September Offerings – Part XXIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Ellen Sinel

According to one writer, “Ellen Sinel majored in art at Skidmore College, received her BFA from San Jose State University, and went on to graduate work in painting at American University in Washington, D.C. She has been painting and exhibiting since then. Her work has developed and changed– from traditional representation, to pure abstraction, and now, to a melding of the two. The source of her inspiration is landscape, the silent mysteries in nature’s constant transformations. She conveys both the stillness and tension of nature, capturing a moment in time.”

According to one writer, Grandier Bella “received his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines in 1993, graduating cum laude. Prior to his formal training, he was under the tutelage of Fernando Sena, considered as the foremost art workshop instructor in Manila. He later on studied Portraiture at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle in 2009.
Capturing the various nuances of light as it strikes the subjects’ surface, combined with a thorough understanding of color blending and application have aided Bella to create works that are close to nature.”
Grandier Bella _ Paintings
Grandier Bella _ Paintings

American Art – Part II of IV: Christopher David White

Artist Statement: “That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment.”- Pema Chodron
“Like Chodron (a prolific author and Buddhist nun), I believe that change is evident in nearly every aspect of our daily lives and comes in numerous forms. The people we know, the world in which we live, and even the technology we use on a daily basis is in a constant state of flux. With nature undergoing this perpetual transformation, everything derived from nature is subject to the same cycle of growth and decay – life and death. Often, the process of change occurs at an almost unnoticeable rate. For this reason, we become attached to the world around us, and we expect that things will remain the same. So we take for granted what we experience each day of our lives. But, permanence is the ultimate illusion.
Today, we attempt to subvert impermanence through technology and science. We isolate ourselves from the natural world, viewing it from the perspective of a spectator rather than a participant. Going about our daily lives, we rarely notice nor appreciate each unique experience our surroundings offer. For me, there is a peace that can be found in even the simplest things – a decaying piece of wood, rusted metal, crumbling brick, the growth of moss and lichen. These ordinary elements within our environments offer both visual and physical reminders of our connection with nature. I am inspired by the small, overlooked aspects of our environment, finding enjoyment in the unexpected discoveries that come from simply being observant of the minutia and incorporating those mundane forms into my work. In my observations I also see similarities between the processes that occur in nature and those that drive us. By combining both human and natural elements within my work, I hope to highlight the fact that we are not separate from nature, but are in fact part of it, and in being so, we are as impermanent as a flash of lightning in the sky.
Through the use of trompe l’oeil, we look closer; we rediscover the amazement, joy, and tranquility that come from our environment. At the same time, we witness our impermanence by evenhandedly dialing in on decay. Neither good nor bad, decay is simply a natural process of our world that at times can produce deeply moving and beautiful effects.”
Christopher David White


“Yau proposed another round, then asked: ‘Is it true that to the west of the Khalif’s domain there live white-skinned people, with blue eyes and yellow hair?’

‘There can’t be men like that!’ Chiao Tai protested. ‘Must be ghosts or devils!’” – From “Murder in Canton,” by Robert Hans van Gulik, Dutch scholar, Chinese, diplomat, musician, writer, and author of the Judge Dee historical mysteries, who died 24 September 1967.

In addition to his vast knowledge of things Chinese, Robert van Gulik published essays about Japanese and Korean culture and wrote a book about Native American linguistics (“A Blackfoot-English Vocabulary Based on Material from the Southern Piegans”).

The Judge Dee mysteries are well written, historically accurate, and altogether delightful. For anyone interested in reading them, I suggest starting with “The Haunted Monastery.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Rhonda Goodall-Kirk: “My Love affair is with Oils and canvas, the way the oil paints move across the canvas and the smell that fills the room. The passion I have for painting is insatiable it oozes from my flesh. I am a thematic painter, the telling of the story through pictures is very important. I paint humanity at it’s most vulnerable, attempting to capture, on each canvas, one pure moment of emotion before all is clouded by numerous added emotions to confuse us.”

American Art – Part III of IV: Brad Slaugh

Artist Statement: “I work in several ways, all of them representational but not strictly realist, with an emphasis on immediate response and tactile exploration of form and color.”



“Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, an American novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Great Gatsby,” who was born 24 September 1896.

Some quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“I’m a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.”
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
“The faces of most American women over thirty are relief maps of petulant and bewildered unhappiness.”
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”
“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.”
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
“Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes – a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Spanish painter Antonio Cazoria Gonzalez: “His painting combines the domain of drawing, colour and technique, which reflect calmness and sensitivity. The treatment is delicate, exquisite and precise. It is construction and poetry. It is reality that captures the air and aura of the objects and figures represented. His paintings range over many subjects, from fruit or shells to nudes and landscapes. The aroma of the fruits can be perceived. The beach and the shells bring the breeze and the sea of his native land. Focusing on the beauty and sensuality of the female form, the lonely nudes show a high level of knowledge and technical brilliance.”

A Poem for Today

“Beach Glass,”
By Amy Clampitt

While you walk the water’s edge,
turning over concepts
I can’t envision, the honking buoy
serves notice that at any time
the wind may change,
the reef-bell clatters
its treble monotone, deaf as Cassandra
to any note but warning. The ocean,
cumbered by no business more urgent
than keeping open old accounts
that never balanced,
goes on shuffling its millenniums
of quartz, granite, and basalt.
It behaves
toward the permutations of novelty—
driftwood and shipwreck, last night’s
beer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-up
residue of plastic—with random
impartiality, playing catch or tag
ot touch-last like a terrier,
turning the same thing over and over,
over and over. For the ocean, nothing
is beneath consideration.
The houses
of so many mussels and periwinkles
have been abandoned here, it’s hopeless
to know which to salvage. Instead
I keep a lookout for beach glass—
amber of Budweiser, chrysoprase
of Almadén and Gallo, lapis
by way of (no getting around it,
I’m afraid) Phillips’
Milk of Magnesia, with now and then a rare
translucent turquoise or blurred amethyst
of no known origin.
The process
goes on forever: they came from sand,
they go back to gravel,
along with treasuries
of Murano, the buttressed
astonishments of Chartres,
which even now are readying
for being turned over and over as gravely
and gradually as an intellect
engaged in the hazardous
redefinition of structures
no one has yet looked at.

American Art – Part IV of IV: Linda Mann

Artist Statement: “The theme of my still life paintings is that the world is real, orderly and fascinating and that man is capable of understanding and enjoying it. I express this theme by choosing beautiful objects to paint, by creating compositions that are purposeful and intriguing, by carefully rendering the objects and by capturing the subtle and exact quality of light.
My paintings evoke an exciting sense of immediacy, of experiencing a stylized reality – not a reality of routine, but rather a reality of heightened and selective focus, sensuous surfaces, dramatic intersection of light and dark, subtle contrast between warm and cool light and between crisp and soft edges – a reality that rewards your study.”
© Linda Mann
© Linda Mann
© Linda Mann

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