American Art – Part I of V: T.S. Harris
In the words of one writer, “Aptly called ‘Sunshine Noir,’ T.S. Harris’ paintings speak to the central issues of human existence- desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, and the many dimensions of our connections with others.
Inspired by snapshots and film stills from the mid-century, the paintings are colorful yet bittersweet, depicting fleeting moments captured almost a lifetime ago. Suspended in time, Harris’ stylish and elegant cropped figures put on scarlet lipstick, dream by the pool or sit in contemplation. With the context of their actions removed, the women and figures become mysterious; they are alluring not only for their figures, but for the secrets that they hold.”
Reflections in Summer: Sir Peter B. Medawar
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Territory of Oregon
14 August 1848 – The United States Congress creates the Territory of Oregon. In the words of one historian, “The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries, the region was divided between the U.S. and Great Britain in 1846. When established, the territory encompassed an area that included the current states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. The capital of the territory was first Oregon City, then Salem, followed briefly by Corvallis, then back to Salem, which became the state capital upon Oregon’s admission to the Union.”
Below – Oregon Territory, as originally organized, in 1848; Oregon Territory (blue) with Washington Territory (green), in 1853; State of Oregon (blue) with Washington Territory (green), in 1859; Mount Hood; Crater Lake National Park; Cannon Beach at sunrise.
A Poem for Today
By Donald (Grady) Davidson
Into a crock of gold he’d set some weeds,
Behold swart devils in the sunniest weather;
He would lump the saint and the courtesan together,
Most miserably jangling all the creeds.
The prurient multitude heard he was mad,
Yet nosed his books for some pornography.
The censors doubted his virginity,
And secretly conned the works that they forbade.
Reporters found this dangerous oddity
In rusty pantaloons, mowing the green,
And wondered how so dull a wretch could have seen
A naked Venus disturbing an alien sea.
He watched their backs receding down the street,
Raked up the grass, and suddenly had a vision
Of how Venus, bathing, saw with amused derision
Behind the bushes peeping satyrs’ feet.
Reflections in Summer: Michel de Montaigne
Reflections in Summer: Henry James
Nobel Laureate: John Galsworthy
“Dreaming is the poetry of Life, and we must be forgiven if we indulge in it a little.” – John Galsworthy, English novelist, playwright, author of “The Forsyte Saga,” and recipient of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature for his “distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in ‘The Forsyte Saga,’” who was born 14 August 1867.
Some quotes from the work of John Galsworthy:
“Love is not a hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always, wild!”
“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
“The biggest tragedy of life is the utter impossibility to change what you have done.”
“Beauty means this to one person, perhaps, and that to another. And yet when any one of us has seen or heard or read that which to him is beautiful, he has known an emotion which is in every case the same in kind, if not in degree; an emotion precious and uplifting. A choirboy’s voice, a ship in sail, an opening flower, a town at night, the song of the blackbird, a lovely poem, leaf shadows, a child’s grace, the starry skies, a cathedral, apple trees in spring, a thorough-bred horse, sheep-bells on a hill, a rippling stream, a butterfly, the crescent moon — the thousand sights or sounds or words that evoke in us the thought of beauty — these are the drops of rain that keep the human spirit from death by drought. They are a stealing and a silent refreshment that we perhaps do not think about but which goes on all the time….It would surprise any of us if we realized how much store we unconsciously set by beauty, and how little savour there would be left in life if it were withdrawn. It is the smile on the earth’s face, open to all, and needs but the eyes to see, the mood to understand.”
“One’s eyes are what one is, one’s mouth is what one becomes.”
“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.”
“Men are in fact, quite unable to control their own inventions; they at best develop adaptability to the new conditions those inventions create.”
“Memory heaps dead leaves on corpse-like deeds, from under which they do but vaguely offend the sense.”
“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.”
“The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.”
“We are not living in a private world of our own. Everything we say and do and think has its effect on everything around us.”
“Wishes father thought, but they don’t breed evidence.”
Reflections in Summer: Pat Conroy
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
“It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine; I am in it as the butterfly in the light-laden air. Nothing has to come; it is now. Now is eternity; now is the immortal life.” – Richard Jefferies, English nature writer, who died 14 August 1887.
Some quotes from the work of Richard Jefferies:
“The soul throbs like the sea for a larger life. No thought which I have ever had has satisfied my soul.”
