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

American Art – Part I of III: Christine Peloquin

Artist Statement: ”The majority of my art work can be summarized as drawing and painting on fabric and paper collage. The subjects range from idealized faces and figures of women to landscapes, nature scenes and abstracts.
All the pieces begin with fabric and paper collage arranged, sewn and adhered to wood panels. The collages consist of any of the following: antique cloths, contemporary fabrics, antique dictionary pages, old children’s school books, atlases, architectural plans, wallpaper, tablecloths, napkins, lace, buttons, flowers, leaves and any variety of papers and 2D found objects. Over the collages, the drawings are done in charcoal and the work is painted with acrylics and mediums.
My intention is to weave an autobiographical tapestry invoking and addressing universal issues such as philosophy, spirituality, sexuality, motherhood and self-awareness.
The joy in this process is the instinctual choices of rendering and harmonizing what I will cover up and what I will leave to be revealed.”

In 1965, Portuguese artist Dario Alves (born 1940) completed a General Painting Coure at Porto Fine Arts School.

“Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get.” – Frederick Douglass, African-American social reformer, orator, writer, statesman, and former slave, who was born 7 February 1817.

Some quotes from the work of Frederick Douglass:

“The American people have this to learn: that where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither person nor property is safe.”
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”
“In a composite nation like ours, as before the law, there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny.”

Above – Frederick Douglass.
Below – 1965 U.S. Postage Stamp, issued in honor of Frederick Douglass.

Czech painter Ivana Lomova (born 1959) attended the Eugene Field School in Chicago.

“I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from.” – Eddie Izzard, English stand-up comedian, actor, and writer, who was born 7 February 1962.

Died 7 February 1939 – Boris Grigoriev, a Russian painter and graphic artist.

Below – “Girl with Milk Can”; “Sunflowers”; “Village”; “Land of the People”; “Carnival at Night.”

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American writer and author of the “Little House” series of children’s novels based on her childhood in a pioneer family, who was born 7 February 1867.

Some quotes from the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder:

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
“Once you begin being naughty, it is easier to go on and on, and sooner or later something dreadful happens.”
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
“The only stupid thing about words is the spelling of them.”
“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ”
“The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.”
“These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraphs and kerosene and coal stoves — they’re good to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on ’em.”

Above – Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Below – The original front cover of “Little House on the Prairie.”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Bangladeshi painter Tarak Mahadi (born 1984): “Freedom is the key of his art. He believes that the human spirit is more powerful than any materialistic reality that tries to confine it.”

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
American writer, aviatrix, wife of Charles Lindbergh, and author of “Gift from the Sea,” who died 7 February 2001.

Some quotes from “Gift from the Sea”:

