American Art – Part I of III: Karen Jurick
Artist Statement: “In a nutshell, I wanted to be an illustrator when I started college. Instead, I ended up helping my parents run a business – and after losing both my mom and dad – I became the owner. My shop is now in its 30th year and thanks to an outstanding staff, I’m now able to step back and paint most of the week.
After 15+ years of not doing any art, in 2004 I started painting. I sold enough on eBay to build a studio in my back yard – then began using oils for the first time.
That lead to selling more paintings on eBay – then a year later I entered work in a gallery. A year later, I entered into another gallery, then another. Now I’m in a comfortable place – doing larger works for those three galleries while I continue to paint small pieces that frequently auction on eBay.
I take my camera everywhere, paint from those photos – moments in time, people just doing their thing.”
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Territory of Oregon
14 August 1848 – The United States Congress creates the Territory of Oregon. In the words of one historian, “The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries, the region was divided between the U.S. and Great Britain in 1846. When established, the territory encompassed an area that included the current states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. The capital of the territory was first Oregon City, then Salem, followed briefly by Corvallis, then back to Salem, which became the state capital upon Oregon’s admission to the Union.”
Below – Oregon Territory, as originally organized, in 1848; Oregon Territory (blue) with Washington Territory (green), in 1853; State of Oregon (blue) with Washington Territory (green), in 1859; Mount Hood; Crater Lake National Park; Cannon Beach at sunrise.
Born 14 August 1714 – Claude-Joseph Vernet, a French painter.
“A politician will do anything to keep his job—even become a patriot.” – William Randolph Hearst, hugely influential American newspaper and magazine publisher, who died on 14 August 1951, sounding remarkably like Dr. Samuel Johnson, who famously wrote, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
I think it is safe to assume that Hearst knew whereof he spoke, since he not only knew thousands of politicians but also was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906, and for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1910.
Died 14 August 1996 – Uzo Egonu, a Nigerian-British artist.
“Dreaming is the poetry of Life, and we must be forgiven if we indulge in it a little.” – John Galsworthy, English novelist, playwright, author of “The Forsyte Saga,” and recipient of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature for his “distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in ‘The Forsyte Saga,” who was born 14 August 1867.
Some quotes from the work of John Galsworthy:
“Love is not a hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always, wild!”
“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
“The biggest tragedy of life is the utter impossibility to change what you have done.”
“Beauty means this to one person, perhaps, and that to another. And yet when any one of us has seen or heard or read that which to him is beautiful, he has known an emotion which is in every case the same in kind, if not in degree; an emotion precious and uplifting. A choirboy’s voice, a ship in sail, an opening flower, a town at night, the song of the blackbird, a lovely poem, leaf shadows, a child’s grace, the starry skies, a cathedral, apple trees in spring, a thorough-bred horse, sheep-bells on a hill, a rippling stream, a butterfly, the crescent moon — the thousand sights or sounds or words that evoke in us the thought of beauty — these are the drops of rain that keep the human spirit from death by drought. They are a stealing and a silent refreshment that we perhaps do not think about but which goes on all the time….It would surprise any of us if we realized how much store we unconsciously set by beauty, and how little savour there would be left in life if it were withdrawn. It is the smile on the earth’s face, open to all, and needs but the eyes to see, the mood to understand.”
“One’s eyes are what one is, one’s mouth is what one becomes.”
“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.”
“Men are in fact, quite unable to control their own inventions; they at best develop adaptability to the new conditions those inventions create.”
“Memory heaps dead leaves on corpse-like deeds, from under which they do but vaguely offend the sense.”
“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.”
“The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.”
“We are not living in a private world of our own. Everything we say and do and think has its effect on everything around us.”
“Wishes father thought, but they don’t breed evidence.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Sonny & Cher
14 August 1965 – Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for three weeks.
“It seems like a thousand centuries ago . . .” – Colonel Kurtz, “Apocalypse Now”
Spanish painter Modesto Trigo lives and works in Madrid.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Tim Bogert
Born 14 August 1944 – Tim Bogert, an American musician best known for his bass solos with Vanilla Fudge.
Italian painter Fulvio De Marinis (born 1971) graduated from the Art Institute in Naples. In the words of one critic, “De Marinis is a painter inspired by classical painting, but his works are extremely topical, through the representation of places, colors, and customs of the present day. His characters and still lifes are distinguishable in the use of delicate tones and light shades, proving his technical qualification and ability to express moods of the character represented.”
“It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine; I am in it as the butterfly in the light-laden air. Nothing has to come; it is now. Now is eternity; now is the immortal life.” – Richard Jefferies, English nature writer, who died 14 August 1887.
Some quotes from the work of Richard Jefferies:
“The soul throbs like the sea for a larger life. No thought which I have ever had has satisfied my soul.”
“Let us get out of these indoor narrow modern days, whose twelve hours somehow have become shortened, into the sunlight and the pure wind. A something that the ancients thought divine can be found and felt there still.”
“The great sea makes one a great skeptic.”
“I was not more than eighteen when an inner and esoteric meaning began to come to me from all the visible universe, and indefinable aspirations filled me. I found them in the grass fields, under the trees, on the hill-tops, at sunrise, and in the night. There was a deeper meaning everywhere. The sun burned with it, the broad front of morning beamed with it; a deep feeling entered me while gazing at the sky in the azure noon, and in the star-lit evening.”
