American Art – Part I of VI: Julia Katz
In the words of one writer, “julia katz creates work that consistently explores the movement of our bodies in our day to day lives. her current series of paintings are based on her observation of human activity around public places in chicago. images featured in this body of work are derived by watching people congregate for concerts and public events as well as along the lake shore. while the artist’s presence at these specific locations and events serve as the initial inspiration for the work, the paintings quickly become universal, as we search through the faces of the subjects of her paintings, and identify gesture, attitude, and body language. katz’s active, gestural brushwork is strongly in evidence here, and the overt textures and aggessive painterliness of her compositions engagingly echo the subject matter, exhibiting vibrancy, action, and energetic life.”
Fancies in Springtime: Laura Ingalls Wilder
“The incurable optimism of the farmer who throws his seed on the ground every spring, betting it and his time against the elements, seemed inextricably to blend with the creed of her pioneer forefathers that ‘it is better farther on’– only instead of farther on in space, it was farther on in time, over the horizon of the years ahead instead of the far horizon of the west.”
From the History Archives: Francis Drake
17 June 1579 – In the words of one historian, “During his circumnavigation of the world, English seaman Francis Drake anchors in a harbor (today called ‘Drake’s Bay’) just north of present-day San Francisco, California, and claims the territory for Queen Elizabeth I. Calling the land ‘Nova Albion,’ Drake remained on the California coast for a month to make repairs to his ship, the Golden Hind, and prepare for his westward crossing of the Pacific Ocean.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Belarusian painter Ali Kaikaoss Kamal (born 1965: “ I have lived and worked in Germany since 1991 and consider myself a global citizen, for art has no borders. My experiences in various cultures have allowed me to find my own unmistakable style.”
Fancies in Springtime: Abraham Lincoln
“In this sad world of ours sorrow comes to all and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement.”
A Poem for Today
By Frank Lima
For Frank O’Hara
The lights are out
The cats are hungry
The room is full of gangsters
The dishes are dirty
The icebox is empty
I dream of celery and a compass
The roof is upstairs
The window next door
A guitar in the shower
Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts
“In a civilization devoted to the strictly abstract and mathematical ideal of making the most money in the least time, the only sure method of success is to cheat the customer, to sell various kinds of nothingness in pretentious packages.”
American Art – Part II of VI: Carl Van Vechten
“Is a little experience too much to pay for learning to know oneself?” – Carl Van Vechten, American artistic photographer, writer, patron of the Harlem Renaissance, and literary executor of Gertrude Stein, who was born 17 June 1880.
From the American Old West: The Battle of White Bird Canyon
17 June 1877 – The Battle of White Bird Canyon is fought. In the words of one historian, “White Bird Canyon was the opening battle of the Nez Perce War between the Nez Perce Indians and the United States. The battle was a significant defeat of the U.S. Army. It took place in the western part of present-day Idaho County, southwest of the city of Grangeville.”
Fancies in Springtime: Socrates
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
British Art – Part I of II: Julia Heseltine
Artist Statement: “My aim is to reach somewhere below the surface and to bring out in the picture the real character of the subject as I see it, so that whether you know them or not the portrait will come over as a whole person with depth. I am concerned that the picture is not just a true portrait but above all a painting worth looking at in terms of composition, colour, atmosphere etc, irrespective of who it is.”
Fancies in Springtime: Theodore Roosevelt
From the Music Archives: Peter Mennin
Died 17 June 1983 – Peter Mennin (born Mennini), American composer, teacher, and director of the Julliard School.
Below – “Concertato for Orchestra – Moby Dick”
British Art – Part I of II: Angus Suttie
A Second Poem for Today
By D. Nurske
When death stands in your doorway, you must show no weakness. If he points at his watch, answer “in five minutes.” If he insists, murmur “just a minute.” When he bridles, whisper “half a minute,” “a second,” “half a sec,” “one moment.”
You mustn’t look him in the eye. But don’t avert your gaze. Glance decisively at the bridge of the nose or the moist place right below the lips.
If he unfolds a map, please don’t express a preference for the seashore or the mountains. Betray no longing or anxiety. You might tap the margin nonchalantly, if there is a margin.
There’s an old superstition that death is a healer, he brings peace, escape from corruption. On the contrary: he is not a person, an animal, an insect, not even a pebble. Not even a name. Not an event. Not a whiff of night air.
So why, ask yourself, does he fidget there, with that peevish “can’t we meet each other halfway” expression, in those absurd Goodwill clothes, baggy corduroy suit, pants and jacket the same color but different wales, so often folded the seams are white as chalk lines, fat two-tone white-and-beige golf shoes with cleats, nylon argyle socks, like someone’s idea of an encyclopedia salesman from the nineteen thirties?
