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

American Art – Part I of VI: Don Van Vliet

“The stars are matter, we’re matter, but it doesn’t matter.” – Don Van Vliet (1941-2010), best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart, American musician, singer-songwriter, and artist.

Below – “Dirty Champagne”; “China Pig”; “Garland”; “When She Dropped the Flower”; “Ghost Red Wire.”

“My scientific studies have afforded me great gratification; and I am convinced that it will not be long before the whole world acknowledges the results of my work.” – Gregor Mendel, German scientist, Augustinian friar, and founder of the science of genetics, who was born 20 July 1822.

American Art – Part II of VI: Gary Akers

In the words of one critic, “Akers is one of America’s foremost contemporary realists, painting in watercolor, dry brush and egg tempera. Akers is considered to be a master of light and shadow in his exciting compositions.
His works are praised both for their beauty and for their richness of detail, and that level of detail is all the more remarkable considering the medium he works in.”

Alexander The Great
“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” – Alexander II of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, king and military genius, who was born 20 July 356 BCE, thanking Aristotle, his teacher.

Some quotes from the work of Alexander the Great:

“Our enemies are Medes and Persians, men who for centuries have lived soft and luxurious lives; we of Macedon for generations past have been trained in the hard school of danger and war. Above all, we are free men, and they are slaves. There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops — Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers in Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia. And what, finally, of the two men in supreme command? You have Alexander, they — Darius!”
“But truly, if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.”
“If it were not my purpose to combine barbarian things with things Hellenic, to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of the Hellenic justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I imitate Herakles, and emulate Perseus, and follow in the footsteps of Dionysos, the divine author and progenitor of my family, and desire that victorious Hellenes should dance again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage mountain tribes beyond the Kaukasos.”
“Now that the wars are coming to an end, I wish you to prosper in peace. May all mortals from now on live like one people in concord and for mutual advancement. Consider the world as your country, with laws common to all and where the best will govern irrespective of tribe. I do not distinguish among men, as the narrow-minded do, both among Greeks and Barbarians. I am not interested in the descent of the citizens or their racial origins. I classify them using one criterion: their virtue. For me every virtuous foreigner is a Greek and every evil Greek worse than a Barbarian. If differences ever develop between you never have recourse to arms, but solve them peacefully. If necessary, I should be your arbitrator.”

Norwegian painter Jon Boe Paulsen earned an M.A. degree from the Norwegian State Art Academy in Oslo.
Died 20 July 1928 – Kostas Karyotakis, a Greek poet.

“In the Garden the Chrysanthemums Were Dying …”

In the garden the chrysanthemums were dying

like desires when you came. Calmly

you laughed, like little white flowers.

Silent, I made a sweetest song

out of the darkness deep within me

and the petals sing it up above you.

Danish painter Peter Rothmeier Ravn lives and works in Copenhagen.

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist, who was born 20 July 1919.

In the words of one historian, “On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. Hillary was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Following his ascent of Everest, Hillary devoted most of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts, many schools and hospitals were built in Nepal.”

Bulgarian artist Andrian Bekiarov (born 1973) considers himself a “traditional painter.”

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee, American martial artist, Hong Kong Action film actor, martial arts instructor, and author, who died 20 July 1973.

Some quotes from the work of Bruce Lee:

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Iranian painter Fatemeh Jaleh lives and works in Tehran.

Andrew Lang (1844-1912), by Mayall & Co
“In the old stories, despite the impossibility of the incidents, the interest is always real and human. The princes and princesses fall in love and marry–nothing could be more human than that. Their lives and loves are crossed by human sorrows…The hero and heroine are persecuted or separated by cruel stepmothers or enchanters; they have wanderings and sorrows to suffer; they have adventures to achieve and difficulties to overcome; they must display courage, loyalty and address, courtesy, gentleness and gratitude. Thus they are living in a real human world, though it wears a mythical face, though there are giants and lions in the way. The old fairy tales which a silly sort of people disparage as too wicked and ferocious for the nursery, are really ‘full of matter,’ and unobtrusively teach the true lessons of our wayfaring in a world of perplexities and obstructions.” – Andrew Lang, Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and collector of fairy tales, who died 20 July 1912.

