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

American Art – Part I of III: Anthony Ackrill

In the words of one critic, ”Anthony Ackrill is the only painter I know who combines an amazing ability when it comes to traditional technical skills with a very modern sense of subject matter.”

“If by a ‘Liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal,’ then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal.’” – John F. Kennedy, American politician, author, and 35th President of the United States, who was born 29 May 1917.

Some quotes from the work of John F. Kennedy:

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”
“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”
“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
“You know nothing for sure…except the fact that you know nothing for sure.”
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
“Libraries should be open to all – except the censor.”
“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

Italian Art – Part I of II: Alessandro Andreuccetti

Painter Alessandro Andreuccetti (born 1955) studied art and architecture in Florence and, after a stint as a graphic designer, he became interested in the techniques of watermedia painting.
Here is how one critic describes his work: “It succeeds, much better than it is possible for the historian, in evoking the thickness of time inborn in things . . . Therefore, it expresses the immaterial substance of duration, the patina of becoming, the essence of the generations that have lived in the same places and observed the same colors.”

Italian Art – Part II of II: Paolo Consorti

Painter Paolo Consorti (born 1964) is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Macerata.

“One of the basic causes for all the trouble in the world today is that people talk too much and think too little.” – Margaret Chase Smith, American politician, who died 29 May 1995.

A member of the Republican party, Margaret Chase Smith served as a U.S. Representative (1940-1949) and U.S. Senator (1949-1973) from Maine. She is perhaps best remembered for her 1950 speech “Declaration of Conscience,” in which she criticized the tactics of McCarthyism.
Some quotes from Margaret Chase Smith:
“The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”
“Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.”
“Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.”
“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk.”
“Greatness is not manifested by unlimited pragmatism, which places such a high premium on the end justifying any means and any methods.”
“In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love, you want the other person.”

Australian Art – Part I of III: Robert Fenton

Painter Robert Fenton (born 1966) studied at the National Art School in East Sydney, New South Wales.

Australian Art – Part II of III: Julie Swan

Here is one critic describing the artistry of sculptor Julie Swan: “Today Julie’s figurative sculptures are recognizable for their beauty and the portrayal of ‘sensuous’ lines and form. Surface preparations play with light and shade and work towards transforming the base material of earth towards a feeling of simplicity, light and energy.
First impressions may suggest a ‘pretty’ form, but on deeper analysis much symbolism is present. Julie is very aware that her work should be seen not only as a respectful interpretation of ancient religious iconography… but also that her aim is to interpret these ancient teachings in a broader more contemporary sense.
She is aware that she challenges the viewer. The often hidden or beguiling nature of her pieces can trap and mislead shallow appreciation. They require more from the viewer than just a cursory appreciation of ‘outside appearance.’”


“If this be treason, make the most of it!” – Patrick Henry, American attorney, politician, and orator, answering the cry of “Treason!” while denouncing the Stamp Act on 29 May 1765 on the occasion of his 29th birthday, who was born 29 May 1736.

Some quotes from the work of Patrick Henry:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
“The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American!”

Australian Art – Part III of III: Rick Amor

Artist Rick Amor (born 1948) received an Associate Diploma of Painting from the National Gallery School in Melbourne.
Rick Amor_artodyssey
Rick Amor_artodyssey
Rick Amor_artodyssey
Rick Amor_artodyssey
Rick Amor_artodyssey

Here is how Swedish painter Pia Erlandsson describes her work: “In my paintings I usually portray people. I want to convey feelings and expressions of universal emotions, communicating different states of the human mind. I try to find the tension and harmony between colors and shapes, and light and darkness, where the water and pigments together create new forms.
Watercolor is something I cannot entirely control, which makes it possible for me to take advantage of what is happening on the paper.
On the other hand, I do take care to make sure of the details and clarity of the expressions in the face and body of my subjects, which is important to me.
The background of the painting is abstract, giving viewers the freedom to create a room of their own.
For me, a painting is a story in which the colors and shapes are the words.”

From the American History Archives: John Pemberton and Our National Beverage

29 May 1886 – The pharmacist John Pemberton places his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, which appeared in “The Atlanta Journal.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Thai artist Anupong Chantorn: “My job was over when I put down the paintbrush, the rest is about the artwork and its viewers.”

Russian painter Julia Bekhova (born 1964) graduated from the I. E. Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1995.
Julia Bekhova
Julia Bekhova

Nobel Laureate: Juan Ramon Jimenez

“Perhaps this momentary life of ours is only the light that divides our infinite origin from our infinite end.” – Juan Ramon Jimenez, Spanish poet, writer, and recipient of the 1956 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistic purity,” who died 29 May 1958.
“I Took Off Petal After Petal”

I took off petal after petal, as if you were a rose,

in order to see your soul,

and I didn’t see it.

However, everything around-

horizons of fields and oceans-

everything, even what was infinite,

was filled with a perfume,

immense and living.


French painter Sophie Morisse is a graduate of the Art Academy in Rouen.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Chinese painter Xie Chuyu (born 1962): “In Chuyu’s works, one can keenly feel his sentimental asceticism. The background (can be) gloomy and confused, with a figure showing ignorance of her previous existence and this life, which constructs an artistic conception as if you had been in the remote past. You must think deeply about the brief youth and the limits of human existence, which arouses sorrow and reluctance.”

29 May 1953 – Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.

In the words of one writer, “Gerard M. Burns is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art’s internationally renowned painting department. Burns has over the past few years established himself as a powerful new force in Scottish figurative painting. Constantly in demand here in the UK, his work is now increasingly sought after by collectors around the world.
Working with a bold palette on a massive scale Burns’ canvases still manage to convey an almost domestic intimacy, possibly because he paints what he knows. Relatives, friends and neighbours are all used as models and are painted in the rich dark tones which reflect his environment.”

