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

American Art – Part I of III: Michael Pyrdsa

Michael Pyrdsa earned a B.S. degree from the College of New Jersey.

From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Sam Cooke

Born 22 January 1931 – Sam Cooke, influential American recording artist and singer-songwriter.


In the words of one writer, “Fernando Vicente Sánchez (Madrid, 1963) is a cartoonist, illustrator and painter. He has produced work for Spanish magazines and newspapers, illustrated book and record covers, exhibited across Spain and published several books of his work.”
The paintings below are from his Atlas series.

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Addie “Micki” Harris

Born 22 January 1940 – Addie “Micki” Harris, an American vocalist and member of the singing group The Shirelles.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of English sculptor Lynn Muir: “Lynn sculpts whimsical figures in wood, mainly from driftwood gathered from the beach near her home in Cornwall after a strong south westerly wind. Her pieces are characterised by their humour and by their simple shapes. Their forms are shaped with saws and sanding tools, the wood itself often suggesting the figure, its size, stance or hairstyle. Detailing is added with her fine painting, of facial features and decorative patterning of clothes, frequently jumpers which are ‘just like one I had.’
Lynn was born in East Anglia and trained at Colchester School of Art in Illustration. Her workshop overlooking the Atlantic was established when she moved to Cornwall in 1986.”

“I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.” – George Gordon Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement, who was born 22 January 1788.

“She Walks in Beauty”

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Below – “She Walks in Beauty,” by Alexis Hale.

In the words of one writer, Italian painter Vincenzo Calli (born 1953) “lives and works in his studio near Anghiari, a medieval hilltown dominating the upper Tiber Valley of Tuscany. He obtained his diploma from Sansepolcro’s Institute of Art, and continued his artistic training at the Academy of Belle Arts in Florence. He held his first public exhibition at the age of 21. In 1984, he was introduced in America and to worldwide galleries through an invitation to exhibit at the World Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.”
Calli 26-04-2011 001

“One could not do without repetition in life, like the beating of the heart, but it was also true that the beating of the heart was not all there was to life.” – Kobo Abe, Japanese writer, playwright, photographer, and inventor, who died 22 January 1993. In the words of one critic, “Among the honors bestowed on him were the Akutagawa Prize in 1951 for the short story “The Crime of S. Karuma” (published in “Beyond the Curve”), the Yomiuri Prize in 1962 for “Woman in the Dunes,” and the Tanizaki Prize in 1967 for the play “Friends.”

Some quotes from the work of Kobe Abe:

“When I look at small things, I think I shall go on living: drops of rain, leather gloves shrunk by being wet…When I look at something too big, I want to die: the Diet Building, or a map of the world…”
“The most frightening thing in the world is to discover the abnormal in that which is closest to us.”
“There wasn’t a single item of importance [in the newspaper]. A tower of illusion, all of it, made of illusory bricks and full of holes. If life were made up only of important things, it really would be a dangerous house of glass, scarcely to be handled carelessly. But everyday life was exactly like the headlines. And so everybody, knowing the meaninglessness of existence, sets the centre of his compass at his own home.”
“Loneliness was an unsatisfied thirst for illusion.”
“Still, the one who best understands the significance of light is not the electrician, not the painter, not the photographer, but the man who lost his sight in adulthood. There must be the wisdom of deficiency in deficiency, just as there is the wisdom of plenty in plenty.”
“He wanted to believe that his own lack of movement had stopped all movement in the world, the way a hibernating frog abolishes winter.”
“You don’t need me. What you really need is a mirror. Because any stranger is for you simply a mirror in which to reflect yourself. I don’t ever again want to return to such a desert of mirrors.”
“What in heaven’s name was the real essence of this beauty? Was it the precision of nature with its physical laws, or was it nature’s mercilessness, ceaselessly resisting man’s understanding?”
“I rather think the world is like sand. The fundamental nature of sand is very difficult to grasp when you think of it in its stationary state. Sand not only flows, but this very flow is the sand.”
“Certainly sand was not suitable for life. Yet, was a stationary condition absolutely indispensable for existence? Didn’t unpleasant competition arise precisely because one tried to cling to a fixed position? If one were to give up a fixed position and abandon oneself to the movement of the sands, competition would soon stop. Actually, in the deserts flowers bloomed and insects and other animals lived their lives. These creatures were able to escape competition through their great ability to adjust–for example, the man’s beetle family.
While he mused on the effect of the flowing sands, he was seized from time to time by hallucinations in which he himself began to move with the flow.”
“Being free always involves being lonely.”

