American Art – Part I of III: Alex Gnidziejko
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Alex Gnidziejko: “In the style of heightened realism, Alex Gnidziejko’s paintings are reminiscent of the Dutch masters of the 16th and 17th centuries. Gnidziejko’s painstaking technique of egg tempera emulsion and oil give his paintings a stunning depth and three-dimensional quality. The process he uses starts with a precise under painting with white egg tempera. Using small brush strokes that follow the contour of the subject, Gnidziejko brings definition to the form and accentuates its highlights. Transparent oil glazes of complementary colors are then applied to the painting. By building up many layers of these glazes over luminescent egg tempera, Gnidziejko is able to achieve the life-like quality that characterizes his paintings.”
“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” – Sean O’Casey, Irish dramatist, memoirist, socialist, and author of “The Plough and the Stars,” who was born 30 March 1880.
Some quotes from Sean O’Casey:
“There’s no reason to bring religion into it. I think we ought to have as great a regard for religion as we can, so as to keep it out of as many things as possible.”
“Money does not make you happy but it quiets the nerves.”
“No man is so old as to believe he cannot live one more year.”
“The hallway of every man’s life is paced with pictures; pictures gay and pictures gloomy, all useful, for if we be wise, we can learn from them a richer and braver way to live.”
“Wealth often takes away chances from men as well as poverty. There is none to tell the rich to go on striving, for a rich man makes the law that hallows and hollows his own life.”
“I have found life an enjoyable, enchanting, active, and sometime terrifying experience, and I’ve enjoyed it completely. A lament in one ear, maybe, but always a song in the other.”
“It’s my rule never to lose me temper till it would be detrimental to keep it.”
“Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”
“There is only one absinthe drinker, and that’s the man who painted this idiotic picture.” – Thomas Couture, French artist, who died 30 March 1879, commenting on both Edouard Manet and his painting “Absinthe Drinker.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: John Lee Curtis “Sonny Boy” Williamson
“Sugar mama sugar mama, please come back to me
Bring my granulated sugar, and ease my misery . . .” – John Lee Curtis “Sonny Boy” Williamson, American blues harmonica player and singer, who was born 30 March 1914.
In the words of one writer, Chinese-Canadian painter Helena Lam
“is inspired by the Art Deco era. This is a design style that blossomed in Paris in the 1920’s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930’s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture, interior design, industrial design, fashion, jewelry as well as the visual arts such as painting, graphic arts and film. At it’s zenith, Art Deco embodied elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity.”
“We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.” – Jean Toomer, American novelist, poet, an important member of the Harlem Renaissance, and author of “Cane,” who died 30 March 1967.
Some quotes from the work of Jean Toomer:
“Thank everyone who calls out your faults, your anger, your impatience, your egotism; do this consciously, voluntarily.”
“We do not posses imagination enough to sense what we are missing.”
“If you have heard a Jewish cantor sing, if he has touched you and made your own sorrow seem trivial when compared with his, you will know my feeling when I follow the curves of her profile, like mobile rivers, to their common delta.”
“Night winds in Georgia are vagrant poets, whispering.”
“Acceptance of prevailing standards often means we have no standards of our own.”
“It takes a well-spent lifetime, and perhaps more, to crystalize in us that for which we exist.”
“Talk about it only enough to do it. Dream about it only enough to feel it. Think about it only enough to understand it. Contemplate it only enough to be it.”
“Call them from their houses, and teach them to dream.”
“Dusk, suggesting the almost imperceptible possession of giant trees, settled with a purple haze about the cane. I felt strange, as I always do in Georgia, particularly at dusk. I felt that things unseen to men were tangibly immediate. It would not have surprised me had I had a vision.”
Born 30 March 1853 – Vincent van Gogh, a Post-Impressionist Dutch artist whose work was ignored during most of his lifetime.