Some quotes from Andrew Lang:

“Young men, especially in America, write to me and ask me to recommend ‘a course of reading.’ Distrust a course of reading! People who really care for books read all of them. There is no other course.”
“O grant me a house by the beach of a bay,
Where the waves can be surly in winter, and play
With the sea-weed in summer, ye bountiful powers!
And I’d leave all the hurry, the noise, and the fray,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.”
“Remember that the danger that is most to be feared is never the danger we are most afraid of.”
“Madame d’Aulnoy is the true mother of the modern fairy tale. She invented the modern Court of Fairyland, with its manners, its fairies, its queens, its amorous, its cruel, its good, its evil, its odious, its friendly fées.”
“You can cover a great deal of country in books. ”
“Letters from the first were planned to guide us into Fairy Land.”
“‘Why should I laugh?’ asked the old man. ‘Madness in youth is true wisdom. Go, young man, follow your dream, and if you do not find the happiness that you seek, at any rate you will have had the happiness of seeking it.’”
“It is so delightful to teach those one loves!”
“‘I fear nothing when I am doing right,’ said Jack.
‘Then,’ said the lady in the red cap, ‘you are one of those who slay giants.’”
“So labour at your Alphabet,
For by that learning shall you get
To lands where Fairies may be met.”

Above – Andrew Lang.
Below – The twelve volumes of Andrew Lang’s “Fairy Book” collection.

Self-taught Spanish painter David Agenjo (born 1977) lives and works in London.

From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Pancho Villa

Died 20 July 1923 – Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula, better known by his nickname Pancho Villa, a Mexican Revolutionary general and national hero of his country. In the words of one historian, “After Villa’s famous raid on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916, U.S. Army General John J. Pershing tried unsuccessfully to capture Villa in a nine-month pursuit that ended when the United States entered into World War I and Pershing was called back.”

Canadian Art – Part I of II: Florence Wyle

Florence Wyle (1881 – 1968) was an American-born Canadian sculptor and designer.

Below – “Study of a Young Girl”; “Mother and Child”; “Young Girl”; “Harvester”; “Child with Flute”; “Torso”; “Bain Fountain Figure.”
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From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Neil Armstrong

20 July 1969 – Neil Armstrong becomes the first human being to walk on the Moon, during the Apollo XI mission.

Canadian Art – Part II of II: Carrie Vielle

In the words of one critic, “Canadian painter Carrie Vielle has both a Masters and BA from Eastern Washington University in arts. She has been a professor in Florence, Italy, held hands with David, and is currently working on the torso as an expression of her view of art in the world.
Carrie’s works start with either a stretched canvas or wood board applying layers of textures ranging from Plaster of Paris to concrete patch, cheese cloth, decoupage medium and rice paper, sand, leaves and a few others. Once the textures are applied, she manipulates them using a variety of techniques and tools to create the irregular, bumpy surfaces one sees underneath the color. Next, she applies the overall coloration. During this process she uses a mix of artist’s acrylic colors and a variety of tools including; brushes, sponges, different textured cloths and artist trowels. This is her favorite stage in the creation of her works as she is intrinsically drawn to and inspired by rich earth tones and deep color values. Finally, she draws the image that you see in artist’s charcoal, conté crayon and/or chalk pastels.”


American Art – Part III of VI: Max Ferguson

Artist Statement: “While I approach every painting a little differently, I usually begin by transferring the lines of the drawing to the panel. I then do a rough, thin underpainting layer, using burnt umber, black, and white. After this, I paint one or two more layers of underpainting in color. Then I paint the final layer in color. With each successive layer the painting becomes increasingly detailed and polished. While most of the decisions are made prior to beginning a painting, often changes are made in progress. I use sable brushes that are intended to be used for watercolors; it is the only way I can achieve the desired results. The oil paintings generally take between two and four months to complete.”
Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson


The Greatness of American Letters – Part I of II: Thomas Berger

“You got to knock a man down and put your knife at his throat before he’ll hear you, like I did to that trooper. The truth seems hateful to most everybody.” – Thomas Berger, American novelist and author of “Little Big Man,” who was born 20 July 1924.

