American Art – Part I of III: Chris Dellorco
In the words of one writer, “Born in Los Angeles, Chris’ 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.”
A Poem for Today
By Debbie Ouellet
hissing through barren boughs
cold as a witch’s kiss.
Scandalmonger of the fields,
grips ragweed by the forelock
to lay across the line
and beat away the dirt.
Hickory switch, finger wagging
at a giggle of snowflakes
leapfrogging through ochre fields
and playing knock-knock—
“He travels fastest who travels alone, and that goes double for she. Real feminism is spinsterhood.” – Florence King, an American novelist, essayist, journalist, humorist, and author of “The Florence King Reader,” who was born 5 January 1936.
Some quotes from the work of Florence King:
“American couples have gone to such lengths to avoid the interference of in-laws that they have to pay marriage counselors to interfere between them.”
“I’d rather rot on my own floor than be found by a bunch of bingo players in a nursing home.”
“In social matters, pointless conventions are not merely the bee sting of etiquette, but the snake bite of moral order.”
“People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they’re all asleep at the switch. Consequently we are living in the Age of Human Error.”
“The witty woman is a tragic figure in American life. Wit destroys eroticism and eroticism destroys wit, so women must choose between taking lovers and taking no prisoners.”
“True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories.”
“Time has lost all meaning in that nightmare alley of the Western world known as the American mind.”
Musings in Winter: T. F. Hodge
“What you are, and who you are should provide greater clarity about where you have been and where you are headed. Although one distinguishes spiritual from physical nature, the ultimate unification of the two is the consequence of the struggle for internal, external and eternal – peace.”
British Art – Part I of III: Peter Williams
Here is the Artist Statement of Peter Williams: “”I am Peter Williams, an entirely self taught UK artist, working out of my studio on the Suffolk coast where I live with my long term partner Jenny.
Born in 1952 I had a varied working life which included the regular British Army, college tutor, computer analyst and lorry driver. During these times I always found time to create art of some kind in my spare time. In 2002 I took the life-changing step of becoming a full time artist, being commissioned as feature artist for Hertfordshire Life magazine before moving to the East coast of Suffolk in 2005.
I expected to make my living here from local landscapes and coastal scenes. However I soon realized that was what thousands of other local artists expected too so I decided I would be better off finding a more niche area of the art market. Having always had immense interest in the great outdoors, I decided to exploit my passion for wildlife as well as the old West and Native America. I haven’t looked back since.
So now I create haunting, ephemeral Native American portraits, not trying to be historically accurate but attempting to portray palpable and arresting emotions, suspending reality and presenting the viewer with the wild, unchecked passions and stoic serenity of Native America.
I also produce stunning and highly detailed, photo-realistic graphite, charcoal, watercolour or mixed media images of wildlife. Blending diffused colour with confident composition, intricate detail, sometimes dramatic movement but always a unique vibrancy.
With a strong on-line presence as well as exhibiting several times a year in real world galleries, I have developed a large following of collectors and enthusiasts from all continents, my new work being sought after as demand outstrips productivity.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Charles Mingus
“Let my children have music! Let them hear live music. Not noise. My children! You do what you want with your own!” – Charles Mingus, influential American jazz double bassist, composer, and bandleader, who died 5 January 1979.
Born 5 January 1914 – Nicolas de Stael, a Russian-French painter.
“Winter again and it is snowing;
Although you are still three,
You are already growing
Strange to me.
You chatter about new playmates, sing
Strange songs; you do not know
Or where I go…” – From “Heart’s Needle,” by William Snodgrass, American poet and recipient of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, who was born 5 January 1926.
“A Locked House”
As we drove back, crossing the hill,
The house still
Hidden in the trees, I always thought—
A fool’s fear—that it might have caught
Fire, someone could have broken in.
As if things must have been
Too good here. Still, we always found
It locked tight, safe and sound.
I mentioned that, once, as a joke;
No doubt we spoke
Of the absurdity
To fear some dour god’s jealousy
Of our good fortune. From the farm
Next door, our neighbors saw no harm
Came to the things we cared for here.
