August Offerings – Part XVIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Kirsten Moran

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Kirsten Moran: “The artist’s classical styling exudes a strong contemporary feel. Each painting channels the essence of femininity and the voice of the individual woman’s spirit after which each painting is named.
The use of pure pigment oils on her canvases has enhanced the timeless quality of these portraits by providing an embellished texture to the surface without the use of any additional compounds, additives or fillers.”






British Art – Part I of III: Jacob Epstein

Died 19 August 1959 – Jacob Epstein, an American-born British sculptor.

Below – “Kathlene”; “Bust of Einstein”; “Bust of Joseph Conrad”; “Archangel Lucifer”; “Tomb of Oscar Wilde.”





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

19 August 1967 – The Beatles’ single “All You Need Is Love” reaches number one on American popular music charts.

British Art – Part II of III: David Bomberg

Died 19 August 1957 – David Bomberg, a British painter.

Below – “Tregor and Tregoff, Cornwall”; “Vision of Ezerkiel”; “Carnival”; “Cyprus”; “Bab-Es-Siq, Petra”; “Flowers, Evening Gold”; “San Justo, Toledo, Spain”; “Ju-Jitsu”; “The Tragedians”; “Self-Portrait.”


(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Ginger Baker

Born 19 August 1939 – Ginger Baker, an English drummer best known for his work with Cream.

British Art – Part III of III: Marie Prett

Here is one critic describing the artistry of English ceramicist Marie Prett: “Her interest in the human and animal form has been there from her earliest memories of painting and drawing. Her sculptural ceramics are about the magic of transformation. They have been described as sensual and gently mischievous and express the desire for passion and wild magic with snippets of everyday life thown in.”
In Prett’s words, “It is my constant aim to create an infusion of energy, movement, colour and humour into each piece, to inspire curiosity and to make people smile.”










“I know there is no straight road
No straight road in this world
Only a giant labyrinth
Of intersecting crossroads” – Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet, dramatist, and theater director, who died 19 August 1936.

Some quotes from the work of Federico Garcia Lorca:

“Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.

I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.”
“In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.”
“The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word. He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices: the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.”
“As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die.”

From the Art Gallery of South Australia – Part I of II:

Below – Robert Campbell, Jr.: “Hunting Food at Uluru”; Charles Conder: “A Holiday at Mentone”; Timothy Cook: “Kulama”; Kunmanara Cooper: “Wani Wani”; Vicky Cullinan: “Maku.”



AGSA Wani Wani


From the Art Gallery of South Australia – Part II of II:

Below – Margaret Dagg: “Desert Drought” (fabric); John Dalngadalnga: “Four Coiled Snakes”; David Davies: “Moonrise”; Julie Dowling: “At Risk of Dog Bite”; Max Dupain: “Wings of Wind”; Benjamin Duterrau: “Timmy, a Tasmanian Aboriginal, Throwing a Spear.”






From the Movie Archives: Groucho Marx

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Jules Henry “Groucho” Marx, American comedian and film and television star, who died 19 August 1977.

American Art – Part II of IV: Gabe Larson

American painter Gabe Larson lives and works in Los Angeles.







A Roman Holiday: Vinalia

In the words of one historian, “The Vinalia Rustica was held on August 19. It was originally a rustic Latin harvest festival, celebrating the grape harvest, vegetable growth and fertility. At the Roman Vinalia Rustica, kitchen gardens and market-gardens, and presumably vineyards were dedicated to Venus Obsequens, the oldest known form of Venus.”

Below – Venus on a seashell, from the Casa di Venus, Pompeii – before 79; a mosaic depicting the vintage from Cherchell, present-day Algeria, Roman Africa.


Chinese Art – Part I of II: Shang Ding

In the words of one critic, “Shang Ding was born in 1954 in Kunming, China, the youngest of six children. His father was a journalist and his mother a factory union leader. He remembers becoming intrigued by painting at the age of three, when his early efforts were guided by his brother. At first his father opposed this fascination with painting, but soon recognized his son’s talent and became very supportive.”
In 1988, Shang Ding moved to the United States. In his words, “Life here is always new and changing; the culture is new and people are not afraid of change. China has such deep history and change does not always come easily.”






