July Offerings – Part VII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Sally Storch

In the words of one critic, “If it’s true that every picture tells a story, Sally Storch’s paintings speak volumes. Set in urban surroundings, her narratives featuring ordinary women and men make one believe that, for a fleeting moment, time has stood still.
A representational painter whose strength lies in creating an atmosphere of mystery, she engages viewers’ intellect and emotions.
Storch’s story lines often originate in advertisements found in vintage issues of New York newspapers, publications that captivate this painter with the soul of a writer.
Regardless of their source, Storch’s story lines take shape in her fertile imagination before she brings them to canvas. She takes us into the midst of city life with its elegant restaurants, dimly lit diners, neighborhood shops and other architecturally diverse, realistic settings. Thus, although her work has been compared to American Regionalists or artists of the Ashcan school, the tone of her paintings often echoes that of Edward Hopper—minus his signature downbeat.
Over all, it is important to keep in mind that her work is not about nostalgia but an ultimate unpredictability of human interactions—about the myriad facets of life.”

American Art – Part II of IV: Michael Alfano

According to one art historian, the major influences on the work of American sculptor Michael Alfano “are Salvador Dali, Jo Davidson, and Jean-Antoine Houdon, as well as Buddhist, Taoist, Sufi and other eastern philosophy and literature.” Here is Alfano’s statement of artistic purpose: “The best art engages, generates discussion, and brings about change. Infusing the everyday with the surreal, my art compels viewers to think and experience, to understand life more fully.”


“I like Beethoven, especially the poems.” – Ringo Starr, English musician, singer, actor, and drummer for the Beatles, who was born 7 July 1940.

I prefer Beethoven’s novels.

Some quotes from the erudite Sir Ringo Starr:

(Media question to the Beatles during their first U.S. tour 1964)
Reporter: “How do you find America?”
Ringo: “Turn left at Greenland.”

“The Beatles were just four guys that loved each other. That’s all they’ll ever be.”
“Of course I’m ambitious. What’s wrong with that? Otherwise you sleep all day.”
“America: It’s like Britain, only with buttons.”
“You got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues…And you know it don’t come easy.”
“I had no schooling before I joined The Beatles and no schooling after The Beatles. Life is a great education.”
“I do get emotional when I think back about those times. My make-up is emotional. I’m an emotional human being. I’m very sensitive and it took me till I was forty-eight to realize that was the problem!’”
“We were honest with each other and we were honest about the music. The music was positive. It was positive in love. They did write – we all wrote – about other things, but the basic Beatles message was Love.”
“I never studied anything, really. I didn’t study the drums. I joined bands and made all the mistakes onstage”

Below – Ringo Starr in 1964; Ringo as Atouk, the hero of the movie “Caveman” (1981); Ringo Starr in 2011.

Russian Art – Part I of II: Constantin Chatov

Here is one writer describing the background of Russian-born painter Constantin Chatov (1904-1993): “As a young man, Constantin studied music at the National Conservatory of Music in Rostov, an affiliate of the prestigious St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. After fleeing Russia in 1922, he studied music at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under the legendary Isabelle Vengerova. He was a concert pianist in New York and an accompanist for the Ballet Russe, headed by Michael Mordkin, where he accompanied many famous ballet stars, including Anna Pavlova and Nemchinova.
As a result of over-practicing, Constantin injured his right hand which ultimately ended his professional career as a concert pianist. He began a new career; following his artistic passions into the world of painting, and by the 1940’s was acclaimed for his figure studies, paintings and portraits.”

Russian Art – Part II of II: Gely Mikhailovich Korzhev-Chuveley

Born 7 July 1925 – Gely Mikhailovich Korzhev-Chuvelev, a Russian painter.

Below – “Autumn of the Ancestors”; “Before the Journey”; “Don Quixote’s Doubt”; “Morning”; “Homer.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Elvis

7 July 1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis plays his first recording for Sun Records – “That’s All Right.”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Dutch painter Bernardien Sternheim (born 1948): “Central to the work of Bernardien Sternheim is the man. This is in all its vulnerability erected in moving or confrontational situations. We see women behind the window, while the men parading past or a man and a woman who give each other a kiss amid a crowd of people. In her work she imagines only the most necessary to make the story understandable.”

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: The Beatles

7 July 1967 – The Beatles release “All You Need is Love.”

In the words of one art critic, Korean painter and watercolorist Shin Jong Sik “is famous for employing clean, transparent colors, and his still life paintings express deep and dignified feelings. Taking flowers, dishes, and hemp cloth as materials, he does not compose as they are seen but recomposes with new ideas.”