What did we have to fear?
Maybe I should have thought: all
Such things rot, fall—
Barns, houses, furniture.
We two are stronger than we were
Apart; we’ve grown
Together. Everything we own
Can burn; we know what counts—some such
Idea. We said as much.
We’d watched friends driven to betray;
Felt that love drained away
Some self they need.
We’d said love, like a growth, can feed
On hate we turn in and disguise;
We warned ourselves. That you might despise
Me—hate all we both loved best—
None of us ever guessed.
The house still stands, locked, as it stood
Untouched a good
Two years after you went.
Some things passed in the settlement;
Some things slipped away. Enough’s left
That I come back sometimes. The theft
And vandalism were our own.
Maybe we should have known.
Musings in Winter: John O’Donohue
“What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.
When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Honey at the Table,”
By Mary Oliver
It fills you with the soft
essence of vanished flowers, it becomes
a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow
from the honey pot over the table
and out the door and over the ground,
and all the while it thickens,
grows deeper and wilder, edged
with pine boughs and wet boulders,
pawprints of bobcat and bear, until
deep in the forest you
shuffle up some tree, you rip the bark,
British Art – Part II of III: Nadia Lazizi
Artist Statement: My paintings centre around figurative representations of the human form. I work predominantly with oils on canvas/linen. I seek to represent and capture a fleeting moment in time, a transient image of contemplation that is a combination of dreams and reality.
This is achieved by a careful construction of mood and atmosphere which is created by the deliberate juxtaposition of the central figure against an ambiguous background, defined by intense artificial lighting and a restricted colour palette. This projects the image outwards towards the viewer, establishing its presence within the central frame of the canvas. The play of light and shadows conveys an effect that is both welcoming and remote, it distorts the image and produces an abstract quality arising from the gradual fading of parts of the image from sight.
It intensifies an ephemeral moment which is interpreted by the viewer in their own personal way, yet being guided by the ambience and composition of the image as a whole.
The works possess a contemporary tone which is achieved through the integration of a soft-focus, chiaroscuro and dry brush techniques combined with an illustrative edge.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Johann Sebastian Bach
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Eloy Morales (born 1973):“Spanish painter Eloy Morales creates photorealistic and hyperrealistic oil paintings of himself. He says that it’s not simply all about the details, but the constant valuation of tones, the tonal transition and avoiding abrupt cuts. Evaluating the overall image in which the details are always integrated. The sense of realism is given by the right relationships between these two aspects. Besides the self-portraits he creates, he also uses family and friends as models not only concentrating on the physical aspects of their faces but more important trying to bring out psychological aspects of the portrayed individual.”
Musings in Winter: Robert Schultheis
“There’s a silent voice in the wilderness that we hear only when no one else is around. When you go far, far beyond, out across the netherlands of the Known, the din of human static slowly fades away, over and out.”
“You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God’s creative principle works in you.” – Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian yogi and guru who, in the words of one writer, “introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi.’”
Some quotes from the work of Paramahansa Yogananda:
“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.”
“Live each moment completely and the future will take care of itself. Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each moment.”
“You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained.”
“If you permit your thoughts to dwell on evil you yourself will become ugly. Look only for the good in everything so you absorb the quality of beauty.”
“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”
“Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable.”
“The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery”
“Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.”
“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.”
“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.”
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
“The wave is the same as the ocean, though it is not the whole ocean. So each wave of creation is a part of the eternal Ocean of Spirit. The Ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot exist without the Ocean.”
“It is not your passing thoughts or brilliant ideas so much as your plain everyday habits that control your life… Live simply. Don’t get caught in the machine of the world— it is too exacting. By the time you get what you are seeking your nerves are gone, the heart is damaged, and the bones are aching. Resolve to develop your spiritual powers more earnestly from now on. Learn the art of right living. If you have joy you have everything, so learn to be glad and contented…Have happiness now.”
“Stillness is the altar of spirit.”
