American Art – Part I of IV: Margaret Gerding
Artist Statement: “Each piece is based on a real place, a moment that I have experienced and been inspired by. There is something unique about being alone with nature – a quiet that connects like no other. It is only this solitude, whether outside or in the studio, that allows me to let the landscape reveal itself to me. Some paintings require more elements of nature, while others call out to become abstract in their simplicity.”
“Rogues are preferable to imbeciles because sometimes they take a rest.” – Alexandre Dumas, French writer and author of “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo,” who was born 24 July 1802.
Some quotes from the work of Alexandre Dumas:
“All for one and one for all.”
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.”
“As a general rule…people ask for advice only in order not to follow it; or if they do follow it, in order to have someone to blame for giving it.”
“The difference between treason and patriotism is only a matter of dates.”
“The friends we have lost do not repose under the ground…they are buried deep in our hearts. It has been thus ordained that they may always accompany us.”
“Those born to wealth, and who have the means of gratifying every wish, know not what is the real happiness of life, just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the blessings of fair weather.”
“All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.”
“One’s work may be finished someday, but one’s education never.”
Reflections in Summer: Thomas Merton
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
A Poem for Today
By Harriet Monroe
Good-bye!—no, do not grieve that it is over,
The perfect hour;
That the winged joy, sweet honey-loving rover,
Flits from the flower.
American Art – Part II of IV: Ann Marshall
Artist Statement: “Because of the drastic scale reduction necessary for the Web, there’s often a lot of confusion regarding my work. All figure work is done by hand, using either oil paint or pastel. The collage work is similarly low tech, constructed with scissors and an ever-changing array of non-toxic glues.”
In the words of one writer, “Ann Marshall grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and earned her BFA from School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has worked in a gallery, illustrated an award winning children’s book on the Holocaust, and traveled nationally and internationally as an ethnographer and consumer anthropologist. Her fine art work has been exhibited in New York City’s Gallery at Lincoln Center. She now works as a portrait and fine artist.”
Japanese Literature – Part I of II: Ryunosuke Akutagawa
“I have no conscience at all — least of all an artistic conscience. All I have is nerves.” – Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Japanese writer regarded as
the “Father of the Japanese short story,” who died 24 July 1927.
The plot of Akutagawa’s brilliant short story “In a Grove” (found in his book “Rashomon and Other Stories”) is the basis for Akira Kurosawa’s
film “Rashomon,” which won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Also, Japan’s premiere literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, is named in honor of Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Some quotes from the work of Ryunosuke Akutagawa:
“A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.”
“I could wish for nothing more than to die for a childish dream in which I truly believed.”
“A butterfly fluttered its wings in a wind thick with the smell of seaweed. His dry lips felt the touch of the butterfly for the briefest instant, yet the wisp of wing dust still shone on his lips years later.”
“It is unfortunate for the gods that, unlike us, they cannot commit suicide.”
“Yes — or rather, it’s not so much that I want to die as that I’m tired of living.”
“He felt so lost, he said later, that the familiar studio felt like a haunted valley deep in the mountains, with the smell of rotting leaves, the spray of a waterfall, the sour fumes of fruit stashed away by a monkey; even the dim glow of the master’s oil lamp on its tripod looked to him like misty moonlight in the hills.”
“People used to say that on moonless nights Her Ladyship’s broad-skirted scarlet trousers would glide eerily along the outdoor corridor, never touching the floor.”
“We could see the parapet of Ryougoku Bridge, arching above the waves that flickered in the faint mid-autumn twilight and against the sky, as though an immense black Chinese ink stroke had been brushed across it. The silhouettes of the traffic, horses and carriages soon faded into the vaporous mist, and now all that could be seen were the dots of reddish light from the passengers’ lanterns, rapidly passing to and fro in the darkness like small winter cherries.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Eric Goulder
Here is one critic describing the artistry of American sculptor Eric Goulder (born 1964): “The sculptures made over the past few years are fabricated in bronze, crystal, silver, and marble. Eric Goudler’s sculptures are a reflection of contemporary society and its contradictions. Through expressions of despair, hope, greed, and innocence, Goulder’s work examines the human spirit’s struggle for identity. Nude men, women, and babies are presented as singular forms, as well as controlled yet tangled compositions. Full of movement and life, Goulder’s figures are simultaneously beautiful, disturbing, sensual, and dramatic.”