Died 7 July 1960 – Francis Hagarty Browne, an Irish Jesuit and photographer. Browne’s best known photographs are those of the RMS Titanic and its passengers and crew taken just as it began its first and final voyage in 1912.

British Art – Part I of II: Ursula McCannell

In the words of one writer, English painter Ursula McCannell
“was the only child to the painter Otway McCannell, former head of Farnham School of Art. At the age of 13 she showed at the Wertheim Gallery and had her first major exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in London when she was sixteen, which led to her being elected the youngest member of the Woman’s International Art Society and the youngest exhibitor at both the New English Art Club and the Royal Academy (1940).”

British Art – Part II of II: Lisa Young

Here is one critic describing the artistry of British painter Lisa Young: “Lisa Young is a meticulous painter of still lifes. But what are these still lifes? There is much more to these delicious, subtly powerful works than meets the initial glance. Her work contains clues – the selection of objects, their beauty and their symbolic weight, the composition, the relationship between objects, the use of light and shade and of varying light sources, even the dark picture frames. These all combine to create the puzzle. Behind the beauty of the object depicted and the delicious rendering lies a message.”

“To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn’t just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it’s an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.” – David McCullough, American writer, narrator, historian, lecturer, and author of “The Path Between the Seas” (which won the 1978 National Book Award), “Mornings on Horseback” (which won the 1982 National Book Award), “Truman” (which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography), “John Adams” (which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography), and “Brave Companions: Portraits in History,” who was born 7 July 1933.

Some quotes from the work of David McCullough:

“Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt’s eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of ‘Anna Karenina.’ I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read.”
“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are. ”
“Nothing ever invented provides such sustenance, such infinite reward for time spent, as a good book.”
“If you get down about the state of American culture, just remember there are still more public libraries in this country than there are McDonalds.”
“You can’t be a full participant in our democracy if you don’t know our history.”
“Only those who do nothing make no mistakes.”
“The evil of technology was not technology itself, Lindbergh came to see after the war, not in airplanes or the myriad contrivances of modern technical ingenuity, but in the extent to which they can distance us from our better moral nature, or sense of personal accountability.”
“The great thing about the arts is that you can only learn to do it by doing it.”
“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”

Born 7 July 1910 – Doris McCarthy, a Canadian artist who specialized in painting abstracted landscapes.

Below – “Fantasy Iceberg #40” “Village Under Big Hills”; “After the Storm”; “Haliburton Lake”; “Untitled Mountains #1”; “Cottage at Yawl.”

A Poem for Today

“In Defense of Nothing,”
By Peter Gizzi

I guess these trailers lined up in the lot off the highway will do.
I guess that crooked eucalyptus tree also.
I guess this highway will have to do and the cars
and the people in them on their way.
The present is always coming up to us, surrounding us.
It’s hard to imagine atoms, hard to imagine
hydrogen & oxygen binding, it’ll have to do.
This sky with its macular clouds also
and that electric tower to the left, one line broken free.

American Art – Part III of IV: Lisa Aerin Collett

Artist Statement: “Art, to me is an experiment of old and new and how to make them work together, a fusion of materials that create an illusion that makes the creation mysterious. The process is just as important as the subject, and how they converse together is where the magic lies.
While working toward more complex themes and metaphors, the simplicity of nature has always captivated my attention. While discovering what the possibilities and limitations are of the process I am experimenting with right now, I enjoy painting simple figures from nature such as birds, buffalo, and butterflies, symbols of the human soul that are just as unique, and mysterious.”

A Second Poem for Today

“The Lordly Hudson,”
By Paul Goodman

“Driver, what stream is it?” I asked, well knowing

it was our lordly Hudson hardly flowing.

“It is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing,”

he said, under the green-grown cliffs.”

Be still, heart! No one needs

your passionate suffrage to select this glory,

this is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing

under the green-grown cliffs.

“Driver, has this a peer in Europe or the East?”

”No, no!” he said. Home! Home!

Be quiet, heart! This is our lordly Hudson

and has no peer in Europe or the east.

This is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing

under the green-grown cliffs

and has no peer in Europe or the East.

Be quiet, heart! Home! Home!


American Art – Part IV of IV: Michael Creese

American painter Michael Creese graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1981 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In the words of one art critic, “Michael paints in the oil impasto style, a technique used in art where paint is laid thickly on canvas, leaving visible brush/palette knife strokes. When dry, impasto provides a great deal of texture to the finished painting. He also works with several other mediums in addition to oils, most notably watercolors.”

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