem for Today

“Everything that Acts Is Actual,”
By Denise Levertov

From the tawny light
from the rainy nights
from the imagination finding
itself and more than itself
alone and more than alone
at the bottom of the well where the moon lives,
can you pull me

into December? a lowland
of space, perception of space
towering of shadows of clouds blown upon
clouds over
new ground, new made
under heavy December footsteps? the only
way to live?

The flawed moon
acts on the truth, and makes
an autumn of tentative
silences.
You lived, but somewhere else,
your presence touched others, ring upon ring,
and changed. Did you think
I would not change?

The black moon
turns away, its work done. A tenderness,
unspoken autumn.
We are faithful
only to the imagination. What the
imagination
seizes
as beauty must be truth. What holds you
to what you see of me is
that grasp alone.
aLevertov

Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1859-1933) was an Italian painter who gained considerable fame during his lifetime for his beautifully executed portraits.

Below – “Dreams”; “Conversation in the Luxembourg Garden”; “Afternoon on the Terrace”; “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “Afternoon by the Sea”; “Self-Portrait.”
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“Splitting dry kindling
on a damp November day–
wind-chimes tinkling.” – Michael P. Garofalo
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“I would advise young artists . . . to paint as they can, as long as they can, without being afraid of painting badly . . . If their painting doesn’t improve by itself, it means that nothing can be done—and I wouldn’t do anything!” – Claude Monet, a founder of French Impressionist painting, who was born on 14 November 1840.

Below – “Impression, Sunrise”; “Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge”; “Luncheon on the Grass”; “Garden at Sainte’Adresse”;
“Water Lilies”; “The Rose Walk, Giverny.”
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“No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” – P. J. O’Rourke, American political satirist, writer, journalist, and author of “Parliament of Whores,” who was born 14 November 1947.

Some quotes from the work of P. J. O’Rourke:

“Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.”
“Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”
“You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.”
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.”
“Everybody wants to save the world but nobody wants to help mom with the dishes.”
“Drugs have taught an entire generation of kids the metric system.”
“We had a choice between Democrats who couldn’t learn from the past and Republicans who couldn’t stop living in it.”
“The average IQ in America is—and this can be proven mathematically—average.”
“When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”
“The weirder you’re going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.”
“A hat should be taken off when greeting a lady, and left off the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.”
“Never wear anything that panics the cat.”
“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”
“Guns are always the best method for a private suicide. They are more stylish looking than single-edged razor blades and natural gas has got so expensive. Drugs are too chancy. You might miscalculate the dosage and just have a good time.”
“I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a ‘learning experience.’ Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a ‘learning experience.’ It makes me feel less stupid.”
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Born 14 November 1935 – Michael Busselle, an English photographer and author.

Below – “The Somme in Winter”; “Yellow Trees”; “Sunset on the Seashore”; “The Canal Du Midi, Near Capestang, Languedoc, Roussillon, France”; “Village of Frigiliana, Malaga Area, Andalucia, Spain”; “Mont Blanc, Haut Savoie, Rhone Alpes.”
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American Art – Part II of V: Sangram Majumdar

In the words of one writer, “Sangram Majumdar was born in Calcutta, India and received his BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA at Indiana University.
Since 2003, he has been teaching painting and drawing at the Maryland Institute, College of Art. He currently splits his time between Baltimore, MD and Brooklyn, NY.”
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“And if they haven’t got poetry in them, there’s nothing you can do that will produce it.” – Norman MacCaig, Scottish poet, who was born 14 November 1910.

“Small Boy”

He picked up a pebble

and threw it into the sea.

And another, and another.

He couldn’t stop.

He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.

He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.

He was just throwing away,

nothing else but.

Like a kitten playing

he was practicing for the future

when there’ll be so many things

he’ll want to throw away

if only his fingers will unclench

and let them go.
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According to one writer, Russian painter Vadim A. Chazov (born 1975) “has spent almost his entire life learning about, and creating, fine art.
His schooling includes The College of Fine Art in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and 6 years of studying in one of the best art schools in the world – The Academy of Fine Art in Saint Petersburg (Repin State Academic Institute of Painting Sculpture and Architecture ) . Besides perfecting his own drawing and painting skills, he was doing a serious research of the old masters paintings by copying their masterpieces at The Hermitage. Working at The Hermitage, which one of the largest Art museum in the world, was an essential part of Vadim’s education, and a great privilege as well.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Hinged Double Sonnet for the Luna Moths,”
By Sean Nevin

For ten days now, two luna moths remain
silk-winged and lavish as a double broach
pinned beneath the porch light of my cabin.
Two of them, patinaed that sea-glass green
of copper weather vanes nosing the wind,
the sun-lit green of rockweed, the lichen’s
green scabbing-over of the bouldered shore,
the plush green peat that carpets the island,
that hushes, sinks then holds a boot print
for days, and the sapling-green of new pines
sprouting through it. The miraculous green
origami of their wings – false eyed, doomed
and sensual as the mermaid’s long green fins:
a green siren calling from the moonlight.

