American Art – Part I of IV: Susan McAlister
In the words of one writer, “susan mcalister received her ba from davidson college and has been painting for over 30 years. her lush, often abstracted landscapes are evocative and powerful explorations of her quest for places and things that nurture and inspire. susan applies multiple layers of paint, wax, marble dust and graphite combined to simultaneously construct and deconstruct.”
A Poem for Today
By James Bertolino
To begin he remembers green
with Tiger Lilies,
land his mind stretched, hands
road breathing beneath.
The cracks repeat the names of love.
A flock of farm pigeons
the windshield, now joins in
the mirror, pulling
to the new sun
of the suffocating Iowa night.
From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Billy Guy
Born 20 June 1936 – Billy Guy, an American vocalist best known as the lead singer for the Coasters.
Reflections in Summer: Socrates
“If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.”
Here is the Artist Statement of South African painter Floris van Zyl: “I have a general idea of the ‘feeling’ of the painting before I begin. I find the appropriate references and the correct way to paint it, so that there is nothing Inessential or unrelated to the topic in the process. It is difficult to describe, but I like to be direct and to the point with the subject.
Much of my work is expressive so there is always something new for the viewer to notice and discover, even after long inspection. My work is an ongoing process of self-challenge and evolution, I don’t like to get stuck on a recipe. I want to give people the opportunity to enjoy and interpret my work largely for themselves.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Lawrence Payton
Died 20 June 1997 – Lawrence Albert Payton (born 2 March 1938), an American tenor, songwriter, record producer, and member of the Four Tops.
Reflections in Summer: Evangeline Walton
“Outside the drizzling rain had begun again. It pattered around the house, and on the roofs and eaves, like a million, tiny, stealthy feet: softly, as though the night were teeming with a host of minute, dark beings.”
From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Brian Wilson
Born 20 June 1942 – Brian Douglas Wilson, an American singer-songwriter, musician, producer, and co-founder of The Beach Boys.
Reflections in Summer: Abraham Lincoln
Here is the Artist Statement of Dutch painter Jolanda Richter (born 1971): “I don’t paint fashion-paintings since fashion is fast moving. My art is influenced by the spirit of the age, though ageless. I want to touch the midst of the human-being.”
Richter lives and works in Vienna.
From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Dolores Brooks
Born 20 June 1947 – Dolores Brooks, American vocalist and member of The Crystals.
Reflections in Summer: Alan Watts
“The commonly accepted notion that Americans are materialists is pure bunk. A materialist is one who loves material, a person devoted to the enjoyment of the physical and immediate present. By this definition, most Americans are abstractionists. They hate material, and convert it as swiftly as possible into mountains of junk and clouds of poisonous gas.”
Costa Rican artist Marijose Terán Guardia (born 1971) has a BFA degree with an emphasis in painting from the University of Costa Rica.
“When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before.” – Clifton Fadiman, American intellectual, author, editor, and radio and television personality, who died 20 June 1999.
Some quotes from the work of Clifton Fadiman:
“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”
“Dr. Seuss provided ingenious and uniquely witty solutions to the standing problem of the juvenile fantasy writer: how to find, not another Alice, but another rabbit hole.”
“Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.”
“Books act like a developing fluid on film. That is, they bring into consciousness what you didn’t know you knew.”
“A bottle of wine begs to be shared; I have never met a miserly wine lover.”
“To read in bed is to draw around us invisible, noiseless curtains. Then at last we are in a room of our own and are ready to burrow back, back to that private life of the imagination we all led as a child and to whose secret satisfactions so many of us have mislaid the key.”
“Socrates called himself a midwife of ideas. A great book is often such a midwife, delivering to full existence what has been coiled like an embryo in the dark, silent depths of the brain.”
“To take wine into our mouths is to savor a droplet of the river of human history”
“Don’t be afraid of poetry.”
“Experience teaches you that the man who looks you straight in the eye, particularly if he adds a firm handshake, is hiding something.”
“The kind of poetry to avoid in the pretty-pretty kind that pleased our grandmothers, the kind that Longfellow and Tennyson, good poets at their best, wrote at their worst.”
