American Art – Part I of III: Leigh Campion
Leigh Campion is a self-taught painter.
Reflections in Summer: James Stephens
From the Music Archives: Ronnie Spector
“I just want to get on stage and sing and be happy.” – Ronnie Spector, American vocalist and lead singer of the Ronettes, who was born 10 August 1943.
Reflections in Summer: Huckleberry Finn (via Mark Twain)
“The physical reinvention of the world is endless, relentless, fascinating, exhaustive; nothing that seems solid is. If you could stand at just a little distance in time, how fluid and shape-shifting physical reality would be, everything hurrying into some other form, even concrete, even stone.” – Mark Doty, American poet, memoirist, and recipient of the 2008 National Book Award for Poetry, who was born 10 August 1953.
I thought your illness a kind of solvent
dissolving the future a little at a time;
I didn’t understand what’s to come
was always just a glimmer
up ahead, veiled like the marsh
gone under its tidal sheet
of mildly rippling aluminum.
What these salt distances were
is also where they’re going:
from blankly silvered span
toward specificity: the curve
of certain brave islands of grass,
temporary shoulder-wide rivers
where herons ply their twin trades
of study and desire. I’ve seen
two white emissaries unfold
like heaven’s linen, untouched,
enormous, a fluid exhalation. Early spring,
too cold yet for green, too early
for the tumble and wrack of last season
to be anything but promise,
but there in the air was white tulip,
marvel, triumph of all flowering, the soul
lifted up, if we could still believe
in the soul, after so much diminishment …
Breath, from the unpromising waters,
up, across the pond and the two-lane highway,
pure purpose, over the dune,
gone. Tomorrow’s unreadable
as this shining acreage;
the future’s nothing
but this moment’s gleaming rim.
Now the tide’s begun
its clockwork turn, pouring,
in the day’s hourglass,
toward the other side of the world,
and our dependable marsh reappears
—emptied of that starched and angular grace
that spirited the ether, lessened,
but here. And our ongoingness,
what there’ll be of us? Look,
love, the lost world
rising from the waters again:
our continent, where it always was,
Reflections in Summer: Chaim Potok
From the American History Archives: Robert Hutchings Goddard
Died 10 August 1945 – Robert Hutchings Goddard, an American professor, physicist, inventor, and rocket pioneer. In the words of one historian, “(Goddard) is credited with creating and building the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket, which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926. Goddard and his team launched 34 rockets between 1926 and 1941, achieving altitudes as high as 2.6 km (1.6 mi) and speeds as high as 885 km/h (550 mph).
Goddard’s work as both theorist and engineer anticipated many of the developments that were to make spaceflight possible. He has been called the man who ushered in the Space Age. Two of Goddard’s 214 patented inventions — a multi-stage rocket (1914) and a liquid-fuel rocket (1914) — were important milestones toward spaceflight.”
A Poem for Today
By Wallace Stevens
Lo, even as I passed beside the booth
Of roses, and beheld them brightly twine
To damask heights, taking them as a sign
Of my own self still unconcerned with truth;
Even as I held up in hands uncouth
And drained with joy the golden-bodied wine,
Deeming it half-unworthy, half divine,
From out the sweet-rimmed goblet of my youth.
Even in that pure hour I heard the tone
Of grievous music stir in memory,
Telling me of the time already flown
From my first youth. It sounded like the rise
Of distant echo from dead melody,
Soft as a song heard far in Paradise.
Reflections in Summer: Eugene Delacroix
“Do not be troubled for a language; cultivate your soul and she will show herself.”
British Art – Part I of II: Chris Chapman
In the words of one writer, “Chris Chapman has been a successful illustrator since graduating from Leicester College of Art, England in 1979, where he studied graphic design. After moving to London during the early years of his career, he now lives and works in Bournemouth, Dorset.”
From the Movie Archives – Part I of III: Billy Jack
“People are lost today, and they always tell me we need another Billy Jack, who stood for moral and spiritual values and psychic truths.” – Tom Laughlin, American actor, director, screenwriter, author, educator, and political activist best known for portraying Billy Jack in a four films, who was born on 10 August 1931.
Reflections in Summer: Joseph Campbell
A Second Poem for Today
By Ben Mirov
When the time comes for you
to board death’s shifty raft
of mirror shards and plastic coffee cups,
I hope you’re ready.
I hope you’ve made peace
with everyone you’ve ever done wrong
and you feel no more use for pencils
and your robe is warm and dry
and nothing obstructs
your view of the void.
When the moment arrives
I hope you pass through the membrane
that separates this world
from the next whatever
snowstorm wishbone yadda yadda
with very little pain. And a modicum of pride.
That’s all I have to say for now.
That’s all I ever have to say.
American Art – Part II of III: Janet Monafo
According to one writer, “Massachusetts artist Janet Monafo says she is not very good at explaining her painting process, but the truth is she is forthright, clear, and profound when she talks about the creation of her still life and figure paintings. It’s just that intuition and experience play such important roles in her creative process that it is inconceivable for her to think she responds in a predictable, methodical way. That is, she is more apt to say her decisions are based on what feels right at the time rather than on calculations about relative value, color temperature, or compositional principles.”
