May Offerings – Part XXV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Judy Funk

In the words of one writer, “Judy Funk is a talented realist painter whose love of art and life is conveyed through her work. Her artistic journey evolved from creative tendencies earlier in life to a later formal education at the Schuler School of Fine Art, where she learned the methods and techniques of the Flemish Old Masters. Judy’s paintings integrate her passion for art, innate talent and learned techniques into a disciplined form, producing sophisticated works that are inspired by the intricate details so effortlessly portrayed in nature.”

“Where I come from
Nobody knows;
And where I’m going
Everything goes.
The wind blows,
The sea flows –
And nobody knows.” – From “Portrait of Jennie,” by Robert Nathan, American poet and novelist, who died 25 May 1985.

Some quotes from Robert Nathan:

“There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday.”
“How little we have, I thought, between us and the waiting cold, the mystery, death–a strip of beach, a hill, a few walls of wood or stone, a little fire–and tomorrow’s sun, rising and warming us, tomorrow’s hope of peace and better weather . . . What if tomorrow vanished in the storm? What if time stood still? And yesterday–if once we lost our way, blundered in the storm–would we find yesterday again ahead of us, where we had thought tomorrow’s sun would rise?”
“What is it which makes a man and a woman know that they, of all other men and women in the world, belong to each other? Is it no more than chance and meeting? no more than being alive together in the world at the same time? Is it only a curve of the throat, a line of the chin, the way the eyes are set, a way of speaking? Or is it something deeper and stranger, something beyond meeting, something beyond chance and fortune? Are there others, in other times of the world, whom we should have loved, who would have loved us? Is there, perhaps, one soul among all others–among all who have lived, the endless generations, from world’s end to world’s end–who must love us or die? And whom we must love, in turn–whom we must seek all our lives long–headlong and homesick–until the end?”
“Art is a communication informing man of his own dignity, and of the value of his life, whether in joy or grief, whether in laughter or indignation, beauty or terror…Man needs the comfort of his own dignity…And that’s what the artist is for. To give him that comfort.”
“It seems to me that I have always wanted to say the same thing in my books: that life is one, that mystery is all around us, that yesterday, today and tomorrow are all spread out in the pattern of eternity, together, and that although love may wear many faces in the incomprehensible panorama of time, in the heart that loves, it is always the same.”

American Art – Part II of VI: Stan Sakai

Born 25 May 1953 – American cartoonist Stan Sakai, creator of the comic book series “Usagi Yojimbo.”



“In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton, English novelist, poet, playwright, and politician, who was born 25 May 1803.

Some quotes from Edward Bulwer-Lytton:

“A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool.”
“If you wish to be loved, show more of your faults than your virtues.”
“Anger ventilated often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge.”
“Love thou the rose, yet leave it on its stem.”
“A good heart is better than all the heads in the world.”
“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.”
“There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth.”
“It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.”
“Chance happens to all, but to turn chance to account is the gift of few.”
“When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.”
“Remorse is the echo of a lost virtue.”
“What is past is past, there is a future left to all men, who have the virtue to repent and the energy to atone.”
“Genius does what it must, and talent does what it can.”
“Master books, but do not let them master you. Read to live, not live to read.”
“A reform is a correction of abuses; a revolution is a transfer of power.”
“There is no such thing as luck. It’s a fancy name for being always at our duty, and so sure to be ready when good time comes.”
“Truth makes on the ocean of nature no one track of light; every eye, looking on, finds its own.”
“We tell our triumphs to the crowds, but our own hearts are the sole confidants of our sorrows.”
“Art and science have their meeting point in method.”
“Be it jewel or toy, not the prize gives the joy, but the striving to win the prize.”
“The easiest person to deceive is one’s self.”
“The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man’s observation, not overturning it.”
“There is nothing certain in a man’s life but that he must lose it.”
“What ever our wandering our happiness will always be found within a narrow compass, and in the middle of the objects more immediately within our reach.”
“In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the oldest. The classic literature is always modern.”
“What mankind wants is not talent; it is purpose.”

Portuguese painter Clotilde Fava studied at the University of Fine Arts in Lisbon.



“To live! Without property, but what was that to me? Let them confiscate it – they were brigands anyway, confiscating was their business. They wouldn’t get much good out of mine, a few books and clothes – why, we didn’t even have a radio.” – Yevgenia Ginzburg, Russian writer, who died 25 May 1977.

Yevgenia Ginzburg was arrested during the Stalinist purges of 1937 and sent to the Gulag until her release in 1949. However, she was almost immediately arrested a second time and sent into exile until her rehabilitation in 1955. She tells the harrowing story of her trial, imprisonment, and exile in “Journey into the Whirlwind.”

Above – Ginzburg’s youthful identification photograph.
Below – Ginzburg in 1977; her memoir.

Died 25 May 1968 – Kees van Dongen, a Dutch Fauve painter.

Below – “Femme Fatale”; “The Sphinx”; “Woman with a Large Hat”; “In the Plaza”; “Tango of the Archangel”; “Tableau”; “Woman on the Sofa”; “A Dutch Dairy”; “End of the Road”; “ Self-Portrait as Neptune.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of III: The Isley Brothers

25 May 1962 – The Isley Brothers release “Twist and Shout.”

Died 25 May 1943 – Nils von Dardel, a Swedish post-Impressionist painter.

