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

American Art – Part I of III: Katie Wilson

Artist Statement: “Working with collage pushes me to be more innovative. It allows me to put down color, pattern and texture where I wouldn’t have otherwise with any other medium. I am intrigued by the imagined drama or peace of a past moment. My desire is to translate that moment through my own interpretation of the subject’s inner person by creating the drama and mood with color, texture and facial expression.”

“I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” – Adlai Stevenson, American politician known for his intelligence, eloquence, and liberalism, who died on 14 July 1965.

Some quotes from the work of Adlai Stevenson:

“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”
“You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.”
“All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.”
“It is often easier to fight for one’s principles than it is to live up to them.”
“The human race is a family. Men are brothers. All wars are civil wars.”
“Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full time job.”
“Man is a strange animal, he doesn’t like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.”
“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Jim Gordon

Born 14 July 1945 – Jim Gordon, an American drummer and songwriter. In the words of one historian, “In 1969 and 1970, Gordon toured as part of the backing band for the group Delaney & Bonnie, which at the time included Eric Clapton. Clapton subsequently took over the group’s rhythm section — Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist-singer-songwriter Bobby Whitlock. They formed a new band that was later called Derek and the Dominos. The band’s first studio work was as the house band for George Harrison’s first solo album, the three-disc set All Things Must Pass. Gordon then played on Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 double album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, contributing, in addition to his drumming, the elegiac piano coda for the title track, ‘Layla.’”

Died 14 July 2001 – Guy de Lussigny, a French painter in the school of geometric abstraction.

Below – “Squares – Black, White, Blue, and Red”; “Helie 864 C II”; “Nephalion”; “Lycopee”; “Leda.”

“The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.” – Northrop Frye, influential Canadian literary critic, theorist, and author of both “Fearful Symmetry” and “The Anatomy of Criticism,” who was born on 14 July 1912.

Some quotes from the work of Northrop Frye:

“The particular myth that’s been organizing this talk, and in a way the whole series, is the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible. The civilization we live in at present is a gigantic technological structure, a skyscraper almost high enough to reach the moon. It looks like a single world-wide effort, but it’s really a deadlock of rivalries; it looks very impressive, except that it has no genuine human dignity. For all its wonderful machinery, we know it’s really a crazy ramshackle building, and at any time may crash around our ears. What the myth tells us is that the Tower of Babel is a work of human imagination, that its main elements are words, and that what will make it collapse is a confusion of tongues. All had originally one language, the myth says. The language is not English or Russian or Chinese or any common ancestor, if there was one. It is the language that makes Shakespeare and Pushkin authentic poets, that gives a social vision to both Lincoln and Gandhi. It never speaks unless we take the time to listen in leisure, and it speaks only in a voice too quiet for panic to hear. And then all it has to tell us, when we look over the edge of our leaning tower, is that we are not getting any nearer heaven, and that it is time to return to earth.”
“Nobody is capable of free speech unless he knows how to use language, and such knowledge is not a gift: it has to learned and worked at.”
“The world of literature is a world where there is no reality except that of the human imagination.”

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Woody Guthrie

“California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see,
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot If you ain’t got the do re mi.” – Woody Guthrie, American singer, songwriter, and folk musician, who was born 14 July 1912.

“There is no self-portrait of me.” – Gustav Klimt, Austrian symbolist painter, who was born 14 July 1862.

Below – “The Kiss”; “Hope II”; “Adele Bloch-Bauer I”; “Water Snakes”; “Woman in Gold”; “Danae”; “Eugenia Primavesi”; “Mada Gertrude Primavesi.”


Nobel Laureates – Part I of II: Jacinto Benavente

“If people could hear our thoughts, very few of us would escape from being locked away as mad men.” – Jacinto Benavente y Martinez, Spanish playwright and recipient of the 1922 Nobel Prize for Literature “for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama,” who died 14 July 1954.

A few quotes from the work of Jacinto Benavente:

“Blessed are those who imitate us for they shall inherit our faults.”
“Everyone thinks that having a talent is a matter of luck; no one thinks that luck could be a matter of talent.”
“He who is jealous, is never jealous of what you see, with what is imagined is enough.”

Here is one critic describing the artistry of German painter Ines Scheppach (born 1953): “(Her) drawings are so dense in line and expression, that they can be considered paintings rather than drawings. The artist calls them ‘drawn pictures.’ Situations of life in their manifold forms are her subject matter. Beauty, age, loneliness, rebellion, pain, joy, grief, helplessness and shelter are only a small selection of the subjects dealt with in the paintings of the artist.”
Ines Scheppach
Ines Scheppach
Ines Scheppach
Ines Scheppach
Ines Scheppach

Nobel Laureates – Part II of II: Isaac Bashevis Singer

“There are 500 reasons I write for children…. Children read books, not reviews. They don’t give a hoot about the critics…. They don’t read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff…. They don’t expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity. Young as they are, they know that it is not in his power. Only the adults have such childish illusions.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish-born American writer, vegetarian, winner of two U.S. National Book Awards, one in Children’s Literature (for his memoir “A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw – 1971) and one in Fiction (for his collection “A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories – 1974), and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life,” who was born 14 July 1904.