“The tantrums of cloth-headed celluloid idols are deemed fit for grown-up conversation, while silence settles over such a truly important matter as food.”
“As for those who think they don’t like to read, well, I know they’re making a mistake, just as all of us do when we try to judge ourselves. Now is the time to give reading a chance, for if you don’t get the habit when you’re young you may never get it. And if you don’t get it, you may grow up to be just as dull as most adults are.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Russian painter Agatha Belaya: “Agatha Belaya, a graduate of the renowned St. Petersburg Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture named after Ilya E. Repin, lives and works in St.Petersburg, Russia. In 1999, as a fifth-year mural painting major, Agatha was chosen to join the group of artists painting murals in the newly restored Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the cathedral of great symbolic importance for the post-communist Russia. Agatha has received numerous awards at various art exhibitions in Russia and abroad.”
Reflections in Summer: Theodore Roosevelt
From the Cinema Archives: John Goodman
“Kids are at my level. I like goofing around with them.” – John Goodman, American theatre, film, and television actor, comedian, and voice artist, who was born 20 June 1952.
John Goodman has performed brilliantly in many excellent movies, including “Raising Arizona,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “The Big Easy,” “Sea of Love,” “Arachnophobia,” and “In the Electric Mist,” but he achieved cinematic immortality portraying Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski.”
Reflections in Summer: Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Our inability to see things that are right before our eyes, until they are pointed out to us, would be amusing if it were not at times so serious. We are coming, I think, to depend too much on being told and shown and taught, instead of using our own eyes and brains and inventive faculties, which are likely to be just as good as any other person’s.”
American Art – Part II of IV: Charlotta Janssen
Artist Statement: “My present work re-imagines discarded and archival images of poor and working class Americans taken before, during and after the Great Depression. While at once cautionary, my images attempt to celebrate both the individual dignity and group solidarity of my subjects. Furthermore drawn to the tension between the stoic formality of the age – as expressed through uniforms, suits, dresses, hats, machines, architecture, etc. – and the piercing drama of facial expression, I seek to create images that are as humanistic as abstract. Working in acrylic, oil, and rust, I pay homage to the hard lines of comic artist Bob Kane (Batman) and the work of Grant Wood (with an urban bent) and Francis Bacon, in giving new life to the vibrant deteriorating photographs of a past, but all too prescient, era.”
In the words of one critic, “Charlotta Janssen current series revisits images from before, during and after The Great Depression. She attempts to show the individuality of people who lived through those bitter years, without pity or sentimentality, revisiting and echoing the current plight of poverty that – in America’s present state of orgiastic worship of excess – has until recently been largely ignored. Janssen works in acrylic, oil and rust blending these mediums to produce canvasses that recall the fantastic archives of deteriorating photographs of an era past.”
Reflections in Summer: Epicurus
“The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.”
“Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.” – Lillian Hellman, American dramatist and screen writer blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities at the height of the anti-communist campaigns of 1947-52, who was born 20 June 1905.
Some quotes from the work of Lillian Hellman:
“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”
People change and forget to tell each other.”
“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.”
“I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak.”
“It is a mark of many famous people that they cannot part with their finest hour.”
“It is best to act with confidence, no matter how little right you have to it.”
“Old paint on a canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When that happens it is possible, in some pictures, to see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman’s dress, a child makes way for a dog, a large boat is no longer on an open sea. That is called ‘pentimento,’ because the painter ‘repented,’ changed his mind. Perhaps it would be as well to say that the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and then seeing again. That is all I mean about the people in this book. The paint has aged and I wanted to see what was there for me once, what is there for me now.”
“Nobody outside of a baby carriage or a judge’s chamber believes in an unprejudiced point of view.”
Reflections in Summer: Homer
“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Neil Harris
Artist Statement (partial): “The paintings have been described by some as narrative. I do enjoy a good storyteller, but I begin by listening to the subject itself. Studying, in ever deepening detail, the nature of an object. I learn from its bones and scars what stories it has to tell. Then I try to tease out the intersections of beauty and mystery between artist, subject and viewer…and hopefully weave some whimsy in between the brushstrokes.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Closing the Moviehouse”
By William Dubie
“Condemned” signs mask posters,
cosmetic webs on ticket-booth windows.