“Though not often consciously recognised, perhaps this is the great pleasure of summer, to watch the earth, the dead particles, revolving themselves into the living case of life, to see the seed-leaf push aside the clod and become by degrees the perfumed flower. From the tiny mottled egg come the wings that by-and-by shall pass the immense sea. It is in this marvellous transformation of clods and cold matter into living things that the joy and the hope of summer reside. Every blade of grass, each leaf, each separate floret and petal, is an inscription speaking of hope. Consider the grasses and the oaks, the swallows, the sweet blue butterfly—they are one and all a sign and token showing before our eyes earth made into life. So that my hope becomes as broad as the horizon afar, reiterated by every leaf, sung on every bough, reflected in the gleam of every flower. There is so much for us yet to come, so much to be gathered, and enjoyed. Not for you or me, now, but for our race, who will ultimately use this magical secret for their happiness. Earth holds secrets enough to give them the life of the fabled Immortals. My heart is fixed firm and stable in the belief that ultimately the sunshine and the summer, the flowers and the azure sky, shall become, as it were, interwoven into man’s existence. He shall take from all their beauty and enjoy their glory. Hence it is that a flower is to me so much more than stalk and petals. When I look in the glass I see that every line in my face means pessimism; but in spite of my face—that is my experience —I remain an optimist. Time with an unsteady hand has etched thin crooked lines, and, deepening the hollows, has cast the original expression into shadow. Pain and sorrow flow over us with little ceasing, as the sea-hoofs beat on the beach. Let us not look at ourselves but onwards, and take strength from the leaf and the signs of the field. He is indeed despicable who cannot look onwards to the ideal life of man. Not to do so is to deny our birthright of mind.”
“Let us always be out of doors among trees and grass, and rain and wind and sun. There the breeze comes and strikes the cheek and sets it aglow: the gale increases and the trees creak and roar, but it is only a ruder music. A calm follows, the sun shines in the sky, and it is the time to sit under an oak, leaning against the bark, while the birds sing and the air is soft and sweet.”
“To me everything is supernatural.”
Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Couple Walking in the Forest”
Here is one writer describing the artistry of Korean painter Daehyuk Sim (born 1973): “While the astonishing realism of Daehyuk Sim’s portraits and figure paintings initially attracts us, it is the humanity and warmth with which this South Korean artist infuses his work that draws us in and makes us want to linger in contemplation.
Sim is a consummate draftsman whose work demonstrates a profound understanding of human anatomy, while also probing the emotional landscape that defines each of us. He has a deep respect for the human spirit, finding beauty in the ordinary forms of his family and friends, his models.
Sim renders skin tone, musculature and female curves with accuracy and precision in his small figurative oil paintings. Through his masterful use of the difficult medium, he also imbues his jewel-like scenes of stillness with a painterly, diaphanous quality, achieved through many hours of re-working the canvas, finished with multiple layers of glazing.
Born in Pusan, South Korea in 1973, Sim grew up in a home surrounded by art. In 1999, he moved to New York to study Illustration at FIT and later figurative art at the New York Academy of Art, where he was mentored by Edward Schmidt, Dan Thompson and Steven Assel and received an MFA. Honing his skills as a draftsman and developing the technical prowess with oil, for which he is known today, Sim had found his artistic calling.
Daehyuk Sim currently lives and works in Long Island City, NY.”
American Art – Part II of III: Gary Larson
“I never liked my own species.” – Gary Larson, American cartoonist and the creator of “The Far Side,” who was born 14 August 1950.
Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Don Rankin (born 1947): “Through looking and reading, I am an artist who is constantly researching the artistic traditions of the present and the past, with a particular interest in the art of painting. The ‘looking’ is based on regular first-hand experience of contemplating original paintings in major collections in Britain, France, Italy and Australia. There is no moving forward without a sound knowledge of contemporary practice and a profound understanding of what has gone before.
My paintings are informed equally by the transition from High Renaissance Italian painting to the excesses of the Baroque, from the contemplative quietness of the 17th century French artist Chardin to the modernity of the 20th century Italian artist Morandi, not to forget the colour of the post-impressionists and the Fauves at the beginning of the 20th century, or the geometric structure Mondrian. The materiality of the paint is primarily what sets painting apart from other forms of visual representation and it is the key to my artistic practice. There is something about the artifice of brush and paint that leads to an ability to capture a truth incapable of being seen with the naked eye.
My thematic explorations seem on the surface to be literal but the intention is to go much deeper and metaphorically touch upon the universal themes of birth, life and death, without resorting to the obvious symbols such as the skull. In the current series of poppy paintings I am tapping a rich load of references: the ancient genetic code of the poppy as a species, the primordial appearance of the poppy pods, the delicate creased tissue-thin petals. All of these speak of the tenuous life cycle of living things, of their fragility and vulnerability, and, by extension, they act as a metaphor for the morality of human beings. In short, they are mysterious whilst at the same time being familiar.”
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: V-J Day
14 August 1945 – “V-J Day.” In the words of one historian, “On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as “Victory over Japan Day,” or simply “V-J Day…The term has also been used for September 2, 1945, when Japan’s formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.”
Renowned Chinese painter Sun Yongyin lives and works in Beijing. Several of the paintings below were inspired by Xi’an’s “Terracotta Army.”
From the American Old West: Doc Holliday
“Doc was a dentist, not a lawman or an assassin, whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a frontier vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long lean, ash-blond fellow nearly dead with consumption, and at the same time the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun that I ever knew.” – Wyatt Earp describing John Henry “Doc” Holliday, American gambler, gunfighter, and dentist of the American Old West, who was born 14 August 1851.
Below – Doc Holliday’s dental school graduation photo taken in 1872 when he was twenty years old; an autographed photograph of Doc Holliday taken in Prescott, Arizona in 1879; Doc Holliday’s headstone in Pioneer Cemetery, Glenwood Springs, Colorado (his actual burial site on the grounds is unknown); items left by visitors to Doc Holliday’s grave.
By Jack Kerouac
The low yellow
moon above the
Quiet lamplit house.
American Art – Part III of III: Matt Brackett