Reflections in Summer: Jiddu Krishnamurti
From the Movie Archives – Part II of III: Rin Tin Tin
Died 10 August 1932 – Rin Tin Tin, a German Shepherd and movie star. In the words of one historian, “Rin Tin Tin (September 1918 – August 10, 1932) was a male German Shepherd Dog rescued from a World War I battlefield by an American soldier, Lee Duncan, who nicknamed him ‘Rinty.’ Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin (often hyphenated as Rin-Tin-Tin) and obtained silent film work for the dog. Rin Tin Tin was an immediate box office success and went on to appear in 27 Hollywood films, gaining worldwide fame.”
In the United States, Rinty’s death set off a national response. Regular programming was interrupted by a news bulletin. An hour long program about Rin Tin Tin played the next day. Despite suffering grave economic hardship consequent to the Great Depression, Lee Duncan sold his house and quietly arranged for his dog’s body to be sent to his country of birth for burial. Rin Tin Tin is buried in the Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, the famous pet cemetery in the Parisian suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine.
Below – Rinty as a puppy (with Lee Duncan); Rin Tin Tin on the poster for the film “Frozen River,” 1929; Rin Tin Tin the Star (In the words of one historian, “Rin Tin Tin is credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy in the 1920s.”); Rin Tin Tin’s grave.
Reflections in Summer: Boris Pasternak
From the Movie Archives – Part III of III: Crash Corrigan
Died 10 August 1976 – Ray “Crash” Corrigan, an American actor famous for appearing in B-Western movies. In the words of one historian, “In 1937, Corrigan purchased land in the Santa Susana Mountains foothills in Simi Valley and developed it into a movie ranch called ‘Corriganville.’ The movie ranch was used for location filming in film serials, feature films and television shows, as well as for the performance of live western shows for tourists.”
I think that “Corriganville” is a terrible name.
British Art – Part II of II: Jilly Ballantyne
In the words of one critic, “Jilly Ballantyne was born (1967) and educated in Scotland, graduating from Grays School of Art in 1989 with a BA with Honors Hons in Art and Design. For the last 17 years she has been living, painting and teaching on the Cote dAzur. As a former Graphic Designer, Jilly’s paintings retain a graphic style, and her recent works (“Roomscapes”) have been influenced by painting in Matisse’s former home in the French town of Vence on the Cote d’Azur.”
Reflections in Summer: Rainer Maria Rilke
From the American History Archives: Chinese Exclusion
10 August 1893 – In accordance with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Geary Act of 1892, San Francisco begins deporting Chinese workers. Fortunately, there were many organizations that contested this injustice, including the San Francisco branch of The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and The Chinese Equal Rights League in New York and Brooklyn, and their enlightened views eventually prevailed.
A Third Poem for Today
“OK Let’s Go”
By Maureen N. McLane
Let’s go to Dawn School
and learn again to begin
oh something different
Let’s go to the morning
and watch the sun smudge
every bankrupt idea
of nature “you can’t write about
anymore” said my friend
the photographer “except
Let’s enroll ourselves
in the school of the sky
how to know
and unknow is everything
we’ll come to know
under what they once thought
was the dome of the world
Reflections in Summer: Ishmael (via Herman Melville)
Back from the Territory – Art: Cie Taqiasurk
Cie Taqiasurk is an Inuit sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Below – “Seal”
9-10 August 1877 – American troops commanded by Colonel John Gibbon and Nez Perce warriors led by Looking Glass and Chief Joseph engage in the Battle of the Big Hole. In the words of one historian, “The Battle of the Big Hole was fought in Montana, August 9–10, 1877, between the U.S. Army and the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans during the Nez Perce War. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. The Nez Perce withdrew in good order from the battlefield and continued their long fighting retreat that would result in their attempt to get to Canada and asylum.”
Reflections in Summer:Georgia O’Keeffe
A Fourth Poem for Today
“To the House”
By Robinson Jeffers
I am heaping the bones of the old mother
To build us a hold against the host of the air;
Granite the blood-heat of her youth
Held molten in hot darkness against the heart
Hardened to temper under the feet
Of the ocean cavalry that are maned with snow
And march from the remotest west.
This is the primitive rock, here in the wet
Quarry under the shadow of waves
Whose hollows mouthed the dawn; little house each stone
Baptized from that abysmal font
The sea and the secret earth gave bonds to affirm you.
Reflections in Summer: Wallace Stegner
“It should not be denied… that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led West.”
American Art – Part III of III: Jonathan Hotz
In the words of one writer, “Jonathan Hotz was born in Boston and raised in Spencer, MA, where he began to paint and draw at an early age. He attended college at Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth) and completed the Art Foundation Course. He then entered the Commercial Art Program at Worcester Technical Institute (WTI) and graduated in 1987. Jonathan studied with watercolorist Alex Gazonas for two years while at WTI, then relocated to Cape Ann, where he became a member of the Rockport Art Association and the North Shore Arts Association.”