American Art – Part I of III: Jack Morefield
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Jack Morefield: “This is a unique style of portraiture that combines some of the old and new. He has drawn from the likes of Vincent and Chuck Close to offer a unique, contemporary vision.”
From the Music Archives: Richard Thompson
“I’m glad there are a lot of guitar players pursuing technique as diligently as they possibly can, because it leaves this whole other area open to people like me.” – Richard Thompson, British guitarist, songwriter, and recording and performing musician, who was born 3 April 1949.
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Shannon Reynolds
Here is the Artist Statement of painter and portraitist Shannon Reynolds:
“Throughout its long history portraiture has provided a fascinating record of individuals, social documents of status denied or confirmed, and evidence of transactions between artists and models. But it is also remarkable for retaining, almost uniquely in the art world, some objective standards for evaluation. You can’t cheat a figure or a face. We all know the human form so well and recognize familiar faces so readily, that we see problems of representation instantly. So portraiture offers a genuine challenge to artists to create something that is both like and something that moves beyond mere documentation. I’m interested in who is painted by whom, and how the audience for portraits is changed by the role or fame of the sitter. Portraiture is often either public (as in official portraits of heads of state or significant people commissioned for public display); or private (as in portraits of individuals important primarily to the family and friends of the subject). In my own portraits I try to blend the public and private by attempting to represent both the identifiable likenesses of specific individuals and something of our common contemporary experience.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Keith Miller
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Keith Miller: “In purely technical terms he has accomplished that most difficult trick of the landscape painter; to suggest the play and movement of light and shadow, an envelope of shifting air. It is this strong impression of vacillating sunlight and scudding clouds which gives his botanical subjects their natural energy. This lifts them above the ‘pretty’ and the obvious to a poetic level where that appear vigorous and at the same time lyrical.”
Reporter: “Do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?”
Dr. Hale: “No, I look at the senators and I pray for the country.” – Dr. Edward Everett Hale, American writer, historian, Unitarian minister, and author of “The Man Without a Country,” who was born 3 April 1822.
Some quotes from the work of Dr. Edward Everett Hale:
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
“Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds– all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.”
“Look up and not down; look out and not in; look forward and not back, and lend a hand.”
“Make it your habit not to be critical about small things.”
“If you have accomplished all that you have planned for yourself, you have not planned enough.”
Dutch Art – Part I of II: Barbara Wijnveld
Dutch Art – Part II of II: Jacob Christian Poen de Wijs
From the Movie Archives – Part I of II: Marlon Brando
“An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.” – Marlon Brando, an American screen and state actor widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time, who was born 3 April 1924.
Marlon Brando has portrayed memorable characters in many great films, including Terry Malloy in “On the Waterfront” (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), and Colonel Walter Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now.”
Italian Art – Part I of II: Pier Toffoletti
Italian Art – Part II of II: Giuseppe Tirelli
In the words of one critic, “Giuseppe Tirelli was born in Tanzania in 1957; he lives and works in Piacenza, Italy, where he attended the Institute of Fine Art in the late 80’s. The artist started his artistic journey through a very personal research combining the characteristics of classical sculpture with contemporary atmospheres projected into a cybernetic future. The great art critic Edward Lucie- Smith has placed Tirelli among the artists of ‘Italian neo-figurative sculpture.’ Tirelli works with important art galleries and his sculptures are appreciated also abroad: a lot of them have been bought by collectors who live in India, Brazil, the United States, Russia and Australia.”
From the Movie Archives – Part II of II: Iron Eyes Cody
Born 3 April 1904 – Iron Eyes Cody, an American actor who portrayed Native Americans in Hollywood films.
Iron Eyes Cody was born Espera Oscar de Corti, and his parents were Sicilian immigrants living in Louisiana. Anyone who wants to understand both the reason for Cody’s insistence that that he was a Native American and the persistence of damaging stereotypes about Native peoples in American movies should watch the excellent Canadian documentary “Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian,” by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond.