From the American Old West: John Wesley Hardin

Died 19 August 1895 – John Wesley Hardin, an American outlaw, gunfighter, and controversial folk icon of the Old West. Here is how one historian describes the circumstances of Hardin’s death: “An El Paso lawman, John Selman, Jr., arrested Hardin’s acquaintance and part-time prostitute, the widow’ M’Rose (or Mroz), for ‘brandishing a gun in public.’ Hardin confronted Selman, and the two men argued. Selman’s 56-year-old father, Constable John Selman, Sr. (himself a well-known gunman), approached Hardin on the afternoon of August 19, 1895, and the two men exchanged heated words. That night, Hardin went to the Acme Saloon, where he began playing dice. Shortly before midnight, Selman Sr. entered the saloon, walked up to Hardin from behind, and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. As Hardin lay on the floor, Selman fired three more shots into him. Selman Sr. was arrested for murder and stood trial. He claimed he had fired in self-defense, and a hung jury resulted in his being released on bond, pending retrial. However, before the retrial could be organized, Selman was killed in a shootout with US Marshal George Scarborough on April 6, 1896, following a dispute during a card game.”

Below – John Wesley Hardin; Hardin’s grave in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso.


Chinese Art – Part II of II: Chen Danqing

In the words of one critic, “In 1978, even though he was only a graduate of middle school, Chen was admitted to the master’s program at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, the only art academy directly under the Ministry of Education. In 1982, he left for the US and lived there for almost 20 years.
Life in America was difficult for Chen for the first five or six years, during which he admitted he was depressed. Later, he opened his own gallery in New York, where he met many contemporary Chinese artists. Yet Chen decided to return to China to teach what he had learned in the west.”
According to one of his students, “Danqing has never been just a painter. He is an intellectual with a social conscience.”









A Poem for Today

“Domination of Black,”
By Wallace Stevens

At night, by the fire,
The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks
Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

The colors of their tails
Were like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room,
Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks
Down to the ground.
I heard them cry — the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight
Or against the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
Turning as the flames
Turned in the fire,
Turning as the tails of the peacocks
Turned in the loud fire,
Loud as the hemlocks
Full of the cry of the peacocks?
Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

American Art – Part III of IV: Jessica Hess

Artist Statement: “Rather than elegance or grandeur, my focus lies in structure, simplicity, and decay. In practice I work with photographs, which serve as both a reference and a starting point. My work develops from an accumulation of images and impressions of urban, industrial, and abandoned architecture. Some paintings are made with fidelity to the original source, while others are reinvented, compiled, and manipulated. Over time the works become subconscious collages of material and combinations of locations from years of collecting images and observations.
I am attracted primarily to utilitarian buildings where engineering takes precedence over aesthetics. Many of my subjects are vacant or disused, and beautiful in these states of neglect. Although the paintings are devoid of human life, the structures and sites I work with bear witness to a human presence and the dynamic nature of the urban environment. Their surfaces reflect the visual call and response of graffiti, as well as the slower processes of weathering and deterioration.
My inclusion of street art documents and makes permanent these otherwise transitory public works. By painting graffiti-laden sites I am participating in an anonymous collaboration with other artists and giving a quiet nod of appreciation to street art. All street art evidences creative traffic and the time invested by others on my otherwise lonely subjects, adding color and excitement to otherwise dull locations. In reworking and transforming these locations my paintings further this collaboration of time, structure, and surface.”










A Second Poem for Today

By Mary Oliver

I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,
yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head
and her wet nose
the face
of every one
with its petals
of silk,
with its fragrance
into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen,
and easily
she adored
every blossom,
not in the serious,
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—
the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way
we long to be—
that happy
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.


A Third Poem for Today

“The Sweetness of Dogs,”
By Mary Oliver

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It’s full tonight.
So we go
and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself
thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up
into my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.

Below – John Dyer: “Moon Gazing Dog”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac (Part 3),”
By Mary Oliver

I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.
So why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.
You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

Below – Joseph Severn’s death bed sketch of poet John Keats, who died at age 25.


American Art – Part IV of IV: Birger Sandzen

Birger Sandzen (1871-1954) was a Swedish-American painter best known for his landscapes.

Below – “Arizona Desert”; “Creek at Moonrise”; “Sunset, Estes Park, Colorado”; “The Hour of Splendor, Bryce Canyon, Utah”; “Moonrise and Afterglow”; “Autumn Symphony”; “Poplars”; “Colorado Sunset.”








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