Japanese Literature – Part II of II: Tanizaki Jun’ichiro
“We Orientals find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and darkness which that thing provides.” – Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, Japanese writer and author of the brilliant essay “In Praise of Shadows” and the novels “The Makioka Sisters” and “Diary of a Mad Old Man,” who was born 24 July 1886.
Some quotes from the work of Tanizaki Jun’ichiro:
“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
“The older we get the more we seem to think that everything was better in the past.”
“With lacquerware there is an extra beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth, when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its colour hardly differing from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapour rises from within, forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapour brings a delicate anticipation … a moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance.”
“The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.”
Reflections in Summer: Vincent van Gogh
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Colin Morton
is one more idler
hanging out for bootleg beer
with apples and oranges
he looks over your shoulder
at the poker table
turns up unwanted
at the John Wayne movie
spoils your aim at horseshoes
with his rosy grin
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“We walked always in beauty, it seemed to me. We walked and looked about, or stood and looked. Sometimes, less often, we would sit down. We did not often speak. The place spoke for us and was a kind of speech. We spoke to each other in the things we saw.”
“A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.” – Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Lord of Dunsany), Irish writer, dramatist, and author of “The King of Elfland’s Daughter” and “The Book of Wonder,” who was born 24 July 1878.
Lord Dunsany is best known for his work in the fantasy genre, but his talents were wide-ranging. In the words of one historian, “More than eighty books of his work were published, and his oeuvre includes many hundreds of published short stories, as well as successful plays, novels and essays.”
Some quotes from the work of Lord Dunsany:
“And little he knew of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man’s thought for the wonder of later years, and tell of happening that are gone clean away, and be a voice for us out of the dark of time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages; or carry to us, over the rolling centuries, even a song from lips long dead on forgotten hills.”
“There is no beauty or romance or mystery in the sea except for the men that sail abroad upon it, and those who stay at home and dream of them.”
“Logic, like whiskey, loses its beneficial effect when taken in too large quantities.”
“And at that moment a wind came out of the northwest, and entered the woods and bared the golden branches, and danced over the downs, and led a company of scarlet and golden leaves, that had dreaded this day but danced now it had come; and away with a riot of dancing and glory of colour, high in the light of the sun that had set from the sight of the fields, went wind and leaves together.”
“All we who write put me in mind of sailors hastily making rafts upon doomed ships. When we break up under the heavy years and go down into eternity with all that is ours our thoughts like small lost rafts float on awhile upon Oblivion’s sea. They will not carry much over those tides, our names and a phrase or two and little else.”
“I have lived to see that being seventeen is no protection against becoming seventy, but to know this needs the experience of a lifetime, for no imagination copes with it.”
“Yet in the blood of man there is a tide, an old sea-current rather, that is somehow akin to the twilight, which brings him rumours of beauty from however far away, as driftwood is found at sea from islands not yet discovered: and this spring-tide or current that visits the blood of man comes from the fabulous quarter of his lineage, from the legendary, the old; it takes him out to the woodlands, out to the hills; he listens to ancient song.”
Reflections in Summer: Kenneth Grahame
“As he hurried along, eagerly anticipating the moment when he would be at home again among the things he knew and liked, the Mole saw clearly that he was an animal of tilled field and hedgerow, linked to the ploughed furrow, the frequented pasture, the lane of evening lingerings, the cultivated garden-plot. For others the asperities, the stubborn endurance, or the clash of actual conflict, that went with Nature in the rough; he must be wise, must keep to the pleasant places in which his lines were laid and which held adventure enough, in their way, to last for a lifetime.”
“She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.” – “She Tells Her Love while Half Asleep,” by Robert Graves, English poet, soldier in World War I, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in
Classical Greece and Rome, and author of “Goodbye to All That” (autobiography and war history), “The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth,” and “I, Claudius” (novel), who was born 24 July 1895.
“A Pinch of Salt”
When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You’ll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.
Dreams are like a bird that mocks,
Flirting the feathers of his tail.
When you seize at the salt-box,
Over the hedge you’ll see him sail.
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:
They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.
Poet, never chase the dream.
Laugh yourself, and turn away.
Mask your hunger; let it seem
Small matter if he come or stay;
But when he nestles in your hand at last,
Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.
