American Art – Part I of V: Richard Heisler
Artist Statement: “My paintings inspired by places of great importance to me as a person and as an artist. I strive to paint these places with exacting detail and commitment to the highest authenticity and realism of the image painted, in tribute to the experience and out of respect for the places and time spent there. My paintings as a whole serve as an album of sorts of my life. I can looks through my paintings over the years and know where life’s journey has taken me and be able to connect with these times and places through the work I have done and will continue to do. My paintings are not a pursuit of a certain genre or style of working, but come out of a necessary feeling to capture and present things to those who view my work as faithfully as I can.”
“Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.” – Nora Ephron, American journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, and director, who was born 19 May 1941.
Some quotes from the work of Nora Ephron:
“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”
“[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”
“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next.”
“I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”
“In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind.”
“I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.”
“The desire to get married, which – I regret to say, I believe is basic and primal in women – is followed almost immediately by an equally basic and primal urge – which is to be single again.”
“As far as the men who are running for president are concerned, they aren’t even people I would date.”
“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
“My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.”
“With any child entering adolescence, one hunts for signs of health, is desperate for the smallest indication that the child’s problems will never be important enough for a television movie.”
“If pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters.”
Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts
“Among the educated young there is therefore a startling and unprecedented interest in the transformation of human consciousness. All over the Western world publishers are selling millions of books dealing with Yoga, Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, and the chemical mysticism of psychedelic drugs, and I have come to believe that the whole ‘hip’ subculture, however misguided in some of its manifestations, is the earnest and responsible effort of young people to correct the self–destroying course of industrial civilization.”
American Art – Part II of V: Carole A. Feuerman
In the words of one art historian, “Carole A. Feuerman, American sculptor, is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most prominent hyperrealist sculptors with a prolific career spanning four decades. She lives and works in New York and Florida. Feuerman sculpts life-size, monumental and miniature works in bronze, resin and marble. She has had six museum retrospectives to date and has been included in prominent exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, The State Hermitage, The Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, the Kunstmuseum Ahlen and the Circulo de Bellas Artes.”
A Poem for Today
“R & R”
By Brian Turner
The curve of her hip where I’d lay my head,
that’s what I’m thinking of now, her fingers
gone slow through my hair on a blue day
ten thousand miles off in the future somewhere,
where the beer is so cold it sweats in your hand,
cool as her kissing you with crushed ice,
her tongue wet with blackberry and melon.
That’s what I’m thinking of now.
Because I’m all out of adrenaline,
all out of smoking incendiaries.
Somewhere deep in the landscape of the brain,
under the skull’s blue curving dome—
that’s where I am now, swaying
in a hammock by the water’s edge
as soldiers laugh and play volleyball
just down the beach, while others tan
and talk with the nurses who bring pills
to help them sleep. And if this is crazy,
then let this be my sanatorium,
let the doctors walk among us here
marking their charts as they will.
Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan
“Had Jupiter been several dozen times more massive, the matter in its interior would have undergone thermonuclear reactions, and Jupiter would have begun to shine by its own light. The largest planet is a star that failed.”
South African Art – Part I of II: Shany van den Berg
In the words of one writer, “Shany van den Berg was born in Riversdale in the Western Cape in 1958, and matriculated from CJ Langenhoven Highschool. She studied ceramics part-time from 1982 to 1985 at Paarl College, and life drawing and painting part-time at Ruth Prowse School of Art from 1990 to 1992. Since then she has worked as a full-time artist, developing her own technique in oil painting and producing work exhibited at various galleries.”
Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts
“How long have the planets been circling the sun? Are they getting anywhere, and do they go faster and faster in order to arrive? How often has the spring returned to the earth? Does it come faster and fancier every year, to be sure to be better than last spring, and to hurry on its way to the spring that shall out-spring all springs?”
“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” – John Betjeman, English poet, writer, broadcaster, and Poet Laureate (1972-1984), who died 19 May 1984.
Even if someone is not a fan of his work, there are two reasons why he or she should admire John Betjeman. First, this quote comes from the time when he was Poet Laureate: “I don’t think I am any good. If I thought I was any good, I wouldn’t be.” Second, in his “Who’s Who” entry, Betjeman described himself as “poet and hack.”
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.
Mess up the mess they call a town—
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.
And get that man with double chin
Who’ll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women’s tears:
And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.
But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It’s not their fault that they are mad,
They’ve tasted Hell.
It’s not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It’s not their fault they often go
And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren’t look up and see the stars
But belch instead.
In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.
Fancies in Springtime: Sa’di
South African Art – Part II of II: Kerry-Jane Evans
Artist Statement: “The painting process is all important to me. I do not plan my work; it begins without the conditioning of idea or even conception. It is through the action of painting that the compositions arrive, the figures move and adjust in relationship… they come and go and are my primary vehicle of expression. Figurative representation is where I find my greatest delight, that sense of pleasure and identification with the emotional aspects of life.
