American Art – Part I of II: Cynthia Packard
Artist Statement (partial): “The paintings begin with conversation and reflection. The process starts with sweeping the floor, arranging different colored cloths hung on the wall or draped on the chaise or chair. Brushes, charcoal, erasers, palette knifes and rags are organized. Solutions of turpentine, linseed oil, stand oil are made in various containers. The paint is squeezed from the large tubes around the outside of the pallet, starting with the lightest color to the darkest. The mixing of the color is last, it takes the most time. All the piles of paint competing with each other, by the end of the day they will all be together. Hoping the sun will stream through the four large windows – natural light is always preferred.”
Reflections in Summer: Hilaire Belloc
From the Music Archives: Robert Johnson
Died 16 August 1938 – Robert Leroy Johnson, an American blues singer and musician. In the words of one historian, “His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including the Faustian myth that he sold his soul at a crossroads to achieve success. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.”
A Poem for Today
“Sitting behind Ben-Hur”
By Turner Cassity
The drumbeat sets the oar-stroke, cruelly;
But then we do not choose our heartbeat.
Manacles confine us. Who, however,
Can be really said to venture?
If in the battle it is row or drown,
We row. The lash is often on us.
It is an incentive, in its way.
The rowing builds up shoulder muscles.
I’ve a tan. I look at backs a lot.
I deeply understand teamwork.
I live in filth. Was I fastidious
When I was free? Here sharks will have us;
Reflections in Summer: D.H. Lawrence
“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves.”
American Icons – Part I of II: Babe Ruth
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr., baseball outfielder and pitcher, who died 16 August 1948.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Dutch painter Iris Frederix (born 1981): “Human drama and comedy are the primary source of inspiration for her work.
The urge to submerge herself thoroughly into her chosen subject usually results in a series of particular works.”
American Icons – Part II of II: Elvis Presley
“I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to.” – Elvis Presley, singer, musician, actor, and “The King” (of Rock and Roll), who died 16 August 1977.
Reflections in Summer: Henry Ward Beecher
A Second Poem for Today
“The Flautist of North Station”
By Bill Coyle
The flautist of North Station,
playing Amazing Grace,
will get, for compensation,
some quarters in a case
on which, for sympathy,
he’s taped a picture of
his daughters, so that we
may see he plays for love;
may see he plays for free,
while someone in a suit
takes up the melody
our man plays on the flute
Reflections in Summer: G.K. Chesterton
“Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.” – Ernest Friedrich “Fritz” Schumacher, British economist, statistician, and author of “Small Is Beautiful: “Economics as if People Mattered” (which won the Prix Européen de l’Essai Charles Veillon), who was born 16 August 1911.
Some quotes from the work of E. F. Schumacher:
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
“If greed were not the master of modern man–ably assisted by envy–how could it be that the frenzy of economism does not abate as higher ‘standards of living’ are attained, and that it is precisely the richest societies which pursue their economic advantage with the greatest ruthlessness? How could we explain the almost universal refusal on the part of the rulers of the rich societies–where organized along private enterprise or collective enterprise lines–to work towards the humanisation of work? It is only necessary to assert that something would reduce the ‘standard of living’ and every debate is instantly closed. That soul-destroying, meaningless, mechanical, monotonous, moronic work is an insult to human nature which must necessarily and inevitably produce either escapism or aggression, and that no amount of of “bread and circuses” can compensate for the damage done–these are facts which are neither denied nor acknowledged but are met with an unbreakable conspiracy of silence–because to deny them would be too obviously absurd and to acknowledge them would condemn the central preoccupation of modern society as a crime against humanity.”
“An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth – in short, materialism – does not fit into this
world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the
environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.”
“Anything that we can destroy but are unable to make is, in a sense sacred, and all our ‘explanations’ of it do not really explain anything.”
“Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation to man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations: as long as you have not shown it to be ‘uneconomic’ you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.”
“I certainly never feel discouraged. I can’t myself raise the winds that might blow us or this ship into a better world. But I can at least put up the sail so that when the winds comes, I can catch it”.”
American Muse – Part I of II: Charles Bukowski
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski, German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer, who was born 16 August 1920.
