American Art – Part I of III: Cheryl Davis
Cheryl Davis has studied art in The Scottsdale Artists’ School, The Cape Cod School of Art, the Woodstock School of Art, and the North Light Art School.
“Modern diplomats approach every problem with an open mouth.” – Arthur J. Goldberg, an American statesman and jurist who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Supreme Court Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations, who was born 8 August 1908.
Two more quotes from the work of Arthur J. Goldberg:
“Law not served by power is an illusion; but power not ruled by law is a menace which our nuclear age cannot afford.”
“The basic guarantees of our Constitution are warrants for the here and now, and unless there is an overwhelmingly compelling reason, they are to be promptly fulfilled.”
A Poem for Today
By Robert Lowell
Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme—
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
“The painter’s vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.”
But sometimes everything I write
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.
Reflections in Summer: Jules Verne
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of British sculptor Jo Jones: “Jo Jones’ work is concerned with the human form and its relationships with and comparisons to landscape and environment, which are constantly important to her. She has always enjoyed working with clay as a medium to replicate scale and texture. My sculptures are ambiguous, self-contained characters – contemplative, quiet, serene, with heads bowed or skyward looking – together yet apart.
While landscape is a huge influence, she also draws a great deal from early fifteenth century Renaissance artists such as Giotto, Simone Martini, Masaccio, Pierro della Francesca and many more fresco painters – I find their boldness and simplicity remarkable.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Five Flights Up,”
By Elizabeth Bishop
The unknown bird sits on his usual branch.
The little dog next door barks in his sleep
inquiringly, just once.
Perhaps in his sleep, too, the bird inquires
once or twice, quavering.
Questions—if that is what they are—
answered directly, simply,
by day itself.
Enormous morning, ponderous, meticulous;
gray light streaking each bare branch,
each single twig, along one side,
making another tree, of glassy veins…
The bird still sits there. Now he seems to yawn.
The little black dog runs in his yard.
His owner’s voice arises, stern,
“You ought to be ashamed!”
What has he done?
He bounces cheerfully up and down;
he rushes in circles in the fallen leaves.
Obviously, he has no sense of shame.
He and the bird know everything is answered,
all taken care of,
no need to ask again.
—Yesterday brought to today so lightly!
(A yesterday I find almost impossible to lift.)
Reflections in Summer: Iris Murdoch
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”
From the Music Archives: The Kingsmen
8 August 1963 – The Kingsmen, a rock band from Portland, Oregon, release “Louie Louie,” and shortly thereafter many radio stations refused to play the song because it was allegedly obscene. In the words of one writer, “The band attracted nationwide attention when ‘Louie Louie’ was banned by the governor of Indiana, Matthew E. Welsh, also attracting the attention of the FBI because of alleged indecent lyrics in their version of the song.”
Reflections in Summer: Georgia O’Keeffe
From the American History Archives: The Execution of Herbert Hans Haupt
Executed 8 August 1942 – Herbert Hans Haupt, an American citizen and a German by birth, who joined Operation Pastorius in Germany and became a secret agent for the Third Reich. In the words of one historian, “Operation Pastorius consisted of 12 English-speaking Germans who were trained as secret agents at the Brandenburg Sabotage School. Eight eventually graduated and were sent to the United States via U-Boat to try to damage the US war industries. Haupt and three others landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on June 17, 1942. The remaining group landed on Long Island, New York. Haupt promptly took a train from Jacksonville to Chicago, where he stayed with his parents and visited his girlfriend. Haupt may well have intended to remain inactive until the end of the war. However, two members of the Long Island group, (George John Dasch and Ernst Peter Burger), had decided to defect to the Americans and did so almost immediately. They informed on their comrades. Haupt and his parents were arrested in Chicago on June 27.”
Reflections in Summer: Pablo Picasso
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
From the Movie Archives: Dustin Hoffman
“A good review from the critics is just another stay of execution.” – Dustin Hoffman, an American actor, director,
and two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor (1979 – “Kramer vs. Kramer; 1988 – “Rain Man), who was born 8 August 1937.
In the beginning:
A Third Poem for Today
“Variations on a Line From Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘Five Flights Up,’”
by Stanley Plumly
Sometimes it’s the shoes, the tying and untying,
the bending of the heart to put them on,
take them off, the rush of blood
between the head and feet, my face,
sometimes, if I could see it, astonished.
Other times the stairs, three, four stages
at the most, “flights” we call them,
in honor of the wings we’ll never have,
the fifth floor the one that kills the breath,
where the bird in the building flies to first.
Love, too, a leveler, a dying all its own,
the parts left behind not to be replaced,
a loss ongoing, and every day increased,
like rising in the night, at 3:00 am,
to watch the snow or the dead leaf fall,
the rings around the streetlight in the rain,
and then the rain, the red fist in the heart
opening and closing almost without me.
“ — Yesterday brought to today so lightly!”
The morning, more and more, like evening.
When I bend to tie my shoes and the blood
fills the cup, it’s as if I see into the hidden earth,
see the sunburned path on which I pass
in shoes that look like sandals
and arrive at a house where my feet
are washed and wiped with my mother’s hair
and anointed with the autumn oils of wildflowers.
