February Offerings – Part II: Something to Delight both Head and Heart


Groundhog Day

2 February 2015, 7:30 a.m. ET – Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow, thereby indicating that we are going to have six more weeks of winter weather.

Below – The weather-savvy rodent.

American Art – Part I of V: Brooke Walker-Knoblich

Contemporary realist painter Brooke Walker-Knoblich (born 1982) received her B.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, San Diego.

Died 2 February 1956 – Pyotr Konchalovsky, a Russian painter.

Below – “Portrait of Meyerhold”; “Still Life”; “The Landscape: Coast of France”; “At Summer”; “Cottages”; “Self-Portrait (in yellow shirt).”

2 February: An Important Date for People Who Love Great Literature

2 February 1882 – James Joyce is born in Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin.
2 February 1922 – The first edition of “Ulysses” is published in Paris (1,000 copies).

Below – A first edition copy of “Ulysses.”

American Art – Part II of V: Susan Seaberry

In the words of one critic, painter Susan Seaberry “received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Art Center Collage of Design in California and began her busy career as an illustrator and designer. Her experience in art continues to produce imaginative and prolific work that is exhibited widely in galleries and celebrated in print. This is a career that began at the forefront of the Functional Art Movement in Los Angeles and continues today with her commissions in portraiture and with her narrative figure paintings. Inspiration comes from revealing the character of her subjects and the playful use of metaphor in the telling of their stories. A high regard for draftsmanship and a contemporary take in blending romanticism and classicism is a recognizable theme throughout her art.”

Nicaraguan painter Roberto Diaz Garcia (born 1953) attended the National Academy of Fine Art in Managua.

Noble Laureate: Bertrand Russell

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, social critic, and recipient of the 1950 Nobel Prize in Literature “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals of freedom of thought,” who died 2 February 1970.

Some quotes from the work of Bertrand Russell:

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”
“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
“It’s easy to fall in love. The hard part is finding someone to catch you.”
“Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.”
“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.”
“To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.”
“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
“The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.”
“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”
“There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.”
“Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own.”


American Art – Part III of V: David Baltzer

Artist Statement: “My painting is an exploration of the often overlooked qualities of objects: the play of light on a casual grouping; a chance relationship of objects, a juxtaposition of textures, colors or shapes that combine with the manipulation of paint to express something striking… something deeper than their casual presence would at first suggest.”

Below – “Café Chairs”; “St. John’s #20”; “Bird in Tree”; “Gros Morne II (Green Gardens)”; “Roomscape Redux”; “Boat in Snow #2.”

Italian Art – Part I of II: Libero Maggini

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of sculptor Libero Maggini (born 1970): “Starting from the drawing and the expressiveness of figures, the artist works different materials with a personal and very unusual touch. By molding materials in total liberty and leaving way to fantasy, he is led to experience different techniques and to confront himself with everyday reality, which can be recognized in the expressions full of kindness and humanity of his sculptures.”

2 February 1959 – The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, and Richie Valens give their final performances at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on the “Winter Dance Party” tour. Admission: $1.25; last performance of the night: the Big Bopper sings “Chantilly Lace.”

Italian Art – Part II of II: Matteo Massagrande

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Italian painter Matteo Massagrande (born 1959): “Rejecting all ‘-isms’ and passing trends, he has always been faithful to his own noble personal vision in painting. His language is a cultured synthesis of what is best in history and the most modern figurative research.”


British Art – Part I of II: Oliver Wilson

Oliver Wilson was born in England, Educated at Stowe, and has a Fine Art Degree from Newcastle University. In the words of one writer, “Oliver Wilson’s paintings offer an insight into a dreamlike world using models in and around pools to portray figure studies in a contemporary setting. He uses photography to capture the images initially, thus enabling the viewer to see refractions of flesh and fabric under the water.
The subjects have a distortion bordering on abstraction whilst maintaining a subtle photographic realism. The titles of recent works reflect the setting of the scenes in the Greek isles and also evoke the mythologies of the ancient sea gods and nymphs.”

2 February 1863 – While working as a writer for the “Territorial Enterprise,” a newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada, Samuel Clemens
for the first time uses the pen name “Mark Twain.”

Above – Mark Twain in 1867.
Below – The “Territorial Enterprise” building today.

British Art – Part II of II: Peter Doig

In the words of one writer, “Peter Doig (born 17 April 1959)
is a Scottish painter. One of the most renowned living figurative painters, he has settled in Trinidad since 2002. In 2007, his painting ‘White Canoe’ sold at Sotheby’s for $11.3 million, then an auction record for a living European artist. In February 2013, his painting, ‘The Architect’s Home in the Ravine,’ sold for $12 million at a London auction.”

Below – “The Architect’s Home in the Ravine”; “White Canoe”; “Grasshopper”; “100 Years Ago, Carrera”; “Okahumkee (Some Other Peoples Blues)”; “Black Curtain (Towards Monkey Island)”; “Red Boat (Imaginary Boys)”; “Paragon.”

American Art – Part IV of V: Lisa Lindholm

In the words of one writer, “Painter Lisa Lindholm lives and works in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. She completed studies in computer visualization at Texas A&M University in 2000. After serving time in assorted cubicles in assorted large corporations making computers do assorted things, she leapt into life as a full-time artist in 2005. Lindholm currently works as a painter, graphic designer, and proprietor of FreeLisa Designs and Banner Theory. Her current series of works deals with the relationships between an organic and natural existence with a created and imagined presence.”
aWelch1 copy

A Poem for Today

[“I Saw Myself”],
By Lew Welch

I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
“ring of bone” where
ring is what a

bell does
aWelch2 copy

American Art – Part V of V: Meg West

Artist Statement: “The beauty around me in Albemarle and surrounding counties is what inspires all of my paintings. We live in a visually stimulating environment. The rolling hills, the mountains, farmland and woods provide the elements for interesting compositions.
I went to Philadelphia College of Art, and majored in Graphic Design, minored in painting. That is where the seed of excitement for painting started. But I knew I couldn’t make a living at that time in painting, so I worked for several years. In 2000, I started painting again and took a few classes at Piedmont Virginia Community College. After one year, I started painting full time.
I paint every day and enjoy the rhythm and momentum that comes with a steady flow of painting. The act of painting is what is important to me—I enjoy the feeling of being connected to my environment, myself and the painting. I look forward to developing as an artist and creating my future paintings.”

Below – “Neighbor’s Laundry”; “Bridgewater Field, VA”; “Chile’s Peach Orchard, Fall Colors”; “Old Rag from Skyline Drive”; “Ginseng House, Highland County, VA”; “February Snow I”; “Montfair, Virginia”; “Maupin’s Farm.”

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