American Art – Part I of IV: Richard Salcido
Artist Statement: “I was born and raised in San Diego, California and when I was a little kid I would love to sit for hours drawing. That love has amazingly turned into a career which I find to be such a great blessing.”
A Poem for Today
By Joyce Peseroff
My mother’s voice is at my throat
—”Try a scarf in the neckline”—
and on my lips: “Just a little
lipstick.” Today I’m wearing both.
My “mother’s voice,” pitched high, carries
reprimand and care:
“No boom on the table!” My daughter
swats me as I carry her
away from the dearest
activity on earth—sticks, stones, struck
as if the coffee table were a flint.
“Barbarian,” I croon
in heels. “What’s that?” she asks and rips
a nylon with a fingernail.
She cries at the turtleneck
pulled over her head. “I’ll give you something
to cry about!” I hush, succeeding for another
day, or an hour—another minute
late for work. Tonight I’ll choose
a lullaby: “Bluebird
at my window,” Mother sang to me,
a voice that could broom sorrow
From the Music Archives: Paul McCartney & Wings
20 April 1974 – Paul McCartney & Wings release the single “Band on the Run.”
Fancies in Springtime: Susan Waring
“The honeybee, Apis mellifera, is a species on the cusp of culture and nature … If we’re to seriously improve honeybee health and with it our own wellbeing, we need to make the most of this timely opportunity to realise a more interconnected approach to agriculture and ecology.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of New Zealand painter Irene Ferguson (born 1970): “Irene Ferguson’s interest lies within the tradition of portraiture and art history. Her work, often surreal and unsettling, possesses a dry and witty reinvigoration of contemporary painting practice. Particularly concerned with the dynamic between subject, viewer and artist, her work plays with the blur between figure and portrait and explores the act of looking and how it effects how we view a figure.”
Fancies in Springtime: Katherine Rundell
Died 20 April 1899 – Joseph Wolf, a German artist who specialized in natural history illustration and painting. In the words of one critic, “He depicted animals accurately in lifelike postures and has been considered one of the great pioneers of wildlife art.”
Fancies in Springtime: Barry Lopez
“I would bow slightly with my hands in my pockets, toward the birds and the evidence of life in their nests–because of their fecundity, unexpected in this remote region, and because the serene arctic light that came down over the land like breath, like breathing.”
Died 20 April 1912 – Bram Stoker, an Irish novelist, short story writer, and author of “Dracula.”
Thank you, Bram Stoker:
Here is one historian describing the background of Spanish painter Luis Soler: “Luis Soler was born in Málaga , Spain in 1943. In his youth, he traveled around the world as a merchant marine for 7 years. He moved to New York City at the age of 25. While in Málaga, he studied at the Academia de Bellas Artes ( Academy of Fine Arts ), which is well-known for its famous alumnus, Pablo Ruiz Picasso. He has also studied at the Pratt Institute and at the Brooklyn Museum.”
“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.” – Archibald MacLeish, American poet and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, who died 20 April 1982.
The star dissolved in evening—the one star
and night O soon now, soon
And still the light now
and still now the large
and through the pools of blue
Still, still the swallows
and a wind now
and the tree
I was small. I lay
Beside my mother on the grass, and sleep
slow hooves and dripping with the dark
The velvet muzzles, the white feet that move
In a dream water
and O soon now soon
Sleep and the night.
And I was not afraid.
Her hand lay over mine. Her fingers knew
Darkness,—and sleep—the silent lands, the far
Far off of morning where I should awake.
American Art – Part II of IV: Daniel Chester French
Born 20 April 1850 – Daniel Chester French, an American sculptor who designed the Abraham Lincoln statue for the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.
A Second Poem for Today
“The Laughter of Women”
By Mary-Sherman Willis
From over the wall I could hear the laughter of women
in a foreign tongue, in the sun-rinsed air of the city.
They sat (so I thought) perfumed in their hats and their silks,
in chairs on the grass amid flowers glowing and swaying.
One spoke and the others rang like bells, oh so witty,
like bells till the sound filled up the garden and lifted
like bubbles spilling over the bricks that enclosed them,
their happiness holding them, even if just for the moment.
Although I did not understand a word they were saying,
their sound surrounded me, fell on my shoulders and hair,
and burst on my cheeks like kisses, and continued to fall,
holding me there where I stood on the sidewalk listening.