Here is the Artist Statement of Swedish painter Emanuel Javelid: “I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, and began early inspired by classical painting. The technique I use is called layer painting, a classic and
time-consuming method. I begin with an under-painting, usually in acrylic and then continue with thin glazes of oil. The different layers give an optical effect and a depth of color that is not possible otherwise. I like to paint still life, but it is not about image or an object, but to convey a mood, a feeling, a light. My creativity starts with ideas that will mature and take shape, some fade away or driven out by other thoughts, but those that remain will eventually become a painting.”
“If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.” – Jane Goodall, British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, writer, United Nations Messenger of Peace, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots program, and author of “In the Shadow of Man” and “Reason For Hope: A Spiritual Journey,” who was born 3 April 1934.
Some quotes from the work of Jane Goodall:
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
“We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place–or not to bother”
“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”
“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”
“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.”
“Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.”
“Michael Pollan likens consumer choices to pulling single threads out of a garment. We pull a thread from the garment when we refuse to purchase eggs or meat from birds who were raised in confinement, whose beaks were clipped so they could never once taste their natural diet of worms and insects. We pull out a thread when we refuse to bring home a hormone-fattened turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We pull a thread when we refuse to buy meat or dairy products from cows who were never allowed to chew grass, or breathe fresh air, or feel the warm sun on their backs.
The more threads we pull, the more difficult it is for the industry to stay intact. You demand eggs and meat without hormones, and the industry will have to figure out how it can raise farm animals without them. Let the animals graze outside and it slows production. Eventually the whole thing will have to unravel.
If the factory farm does indeed unravel – and it must – then there is hope that we can, gradually, reverse the environmental damage it has caused. Once the animal feed operations have gone and livestock are once again able to graze, there will be a massive reduction in the agricultural chemicals currently used to grow grain for animals. And eventually, the horrendous contamination caused by animal waste can be cleaned up. None of this will be easy.
The hardest part of returning to a truly healthy environment may be changing the current totally unsustainable heavy-meat-eating culture of increasing numbers of people around the world. But we must try. We must make a start, one by one.”
“Farm animals are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent? Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat.”
“We have so far to go to realize our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love.”
“If we do not do something to help these creatures, we make a mockery of the whole concept of justice.”
“And if we dare to look into those eyes, then we shall feel their suffering in our hearts. More and more people have seen that appeal and felt it in their hearts. All around the world there is an awakening of understanding and compassion, and understanding that reaches out to help the suffering animals in their vanishing homelands. That embraces hungry, sick, and desperate human beings, people who are starving while the fortunate among us have so much more than we need. And if, one by one, we help them, the hurting animals, the desperate humans, then together we shall alleviate so much of the hunger, fear, and pain in the world. Together we can bring change to the world, gradually replacing fear and hatred with compassion and love. Love for all living beings.”
“Especially now when views are becoming more polarized, we must work to understand each other across political, religious and national boundaries.”
“We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.”
“I think the best evenings are when we have messages, things that make us think, but we can also laugh and enjoy each other’s company.”
“I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all. But I was far too busy learning about the chimpanzees’ lives to worry about the meaning of my own. I had gone to Gombe to accomplish a specific goal, not to pursue my early preoccupation with philosophy and religion. Nevertheless, those months at Gombe helped to shape the person I am today-I would have been insensitive indeed if the wonder and the endless fascination of my new world had not had a major impact on my thinking. All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around. For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.”
“I understood why those who had lived through war or economic disasters, and who had built for themselves a good life and a high standard of living, were rightly proud to be able to provide for their children those things which they themselves had not had. And why their children, inevitably, took those things for granted. It meant that new values and new expectations had crept into our societies along with new standards of living. Hence the materialistic and often greedy and selfish lifestyle of so many young people in the Western world, especially in the United States.”
“Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for living things around us, especially each other.”
“It is these undeniable qualities of human love and compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future. We are, indeed, often cruel and evil. Nobody can deny this. We gang up on each one another, we torture each other, with words as well as deeds, we fight, we kill. But we are also capable of the most noble, generous, and heroic behavior.”