Some quotes from the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer:

“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
“Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.”
“Night is a time of rigor, but also of mercy. There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark”
“To be a vegetarian is to disagree – to disagree with the course of things today… starvation, cruelty – we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it’s a strong one.”
“We have to believe in free-will. We’ve got no choice.”
“In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”
“What a strange power there is in clothing.”
“We all play chess with Fate as partner. He makes a move, we make a move. He tries to checkmate us in three moves, we try to prevent it. We know we can’t win, but we’re driven to give him a good fight.”
“When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It’s unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent. I can never accept inconsistency or injustice. Even if it comes from God. If there would come a voice from God saying, “I’m against vegetarianism!” I would say, “Well, I am for it!” This is how strongly I feel in this regard.”

German painter Tonia Ackermann (born 1973) lives and works in Hamburg.

From the American Old West: Billy the Kid

14 July 1881 – Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots and kills Billy the Kid outside Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Above – Billy the Kid.
Below – Pat Garrett; the tombstone at Billy the Kid’s grave, Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Italian painter Antonio Laglia studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.


A Poem for Today

By Kirby Knowlton

under the gervais st. bridge,
our voices domed   like a cathedral.
shoulders dipped in sunlight,
a baptism of sorts.
we came to take pictures. searched
for subjects like graffiti on piers,
what my mother calls angel rays
in the sky, that yellowed, humid
glint in your eyes.
maybe i ran out of film or
my batteries died because when
we finally found our shot,
you used your iphone.
neither of us have a right to decide
what is holy. i told you
i was almost a catholic baby,
a half-lie i wanted to be true
if only because i knew    you would
be disappointed.
there is no glory in either of our
doubts: your face when
i talked of  prayer, how
walking across that bridge back to
your car, i remembered that
what gives a photo life
is artificial light.

American Art – Part II of III: David Boyd, Jr.

Artist Statement: “It has taken me 10 years of painting to discover why I do what I do, and why I am drawn so strongly to the imagery I represent.
I grew up in a small town outside of Atlanta, at a time when the suburbs of Atlanta were still “out in the country.” I was fortunate to spend many weekends with my grandparents in rural Georgia, where the woods and old rusty cars and tractors were my playground. Today, when I see the rusting memorabilia of the rural south, I feel a deep sense of nostalgia.
This imagery is inspiration for my creative expression, although it actually originates from a time in which I never actually lived: A time when working the land was part of our daily survival, and the automobile was both a new modern convenience and an exciting new art form. Remnants of this life are rapidly becoming extinct, as it is only a matter of time before those rusty cars are completely disintegrated back into the earth. As a nod to my childhood memories as well as the passing of time, I want to preserve Southern American life in its current state of decay…’landscapes of rust.’
I use my plein air work as a way to ‘capture a feeling.’ I use my camera to record a moment. Back in my studio I like to combine these into large scale paintings of those things I wish I could keep forever… old signs, decaying building, old cars, trucks and tractors, and beautiful rural landscapes. My paintings are my memories, and accordingly, some of my paintings take the angle of a child’s viewpoint; lower to the ground.
My wife, Julie, and I spend our vacations and summers traveling the United States in search of those places that still exist in my memory.”

Below – “Rust in Peace”; “On the Rocks”; “Sandman Motel, Driggs, Idaho; “Mill Fan”; “Shrimps”; “All Business”; “Olive Road, Tennessee”; “High Desert, Texas”; “Morning Glow.”


A Second Poem for Today

By Paul Celan

above the grayblack wastes.
A tree-
high thought
grasps the light-tone: there are
still songs to sing beyond

Below – Futatsu No Taiyo: “Two Suns”

A Third Poem for Today

“Never Again the Same,”
By James Tate

Speaking of sunsets,
last night’s was shocking.
I mean, sunsets aren’t supposed to frighten you, are they?
Well, this one was terrifying.
People were screaming in the streets.
Sure, it was beautiful, but far too beautiful.
It wasn’t natural.
One climax followed another and then another
until your knees went weak
and you couldn’t breathe.
The colors were definitely not of this world,
peaches dripping opium,
pandemonium of tangerines,
inferno of irises,
Plutonian emeralds,
all swirling and churning, swabbing,
like it was playing with us,
like we were nothing,
as if our whole lives were a preparation for this,
this for which nothing could have prepared us
and for which we could not have been less prepared.
The mockery of it all stung us bitterly.
And when it was finally over
we whimpered and cried and howled.
And then the streetlights came on as always
and we looked into one another’s eyes?
ancient caves with still pools
and those little transparent fish
who have never seen even one ray of light.
And the calm that returned to us
was not even our own.

Below – Karla Nolan: “Li’l Sunset”

American Art – Part III of III: Huihan Liu

In the words of one critic, “A master signature member of the Oil Painters of America, a master signature member of American Impressionist Society and an artist signature member of California art Club, Huihan Liu was trained in the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art in China in 1972 with a BA and MFA from the Academy of Art College of San Francisco in 1989. With more than twenty years of his professional career as an illustrator, teacher, and painter, he won Best of Show Award in the Oil Painters of American Regional Exhibition in 1996.”

Below – “Aspen”; “Looking at Mt. Everest”; “China Town”; “Cloudy Day”; “Foothill of Mt. Everest”; “Haut Baran, France”; “Malibu Canyon”; “Palace of Fine Art, San Francisco”; “Road to Taos”; “After the Rain”; “Buddy”; “Chatting.”

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