American Art – Part I of IV: Brent Funderburk
Died 21 November 1907 – Paula Modersohn-Becker, a German painter and one of the most important representatives of early Expressionism.
21 November 1877 – Thomas Edison announces that he has invented the phonograph, a machine that could record and play sound. The first words he recorded and played back were “Mary had a little lamb.” The phonograph was Edison’s favorite invention.
Died 21 November 1909 – Peder Severin Kroyer, a Danish painter.
Below – “In the store when there is no fishing”; “Summer Day on Skagen’s Southern Beach”; “Roses”; “Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”; Summer Evening at Skagen Beach – The Artist and His Wife”; “Self-Portrait.”
Here is how one critic describes the work of Spanish painter Ramon Lombarte: “His art seems to rise from a Mediterranean psyche with rich combinations of light, shadows and movement. Mundane impressions of our daily life are transformed into unforgettable works of riveting beauty. He manages to weld a combination of flawless technique with images of daily life to capture in his art rich scenarios revealing an original and virtuosic talent. He invites us to come out of the daily routine and from his artist soul he rises us up from a conventional surrounding world. He stimulates our consciousness and stops the movement of time to reveal the transcendent in the insignificant, the shape in the shapeless.”
“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” – Ellen Glasgow, American writer, author of “Barren Ground,” and recipient of the 1942 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (for “In This Our Life”), who died 21 November 1945.
Some quotes from the work of Ellen Glasgow:
“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.”
“A tragic irony of life is that we so often achieve success or financial independence after the chief reason for which we sought it has passed away.”
“Most women want their youth back again; but I wouldn’t have mine back at any price. The worst years of my life are behind me, and my best ones ahead.”
“There is no support so strong as the strength that enables one to stand alone.”
“Grandfather used to say that when a woman got ready to fall in love the man didn’t matter, because she could drape her feeling over a scarecrow and pretend he was handsome.”
“Her life, she knew, was becoming simplified into an unbreakable chain of habits, a series of orderly actions at regular hours. Vaguely, she thought of herself as a happy woman; yet she was aware that this monotony of contentment had no relation to what she had called happiness in her youth. It was better perhaps; it was certainly as good; but it measured all the difference between youth and maturity.”
“It is good for a man to do right, and to leave happiness to take care of itself.”
“In the past few years, I have made a thrilling discovery … that until one is over sixty, one can never really learn the secret of living. One can then begin to live, not simply with the intense part of oneself, but with one’s entire being.”
“Mediocrity would always win by force of numbers, but it would win only more mediocrity.”
“He knows so little and knows it so fluently.”
“To teach one’s self is to be forced to learn twice.”
“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”
“No idea is so antiquated that it was not once modern. No idea is so modern that it will not someday be antiquated.”
“No matter how vital experience might be while you lived it, no sooner was it ended and dead than it became as lifeless as the piles of dry dust in a school history book.”
American Art – Part II of IV: Thomas Wargin
Artist Statement: “The work in its entirety represents who I am, my interests, abilities and what lies beneath my sub-conscious mind. My goal is to engage the viewer and stimulate the mind as well as their visual senses. I want the viewer to go to a place that they can only dream of or hope to be part of. I sometimes am intrigued with childhood stories and interpret these stories in a fashion that captures my viewer and stirs them into a new way of looking at the story.
The technique I use to create my work is a blend of old and new practices. I begin with sketches, which evolve into clay or carved 3- dimensional forms. Using various molding techniques, resin models are created, which are then hand packed into flasks with casting sand, ready for the casting process. In my foundry, I melt aluminum and bronze and watch as the molten metal burns new life into the molds. After cooling, parts are assembled for rough fit and positioning. Meticulously, I either weld or drill, tap and screw every component together to check for form, fit, and overall composition. Some pieces are disassembled again to be taken through phases of polishing or sandblasting. I complete the desired finish through high polish buffing or patination. Some of my art adds a diverse mixture of materials both raw and man made such as: various woods, stone, glass, or even original drawings. With the combination of these materials my goal is to compliment not compete in the composition and make it more inviting. These types of processes and materials allow me and my work to be spontaneous. It also assures each piece to be an original.
My goal is to create a unique art form that shares a seamless integration between the world around me and the human spirit. All the work is the growth of my interests, skills and imagination. I personally accomplish every task in the creation of my work. I feel it harnesses the energy and creativity of my soul.”
