American Art – Part I of II: JW Jung
“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” – Federico Fellini, Italian film director and scriptwriter, who was born 20 January 1920.
Fellini won five Academy Awards, including the greatest number of Oscars in history for Best Foreign Language Film (4): “La Strada” (1956), “The Nights of Cabiria” (1957), “8 ½” (1963), and “Amarcord” (1974). In March of 1993 he received an honorary Oscar in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments.
Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923) excelled in the painting of portraits and landscapes. In the words of one writer, “His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the sunlight of his native land.”
”On the green they watched their sons
Playing till too dark to see,
As their fathers watched them once,
As my father once watched me;” – From “Forefathers,” by Edmund Blunden, English poet, author, critic, and professor, who died 20 January 1974.
Like his friend Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden frequently wrote about his experiences as a soldier in World War I.
I heard the challenge ‘Who goes there?’
Close kept but mine through midnight air
I answered and was recognized
And passed, and kindly thus advised;
‘There’s someone crawling though the grass
By the red ruin, or there was,
And them machine guns been a firin’
All the time the chaps was wirin’,
So Sir if you’re goin’ out
You’ll keep you ‘ead well down no doubt.’
When will the stern line ‘Who goes there?’
Meet me again in midnight air?
And the gruff sentry’s kindness, when
Will kindness have such power again?
It seems as, now I wake and brood,
And know my hour’s decrepitude,
That on some dewy parapet
the sentry’s spirit gazes yet,
Who will not speak with altered tone
When I at last am seen and known.
Here is the Artist Statement of Scottish painter Lucy Campbell (born 1977) : “When I was a little girl, I used to wander alone in the woods. One time I remember being lost: it is one of my richest and most enduring early memories. I remember the colours and light; the pink foxgloves, the rich green foliage; but most of all I remember the dichotomous emotions – I felt fearful because I was, for the first time ever, genuinely lost and alone in a corner of the woods I’d never ventured into before that day, and I felt a dreadful fear that I would be lost forever – but I also felt a thrill for the same reasons, as if I’d happened upon some magical other dimension unseen to others. I wandered around in there, imagining I was far, far from home, for some time, until I found myself once again in a bit of the woods I recognised. This memory is always there, in what I paint, the sense of wonder, the glee and the fear.”
“Modern traveling is not traveling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel.” – John Ruskin, English art critic, artist, social thinker, philanthropist, and author of “The Stones of Venice,” who died 20 January 1900.
Some quotes from the work of John Ruskin:
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ”
“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.”
“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.”
“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.”
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”
“A book worth reading is worth owning.”
“Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless.”
“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness.”
“No changing of place at a hundred miles an hour will make us one whit stronger, or happier, or wiser. There was always more in the world than man could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it no better for going fast. The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. It does a bullet no good to go fast; and a man, if he be truly a man, no harm to go slow; for his glory is not at all in going, but in being.”
“All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.”
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.”
“Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.”
“There is no wealth but life.”
“Cookery means…English thoroughness, French art, and Arabian hospitality; it means the knowledge of all fruits and herbs and balms and spices; it means carefulness, inventiveness, and watchfulness.”
“You will find it less easy to uproot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others faults; in every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; rejoice in it and as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”
“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.”
“Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.”
Here is the Artist Statement of South African painter Marike Kleynscheldt: “I am a Bellville based artist with no formal art training, and have been painting since 2007.
My work is nostalgic, sentimental, anything from portraits to still lifes to conceptual work. I express myself with bright emphasised key colours and I love to use outlines and flat backgrounds as design elements. These outlines and flat backgrounds are my favourite part of the painting to do, but without a strong detailed object in the foreground, there is nothing to create the negative space and outline, so in a way the object I paint exists to emphasise the clean background, and vice versa.
I believe there is a place for ‘art for the sake of art’ as well as conceptual work, the one is no greater than the other, and I tend to bounce between the two, while I work on a conceptual work I look forward to my next still life.
I also believe there is a sense of joy captured in my work, something positive that comes through in my use of red paint, hard brush strokes or simply the way in which I beautify objects I paint. I have a great passion for art, I cannot hold it back, I couldn’t stop painting if i was forced, it is my love and my gift and I only hope to share it.”
From the Music Archives: Buddy Holly
20 January 1956 – Buddy Holly records “Blue Days, Black Nights” in Nashville.
“Read poems to yourself in the middle of the night. Turn on a single lamp and read them while you’re alone in an otherwise dark room or while someone else sleeps next to you. Read them when you’re wide awake in the early morning, fully alert. Say them over to yourself in a place where silence reigns and the din of the culture — the constant buzzing noise that surrounds us — has momentarily stopped. These poems have come from a great distance to find you.” – Edward Hirsch, American poet and critic, who was born 20 January 1950.
“Early Sunday Morning”
I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.
No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.
It’s like this: just when you think
you have forgotten that red-haired girl
who left you stranded in a parking lot
forty years ago, you wake up
early enough to see her disappearing
around the corner of your dream
on someone else’s motorcycle
roaring onto the highway at sunrise.
20 January 1961 – Robert Frost recites “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration.
“The Gift Outright”
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
“The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars,
life is your child, but there is in me
Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye
that watched before there was an ocean.” – From “Continent’s End,” by Robinson Jeffers, American poet, who died 20 January 1962.
The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of surburban houses-
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads-
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.-As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.
In the words of one critic, “Visual artist P. John Burden (born 1943) is a classically trained Canadian and British subject. Burden’s work includes original acrylic paintings, watercolour paintings, and traditional and modern artist’s prints. His art is symbolic or surrealist, using representational skills from a lifetime of drawing, painting, design. John Burden also illustrates books for all ages and has work in collections worldwide.”
A Poem for Today
“To Hear the Falling World,”
By Jane Hirshfield
Only if I move my arm a certain way,
it comes back.
Or the way the light bends in the trees
this time of year,
so a scrap of sorrow, like a bird, lights on the heart.
I carry this in my body, seed
in an unswept corner, husk-encowled and seeming safe.
But they guard me, these small pains,
from growing sure
of myself and perhaps forgetting.
American Art – Part II of II: Josh George
Artist Statement: “I’ve always been attracted to the urban landscape. It holds a different kind of beauty. The decaying masonry work of time tested dwellings and the dismal skies that surround them. Quilt like patterns are revealed when you view through these arrangements.”
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part I of VII
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part II of VII
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part III of VII
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part IV of VII
“Water, water, water…There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part V of VII
“The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth’; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.”
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part VI of VII
The Curmudgeonly Sage: Quotes from Edward Abbey – Part VII of VII