30 March 1987 – Vincent van Gogh’s “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” sells at auction for $39.7 million.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Eric Clapton
“Given the choice between accomplishing something and just lying around, I’d rather lie around. No contest.” – Eric Clapton, English musician, singer, and songwriter, who was born 30 March 1945.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Japanese painter Kozo Izawa (born 1956): “Kozo Izawa consistently draws very simple, pared down images; girls or poinsettia stand in a space, where we cannot distinguish the time of day. The image is at once realistic and surrealistic. Girls seem to inhabit both the earthly and the spirit realms. Izawa has created an ambiguous and mysterious world where a clear meaning is elusive. His work is a mirror reflecting the viewer’s state of mind.”
“There’s nothing worse than an introspective drunk.” – Tom Sharpe, English satirical novelist and author of the “Wilt” series, who was born 30 March 1928.
Some quotes from the work of Tom Sharpe:
“I don’t consider myself bald, I’m just taller than my hair.”
“There’s nothing I enjoy more than listening to a highly trained intelligence leapfrogging common sense and coming to the wrong conclusions. It gives me renewed faith in parliamentary democracy.”
“His had been an intellectual decision founded on his conviction that if a little knowledge was a dangerous thing, a lot was lethal.”
“The man who said the pen was mightier than the sword ought to have tried reading ‘The Mill on the Floss’ to Motor Mechanics.”
Vietnamese artist Vu Thu Hien (born 1970) is a graduate of the Hanoi Academy of Fine Arts. In the words of one critic, “Vu Thu Hien’s watercolours are delicate, dreamlike, and at times haunting. Many of her paintings refer to the soul, to spirits and the afterlife. Her traditionally clothed figures are mysterious and real at the same time and are often embodiments of the spirits that influence human lives. Hien paints on dzo paper, made from mulberry bark, which is fragile and durable at the same time. Used by Vietnam’s ethnic minorities for altar paintings or inscribing Buddhist sutras, it is the perfect medium for Hien’s deeply spiritual art.”
“It is important for me that the new generation of Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans become active and tell the world what happened to them and their families … I want them never to forget the faces of their relatives and friends who were killed during that time. The dead are crying out for justice.” – Dith Pran, Cambodian photojournalist, survivor of the Cambodian genocide, and the subject of the Academy Award-winning film “The Killing Fields” (1984), who died 30 March 2008.
Spanish Art – Part I of II: Francisco Jose de Goya
“Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.” – Francisco Jose de Goya, Spanish painter and printmaker, who was born 30 March 1746.
Below (left to right) – “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” (from “Los Caprichos”); “The Third of May 1808”; “The Nude Maja”; “The Clothed Maja”; “What More Can We Do?” (from “The Disasters of War”).
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: The Alaska Purchase
30 March 1867 – After an all-night session that concluded at 4 a.m., representatives of Russia and U. S. Secretary of State William H. Seward sign a treaty in which the United States agrees to purchase Alaska for $7.2 million, or about 2 cents per acre. Some members of Congress and the press ridiculed the purchase as “Seward’s folly” and “Seward’s icebox.”
Above – William H. Seward.
Below – The signing of the Alaska Treaty of Cessation on 30 March 1867: (Left to Right) Robert S. Chew, William H. Seward, William Hunter, Mr. Bodisco, Eduard de Stoeckl (Russian diplomat), Charles Sumner, and Frederick W. Seward.
Spanish Art – Part II of II: Jordi Diaz Alama
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Fred Korematsu
“I was just living my life, and that’s what I wanted to do.” – Fred Korematsu, Japanese-American civil rights activist, who died 30 March 2005.
Rather than accept internment in a camp in compliance with Executive Order 9066, Japanese-American citizen Fred Korematsu became a fugitive in 1942 and was eventually arrested. After World War II ended, he argued against the legality of both his arrest and the Executive Order. In the words of one historian, “However, the legality of the internment order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944), but Korematsu’s conviction was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence challenging the necessity of the internment, which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war.”
Subsequent legislation declared that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.
In the words of one writer, “To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” was observed for first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, and first such commemoration for an Asian-American in the US.”