“I thought how sad it was that, for all our sophisticated intellect, for all our noble aspirations, our aggressive behavior was not just similar in many ways to that of the chimpanzees – it was even worse. Worse because human beings have the potential to rise above their baser instincts, whereas chimpanzees probably do not.”
“Cultural speciation had been crippling to human moral and spiritual growth. It had hindered freedom of thought, limited our thinking, imprisoned us in the cultures into which we had been born . . . These cultural mind prisons . . . Cultural speciation was clearly a barrier to world peace. So long as we continued to attach more importance to our own narrow group membership than to the ‘global village’ we would propagate prejudice and ignorance.”
“Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have?”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Yaroslav Kurbanov: “Kurbanov was born to artist-parents in Makhachkala, Dagestan and graduated from the Jamal Dagestan Art College.
The art of the Renaissance has been a powerful influence on Kurbanov, especially the work of Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. He also spent hours copying the Flemish masters at St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. Kurbanov is known for his figurative paintings. His forms are simplified and sensual, emphasizing sinuous lines and smooth flesh. The mood becomes quiet and introspective. Kurbanov’s female subjects often appear close to the viewer, filling the picture plane. When the composition is cut off, an interesting perspective is created and the figure seems to share the viewer’s space. Subjects that are larger than life take on a contemporary feel with a heightened sense of drama.”
“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.” – Herb Caen, San Francisco journalist whose nickname was “Mr. San Francisco,” who was born 3 April 1916.
In 1996 Herb Caen was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize “for extraordinary and continuing contribution as a voice and conscience of his city.”
Some quotes from the work of Herb Caen:
“I hope I go to Heaven, and when I do, I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does when he gets there. He looks around and says, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.’”
“When a place advertises itself as ‘World Famous,’ you may be sure it isn’t.”
“The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.”
“A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.”
“The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever.”
“Cockroaches and socialites are the only things that can stay up all night and eat anything.”
“A city is where you can sign a petition, boo the chief justice, fish off a pier, gaze at a hippopotamus, buy a flower at the corner, or get a good hamburger or a bad girl at 4 A.M. A city is where sirens make white streaks of sound in the sky and foghorns speak in dark grays. San Francisco is such a city.”
“San Franciscans have a bond of self-satisfaction bordering on smugness.”
“Old San Francisco – the one so many nostalgics yearn for – had buildings that related well to each other.”
“Americans are pragmatic, relatively uncomplicated, hearty and given to broad humor.”
“I have a memory like an elephant. I remember every elephant I’ve ever met.”
“I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.”
“A city is a state – of mind, of taste, of opportunity. A city is a marketplace – where ideas are traded, opinions clash and eternal conflict may produce eternal truths.”
Here is part of the Artist Statement of English painter John Brockington: “I was born in Bristol in 1961. I moved to London in 1979 to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. There I set out in pursuit of the traditional skills. Accurate renderings of anatomy, colour and perspective, are the building blocks for my paintings.
In my paintings, firstly I set out to create a thing of beauty, secondly, I try to use symbolism and narrative to load the work with ideas – for those willing to dig a little deeper.
Over thirty years I have worked within these same principles, building a body of work that has a strong visual impact, but also a lot to say for itself under the surface.”
“Heresy is another word for freedom of thought.” – Graham Greene, English writer, playwright, literary critic, and author of “The Power and the Glory” and “The Quiet American,” who died 3 April 1991.
Some quotes from the work of Graham Greene:
“I don’t care a damn about men who are loyal to the people who pay them, to organizations…I don’t think even my country means all that much. There are many countries in our blood, aren’t there, but only one person. Would the world be in the mess it is if we were loyal to love and not to countries?”
“Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism.”
“Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.”
“The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism: this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us: we lose our identity.”
“Like some wines our love could neither mature nor travel.”
“If only it were possible to love without injury – fidelity isn’t enough: I had been faithful to Anne and yet I had injured her. The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation. In a way I was glad that my wife had struck out at me again – I had forgotten her pain for too long, and this was the only kind of recompense I could give her. Unfortunately the innocent are always involved in any conflict. Always, everywhere, there is some voice crying from a tower. ”
“But it is impossible to go through life without trust; that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.”
