American Art – Part I of IV: William P. Duffy
In the words of one writer, “William P. Duffy was born in Boston in 1948. He received his art education at the School of the Worcester Art Museum/Clark University and the Boston Architectural Center.”
A Poem for Today
“‘Nature’ is what we see –“
By Emily Dickinson
“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.
Reflections in Summer: L Drachman
Here is the Artist Statement of Russian painter Natasha Villone: “Before moving to Seattle, U.S.A. in 2001, I studied painting, theater design and fine art in Orel, Russia, a small city south of Moscow. Many years I spent working in a factory painting flowers on samovars (Russian tea pots) and painting popular Russian folk art Zhostovo trays. Now my favorite things to paint are plates. They’re small, don’t take up too much space, and are easy to hang on a wall. They make a sunny, warm patch on your wall.
The longer I stay in Seattle thinking about subjects to paint, the more ideas I have in my memory from the past, in Russia. God never makes mistakes taking us through times, places, people we meet…situations, even magazines I used to see when I was a child. I recall scenes of villages, where I spent most of my school vacations with my grandma. I helped her take care of the cow and sheep, geese and chickens. Feeding them was my favorite work. Each season in Russia brings different scenes… Summer with beautiful sunsets and smells of fresh hay. Winter with ultramarine hills of snow.
All these memories left inspiration inside me—especially from the past century, when we were not fully equipped with modern amenities, and had just a simple life, full of flavor. It is true that we have to leave the past, but we have to take our best from the past into the future.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
There was a road ran past our house
Too lovely to explore.
I asked my mother once—she said
That if you followed where it led
It brought you to the milk-man’s door.
(That’s why I have not traveled more.)
Reflections in Summer: Lewis Carroll
British Art – Part I of II: Sherree Valentine Daines
In the words of one critic, “Sherree Valentine Daines is quite simply the face of Modern British Impressionism. Technically brilliant, stylistically virtuosic and endlessly vigilant, she creates masterly evocations of some of the most beautiful elements of British life. The authenticity and accuracy of her observation is softened by her impressionistic approach, her subtle hand blending each detail into a creation of captivating elegance.”
British Cinema: Peter Cushing
“I didn’t set out to make this kind of picture. It just came my way. But its been going on for me for 16 years now and its wonderful for an actor to work consistently. There seems to be an insatiable audience for this type of film.” – Peter Cushing, English actor best known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, who died 11 August 1994.
Peter Cushing portrayed many memorable movie characters, including Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, but his greatest performance is inarguably his role as British scientist John Rollason in “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas” (1957), a slightly-less-than-Shakespearean drama co-starring American actor Forrest Tucker (who portrays the unscrupulous entrepreneur Tom Friend) that was directed by Hal Guest.
British Art – Part II of II: Pierre Williams
In the words of one writer, “Pierre Williams was born in 1962. He completed his foundation at Hereford College of Art and Design in 1998; where he was awarded the Brian Hatton Award. He then went on to study ceramics at the University of Wales in Cardiff (UWIC), graduating in 2001 and also exhibiting at the New Designers Show in Islington later that year. Pierre then returned to Hereford College of Art and Design as a tutor between 2002 and 2004, exhibiting at the Hereford Contemporary Craft Fair (winning the new exhibitor award in 2003 and the Booker Arts Prize 2004). He then worked as a part time tutor at Hereford College for the Blind between 2005 and 2008, and has continued to exhibit locally during h-Art, and in other regional galleries. He has been exhibiting with the GreenStage since Christmas 2008, and we represented Pierre at both the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea and Bristol with considerable success.”
Reflections in Summer: Arthur Schopenhauer
A Third Poem for Today
By Martin Rock
Tonight I’m to occupy a single breath:
to let it slowly out as an open kettle might
release its steam, left long on the stove.
Eventually all substance turns to vapor
& accumulates in the air, then falls
again as a globe under its own weight.
Bodies must be near each other, it seems,
even when the result is simple collapse.
Only the globe is never falling—
it’s the thing that imitates the globe
falls into it, as I now imitate, & fail,
the voice of my father, who sits breathing
with his dog at the mouth of the river.
My breath, too, rises & falls. Listen.
American Art – Part II of IV: Kate Church
In the words of one critic, “Kate Church is an artist of delicacy and detail, and her work mirrors the varied experiences of life in her offbeat quirky method of recognition. Details embroidered with movement and grace, her figures speak of curiosity, delight, tenderness and humor… expressions of some of the exquisitely charming characteristics of life. The pieces she builds somehow defy conventional interpretation. They are not dolls, nor are they formal sculptures. Kate refers to her work as ‘sculptural puppetry,’ combining the line and form of sculpture with the playful anima of puppetry.
Each piece is meant to become an artful muse for those who collect them.”
Reflections in Summer: Amy Tan
“Your life is what you see in front of you.”
From the American History Archives: Alcatraz
11 August 1934 – The first federal prisoners arrive at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. In the words of one historian, “A group of federal prisoners classified as ‘most dangerous’ arrives at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts–the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary–joined a few dozen military prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.”
