American Art – Part I of III: Sabin Howard
In the words of one critic, “The Torino-born sculptor Sabin Howard grew up in New York City and in Torino, Italy. He studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and then earned his MFA from the New York Academy of Art. For twenty years, he taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He has been elected to the board of the National Sculpture Society. He has received numerous commissions and has showed his work at more than fifty solo and group shows.”
According to a second critic, “Sabin Howard is a sculptor whose work radiates a startling presence while finding its roots in the classical past. …Howard mixes Roman gods with abstract forms and sees himself as a new kind of Renaissance figure-the artist-businessman with his own Medici clients. His bronze sculptures exert an outward pressure against their own metal skin, textured in pointillist marks. Formally and technically, the work is wonderfully compelling.”
“I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all afternoon, and a cat that comes home late at night.” – Marie Corelli, British novelist, who died 21 April 1924.
A few quotes from the work of Marie Corelli:
“No one is contented in this world, I believe. There is always something left to desire, and the last thing longed for always seems the most necessary to happiness.”
“Any era that is dominated by the love of money only, has a rotten core within it and must perish.”
“What a fool cannot learn he laughs at, thinking that by his laughter he shows superiority instead of latent idiocy.”
From the Music Archives: Elvis Presley
21 April 1956 – Elvis Presley’s first hit record, “Heartbreak Hotel,” reaches number one on American popular music charts.
“For beauty being the best of all we know
Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims
Of nature.” – Robert Bridges, British poet and Poet Laureate (1913-1930), who died 21 April 1930.
BEAUTIFUL must be the mountains whence ye come,
And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams wherefrom
Ye learn your song:
Where are those starry woods? O might I wander there,
Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air
Bloom the year long!
Nay, barren are those mountains and spent the streams:
Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
A throe of the heart,
Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound,
No dying cadence, nor long sigh can sound,
For all our art.
Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men
We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then,
As night is withdrawn
From these sweet-springing meads and bursting boughs of May,
Dream, while the innumerable choir of day
Welcome the dawn.
Below – Rusty Hardin: “Nightingale”
In the words of one critic, British painter Helen Masacz (born 1968) “concerns herself with the issues of transition; from childhood to adulthood, from the changes in relationships over a lifetime and to the meaning that the passage of time imprints on all our lives.”
“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.” – Rollo May, American existential psychologist and author of “Love and Will,” who was born 21 April 1909.
Some quotes from Rollo May:
“It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.”
“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”
“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
“Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one’s death.”
“Courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.”
“Depression is the inability to construct a future.”
“Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.”
“It requires greater courage to preserve inner freedom, to move on in one’s inward journey into new realms, than to stand defiantly for outer freedom. It is often easier to play the martyr, as it is to be rash in battle.”
“One does not become fully human painlessly.”
“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.”
“Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.”
“Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves.”
“Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.
Care is a state in which something does matter; it is the source of human tenderness.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Ana Teresa Fernandez: “Growing up in Mexico, Ana Teresa Fernandez learned at an early age about the double standards imposed on women and their sexuality. Through performance-based paintings, Fernandez explores the territories that encompass these different boundaries and stereotypes: physical, emotional, and psychological.
Fernandez subverts the typical folkloric representations of Mexican women by changing the protagonist’s uniform to the quintessential little black dress, a symbol of American prosperity and femininity and of the Mexican tradition of wearing black for a year after a death. Her paintings portray actual performances where Fernandez takes on the Sisyphean task of cleaning the environment – sweeping sand on a beach, vacuuming a dirt road – to accentuate the idea of disposable labor resources.”
“Life has the dimension of a tree in the eyes of an insect. Life is a strange sense experienced by a migrating bird.” – Sohrab Sepehri, Persian poet and painter, who died 21 April 1980.
In describing Sepehri, one critic states, “Well-versed in Buddhism, mysticism and Western traditions, he mingled the Western concepts with Eastern ones, thereby creating a kind of poetry unsurpassed in the history of Persian literature. To him, new forms were new means to express his thoughts and feelings.”
“The Footsteps of Water”
Life’s a pleasant tradition.
Life’s wing is as vast as death.
Life’s a jump the size of love.
Life’s not something,
we put on the mantel of habit
It does not matter where I am.
The sky is always mine.
Windows, ideas, air, love,
earth, all mine.
Why does it matter if sometimes,
the mushrooms of nostalgia grow?
Let’s take off our clothes.
Water is just a foot away.
Let’s have a basket and
fill it up with all the greens
and all the reds.
We are not to comprehend;
the secret of roses, but maybe
swimming in the incantation of roses.
Or may be looking for
the song of truth
between the morning glory,
and the century.
There was a special moment,
All doors were open.
No leaves, no branches,
The garden of annihilation had appeared.
Birds of places were silent,
This silent, that silent,
The silence itself was utterance.
What was that area?
Seems an ewe and a wolf,
Standing side by side.
The shape of the sound, pale
The voice of the shape, weak
Was the curtain folded?
I was gone, he was gone,
We had lost us.
The beauty was alone.
Every river had become a sea,
Every being had become a Buddha.
American Comic Genius – Part I of II: Josh Billings
“There is only one good substitute for the endearments of a sister, and that is the endearments of some other fellow’s sister.” – Josh Billings, the pen name of Henry Wheeler Shaw, American writer, humorist, lecturer, and friend of Mark Twain, who was born 21 April 1818.
Some quotes from the work of Josh Billings:
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
“Advice is like castor oil, easy to give, but dreadful to take.”
“As long as we are lucky we attribute it to our smartness; our bad luck we give the gods credit for.”
