American Art – Part I of IV: Susan Kraut
Artist Statement: ‘My recent paintings are drawn from my experience at a residency in Northern Italy, where, even in late fall, the grounds were filled with brightly colored fruits and berries still growing on trees: pomegranates, persimmons, pears, oranges, strange vines and leaves. Placing these objects on the wide, white windowsills of my residence, I looked out onto misty gray mountains and green/blue banks of fog setting in and lifting off the distant hills. Against this outside atmosphere, the objects took on for me a sense of nostalgia and melancholy of the changing season, a reminder of the fragility of living things and the passing of time. Sometimes I felt that the still life objects, the fruits and berries and branches that I had brought inside, were on the windowsill longing to be back outside. Often, the casual and random ways in which they were left on the sill seemed to echo the formations of the hills or clouds behind them. They looked to me like still life pretending to be landscapes.
I have gradually become more fascinated with painting the fleeting, non-material elements of the place: the light, the atmosphere, the clouds, and the way these contrast with the tactile specificity of the objects – the fruits, leaves and berries with their particular shapes, colors, textures. They represent two opposite qualities of the world we experience – the non-tangible, larger-than-human elements which surround us on the earth, and the mundane, human-scaled objects that nature gives us. This contrast has led me to pay more attention to recording the fragility and impending decay of the once-perfect fruits – the rotten spots that have begun appearing on the pears, the berries beginning to shrivel, the leaves starting to wither. This is, of course, a traditional subject of still life painting, vanitas: a reminder that nothing in life will last.”
In the words of one writer, “Ernesto Arrisueño was born in Lima, Peru in 1957, a time when migration to Australia was almost exclusively from Britain and Europe. In the past decade however, Australian life has been enriched by migration from many South American countries. Arrisueño studied art in Lima before completing a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Ricardo Palma University.
Throughout the 1980’s he exhibited widely in Peru in both individual and group exhibitions. Architectural drawing, for which he had won a number of prizes as a student, developed as a major theme in his work where figures and objects are juxtaposed with beautifully rendered building fragments.
He came to Australia in 1989 and soon found success in local exhibitions. The crisp reality of Ernesto Arrisueño’s works creates an air of mystical calm, a world of still waters, a myriad of flowers and isolated enigmatic figures. His current work blends memories of his early years in the dry barren landscape of Peru with the new visions and traditions of his life in Australia.
He imagines the boats, the beaches, the weathered surfaces of old timber as he sits and paints in his modern Sydney apartment. This is true, to a certain extent, but it is not just the artist’s imagination that creates this space, but memory.”
“Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air. Facts are the air of science. Without them a man of science can never rise.” – Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, Russian physiologist known primarily for his work in classical conditioning, who was born 14 September 1849 (Old System).
Some quotes from the work of Ivan Pavlov:
“Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.”
“It is not accidental that all phenomena of human life are dominated by the search for daily bread – the oldest link connecting all living things, man included, with the surrounding nature.”
“It is clear to all that the animal organism is a highly complex system consisting of an almost infinite series of parts connected both with one another and, as a total complex, with the surrounding world, with which it is in a state of equilibrium.”
“It goes without saying that the desire to accomplish the task with more confidence, to avoid wasting time and labour, and to spare our experimental animals as much as possible, made us strictly observe all the precautions taken by surgeons in respect to their patients.”
In the words of one writer, “Zhaoming Wu (born 1955) is a Chinese-born painter. Wu grew up in Guangzhou City, China, and he received his BFA from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and his MFA from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California.
Wu lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Frederic Chopin
American Art – Part II of IV: Bob Hague
In the words of one writer, “Bob Hague is among the leading watercolor artists in Florida, but you would never know it from the humble demeanor with which he accepts first place prizes in watercolor shows and the way in which his life-long journey as a “student” of Art is part of his daily language.
Of a recent first place win, he said, ‘I entered a portrait I painted with absolutely no expectation of an award. To my surprise it was awarded first place. My goal in this show was to show my fellow artists the work I have been doing lately. Then when the juror announced the awards, and my painting came in first, I was just blown away.’”
“History, like love, is so apt to surround her heroes with an atmosphere of imaginary brightness.” – James Fenimore Cooper, American writer and author of a series of five novels known as “The Leatherstocking Tales” – “The Deerslayer,” “The Last of the Mohicans” (Cooper’s masterpiece), “The Pathfinders,” “The Pioneers,” and “The Prairie” – who died 14 September 1851.
Some quotes from the work of James Fenimore Cooper:
“Then as to churches, they are good, I suppose, else wouldn’t good men uphold’ em. But they are not altogether necessary. They call ’em the temples of the Lord; but, Judith, the whole ‘arth is a temple of the Lord to such as have the right mind. Neither forts nor churches make people happier of themselves. Moreover, all is contradiction in the settlements, while all is concord in the woods. Forts and churches almost always go together, and yet they’re downright contradictions; churches being for peace, and forts for war. No, no–give me the strong places of the wilderness, which is the trees, and the churches, too, which are arbors raised by the hand of nature.”
“All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.”
“Whatever may be the changes produced by man, the eternal round of the seasons is unbroken.”