“I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”
In the words of one critic, “Sean Mahan’s paintings first began surfacing on independent/punk/hardcore record covers in the early 90’s. Initially he worked with the band 12 Hour Turn who’s beautifully insurgent style set Sean’s paintings into the context of dissident thought. This relationship opened the door to working with other musicians within the genre like Daitro, The Dauntless Elite, Del Cielo, among others. Along with painting for records, Sean is a prolific fine artist. His current series of paintings of children on wood are of a sweeter conception, yet don’t shy away from the complexity of character which reflects in the quiet and fragile expression of his subjects. His portraits are greatly influenced by his father, Gary Mahan, who’s paintings, although of a more academic nature, express a similar gentleness.”
“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” – Sara Teasdale, American poet and the recipient of the earliest Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1918 – for “Love Songs”), who was born 8 August 1884.
“I Have Loved Hours at Sea”
I have loved hours at sea, gray cities,
The fragile secret of a flower,
Music, the making of a poem
That gave me heaven for an hour;
First stars above a snowy hill,
Voices of people kindly and wise,
And the great look of love, long hidden,
Found at last in meeting eyes.
I have loved much and been loved deeply —
Oh when my spirit’s fire burns low,
Leave me the darkness and the stillness,
I shall be tired and glad to go.
Reflections in Summer: Vincent van Gogh
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
Reflections in Summer: Thornton Wilder
“I delight in what I fear.” – Shirley Jackson, American writer and author of “The Lottery,” “The Haunting of Hill House,” and “Life Among The Savages” (a cogent commentary on family life), who died 8 August 1965.
Some quotes from the work of Shirley Jackson:
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
“I looked at the clock with the faint unconscious hope common to all mothers that time will somehow have passed magically away and the next time you look it will be bedtime.”
“I took my coffee into the dining room and settled down with the morning paper. A woman in New York had had twins in a taxi. A woman in Ohio had just had her seventeenth child. A twelve-year-old girl in Mexico had given birth to a thirteen-pound boy. The lead article on the woman’s page was about how to adjust the older child to the new baby. I finally found an account of an axe murder on page seventeen, and held my coffee cup up to my face to see if the steam might revive me.”
“Now, I have nothing against the public school system as it is presently organized, once you allow the humor of its basic assumption about how it is possible to teach things to children.”
“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?”
“The idea of a series of items, following one another docilely, forms the only possible reasonable approach to life if you have to live it with a home and a husband and children, none of whom would dream of following one another docilely.”
“Our house is old, and noisy, and full. When we moved into it we had two children and about five thousand books; I expect that when we finally overflow and move out again we will have perhaps twenty children and easily half a million books; we also own assorted beds and tables and chairs and rocking horses and lamps and doll dresses and ship models and paint brushes and literally thousands of socks.”
“She had taken to wondering lately, during these swift-counted years, what had been done with all those wasted summer days; how could she have spent them so wantonly? I am foolish, she told herself early every summer, I am very foolish; I am grown up now and know the values of things. Nothing is ever really wasted, she believed sensibly, even one’s childhood, and then each year, one summer morning, the warm wind would come down the city street where she walked and she would be touched with the little cold thought: I have let more time go by.”
Reflections in Summer: Jules Verne
“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Leonie Adams
Now the rich cherry, whose sleek wood,
And top with silver petals traced
Like a strict box its gems encased,
Has spilt from out that cunning lid,
All in an innocent green round,
Those melting rubies which it hid;
With moss ripe-strawberry-encrusted,
So birds get half, and minds lapse merry
To taste that deep-red, lark’s-bite berry,
And blackcap bloom is yellow-dusted.
The wren that thieved it in the eaves
A trailer of the rose could catch
To her poor droopy sloven thatch,
And side by side with the wren’s brood—
O lovely time of beggar’s luck—
Opens the quaint and hairy bud;
And full and golden is the yield
Of cows that never have to house,
But all night nibble under boughs,
Or cool their sides in the moist field.
Into the rooms flow meadow airs,
The warm farm baking smell’s blown round.
Inside and out, and sky and ground
Are much the same; the wishing star,
Hesperus, kind and early born,
Is risen only finger-far;
All stars stand close in summer air,
And tremble, and look mild as amber;
When wicks are lighted in the chamber,
They are like stars which settled there.
Now straightening from the flowery hay,
Down the still light the mowers look,
Or turn, because their dreaming shook,
And they waked half to other days,
When left alone in the yellow stubble
The rusty-coated mare would graze.
Yet thick the lazy dreams are born,
Another thought can come to mind,
But like the shivering of the wind,
Morning and evening in the corn.
Reflections in Summer: Alice Walker
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.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Kate Chopin
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”
American Art – Part III of III: Bill Crosby
In the words of one writer, “Bill and his wife Pat have lived in the North Country of upstate New York for over forty years. They have three grown children and two grandchildren, and have always had one or more dogs. While continuing to reside in the 1813 stone house which they rebuilt, Pat and Bill have been building a camp/studio/workshop on the coast of Maine since 1989.
Over the years the Adirondacks of New York, the Maine coast, the New England mountains, the Atlantic coast and Alaska have become primary locations for Bill’s photography and painting inspirations. The change of seasons is always a special passage and motivation for new work. The natural landscape of sky, earth and water is a cathedral for life and spirit. Wilderness is both a physical place and a place of mind and spirit. ‘Often my work can be considered as an abstract impression of the landscape. Certainly I think of my paintings and photographs as an interpretative response to the landscape.’”
Below (photographs) –“Turnagain Arm, Alaska”; “Full Moon”; “Flowed Land Lakes, Adirondacks, New York”; “Water, Rocks, and Time”; “Winter Light”; “Acadia National Park, Maine”; “Atlantic Coast”; “Iceberg, Alaska.”