American Art – Part I of III: Tom Steinmann
Artist Statement: “I began painting at the age of seven after discovering my aunt’s set of oil paints in the basement of my parents’ home in St. Louis. From that point on, a whole new world of color and light opened up for me as I found my way of interpreting the world around me.
I am fascinated by the dramatic interaction of color and light in the landscape. My favorite times to be out painting and gathering material are early in the morning after sunrise and then late in the afternoon as the shadows grow longer and colors intensify. I will often work well into the evening making field sketches in pencil and watercolor along with written notes. Back in my studio on Cape Cod, I will use these tools to create my paintings. I build my paintings slowly, using layers of color to create the effect I desire.
I enjoy working in both oil and watercolor, although oil is my preference. There is something about the process of working in oil along with the richness of the colors and actual feel of the paint that I love.
Painting is a passion for me. I love the process of going from white canvas and the chaos of the first strokes if paint to gradual symmetry and balance while still striving to keep an underlying abstract structure just as there is in nature.
Creating art is a solitary process; sharing it is not. My goal through my art is to share a moment in time I have experienced that may never repeat itself again.”
A Poem for Today
“Climbing along the River,”
By William Stafford
Willows never forget how it feels
to be young.
Do you remember where you came from?
Even the upper end of the river
believes in the ocean.
Exactly at midnight
yesterday sighs away.
What I believe is,
all animals have one soul.
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” – William James, American philosopher, psychologist, and author of “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” who died 26 August 1910.
Some quotes from the work of William James:
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.”
“Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.”
“Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies … and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to ‘keep’ by force of mere inertia.”
“If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.”
“Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile.”
“To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”
“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
Reflections in Summer: Ursula Le Guin
American Art – Part II of III: Ann Marshall
In the words of one writer, “Ann Marshall grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and earned her BFA from School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has worked in a gallery, illustrated an award winning children’s book on the Holocaust, and traveled nationally and internationally as an ethnographer and consumer anthropologist . Her fine art work has been exhibited in New York City’s Gallery at Lincoln Center. She now works as a portrait and fine artist.”
Reflections in Summer: Eudora Welty
“I have seen the science I worshiped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.” – Charles A. Lindbergh, American aviator, writer, inventor, explorer, and author of “The Spirit of St. Louis,” which won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize, who died 26 August 1974.
Some quotes from Charles A. Lindbergh:
“I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.”
“From now on, depressions will be scientifically created.”
“Whether outwardly or inwardly, whether in space or time, the farther we penetrate the unknown, the vaster and more marvelous it becomes.”
“The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That board administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people’s money.”
“Science is insulating man from life – separating his mind from his senses. The worst of it is that it soon anaesthetizes his senses so that he doesn’t know what he’s missing.”
“I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.”
Reflections in Summer: Marty Rubin
A Second Poem for Today
“Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron,”
By William Stafford
Out of their loneliness for each other
two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch
forward and become suddenly a life
lifted from dawn or the rain. It is
the wilderness come back again, a lagoon
with our city reflected in its eye.
We live by faith in such presences.
It is a test for us, that thin
but real, undulating figure that promises,
“If you keep faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light,
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.”
Reflections in Summer: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
Born 26 August 1899 – Rufino Tamayo, a Mexican painter and one of my favorite artists.
Reflections in Summer: James Branch Cabell
“Everything in life is miraculous. It rests within the power of each of us to awaken from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness.”
“Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique and not too much imagination.” – Christopher Isherwood, English writer, novelist, and managing editor of “Vedanta and the West,” who was born 26 August 1904.
Some quotes from the work of Christopher Isherwood:
“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence.
I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.”
“Fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is taking over our world. Fear is being used as a tool of manipulation in our society. Itʼs how politicians peddle policy and how Madison Avenue sells us things that we donʼt need. Think about it. Fear that weʼre going to be attacked, fear that there are communists lurking around every corner, fear that some little Caribbean country that doesnʼt believe in our way of life poses a threat to us. Fear that black culture may take over the world. Fear of Elvis Presleyʼs hips. Well, maybe that one is a real fear. Fear that our bad breath might ruin our friendships… Fear of growing old and being alone.”