Director Arthur Penn brought “Little Big Man” to the screen in 1970. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman, Chief Dan George, and Faye Dunaway.

Some quotes from “Little Big Man”:

“If you want to really relax sometime, just fall to rock bottom and you’ll be a happy man. Most all troubles come from having standards.”
“It was strange how in no time at all everybody went from fear to being excruciatingly bored, and the very women who yesterday had been helpless victims and just minutes earlier were howling in fright, now began to advance on him threatening with their fists and saying: ‘Git on out of here, you old skunk!’ Which shows something about the way a female is put together; she will suffer any outrage so long as it is interesting, but bore her and she don’t know fear.”
“I love her still, for if you know anything about that kind of feeling, you know how close it is connected to hopelessness and thus is about the only thing in civilization that don’t degenerate with time.”
“The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated.”
“Believe me, the real romantic person is him who ain’t done anything but imagine. If you have actually participated in disasters, like me, you get conservative.”
“I expect Custer was crazy enough to believe he would win, being the type of man who carries the whole world within his own head and thus when his passion is aroused and floods his mind, reality is utterly drowned.”

American Art – Part IV of VI: Michelle Doll

Michelle Doll is a graduate of both Kent State University (BFA) and New York Academy of Art (MFA).

The Greatness of American Letters – Part II of II: Cormac McCarthy

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” – Cormac McCarthy, American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and author of “All the Pretty Horses” (for which he won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award), “No Country for Old Men” (the movie version of which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture), and “The Road” (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction), who was born 20 July 1933.

Some quotes from the work of Cormac McCarthy:

“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”
“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.”
“You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don’t count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else.”
“There is no God and we are his prophets.”
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”
“If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.”
“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.
The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”

American Art – Part V of VI: Steven Yazzie

In the words of one critic, Steven Yazzie (born 1970) “is one of the founding members of Postcommodity, a contemporary American Indian arts collective. Postcommodity is an on going project who’s mission is to utilize collaborative, intertribal, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to experimenting with conceptual and aesthetic forms of contemporary American Indian expression.”

A Poem for Today

“Brothers in Arms’”
By Carl Phillips

The sea was one thing, once; the field another. Either way,
something got crossed, or didn’t. Who’s to say, about
happiness? Whatever country, I mean, where inconceivable
was a word like any other lies far behind me now. I’ve
learned to spare what’s failing, if it can keep what’s living
alive still, maybe just
awhile longer. Ghost bamboo that
the birds nest in, for example, not noticing the leaves, color
of surrender, color of poverty as I used to imagine it when
I myself was poor but had no idea of it. I’ve always thought
gratitude’s the one correct response to having been made,
however painfully, to see this life more up close. ‘The higher
gods having long refused me, let the gods deemed lesser
do the best they can’ — so a friend I somewhere along the way
lost hold of used to drunkenly announce, usually just before
passing out. I think he actually believed that stuff; he must
surely, by now, be dead. There’s a rumored
humbling effect
to loss that I bear no trace of. It’s not loss that humbles me.
What used to look like memory — clouds for hours breaking,
gathering, then breaking up again — lately seems instead
like a dance, one of those slower, too complicated numbers
I never had much time for. Not knowing exactly what it’s
come to is so much different from understanding that it’s come
to nothing. Why is it, then, each day, they feel more the same?

Below – Edvard Munch: “Despair”

American Art – Part VI of VI: Danny Heller

Here is the Artist Statement of American painter Danny Heller (born 1982): ”I paint the reality of the Southern California environment: how structures once revered for their groundbreaking ideas in design and social planning have been perpetuated and how they have been forgotten. I focus primarily on mid-century modern aesthetics that still permeate our cities and neighborhoods; a time period when post-war growth led to booming industry, forward thinking, and opportunity for creative and radical design.
Highlighting this mid-century identity of Southern California, I play with lighting, dramatic angles, and colors to form visually engaging paintings that also celebrate modern architectural elements. I use a realistic style to paint those moments where design and environment come together harmoniously in hopes of enlivening the viewing audience to preserve these spaces.”


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