As I could not move, I had to hear them grow silent,
and adjust myself to the clouds and the cooling air.
The mumble of thunder rumbled out of the wall
and the smacking of drops as the rain fell everywhere.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Peruvian painter Ernesto Arrisueno (born 1957): “He came to Australia in 1989 and soon found success in local exhibitions. The crisp reality of Ernesto Arrisueño’s works creates an air of mystical calm, a world of still waters, a myriad of flowers and isolated enigmatic figures. His current work blends memories of his early years in the dry barren landscape of Peru with the new visions and traditions of his life in Australia.
He imagines the boats, the beaches, the weathered surfaces of old timber as he sits and paints in his modern Sydney apartment. This is true, to a certain extent, but it is not just the artist’s imagination that creates this space, but memory.”
“We are our own dragons and our own heroes. We must rescue ourselves from ourselves.” – Peter S. Beagle, American novelist, essayist, screenplay writer, and author of the fantasy work “The Last Unicorn,” who was born 20 April 1939.
Some quotes from “The Last Unicorn”:
“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.”
“The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch’s door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before he does something wicked. Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”
“It’s a rare man who is taken for what he truly is.”
“When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said ‘one o’clock’ as though I could see it, and ‘Monday’ as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls… You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. When you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.”
“Never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention. ”
“The magician stood erect, menacing the attackers with demons, metamorphoses, paralyzing ailments, and secret judo holds. Molly picked up a rock.”
“As for you and your heart and the things you said and didn’t say, she will remember them all when men are fairy tales in books written by rabbits.”
“Whatever can die is beautiful — more beautiful than a unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful creature in the world. Do you understand me?”
“I think love is stronger than habits or circumstances. I think it is possible to keep yourself for someone for a long time and still remember why you were waiting when she comes at last.”
“No cat out of its first fur can ever be deceived by appearances. Unlike human beings, who enjoy them.”
“We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.”
Fancies in Springtime: Ralph Waldo Emerson
20 April 1841 – Edgar Allan Poe publishes “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” a short story generally recognized as the first detective story in Western literary history. Poe referred to this work as one of his “tales of ratiocination.”
Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig
“In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”
French Art – Part I of II: Odilon Redon
Born 20 April 1840 – Odilon Redon, a French symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and pastelist.
A Third Poem for Today
“For the Tattooed Man”
By Sharmilla Voorakara
Because she broke your heart, ‘Shannon’s’ a badge—
a seven-letter skidmark that scars up
across your chest, a flare of indelible script.
Between ‘Death or Glory,’ and ‘Mama,’ she rages,
scales the trellis of your rib cage;
her red hair swings down to bracket your ankles, whip
up the braid of your backbone, cuff your wrists. She keeps
you sleepless with her afterimage,
and each pinned and martyred limb aches for more.
Her memory wraps you like a vise.
How simple the pain that trails and graces
the length of your body. How it fans, blazes,
writes itself over in the blood’s tightening sighs,
bruises into wisdom you have no name for.
French Art – Part II of II: Martine Pinsolle
From the American History Archives: The Ludlow Massacre
In the words of one historian, “The Ludlow Massacre was an attack by the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914. Some two dozen people, including women and children, were killed. The chief owner of the mine, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was widely criticized for the incident.”
Fancies in Springtime: Vesta M. Kelly
Italian Art – Part I of IV: Giambologna
Giambologna, born Jean Boulogne (1529-1608), was a French-born Italian sculptor known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.
Fancies in Springtime: Stephen Jay Gould
A Fourth Poem for Today
By R. S. Gwynn
Glory be to God for breaded things—
Catfish, steak finger, pork chop, chicken thigh,
Sliced green tomatoes, pots full to the brim
With french fries, fritters, life-float onion rings,
Hushpuppies, okra golden to the eye,
That in all oils, corn or canola, swim
Toward mastication’s maw (O molared mouth!);
Whatever browns, is dumped to drain and dry
On paper towels’ sleek translucent scrim,
These greasy, battered bounties of the South:
Italian painter Ugo de Cesare was born in a small village near Florence. He studied at the Academy of Naples and Florence. His work is held in public and private collections in Europe and North America.
Born 20 April 1893 – Harold Lloyd, an American film actor famous for performing dangerous stunts in his silent comedies.