― Graham Greene, The Ministry of Fear
“Hate is a lack of imagination.”
“Innocence is a kind of insanity”
“Most things disappoint till you look deeper.”
“Eternity is said not to be an extension of time but an absence of time, and sometimes it seemed to me that her abandonment touched that strange mathematical point of endlessness, a point with no width, occupying no space.”
“Point me out the happy man and I will point you out either extreme egotism, selfishness, evil — or else an absolute ignorance.”
“When we are not sure, we are alive.”
“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.” – Washington Irving, American writer, essayist, biographer, diplomat, and the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” who was born 3 April 11783.
Some quotes from the work of Washington Irving:
“Great minds have purpose, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.”
“They who drink beer will think beer.”
“Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.”
“Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart. ”
“There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stage coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.”
“All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely pre-ambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was – a woman.”
“Others may write from the head, but he writes from the heart, and the heart will always understand him.”
“A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.”
“There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind in which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some quiet haunt where we may indulge our reveries and build our air castles undisturbed.”
“Poetry had breathed over and sanctified the land.”
Here is one writer describing the background and artistry of Souad Mardam Bey: “Souad Mardam Bey is a Syrian artist born in Damascus. She studied philosophy at the Lebanese University, Beirut. Mardam Bey’s oversized canvases are brimming with undercurrents of emotion; layers of colour and intricate details which adorn her subjects, yet it is their eyes that leave you spellbound. Trapped behind hauntingly beautiful irises are tales derived from life. Her palette alternates from one painting to another; through scarlet backgrounds, violet turbans, and orange cloaks – the artist professes her passion for colour. Still, she grants each of her subjects a colourfully melancholic persona. Their plush lips are sealed, fencing in their deepest secrets, while their eyes ratify an ethereal disposition.
In this ethereal realm, you are held captive to the subject’s steadfast stare. The artist is not concerned with the exact shape of the eye; but focused on the expression those eyes relay, and the sensation that lies behind the iris. However, she is not telling a story; she is merely presenting one.”
From the American History Archives: Jesse James
3 April 1882 – Robert Ford shoots and kills Jesse James.
In the words of one critic, “Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri (born 1958) seems to respond to today’s demand for high-definition television with paintings that take photorealism to a new level.”
Ozeri lives and works in New York.
From the American Old West: The Pony Express
3 April 1860 – The Pony Express begins delivering messages, newspapers, mail, and small packages from St. Joseph Missouri to Sacramento, California by horseback, using a series of relay stations. In the words of one historian, “During its 18 months of operation, it reduced the time for messages to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about 10 days. From April 3, 1860, to October 1861, it became the West’s most direct means of east–west communication before the telegraph was established and was vital for tying the new state of California with the rest of the country.”
American Art – Part II of III: Merrilyn Duzy
Here is one critic describing the background of painter Merrilyn Duzy: “Merrilyn Duzy is an artist first and foremost; she is also a teacher, lecturer, curator and art collector. Her formal art education culminated with her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Los Angeles Otis Art Institute. Her informal education includes extensive traveling, and her on-going arts advocacy.”
A Poem for Today
“Lilacs on My Birthday,”
By Joyce Peseroff
The flowerets look edible before they open,
like columns of sugar dots on tiny strips
I bought as a child. Hard to bite the candy without
some paper adhering, as adding machine tape will
to large, red numbers. Lilacs are like that: another year
unspools without major accomplishment,
while I question “major” and “accomplishment.”
And when I find in Costco those clusters
of pointillist pastel, I hope they will become
someone else’s nostalgia—honorable emotion
propelling Ulysses toward Ithaca, and a woman
to set lilacs in her dooryard as mother did.
American Art – Part III of III: Forest Rogers
Here is the brief Artist Statement of sculptor Forest Rogers: “Just a word here, for the moment. I studied stage design at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, receiving an MFA in Costume Design. I make critters, both ‘fine’ and commercial.”