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

American Art – Part I of V: Kristin Kunc

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of American Kristin Kunc (born 1978): “Whether they feature a pristine stream, a glass of deep red wine, or the faces of the people around her, Kristin’s works are suffused with inner light and soft color. She paints true to the classical style, with a sense of timelessness and longevity to the work. Her portraits, which comprise the lion’s share of her current work, will remain lovely and desirable regardless of temporary trends and fads in the art world.”

In the words of one writer, “Eliseo d’Angelo Visconti (1866-1944) was an Italian-born Brazilian painter, cartoonist and teacher. He is considered one of the very few impressionist painters of Brazil. He is considered the initiator of the Art Nouveau in Brazil.
He entered in 1884 the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios do Rio de Janeiro, where studied under Victor Meireles. Parallel to his studies in the Liceu, he entered the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes (Brazilian Imperial Academy) studying under professors Henrique Bernardelli, Rodolfo Amoedo and Jose Maria de Medeiros.”

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” – Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, who was born 12 February 1809.

Some quotes from the work of Abraham Lincoln:

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be”
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
“And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”
“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.”
“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
“Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.”
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Italian Art – Part I of II: Pietro Canonica

“The aim of the artist is to study truth in its purest form, concentrating the greatest possible emotion on it.” According to one writer, “with these words Pietro Canonica (1869-1959) declared his predilection for an art capable of idealising and yet at the same time expressing the most secret motions of the soul. In his sculptures he combines the proportions and balance of classical art, the refined models of fifteenth century Florentine work, the lightness of touch of neoclassicism, Romantic disquietude and nineteenth century sensibility. Gifted with an absolute mastery of technique and great ability and speed in working the material, he received commissions from the aristocracy of all Europe, who sought after his refined taste and idealization.”

Italian Art – Part II of II: Matteo Pugliese

In the words of one writer, “Italian sculptor Matteo Pugliese was born in Milan. In 1978 his family moved to Sardinia where Matteo lived for the next 12 years. During this time he developed a strong love for drawing and sculpture and continued his art work without any formal education. After finishing his secondary school studies in classics in Cagliari, he returned to Milan to attend university.
In 1995 he was awarded his degree in Modern literature at the University of Milan with a graduation thesis on Art criticism.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of II: The McGuire Sisters

12 February 1955 – The McGuire Sisters’ single “Sincerely” reaches number one on American popular music charts and remains there for ten weeks.

Russian painter Katrina Taivane (born 1976) has taught in the Painting Department of the Latvian Academy of Art.

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Eubie Blake

“Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind—listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody.” – James Herbert “Eubie” Blake, American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music, who died 12 February 1983 at age 100.

In the words of one writer, “Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) was a Polish painter, draughtsman and graphic artist, a student, professor and Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, representative of the Expressionist Young Poland art movement and of the Colouristic tendencies of the 1920s and 1930s.”


“We never know what’s in us till we stand by ourselves.” – George Meredith, English novelist, poet, and author of “The Egoist,” who was born 12 February 1828.

“Dirge in Woods”

A wind sways the pines,
And below
Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that glow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine-tree drops its dead;
They are quiet, as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,
As the clouds the clouds chase;
And we go,
And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
Even we,
Even so.

Died 12 February 1997 – Walter Ritchie, a British sculptor. Because Ritchie believed that art should be on display in public places, much of his work has been lost, since he carved it into the brickwork of buildings that have been demolished.

Below – “Woman and Cat”; One of a set of panels carved for the new Bristol Eye
Hospital building (“Creation” – 1986); “Bird”; “The Flight into Egypt”; “Hanley Girl”; “Man’s Struggle.”

“Our poems will have failed if our readers are not brought by them beyond the poems.” – Muriel Rukeyser, American poet and political activist, who died 12 February 1980.

“Waiting for Icarus”

He said he would be back and we’d drink wine together

He said that everything would be better than before

He said we were on the edge of a new relation

He said he would never again cringe before his father

He said that he was going to invent full-time

He said he loved me that going into me

He said was going into the world and the sky

He said all the buckles were very firm

He said the wax was the best wax

He said Wait for me here on the beach

He said Just don’t cry

I remember the gulls and the waves

I remember the islands going dark on the sea

I remember the girls laughing

I remember they said he only wanted to get away from me

I remember mother saying: Inventors are like poets, a trashy lot

I remember she told me those who try out inventions are worse

I remember she added: Women who love such are the worst of all

I have been waiting all day, or perhaps longer.

I would have liked to try those wings myself.

It would have been better than this.

Below – Peter Paul Rubens: “The Fall of Icarus.”

American Art – Part II of V: John Pototschnik

In the words of one writer, “British-born American painter John Pototschnik (Poe-toe-sh-nick) was born in St. Ives, Cornwall, England but grew up in Wichita, Kansas. He received his art training at Wichita State University in advertising design, followed by instruction in illustration and design at Art Center College in Los Angeles. Most recently he has studied human anatomy at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Connecticut.”