Reflections in Summer: Dame Margot Fonteyn
Here is the Artist Statement of Ukrainian painter Anton Yakutovych: “I have been doing etching, lithography and painting since my earliest childhood. These disciplines complement each other, since the graphic arts bring rigour to one’s work and painting a sense of freedom.
I come from a country in the former USSR where classical techniques are still taught in schools and I grew up in a family of artists. I studied in circles where I was kept informed about the social and cultural changes in the world. I have a very pronounced taste for films, rock music and literature. I am naturally part of this post-modern age we live in where popular art, drawing nourishment from high art, has become exceedingly sophisticated.
For each new painting, my point of departure is a series of questions that were left unresolved when I completed the previous one. This first state is one of confusion, a strange impression of having lost the thread. Several pages covered in sketches that contain no real leads and are generally of no use.
Then finally the right rough sketch, the right idea emerges and the thread is restored. Then comes the work on the canvas, followed by a sort of frenzy. Tones, technique and information intermingle.
Eagerness gives way to reason, to restraint, to a long series of coming and goings between doing and looking, until a balance is reached. Once all the elements are in place, an accent, a distinctive characteristic still needs to be found, a surprise that will render the work unique and complete.
My characters exist less for their human properties than for their sculptural quality. The attitudes they adopt in my works are at the service of the composition and the rhythm. The foreground of sculptures in action creates a break in the accumulation of information. Constructing a completely realistic or fantastic scene is of less importance to me than revealing a subtle arrangement of the zones and the planes.
I take the mechanisms of reality as my inspiration and, although I do not reproduce all their workings, they form the basis of my imaginary world. At first sight, what strikes the eye is a series of objects set in a subtle fantasy scene, but if one looks more closely at the work, for example by isolating one particular detail from the rest of the painting, one’s eye will be guided from these familiar objects through a variety of plastic experiences.
The small story the painting tells, the viewer’s identification with it, the role-play, all of these fade into variations on the theme, a sweet obsession of mine. This theme unfolds throughout the exhibition like a collection of scenes in which fragmented harmony, controlled disorder and childhood memories blend and blur into each other to create a multitude of references and interpretations.”
Reflections in Summer: Anais Nin
A Fourth Poem for Today
Ice petals on the trees.
The peppery black sparrows pour across
the frozen lawn.
The wind waits patiently behind the barn.
Though I’m not myself here, that’s okay.
I’ve lost my name,
my last address, the problem
that has kept me up all night this week in winter.
Such a long time coming,
this white timeless time in time,
with zero to the bone
the best thing anyone could ever say.
I stand here in the open,
full of straw, loose-limbed, unmuffled.
No one’s here, not-me as well,
this winter morning that goes on forever.
Reflections in Summer: Carson McCullers
“It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Galen Rowell
“I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot.’ My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell, American climber, author, and wilderness photographer, who died 11 August 2002.
Below – “Arch in the Alabama Hills Beneath Mount Whitney, Owens Valley”; “Moonrise at Sunset, Wheeler Crest, Eastern Sierra”; “Wild Iris at Dawn, Bishop, California”; “Fall Reflections in North Lake”; “Sunrise on the Eastern Sierra over Owens Valley Ranchland”; “Clearing Storm Over El Capitan, Yosemite.”
Reflections in Summer: Hunter S. Thompson
“‘All my life, my heart has sought a thing I cannot name.’ – Remembered line from a long-forgotten poem.”
“A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.” – Robert G. Ingersoll, American political leader, orator, and freethinker known for his spirited defense of agnosticism, who was born on 11 August 1833.
Robert Ingersoll recognized the danger that hegemonic theocrats pose to our Republic, and he criticized them forcefully and eloquently: “I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.”
Reflections in Summer: Hal Borland
Back from the Territory – Art: Dan Joss (Nutingnak)
Dan Joss (Nutingnak) is an Inuit sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Jules Renard
American Art – Part IV of IV: Stephen Filmus
Artist Statement: “Landscape and Still-Life are my subjects. Both appeal to me. Each presents its own challenge and in the process, inform and enrich each other.
Landscape – Inspiration comes from my affinity for nature and the realist tradition of landscape painting. The hills, rivers, forests and changing seasons of the Berkshires are my subject. I venture into my surroundings and explore the possiblities.
Nature does not present a picture, so it must be translated into a pattern of shapes, color and light. As I work on site and apply paint to canvas, I constantly evaluate the landscape. I simplify, dramatize and compose the various graphic elements in order to capture the essence of the scene.
Still-Life -My still-life paintings contain ordinary objects that have been carefully selected for their visual interest and relevance to a central idea. The composition is of equal importance. Abstract elements as pattern, rhythm and color, contribute vitality and movement to the inanimate.
My ideas are derived from memories and imagination. I develop many preliminary sketches before a studio layout. Some objects I have, while others I must find. When I have gathered all the materials I need, I make a careful arrangement, while keeping a sense of randomness.
I look forward to the challenge and process of painting. My ultimate satisfaction comes when I have taken a blank canvas and created a work of art. I have, in a small way, transformed the world. This, in part, is why I paint.”