May Offerings – Part IV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Kirsten J. Stingle

Artist Statement: “Storytelling connects us to one another and explains who we are. In an age when the individual is often alienated, my work attempts to cut through the isolation by presenting common threads of the human experience. A fine arts degree in theater refined my understanding of imagery and taught me to use gesture as a powerful expressive tool when telling a story. It is through figurative ceramics that I am able to incorporate those skills in order to more powerfully realize my narrative impulse. While each piece is instantly approachable, closer inspection reveals a world in which the story and inner psyche of the character slowly emerges. The ultimate goal of my work is to create honest depictions of the human quest toward self-revelation and a contemporary identity. And, just as we look to our past as a springboard toward a personal vision of the future, I seamlessly combine discarded relics with my porcelain figures to help tell a story. The mixed media not only creates an intriguing dialogue of materials but also informs the viewer of the scope of the figure’s journey within each narrative.”
Process: “All figures are hand-built porcelain stoneware without the use of molds. A straight pin is the primary tool I use to work on the detail in the face, hands and feet. Each ceramic piece is then finished using multiple layers of underglazes, stains, and slips, as well as mark making to achieve a depth of color. After it is fired, I construct and assemble the mixed media elements, which include welding, carpentry, sewing, felting, encaustic, fabric staining, and fabric manipulation.”

Below – “Tempo”; “Fistfulls”; “Held”; “Just a Nibble”; “Precipice”; “Line of Sight.”
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A Poem for Today

“Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe”
By Bill Holm

Start with the square heavy loaf
steamed a whole day in a hot spring
until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
then soak the old loaf for a day
in warm water flavored
with raisins and lemon slices.
Boil it until it is thick as molasses.
Pour it in a flat white bowl.
Ladle a good dollop of whipped cream
to melt in its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal,
and the yeast and cream and rye
will sing inside you after eating
for a long time.
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Polish Art – Part I of II: Radek Rola

Here is the Artist Statement of Polish painter Radek Rola (born 1979): “I strive to create undistorted shapes which are deeply emotional and symbolistic. By focusing on faces as the main subjects for my work, I try to portray all aspects of human nature through mood and character. A strictly controlled use of colour as well as an emphasis on light and shadow are key elements in my efforts to produce pieces which are powerful and engaging.”

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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“…and it is here that we are, in some pain and with no guarantees, working out our destiny.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Silent Music”
By Floyd Skloot

My wife wears headphones as she plays
Chopin etudes in the winter light.
Singing random notes, she sways
in and out of shadow while night
settles. The keys she presses make a soft
clack, the bench creaks when her weight shifts,
golden cotton fabric ripples across
her shoulders, and the sustain pedal clicks.
This is the hidden melody I know
so well, her body finding harmony in
the give and take of motion, her lyric
grace of gesture measured against a slow
fall of darkness. Now stillness descends
to signal the end of her silent music.

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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Throughout history, different cultures have produced creation myths that explain our origins as the result of cosmic forces shaping our destiny. These histories have helped us to ward off feelings of insignificance. Although origin stories typically begin with the big picture, they get down to Earth with impressive speed, zipping past the creation of the universe, of all its contents, and of life on Earth, to arrive at long explanations of myriad details of human history and its social conflicts, as if we somehow formed the center of creation.”
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Polish Art – Part II of II: Antoni Falat

In the words of one critic, Polish painter Antoni Falat “studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 1993 he founded the European Academy of Arts in Warsaw. In his paintings he often refers to old family portraits. He creates compositions presenting people in slightly comic yet casual situation of everyday life. The impression of unnaturalness is deepened by strong contrasts of colors. Fałat’s art, related with the movement of ‘new figuration’, is also related closely to pop-art.”
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The Pulitzer Prize – Part I of II: Ellen Glasgow

4 May 1942 – The Pulitzer Prize for the Novel is awarded to Ellen Glasgow for “In This Our Life.”

“Human nature. I don’t like human nature, but I do like human beings.” – From “In This Our Life”
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you’re susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.”

Below – Jim Jones
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Died 4 May 1734 – James Thornhill, an English painter of mythological and historical subjects in the Italian baroque tradition.