Velvet ropes coil about the arms
of the hardhats,
the gum-pocked chairs brought out
to glimpse the screen in full day
we stand as close as we can,
adjust our vision to the light-dark.
come back to dimension;
ticket wheels unravel,
reeling our old silences into the street,
our dim, kept ambitions
clipped from frames.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of painter Elisabetta Trevisan: “I was born in 1957 in Merano, a town in northern Italy bordering on Austria. I attended the art school of Padua. My father is a famous illustrator and cartoonist.
I have always devoted myself mainly to painting. My works are realized using Medium Density panels on which I usually mix different techniques: gouache, pastel, watercolour.”
Reflections in Summer: Kenneth Grahame
“The past was like a bad dream; the future was all happy holiday as I moved Southwards week by week, easily, lazily, lingering as long as I dared, but always heeding the call!”
20 June 1837 – Queen Victoria ascends the British throne at the age of 18. She would rule for 63 years until her death in 1901.
As all my former Asian Studies students will recall, the most important event in the reign of Queen Victoria occurred when she first saw Collies during a visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland in the 1860s. She was so impressed by the beauty, intelligence, grace, faithfulness, and aristocratic reserve of these great dogs that she had several of them brought to the Royal Kennels. Western Civilization reached its cultural peak with her Majesty’s implicit acknowledgement that the Collie, both Standard and Border, is the Top Dog.
Below – Coronation portrait of Queen Victoria by George Hayter; a memorial to “Sharp,” the favorite Collie of Queen Victoria from 1866 until 1879, when he died at Windsor at age 15; two famous Collies from the Royal Kennels – Old Cockie and Charlemagne; the three Border Collies currently tasked with keeping me well herded.
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“What marriage offers – and what fidelity is meant to protect – is the possibility of moments when what we have chosen and what we desire are the same. Such a convergence obviously cannot be continuous. No relationship can continue very long at its highest emotional pitch. But fidelity prepares us for the return of these moments, which give us the highest joy we can know; that of union, communion, atonement (in the root sense of at-one-ment)…
To forsake all others does not mean – because it cannot mean – to ignore or neglect all others, to hide or be hidden from all others, or to desire or love no others. To live in marriage is a responsible way to live in sexuality, as to live in a household is a responsible way to live in the world. One cannot enact or fulfill one’s love for womankind or mankind, or even for all the women or men to whom one is attracted. If one is to have the power and delight of one’s sexuality, then the generality of instinct must be resolved in a responsible relationship to a particular person. Similarly, one cannot live in the world; that is, one cannot become, in the easy, generalizing sense with which the phrase is commonly used, a ‘world citizen.’ There can be no such thing as a ‘global village.’ No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Richard Shorty (Part I)
In the words of one writer, “Living in Vancouver, BC., Richard Shorty has been an artist since 1965. Born in Whitehorse, Yukon, he started his career with portraits of rock stars, wild life and scenic realism.
In 1980 with his artistic abilities maturing, he began native design. His unique style combines elements of traditional and contemporary design. Richard is a versatile artist having worked on drums, paddles, masks and rattles. His pieces are collected nation wide.
Richard lives his life for his family, his art and his strong spiritual belief.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Below – “Feather Dance”; “Mother and Little One – Blue Eyes”; “Alert Owl II”; “Clans”; “Consider the Birds”; “Crow and Wolf”; “Four Clans – Crow, Wolf, Frog and Bear Design”; “Frog with Human Spirit.”
Reflections in Summer: Emily Carr
“Look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kin…each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth…So, artist, you too from the deeps of your soul…let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.”
American Art – Part IV of IV: Mary Rountree Moore
In the words of one writer, “mary rountree moore graduated from the university of chapel hill and went on to study art at the national academy school of fine arts in nyc. her intense love of colors found in nature is the driving force behind her paintings with a keen interest in the natural order found in the landscape and the changing seasons. she pushes the boundaries of realism into abstraction as her compositions move from loose realism to abstraction. mary rountree moore is particular drawn to the salt marshes of the southeast.”