American Art – Part I of III: Ryan S. Brown
Here is one critic describing the background of painter Ryan S. Brown: “By the time he was a senior in high school Ryan had decided to pursue art as a profession. This pursuit led him to Brigham Young University where he studied Illustration, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002. While finishing his studies at BYU, Ryan became aware of the deficiencies in his University education. Because his interests were in the academic and naturalist traditions of the nineteenth century, it became necessary for him to get the foundational drawing and painting training not offered at the university. In his senior year at BYU, Ryan began studying with William Whitaker, a renowned portrait and figurative painter. Soon after this, Ryan entered the Florence Academy of Art, where he received his first taste of Academic training. The organized, intense and concise training of the Florence Academy provided Ryan with what he considers the beginning of his understanding of the craft of art. This training not only gave Ryan a deep understanding and love of drawing, but also developed in him a strong self-discipline and work ethic, as well as an insatiable appetite for learning.”
“People who travel are always fugitives.” – Daphne du Maurier, English writer, playwright, and author of “Rebecca,” who died 19 April 1989.
A few quotes from the work of Daphne du Maurier:
“Women want love to be a novel, men a short story.”
“Happiness is not a possession to be prized; it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”
“All autobiography is self-indulgent.”
“And I don’t like books which are full of name dropping.”
“Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.”
From the Music Archives: Alan Price
Born 19 April 1942 – Alan Price, an English musician best known as the original keyboardist for the British band The Animals.
American Art – Part II of III: Tim Doud
Happy Bicycle Day
Today is known as Bicycle Day because, on 19 April 1943, Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann purposefully ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. He started to feel the effects of the drug while riding home on a bike, and thus unfolded the first intentional acid trip.
Here is a very different, and to my mind far more significant sort of “trip” that Hofmann experienced in his youth: “There are experiences that most of us are hesitant to speak about, because they do not conform to everyday reality and defy rational explanation. These are not particular external occurrences, but rather events of our inner lives, which are generally dismissed as figments of the imagination and barred from our memory. Suddenly, the familiar view of our surroundings is transformed in a strange, delightful, or alarming way: it appears to us in a new light, takes on a special meaning. Such an experience can be as light and fleeting as a breath of air, or it can imprint itself deeply upon our minds. One enchantment of that kind, which I experienced in childhood, has remained remarkably vivid in my memory ever since. It happened on a May morning — I have forgotten the year — but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden, Switzerland. As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light. Was this something I had simply failed to notice before? Was I suddenly discovering the spring forest as it actually looked? It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness, and blissful security. I have no idea how long I stood there spellbound. But I recall the anxious concern I felt as the radiance slowly dissolved and I hiked on: how could a vision that was so real and convincing, so directly and deeply felt — how could it end so soon? And how could I tell anyone about it, as my overflowing joy compelled me to do, since I knew there were no words to describe what I had seen? It seemed strange that I, as a child, had seen something so marvelous, something that adults obviously did not perceive — for I had never heard them mention it. While still a child, I experienced several more of these deeply euphoric moments on my rambles through forest and meadow. It was these experiences that shaped the main outlines of my world view and convinced me of the existence of a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality that was hidden from everyday sight.” – from “LSD: My Problem Child”
Italian Art – Part I of II: Paolo Veronese
Died 19 April 1588 – Paolo Caliari, known as Paolo Veronese, an Italian Renaissance painter who lived in Venice.
Below – “Venus and Adonis”; “The Family of Darius before Alexander the Great”; “The Wedding at Cana”; “Juno Showering Gifts on Venetia.”
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness
I learned the language of another world.” – From “Don Juan,” by
George Gordon Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement, who died 19 April 1824.
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.” – From “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,”
“She Walks in Beauty”
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Italian Art – Part II of II: Linda Carrara
Nobel Laureate: Octavio Paz
“No one behind, no one ahead.
The path the ancients cleared has closed.
And the other path, everyone’s path,
easy and wide, goes nowhere.
I am alone and find my way.” – Octavio Paz, Mexican poet, diplomat, writer, and recipient of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature “for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity,” who died 19 April 1998.
“Between Going and Staying”
Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.
All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.
Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.
Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.
The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.
I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.
Born 19 April 1898 – Sybil Andrews, a British-born Canadian printmaker best known for her modernist linocuts. (In the words of one art historian: “Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum [sometimes mounted on a wooden block] is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised [uncarved] areas representing a reversal [mirror image] of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller [called a brayer], and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.”)
Below – “Michaelmas”; “The New Cable”; “The Timber Jim”; “Storm Wind”; “Skaters”; “Winch.”
“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,” one of the most scientifically important and intellectually liberating books in the history of our species, who died 19 April 1882.
“An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”
“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.”
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men.”
“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.”
“The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts.”
“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.”
“Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult–at least I have found it so–than constantly to bear this conclusion in mind.”
“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”
“Great is the power of steady misrepresentation”
“I am not the least afraid to die.”
Here is one crtic describing the artistry of French painter Denis Fremond: “His paintings have an inherent glamour, reminiscent settings favoured by authors such as F Scott Fitzgerald. The environments he paints are intimate yet reflexive. They exude mystery; while these settings are recognisable – a villa on the Amalfi, a Parisian brasserie, a New York apartment – the circumstances are ambiguous.
Cropped like movie stills, Fremond’s compositions often feature a lone figure, not the subject of the composition but a fixture: a piece of furniture or a prop. Reminiscent of the great American painter Edward Hopper, there is a loaded sense of some impending action or drama as we are transported beyond the canvas and into the realm of their thoughts. His paintings are spacious and airy, with a restrained palette rendering the scenes peaceful and meditative.”
