November Offerings – Part XI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Robin Kimball

Artist Statement: “My work can best be described as ‘modern realism’ and is heavily influenced by the artists of the Boston School, the Impressionists, and Contemporary Realists. Although I do work on the landscape ‘en plein air,’ I prefer the control of the studio light and expand upon my outdoor work there as well as paint still life. Most importantly it is about the process of painting and achieving a reality that is bathed in color and light.”

Born 11 November 1858 – Marie Bashkirtseff, a Ukrainian-born Russian painter, sculptor, and diarist.

Below (left to right) – “The Studio”; “The Meeting”; “Autumn”; “Young Lady Wearing a Hat with a Blue Feather”; “Self-Portrait.”

“We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth.” – Lucretia Mott, American Quaker, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, social reformer, and author of “A Sermon to the Medical Students,” who died 11 November 1880.

Some quotes from the work of Lucretia Mott:

“It is time that Christians were judged more by their likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ. Were this sentiment generally admitted we should not see such tenacious adherence to what men deem the opinions and doctrines of Christ while at the same time in every day practice is exhibited anything but a likeness to Christ.”
“It is not Christianity, but priestcraft that has subjected woman as we find her.”
“I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.”
“The cause of Peace has had my share of efforts, taking the ultra non-resistance ground — that a Christian cannot consistently uphold, and actively support, a government based on the sword, or whose ultimate resort is to the destroying weapons.”

Born 11 November 1863 – Paul Signac, a French neo-impressionist painter who, working with Georges Seurat, helped develop the pointillist style.

Below (left to right) – “Breakfast”; “Sunday”; “Capa di Noli”; “Women at the Well”; “The Grand Canal (Venice).”

From the Music Archives: Vince Martell

Born 11 November 1945 – Vince Martell, rock musician best known as the lead guitarist for Vanilla Fudge.

American Art – Part II of IV: Dorian Vallejo

In the words of one writer, “Born in New York City on March 1, 1968, Dorian Vallejo’s passion for drawing came at an early age. Inspired by his father, the fantasy artist and illustrator Boris Vallejo, Dorian had pencil in hand by the age of three and was working as a professional illustrator before reaching college age, regularly producing covers for Marvel Comics and numerous paperback novels. Today, he is one of the country’s most accomplished and versatile portrait painters creating everything from traditional commissioned oil portraits and sketches to pencil drawings and intimate life portraits.”

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter F. Drucker, Austrian educator, writer, management consultant, and author of “Concept of the Corporation,” who died 11 November 2005.

Some quotes from the work of Peter F. Drucker:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
“Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the ‘naturals,’ the ones who somehow know how to teach.”
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
“Business, that’s easily defined – it’s other people’s money.”
“Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”
“Never mind your happiness; do your duty.”
“The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.”
“When a subject becomes totally obsolete we make it a required course.”
“Few companies that installed computers to reduce the employment of clerks have realized their expectations… They now need more, and more expensive clerks even though they call them ‘operators’ or ‘programmers.’”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of British painter Hugh Buchanan: “Hugh Buchanan’s paintings do not merely depict, they inhabit an architecture. You feel yourself in the rooms and houses which he has, over thirty years, so incomparably evoked. You feel yourself inside, not merely particular spaces, but in those spaces as first conceived by the great architects who designed them.”

“The great wheel of fire of ancient wisdom, silence and word engendering the myth of the origin, human action engendering the epic voyage toward the other; historical violence revealing the tragic flaw of the hero who must then return to the land of origin; myth of death and renewal and silence from which new words and images will arise, keeps on turning in spite of the blindness of purely lineal thought.” – Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist, essayist, and author of “The Death of Artemio Cruz,” who was born 11 November 1928.

