January Offerings – Part XIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Will Barnet

According to one writer, “American painter and printmaker Will Barnet (born 1911) lived through every major artistic school in modern American art. He remembered watching John Singer Sargent paint murals on the ceiling of the Boston Public Library in the 1920s, and being the printmaker in New York for Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. He remembered the explosion of Abstract Expressionism that would come to define the so-called New York School of artists.”
Will Barnet
Will Barnet
Will Barnet

In the words of one writer, “Born in 1964 in Bulgaria, Ognian Zekoff moved to Montreal, Quebec where currently resides. Zekoff’s spiritual works communicate their messages through his use of orders of shapes and images, creating positive emotions within the viewer. The creative reality from which his artworks emerge exists in the realm between dreaming and wakefulness, allowing each person who approaches his works to experience their own individualized interpretation. Each painting promotes the recognition of the viewer’s internal longings and encourages the transformation of such transient notions into something lasting.
Zekoff achieves his powerful emotive range without forcing his content into a narrative, leaving the interpretation of his works unrestricted. In using the nude body, Zekoff imbues his pieces with an innocence and a tangible quality that strengthens the viewer’s response.”

“Nobody said not to go.” – Emily Hahn, American journalist and author, who was born 14 January 1905.

Emily Hahn was the author of 52 books, many of them dealing with her tumultuous years in Shanghai, from 1935 until the Japanese invasion in 1941. In the opinion of one historian, “Her writings in the 20th century played a significant role in opening up Asia to the West.”

A few quotes from the work of Emily Hahn:

“The steward just asked me if I was not afraid to travel alone, and I said, ‘Why, it is life.’”
“The Bohemian who tires of life, who gives up by retirement into insanity or suicide, is not necessarily one who had failed in what he wants to express.”
“There had been a time, until 1422, when a number of both Gaelic and Anglo-Irish students attended Oxford and Cambridge in England. But fellow students had complained that Irish living together in large numbers sooner or later got noisy and violent and there was no handling them. Accordingly, the universities imposed a quota system on Irishman, and decreed that those admitted must be scattered around among non-compatriots: exclusively Irish halls of residence were banned.”

Below – Emily Hahn with her pet gibbon, Mr. Mills, who frequently accompanied her to dinner parties, dressed in a diaper and a dinner jacket.

Born 14 January 1945 – Einar Hakonarson, an Icelandic expressionistic and figurative painter.

Below (left to right) – “Disturbed Society”; “Malverkk”; “He Named Him Glacier”; “Rumor”; “True North.”


In the words of one writer, “David Knowles is a leading Contemporary Romantic Realist Artist who paints the bright, intense light of New Zealand. David’s work is unusual in this era because he takes an unashamedly positive and romantic approach to his subjects and illustrates the idealistic beauty possible in the imagination. Many current artists choose to take the dark road, opening up their canvases to the inner pain and melancholy of the artist’s existence, but Knowles consciously chooses to take the path of beauty and light. From simplified geographical landscapes in perspective on open planes, to idealised depictions of human subjects and the theme of female beauty encompassing childhood, youth and maturity; all have a place and demonstrate a broad appreciation of humanity and the beauty that exists at each stage of life.”

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin, American writer born to Spanish-Cuban parents in France, diarist, and author of “Delta of Venus,” who died 14 January 1977.

Some quotes from the work of Anais Nin:

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
“I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ.”
“Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are.”
“I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness. In reality those who satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ‘idea of them.’”
“There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.”
“From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.”
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”
“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”
“People living deeply have no fear of death.”
“Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.”
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”

Belarusian painter Oleg Nazarenko (born 1961) has had exhibitions in Sofia, Lodz, Braunselz, Krakov, Sao Paulo, and Moscow.


14 January 1990 – “The Simpsons” premieres on FOX-TV.

Some quotes from “The Simpsons”:

“Homer: Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”
“Homer: Lisa, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.”
“Lisa: Do we have any food that wasn’t brutally slaughtered?
Homer: Well, I think the veal might have died of loneliness.”
“Homer: Hello… My name is Mr. Burns. I believe you have a letter for me.
Postal Clerk: Okay, Mr. Burns, uhh, what’s your first name?
Homer: I don’t know…”
“Homer: To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”
“Mr. Burns: “Oh, ‘meltdown.’ It’s one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an ‘unrequested fission surplus.’”
“Homer: Pff, English. Who needs that? I’m never going to England.”
“Homer: Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals … except the weasel.”
“Homer: Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”
“Kent Brockman: Things aren’t as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office. Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors. Useful people are starting to feel the pinch.”
“Homer: I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman.”