Reflections in Summer: Walt Whitman
From the American Old West: Benjamin Bonneville
24 July 1832 – Benjamin Bonneville, a French-born American United States Army officer and explorer in the American West, leads the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming’s South Pass. During his lifetime, Bonneville was made famous by an account of his explorations in the West written by Washington Irving – “The Adventures of Captain Bonneville” (1837).
Reflections in Summer: Theodore Roosevelt
“Surely our people do not understand even yet the rich heritage that is theirs. There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majesty all unmarred.”
From the Movie Archives: Chief Dan George
“May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.” – Chief Dan George, a Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a Coast Salish band, author, poet, and Academy Award-nominated actor, who was born 24 July 1899.
Chief Dan George portrayed memorable characters in both “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “Harry and “Tonto,” but his performance as Old Lodge Skins in “Little Big Man” is magnificent.
Reflections in Summer: Mishima Yukio
A Third Poem for Today
By Philip Paradis
Something you can hardly put
your finger to moved into town
last night. This morning,
upon waking, we see our mountain,
who has stood behind us, is gone —
along with the range of hills
that were our stolid neighbors.
The backyard contains only
the children’s sandbox littered
with toy trucks, pail and shovel,
the doghouse with rusted chain.
Beyond that tall pine lies
what new land? Is surf rolling
beyond that cloud veil?
Or is a river falling?
We need our landmarks back,
our old faithful ones
to reassure us this is the way
we have come before.
Unsure now if we are
on the right path to the garden,
we slow, look twice. Place our
feet carefully. First one step,
then another, discovering our way.
The earth beneath our feet
telling us as we wade through mist
This world of cloudy shapes,
froth of waves, mountain mist,
is still the world
underneath it all.
Reflections in Summer: Toni Morrison
From the American History Archives: Hiram Bingham
24 June 1911 – With the help of local indigenous farmers, American explorer Hiram Bingham discovers the Lost City of the Incas (Machu Picchu).
Below – A view of Hiram Bingham standing atop ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru. This is a hand-colored glass slide, from an original image by Harry Ward Foote. Foote was a professor of chemistry at Yale College, and he served as the collector and naturalist on Bingham’s expeditions to Peru.
Reflections in Summer: Kenneth Grahame
“The moon, serene and detached in a cloudless sky, did what she could, though so far off, to help them in their quest; till her hour came and she sank earthwards reluctantly, and left them, and mystery once more held field and river.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Simon James Gilpin (Part II)
In the words of one writer, “Simon Gilpin is an artist with an emphasis on environment. At the age of three following the death of their father his family moved to a council estate on the edge of the city of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. This change made a huge impression on Simon and he has always maintained that it is the root of his creative instinct.
After receiving a fine art degree at Wakefield’s Bretton Hall, Simon left England and travelled extensively around the world drawing, taking pictures and visiting the world’s major art galleries. Armed with these experiences he would paint in his Leeds studio when back in the UK.
In 2006, while backpacking in the Yukon Territory, Canada Simon met his wife Jean. They married in Yorkshire in 2008. After a few years in Ilkley the pair moved permanently back to the place they first met: Whitehorse, Yukon, where Simon now works as a professional artist.
Simon’s paintings centre around the human-made and natural worlds. Not only the extremes of these two worlds, but also the blurring points and grey areas in between, and where as humans we fit into these worlds. Since arriving in the Yukon, Simon has become fascinated by the ‘Wild’ of the Northern landscape and his paintings look deep into the heart of the forest.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Wendell Berry
“I see that the life of this place is always emerging beyond expectation or prediction or typicality, that it is unique, given to the world minute by minute, only once, never to be repeated. And this is when I see that this life is a miracle, absolutely worth having, absolutely worth saving. We are alive within mystery, by miracle.”
American Art – Part IV of IV: Teri Malo
Artist Statement: “My profound interest in painting the coast, and especially the ocean, comes from several things, including a desire to spend imaginative time in this vast and bracing environment. The ocean is a moody and mysterious subject – elusive, constantly changing, and full of surprises. Understanding the abstract patterns of waves and foam, the underlying structure, and the subtle color shifts is an exciting challenge. With each painting I see more and want to dive (at least metaphorically) deeper into the wave.”