And why is the street behind him so fascinating, empty as a stage set, a few vans double-parked, a cat hiding under one, sometimes the flicker of the tip of a tail, sometimes the glint of the eye itself,
Fancies in Springtime: Wendell Berry
“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”
American Art – Part III of VI: Richard Estes
Artist Statement: “I think the popular concept of the artist is a person who has this great passion and enthusiasm and super emotion. He just throws himself into this great masterpiece and collapses from exhaustion when its finished. It’s really not that way at all. Usually it’s a pretty calculated, sustained, and slow process by which you develop something. The effect can be one of spontaneity, but that’s part of the artistry. An actor can do a play on Broadway for three years. Every night he’s expressing the same emotion in exactly the same way. He has developed a technique to convey those feelings so that he can get the ideas across. Or a musician may not want to play that damn music at all, but he has a booking and has to do it. I think the real test is to plan something and be able to carry it out to the very end. Not that you’re always enthusiastic; it’s just that you have to get this thing out. It’s not done with one’s emotions; it’s done with the head.”
Fancies in Springtime: Kenneth Grahame
“He saw clearly how plain and simple – how narrow, even – it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one’s existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.”
17 June 1958 – The Wooden Roller Coaster at Playland, which is in the Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, Canada, opens for business. Happily, it is still in operation.
American Art – Part IV of VI: Treacy Ziegler
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” – Ajahn Chah, an influential Buddhist teacher and founder of two monasteries in the Thai Forest Tradition, who was born 17 June 1918.
Some quotes from the teachings of Ajahn Chah:
“These days people don’t search for the Truth. People study simply in order to find knowledge necessary to make a living, raise families and look after themselves, that’s all. To them, being smart is more important than being wise!”
“Mindfulness is life. Whenever we don’t have mindfulness, when we are heedless, it’s as if we are dead.”
“If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.”
“If it isn’t good, let it die. If it doesn’t die, make it good.”
“Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it.”
“All religions are like different cars all moving in the same direction. People who don’t see it have no light in their hearts.”
“Remember you don’t meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go.”
“The Buddha didn’t praise those who merely believe others, he praised the person who knows within himself.”
“When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy.”
“With intuitive wisdom we will be able to see clearly the ways of the world. Everything in the world is our teacher.”
17 June 1987 – With the death of the last known individual, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens) becomes extinct.
Fancies in Springtime: Haruki Murakami
Fancies in Springtime: Homer
“These nights are endless, and a man can sleep through them,
or he can enjoy listening to stories, and you have no need
to go to bed before it is time. Too much sleep is only
a bore. And of the others, any one whose heart and spirit
urge him can go outside and sleep, and then, when the dawn shows,
breakfast first, then go out to tend the swine of our master.
But we two, sitting here in the shelter, eating and drinking,
shall entertain each other remembering and retelling
our sad sorrows. For afterwards a man who has suffered
much and wandered much has pleasure out of his sorrows.”
American Art – Part V of VI: Bernard Safran
Artist Statement: “I am what you might call a people painter. Is my approach a humanist approach? The prevailing view for many years has been that man is alone, unable to cope with the forces that are set against him. My opinion is diametrically opposed to that.”
Fancies in Springtime: Mary Austin
Back from the Territory – Art: Glenda Mosher
In the words of one writer, “Glenda Mosher is a multifaceted artist and musician who resides in Whitehorse, Yukon. Born in Nova Scotia, Glenda has lived in several Canadian provinces. Drawing inspiration from everyday objects, people, and the landscapes she encounters at home and abroad, Glenda creates with acrylics, water colours, mixed media, paper and print making. Glenda’s art can be found hanging on Parliament Hill, in the UK, and at home in Canada.”
Artist Statement: “I like to capture the everyday moments I experience in creative ways. Using acrylics, mixed media, printmaking, and paper, I create works that are both exploratory and traditional. My work is a continual exploration of observing and relating the external world. The simple things are often the most exceptional and the most overlooked. To quote William Blake, it is ‘to see a world in a grain of sand.’ I find it most satisfying to capture those momentary ‘grains of sand.’”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: Emily Carr
“You must be absolutely honest and true in the depicting of a totem, for meaning is attached to every line. You must be most particular about detail and proportion…”
American Art – Part VI of VI: Sarah Heiser
In the words of one writer, “sarah helser was born in high point, north carolina in 1980. she spent her formative years on a farm where she enjoyed the beauty and solitude of nature. her childhood and young adulthood has had a major influence on her creativity as an artist. sarah went on to study fine arts at the university of north carolina, greensboro, where she refined her interests by focusing on the figure and the use of alternative mediums.
sarah’s work is meant to express the beauty of the world around her, weaving together both realistic and abstract forms.”
Below – “language, flowers”; “a love like ours”; “dreams of light in the shape”; “the legend of light”; “a string for your nest”; “afternoon passing”; “communion”; “little things”; “the air between”; “milk white air”; “vessels”; “all we carry with us”; “love is lonely”; “chartless”; “the world is too much with us.”