“Prof. Crevett: And then there is the cloud.
Alan Brooks: What cloud?
Prof. Crevett: Come on, Alan, you know what I’m talking about. The cloud where there should be no cloud.
Alan Brooks: Where there are mountains, there are always clouds.
Prof. Crevett: But this one remains static. On the side of the Trollenberg. It never moves.
Alan Brooks: A freak of nature.
Prof. Crevett: A radioactive freak of nature?” – Dialogue from the British movie “The Trollenberg Terror” (1958 – released in the United States as “The Crawling Eye”), starring Forrest Tucker (as Alan Brooks), American movie and television actor, who was born 12 February 1919.

In addition to “The Crawling Eye” (which is in part a tribute to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos), Forrest Tucker starred in another low-budget cinematic gem made in Britain – “The Abominable Snowman” (1957 – released in the United States as “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas”).

I own DVD copies of both these movies, and so you know that they must be good.

Above – Forrest Tucker.
Below – Ruthless American entrepreneur Tom Friend (right – played by Forrest Tucker) conversing with idealistic British scientist John Rollason (played by Peter Cushing) in “The Abominable Snowman.” If you watch this movie, you will never forget the importance of the line, “There is no Yeti”; Alan Brooks (right – played by Tucker) discussing a radioactive cloud (see dialogue, above) with Professor Crevett (played by Warren Mitchell). Brooks and Crevett are going to try to save the world from homicidal alien creatures, but will they succeed?!

In the words of one writer, “Robert Antoine Pinchon studied at Lycée Pierre-Corneille in Rouen at the turn of the century. Two other students in his class also became well-known artists and lasting friends: Marcel Duchamp and Pierre Dumont. Claude Monet referred to him ‘as a surprising touch in the service of a surprising eye.’
Among Robert Antoine Pinchon’s important works are a series of paintings of the River Seine, mostly around Rouen and landscapes depicting places in or near Upper Normandy.”


“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” – Charles Darwin, English naturalist, geologist, and author of “On the Origin of Species,” who was born 12 February 1809.

Some quotes from the work of Charles Darwin:

If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
“I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.”
“I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men.”
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”
“We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities… still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”
“An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”
“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”
“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.”
“Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.”
“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”
“I am not the least afraid to die.”

American Art – Part III of V: Grant Wood

“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.” – Grant Wood, American painter, who died 12 February 1942.

Below (left to right) – “Stone City, Iowa”; “Woman with Plants”; “American Gothic”; “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”; “Arbor Day”; “Self-Portrait.”
Grant Wood - Arbor Day, 1932 (Image used on Iowa 2004 US Quarter Dollar Coin)
From the American History Archives: Ethan Allen

“In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue.” – Ethan Allen, American farmer, businessman, philosopher, writer, American Revolutionary War patriot, politician, and leader of the Green Mountain Boys, who died 12 February 1789.

Most contemporary Americans probably associate the name “Ethan Allen” with a furniture store.

Below – The flag of the Green Mountain Boys.

In the words of one writer, “John Meyer is one of South Africa’s leading contemporary realists. Born 1942, Meyer has put his indelible stamp on the genres of landscape, portraiture and narrative art. Meyer became a professional painter in 1972. Since then he has travelled extensively, painting landscapes from Nevada to Norway. He has exhibited consistently in the United States, Europe and South Africa, developing an international profile that few South African artists have achieved. Since the early 1990’s Meyer has concentrated almost exclusively on what he calls the narrative genre – enigmatic figures caught in emotional ambiguities – representing a new direction to his art.”


Died 12 February 1947 – Sidney Toler, an American actor, playwright, theatre director, and the second non-Asian to play the role of detective Charlie Chan in movies (the first was Warner Oland).


American Art – Part IV of V: John Porter Lasater IV

In the words of one art historian, “John Porter Lasater the Fourth developed a love for art working as a designer and illustrator for a division of Hallmark Cards. Fine art was a natural transition after years of study and practice. John now paints full time, both from his studio in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and on the road painting ‘En plein air.’ He also teaches workshops.”

A Poem for Today

“Vitamins and Roughage,”
By Kenneth Rexroth

Strong ankled, sun burned, almost naked,
The daughters of California
Educate reluctant humanists;
Drive into their skulls with tennis balls
The unhappy realization
That nature is still stronger than man.
The special Hellenic privilege
Of the special intellect seeps out
At last in this irrigated soil.
Sweat of athletes and juice of lovers
Are stronger than Socrates’ hemlock;
And the games of scrupulous Euclid
Vanish in the gymnopaedia.

Below – Three paintings by American Marie Fox: “The Nap”; “Santa Monica Pier”; “Beach Rose.”

American Art – Part V of V: Wes Christensen

Artist Statement: “The ‘issues’ surrounding figure painting, and representational art in general, are created by people who don’t do it. My main concern is to communicate clearly to anyone who wants to look, and to invite viewers to interact with the imagery, to engage in a sort of imaginative conversation. The illusionist technique needed to create this fictive environment is important, but it must not be a distraction if I hope to succeed. In the English tradition of the ‘conversation piece,’ I try to make illustrations for stories not yet written.”

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