In the words of one writer, “Born in Paris in 1953, Patrick Pietropoli has been painting figures and urban landscapes for almost thirty years. His landscapes have been influenced by the panoramas of many cities around the world including Rome, Venice, New York, Paris or London and he continues to draw inspirations from cities that surround him. His meticulous attention to detail, his realistic use of color and his distinct linear gestures are what make his urban landscapes very personal and familiar, creating an intimate experience between the artwork and its audience. Pietropoli’s own personal Grail is the quest of beauty: ‘Beauty, I think, can be anywhere and everywhere, even under all the infinitesimal details of reality, like a chimney on a rooftop or a gothic window on the top of a building in New York City,” he says. ‘ I don’t have to look far or wide to find beauty, because – to my eyes- it’s in everything. And I do not consider myself a realistic painter at all. I use realism to reach another dimension that is beyond the boundaries of realism.’”
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of British figurative painter Mark Demsteader (born 1963): “His powerful depictions of the female form in clean and assured lines of pastel and gouache have sparked a renaissance of interest in traditional life drawing amongst the art collecting fraternity. This immense technical ability is tempered by the natural sensitivity with which he imbues each subject. Although isolated in the picture plane each model seems to live and breathe, their expression and poise conveying a sense of narrative that invites the viewer to ask more questions about them than the artist answers.”
From the American Old West: Tom Horn
Born 21 November 1861 – Tom Horn, an American Old West lawman, scout, soldier, hired gunman, outlaw, and assassin. On the day before his 43rd birthday, Tom Horn was hanged in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the murder of Willie Nickell. Horn is buried in the Columbia Cemetery in Boulder, Colorado.
“If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.” – Rene Magritte, Belgian surrealist artist, who was born 21 November 1898.
American Art – Part III of IV: Tristan Henry Wilson
In the words of one writer, “Hailing from the forlorn reaches of New England, visual artist Tristan Henry-Wilson works his unique magic with consummate flair and a knowing ease. A steady go-to illustrator for many popular music bands and magazines, he has quickly become a regular presence throughout online and print media. However, despite his growing success in illustration, Tristan still labors away for days on end with a feverishly beatific glint in his eye and an oil-paint dabbed brush in his hand, causing some to cite him as a rising personality in ‘Nueu American Painting.’”
A Poem for Today
By Tu Fu
A slight rain comes, bathed in dawn light.
I hear it among treetop leaves before mist
Arrives. Soon it sprinkles the soil and,
Windblown, follows clouds away. Deepened
Here is the Artist Statement of Japanese Painter Yoji Nishida:
“For 40 years, I have continued to paint with oil on the theme of man. In recent years I’ve drawn mainly roses and white color female images. Models are those who have continued to classical ballet.
I decided to add one point for comparison with recent years, ‘look’ works depicting 25 years ago.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Ninth Day, Ninth Month,”
By Tao Ch’ien
Slowly autumn comes to an end.
Painfully cold a dawn wind thickens the dew.
Grass round here will not be green again,
Trees and leaves are already suffering.
The clear air is drained and purified
And the high white sky’s a mystery.
Nothing’s left of the cicada’s sound.
Flying geese break the heavens’ silence.
The Myriad Creatures rise and return.
How can life and death not be hard?
From the beginning all things have to die.
Thinking of it can bruise the heart.
What can I do to lighten my thoughts?
Solace myself drinking the last of this wine.
Who understands the next thousand years?
Let’s just make this morning last forever.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Brett Bigbee
Artist Statement: “I am painstaking with my work. I usually have a strong sense of the effect I want to create and I labor to achieve it. As a result, I only finish one or two paintings a year.
When I decide upon an image, I start making multiple sketches to explore and strengthen the composition. With (paintings of my two sons), once I was confident of the strength of the image, I focused on creating life-size drawings of each child. Next, I transferred the drawings to canvas. To do this, I traced the drawings, flipped the tracings over and re-drew my lines on the reverse side of the tracings. Then, I flipped the tracings back over onto the canvas and used a pen to go over the original lines. This process transfers the graphite onto the canvas. Renaissance artists used a similar technique. They would prick the contours of a drawing with a pin and dust powdered charcoal through the pinholes onto the recipient surface, which could be a wall or canvas.
My next step in this painting was to create a monochromatic, opaque image. I used various golden hues, establishing the tonal relationships that I’d have in the final work. In a sense, I redrew and refined the image using multiple layers of paint. I then added local color to the whole image. As with the underpainting, the color is enhanced and developed using multiple layers of pigment until the painting is finished.”