Two critics commenting on Bukowski: First, (He is) “a laureate of American lowlife.” Second, “The secret of Bukowski’s appeal. . . (is that) he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”
“a 340 dollar horse and a hundred dollar whore”
don’t ever get the idea I am a poet; you can see me
at the racetrack any day half drunk
betting quarters, sidewheelers and straight thoroughs,
but let me tell you, there are some women there
who go where the money goes, and sometimes when you
look at these whores these onehundreddollar whores
you wonder sometimes if nature isn’t playing a joke
dealing out so much breast and ass and the way
it’s all hung together, you look and you look and
you look and you can’t believe it; there are ordinary women
and then there is something else that wants to make you
tear up paintings and break albums of Beethoven
across the back of the john; anyhow, the season
was dragging and the big boys were getting busted,
all the non-pros, the producers, the cameraman,
the pushers of Mary, the fur salesman, the owners
themselves, and Saint Louie was running this day:
a sidewheeler that broke when he got in close;
he ran with his head down and was mean and ugly
and 35 to 1, and I put a ten down on him.
the driver broke him wide
took him out by the fence where he’d be alone
even if he had to travel four times as far,
and that’s the way he went it
all the way by the outer fence
traveling two miles in one
and he won like he was mad as hell
and he wasn’t even tired,
and the biggest blonde of all
all ass and breast, hardly anything else
went to the payoff window with me.
that night I couldn’t destroy her
although the springs shot sparks
and they pounded on the walls.
later she sat there in her slip
drinking Old Grandad
and she said
what’s a guy like you doing
living in a dump like this?
and I said
I’m a poet
and she threw back her beautiful head and laughed.
you? you . . . a poet?
I guess you’re right, I said, I guess you’re right.
Reflections in Summer: Luis Barragan
Back from the Territory – Art: Eegeesiak Shoo
Eegeesiak Shoo in an Inuit Sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
American Muse – Part II of II: Lew Welch, Jr.
“Looking for enlightenment is like looking for a flashlight when all you need the flashlight for is to find the flashlight.” – Lewis Barrett “Lew” Welch, Jr., an American poet associated with the Beat generation literary movement, who was born 16 August 1926.
“Springtime in the Rockies, Lichen”
All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air —
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
Here they are, blooming!
Trail rock, talus and scree, all dusted with it:
rust, ivory, brilliant yellow-green, and
cliffs like murals!
Huge panels streaked and patched, quietly
with shooting-stars and lupine at the base.
Closer, with the glass, a city of cups!
Clumps of mushrooms and where do the
plants begin? Why are they doing this?
In this big sky and all around me peaks &
the melting glaciers, why am I made to
kneel and peer at Tiny?
These are the stamps of the final envelope.
How can the poisons reach them?
In such thin air, how can they care for the
loss of a million breaths?
What, possibly, could make their ground more bare?
Let it all die.
The hushed globe will wait and wait for
what is now so small and slow to
open it again.
As now, indeed, it opens it again, this
Reflections in Summer: Aristotle
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
From the American History Archives: The Gold Rush
16 August 1896 – Gold is first discovered in the Klondike, at Bonanza Creek, Alaska. In the words of one historian, “On August 16, 1896, an American prospector named George Carmack, his Tagish wife Kate Carmack, her brother Skookum Jim and their nephew Dawson Charlie were travelling south of the Klondike River. Following a suggestion from Robert Henderson, another prospector, they began looking for gold on Bonanza Creek, then called Rabbit Creek, one of the Klondike’s tributaries. It is not clear who discovered the gold: George Carmack or Skookum Jim, but the group agreed to let George Carmack appear as the official discoverer because they feared that mining authorities would be reluctant to recognize a claim made by an Indian.”
A Third Poem for Today
By David Berman
Where did you go, my dear, my day;
Where, oh where, did you go?
‘To market, to maker of market, to say
Too much of the little I know.’
Where did you go, my dear, my year;
Why did you flee from me?
‘I went from here to there to here
Reflections in Summer: Mark Jenkins
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
American Art – Part II of II: Anne Packard
In the words of one writer, “Anne Packard has brought to her work an instinct and skill drawn from a deep family well of American and European painters. A third generation Provincetown painter, she is a bona fide Cape Cod artist.
Her grandfather, Max Bohm, was a leading turn of the century impressionist painter, who in 1916 came to Provincetown with many European and American artists. Her grandmother, great-aunt, uncle and mother were also respected painters. The painting tradition runs strong in her family and continues with her children.
Born and raised in Hyde Park, NJ, Anne spent summers as a child in Provincetown. She moved here year round in 1977 after raising her 5 children. A self-taught artist, initially her art was worked on wood panels and weathered shingles. She studied with the late Phil Malcoat. Anne has painted the Outer Cape, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Mexico for over 30 years.”