“Snowflakes, leaves, humans, plants, raindrops, stars, molecules, microscopic entities all come in communities. The singular cannot in reality exist.” – Paula Gunn Allen, Native American poet, literary critic, lesbian activist, and novelist, who died 29 May 2008.

Some quotes and a poem from the work of Paula Gunn Allen:

The quotes:

“An odd thing occurs in the minds of Americans when Indian civilization is mentioned: little or nothing.”
“I have noticed that as soon as you have soldiers the story is called history. Before their arrival it is called myth, folktale, legend, fairy tale, oral poetry, ethnography. After the soldiers arrive, it is called history.”
“Hoop Dancer is a rendering of my understanding of the process by which one enters into timelessness — that place where one is whole.”
“The basis of Indian time is ceremonial, while the basis of time in the industrialized west is mechanical.”

“There is a spirit that pervades everything, that is capable of powerful song and radiant movement, and that moves in and out of the mind. The colors of this spirit are multitudinous, a glowing, pulsing rainbow. Old Spider Woman is one name for this quintessential spirit, and Serpent Woman is another. Corn Woman is one aspect of her, and Earth Woman is another, and what they together have made is called Creation, Earth, creatures, plants, and light.”
“Breath is life, and the intermingling of breaths is the purpose of good living. This is in essence the great principle on which all productive living must rest . . .in this way each individual life may also be fulfilled.”
“For the American Indian, the ability of all creatures to share in the process of ongoing creation makes all things sacred.”

The Poem:

“Hoop Dance”

It’s hard to enter
circling clockwise and counter
clockwise moving no
regard for time, metrics
irrelevant to this dance
where pain is the prime number
and soft stepping feet
praise water from the skies.

I have seen the face of triumph

the winding line stare down all moves

to desecration: guts not cut from arms,

fingers joined to minds,

together Sky and Water

one dancing one

circle of a thousand turning lines

beyond the march of gears – 
out of time, out of

time, out

of time.

American Art – Part II of III: Craig Kosak

Artist Statement: “Inspired by the wildlife and landscapes I encounter while travelling, I return to my studio with insights about the world and about myself. Rather than faithfully documenting the flora and fauna, I strive to capture the feeling and emotions these trips provide. Each trip consists of both a journey through the outer world, and an inner journey where I learn more about my humanity, my spirit and the world inside. These paintings are about both worlds and how they relate.”


A Poem for Today

“Film Noir,”
By Aram Saroyan

He was too excited to fall asleep.
The little dog wouldn’t stop barking.
He took out his gun.
He took out his handkerchief.
He took out his notebook.
He drank his coffee and left a dime.
He walked into the room.
He took her in his arms.
She let him in and walked out of the room.
He ran down the escalator.

He left the motor running.
He waited in the rain.
He needed something to tell the police.
He went down unconscious.
The blood drained from his face.
His eyes melted into a smile.
He dialed and waited, looking around.
He took off his hat in the elevator.
He rang the doorbell and waited.
He poured the cereal and added milk.

He opened the refrigerator and looked in.
He turned the page and continued reading.
He shut the door and switched the light on.
He looked up at a plane in the sky.
He put three pennies one on top of another.
He squeezed onto the elevator.
He took out his key.
He helped her into her coat.
He crossed the room and picked up the phone.
He drove on through the heavy rain.

He whistled for a cab.
He turned the corner and bumped into her.
She gradually surrendered to his kiss.
He drove past the wrought-iron gates.
He lit a cigarette and waited.
He lied to the police.
He threw the dice and won.
He folded the newspaper and crossed his legs.
He sat down in the lobby.
He tied his shoes and stood up.

He put on his hat but didn’t get up.
He thought about her until he fell asleep.
He said “Goodbye” and hung up.
He threw the dice and lost.
He dialed and waited for her to answer.
He left some money for her.
He looked for her door number.
The police arrived late.
He walked into her building.
He let her do the explaining.

He gave up hope and begged.
He locked his car and walked.
She gave him that look of hers.
He put a finger to his lips.
He wiped his mouth and left.
He slapped her across the face hard.
He lit a cigarette in the dark.
The police wouldn’t understand.
Her little dog slept.
Her voice had an edge to it.

Her hands were wonderful when she touched him.
His mind might be playing tricks on him.
The low hills reminded him of her.
There was no way to cut his losses.
He needed a shave and a haircut.
The coffee did nothing for him.
She was somewhere else when he called.
Pain stabbed him as he reached toward the glove compartment.
He needed a little time in the desert.
He decided to head for the beach and then thought better.

He needed about $5,000.
He ran out of Luckies and crumpled the pack.
He left his hat on in the car.
Maybe he was ready to die.
He checked his wallet pocket.
All of his friends had disappeared.
He remembered her naked body.
He had almost no savings.
He was at least ten pounds overweight.
He realized he was in love with her.


American Art – Part III of III: Bo Bartlett

Here is writer Tom Butler describing the artistry of painter Bo Bartlett: “Bo Bartlett is an American realist with a modernist vision. His paintings are well within the tradition of American realism as defined by artists such as Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth. Like these artists, Bartlett looks at America’s heart—its land and its people—and describes the beauty he finds in everyday life. His paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary.
Bartlett was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where realist principles must be grasped before modernist ventures are encouraged. He pushes the boundaries of the realist tradition with his multilayered imagery. Life, death, passage, memory, and confrontation coexist easily in his world. Family and friends are the cast of characters that appear in his dreamlike narrative works.
Although the scenes are set around his childhood home in Georgia, his island summer home in Maine, his home in Pennsylvania or the surroundings of his studio and residence in Washington State, they represent a deeper, mythical concept of the archetypal, universal home.”

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