December Offerings – Part V: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of II: Lisa Ober

In the words of one critic, “Lisa Ober is a professional portrait artist specializing in oil and pastel portraits. She is most known for her ability to depict the likeness and personality of her subjects with a finely executed attention to detail and an obvious fondness for classical realism. A native of St. Louis, Lisa began painting portraits in 1983 while working on her BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration at Washington University. Initially, she intended to pursue a career in commercial illustration, but by 1987 her growing list of clients coupled with her enthusiasm for painting people led her to take a leap of faith and pursue a full time career as a portrait artist instead. Lisa co-owns Ober Anderson Gallery in Kirkwood, Missouri and is a Signature Member of The Pastel Society of America.”

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“Whoever is most impertinent has the best chance.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer and musical genius, who died on 5 December 1791.

“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her. I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” – Claude Monet, French painter and founder of Impressionism, who died on 5 December 1926.

The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of Monet’s painting “Impression, Sunrise” (1872) – below.
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“The downhill path is easy, but there’s no turning back.” – Christiana Rossetti, English poet, who was born on 5 December 1830.

“Remember”

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
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Svetlana Ivanchenko is a contemporary Ukrainian artist who employs sand and shells to create mosaics. She is a graduate of Glukhovsky Pedagogical Institute with a specialization in Fine Art, and her work appears in private collections in Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and Israel.
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“California: The west coast of Iowa.” – Joan Didion, American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism and recipient of the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction (for “The Year of Magical Thinking”), who was born on 5 December 1934.

Some quotes from the work of Joan Didion:

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”
“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”
“Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.”
“Self-respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price.”
“Ask anyone committed to Marxist analysis how many angels on the head of a pin, and you will be asked in return to never mind the angels, tell me who controls the production of pins.”
“Hemingway was really early. I probably started reading him when I was just eleven or twelve. There was just something magnetic to me in the arrangement of those sentences. Because they were so simple – or rather they appeared to be so simple, but they weren’t.”
“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.”
“The fancy that extraterrestrial life is by definition of a higher order than our own is one that soothes all children, and many writers.”
“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”
“We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Mary Reardon: “While attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design I became intrigued with the intangible process of memory and have tried, through my art, to give form to the process of remembering or forgetting – the essence of who we are.
In order to effect this description, I have turned to one of the traditions of the still life – the use of objects as symbols. The bird has been used throughout the history of the visual arts to represent the human soul. Following in this tradition, I use the feather to represent the human soul or, in psychological terms, our memories. The containers, nests, and branches I have depicted are meant to represent the physical mind and how it functions as it holds, or fails to hold, those memories. The finished composition is intended to be a metaphor for how the mind looks at the moment when something is remembered or forgotten.
Skies and clouds, in more recent paintings, create a suggestion of a particular state of mind for me. The ‘landscape’ in some works is sometimes simply alluded to with the use of an object such as a twig or a leafing branch.
The reflection of objects in the surface of other objects speaks to the literal act of remembering (or reflecting) as well as introducing another level to the symbolism of the objects.”
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5 December – Coincident Destinies

Born 5 December 1839 – George Armstrong Custer, United States Army officer in charge of 7th Cavalry forces in the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Died 5 December 1895 – Gall, Hunkpapa Lakota Chief who was one of the Sioux commanders in the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Above – Last Stand Hill, site of the final conflict in the Battle of Little Bighorn, 26 June 1876.
Below – George Armstrong Custer; Gall.
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Greek painter Theordore Manolides (born 1948) studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and attended the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.” He lives and works in Athens, Paris, and Monaco.
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“Sea Grapes,”
By Derek Walcott

That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus,
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband’s

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is
like the adulterer hearing Nausicaa’s name
in every gull’s outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility
will never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore
now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,
since Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant’s boulder heaved the trough
from whose groundswell the great hexameters come
to the conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Czechoslovakian sculptor and ceramicist Jitka Palmer: “My work is figurative, expressive and narrative and is inspired by stories and themes.
I love watching people, their body language and facial expressions.
I am on lookout for a special moments and situations accompanying every human activity.
Music, dance, theatre and poetry are my important sources of inspiration.
I use my sketchbooks, my books and my CDs as a valuable collection of raw material.
I draw on personal experiences, past and present, with a view to reflect the spontaneity of ordinary human life.”
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American Art – Part II of II: Katie Wilson

Artist Statement: “Working with collage pushes me to be more innovative. It allows me to put down color, pattern and texture where I wouldn’t have otherwise with any other medium. I am intrigued by the imagined drama or peace of a past moment. My desire is to translate that moment through my own interpretation of the subject’s inner person by creating the drama and mood with color, texture and facial expression.”
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