American Art – Part I of IV: Margaret Babbitt
In the words of one writer, “Margaret’s serigraphic style owes much to watercolor values, exhibiting a subtlety and transparency unusual in this medium. She works with water-base inks, blending them with transparent base to control opacity and create depth. Printed on fine watercolor papers, a typical serigraph incorporates as many as forty or more independently applied colors, some with multiple printings for textual density and visual delicacy. Working entirely with hand-cut stencils, Margaret creates all prints in her own studio to maintain absolute artistic and technical control over the final work.”
Reflections in Summer: Kurt Vonnegut
American Muse – Part I of III: Edgar Guest
“The man who wants a garden fair,
or small or very big,
With flowers growing here and there,
Must bend his back and dig.
The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain.
Whate’er we want of any worth
We’ve got to work to gain.
It matters not what goal you seek,
It’s secret here reposes:
You’ve got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses.” – Edgar Guest, English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century and became known as the “People’s Poet,’ who died 5 August 1959.
Ain’t no use as I can see
In sittin’ underneath a tree
An’ growlin’ that your luck is bad,
An’ that your life is extry sad;
Your life ain’t sadder than your neighbor’s
Nor any harder are your labors;
It rains on him the same as you,
An’ he has work he hates to do;
An’ he gits tired an’ he gits cross,
An’ he has trouble with the boss;
You take his whole life, through an’ through,
Why, he’s no better off than you.
If whinin’ brushed the clouds away
I wouldn’t have a word to say;
If it made good friends out o’ foes
I’d whine a bit, too, I suppose;
But when I look around an’ see
A lot o’ men resemblin’ me,
An’ see ’em sad, an’ see ’em gay
With work t’ do most every day,
Some full o’ fun, some bent with care,
Some havin’ troubles hard to bear,
I reckon, as I count my woes,
They’re ’bout what everybody knows.
The day I find a man who’ll say
He’s never known a rainy day,
Who’ll raise his right hand up an’ swear
In forty years he’s had no care,
Has never had a single blow,
An’ never known one touch o’ woe,
Has never seen a loved one die,
Has never wept or heaved a sigh,
Has never had a plan go wrong,
But allas laughed his way along;
Then I’ll sit down an’ start to whine
That all the hard luck here is mine.
Reflections in Summer: Stendhal
From the Music Archives: Bobbie Gentry
5 August 1967 – Roberta Lee Streeter, known professionally as Bobbie Gentry, releases “Ode to Billy Joe,” which was the #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks and earned her Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968.
Reflections in Summer: Edith Wharton
From the Movie Archives: John Huston
“The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it.” – John Huston, American film director, screenwriter, and actor, who was born on 5 August 1906, sounding very much like Hemingway – and perhaps appropriately so, since film critic Ian Freer has called Huston “cinema’s Ernest Hemingway,” in part because he was “never afraid to tackle tough issues head on.”
Before he became a director, John Huston led an interestingly varied life, having been an amateur boxer, a newspaper reporter, a short-story writer, a portrait painter in Paris, and a cavalryman in Mexico. When he turned to filmmaking, Huston brought an artist’s eye and a psychologist’s insight to his movies, and fifteen actors received Academy Award nominations under his directorial tutelage, including his father and his daughter. A list of Huston’s great films would be too long for this posting, but he was the director of “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Treasure of Sierra Madre,” “The African Queen,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” and “The Dead,” and he was also an actor in several movies, including Preminger’s “The Cardinal” and Polanski’s “Chinatown.”
American Art – Part II of IV: Vincent Giarrano
Reflections in Summer: Amelia Earhart
“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”
Good Company On The Road – Part I of II: The Traveling Wilburys
Reflections in Summer: Coffee
In the words of one critic, Polish painter Eugeniusz Stemplowski (born 1954) “is a self taught artist who has a unique talent to capture movement and atmosphere in his beautiful vibrant and colourful abstract creations.”
