Musings in December: Craig Childs
“Most animals show themselves sparingly. The grizzly bear is six to eight hundred pounds of smugness. It has no need to hide. If it were a person, it would laugh loudly in quiet restaurants, boastfully wear the wrong clothes for special occasions, and probably play hockey.”
Art for December – Part I of III: Ernest Albert
Below – “Winding Winter Stream”
Musings in December: Kristen Miller
“You will also be called upon to provide well-timed distractions. Get the whole country arguing about sex education or gays in the military, and Americans will stop paying attention to all the things they should fear.”
Art for December – Part II of III: Charles C. Allen
Below – “Mt. Monadnock, New Hampshire”
A Poem for Today
By Juan Felipe Herrara
for Phil Levine, RIP
They are writing about you Phil—you know
good stuff—the prizes Detroit and that
poem where you said in past lives you
were a wild sun-crested fox being chased
by “ladies and gentlemen on horseback”—
you said you would wake up with the poem
ready that it slipped untangled from a dream
all you had to do was sit up and write
the stage was a poem too—even though
most of us were too prepared you
preferred to joke before we went on
before the poetry light hit us on the face
it did not matter to you—you just carved
chiseled punctured rotated jitterbugged
and whirred past a distant gate
Art for December – Part III of III: Gifford Beal
Below – “Summer”
Musings in December: Marisha Pessl
“‘L’Avventura,’ Dad said, has the sort of ellipsis ending most American audiences would rather undergo a root canal than be left with, not only because they loathe anything left to the imagination-we’re talking about the country that invented spandex-but also because they are a confident, self-assured nation. They know Family. They know Right from Wrong. They know God-many of them attest to daily chats with the man. And the idea that none of us can truly know anything at all-not the lives of our friends or family, not even ourselves-is a thought they’d rather be shot in the arm with their own semi-automatic rifle than face head-on. Personally, I think there’s something terrific about not knowing, relinquishing man’s feeble attempt to control. When you throw up your hands, say, ‘Who knows?’ you can get on with the sheer gift of being alive.”
Australian Art – Sarah Hickey
In the words of one writer, “Hickey’s series of female idols are inspired by images of women from a variety of contexts, histories and worlds. The complex layering of imagery and patterns depict beauty, spiritual iconography and the feminine.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Why I Am Not a Buddhist”
By Charles Bernstein
Reality cons me as it spur(n)s me.
This is the road to eternal
Consanguinity, eloping with
Hope and leaving me to pick
Up the proverbial bag.
But that’s the argument for.
Below – Charles Bernstein
Italian Art – Angel Ramiro Sanchez
In the words of one writer, “Born Angel Ramiro Sanchez in 1974 in Maracaibo, Venezuela, at age six Ramiro was accepted with full scholarship into the Ninos Cantores School for musically gifted children. At age fourteen he began five years of apprenticeship with the realist painter, Abdon Jose Romero, an eminent specialist in murals for churches and public buildings. In 1993, a study grant from Mgr Gustavo Ocando Yamarte, Founder of the Ninos Cantores, enabled him to travel to Florence, Italy, where he successfully passed the admission examination for the renowned Accademia di Belle Arti. During the four years, he studied full time at the Accademia, receiving his diploma magna cum laude, Ramiro also attended drawing and painting sessions at the Florence Academy of Art, directed by painter Daniel Graves. Ramiro was appointed Senior Painting Instructor at the FAA in 1997. Ramiro’s portraits and still lifes are in private collections in the United States and Europe. He lives and works in Florence.”
Musings in December: Wayne Nacelle
“In our day, there are stresses and fractures of the human-animal bond, and some forces at work would sever it once and for all. They pull us in the wrong direction and away from the decent and honorable code that makes us care for creatures who are entirely at our mercy. Especially within the last two hundred years, we’ve come to apply an industrial mind-set to the use of animals, too often viewing them as if they were nothing but articles of commerce and the raw material of science, agriculture, and wildlife management. Here, as in other pursuits, human ingenuity has a way of outrunning human conscience, and some things we do only because we can–forgetting to ask whether we should.”
Moldovan Art – Victor Nemo
In the words of one writer, “Victor Colesnicenco grew up in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova. This Eastern European nation is known for it’s rich artistic heritage. Nemo, as he is known to his friends, remembers being fascinated by the carvings and other craft works that surrounded him.
In particular he loved paintings, and from an early age he was determined to become an artist. Nemo began intense inquiry into the style and techniques of the famous painters. He was particularly impressed by the work of Ivan Shishkin and Salvador Dali. He enrolled in art school but did not enjoy the strict academic style of the Russian based academy. Knowing that a standard education was not for him, he abandoned it to pursue training on his own.
His talent quickly flourished and soon he was organizing large outdoor art fairs to show his work and that of other young artists. At this point in his life Nemo enlisted in the Soviet Army where he served for two years. After completing his tour, his motivation to become a professional artist was rediscovered. Together with a good friend he started a business restoring works of art and painting murals in churches. The reemergence of religious freedom in the post-Soviet era offered many opportunities for their business to flourish.”
Below – “Two Shows Nightly”; “New York”; “Dating at Paris”; “With Broken Scooter on 42nd”; “At Lori’s Diner”; “Rainy Night in Quebec.”
