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

American Art – Part I of III: Steve Smulka

Steve Smulka earned an MA and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Below – “The Last Tree”; “Eureka”; “Morning Fog”; “Timber”; “Candle Study”; “On the Rocks.”






A Poem for Today

“Hell to Pay”
By Suzanne Doyle

When the children are asleep and our old bed
Fills with the drama of your dreams, I head
Downstairs to double check the locks and pour
Neat bourbon down, just like I did before
I ever locked a door, back when I blazed by night
Through danger in a yellow whiskey light.
I am again the wildhearted and lonely,
To whom the angel will appear, the only
Angel I have known, who drags her wings
On dance hall floors while some bright jukebox sings
Of sadness gone too sweet, and I am caught
Up in the arms of all the feeling I have fought.
Against that torn mouth no kiss comes to bless,
I answer to the shame I can’t confess,
The old wound coiled up bitterly in me,
The one your love relieves but cannot free.
Hers is the power of darkness, fierce, defiled,
To which fate led me willing as a child,
And though I kneel to love to serve each day,
I know in time there will be hell to pay.

British Art – Part I of II: 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.”





Reflections in Summer: William Blake

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

From the Music Archives: Ginger Baker

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

Reflections in Summer: Jawaharial Nehru

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
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.


Reflections in Summer: Antoine de St. Exupery

“He who would travel happily must travel light.”

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.

British Art – Part II of II: 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.”











“In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.” – 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.”

“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.”

“I know there is no straight road
No straight road in this world
Only a giant labyrinth
Of intersecting crossroads”

“As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die.”

Reflections in Summer: Goethe

“Nothing is worth more than this day.”

American Art – Part II of III: 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.”








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.

Reflections in Summer: Bill Bryson

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Etulu Etidloie

Etulu Etidloie is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Loon”; “Loon.”


A Second Poem for Today

“Landscape with Cows”
By Rhina P. Espaillat

Cows, at their lumbering and stately pace,
rise from this roadside landscape, water, field
and early morning sky, not so much place
as attitude. Mist and crude rails have sealed
them in their all-but-changeless pose,
like founding fathers whom their myths embalm,
on meadows, captured, rapt, as in Corot’s
mute umbered greens and shallow pools of calm.
The moment cannot last; already there’s
the next billboard quickening appetites,
hawking aloud some need, somebody’s wares,
some town approaching us with its delights
and deals and meretricious urge to tease
us back into our natural unease.

Reflections in Summer: Freya Stark

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.

Below – Leh, Ladakh, India.

American Art – Part III of III: David Shevlino

In the words of one writer, David Shevlino was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1962. A graduate of the Pennsylvania
Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania, he also studied at the Art Students’ League in New York. Growing up near NYC, Shevlino was exposed to art as a teenager. He began making trips to art museums at age 15 and developed a love of traditional figurative painting. His early work was very traditional and classically inspired. However, after many years of experimenting, Shevlino began exploring a looser paint application which stradles the line between representational painting and abstraction. This “in between” area is where the painter feels most comfortable and best able to express his artistic voice. His paintings are characterized by broad brushstrokes, a sensuous application of paint and an obvious feel for tonal harmonies. At the same time, the artist demonstrates a firm sense of control, tightening up the composition through his deft modeling of the human form.”

Below – “Under the Sun”; “Wresting Figures”; “Two Radishes”; “Polina”; “Diane in Braids”; “Upside Down”; “Self Portrait.”
Under the Sun, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 Feb 2011

Wrestling Figures, oil on canvas 26 x 29.25 March 3, 2011

Two Radishes, oil on panel, 10 x 8, 6-2013

Pollina, oil on panel, 15 x 14, Jan 2016

Diane with braids, oil on panel, 12 x 12 10-2013


Self portrait July 2010  oil on panel 15 x 16.5

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