Some quotes from the work of Carlos Fuentes:

“I discovered very quickly that criticism is a form of optimism, and that when you are silent about the shortcomings of your society, you’re very pessimistic about that society. And it’s only when you speak truthfully about it that you show your faith in that society.”
“Culture consists of connections, not of separations: to specialize is to isolate.”
“I need; therefore, I imagine.”
“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”
“Love can isolate us from everything around us. But in its absence, we can be filled with the fear that something comparable exists.”
“Chaos: it has no plural.”
“Memory is satisfied desire.”
“She begins to feel that the reality show is the university she never attended. Vicarious reality. Emotion without a value-added tax. Movement without danger. Alma finds her reality. She no longer has a reason to put herself at risk and go out into the hostile, degrading world.”
“Robinson Crusoe, the first capitalist hero, is a self-made man who accepts objective reality and then fashions it to his needs through the work ethic, common sense, resilience, technology, and, if need be, racism and imperialism.”
“If the Soviet Union can give up the Brezhnev Doctrine for the Sinatra Doctrine, the United States can give up the James Monroe Doctrine for the Marilyn Monroe Doctrine: Let’s all go to bed wearing the perfume we like best.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Linda Joyce: “I am a contemporary realist painter whose works depict all aspects of Life in the Australian Bush and Outback. I was formally trained in Commercial Art and worked in Graphic design for 18 years before going back to my roots in the bush (living near Cooma in the Snowy Mountains of NSW). This is when I left the Commercial world behind and pursued my love for fine art. I started exhibiting my work in 1994 in regional Exhibitions and won many awards. Circumstances forced a move back to the ‘Big Smoke’ but my heart still lies in the Bush and every year I make numerous trips back to the Bush and the Outback for my sanity’s sake and for continuing inspiration.”

“Only in books do we learn what’s really going on.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., American writer, pacifist intellectual, humanist, social critic, and author of “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “A Man Without a Country,” who was born 11 November 1922.

Some quotes from Kurt Vonnegut’s “A Man Without a Country”:

“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.
So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
“Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being? Isn’t it such a relief to have somebody say that?”
“Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn’t even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.”
“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
‘Blessed are the merciful’ in a courtroom? ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
“The biggest truth to face now – what is probably making me unfunny now for the remainder of my life – is that I don’t think people give a damn whether the planet goes or not. It seems to me as if everyone is living as members of Alcoholics Anonymous do, day by day. And a few more days will be enough. I know of very few people who are dreaming of a world for their grandchildren.”
“If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcome in Washington, D.C.”
“‘Socialism’ is no more an evil word than ‘Christianity.’ Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.”
“Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.”
“And I apologize to all of you who are the same age as my grandchildren. And many of you reading this are the same age as my grandchildren. They, like you, are being royally shafted and lied to by our Baby Boomer corporations and government.”
“Humor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself.”
“And my car back then, a Studebaker as I recall, was powered, as are most of all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused, addictive, and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.
When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any left. Cold turkey.
Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t the TV news is it? Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.”
“But I replied that what made being alive almost worthwhile for me, besides music, was all the saints I met, who could be anywhere. By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Mozambique-born Portuguese painter Fernando Gerardo: “My paintings are about feeling the world around me. Sometimes, thoughts on social issues or plain ‘poetic’ approaches, depending on my state of mind or personal experience, lead me to the subject I chose to paint.
My intentions are sometimes different from what I previously thought as being interesting and I end up painting the subject in a different approach, letting thoughts and feelings discover other paths around the subject.”

11 November 1918 – At 11 a.m., the Armistice ending World War I went into effect. During more than four years of conflict, 17 million people were killed (10 million military, 7 million civilian) and 20 million were wounded.

Anyone interested in a brilliant, poignant, and edifying exploration of some of the largely forgotten ways that World War I changed the values and cultural character of Western Civilization should read “The Great War and Modern Memory,” by Paul Fussell.

Below – The ruins of Passchendaele village in Belgium; British troops manning a trench in France; French soldiers near the Marne; a Russian forest trench at the Battle of Sarikamish; German troops at the Battle of the Marne; American troops of the 64th regiment celebrating the news of the Armistice.
Bataille de la Marne

American Art – Part III of IV: Charles Dwyer, Jr.

American painter Charles Dwyer, Jr. (born 1961) graduated from the Milwaukee School of Art, where he studied fine arts, painting, and printmaking. In the words of one critic, “Those who view Dwyer’s art are captivated by the combination of the female form with autobiographical elements or hidden images. In many of the works, Dwyer combines hand-written script with the images. Working in mixed media for both his limited edition prints and unique works of art, the artist builds up a tactile surface. Style and technique enhance each other to present a romantic form of his very personal expressionism.”

November 11th: Veterans Day in the United States; Armistice Day in Europe.

A Poem for Today

“In Flanders Fields,”
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Below – “Flanders Field,” painted by Mike Ashworth.

American Art – Part IV of IV: Anna Weber

Anna Weber earned a B.F.A. in Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2006.

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