Born 22 January 1891 – Moise Kisling, a Polish-born French painter.

Below (left to right) – “Provence Landscape”; “Nude on a Black Sofa”; “Vase of Mimosa”; “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “Three Orphans”; “Self-Portrait with a Pipe.”

22 January 1951 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to John Crowe Ransom.

“Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”

There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study
Astonishes us all.

Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond

The lazy geese, like a snow cloud
Dripping their snow on the green grass,
Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud,
Who cried in goose, Alas,

For the tireless heart within the little
Lady with rod that made them rise
From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle
Goose-fashion under the skies!

But now go the bells, and we are ready,
In one house we are sternly stopped
To say we are vexed at her brown study,
Lying so primly propped.

Below – “The Goose Girl,” by Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910).

Here is Argentinean painter Fernando O’Connor describing the genesis of his career: ”I was born in Buenos Aires on July, 1966. I started painting in the late 80’s. I spent very short periods of time at the Prilidiano Pueyrredón and Ernesto de la Cárcova Schools of Fine Art. But my real formation was at the Fine Arts Stimulation Academy drawing live models.”

American Art – Part II of III: Zoe Zylowski

In the words of one writer, “Zoe has studied at the Art Academy of Hillsborough since June 2010 under the direction of Kevin Murphy. Mr. Murphy is an internationally recognized, award winning portrait painter and illustrator.
From June 2011 to June 2012 Zoe served as apprentice to Mr. Murphy. During this apprenticeship Zoe painted two commissioned portraits for the Hillsborough Township Public Art Collection.
Zoe’s paintings and drawings have won local, state, national and international awards.”

Zoe Zylowski paintings


A Poem for Today

By Donald Justice

It’s snowing this afternoon and there are no flowers.
There is only this sound of falling, quiet and remote,
Like the memory of scales descending the white keys
Of a childhood piano—outside the window, palms!
And the heavy head of the cereus, inclining,
Soon to let down its white or yellow-white.

Now, only these poor snow-flowers in a heap,
Like the memory of a white dress cast down . . .
So much has fallen.
And I, who have listened for a step
All afternoon, hear it now, but already falling away,
Already in memory. And the terrible scales descending
On the silent piano; the snow; and the absent flowers

American Art – Part III of III: Leon Richman

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of sculptor Leon Richman:
“Beginning in medium to large-scale marble figures, his passion to explore the beauty of the human form in all dimensions soon led him to a more pliable medium, allowing more freedom in the creative process. The result has been an inspired body of work, each piece possessing its own unique spirit and personality.
Leon Richman is a California artist with a formal education from the renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and years of practical experience in the field of commercial art, but his soul and passion have always been deeply rooted in the finer arts. He has almost as many years experience in drawing and painting as he’s been living and breathing. Now he has directed his creative ambitions towards the art of sculpture.”

Mary Austin: Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain” – Part I of IV

“East away from the Sierras, south from Panamint and Amargosa, east and south many an uncounted mile, is the Country of Lost Borders.”

Below – The Country of Lost Borders, an area of land between Death Valley and the High Sierras.

Mary Austin: Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain” – Part II of IV

“The coyote is your true water-witch, one who snuffs and paws, snuffs and paws again at the smallest spot of moisture-scented earth until he has freed the blind water from the soil. Many water-holes are no more than this detected by the lean hobo of the hills in localities where not even an Indian would look for it.”

Mary Austin: Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain” – Part III of IV

“Just as the mesa twilights have their vocal note in the love call of the burrowing owl, so the desert spring is voiced by the mourning doves. Welcome and sweet they sound in the smoky mornings before breeding time, and where they frequent in any great numbers water is confidently looked for.”

Mary Austin: Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain” – Part IV of IV

“There is seldom and wind with first snows, more often rain, but later, when there is already a smooth foot or two over all the slopes, the drifts begin. The late snows are fine and dry, mere ice granules at the wind’s will. Keen mornings after a storm they are blown out in wreaths and banners from high ridges sifting into the canons.”

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