Russian Art – Part I of II: Svetlana Tiourina
“The awful thing, as a kid reading, was that you came to the end of the story, and that was it. I mean, it would be heartbreaking that there was no more of it.” – Robert Creeley, American poet, who died 30 March 2005.
All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.
What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
so often? Is it
that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me
something other than this,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out
of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
with a decent happiness.
Whereas the man who hits
the gong dis-
proves it, in all its
Even so the attempt
makes for triumph, in
Likewise in love I
am not foolish or in-
competent. My method is not a
tenderness, but hope
“I Know A Man”
As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,–John, I
sd, which was not
his name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what
can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,
drive, he sd, for
christ’s sake, look
out where yr going.
As I was walking
I came upon
the same road upon.
As I sat down
by chance to move
if and as I might,
light the wood was,
light and green,
and what I saw
before I had not seen.
It was a lady
by goat men
Her hair held earth.
Her eyes were dark.
A double flute
made her move.
Russian Art – Part II of II: Viktoria Kalaichi
“Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.” – John Ciardi, American poet, etymologist, translator of Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” co-author of “How Does a Poem Mean?” (with Miller Williams), and recipient of the 1956 Prix de Rome, who died 30 March 1986.
“Most Like an Arch This Marriage”
Most like an arch—an entrance which upholds
and shores the stone-crush up the air like lace.
Mass made idea, and idea held in place.
A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds.
Most like an arch—two weaknesses that lean
into a strength. Two fallings become firm.
Two joined abeyances become a term
naming the fact that teaches fact to mean.
Not quite that? Not much less. World as it is,
what’s strong and separate falters. All I do
at piling stone on stone apart from you
is roofless around nothing. Till we kiss
I am no more than upright and unset.
It is by falling in and in we make
the all-bearing point, for one another’s sake,
in faultless failing, raised by our own weight.
A boy came up the street and there was a girl.
“Hello,” they said in passing, then didn’t pass.
They began to imagine. They imagined all night
and woke imagining what the other imagined.
Later they woke with no need to imagine.
They were together. They kept waking together.
Once they woke a daughter who got up
and went looking for something without looking back.
But they had one another. Then one of them died.
It makes no difference which. Either. The other
tried to imagine dying, and couldn’t really,
but died later, maybe to find out,
though probably not. Not everything that happens
is a learning experience. Maybe nothing is.
“Men Marry What They Need”
Men marry what they need.
I marry you, morning by morning, day by day, night by night,
and every marriage makes this marriage new.
In the broken name of heaven, in the light
that shatters granite, by the spitting shore,
in air that leaps and wobbles like a kite,
I marry you from time and a great door
is shut and stays shut against wind, sea, stone,
sunburst, and heavenfall. And home once more
inside our walls of skin and struts of bone,
man-woman, woman-man, and each the other,
I marry you by all dark and all dawn
and have my laugh at death. Why should I bother
the flies about me? Let them buzz and do.
Men marry their queen, their daughter, or their mother
American Art – Part II of III: Maxfield Parrish
“I don’t know what people find or like in me, I’m hopelessly commonplace! Current appreciation of my work is a bit highbrow, I’ve always considered myself a popular artist.” – Maxfield Parrish,
American painter and illustrator, who died 30 March 1966.
A Poem for Today
By Michael Metivier
When the townspeople
gave the teenaged Buddha
a glass of wine
so delicious he grew
to an unthinkable size
and froze into a blue statue
that shielded the town
from a wave that broke
upon his back
and would have swept away
the town if he’d not tasted
the wine and afterward the people
were overjoyed and said
they would do good deeds
like carpool their children to school
more often and plant lettuce
everywhere while the Buddha
melted into water and receded
into the calm sane sea.
American Art – Part III of III: Jo Davidson
“My approach to my subjects was very simple. I never had them pose, we just talked about everything in the world.” – Jo Davidson, American sculptor who worked in terra-cotta, marble, and bronze, who was born 30 March 1883.