July Offerings – Part XXX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VII: Irina Furman

Artist Statement: “Being an artist is an intrinsic part of just plain being for me. It is as natural as breathing. The ability to create, be inspired, and inspire is what moves me through life. I communicate better with a paintbrush than words in any language. It is an outlet to express my ideas, my dreams, worries, joy, and hopes. It creates a reality that I would like to inhabit, at least for a moment.”

Below – “Twin Tomatoes”; “Jar with Plums”; “Apple with Sake Bottle”; “Red Onion”; “Watermelon and Strawberries”; “Lemon Light.”
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Reflections in Summer: Kellie Elmore

“It’s summer and time for wandering.”
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A Poem for Today

“A Political Poem”
By Al Zolynas

At the corner cafe
where I sometimes eat
I ordered a raw egg
broken into a cup
no toast no coffee.
I tossed that egg down
my throat like a Cossack
taking vodka.
I did it for shock
value, for the value of the shock.
I did it for the waitress
for my mother for the sunny siders
and hard boilers the over easys.
I did it for those hopelessly
scrambled by America.
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Born in 1976, Ilze Preisa earned an MFA degree from the Latvian Academy of Art in Riga.
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Reflections in Summer: Courtney Kirchoff

“Though it was mid-July, the morning was brisk, the sky a gray cotton of clouds, and Puget Sound a steely, cold blue. Most of Seattle grumbled, worn with winterish weather, impatient for the elusive summer sun. With umbrellas tucked away in the trunks of cars, sunglasses lost and separated from their original purchasers, the Pacific Northwest was a bastion of misty air and pale, complaining residents.”
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American Art – Part II of VII: Theodore Lukits

Theodore Lukits (1897-1952) was a California portrait and landscape painter. He is best known for his Asian-inspired works, his figures drawn from Hispanic California, and his pastel landscapes.

Below – “Meditation”; “Icy Mist”; “High Timber”; “Autumn Peaks”; “Canyon Colors”; “Foothills in Bloom.”
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Reflections in Summer: Tom Robbins

“A sense of humor…is superior to any religion so far devised.”
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Died 30 July 1971 – Kenneth Slessor, an Australian poet.

“City Nightfall”

Smoke upon smoke; over the stone lips 

Of chimneys bleeding, a darker fume descends. 

Night, the old nun, in voiceless pity bends 

To kiss corruption, so fabulous her pity. 

All drowns in night. Even the lazar drowns 

In earth at last, and rises up afresh, 

Married to dust with an Infanta’s flesh— 

So night, like earth, receives this poisoned city, 

Charging its air with beauty, coasting its lanterns 

With mains of darkness, till the leprous clay 

Dissolves, and pavements drift away, 

And there is only the quiet noise of planets feeding. 

And those who chafe here, limed on the iron twigs, 

No greater seem than sparrows, all their cries, 

Their clockwork and their merchandise, 

Frolic of painted dolls. I pass unheeding.

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American Art – Part III of VII: Ray Strong

Ray Stanford Strong (1905-2006) was a painter from Corvallis, Oregon.

Below – “Golden Gate Bridge” (1934); “North of the Golden Gate”; “Lifting Clouds, Morning Light”; “Northern California, Barnyard Scene”; “Cronkhite Coast Point Bonitas”; “Hilltop Trees”; “Fog Over the Golden Gate from Tamalpais”; “Shanties and Shacks”; “Ranch by the Bay.”
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Reflections in Summer: Ernest Hemingway

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
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“There is a right physical size for every idea.” – Henry Moore, English sculptor and artist, who was born 30 July 1898.

Below – “West Wind” (1928-29; Moore’s first public commission); “Draped Reclining Woman”; Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 5”; “Oval with Points”; “Sheep Piece”; “Large Upright Internal/External Form.”
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Reflections in Summer: David McCullough

“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Japanese artist Akio Takamori (born 1950): “Akio Takamori’s ceramic sculptures evoke an eerie sense of reality and presence. Often drawn from childhood memories of small-village life in Japan, his standing and sleeping figures depict ordinary people going about their day-to-day existence.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Careless Perfection,”
By Daniel Halpern

According to Lin Yutang,
both Po Chuyi and Su Tungpo
“desperately admired” Tao Yuanming,

a poet of nature who wrote a single love poem,
a poem thought by Chinese dilettantes to be
the one “blemish in a white jade.”

Can a poet be faulted for calling a woman
“carelessly perfect in beauty”?
He chose to long for her by envying

the candle that glowed upon her
beautiful face, the shadow
that followed in her every move.

Yet the nature poet Tao Yuanming, at home
with the sudden turning of seasons,
now feared the shadow in darkness,

a discarded fan that once stirred her hair,
feared the candle at dawn. At last believed
that for beauty he had lived in vain.
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American Art – Part IV of VII: Terry Strickland

According to one writer, “Terry Moore Strickland has a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Central Florida. She has had an interesting and varied art career, working as an illustrator, silk screen artist, courtroom sketch artist and teacher.”
Artist Statement: “Using the human figure and still life objects I consider intangibles, challenging myself to capture small nuance in relationships, life, death, and love. Much of my work is about transitions, whether it is a midlife juncture or coming of age as a universal truth. These paintings are decisions reflected and possibilities contemplated.
I’m frequently inspired by fairy tales, superheroes, or works of literature, and reexamine them in a contemporary way. Mythical characters become symbols for our responses to modern day situations. Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel save themselves from the perils and predators in life. Superman becomes a symbol for all the mighty dreams each of us hold close to our chests.
For me making art is more than a reflection of my life. As I think about what to paint, I find that the very act causes me to refocus energy and priorities, changing the way I relate to people and events. As scientists know, the very act of observing something may change the behavior of the thing. In the examining, my life is thereby altered.”
Second Artist Statement: “The challenge is to visually represent intangible things in life, to capture small nuances in relationships, life, death, and love. Much of the current work is about transitions, whether it is a midlife juncture or coming of age as a universal truth. These paintings are about the times of life when we look back at decisions made and are awakened to future possibilities. A favorite subject is how the choices we make daily profoundly affect so many aspects of our lives. These are observations about where we are as human beings in this timeline of life.”
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Reflections in Summer: Hermann Hesse

“Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.”
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German Art – Part I of II: Jurgen Gorg

Here is how one critic describes the work of German painter Jurgen Gorg (born 1951): “The focus centers on body language and kinetic movement. By leaving the faces vague, with eyes almost always closed, there is room for dreaming – both in the viewer and within the subjects of the painting. This quality of the somewhat indefinite yet perfect form creates a romantic aura.” In Gorg’s words, “something should always remain open.”
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Reflections in Summer: Loren Eiseley

“Each and all, we are riding into the dark. Even living, we cannot remember half the events of our own days.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Up the Coast”
By Barry Seiler

For Alex

Working lives out by phone
is no less futile than by poetry.
It’s all voice: in the head
or out, up the coast or down.
You’d think there was some way
to have coffee in a quiet shop,
find time to reminisce.
All the really good gestures are gone,
forgotten in this state of surfaces.
You say it’s raining in San Francisco.
Last week the Santa Anas blew
blustering down the avenue
close to the ground.
You have to take everything as omen
when there’s no interior to work through.
You have to say something, even
simply hello,
stretched like a hyphen between climates.
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Reflections in Summer: Erik Tomblin

“The morning heat had already soaked through the walls, rising up from the floor like a ghost of summers past.”
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German Art – Part II of II: Christian Grosskopf

Painter Christian Grosskopf (born 1963) attended the Berlin University of the Arts. He lives and works in Berlin.
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Reflections in Summer: Patrick Carman

“In the morning light, I remembered how much I loved the sound of wind through the trees. I laid back and closed my eyes, and I was comforted by the sound of a million tiny leaves dancing on a summer morning.”

Below – Penny Birch-Williams: “Wind in the Trees”
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Contemporary Spanish painter Modest Almirall has had many solo exhibitions in Spain and Germany.
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Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry

“The sunlight now lay over the valley perfectly still. I went over to the graveyard beside the church and found them under the old cedars… I am finding it a little hard to say that I felt them resting there, but I did. I felt their completeness as whatever they had been in the world.
I knew I had come there out of kindness, theirs and mine. The grief that came to me then was nothing like the grief I had felt for myself alone… This grief had something in it of generosity, some nearness to joy. In a strange way it added to me what I had lost. I saw that, for me, this country would always be populated with presences and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, and of the world that is to come.”
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In the words of one critic, the work of Ukrainian sculptor Mikola Bilyk “glorifies the eternity of life and the universe.”
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Reflections in Summer: Thomas Gray

“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.”

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From the Movie Archives – Part I of II: Arnold Schwarzenegger

“My body is like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t think about it, I just have it.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born American professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, and politician, who was born 30 July 1947.

Some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s memorable movie lines:

Reflections in Summer: Paul Pitchford

“Summer is a period of luxurious growth. To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment to flourish as the gardens do. Work, play, travel, be joyful, and grow into selfless service. The bounty of the outside world enters and enlivens us.”
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American Art – Part V of VII: Adrian Gottlieb

Artist Statement: “The best subject is an interesting person painted from life. When I paint from a photograph, I only paint a static understanding of a human being. That the portrait grows and deepens as the artist works is the wonder at the heart of portraiture.”

Below – “Seeress”; “Flight”; “Girl in Kimono”; “Studio on Sunday”; “Truth Corrupted by Vanity”; “Cohasset Shore”; “Malibu Creek”; “Spanish Pot.”

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From the Movie Archives – Part II of II: Laurence Fishburne

“I’ve played a lot of bad guys, ’cause that was the only work I could get. People saw my face and went ‘Oooh.'” – Laurence Fishburne, American actor.

One of Fishburne’s “bad guy” characters:

Reflections in Summer: Tom Robbins

“In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t squeak.”

Below – Marcel Duchamp: “Nude Descending a Staircase”
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American Art – Part VI of VII: Stephen Scott Young

In the words of one critic, “Born in Hawaii, Stephen Scott Young spent most of his early life traveling around the United States, eventually settling in Florida, where he attended the Ringling School of Art and Design. Young has devoted his career to depicting the southern United States and the Bahamas.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid”
By William Stafford

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot–air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.
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Reflections in Summer: David McCullough

“Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt’s eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of ‘Anna Karenina.’ I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: Alashua Sharky

Alashua Sharky is an Inuit sculptor.

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

Below – “Polar Bear”; “Polar Bear Cub”; “Polar Bear.”
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Reflections in Summer: Loren Eiseley

“Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.”
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American Art – Part VII of VII: Ronald Tinney

In the words of one writer, “Ronald Tinney was born in 1958 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. After moving to Cape Cod with his wife in 1996, he has been able to continue to focus on painting Coastal Landscapes and Marine Paintings in Oils. The Cape provides endless subject matter and inspiration. During the summer and fall, Ron spends most of his time outdoors trying to capture information that can be used in the studio to create his larger paintings.”

Below – “Sunflowers”; “Crossing Shadows”; “Copper with Apples”; “Magic Hour”; “Wine Jug”; “Passing Beauty”; “Late Color.”
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