“The air, the water, and the ground are free gifts to man, and no one has the power to portion them out in parcels. Man must drink, breath, and walk – and therefore each has a right to his share of earth.”
“The arches of the woods, even at high noon, cast their sombre shadows on the spot, which the brilliant rays of the sun that struggled through the leaves contributed to mellow, and if such an expression can be used, to illuminate. It was probably from a similar scene that the mind of man first got its idea of the effects of gothic tracery and churchly hues, this temple of nature producing some such effect, so far as light and shadow were concerned, as the well-known offspring of human invention.”
From the American History Archives- Part I of II: The Empire State Express
14 September 1891 – The “Empire State Express,” the flagship of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, makes the 436-mile trip from New York City to Buffalo in 7 hours and 6 minutes, averaging 61.4 miles-per-hour, with a top speed of 82 miles-per-hour.
“The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.” – Sydney J. Harris, English-born American journalist and author of “Pieces of Eight,” who was born 14 September 1917.
Some quotes from the work of Sydney J. Harris:
“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’”
“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, ‘I was wrong.’”
“A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others; a loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows.”
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
“Regret for the things we have done will be tempered by time. It is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.”
“It’s odd, and a little unsettling, to reflect upon the fact that English is the only major language in which ‘I’ is capitalized; in many other languages ‘You’ is capitalized and the ‘I’ is lower case.”
“It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.”
“Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway”
“Happiness is a direction, not a place.”
“At its highest level, the purpose of teaching is not to teach—it is to inspire the desire for learning. Once a student’s mind is set on fire, it will find a way to provide its own fuel.”
“If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?”
“Patriotism is proud of a country’s virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country’s virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, ‘the greatest,’ but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.”
“The commonest fallacy among women is that simply having children makes them a mother – which is as absurd as believing that having a piano makes one a musician.”
“Self-discipline without talent can often achieve astounding results, whereas talent without self-discipline inevitably dooms itself to failure.”
“It’s odd that the people who worry whether certain plays are ‘morally offensive’ so rarely worry about the moral offensiveness of war, poverty, and bigotry.”
“It is a curious psychological fact that the man who seems to be ‘egotistic’ is not suffering from too much ego, but from too little. When the ego is strong and well developed, there is no nagging need to impress others–by money, by rudeness, or by any other show of false strength.”
“This is a lesson mankind has not yet learned. We identify, and stratify, and treat persons largely on the basis of their accidental (physical) characteristics, which have no deeper meaning.”
“Usually, if we hate, it is the shadow of the person that we hate, rather than the substance. We may hate a person because he reminds us of someone we feared and disliked when younger; or because we see in him some gross caricature of what we find repugnant in ourself; or because he symbolizes an attitude that seems to threaten us.”
“Isolation always perverts; when a man lives only among his own sort, he soon begins to believe that his sort are the best sort. This attitude breeds both the arrogance of the conservative and the bitterness of the radical.”
“Take away grievances from some people and you remove their reasons for living; most of us are nourished by hope, but a considerable minority get psychic nutrition from their resentments, and would waste away purposelessly without them.”
“Life is, if anything, the art of combination. Of discrimination. Of freely picking one’s own personal pattern out of a hundred choices. Not letting it be picked for you—either by the Establishment, or by the Rebels. Conformity of Hip is no better than Conformity of Square.”
“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.”
“But in terms of ‘psychological’ time, most of us are still living in centuries past, stirred by ancient grudges, controlled by obsolete prejudices, driven by buried fears.”
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Jack Dempsey
14 September 1923 – American boxer Jack Dempsey knocks out Argentinean contender Luis Angel Firpo, “The Wild Bull of the Pampas,” in the second round to retain his heavyweight boxing title. According to one contemporary boxing authority, “Firpo’s second knockdown of Dempsey was named ‘the most dramatic sports moment of the (20th) century so far.’”
Here is one writer describing the background of Russian painter Serge Marshennikov (born 1971): “From the earliest of times, Serge was always drawing, painting and sculpting from any material he could land his hands on. His Mother encouraged Serge to study and from early childhood and he had a succession of private teachers and art studies he attended. After receiving a number of awards for his children’s watercolor and pastel paintings, Serge decided to become a professional painter.
In 1995 he finished the Ufa Art College and then continued education at one of the most prestigious art academies in the world, The Repin Academy of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Russia. As one of the most talented graduates of the academy, Serge was offered to stay for post-graduate studies at the studio of the Academician, Rector of the Academy, Professor Milnikov.”
“The Open Road goes to the used-car lot.” – Louis Simpson, Jamaica-born American poet and recipient of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “At the End of the Open Road”), who died 14 September 2012.
In the words of one critic, “During World War II, from 1943 to 1945 he was a member of the elite 101st Airborne Division and would fight in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Louis was a runner for the company captain, which involved transporting orders from company headquarters to officers on the front line. His company was involved in a very bloody battle with German forces on the west bank of what is now the Carentan France Marina – Simpson wrote his poem ‘Carentan’ about the experience of US troops being ambushed there.”
“Carentan O Carentan”
Trees in the old days used to stand
And shape a shady lane
Where lovers wandered hand in hand
Who came from Carentan.