Fancies in Springtime: John Updike
Italian Art – Part III of IV: Giuliano Tamburini
Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Italian painter Giuliano Tamburini: “Giuliano Tamburini was born in Pesaro in 1958 where he obtained his high school diploma in accountancy in 1977. He started painting at an early stage and is self-taught. He chose the landscapes as his favourite subject using mostly oil or tempera.
The study of the classics led him later to discover the deep contrast between light and shadows used by Caravaggio to intense expression, by Vermeer, in refining portraits of everyday life and also by Turner in the great suggestivity of his landscapes and in particular in his Venetian works enhancing the intensity of the expressive quality of watercolour.
Tamburini pursued his artistic studies in order to widen his knowledge of different techniques in various schools and art institutes, with special attention to the study of watercolour, sculpture and modelling. At the same time he acquired more indepth knowledge of various XXth century movements getting progressively closer to contemporary art.”
Fancies in Springtime: Dick Allen
“Once upon a time,
there was a Zen sign
at every small railway crossing in America
Italian Art – Part IV of IV: Claudio Tuccillo
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Ellen Bass
For months my daughter carried
a dead monarch in a quart mason jar.
To and from school in her backpack,
to her only friend’s house. At the dinner table
it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast.
She took it to bed, propped by her pillow.
Was it the year her brother was born?
Was this her own too-fragile baby
that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world?
Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house?
Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there?
This plump child in her rolled-down socks
I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me
and carry safe again. What was her fierce
commitment? I never understood.
We just lived with the dead winged thing
as part of her, as part of us,
weightless in its heavy jar.
American Art – Part III of IV: Brett Amory
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Brett Amory (born 1975): “Figures and places in Amory’s work are based on photographs the artist has taken of ordinary city architecture and random people who he sees on a daily basis but never speaks to.
He feels especially drawn to individuals who look lost, lonely or awkward—those who don’t appear to fit in socially. As the title suggests, the Waiting series is about how we rarely experience living in the now, always awaiting what will come next or obsessed with what has already transpired. In our age of distraction, being in the present is difficult to achieve outside of meditation practice, it requires heightened cognitive awareness and clear mental space, often prevented by constant internal dialogue, preoccupation with memories of the past and/or concern for the future. Amory’s work attempts to visually represent this concept of disconnection and anticipation, conveying the idea of transient temporality that exists in most moments of our daily lives.”
Fancies in Springtime: Peter Matthiessen
“The light irradiates white peaks of Annapurna marching down the sky, in the great rampart that spreads east and west for eighteen hundred miles, the Himalaya- the alaya (abode, or home) of hima (snow).Hibiscus, frangipani, bougainvillea: seen under snow peaks, these tropical blossoms become the flowers of heroic landscapes. Macaques scamper in green meadow, and a turquoise roller spins in a golden light. Drongos, rollers, barbets, and white Eqyptian vulture are the common birds, and all have close relatives in East Africa.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Rie Munoz (Part VII)
Artist Statement: “My artwork can best be described as expressionism. The term applies to work that rejects camera snapshot realism, and instead, expresses emotion by distortion and strong colors. My paintings reflect an interest in the day-to-day activities of Alaskans such as fishing, berry picking, children at play, crabbing, and whaling. I am also fascinated with the legends of Alaska’s Native people. While I find much to paint around Juneau, most of my material comes from sketching trips taken to the far corners of Alaska. I’ve taught school on King Island in the Bering Sea, traveled and sketched almost every community in Alaska.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
A Sixth Poem for Today
“Seeing the Eclipse in Maine”
By Robert Bly
It started about noon. On top of Mount Batte,
We were all exclaiming. Someone had a cardboard
And a pin, and we all cried out when the sun
Appeared in tiny form on the notebook cover.
It was hard to believe. The high school teacher
We’d met called it a pinhole camera,
People in the Renaissance loved to do that.
And when the moon had passed partly through
We saw on a rock underneath a fir tree,
Dozens of crescents—made the same way—
Thousands! Even our straw hats produced
A few as we moved them over the bare granite.
Fancies in Springtime: Jon Edgell
American Art – Part IV of IV: Paul Strahm
Artist Statement: “Each image is thoughtfully painted to capture the landscape, lifestyle of the area and its people.”
Paul Strahm lives and words in San Diego.