Figures move through their own, most often, bare space, they emerge without imagery, symbol, devoid of inheritance. They isolate moments of movement through a long narrative of inner and outer conflict and address the need for resolution and harmony.
In this very act of painting, the physical application of paint – through this energetic stillness – subtle ‘felt’ perceptions arise and my imagination grows with these perceptions. The movement of thought, of idea, of relationship, my relationship with the painting, with the world in me and around me…the images unfold through this dynamic and become the journey, the way to comprehending the self.”
Fancies in Springtime: Mark Edmundson
“The English major is, first of all, a reader. She’s got a book pup-tented in front of her nose many hours a day; her Kindle glows softly late into the night. But there are readers and there are readers. There are people who read to anesthetize themselves—they read to induce a vivid, continuous, and risk-free daydream. They read for the same reason that people grab a glass of chardonnay—to put a light buzz on. The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough. He reads not to see the world through the eyes of other people but effectively to become other people. What is it like to be John Milton, Jane Austen, Chinua Achebe? What is it like to be them at their best, at the top of their games?”
A Second Poem for Today
“In My Mother’s House”
By Gloria g. Murray
stood at attention
even the air knew
when to hold its breath
the polished floors
defying heel marks
the plastic slipcovers
crinkled in discomfort
in my mother’s house
the window shades
against the glare
of the world
crawled like roaches
back into the cracks
Fancies in Springtime: Roman Krznaric
“‘I’m not sure he’s wrong about automobiles,’ he said. ‘With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization — that is, in spiritual civilization. It may be that they will not add to the beauty of the world, nor to the life of men’s souls.’” – Booth Tarkington, American writer, dramatist, and one of only three novelists (the others being William Faulkner and John Updike) to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once (in 1919 for “The Magnificent Ambersons” and in 1922 for “Alice Adams”), who died 19 May 1946.
A few quotes from the work of Booth Tarkington:
“Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.”
“There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.”
“Gossip is never fatal until it is denied. Gossip goes on about every human being alive and about all the dead that are alive enough to be remembered, and yet almost never does any harm until some defender makes a controversy. Gossip’s a nasty thing, but it’s sickly, and if people of good intentions will let it entirely alone, it will die, ninety-nine times out of a hundred.”
“Arguments only confirm people in their own opinions.”
“Boyhood is the longest time in life for a boy. The last term of the school-year is made of decades, not of weeks, and living through them is like waiting for the millennium.”
Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan
“That place, called the heliopause, is one definition of the outer boundary of the Empire of the Sun. But the Voyager spacecraft will plunge on, penetrating the heliopause sometime in the middle of the twenty-first century, skimming through the ocean of space, never to enter another solar system, destined to wander through eternity far from the stellar islands and to complete its first circumnavigation of the massive center of the Milky Way a few hundred million years from now. We have embarked on epic voyages.”
American Art – Part III of V: Thomas Schaller
In the words of one writer, “A registered architect and architectural artist, Thomas Schaller founded Schaller Architectural Design + Presentation in New York City in 1985. Since 2006, he has been based in Los Angeles, California.
Widely known for his work in transparent watercolor, Mr. Schaller has authored two books on the subject and has won every major award in the field of architectural illustration. His work has been exhibited around the world and has been featured in numerous publications.
As a fine artist, Mr. Schaller’s watercolor work has become increasingly recognized, published, and exhibited.”
Fancies in Springtime: William Kittredge
A Third Poem for Today
“Boy and Egg”
By Naomi Shihab Nye
Every few minutes, he wants
to march the trail of flattened rye grass
back to the house of muttering
hens. He too could make
a bed in hay. Yesterday the egg so fresh
it felt hot in his hand and he pressed it
to his ear while the other children
laughed and ran with a ball, leaving him,
so little yet, too forgetful in games,
ready to cry if the ball brushed him,
riveted to the secret of birds
caught up inside his fist,
not ready to give it over
to the refrigerator
or the rest of the day.
Fancies in Springtime: John J. Geddes
From the American History Archives: Shot Harry
19 May 1953 – The United States government conducts an above ground nuclear test in the Nevada desert. Code named “Shot Harry,” the blast sent so much fallout over St. George, Utah, that it became know as “Dirty Harry” when details were finally released to the press. The extent of the effects of such tests remained a closely guarded secret, until one American decided to expose the reprehensible conduct of her government. As one reviewer put the matter, “In her remarkable book ‘American Ground Zero: The Secret Nuclear War,’ photojournalist Carole Gallagher has penetrated the veil of official secrecy and anonymity to document the incredible untold story of the Americans whose misfortune it was to live downwind of the nuclear detonations – those citizens described in a top-secret Atomic Energy Commission memo as ‘a low-use segment of the population’ – and of civilian workers and military personnel exposed to radiation at the Nevada Test Site. ‘American Ground Zero’ provides a gripping, courageous collection of portraits and interviews of those whose lives were crossed by radioactive fallout.”
Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts
“But peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Lisa Reinertson
Fancies in Springtime: Wendell Berry
“The river and the garden have been the foundations of my economy here. Of the two I have liked the river best. It is wonderful to have the duty of being on the river the first and last thing every day. I have loved it even in the rain. Sometimes I have loved it most in the rain.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Cliff Swallows-Missouri Breaks”
By Debra Nystrom
Is it some turn of wind
that funnels them all down at once, or
is it their own voices netting
to bring them in—the roll and churr
of hundreds searing through river light
and cliff dust, each to its precise
mud nest on the face
none of our own isolate
groping, wishing need could be sent
so unerringly to solace. But
this silk-skein flashing is like heaven
brought down: not to meet ground
or water—to enter
the riven earth and disappear.
Fancies in Springtime: Mark Edmundson
“English majors want the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of people who—let us admit it—are more sensitive, more articulate, shrewder, sharper, more alive than they themselves are. The experience of merging minds and hearts with Proust or James or Austen makes you see that there is more to the world than you had ever imagined. You see that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intense—more alive with meaning than you had thought.
Real reading is reincarnation. There is no other way to put it. It is being born again into a higher form of consciousness than we ourselves possess. When we walk the streets of Manhattan with Walt Whitman or contemplate our hopes for eternity with Emily Dickinson, we are reborn into more ample and generous minds. ‘Life piled on life / Were all too little,’ says Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses,’ and he is right. Given the ragged magnificence of the world, who would wish to live only once? The English major lives many times through the astounding transportive magic of words and the welcoming power of his receptive imagination. The economics major? In all probability he lives but once. If the English major has enough energy and openness of heart, he lives not once but hundreds of times. Not all books are worth being reincarnated into, to be sure—but those that are win Keats’s sweet phrase: ‘a joy forever.’”
Back from the Territory – Art: Arnie Weimer (Part II)
In the words of one writer, “Even though Arnie Weimer holds the Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Cincinnati, he contends that experience has been his best teacher. During his over 30 years in Alaska, he has experimented with many styles and mediums. Bronze, oil, stone, wood, watercolor, printmaking, and jewelry are some of the many mediums in which Arnie has worked.
Arnie also has experience with the uniquely northern art of snow sculpting. He captained teams that placed in the Capital City Snow Sculpting Competition, winning first and second place in consecutive years. His first place team represented the state of Alaska at the National Snow Sculpting Competition, where they won a Spectators Choice Award for their sculpture, the bust of a Tlingit Chief.
Arnie worked with many native artists while he was employed by the Indian Studies Program in the public schools. He also operated a studio for several years where many Alaskan artists gathered to practice their work. Consequently, Arnie’s work shows influences from the many forms of art indigenous to Alaska.
Recently, Arnie has focused his talents on creating watercolor originals and reproduction prints, as well as embossed etchings featuring heavy influence of traditional Alaska native artwork. Arnie now lives in Juneau with his two cats and his dog Zorro. On many a summer day, Arnie can be spotted on a sidewalk or in a park, sketching or painting his next work of art.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: William Kittredge
“We tell stories to talk out the trouble in our lives, trouble otherwise so often so unspeakable. It is one of our main ways of making our lives sensible. Trying to live without stories can make us crazy. They help us recognize what we believe to be most valuable in the world, and help us identify what we hold demonic.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Ron Rash
Water-flesh gleamed like mica:
orange fins, red flankspots, a char
shy as ginseng, found only
in spring-flow gaps, the thin clear
of faraway creeks no map
could name. My cousin showed me
those hidden places. I loved
how we found them, the way we
followed no trail, just stream-sound
tangled in rhododendron,
to where slow water opened
a hole to slip a line in,
and lift as from a well bright
shadows of another world,
held in my hand, their color
already starting to fade.
American Art – Part V of V: Adam Harrison
Artist Statement: “My most recent series has been an exploration of particular places that have been part of my daily life.
Over the past two years I have composed several large paintings that in essence have recorded my personal experiences with each location. It has been my goal to capture as honestly as possible the characteristics that individualize a specific space. It is typical for me to spend four to six months at one site, revisiting the canvas regularly, developing the image over a long period of time. The canvas then begins to take the shape of a living journal, documenting my experiences and interactions in a pictorial language. Everything within my worksite becomes important and in one way or another is woven into the structure of the canvas. Things such as changing wind patterns, migrating birds, wild tomcats, personal accounts, is (if not noted in the painting) impressed deeply into my understanding of that environment.
The work varies from vast cityscapes to empty, foreboding interiors. The most important thematic attribute to the work is stillness. Surprisingly, the scenes take place in a busy city where constant motion and activity abound, yet my paintings are void of the chaos of city life. There are no people, no cars, and no visible activity present within the compositions which may lead the viewer to think that the spaces are lonely and deserted; however, the treatment of light and color give the feeling of life’s energy.
The greatest hope for my artwork is that others would have a strong emotional response to it. I believe the better my understanding of a place in which I work and everything that makes it breathe: its history, the community who live and work there, traffic patterns, bird sounds, the more faithful my painting will be to the fullness of that area; making the work much more believable and therefore more tangible to the viewer.”