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”
“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”
“Don’t wish me happiness. I don’t expect to be happy all the time.
It’s gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all.”
“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”
“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.”
“The shape of my life is, of course, determined by many things; my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires.”
“I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.”
“This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”
“With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls–woman’s normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of ‘Woman and Career,’ ‘Woman and the Home,’ ‘Woman and Independence.’ It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.”
“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect a few. One moon shell is more impressive than three. There is only one moon in the sky.”
“The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.”
“Perhaps both men and women in America may hunger, in our material, outward, active, masculine culture, for the supposedly feminine qualities of heart, mind and spirit–qualities which are actually neither masculine nor feminine, but simply human qualities that have been neglected. It is growth along these lines that will make us whole, and will enable the individual to become world to himself.”
“No man is an island,’ said John Donne. I feel we are all islands — in a common sea.”
“I am very fond of the oyster shell. It is humble and awkward and ugly. It is slate-colored and unsymmetrical. Its form is not primarily beautiful but functional. I make fun of its knobbiness. Sometimes I resent its burdens and excrescences. But its tireless adaptability and tenacity draw my astonished admiration and sometimes even my tears. And it is comfortable in its familiarity, its homeliness, like old garden gloves when have molded themselves perfectly to the shape of the hand. I do not like to put it down. I will not want to leave it.”
“For life today in America is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national demands, international demands on the good citizen, through social and cultural pressures, through newspapers, magazines, radio programs, political drives, charitable appeals, and so on. My mind reels in it. What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us. We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head. Baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control. Steady now!”
“When each partner loves so completely that he has forgotten to ask himself whether or not he is loved in return; when he only knows that he loves and is moving to its music–then, and then only are two people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm.”
“How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange.
What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it—like a secret vice!”
“Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid.”
“And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense—no—but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps a channeled whelk, a moon shell, or even an argonaut.”
“It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a
stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”
“There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow. Simplification of life is one of them.”
“Out of the welter of life, a few people are selected for us by the accident of temporary confinement in the same circle. We never would have chosen these neighbors; life chose them for us. But thrown together on this island of living, we stretch to understand each other and are invigorated by the stretching. The difficulty with big city environment is that if we select—and we must in order to live and breathe and work in such crowded conditions—we tend to select people like ourselves, a very monotonous diet. All hors d’oeuvres and no meat; or all sweets and no vegetables, depending on the kind of people we are. But however much the diet may differ between us, one thing is fairly certain: we usually select the known, seldom the strange. We tend not to choose the unknown which might be a shock or a disappointment or simply a little difficult to cope with. And yet it is the unknown with all its disappointments and surprises that is the most enriching.”
“The only real security is not in owning or possessing, no in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.”
“The collector walks with blinders on; he sees nothing but the prize.”
“The acquisitive instinct is incompatible with true appreciation of beauty.”

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Brazilian painter Marta Penter (born 1957): “Her usually large watercolor and oil paintings feature the highlighting of light and shadow effects, thus creating a unique intimate atmosphere.”

American Art – Part II of III: Julie Robertson

Artist Statement: “I am a Tokyo-born Japanese+American artist currently residing near Oklahoma City in the US. My work portrays the delicate beauty of Japanese women, expressed through layers of mixed media and strategic paint drips. I explore the juxtaposition of realism and non-objectivity, elegance and tumult, tradition and modernism, innocence and mortality. Fashion, film, music videos, and literature all provide me with inspiration for my surreal-looking subjects. I hope you as the viewer are engaged, intrigued, mesmerized. My work is a true representation of the thoughts and strivings that are in my soul.”

From the American History Archives: Cripple Creek Miners’ Strike

7 February 1894 – The Cripple Creek miners’ strike, led by the Western Federation of Miners, begins in Cripple Creek, Colorado. In the words of one historian, “(The five-month strike) resulted in a victory for the union and was followed in 1903 by the Colorado Labor Wars. It is notable for being the only time in United States history when a state militia was called out (May/June 1894) in support of striking workers.”

Above – Miners at the Vindicator Mine, Cripple Creek.
Below – Cripple Creek under martial law in 1894.

Here is the Artist Statement of Bulgarian painter Nadia Tsakova: “My biggest challenge is to express the light as I sense it. Light is my favorite quality in a painting, it creates the forms, the movement, the relationship of the tones, and finally it forms the composition… I am inspired by capturing a certain moment, a unique glimpse of our present, transforming it into revelation. So it makes me and the viewers appreciate the beauty in the simple moments of life.”

A Poem for Today

“Against Lawn,”
By Grace Bauer

The midnight streetlight illuminating
the white of clover assures me

I am right not to manicure
my patch of grass into a dull

carpet of uniform green, but
to allow whatever will to take over.

Somewhere in that lace lies luck,
though I may never swoop down

to find it. Three, too, is
an auspicious number. And this seeing

a reminder to avoid too much taming
of what, even here, wants to be wild.

American Art – Part III of III: Brian Pollett

Here is one writer describing the artistry of American painter Brian Pollett: “Since early 2012, Brian began exploring the infinite realms of digital art and integrated himself within the collaborative minds of West Coast Visionary artists and event producers, a (group that wishes) to move culture forward through creative expression.”

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