This was the shining green canal
Where we came two by two
Walking at combat-interval.
Such trees we never knew.
The day was early June, the ground
Was soft and bright with dew.
Far away the guns did sound,
But here the sky was blue.
The sky was blue, but there a smoke
Hung still above the sea
Where the ships together spoke
To towns we could not see.
Could you have seen us through a glass
You would have said a walk
Of farmers out to turn the grass,
Each with his own hay-fork.
The watchers in their leopard suits
Waited till it was time,
And aimed between the belt and boot
And let the barrel climb.
I must lie down at once, there is
A hammer at my knee.
And call it death or cowardice,
Don’t count again on me.
Everything’s all right, Mother,
Everyone gets the same
At one time or another.
It’s all in the game.
I never strolled, nor ever shall,
Down such a leafy lane.
I never drank in a canal,
Nor ever shall again.
There is a whistling in the leaves
And it is not the wind,
The twigs are falling from the knives
That cut men to the ground.
Tell me, Master-Sergeant,
The way to turn and shoot.
But the Sergeant’s silent
That taught me how to do it.
O Captain, show us quickly
Our place upon the map.
But the Captain’s sickly
And taking a long nap.
Lieutenant, what’s my duty,
My place in the platoon?
He too’s a sleeping beauty,
Charmed by that strange tune.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Ludwig van Beethoven
Here is the Artist Statement of Chinese ceramicist Chiu-i Wu: “When I was little, it was with pen and paper that I felt expressive… drawing and drawing without thought… The feeling never left me, and I graduated to paint, then finally to ceramics.
I developed my art and ceramics in my home country, Taiwan and exhibited my first work in Taipei. I loved it… but always had a hard time, when asked about my work… I have no deep meanings. Not ones that I recognize anyway! I just produce from my heart, sensing when what I’m creating begins to feel right.
Ceramics was an adventure into clay and glaze, and I studied hard to be able to create the feeling I wanted. When I moved to England, I brought many glaze recipes, but soon discovered a new range of English clays to explore. I came to England in 2003… I can feel my love of English summers, blackbirds and sheep touching my heart and influencing my work. I now exhibit in both countries. I never use moulds… all my work is hand built with great care for quality, and all my paintings are original. I hope you enjoy it as much as I love creating it.”
Japanese artist Hiroshi Furuyoshi (born 1959) won the Grand Prix “Best in Show Award” at the 2009 United States Art Renewal Center competition for his painting “Julien” (see below).
Here is the Artist Statement of sculptor Anne Ronjat: “I was born in Paris in 1968. My mother was a textile designer. I remember spending hours drawing next to her… At times she would slide my best drawing inside her portfolio! In this way I sold my first pattern for a fabric when I was 6 years old!
In my early twenties, I started working with clay and completed a ceramics diploma in 1990 through the CNIFOP (school of ceramics in Nevers, south of Paris). Then I traveled around France as part of a 3 year apprenticeship with renowned ceramicists such as Vanier, Deverchere and others. During this live in apprenticeship, I learnt many techniques and design styles steeped in the ceramic tradition of their region.
In 1994 I moved to Australia and started working as a thrower/decorator until I created my own range of fine functional ceramics in 1997.”
A Poem for Today
By Eleanor Wilner
And they will gather by the well,
its dark water a mirror to catch whatever
stars slide by in the slow precession of
the skies, the tilting dome of time,
over all, a light mist like a scrim,
and here and there some clouds
that will open at the last and let
the moon shine through; it will be
at the wheel’s turning, when
three zeros stand like paw-prints
in the snow; it will be a crescent
moon, and it will shine up from
the dark water like a silver hook
without a fish–until, as we lean closer,
swimming up from the well, something
dark but glowing, animate, like live coals–
it is our own eyes staring up at us,
as the moon sets its hook;
and they, whose dim shapes are no more
than what we will become, take up
their long-handled dippers
of brass, and one by one, they catch
the moon in the cup-shaped bowls,
and they raise its floating light
to their lips, and with it, they drink back
our eyes, burning with desire to see
into the gullet of night: each one
dips and drinks, and dips, and drinks,
until there is only dark water,
until there is only the dark.
American Art – Part III of IV: Frances Galante
A Second Poem for Today
By Marianne Moore
Man, looking into the sea—
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as you have it to yourself—
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing
but you cannot stand in the middle of this:
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession—each with an emerald turkey-foot at the top—
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of the sea;
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look—
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer investigate them
for their bones have not lasted;
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away—the blades of the oars
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress upon themselves in a phalanx—beautiful under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the seaweed;
the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls as heretofore—
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion beneath them
and the ocean, under the pulsation of light-houses and noise of bell-buoys,
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which dropped things are bound to sink—
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor consciousness.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Michael Reardon
According to one critic, “Michael Reardon is an award-winning watercolorist based in Oakland, California. An avid traveller, he is inspired to create by landscapes and architecture from around the world. Using his extensive background in architecture and illustration he composes convincing and evocative watercolors, both in plein air and studio painting. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and the California Watercolor Association. He is also an Artist member of the California Art Club.”