A green siren calling from the moonlight,
from the sweet gum leaves and paper birches
that shed, like tiny white decrees, scrolled bark.
They emerge from cocoons like greased hinges,
all pheromone and wing, instinct and flutter.
They rise, hardwired, driven, through the creaking
pine branches tufted with beard moss and fog.
Two luna moths flitting like exotic birds
towards only each other and light, in these
their final few days, they mate, then starving
they wait, inches apart, on my cabin wall
to die, to share fully each pure and burning
moment. They are, like desire itself, born
without mouths. What, if not this, is love?
aNevin

American Art – Part III of V: Margaret Wozniak

In the words of one writer, “New York sculptor Margaret Wozniak was born in Poland and studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Krakow. Originally working in bronze, she now devotes her time exclusively to clay, a transition that allows for wider scope, freedom of expression, and the exceptional use of color. Each work is hand-built and meticulously painted with carefully formulated glazes.
Wozniak’s art cannot be easily categorized in terms of style. Her works evoke both a strong reverence for antiquity and serene feelings of the spiritual and mythic realms: choirs of small angels caught in mid-song; the winged steed Pegasus standing proudly in muted shades of pastel; bowls and other lidded vessels that might well have served in ancient religious or ceremonial rites. Animals and trees are also dominant themes; horses (sometimes carrying small children on their backs), birds, deer, dogs, reindeer – many perched atop other figures and vessels, some standing or sitting alone. The more modern pieces include larger angels, as well as figures and busts of men, women, and children, some in quiet repose, others in movement or at play. These vary in color from monochromatic to subtle hues and bold strokes. Beautiful plates and platters carry forward the animal and tree designs in finely executed drawings and carvings, with color again being used from minimum to maximum advantage for each piece.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“November,”
By William Morris

Are thine eyes weary? is thy heart too sick

To struggle any more with doubt and thought,

Whose formless veil draws darkening now and thick

Across thee, e’en as smoke-tinged mist-wreaths brought

Down a fair dale to make it blind and nought?

Art thou so weary that no world there seems

Beyond these four walls, hung with pain and dreams?

Look out upon the real world, where the moon,
Half-way ‘twixt root and crown of these high trees,
Turns the dread midnight into dreamy noon,
Silent and full of wonders, for the breeze
Died at the sunset, and no images,
No hopes of day, are left in sky or earth –
Is it not fair, and of most wondrous worth?

Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?
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“The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.” – Henry David Thoreau

Below – November sunrise at Walden Pond.
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American Art – Part IV of V: William Bradford

William Bradford (1823-1892) was an American painter, photographer and explorer. In the words of one historian, “He went on several Arctic expeditions with Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes, and was the first American painter to portray the frozen regions of the north.”

Below – “Scene in the Arctic”; “Coastal Scene”; “Whalers Trapped by Arctic Ice”; “Floe Ice”; “Ships and Iceberg”; “Icebergs in the Arctic.”
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The Call to Adventure: “Call me Ishmael.”

14 November 1851 – “Moby Dick” is published, and our National Story, in all its peril and possibility, has never been better or more truthfully told.

“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

It has been a cold, damp, drizzly November, and the soul can, in truth, sometimes feel oppressed in such drearily testing circumstances. If we cannot escape seaward, we can at least read “Moby Dick” and set sail imaginatively beyond our mundane preoccupations to parts unknown. But beware and be ready, my shipmates, for every true adventure has trials and consequences unforeseen, some of them potentially dire.

“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”

We have been well and fairly warned, my fellow voyagers, but to those of us who love a distant horizon, the freshening seaward breeze that fills our vessel’s sails quickens the spirit, encouraging us to set aside our doubts, fears, and regrets and sally forth boldly. And let these words serve as our compass: “Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Below – “Moby Dick/The Chase”
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American Art – Part V of V: Zaria Forman

Artist Statement: “The inspiration for my drawings began in early childhood when I traveled with my family throughout several of the world’s most remote landscapes, which were the subject of my mother’s fine art photography. After my formal training at Skidmore college I now exhibit extensively in galleries and venues throughout the United States and overseas.
In August 2012 I led Chasing the Light, an expedition sailing up the NW coast of Greenland, retracing the 1869 journey of American painter William Bradford and documenting the rapidly changing arctic landscape.”
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