August Offerings – Part XXVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Ann Thiffault

Artist Statement: “I attempt to paint my feelings. Although I am conscious of composition, perspective and values, those things are secondary to creating a painting that speaks to me, and hopefully, to others. The smell of oil paint and turpentine, the creamy feel of the paint as I apply it with the knife, the heavy impasto on the board, and I become completely lost in the experience of creating a painting.”

Below – “Lilacs and Pears”; “Lemons and Red Chair”; “Broken Egg”; “Garlic and Red Flower”; “Lilacs and Duck.”
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A Poem for Today

“Speaking of Trees”
By Greg Williamson

For the tree of the field is man’s life.
Deuteronomy 20:19

I’m here with some sugar maples, speaking of trees,
And they’re not saying much. In spite of all
The rumors of persistent whispering,
They do not mention genealogies,
Wisdom with all its branches nor the Fall,
As if they wouldn’t stand for anything.

We’ve made them our field representatives,
Rooted in history but branching out,
Replete with trunks, limbs, crowns and sappy hearts,
Sowing their seeds in time, shedding their leaves
In the very autumn Shakespeare writes about,
As if they were our natural counterparts.

They simply do not care, nor break their silence
On our blossoming conceit. And while I hug
Myself against the cool and breezy plain
As the brow of a storm is darkening with violence,
Look how the sugar maples seem to shrug,
Turning their palmate leaves to catch the rain.

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“What experience and history teach is this—that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.” – Georg William Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher, who was born 27 August 1770.

Some quotes form the work of Georg William Friedrich Hegel:

“To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.”
“Education is the art of making man ethical”
“Everybody allows that to know any other science you must have first studied it, and that you can only claim to express a judgment upon it in virtue of such knowledge. Everybody allows that to make a shoe you must have learned and practiced the craft of the shoemaker, though every man has a model in his own foot, and possesses in his hands the natural endowments for the operations required. For philosophy alone, it seems to be imagined, such study, care, and application are not in the least requisite”
“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”
“The length of the journey has to be borne with, for every moment is necessary.”

Reflections in Summer: Steven Hudson

“It is the unknown that we thirst for. Curiosity that drives us… to learn. Not to hear, or to be told. But to see and feel, to experience.”

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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Miguel Avataneo (born 1962): “Avataneo is one of the brightest talents in Argentina’s art world. He is a painter of images that combine a love of classicism with the South American tradition of magical realism. His images are rooted in the real world of European classicism but are infused with a naturally fantastical element, with exquisitely drawn figures placed in dreamlike environments.
Avataneo’s imagery is sensual and evocative and employs a luxurious use of color and detail that give his canvases a luminous quality that is mesmerizing.”
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From the Music Archives: Sonny Sharrock

Born 27 August 1940 – Warren Harding “Sonny” Sharrock, an American jazz guitarist.

Reflections in Summer: D.C. Leberknight

“If you go on the road hoping to find it, you might discover you’ve had it with you all along. That which you seek is yourself.”
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American Art – Part II of IV: Claudia Olds Goldie

Here is one critic describing the artistry of sculptor Claudia Olds Goldie: “Claudia Olds Goldie portrays mature women with candor. In one, the figure wears gym gear and has lifted, with little effort, a barbell satirically bedecked with the accoutrements of the modern ‘superwoman’: cellular phone, computer keyboard, teddy bear, frying pan, dog bowl, paintbrush, books. Another exposes a tired, plump swimmer wearing an old-fashioned swim cap. Goldie’s ‘girls’ are whimsical but not a bit funny. While once we judged women primarily by their sexuality, the criterion has shifted, but is no less harsh, Goldie suggests. The haggard lifter is the antithesis of the celebrated male athlete, who even in pudgy retirement is paid to tout cars or comment on televised sports events.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Beginning”
By James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.
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“Art is the stored honey of the human soul.” – Theodore Dreiser, influential American novelist, journalist, and author of “Sister Carrie” and “An American Tragedy,” who was born 27 August 1871.

A few quotes from the work of Theodore Dreiser:

“How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean.”
“The most futile thing in this world is any attempt, perhaps, at exact definition of character. All individuals are a bundle of contradictions – none more so than the most capable.”
“A thought will color a world for us.”
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Reflections in Summer: Robin Hobb

“It was as if I had been following a narrow trail, and had suddenly realized that at any time I could leave it and strike out cross-country.”
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American Comedy: Paul Reubens

“I’ve always felt like a kid, and I still feel like a kid, and I’ve never had any problem tapping into my childhood, and my kid side.” – Paul Reubens (born Paul Rubenfeld), American actor, writer, film producer, game show host, and comedian best known for his character Pee-wee Herman, who was born 27 August 1952.