“Let us get out of these indoor narrow modern days, whose twelve hours somehow have become shortened, into the sunlight and the pure wind. A something that the ancients thought divine can be found and felt there still.”
“The great sea makes one a great skeptic.”
“I was not more than eighteen when an inner and esoteric meaning began to come to me from all the visible universe, and indefinable aspirations filled me. I found them in the grass fields, under the trees, on the hill-tops, at sunrise, and in the night. There was a deeper meaning everywhere. The sun burned with it, the broad front of morning beamed with it; a deep feeling entered me while gazing at the sky in the azure noon, and in the star-lit evening.”
“Though not often consciously recognised, perhaps this is the great pleasure of summer, to watch the earth, the dead particles, revolving themselves into the living case of life, to see the seed-leaf push aside the clod and become by degrees the perfumed flower. From the tiny mottled egg come the wings that by-and-by shall pass the immense sea. It is in this marvellous transformation of clods and cold matter into living things that the joy and the hope of summer reside. Every blade of grass, each leaf, each separate floret and petal, is an inscription speaking of hope. Consider the grasses and the oaks, the swallows, the sweet blue butterfly—they are one and all a sign and token showing before our eyes earth made into life. So that my hope becomes as broad as the horizon afar, reiterated by every leaf, sung on every bough, reflected in the gleam of every flower. There is so much for us yet to come, so much to be gathered, and enjoyed. Not for you or me, now, but for our race, who will ultimately use this magical secret for their happiness. Earth holds secrets enough to give them the life of the fabled Immortals. My heart is fixed firm and stable in the belief that ultimately the sunshine and the summer, the flowers and the azure sky, shall become, as it were, interwoven into man’s existence. He shall take from all their beauty and enjoy their glory. Hence it is that a flower is to me so much more than stalk and petals. When I look in the glass I see that every line in my face means pessimism; but in spite of my face—that is my experience —I remain an optimist. Time with an unsteady hand has etched thin crooked lines, and, deepening the hollows, has cast the original expression into shadow. Pain and sorrow flow over us with little ceasing, as the sea-hoofs beat on the beach. Let us not look at ourselves but onwards, and take strength from the leaf and the signs of the field. He is indeed despicable who cannot look onwards to the ideal life of man. Not to do so is to deny our birthright of mind.”
“Let us always be out of doors among trees and grass, and rain and wind and sun. There the breeze comes and strikes the cheek and sets it aglow: the gale increases and the trees creak and roar, but it is only a ruder music. A calm follows, the sun shines in the sky, and it is the time to sit under an oak, leaning against the bark, while the birds sing and the air is soft and sweet.”
“To me everything is supernatural.”
Reflections in Summer: John Steinbeck
American Art – Part II of V: Karen Jurick
Artist Statement: “In a nutshell, I wanted to be an illustrator when I started college. Instead, I ended up helping my parents run a business – and after losing both my mom and dad – I became the owner. My shop is now in its 30th year and thanks to an outstanding staff, I’m now able to step back and paint most of the week.
After 15+ years of not doing any art, in 2004 I started painting. I sold enough on eBay to build a studio in my back yard – then began using oils for the first time.
That lead to selling more paintings on eBay – then a year later I entered work in a gallery. A year later, I entered into another gallery, then another. Now I’m in a comfortable place – doing larger works for those three galleries while I continue to paint small pieces that frequently auction on eBay.
I take my camera everywhere, paint from those photos – moments in time, people just doing their thing.”
Reflections in Summer: Ben Hecht
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: V-J Day
14 August 1945 – “V-J Day.” In the words of one historian, “On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as “Victory over Japan Day,” or simply “V-J Day…The term has also been used for September 2, 1945, when Japan’s formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.”
Reflections in Summer: Peter de Vries:
American Art – Part III of V: Gary Larson
“I never liked my own species.” – Gary Larson, American cartoonist and the creator of “The Far Side,” who was born 14 August 1950.
Reflections in Summer: Jerome K. Jerome
“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”
From the American Old West: Doc Holliday
“Doc was a dentist, not a lawman or an assassin, whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a frontier vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long lean, ash-blond fellow nearly dead with consumption, and at the same time the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun that I ever knew.” – Wyatt Earp describing John Henry “Doc” Holliday, American gambler, gunfighter, and dentist of the American Old West, who was born 14 August 1851.