Reflections in Summer: William Butler Yeats
American Muse – Part II of III: Ron Silliman
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Ron Silliman, an American poet, who was born 5 August 1946.
from “You, part I”
Hard dreams. The moment at which you recognize that your own death lies
in wait somewhere within your body. A lone ship defines the horizon. The
rain is not safe to drink.
In Grozny, in Bihac, the idea of history shudders with each new explosion.
The rose lies unattended, wild thorns at the edge of a mass grave. Between
classes, over strong coffee, young men argue the value of a pronoun.
When this you see, remember. Note in a bottle bobs in a cartoon sea. The
radio operator’s name is Sparks.
Hand outlined in paint on a brick wall. Storm turns playground into a
swamp. Finally we spot the wood duck on the middle lake.
The dashboard of my car like the keyboard of a piano. Toy animals anywhere.
Sun swells in the morning sky.
Man with three pens clipped to the neck of his sweatshirt shuffles from one
table to the next, seeking distance from the cold January air out the coffee
house door, tall Styrofoam cup in one hand, ‘Of Grammatology’ in the other.
Outside, a dog is tied to any empty bench, bike chained to the No Parking sign.
Born 5 August 1877 – Thomas John “Tom” Thomson, an influential Canadian painter.
Good Company On The Road – Part II of II: The Traveling Wilburys
Reflections in Summer: Claude Monet
“Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Thom Ross
As a child, American painter Thom Ross (born 1952) became interested in the history of the American Old West by watching television shows such as “Bonanza,” “Rawhide,” and “Have Gun – Will Travel,” as well as John Wayne films. On June 25, 1976, at the hundredth anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Little Bighorn, Ross had what he describes as an “epiphany,” and he decided as an artist to portray iconic American people and events in new ways to bring out a more complex story than the traditional historical myths.
Below – “Texas Rangers”; “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral”; “Full Moon Billy”; “Wyatt Earp Eating Ice Cream”; “Sitting Bull Signing Autographs”; “Indians Playing Golf”; “Five Riders”; “Man’s Best Friend”; “The Northern Lights of Fredericksburg”; “Annie and Her Dog Dave”; “The Three Crow Scouts”; “Deadly Moonrise.”
Reflections in Summer: Virginia Woolf
American Muse – Part III of III: Conrad Aiken
“All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that’s now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.
Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!–
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!–
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.” – “All Lovely Things,” by Conrad Aiken, American poet, novelist, short story writer, and recipient of the 1930 Pulitzer Prize (for “Selected Poems”) and the 1954 National Book Award (for “Collected Poems”), who was born 5 August 1889.
From “Evening Song of Senlin”
It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
I ascend my stairs once more,
While waves remote in pale blue starlight
Crash on a white sand shore.
It is moonlight. The garden is silent.
I stand in my room alone.
Across my wall, from the far-off moon,
A rain of fire is thrown.
There are houses hanging above the stars,
And stars hung under the sea,
And a wind from the long blue vault of time
Waves my curtains for me.
I wait in the dark once more,
swung between space and space:
Before the mirror I lift my hands
And face my remembered face.
Reflections in Summer: Edith Wharton
Back from the Territory – Art: Jim Robb – Part II
In the words of one writer, “Jim Robb has called the Yukon his home for over 50 years. He specializes in recording by camera, ink or watercolour and pastels the “Colourful Five Per Cent”, a phrase he coined to describe the colourful and unusual characters and historical buildings of the North. He defines his drawings as the “exaggerated truth” where shapes, angles, colours and features of his subjects are emphasized and embellished to express their inner strengths and character. Jim uses his keen eye and his familiarity and rapport with his subjects to produce sensitive paintings and photographs.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
American Art – Part IV of IV: Anne Powers
In the words of one writer, “Anne Lyman Powers was born and raised in Boston. An early interest in the arts led her to study under a number of artists at various institutions, including the Winsor School, Vassar College, Columbia University and the Boston Museum School, where the notable Boston Expressionist Karl Zerbe was her painting instructor.”