Below – “The Gods on Mount Olympus”; “Spring, Mercury, and Juno”; “The Judgment of Paris”; “An Allegory of Apollo and Minerva as Wisdom and the Arts”; “Diana and Actaeon”; “The Victory of Apollo”; “Model for a Mural: “Psyche Obtaining the Jar of Forgetfulness from Pluto in Hades”; “Summer, Ceres.”
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(c) Moor Park Heritage Foundation; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Government Art Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Government Art Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) National Trust, Hinton Ampner; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Moor Park Heritage Foundation; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Fancies in Springtime: Alfred Austin

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
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Brazilian painter Andréa Facchini is a graduate of the School of Fine Arts in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“It made the kids at camp much more enthusiastic and cooperative when they had ego goals to fulfill, I’m sure, but ultimately that kind of motivation is destructive. Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster. Now we’re paying the price. When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you are, you almost never make it. And even if you do it’s a hollow victory. In order to sustain victory you have to prove yourself again and again in some other way, and again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and someone will find out. That’s never the way.”
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The Pulitzer Prize – Part II of II: Ernest Hemingway

4 May 1953 – Ernest Hemingway receives the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Old Man and the Sea.”

“The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.” – From “The Old Man and the Sea”
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Born 4 May 1921 – Edo Murtic, a Croatian painter best known for his lyrical abstract expressionist style.
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“We are the only species on the planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes nor in our brains. The warehouse of this memory is called the library.”
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In the words of one writer, “Pierre Boncompain was born in 1938 at Valence, in the Drome region of Southern France. He studied art at the National Decorative Arts Institute and was later accepted at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Paris where he received the distinguished Collioure Prize. He subsequently accepted and was nominated for numerous prestigious awards.”
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From the American History Archives: The Panama Canal

4 May 1904 – In accordance with the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, the United States formally takes control of French property relating to the Panama Canal.

Below – The Culebra Cut in 1904; the Panama Canal Railroad.
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American Art – Part II of III: Chin H. Shin

In the words of one writer, “Korean-born American painter Chin H. Shin has a Master of Art Degree from Long Island University. His past affiliation includes, Oil painters of America, American Society of Marine Artists, Portrait Society of America, member of Huntington Art Council, a judge for Bold Brush International Art Competition and teaches art classes by request.
The culture, history, music, and movies of New York serve as a guiding force for his paintings. Technique-wise, he has been influenced by Korean calligraphy and the wild brush strokes of Expressionism. All of these elements have influenced Chin’s work. His goal is to transform these street scenes of daily life into a form of visual poetry. Ultimately, he is looking for an extremely positive mental satisfaction found in his work. This can be broken down technically as light and color; light standing for hope for our future.”
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“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.” – From “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll.

Below – Alice Liddell, the girl who likely inspired “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” who was born 4 May 1852.
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Fancies in Springtime: William Howard Adams

“The garden, historically, is the place where all the senses are exploited. Not just the eye, but the ear- with water, with birds. And there is texture, too, in plants you long to touch.”
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“Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say that he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.” – Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of both Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and scientific education in schools, who was born 4 May 1825.

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Henry Huxley:

“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.”
“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”
“The great tragedy of Science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
“A man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man who plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric.”
“What we call rational grounds for our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our instincts.”
“There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued.”
“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
“We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain duty of each and all of us is to try to make the little corner he can influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was before he entered.”
“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.”
“It is not what we believe, but why we believe it. Moral responsibility lies in diligently weighing the evidence. We must actively doubt; we have to scrutinize our views, not take them on trust. No virtue attached to blindly accepting orthodoxy, however ‘venerable.’”
“The most considerable difference I note among men is not in their readiness to fall into error, but in their readiness to acknowledge these inevitable lapses.”
“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”
“There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life.”
“To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen.”
“It is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.”
“Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.”
“Trust a witness in all matters in which neither his self-interest, his passions, his prejudices, nor the love of the marvelous is strongly concerned. When they are involved, require corroborative evidence in exact proportion to the contravention of probability by the thing testified.”
“History warns us that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.”

According to one writer, “Shin-Young An began studying art in her home country of South Korea, obtaining a B.F.A. from Hyosung Women’s University in Daegu. She has additionally studied at the Art Students League of NY, U.S.A and ‘Cercle Artistic de Sant Llu’ in Barcelona, Spain after she received her M.F.A. in painting from The Graduate School of Figurative Art of the New York Academy of Art in 2001.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“The cosmic perspective not only embraces our genetic kinship with all life on Earth but also values our chemical kinship with any yet-to-be discovered life in the universe, as well as our atomic kinship with the universe itself.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Home Fire”
By Parsons Marion