Below – Doc Holliday’s dental school graduation photo taken in 1872 when he was twenty years old; an autographed photograph of Doc Holliday taken in Prescott, Arizona in 1879; Doc Holliday’s headstone in Pioneer Cemetery, Glenwood Springs, Colorado (his actual burial site on the grounds is unknown); items left by visitors to Doc Holliday’s grave.
American Art – IV of V: Matt Brackett
In the words of one writer, “Matt Brackett is a representational painter of images that explore personal and family narratives. Though they present a naturalistic appearance, his paintings do not represent actual events or reality, but instead offer an alternate, unique vision. While each image begins in the unordered space of inspiration, Brackett implements a carefully orchestrated
execution. Preliminary techniques include sketching, photographic research, computed-aided montages and even scale modeling. The final result is often one of wonder and menace that asks us to pause and reflect upon a field of interpretation.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Rita Dove
I made it home early, only to get
stalled in the driveway, swaying
at the wheel like a blind pianist caught in a tune
meant for more than two hands playing.
The words were easy, crooned
by a young girl dying to feel alive, to discover
a pain majestic enough
to live by. I turned the air-conditioning off,
leaned back to float on a film of sweat,
and listened to her sentiment:
‘Baby, where did our love go?’—a lament
I greedily took in
without a clue who my lover
might be, or where to start looking.
Reflections in Summer: Flash Rosenbert
Back from the Territory – Art: Libby Dulac – Part II
In the words of one writer, “Born in England, Libby emigrated to Canada with her husband in 1973. They moved to Haines Junction in 1975. They have 2 children and 6 grandchildren.
The magnificent panoramic view Libby enjoys from their log home and the ever changing light keep her always inspired. The majesty of Yukon’s Kluane region continues to be the inspiration for most of Libby’s work. It is her hope that her paintings reflect her passion for the awesome scenery, from mountain and icefield grandeur to lake, forest and wildflower splendour.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Victor Hugo
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Linda Pastan
The world is water
to these bronzed boys
on their surfboards,
riding the sexual waves
like so many fearless
death on bucking
broncos of foam.
On the beach at Santorini
we ate those tiny silverfish
grilled straight from the sea,
and when the sun went down
in the flaming west
there was applause
from all the sated diners,
as if it had done its acrobatic plunge
just for them.
Swathed from head to toe
in seeming veils of muslin,
the figure in the Nantucket fog
poles along the shoreline on a flat barge.
It could be Charon transporting souls
across the River Styx, or just
another fisherman in a hoodie,
trolling for bluefish
on the outgoing tide.
Reflections in Summer: Lawrence Durrell
“These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean.”
American Art – Part V of V: Donald Jurney
In the words of one writer, “Donald Jurney was born in 1945 in Rye, New York. He was educated at Columbia University, the Pratt Institute, and the Art Students League. Nearly thirty years ago, he began his career with a one-man show at a temporary gallery space.
Jurney’s work is firmly rooted in the great landscape tradition, stretching from Dutch 17th century painting, through the Barbizon and Hudson River schools, to late 19th and early-20th century French and American impressionism. His work is also informed and enlivened by the influence of modern painting. It is this union, one of timeless motif and lively surface, which distinguishes his work.
His paintings are intended to be a summons to celebrate the poetry of the commonplace. Like many of the masters he respects, Jurney begins with pencil drawings made in the field. Often, years elapse before the drawing becomes the motif for a new painting. In the studio, a painting develops with the indelible stamp of a certain day and hour, particular weather, and a unique sense of place.
At first glimpse, Jurney’s work is profoundly based in traditional landscape painting. But a closer look reveals that the tree which we see as millions of leaves is, in fact, a dense matrix of quite random marks, combining to give the impression of great detail. Through great economy of means, Jurney invites the viewer to enter into a compact with him, one in which the language of painting becomes as important as the subject of the picture itself. His hope is that the viewer’s reward is the pleasure of a traditional realism that is refreshingly, and surprisingly, animated by the vigor of abstraction.
Donald Jurney has lived and worked in the Hudson River Valley, in England, and in the Berkshires. For a number of years, he has also painted extensively in France. A recent interest has been kindled by a trip to the west of Ireland, and he anticipates soon exploring the coastal marshes and estuaries of Boston’s North Shore.
But wherever his travels take him, we can be sure of an invitation to come along, through his paintings, and of the chance to share his unique vision of the landscape; inspired by his unflagging enthusiasm for the remarkable world about us.”