A Third Poem for Today

“Allegiances,”
By William Stafford

“Allegiances”

It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked-
elves, goblins, trolls, and spiders:-we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

Below – Camille Pissarro: “Women Planting Pea Stakes”
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Reflections in Summer: Thomas F. Hornbein

“Evenings were peaceful, smoke settling in the quiet air to soften the dusk, lights twinkling on the ridge we would camp on tomorrow, clouds dimming the outline of our pass for the day after. Growing excitement lured my thoughts again and again to the West Ridge….
There was loneliness, too, as the sun set, but only rarely now did doubts return. Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me. Once on the mountain I knew (or trusted) that this would give way to total absorption with the task at hand. But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find what I really sought was something I had left behind.”
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27 August 1883 – The volcano Krakatoa, west of Java, explodes with a force of 1,300 megatons and kills approximately 40,000 people. In the words of one historian, “The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) began on August 26, 1883 (with origins as early as May of that year) and culminated with several destructive eruptions of the remaining caldera. On August 27, two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago.”

Below – A lithograph of the eruption, circa 1888; an eruption of Krakatoa in 2008.
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American Art – Part III of IV: Bev Doolittle

In the words of one critic, “Bev Doolittle is one of America’s most collected artists. Her camouflage art is loved by art collectors around the world. Through sheer force of talent and dedication, has achieved a status in the art world few contemporary artists even dream of. Crowded with intricate visual detail, haunted by presences seen and unseen, her paintings captivate the viewer on many levels.”
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“They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?” – Jeanette Winterson, British writer, broadcaster, lesbian activist, and author of “Sexing the Cherry,” “Oranges are Not the Only Fruit,” and “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?,” who was born 27 August 1959.

Some quotes from the work of Jeanette Winterson:

“What you risk reveals what you value.”
“‘You’ll get over it…’ It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever. You don’t get over it because ‘it’ is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”
“When I look at my life I realise that the mistakes I have made, the things I really regret, were not errors of judgment but failures of feeling.”
“I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had.”
“I seem to have run in a great circle, and met myself again on the starting line.”
“‘Do you fall in love often?’
‘Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all.’”
“To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.”
“It’s hard to remember that this day will never come again. That the time is now and the place is here and that there are no second chances at a single moment.”
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Reflections in Summer: Paul Bamikole

“Curiosity is the offspring of mystery. For without mystery there be no need for curiosity. Curiosity is the search for the things that can be, it is the inspiration of the true adventurer.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: Josie Iqaluq

Josie Iqaluq is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Seals on Ice”
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Reflections in Summer: Dennis McKay

“In the silence of the mountain there is much you can learn.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

By Doug Williamson

“Narcissus …”

Narcissus, who was never very wise,
Observed a water-spirit in a pond
And grew enamored of the comely blonde
Who matched his gaze and filled his shallow eyes.

Through all the dawns, it never dawned on him
Why such a face would shatter at a tear
And flee his touch or why the pond’s veneer
Would duplicate an overhanging limb.

The spirits featured in the face of waves,
The lips of fountains or the fountainhead
Are images of us in nature’s stead,
Reflecting on the way the world behaves,

And as the spring of youth matures tomorrow
To Old Man Winter and old age, we look
And look and ask the figure in the brook,
As long ago Narcissus did, “Who are you?”

“… And Echo”

Echo, who tricked a Queen with her replies,
Received a sentence only to respond
And gradually became a vagabond,
A voice, unable to extemporize.

Seeing Narcissus at the water’s brim,
She fell in love, but when he said, “Come here,”
The timbre of the forest said, “Come, hear,”
And she became the selfless eponym

For words we put into the mouths of caves,
The teeth of canyons and the woodenhead
Ravines. Though nature’s ministries seem led
By honest voices in the open naves,

Divine and inspirational and true,
The words resounding from an overlook
Are only ours, as once beside a brook,
Narcissus heard from Echo, “Who are you?”

Below – John William Waterhouse: “Echo and Narcissus”
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Reflections in Summer: Jon Krakauer

“Because I was alone, however, even the mundane seemed charged with meaning. The ice looked colder and more mysterious, the sky a cleaner shade of blue. The unnamed peaks towering over the glacier were bigger and comelier and infinitely more menacing than they would have been were I in the company of another person. And my emotions were similarly amplified: The highs were higher; the periods of despair were deeper and darker.
To a self-possessed young man inebriated with the unfolding drama of his own life, all of this held enormous appeal.”
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American Art – Part IV of IV: John Stockwell

In the words of one writer, “Inspired by the fields, flowers, and skies of southern Sweden and southern France, John Stockwell paints a world where shimmering layers of atmosphere shine within endless sun kissed horizons of soft ivory camomille and brilliant red poppies.

Touching upon soft sensual total abstraction, Stockwell paints open meadows and empty fields rich with warm light, limitless color, and infinite depth.”

Below – “Red Field 05”; “White Fields with Clouds”; “Black Trees and Shadow”; “Apple Orchard”; “Red Streak at Gordes”; “Poppy Field in Borgeby.”
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