“As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.”
“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.”
“Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” “Don’t mistake pleasure for happiness. They are a different breed of dog.”
“Don’t take the bull by the horns, take him by the tail; then you can let go when you want to.” “Experience is a school where a man learns what a big fool he has been.”
“Flattery is like cologne water: to be smelt, not swallowed.”
“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”
“Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”
“I hate to be a kicker, I always long for peace, But the wheel that does the squeaking, Is the one that gets the grease.”
“It is much easier to repent of sins that we have committed than to repent of those we intend to commit.”
“It’s not ignorance does so much damage; it’s knowin’ so derned much that ain’t so.”
“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.”
“Man was created a little lower than the angels, and has been getting lower ever since.”
“Most people repent their sins by thanking God they ain’t so wicked as their neighbor.”
“Motivation and inspiration energize people, not by pushing them in the right direction as control mechanisms do but by satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one’s life, and the ability to live up to one’s ideals. Such feelings touch us deeply and elicit a powerful response.” “Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first.”
“One of the rarest things that a man ever does is to do the best he can.”
“Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.”
“The best way to convince a fool he is wrong is to let him have his way.”
“The man whose only pleasure in life is making money weighs less on the moral scale than an angleworm.”
“There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.”
“There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can’t tell the truth without lying.”
“There may come a time when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, but I am still betting on the lion.”
“Time is like money, the less we have of it to spare the further we make it go.”
“When a man comes to me for advice, I find out the kind of advice he wants, and I give it to him.”
Italian painter Davide Puma (born 1971) lives and works in Imperia, Italy.
American Comic Genius – Part II of II: Mark Twain
“The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it he knows too little.” – Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, American writer, humorist, and author of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” who died 21 April 1910.
Some quotes from the work of Mark Twain:
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.”
“Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
“If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.”
“Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn’t any. But this wrongs the jackass.”
“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”
“It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
“Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.”
“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”
“Of the demonstrably wise there are but two: those who commit suicide, and those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied with drink.”
“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.”
Here is the Artist Statement of painter Valery Koroshilov: ”I was born in Russia and received an architectural education.
Fifteen years ago I found a home in Britain. I work in two studios: one in London, and one on the Greek Island of Samos, where I travel every summer to paint.
My artistic career started in 1992 after an exhibition of graphic works in Amsterdam. That first public exposure led to the invitations from three more galleries to show my work. Since then I exhibit regularly, and have participated in more than 100 exhibitions worldwide.”
Defending the Land – Part I of II: John Muir
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist, author, advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States, and founder of the Sierra Club, who was born 21 April 1838.
Some quotes from the work of John Muir:
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
“The sun shines not on us but in us.”
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
“Going to the mountains is going home.”
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”
“Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.”
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
“We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.”
“How narrow we selfish conceited creatures are in our sympathies! How blind to the rights of all the rest of creation!”
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Defending the Land – Part II of II: Aldo Leopold
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” – Aldo Leopold, American scientist, ecologist, writer, forester, environmentalist, author of “Sand County Almanac,” and elaborator of “The Land Ethic,” who died 21 April 1948.
A few quotes from “Sand County Almanac”:
“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”
“Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays.”
“The modern dogma is comfort at any cost.”
“Some paintings become famous because, being durable, they are viewed by successive generations, in each of which are likely to be found a few appreciative eyes.
I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all, except by some wandering deer. It is a river who wields the brush, and it is the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever from human view. After that it exists only in my mind’s eye.
Like other artists, my river is temperamental; there is no predicting when the mood to paint will come upon him, or how long it will last. But in midsummer, when the great white fleets cruise the sky for day after flawless day, it is worth strolling down to the sandbars just to see whether he has been at work.”
American Art – Part II of III: Alfred Henry Maurer
Born 21 April 1868 – Alfred Henry Maurer, an American modernist painter.
Here is one writer describing the artistry of German painter Siegfried Zademack (born 1952): “Siegfried Zademack’s surrealistic visionary paintings make recipients and reviewers wonder. The arrangement of his pictorial thoughts immensely exceeds a realistic reproduction. His pictures allow us to slip in metaphysical dimensions, between humorous irony and the unfathomable deepness of our souls.”
The first painting posted below is called “North Sea (after a scene in J. W. Waterhouse).” The scene Zademack alludes to is the Waterhouse painting “Hylas and the Nymphs,” which I have placed directly below the Zademack work for instructive comparison.
A Poem for Today
By Joyce Peseroff
My mother’s voice is at my throat
—”Try a scarf in the neckline”—
and on my lips: “Just a little
lipstick.” Today I’m wearing both.
My “mother’s voice,” pitched high, carries
reprimand and care:
“No boom on the table!” My daughter
swats me as I carry her
away from the dearest
activity on earth—sticks, stones, struck
as if the coffee table were a flint.
“Barbarian,” I croon
in heels. “What’s that?” she asks and rips
a nylon with a fingernail.
She cries at the turtleneck
pulled over her head. “I’ll give you something
to cry about!” I hush, succeeding for another
day, or an hour—another minute
late for work. Tonight I’ll choose
a lullaby: “Bluebird
at my window,” Mother sang to me,
a voice that could broom sorrow
American Art – Part III of III: Pam Powell
Artist Statement: “I have a passion for the human figure and love the variety of expression in the human form. I want my paintings to be like visual poems, condensing time, creating a mood and evoking an emotion. People who buy my paintings often ask me to tell them the story in the painting, but I’ve learned that it’s better not to tell my story. The painting must speak to the person who views it.”