Below – “Young Man and Girl”; “Young Man in Black, Girl in White”; “Tora von Dardel” (the artist’s wife); “Bar”; “The Waterfall”; “Marthe”; “The Dying Dandy.”

From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Beverly Sills

“My voice had a long, nonstop career. It deserves to be put to bed with quiet and dignity, not yanked out every once in a while to see if it can still do what it used to do. It can’t.” – Beverly Sills, American operatic soprano, who was born 25 May 1929.

In addition to being a world-renowned soprano, Beverly Sills was a wonderful person, and here is one of her most generous performances:

Russian artist Michael Solovyev (born 1972) has many paintings in private collections in Russia, Canada, the United States, Poland, and Germany. He now lives and works in Montreal.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who was born 25 May 1803.

Emerson’s thinking and writing frequently show the influence of his acquaintance with Asian spiritual traditions, as in the case of this poem:

“Brahma” (1856)

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Here are two English translations of the passage from the “Bhagavad Gita” (2:19) that inspired “Brahma,” particularly the first stanza:

“He who thinks that the living entity is the slayer or that the entity is slain does not understand. One who is in knowledge knows that the self slays not nor is slain.”

“Anyone who thinks the soul is the slayer and anyone who thinks the soul is slain are both in ignorance; the soul never slays nor is slain.”

American Art – Part III of VI: Fongwei Liu

In the words of one writer, “Fongwei Liu received his BFA degree from the prestigious Fine Art Academy of Yunnan, China in 1994. After graduation, Fongwei chased various ventures but never touched his paint brush again until 2007 when he finally realized that art is his true passion, and returned to art school in the States. Fongwei received his MFA degree from Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2009.
From 2010, he has worked at Academy of Art University as an art instructor.”

Pulitzer Prize: Theodore Roethke

“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” – Theodore Roethke, American poet, recipient of the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “The Waking”), and two-time recipient of the National Book Award for Poetry (in 1959 for “Words for the Wind” and in 1965 [posthumously] for “The Far Field”), who was born 25 May 1908.

“The Geranium”

When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine–
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she’d lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)

The things she endured!–
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.

Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me–
And that was scary–
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.

But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely.

American Art – Part IV of VI: Kerry Dunn

In the words of one writer, “Kerry was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in the Portrait Society of America’s 2009 competition. He earned an Exceptional Merit Award from the society in 2007. A Studio Incamminati instructor, Kerry received Best in Show at the Salmagundi Club’s 2009 annual Juried Painting and Sculpture Exhibition for Non-Members.”

From the Music Archives – Part III of III: George Harrison

25 May 1973 – George Harrison releases “Give Me Love” in the United Kingdom.

Here is the Artist Statement of French sculptor Marie-Helene Vallade: “I model clay figures. This sentence from La Tour du Pin sums up my artistic process: ‘Do you not have within you an immense world? Then be its cry.’
The key for me is to provide my characters a soul, so that they can inhabited. Each new sculpture is a new perilous adventure, according to my moods. I build my sculptures letting them empty, starting from the base, from the feet to the head. I use clay-coil or plates techniques , step by step according to the drying process, without any internal armature. I use large chamotte sandstone, and then finer for the details, from different colors, and finally earth-paper for clothes. Once the clay is dry or made “biscuit”, I apply oxide or engobe juices, like watercolor. I bake my sculptures in an electric oven, at 1230 degrees °C.”

American Art – Part V of VI: Jeanie Tomanek

In the words of one writer, “Jeanie Tomanek was born in 1949 in New York. She began painting full time in 2001 and now lives in Marietta, Georgia.”

A Poem for Today

By Molly Peacock

What if we got outside ourselves and there
really was an outside out there, not just
our insides turned inside out? What if there
really were a you beyond me, not just
the waves off my own fire, like those waves off
the backyard grill you can see the next yard through,
though not well — just enough to know that off
to the right belongs to someone else, not you.
What if, when we said I love you, there were
a you to love as there is a yard beyond
to walk past the grill and get to? To endure
the endless walk through the self, knowing through a bond
that has no basis (for ourselves are all we know)
is altruism: not giving, but coming to know
someone is there through the wavy vision
of the self’s heat, love become a decision.

American Art – Part VI of VI: Donna Cassaro-Hughes

In the words of one writer, “It is rare for painters to have the ability to switch from style and subject with equal talent, but Donna Cassaro- Hughes projects the fact that she is an accomplished artist by her masterful use of contrasting values.
In her landscape paintings, shafts of light penetrate the haunting darkness creating a feeling that hope and renewal, like the first signs of daybreak, will soon overtake the somberness of the scene.
With similar use of light and contrast, complemented by fresh color of the lips and clothing, her portraits capture more than a flattering ‘likeness’ to the sitter. They project an attitude with an edge, an unabashed sense of style and extreme self-confidence.
Donna received her BFA at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and is a member of the Atlanta Portrait Society.”

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