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

American Art – Part I of VI: Alfred Henry Maurer

In the words of one writer, “Alfred Henry Maurer (1868-1932) was an American Modernist painter. He exhibited his work in avant-garde circles internationally and in New York City during the early twentieth century. Highly respected today, his work met with little critical or commercial success in his lifetime, and he died, a suicide, at the age of sixty-four.”

Nobel Laureate: Samuel Beckett

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.” – Samuel Beckett, Irish poet, playwright, author of “Waiting for Godot,” and recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation,” who died 22 December 1989.
Some quotes from the work of Samuel Beckett:
“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
“You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”
“The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.”
“Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” “Don’t touch me! Don’t question me! Don’t speak to me! Stay with me!”
“The end is in the beginning and yet you go on.”
“Nothing is more real than nothing.” is in the beginning and yet you go on.”
“My mistakes are my life.”
“‘Let’s go.’ ‘We can’t.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘We’re waiting for Godot.’”
“I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

American Art – Part II of VI: Bill Mack

In the words of one writer, “The impact of Bill Mack’s art is achieved not only by his dramatic portrayal of the human form, but also by the utilization of a wide variety of materials with which to execute his artistic vision. The final work emerges as a classic example of the interplay of form and materials. For over 35 years, American sculptor Bill Mack has created sculpture in relief and in the round for government, corporate and private collections.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Ludwig van Beethoven

22 December 1808 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano).

British Art – Part I of II: Crawfurd Adamson

In the words of one writer, “Though born in Edinburgh in 1953, Crawfurd Adamson moved to Hastings in 1987 where he has lived and worked ever since. He has devoted most of his working practice to the study and development of life drawing not only through his own work but also through the practical establishment of workshops, attended by artists with similar considerations. He has exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe and USA in both solo and group exhibitions since the early 1980’s and his work is held in numerous private, corporate and institutional collections worldwide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Fleming Collection, London.”

© Crawfurd Adamson
© Crawfurd Adamson
© Crawfurd Adamson
© Crawfurd Adamson
© Crawfurd Adamson

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – Mary Ann Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot, English novelist, journalist, translator, and author of “Middlemarch,” who died 22 December 1880.

Some quotes from the work of George Eliot:

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.”
“It is always fatal to have music or poetry interrupted.”
“It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.”
“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”
“No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from. ”
“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”
“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.”
“I am not imposed upon by fine words; I can see what actions mean.”
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”


British Art – Part II of II: Jake Baddeley

In the words of one critic, “Jake was born in Nottingham, England, in 1964, and has been drawing since his early childhood. After finishing his education as an illustrator at the University of London in 1988 he decides to travel around Europe, which leads him to the Netherlands for the first time. During these travels he meets his wife Vanessa and in 1990 he decides to live in The Hague and to work as an illustrator. Inspired by the Dutch Masters he starts working with oil paint in 1992.
Jake draws his inspirations from many sources: the Ancient Greeks, the Italian Renaissance Masters, the Dutch Masters, iconography, mythology, psychology and philosophy. But most of all he relies on his own subconscious and intuition which has proven many times to have a logic and curious independence of its own.”

“To some will come a time when change itself is beauty, if not heaven.” – Edwin Arlington Robinson, American poet and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, who was born 22 December 1869.

“The House on the Hill”

They are all gone away,

The house is shut and still,

There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray

The winds blow bleak and shrill:

They are all gone away.

Nor is there one today

To speak them good or ill:

There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray

Around the sunken sill?

They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play

For them is wasted skill:

There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay

In the House on the Hill

They are all gone away,

There is nothing more to say.

Paraguayan painter Hernan Miranda (born 1960) was a Professor of Painting at the National University of Fine Arts in Asuncion from 1993 to 1997.

From the Music Archives – Part II of III: James Gurley

Born 22 December 1939 – James Gurley, an American musician best known as the guitarist of Big Brother and the Holding Company, a San Francisco band that was fronted by Janis Joplin from 1966 to 1968.