American Tragedy – Part I of II: Waco, Texas, 19 April 1993
“I’m not emotional.” – David Koresh, born Vernon Wayne Howell, American leader of the Branch Davidians religious sect, who died 19 April 1993. In the words of one historian, “A 1993 raid by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the subsequent siege by the FBI ended with the burning of the Branch Davidian ranch outside of Waco, Texas, in McLennan County. Koresh, 54 other adults, and 28 children were found dead after the fire.”
American Tragedy – Part II of II: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 19 April 1995
“Based on observations of the policies of my own government, I viewed this action as an acceptable option.” – Timothy McVeigh,
the man convicted of the bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. In the words of one historian, “Motivated by his hatred of the federal government and angered by what he perceived as its mishandling of the 1993 Waco siege and the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992, McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at Waco.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Indian painter Niladri Paul (born 1986): “I have been painting for as long as I can remember. Even before I knew it was called art. From the moment I first held a pencil in my hand, I started doodling , much to the exasperation of my parents and teachers. I would draw on anything and everything, from blank papers, walls, newspapers, sand and of course sketch books also at times, when provided. So it was a natural progression to join the art college and learn the fine nuances of the craft. And thus started the colourful journey of my life.
My art is not a social critique of our times, as I strongly feel that I am an artist and my language ought to be simple and forthright enough for everybody to understand and relate to, rather than just being read and applauded by a few art critics only.”
From the American History Archives: The American Revolution
19 April 1775 – The American Revolution begins when Lexington Militia Captain John Parker collects his “Minutemen” and engages British troops, first on Lexington Common and then along the five mile “Battle Road Trail” to Concord.
“Concord Hymn,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
(the original title of this poem was “Hymn. Sung at the Completion of Concord Monument, April 19, 1836”)
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
Above – The Lexington-Concord Battle Monument.
Below – the Lexington Minuteman, representing John Parker; Concord Bridge.
One art critic describes the work of Spanish painter and illustrator Beatriz Martin Vidal (born 1973) thusly: “Her drawings and paintings depict a world that’s just slightly magical, where the butterflies on a child’s dress can come to life and birds act as guides. Her subjects are mainly children, which she draws in a way that avoids ‘cute’ and truly reveals the beauty of children and the way they view the world.”
Below – “Premonition” (from the “Little Red Riding Hood” series); “The Rose and Death” (from the “North Castle” series); “Memories of Gods” (from the “North Castle” series); “The Cubs” (from the “The Forest Pact” series); the cover for the novel “Birgit”; “The Quince Tree” (from the “Ghosts and Children” series); “Rusalki” (from the “Fairy Tales” series); “Witch” (from the “Russian Tales” series); “Daphne and Apollo” (from the “Metamorphosis” series); “Athenea” (from the “Metamorphosis” series); “The Lovers” (from “The Tarot” series).
A Poem for Today
“The Wheel Revolves,”
By Kenneth Rexroth
You were a girl of satin and gauze
Now you are my mountain and waterfall companion.
Long ago I read those lines of Po Chu I
Written in his middle age.
Young as I was they touched me.
I never thought in my own middle age
I would have a beautiful young dancer
To wander with me by falling crystal waters,
Among mountains of snow and granite,
Least of all that unlike Po’s girl
She would be my very daughter.
The earth turns towards the sun.
Summer comes to the mountains.
Blue grouse drum in the red fir woods
All the bright long days.
You put blue jay and flicker feathers
In your hair.
Two and two violet green swallows
Play over the lake.
The blue birds have come back
To nest on the little island.
The swallows sip water on the wing
And play at love and dodge and swoop
Just like the swallows that swirl
Under and over the Ponte Vecchio.
Light rain crosses the lake
Hissing faintly. After the rain
There are giant puffballs with tortoise shell backs
At the edge of the meadow.
Snows of a thousand winters
Melt in the sun of one summer.
Wild cyclamen bloom by the stream.
Trout veer in the transparent current.
In the evening marmots bark in the rocks.
The Scorpion curls over the glimmering ice field.
A white crowned night sparrow sings as the moon sets.
Thunder growls far off.
Our campfire is a single light
Amongst a hundred peaks and waterfalls.
The manifold voices of falling water
Talk all night.
Wrapped in your down bag
Starlight on your cheeks and eyelids
Your breath comes and goes
In a tiny cloud in the frosty night.
Ten thousand birds sing in the sunrise.
Ten thousand years revolve without change.
All this will never be again.
American Art – Part III of III: Forrest Rodts
Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of painter Forrest Rodts: “Forrest Rodts was born in 1960. Throughout his childhood he moved frequently with his family, but always spent his summers on Nantucket. Rodts traces his ancestry to some of the earliest settlers on the island. His family’s home in Siasconset was originally built by a whaling captain and has been passed down through the generations for more than 250 years.
Nantucket became the most important influence on his painting during his early years. A self-taught artist, Rodts began showing his paintings while still in college, with the Artist Association of Nantucket. In 1983 he graduated from Hobart College with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Fine Arts. In 1988 he set up his first full one-man show at the New Street Gallery in Siasconset. Since then, Rodts has continuously exhibited on Nantucket, currently showing at Quidley and Company on Main Street.
In 1994 Rodts moved from Boston to Marblehead, Massachusetts, where he currently lives with his wife, Linda. With a shared interest in architecture and historic preservation, they set about restoring an antique home, and now raise their two boys there. Rodts finds Marblehead and the Cape Ann coast the ideal location for his study of sailing and of the complexities of water and light. His marine portraits exhibit a passion for maritime history. Through an exploration of his family’s whaling past and our country’s sailing tradition, Rodts captures the drama of breathtaking sunsets, explosive skies, sparkling blue seas and peaceful vistas. He combines color, light and meticulous draftsmanship in finely detailed acrylic landscapes, seascapes and still lifes that reflect his long-standing affection for the ocean and the serene New England coastline.”