“For other people, I can’t speak – but, personally, I haven’t gotten wise on anything. Certainly, I’ve been through this and that; and when it happens again, I say to myself, Here it is again. But that doesn’t seem to help me. In my opinion, I, personally, have gotten steadily sillier and sillier – and that’s a fact.”
“Waking up begins with saying am and now. That which has awoken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognized I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it has expected to find itself: what’s called at home.”
Reflections in Summer: Robert M. Pirsig
Back from the Territory – Art: Jomie Aipeelee
Jomie Aipeelee is in an Inuit Sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
A Third Poem for Today
“From the Silver Mines”
By Michael T. Young
Here, in this photo, I turn and look back,
my hair blown unnaturally to one side,
my mouth half open, maybe in surprise,
or maybe saying something best unsaid.
The innocence of being caught off-guard
is heightened by a sense of what escaped:
the only evidence of words, a ghost,
a sheet of condensed breath torn from my lips.
I think of others who looked back: Lot’s wife,
and Orpheus, who had so much at stake—
how carelessly they must have turned and glanced,
looking like this before the shock set in.
And those who found Medusa over their shoulder,
gazed into her eyes, her sinister stars,
and saw themselves, into their wishes, saw
their future as a past and hardened to stone.
Reflections in Summer: Rachel Carson
“What you don’t necessarily realize when you start selling your time by the hour is that what you’re really selling is your life.” – Barbara Ehrenreich, American writer, political activist, and author of “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” who was born 26 August 1941.
Some quotes from the work of Barbara Ehrenreich:
“When someone works for less pay than she can live on — when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently — then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The ‘working poor,’ as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.”
“No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”
“Of all the nasty outcomes predicted for women’s liberation…none was more alarming than the suggestion that women would eventually become just like men.”
“I was raised the old-fashioned way, with a stern set of moral principles: Never lie, cheat, steal or knowingly spread a venereal disease. Never speed up to hit a pedestrian or, or course, stop to kick a pedestrian who has already been hit. From which it followed, of course, that one would never ever — on pain of deletion from dozens of Christmas card lists across the country — vote Republican. ”
“I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone — better jobs, health care, and so forth — there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met — in my utopia, anyway — life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.”
“But the economic meltdown should have undone, once and for all, the idea of poverty as a personal shortcoming or dysfunctional state of mind. The lines at unemployment offices and churches offering free food includes strivers as well as slackers, habitual optimists as well as the chronically depressed. When and if the economy recovers we can never allow ourselves to forget how widespread our vulnerability is, how easy it is to spiral down toward destitution.”
“I grew up hearing over and over, to the point of tedium, that ‘hard work’ was the secret of success: ‘Work hard and you’ll get ahead’ or ‘It’s hard work that got us where we are.’ No one ever said that you could work hard – harder even than you ever thought possible – and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt.”
“In matters of the heart as well, a certain level of negativity and suspicion is universally recommended. You may try to project a thoroughly positive outlook in order to attract a potential boyfriend, but you are also advised to Google him.”
“Human intellectual progress, such as it has been, results from our long struggle to see things ‘as they are,’ or in the most universally comprehensible way, and not as projections of our own emotions. Thunder is not a tantrum in the sky, disease is not a divine punishment, and not every death or accident results from witchcraft. What we call the Enlightenment and hold on to only tenuously, by our fingernails, is the slow-dawning understanding that the world is unfolding according to its own inner algorithms of cause and effect, probability and chance, without any regard for human feelings.”
American Art – Part III of III: Linda Pochesci
Artist Statement: “I grew up in New Jersey and attended college there. While an undergraduate, I studied with the artist Mel Leipzig. Upon graduation I moved to Boston and attended graduate school at Massachusetts College of Art. I studied with the artist George Nick while earning my MFA in painting.
I have exhibited extensively in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In 1995 The Dodge Foundation awarded me a major grant as part of their ‘Artist Initiative’ program.
I currently live in Boston where I work professionally as an artist.”