A Third Poem for Today
“What Is It You Feel I Asked Kurt”
By Diane Seuss
What is it you feel I asked Kurt when you listen to
Ravel’s String Quartet in F-major, his face was so lit up
and I wondered, “the music is unlike the world I live
or think in, it’s from somewhere else, unfamiliar and unknown,
not because it is relevant to the familiar and comfortable,
but because it brings me to that place that I didn’t/couldn’t
imagine existed. And sometimes that unfamiliar place is closer
to my world than I realize, and sometimes it’s endlessly distant,”
that’s what he wrote in an email when I asked him
to remind me what he’d said earlier, off the cuff, “I don’t
recall exactly what I said,” he began, a sentence written
in iambic pentameter, and then the rest, later he spoke of two
of his brothers who died as children, leukemia and fire,
his face, soft, I’m listening to Ravel now, its irrelevancy.
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Vito Piacente
In the words of one writer, “Vito Piacente is a Toronto-based artist whose works provoke psychological juxtapositions between two extremes, such as strength and weakness, pain and pleasure, fulfillment and self-annihilation. Born in 1976, Piacente uses the energy of the city to drive his work, depicting subjects who are often caught in some in-between world—a kind of purgatory—where decadence and delusion, privilege and deprivation intermingle to create new experiences.
Vito is a self-actualized artist whose execution of the human form is illustrative of his many influences, from Impressionism to Street Art. He has been creating art since the age of seventeen and attended Chaminade College School in Toronto, where he met his mentor Pietro Adamo. There he discovered his unconventional artistic nature that would later dominate both his digital and fabric canvases. After high school he attended the International Academy of Design, where he studied the more commercially oriented aspects of art, including advertising and digital media.
Since embarking on his creative journey, Piacente has experimented with various styles and mediums, from oil on canvas to dye-sublimation on aluminum, allowing him to explore his vision and identity, and how the two converge depending on subject matter and materials. His work has been shown in several galleries and art exhibitions throughout Canada, as well as the United States.”
Below – “Gem”; “Classica”; “Bianco”; “Dirty Martini”; “Ema”; “Duality.”
Musings in December: Bryant McGill
“The fish does not know it is wet. America is immersed in violence. The violence is in our souls. The enemy is within.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Peter Panov
In the words of one writer, “To describe the theme of Peter Panov’s paintings, you must enter the door into his vast and incredible imagination. He depicts Paris around the 1920s, and elaborately decorates and expands on the idea of “Man and his City”. His characters are recognizable, familiar and yet convey the essence of individual memory and history. Panov’s images are alive with narratives detailing of endless fantasy, joy, musical tales and intriguing places.
By using elements of cubism in his creations, he creates the ambience of that mysterious epoch — a time when artists were creating a revolution in art, architecture, technique, couture and style of living. Being a true master of the brush, Peter embroiders his canvasses with endless detail, making us feel that the city itself moulds its inhabitants as much as they create the image of the city that surrounds them.
Because of Peter’s rich and exquisite palette, his pieces can be enjoyed for their decorative value no less than for their themes. His incredible ability to combine textures using either palette knife or brush yields amazing results. It’s a joyful experience just to look at his textures and well-combined shades of colours, which are vibrant and sophisticated. Peter winds the mechanism of our imaginations and converts grey routine into multi-coloured serendipitous moments. His ability to discover in every moment of life something special defines the absolute talent that radiates from each of Peter’s masterpieces.”
Below – “Ascot”; “On Guard”; “Moonlight”; “Time Stands Still”; “Cafe Girl”; “The Bus.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“The Grammar of Affection”
By Jay Parini
Without syntax there is no immortality,
says my friend,
who has counted beads along a string
and understood that time is
water in a brook
or words in passage,
caravans amid the whitest dunes,
a team of horses in the mountain trace.
There is always movement, muttering,
in flight to wisdom,
which cannot be fixed. The kingdom
comes but gradually,
breaking word by wing or day by dream.
We proceed on insufficient knowledge,
trusting in what comes, in what comes down
in winding corridors,
in clamorous big rooms,
above a gorge on windy cliffs.
In places where discovered sounds make sense,
where subjects run through verbs
to matter in the end, a natural completion
in the holy object of affections
as our sentence circles round again:
This grammar holds us, makes us shine.
Musings in December: Stephen Demone
“It is said that there exist parallel worlds in which all other possible realities occur. Every decision we could ever make exists as a unique reality in which that decision is made. Of course you can imagine that the possibilities existing for any single person are immense. But what about the facts? What really happens. Since this really depends on others, what you get is… it.
This is it.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
“The Dark Hills”
By Edwin Arlington Robinson
Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
Where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade—as if the last of days
Were fading, and all wars were done.
American Art – Jane Oriel
Artist Statement: ”My work can be found in many private collections, and has been exhibited in solo and group shows nationally for over 25 years, including NYC and tri-state area, NY’s Hudson Valley, and the SF Bay Area. I studied at The Art Student’s League, Parson’s School of Design, and The School of Visual Arts, in NYC.
In addition to editorial illustration, I have created and donated art work to many non-profit organizations, including numerous animal rescues.
I love to watch a painting unfold like a story being told for the first time. Portrait painting is a spontaneous, visual dialogue between my subject, myself as an artist, and the unpredictable outcome of making art.
I have painted many subjects over the years. In 2001 unsure of a creative direction, I began a series of paintings inspired by my mother’s Jack Russell Terrier. Her unrelenting, unrepenting expressions of joy, sorrow, fear, humor, and soulfulness inspired me to capture these qualities in a single painting.”