Here is how one critic describes the paintings of self-taught Australian artist Steve Harris (born 1953): “Harris has become well known for his impeccably painted still life compositions, the skillful use of light, shadow and space being a hallmark of his approach. He tends to depict objects which have an everyday function or perhaps have even been discarded, but the work is about much more than simple representation. Harris is a master of understated realism which in turn evokes its own sense of ‘atmosphere’ and contemplative mood. His works have been described as ‘meditations in light,’ and this is very much the feeling one has when attending one of Harris’s exhibitions – a type of reflective silence emanates from the paintings and imbues them with a spiritual quality that one would not perhaps anticipate.”
"THREE SOULS" 101cm x 121cm.
"OUTDOOR LIFE" 50cm x 122.

From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Maurice Gibb

Born 22 December 1949 Maurice Gibb, a Manx-English musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known as the guitarist, bassist and keyboardist of the Bee Gees.

American Art – Part III of VI: Victoria Selbach

In the words of one critic, “Victoria Selbach, in her youth, studied drawing and pastel at the Carnegie Mellon Museum of Pittsburgh and continued on to art classes at Carnegie Mellon University. Her years at CMU provided a range of course work including drawing from live models and studying anatomy at the Pitt Medical School Morgue. Victoria moved to New York City and graduated from Parsons School of Design. While making New York her home Victoria has traveled extensively and is indebted to all the amazing faces and startling visual environments that have fascinated and inspired her.”

“I write for one and only one purpose, to overcome the invincible ignorance of the traduced heart. […] I wish to speak to and for those who have had enough of the Social Lie, the Economics of Mass Murder, the Sexual Hoax, and the Domestication of Conspicuous Consumption.” – Kenneth Rexroth, American poet, academic, translator and essayist, who was born 22 December 2905.

Kenneth Rexroth, a central figure in the San Francisco Renaissance, was one of the fist American writers to explore Japanese poetic forms such as haiku and to translate Chinese verse.

“Falling Leaves and Early Snow”

In the years to come they will say,
“They fell like the leaves
In the autumn of nineteen thirty-nine.”
November has come to the forest,
To the meadows where we picked the cyclamen.
The year fades with the white frost
On the brown sedge in the hazy meadows,
Where the deer tracks were black in the morning.
Ice forms in the shadows;
Disheveled maples hang over the water;
Deep gold sunlight glistens on the shrunken stream.
Somnolent trout move through pillars of brown and gold.
The yellow maple leaves eddy above them,
The glittering leaves of the cottonwood,
The olive, velvety alder leaves,
The scarlet dogwood leaves,
Most poignant of all.

In the afternoon thin blades of cloud
Move over the mountains;
The storm clouds follow them;
Fine rain falls without wind.
The forest is filled with wet resonant silence.
When the rain pauses the clouds
Cling to the cliffs and the waterfalls.
In the evening the wind changes;
Snow falls in the sunset.
We stand in the snowy twilight
And watch the moon rise in a breach of cloud.
Between the black pines lie narrow bands of moonlight,
Glimmering with floating snow.
An owl cries in the sifting darkness.
The moon has a sheen like a glacier.

American Art – Part IV of VI: George Tsui

In the words of one critic, “George Tsui, Chinese-born American painter was born in Hong Kong and moved to New York in the late 60s, studying first at the School of Visual Arts and later majoring in oil painting at the Art Students League. While working at NBC, he was awarded the prestigious 1997 Emmy Award for Best Individual Art and Craft.
In the words of a second writer, “After twenty years in the New York art scene, George Tsui set out a creative journey into China in the pursuit of reaching the next level in his artistic career. The grand and splendid architect of the forbidden city and the mysterious and sensual character of the Dun Huang cave were the immediate inspiration for the first group of paintings George created. Always fascinated and attracted to the rare and exotic, elements of fantasy are often present in George’s work. Chinese themes filled his imagination. The idea of creating his own brand of classic romanticism, unrestrained by conventional reality, was deeply attractive to him. His models always dressed in exquisite beautiful silk gowns from the artist’s own collection of 20 authentic imperial dresses and posed in romantic, luxurious surroundings with a variety of antiques, artifacts, jewelry, and exotic landscapes and birds… George doesn’t pretend to be painting the real thing but draws us into a fantasy where the signs of subterfuge are plain to see, as the artist describes: these pieces ‘employ a dual technique of painting and sculpture that is traditionally ornate yet abstract in the most modern sense.’”