Whether on the boulevard or gravel backroad,
I do not easily raise my hand to those who toss
up theirs in anonymous hello, merely to say
“I’m passing this way.” Once out of shyness, now
reluctance to tip my hand, I admire the shrubbery
instead. I’ve learned where the lines are drawn
and keep the privet well trimmed. I left one house
with toys on the floor for another with quiet rugs
and a bed where the moon comes in. I’ve thrown
myself at men in black turtlenecks only to find
that home is best after all. Home where I sit
in the glider, knowing it needs oil, like my own
rusty joints. Where I coax blackberry to dogwood
and winter to harvest, where my table is clothed
in light. Home where I walk out on the thin page
of night, without waving or giving myself away,
and return with my words burning like fire in the grate.
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Canadian Art – Part I of II: Frank Carmichael

Born 4 May 1890 – Frank Carmichael, a Canadian artist and the youngest original member of the Group of Seven, also known as the Algonquin School, an informal organization of landscape painters.

Below – “Mirror Lake”; “Light and Shadow”; “Autumn Hillside”; “Lake Superior”; “Bisset Farm”; “La Cloche Panorama.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“You look at these mountains now, and they look so permanent and peaceful, but they’re changing all the time and the changes aren’t always peaceful. Underneath us, beneath us here right now, there are forces that can tear this whole mountain apart.”

Below – Mount Saint Helens
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Raking”
By Tania Rochelle

Anna Bell and Lane, eighty,
make small leaf piles in the heat,
each pile a great joint effort,
like fifty years of marriage,
sharing chores a rusty dance.
In my own yard, the stacks
are big as children, who scatter them,
dodge and limbo the poke
of my rake. We’re lucky,
young and straight-boned.
And I feel sorry for the couple,
bent like parentheses
around their brittle little lawn.
I like feeling sorry for them,
the tenderness of it, but only
for a moment: John glides in
like a paper airplane, takes
the children for the weekend,
and I remember,
they’re the lucky ones—
shriveled Anna Bell, loving
her crooked Lane.
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Canadian Art – Part II of II: John Neville

In the words of one writer, “John Neville (b. 1952) paints nostalgic portraits of bygone days which chronicle the folklore and daily lives of the local fishermen and their women from his childhood village. This popular Canadian artist, who splits his time between Nova Scotia and Maine, is a painter, printmaker, and story teller, who has engaged collectors throughout his long career with his exceptional etchings, and more recently the bold palette and modern compositions of his impressive oil paintings.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Lt. Edward Beale, Congress report on Arizona, 1858

“The region is altogether valueless. After entering it, there is nothing to do but leave.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: Nathalie Parenteau (Part II)

In the words of one writer, “When asked how her images take form, Northern artist Nathalie Parenteau promptly replies: ‘They take shape on their own. I just scratch the canvas with the paint brush and there they are.’ Or so it seems.”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below (Canvas Giclee Prints) – “Polar Bear Reverie”; “Raven Mandela I”; “Running Caribou”; “Sea Otter Volcano”; “Shadow Lynx”; “Silence and Salmon”; “Spirit Bear”; “Song of the Salmon”; “Twilight Wolf Pack”; “Wave of Life.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Edward Abbey

“Beyond the wall of the unreal city … there is another world waiting for you. It is the old true world of the deserts, the mountains, the forests, the islands, the shores, the open plains. Go there. Be there. Walk gently and quietly deep within it. And then —
May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God’s dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Driving Through”
By Mark Vinz

This could be the town you’re from,
marked only by what it’s near.
The gas station man speaks of weather
and the high school football team
just as you knew he would—
kind to strangers, happy to live here.

Tell yourself it doesn’t matter now,
you’re only driving through.
Past the sagging, empty porches
locked up tight to travelers’ stares,
toward the great dark of the fields,
your headlights startle a flock of
old love letters—still undelivered,
enroute for years.
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“To the ocean. That sounds right. Where the waves roll in slowly and there’s always a roar and you can’t fall anywhere. You’re already there.”
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American Art – Part III of III: Robert Striffolino

Artist Statement: “I was born in New York City in 1950 and raised in Valley Stream, New York. After receiving a degree in architecture from Ohio University in 1974 I practiced architecture as well as painted. I have lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico since 1978 and have devoted my full time to painting since the mid 1980’s.
The affinity I have always felt toward Nature continues to fuel my creative drive. Painting continues to intrigue and impassion me providing new ways to stretch and grow. For this I am grateful. It has been a constant companion and certainly my major mode of expression throughout the years.”

Below – “October’s Brilliance”; “Lakeside Trees”; “Tree Forms – Study 1”; “Blue Wood Canopy”; “Tree Quilt”; “Garden Reflections II”; “Waterscape.”
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