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

American Art – Part I of III: William Wolk

Here is one critic describing the artistic genesis of painter William Wolk (born 1951): “(He) began drawing free-hand charcoal portraits at age eight. By age nine, he was working diligently in oils. At age seventeen, he spent one year in drawing study at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. At eighteen, Wolk moved to Florence, Italy to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. The total absence of a teacher or any instruction at the Academy spurred Wolk on to a year of self-study in the city’s museums and churches. Upon his return to the United States, Wolk had his first one man show in Coral Gables, Florida at age nineteen.”

Winter Art – Part I of V: Utagawa Hiroshige, “The Drum Bridge and Yuhi Hill at Meguro” (1857)

From the Music Archives – Part I of II: John Steel

Born 4 February 1941 – John Steel, the original drummer of The Animals.

French Art – Part I of II: Fernand Leger

Born 4 February 1881 – Fernand Léger, a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker.

Below – “Nudes in the Forest”; “Woman in Blue”; “Nude Model in the Studio”; “The City”; “Still Life with Beer Mug”; “The Railway Crossing”; “Man and Woman.”

Winter Art – Part II of V: Wassily Kandinsky, “Winter Landscape” (1911)

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Fleetwood Mac

4 February 1977 – Fleetwood Mac releases “Rumors.”

French Art – Part II of II: Laurent Hours

In the words of one critic, “Laurent Hours was born in Paris, where he currently works at the National School of Beaux Arts. His paintings feed on a peculiar atmosphere; he offers viewers snapshots of memory in dreamlike settings. He recounts stories with depictions comprised of natural elements, of the earth, water, stone and sun. He creates stories of towns which have vanished or perhaps never existed, of oceans and deserts splashed in ochre. His scenes are warm and strong, and settings in which his minute figures often attempt to claim it, like a string of froth clinging to the sand.”

Winter Art – Part III of V: J.M.W. Turner, “Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps” (1812)

4 February 1984 – Frank Aquilera sets the world Frisbee toss distance record (168 meters) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I’m not bragging, but I once tossed a Frisbee 170 meters on a disc golf course in Boulder, Colorado. Of course, it took me ten throws to reach that distance, but that’s a quibble.

Below – My disc skills might not be impressive, but my fashion statement is classic.

American Art – Part II of III: Leona Shanks

Artist Statement: “As an artist, I have much to say. My art is a forum for me to express ideas that are in my consciousness. Images will not leave my mind until I explore them on canvas. My platform for communication is with paintbrush and canvas.
As an artist, I want to paint something that matters and is relevant to contemporary issues. I aspire to make a contribution so that when I leave this earth, maybe I have done something meaningful. A fire rages inside of me to create art that has soul and significance.”

“I became the unnatural son of a few score of beaten men.” – Neal Cassady, an American writer and a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic and counterculture movements of the 1960s in America, who died 4 February 1968.

Neal Cassady served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road.”

Some quotes from the work of Neal Cassady:

“I alone, as the sharer of their way of life, presented a replica of childhood.”
“Sometimes I sits and thinks. Other times I sits and drinks, but mostly I just sits.”
“I remember being unusually pensive that May evening, perhaps it was the heat of Spring’s first warm day which, encountering my thick winter blood, forced a dilution upward into a brain weary of straining the last six months to overcome freezing and the long absent thinning of blood stirred a weakening desire for the softer things, a nostalgia, yet a death, a precognition, if you will.”
“Like here it was that I entered that stage when a child overcomes naivete enough to realize an adult’s emotional reaction as sometimes freakish for its inconsistencies, so can, on his own reasoning canvas, paint those early pale colors of judgment, resulting from initial moments of ability to critically examine life’s perplexities, in tentative little brain-engine stirrings, before they faded to quickly join that train of remembered experience carrying signals indicating existence which itself far outweighs traction effort by thinking’s soon slipping drivers to effectively resist any slack-action advantage, for starting so necessitates continual cuts on the hauler – performed as if governed lifelong by the tagwork of a student-green foreman who, crushed under on rushing time always building against his excessive load of emotional contents, is forever a lost ball in the high weeds of personal developments – until, with ever changing emphasis through a whole series of grades of consciousness (leading up from root-beginnings of obscure childish unconscious soul within a world), early lack – for what child sustains logic? – reaches a point of late fossilization, resultant of repeated wrong moves in endless switching of dark significances crammed inside the cranium, where, through such hindering habits, there no longer is the flexibility for thought transfer and unloading of dead freight that a standard gauge would afford and thus, as Faustian Destiny dictates, is an inept mink, limited, being in existence firmly tracked just above the constant ‘T’ biased ballast supporting wherever space yearnings lead the worn rails of civilized comprehension, so henceforth is restricted to mere pickups and setouts of drab distortion, while traveling wearily along its familiar Western Thinking right-of-way. But choo-choo nonsense aside…”

Above – Neal Cassady (left) with Jack Kerouac.
Below – Neal Cassady with Allen Ginsberg (left); Neal Cassady (right) with Ken Kesey (center).

Winter Art – Part IV of V: Edward Munch, “Winter, Kragero” (1912).

A Poem for Today

“Alpine Wedding,”
By Ralph Angel

All dark morning long the clouds are rising slowly up
beneath us, and we are fast asleep.
The mountains unmove

intensely. And so do we. Meadows
look down.

A city there looks up and
stirs a little. Adrift the rolling tiled roofs of
buildings, the deadly

trains of grinding sand and morning—
a spy unfolds his paper,

the coffee’s served.

A bride and groom stand shivering on a tarmac
in the mist, and
they are happy. Each one

and all of us entangled, the room is moist with us,
the house unfinished, windowless,

and we are fast asleep.

The brother of the groom can’t get
close enough. He leans against the brightest ridge
and ladder, the sucking

sound of memory
as heaven picks up speed and

hurtles through his burning skin
its frozen blankets
to the sun.

American Art – Part III of III: Jennifer Cronin

Artist Statement: “There is always something that cannot be seen. A before and after. Something just outside, on the fringe, or even teeming just beneath the surface. Building upon the ubiquitous but often concealed psychological underpinnings inherent to suburban life, my paintings create an absurd mythology of the seemingly banal.
I am certainly not alone in my upbringing as a female growing up in the suburbs, yet that aspect of my identity has remained one of the most salient and inescapable to me throughout my life. My earlier paintings vibrate with a dark anxiety with women looking for ways out, attempting to break through an invisible something as we passively watch their struggle. Like a painting, they are trapped within their own beauty, grace, and seduction.
Recently, I have been interested in the fact that my paintings are very unabashedly highly constructed images, just as our reality is construct, perhaps no more real or meaningful than the flat surfaces of the paintings themselves. Sitting on the surface of the canvas, the paint, sometimes thick, drippy, misty, brush strokey, etc. infuses the banal, quiet, domestic space with beauty, horror, drama, tension, and mystique. The paintings themselves grapple with the fact that they are merely paintings. The characters within the paintings confront their existence as merely painted figures. Painted figures struggling to make sense of their existence within seemingly meaningless structures and confines that they are brought into. Painted figures trying to find their way within the backdrop of a painting that is just as incidental and banal as life itself. Painted figures that find ways to cope within their world. Some, like myself, even turn to painting.”
Jennifer Cronin
Jennifer Cronin

Winter Art – Part V of V: Claude Monet, “The Magpie” (1868-69)

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