Thanksgiving 2017

Bob Dylan 1964
from the The Times They Are a-Changin’ album:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s the battle outside raging
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing

Bob Dylan 2006
from the Modern Times album we have the song Things Have Changed:

People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

That’s Dylan talking about the changing times. Indeed. You know, these days, they talk about the partisan issues between those that sit on either side of the aisle. Maybe they should be calling the ‘aisle’ what it really is – a canyon. We are now in the era of America First. I think  the reality is that we are in the era of Me First.

The USA used to be a kinder and gentler place. Not so much now. In my own words, I think I can both see and feel the social fabric of our nation tearing beneath our collective feet right now. We should all  have a sense of a gathering storm. And truly that’s not good. But maybe it is necessary.

And if that isn’t change…then tell me, what is?

Remember what Gore Vidal once said about this country – The United States of Amnesia.

But not everything changes. As has been my tradition on this blog, I choose the American holiday of Thanksgiving to offer my thanks for all that we have that is good, and for all that we have that is wonderful. Of course, art is a purely subjective art form. Art may be understood and appreciated, or just understood, or just appreciated, or neither understood nor appreciated.

My annual Thanksgiving post may or may not show Thanksgiving-themed art works. The artists may or may not be American. My tastes in art are varied – and I don’t stick to just one school of art.  Impressionist, Classic reality, modern, portraits and landscapes, or even historical paintings may show up in this post.

As will the vibrancy of bold colors, or paintings in which the colors are more important than the subjects. If a work of art appears in this annual post, it is because I like what I see, and wish to share with you. I can only hope that you will have similar feelings.

I have chosen the American painter Jeremy Lipking to open this post. Lipking is a 40 something from Santa Monica, CA, and he is most easily described as an American realist.

This first Lipking painting is called Whispering Pines. I love the soft color mix of this work, and I hope you can feel both the awe and the mystery that this work evokes. Just look at the foreground details and then, behind the woman, in the distance, we only have the colors and shape of the ridge of the hills meeting the sky with just the slightest bit of detail.

The next entry from Lipking is called Shadow Juniper. In this work, Lipking has decided to go without the same amount of detail, and without most of the mystery. The foreground vegetation is barely defined, while the range of hills in the background clearly has more detail.  I also like the gradients of the blue sky.

As long as we have people as our subjects, let’s have a look at two more (for now). These next two will be from Scott Tallman Powers. He’s from Birmingham, AL,  and was born in 1972.  Our first from Mr. Powers fits securely into the Portrait Category.

It is called Broken Silence. The subject looks as if he has just heard something – approaching riders? Maybe it is a small but dangerous animal lurking in the woods that is creating the sounds. Look at the way the man has hunched his shoulders – in effect making himself a bit smaller. Then there’s the contrasting behavior in this work by the horse who has either not heard the sound, or has already decided it is of no importance.

Powers is adept in putting people into landscapes as well. In the above work called Copper River Dipnetters – we have people finding via the river, some fish for the evening meals. Notice how those working the dipnets are men, and it is left to the woman to clean the fish.

This last one from Mr. Powers is called A Letter to Joy. Despite the title, we can also see that the man might be writing in journal rather than authoring a letter. My eyes immediately noticed his wrinkled and weathered hands, the pleats and folds of his shirt at the shoulder seam, and most of all – the pensive look on his face.

Speaking of bold colors – how do you like this next one from Billy Schenck. The title of this work is Big Sky Country. We might have some fun and imagine that the couple are on their way home from a Thanksgiving feast. But they have the top down (a precursor of  the convertible automobiles that will come much later), and neither one is wearing a hefty coat. Look at the man driving – he’s wearing a blanket! Are the colors bold enough for you?

We will now head back to another of Jeremy Lipking’s finest works. He calls it October Aspens, and I’m not sure what to say about this work. Is it the abundantly green background, or the youthful face of the subject, or maybe you are taken by the triple verticals – two slender tree limbs, as well as the model.. I shall leave the question unanswered.

Our next work, which is really three separate pieces) is from John Moyers. Moyers is the son of an artist and he grew up in Albuquerque, NM. Moyers has said, “I paint what excites me. Maybe for two months all I want to do is landscapes, then maybe Native Americans and then Mexican pieces”. He went on to add, “The more you paint, the more comfortable you get with the process. Hopefully, I’m improving all the time.”