“Before embarking on important undertakings sit quietly calm your senses and thoughts and meditate deeply. You will then be guided by the great creative power of Spirit.”
“Every tomorrow is determined by every today.”
“The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul’s power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God.”
“Self-realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God’s omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing.”
A Third Poem for Today
“The Woman at the Washington Zoo,”
By Randall Jarrell
The saris go by me from the embassies.
Cloth from the moon. Cloth from another planet.
They look back at the leopard like the leopard.
this print of mine, that has kept its color
Alive through so many cleanings; this dull null
Navy I wear to work, and wear from work, and so
To my bed, so to my grave, with no
Complaints, no comment: neither from my chief,
The Deputy Chief Assistant, nor his chief—
Only I complain…. this serviceable
Body that no sunlight dyes, no hand suffuses
But, dome-shadowed, withering among columns,
Wavy beneath fountains—small, far-off, shining
In the eyes of animals, these beings trapped
As I am trapped but not, themselves, the trap,
Aging, but without knowledge of their age,
Kept safe here, knowing not of death, for death—
Oh, bars of my own body, open, open!
The world goes by my cage and never sees me.
And there come not to me, as come to these,
The wild beasts, sparrows pecking the llamas’ grain,
Pigeons settling on the bears’ bread, buzzards
Tearing the meat the flies have clouded….
When you come for the white rat that the foxes left,
Take off the red helmet of your head, the black
Wings that have shadowed me, and step to me as man:
The wild brother at whose feet the white wolves fawn,
To whose hand of power the great lioness
You know what I was,
You see what I am: change me, change me!
Musings in Winter: Bruce Springsteen
“I leave pansies, the symbolic flower of freethought, in memory of the Great Agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, who stood for equality, education, progress, free ideas and free lives, against the superstition and bigotry of religious dogma. We need men like him today more than ever. His writing still inspires us and challenges the ‘better angels’ of our nature, when people open their hearts and minds to his simple, honest humanity. Thank goodness he was here.”
Chinese husband and wife artists Liu Derun and Li Yan Derun work together as a team on their paintings, many of which have won awards in international exhibitions.
“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means.” – Umberto Eco, Italian essayist, novelist, semiotician, philosopher, literary critic, and author of “The Name of the Rose” and “Faith in Fakes: Travels in Hyperreality,” who was born 5 January 1932.
Some quotes from the work of Umberto Eco:
“Fear prophets … and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.”
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”
“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”
“What is love? There is nothing in the world, neither man nor Devil nor any thing, that I hold as suspect as love, for it penetrates the soul more than any other thing. Nothing exists that so fills and binds the heart as love does. Therefore, unless you have those weapons that subdue it, the soul plunges through love into an immense abyss.”
“People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction.”
“Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.”
“There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics…Cretins don’t even talk; they sort of slobber and stumble…Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions. They embarrass everyone but provide material for conversation…Fools don’t claim that cats bark, but they talk about cats when everyone else is talking about dogs. They offend all the rules of conversation, and when they really offend, they’re magnificent…Morons never do the wrong thing. They get their reasoning wrong. Like the fellow who says that all dogs are pets and all dogs bark, and cats are pets, too, therefore cats bark…Morons will occasionally say something that’s right, but they say it for the wrong reason…A lunatic is easily recognized. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The moron proves his thesis; he has logic, however twisted it may be. The lunatic on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars…There are lunatics who don’t bring up the Templars, but those who do are the most insidious. At first they seem normal, then all of a sudden…”
“As the man said, for every complex problem there’s a simple solution, and it’s wrong.”
“A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams.”
“Where else? I belong to a lost generation and am comfortable only in the company of others who are lost and lonely.”
“What is life if not the shadow of a fleeting dream?”
British Art – Part III of III: Susan Angharad Williams
Here is the Artist Statement of painter Susan Angharad Williams: “I paint primarily from life. The drawings are derived from many sources – life, photographs, video stills…
My work is intensely figurative. Natural pattern is set alongside patterns made by hand. Abandonment, rituals and bearing witness are recurring themes.