Here is the Artist Statement of New Zealand painter and sculptor Susan Saladino:“An overview of my artwork reveals a diversity of materials and mediums I utilize to express a singular theme. I have examined the relationship we have with the natural world and all animal life, and invite the viewer to do the same. The work is strongly committed to the belief that we as humans have a kinship with all life; we are all connected.
A desperate concern for animal welfare is a sentiment patterned in the fabric of all my artwork. Over the years I have observed the human action as it roams between a celebration of animals and brutality towards them. I have drawn on this observation earlier in my career to create paintings expressing reverence for their lives and protesting cruelty. Recently I began an exploration using clay. The playful animal figures I built are seemingly amusing, yet a deeper look exposes a truth I want the viewer to look at.
In my current mixed media sculpture series, I employ materials from the earth to reference conservation concerns. Surface texture of the hand built clay figures is created using natural materials found in the environment. Twigs sheared from culled trees symbolically imply the loss of habitat. Birds in some of the work represent all animal life. My figures very often are blindfolded suggesting the human inclination to turn away from certain realities that perhaps are uncomfortable or may require change. Change is needed.
I have come to believe that as stewards of this planet we cannot afford to turn a blind eye. The kinship we have with all life ‘must be expressed in action, since belief is no longer enough.’”
Susan Saladino
Susan Saladino
Susan Saladino
Susan Saladino
NPG P1825; Beatrix Potter (Mrs Heelis) by Charles King

“All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife. . . . Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.” – Beatrix Potter, English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, conservationist, and author of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” who died 22 December 1943.

Some quotes from the work of Beatrix Potter:

“Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were–Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. ”
“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.”
“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”
“I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.”
“The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.”
“I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense.”
“Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again.”
“Sunday, January 27, 1884. — There was another story in the paper a week or so since. A gentleman had a favourite cat whom he taught to sit at the dinner table where it behaved very well. He was in the habit of putting any scraps he left onto the cat’s plate. One day puss did not take his place punctually, but presently appeared with two mice, one of which it placed on its master’s plate, the other on its own.”
“It sometimes happens that the town child is more alive to the fresh beauty of the country than a child who is country born. My brother and I were born in London…but our descent, our interest and our joy were in the north country.”
“I am aware these little books don’t last long even if they are a success.”

Above – Beatrix Potter.
Below – The first edition of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” (1902); Hill Top, Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse, now a National Trust.

In the words of one art historian, Italian painter Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933) “entered on the artistic career and moved to Munich in 1886 to attend the school of arts and crafts. There, Giacometti met Cuno Amiet, who became his close friend and with whom he studied the works of the French impressionists. Supported by his parents, Giacometti moved along with Amiet to Paris in 1888.”

American Art – Part V of VI: Cesar Santos

In the words of one writer, “Cesar Santos is a Cuban-born American painter. He is best known for images that transmit the impression of paintings of the past, but are also imbued with contemporary, fresh concepts and his own philosophy.”
aVioli1 copy

A Poem for Today

“Appeal to the Grammarians,”
By Paul Violi

We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we’re capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we’re ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn’t bounce back,
The flat tire at journey’s outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it – here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, “See, that’s why
I don’t like to eat outside.”

aVioli2 copy

American Art – Part VI of VI: Michael Mao

In the words of one writer, “Michael Mao, Chinese-born painter, grew up in Shanghai, China. He began teaching himself drawing and painting at the young age of seven. He also learned painting through many workshops during the weekends when he was in middle school and high school. After graduated from Tongji University, one of the most prestigious architecture schools in China, Michael did many architectural renderings while working as an instructor in School of Architecture and Urban Design at Tongji University. In 1992, Michael moved to the United States to advance his architecture career by pursuing his Master of Architecture at University of Texas at Arlington.”


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