The piece on the left is called The Prized Possession. The work in the center is called The Revolutions Shadow. And the one on the right is called Juarez Night. The three pieces are similar in theme and design. It is only when you look for details that you note the differences. His rifle, his boots, the color of the walls, and his ponchos are different in all three.

Lets take a look at another from Jeremy Lipking. This one is called Riders Under Vermillion Cliffs. I see this painting as being a real puzzle. Where are the riders heading. They face the walls of mountains with no settlement or grouping of tepees in sight. Also the sun is behind the riders, yet we get no sense of them creating a shadow.

Okay three more of Native Americans. Our artists are Alfredo Rodriguez, Kirby Sattler, and Martin Grelle.

This one is called The Buffalo Caller, and is by Alfredo Rodriguez. This painter has long been famous for the inordinate amount of detail that is always in included in his works. It is almost as if you can’t decide which to examine first – the beads, the feathers, or the fringe.

Next is I Am Crow by Kirby Sattler.  Note that despite the distractions of the warpaint, the earrings, the necklaces,and the feathers, one still can almost feel those piercing and powerful eyes gazing in our direction. Mr. Sattler is not a native American but his works display  the inseparable relationship between the Indian and his natural world, reflecting a culture that had no hard-line between the sacred and the mundane. Mr. Sattler states:  “I attempt to give the viewer of my work a sense of what these sacred objects meant to the wearer; when combined with the proper ritual or prayer there would be a transference of identity. More than just aesthetic adornment, it was an outward manifestation of their identity and their inter-relatedness with their natural and spiritual world.”

Now if you have seen some of my previous Thanksgivings posts, then you would know the name – Martin Grelle. His works continue to fetch top dollars in art auctions across the country. Mr. Grelle has repeatedly captured the beauty of Native American women on his canvases. The above painting is called Summer on Greasy Grass.

Returning to bold colors, we must have more of John Nieto. Above is his Plains Princess. His works may lack a place or said differently –  a time specific location…

… but there’s no dispute that his works are bold in design and color. Above is Feather Dancer (Camille).

Above is the fabulous Reclining Squaw. Nieto has said: “I paint native American themes so I can step back in time and shine some light on those people – that culture. Through my artwork, I hope to show their humanity and their dignity.”

Now let’s have a peek at two impressionist works by William Schneider.

The first one is called Splendor in the Grass. My first reaction is that I wish there was more to this work. But that feeling soon fades. You may not know all there is to know about the subject, but the impact is wonderful.

Kelly By Moonlight is the title of the above work by Mr Schneider. Look at the way the light comes in to highlight only a part of this image. Marvelous.

Okay two more artists, and then we can say see-ya. Christopher Leeper is from Canfield, Ohio. His specialty is in watercolors. The first one (below) is called Autumn Trail.

This work is not representative of every autumn day that you may experienced. Instead we will limit the expression to any autumn day that you will never forget.

Mr. Leeper’s second painting is called Lodge Road Twilight. Hoping you don’t have a day like this for your Thanksgiving.

Our last two paintings are by Jim McVickers.  He is a Californian through and through. I selected these works because on my recent trip to California, I stopped at Sonoma Coast State Park, which is a short hop north from Bodega Bay. But sadly, the fog had elected to remain on the beach, so I did not get the full impact of being on a California beach.

Fortunately, Mr. McVickers has helped. Morning at Main Beach was recently  shown at the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association show at Laguna Beach in October.

And for our last painting offered for your pleasure on this Thanksgiving 2017, I have another from McVickers. He calls it Bob Francis Paints Divers Cove.  Though this painting may not stir up any holiday feelings whatsoever for you or me – it is still at the heart of this post that celebrates art.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.









One thought on “Thanksgiving 2017

  1. Those Dylan lyrics are even more apt right now, which I can’t imagine how that makes him feel. Your Gore Vidal reference is also helpful to me personally because although I read “Point to Point Navigation” a few years ago, I’ve been meaning to read his earlier “Palimpsest.” Thanks for the reminder.

    I’m glad that you made the effort to continue your annual art posts. They’re all very interesting (and different). The Scott Tallman Powers and the Christopher Leeper “Autumn Trail” are especially nice.

    Again, have a wonderful holiday today, Mike. – Marty

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