I want the intense stillness of the images and the relationship between the objects to project both harmony and tension. The further tension between three-dimensional space and the flat surface, between spatial forms and linear description is a constant exploration.”
Musings in Winter: Brian Morton
German painter Marlis Albrecht (born 1956) studied for two years at the Free Art School in Stuttgart.
According to one critic, the central theme in the art of Flemish painter Mathieu Bassez “is dramatized theatrical beauty. As with the Renaissance artists, Bassez’ theatrically draped personages expose a pure and deep emotion in a perfect beautiful body, untarnished by time and society. This exemplifies ‘Tabula rasa’, or the human as reborn (‘renaissance’), pure and timeless. Bassez’ classically inspired characters are painted in remarkable detail, using the original techniques of the Flemish and Italian master painters. Mathieu Bassez is known for his ability of painting cloth (drapery) in great refinement.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“A January Dandelion,”
By George Marion McClellan
All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere
Like desert sand, when the winds blow,
There is each moment sifted through the air,
A powdered blast of January snow.
O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled
By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,
Was folly growth and blooming over soon.
And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem,
Full many a heart has but a common boon
With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem.
When the heart has bloomed by the touch of love’s warm breath
Then left and chilling snow is sifted in,
It still may beat but there is blast and death
To all that blooming life that might have been.
Musings in Winter: Neil Postman
“We come astonishingly close to the mystical beliefs of Pythagoras and his followers who attempted to submit all of life to the sovereignty of numbers. Many of our psychologists, sociologists, economists and other latter-day cabalists will have numbers to tell them the truth or they will have nothing. …We must remember that Galileo merely said that the language of nature is written in mathematics. He did not say that everything is. And even the truth about nature need not be expressed in mathematics. For most of human history, the language of nature has been the language of myth and ritual. These forms, one might add, had the virtues of leaving nature unthreatened and of encouraging the belief that human beings are part of it. It hardly befits a people who stand ready to blow up the planet to praise themselves too vigorously for having found the true way to talk about nature.”
American Art – Part II of III: Victoria Rose Martin
From the American History Archives: The Golden Gate Bridge
5 January 1933 – Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins on the Marin County side; the bridge was completed in April 1937.
“The Golden Gate Bridge … offers enduring proof that human beings can alter the planet with reverence.” – Kevin Starr
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Palais d’Hiver” (“Winter Palace”),
By Justine Nicholas
Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard
“At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does utter a peep – just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don’t do it. There is a vibrancy to the silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life’s length to listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression: instead, it is all there is.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of South African painter Sasha Hartslief (born 1974): “Like the 19th Century French Impressionists, she uses brushstroke to evoke the transience of light, colour and movement. And like her Renaissance and Impressionist forebears, she employs everyday visual devices to explore the way in which atmospheric light and tonal modulations inform a surface, and to evoke environments and atmospheres fraught with symbolic subtexts. Her subjects are often viewed from a philosophical, deeply personal perspective, resulting in striking works that are emotionally charged, pensive in mood and considered in composition.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
By W. S. Merwin
Out of the dry days
through the dusty leaves
far across the valley
those few notes never
heard here before
one fluted phrase
floating over its
all at once wells up
and is gone before it
goes on fallen into
its own echo leaving
a hollow through the air
that is dry as before
where is it from
seems to have noticed it
so far but who now
would have been listening
it is not native here
that may be the one
thing we are sure of
it came from somewhere
else perhaps alone
so keeps on calling for
no one who is here
hoping to be heard
by another of its own
trying once more the same few
notes that began the song
of an oriole last heard
years ago in another
Musings in Winter: Grigoris Deoudis
“When man will return to nature, nature will return to him.”
American Art – Part III of III: Bev Jozwiak
In the words of one writer, “Bev Jozwiak has earned her signature status in the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and others, to numerous to mention. She is an International Award winning Artist. Born in Vancouver, Washington, Bev still resides there with her husband of 30 plus years. She has two daughters, and two grandchildren.”