American Art – Part II of III: Duffy Sheridan

According to one art historian, “Duffy Sheridan (born 1947) has been painting since he was a child. His father, also an artist, encouraged him to learn to paint anything and everything. He has traveled the world and dedicated his artistic life to the discovery and expression of beauty as he sees it.” In Sheridan’s words, the purpose of his work should be “to magnify the dignity and nobility of the human spirit and the singular beauty of all things. When people look at one of my paintings, I’d like them to see that humans, indeed, are noble beings.”

14 January 1847 – During what came to be known as the Taos Revolt, Mexicans angered by the abusive behavior of American soldiers billeted in their city and opposed to the U.S. occupation of New Mexico during the Mexican-American War, assassinate Territorial Governor Charles Bent.

Above – “The Siege of Taos.”

Below – Governor Charles Bent.

Here is one critic describing the background of Chilean painter Mario Pavez: “Since he was very young he showed a special interest for painting, increasing his fascination for the Realism, influenced by some temporary exhibitions which passed through Chile, like the one of the great Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla and especially the one of the famous Chilean realistic painter Claudio Bravo.
In 2000 he graduated in Fine Arts at the Universidad de Chile. In the following years he investigates the traditional techniques of the European painting, moving to Spain.”

A Poem for Today

“Curriculum Vitae,”
By Anthony Hecht

As though it were reluctant to be day,
…….Morning deploys a scale
…….Of rarities in gray,
And winter settles down in its chain-mail,

Victorious over legions of gold and red.
……The smokey souls of stones,
……Blunt pencillings of lead,
Pare down the world to glintless monotones

Of graveyard weather, vapors of a fen
…….We reckon through our pores.
…….Save for the garbage men,
Our children are the first ones out of doors.

Book-bagged and padded out, at mouth and nose
…….They manufacture ghosts,
…….George Washington’s and Poe’s,
Banquo’s, the Union and Confederate hosts’,

And are themselves the ghosts, file cabinet gray,
…….Of some departed us,
…….Signing our lives away
On ferned and parslied windows of a bus.

Below – “Passengers,” by Brian Naughton.

English painter Trystram Menhinick lives and works in Manchester.

American Art – Part III of III: Frederic Kellogg

In the words of one critic, “The art of Frederic Kellogg invites us to enter the private world of a highly sensitive, patient and focused observer. Kellogg’s gentle but persistent curiosity has been directed at a wonderful variety of objects and persons. His art is possessed of a spellbinding quietude. Its steady silence holds fragments of our familiar world in a realm of timelessness and carefully controlled psychological tension. Kellogg’s is an art independent of a particular and repetitive style. He is at heart a realist but is too much the poet to merely record the passing scene. He is a thoughtful man, one who probes and ponders, one who tries to uncover, albeit gently, the unseen character of everyday things.”


Look Up – Part I of V: Carl Sagan

“Before we invented civilization our ancestors lived mainly in the open out under the sky. Before we devised artificial lights and atmospheric pollution and modern forms of nocturnal entertainment we watched the stars. There were practical calendar reasons of course but there was more to it than that. Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. When it happens to me after all these years it still takes my breath away.” – “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space”


Look Up – Part II of V: Kawabata Yasunari

“Was this the bright vastness the poet Bashō saw when he wrote of the Milky Way arched over a stormy sea?” – “Snow Country”

Look Up – Part III of V: Antonio Porchia

“Night is a world lit by itself.” – “Voices”

Trees & Stars

Look Up – Part IV of V: Loren Eiseley

“Lights come and go in the night sky. Men, troubled at last by the things they build, may toss in their sleep and dream bad dreams, or lie awake while the meteors whisper greenly overhead. But nowhere in all space or on a thousand worlds will there be men to share our loneliness.” – “The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature”

Look Up – Part V of V: John Muir

“We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.” – “The Mountains of California”

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