Sunday, November 23, 2014

David Denny Nominated for the Pushcart Prize

Shanti Arts is delighted to announce that it has nominated David Denny for the Pushcart Prize for his story "Gravidation," which appeared in the spring 2014 issue of Stone Voices.

David Denny is the author of Fool in the Attic (Aldrich Press), Plebeian on the Front Porch (Finishing Line Press), and the forthcoming Man Overboard (Wipf & Stock). His poems and short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Sand Hill Review, California Quarterly, Iodine Poetry Journal, Pearl, and The Sun. He holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Oregon and an M.A.T. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Denny is Professor of English at De Anza College and former editor of Bottomfish magazine. 

Read "Gravidation."

Speed Graphic: November 2013, James Silas Rogers

"Speed Graphic: November 2013," by James Silas Rogers, is featured in the winter 2014 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly.

One drizzly Saturday afternoon I received an unexpected call from Dick Parker, a retired newsman whom I know slightly, chiefly through my mother. As young widows together, his mother and mine had been very close. At some point about thirty years ago, my mother—knowing that Dick was not merely a camera buff but a collector and a professional photojournalist—gave him my father’s Speed Graphic. Dick was calling on this November afternoon to ask if I would like it back. 

I did, of course. It never occurred to me to decline. The camera had been a feature of my childhood. Its appearance signaled that this or that event was a special occasion and that the day needed to be recorded in a more than casual way. This was the camera that recorded me in my First Communion whites. The camera that took a picture of the four Rogers children, all in their jammies, looking up at the Christmas stockings, which became our family Christmas card in 1957.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Elements of Art

I recently started reading The Daily Book of Art, a collection of 365 short readings about lots of different facets of art. The first reading is about the elements of art—line, shape, texture, etc. I've seen these referred to as the building blocks of art, as if we use them one-by-one to put together a work of art. But I think art-making is largely intuitive; it's probably not all that common for an artist to consciously think about line and shape and texture while making art. These elements of art, however, come into play when we step back to review, analyze, or interpret a work of art. They give us a common language that helps us understand art.

The first entry in The Daily Book of Art says to imagine the elements of art as components of a visual language. Surely I've heard this before, but it jumped off the page today and made me ask myself: If the elements of art are a language, what is my art saying? 

This is one of my favorite images, taken a few years ago on the shore of a lake in northern Maine. Looking at it now and thinking about art as visual language, I can see that this image is saying quite a lot. If I focus on texture, I see gentle ripples on an otherwise calm water surface covered with a shroud of mist that contributes to the calm and gentle feeling of the scene. Then there is the clear horizontal line signifying the movement of the ducks from left to right, breaking the stillness of the water, creating a crease of evidence that stays for only a few minutes and then disappears. Then there is the rock, a critical part of this composition. Without the rock, this would be an entirely different image. The rock is the counterpoint, a hard and edgy shape amidst an ocean of soft mist and calm water.

So what is this image saying? I think it is saying something about the general state of stillness, a state unencumbered by passing thoughts and solid impediments. This image evokes such a state and honors it. But, somehow, putting this into words doesn't work all that well. The image says what I have to say so much better than the words. And the most amazing part is that I wasn't consciously thinking about this when I took the picture; rather, the scene resonated with me in a very strong way and I was drawn to preserve it. By making this picture, I used the elements of art to make a statement—one that can't as easily be said with words, at least not by me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Peggy Klineman: Meditation Paintings

The work of painter Peggy Klineman is featured in the winter 2014 issue of Stone Voices.

I began doing Meditation Paintings/Artwork as a creative exercise. But it soon evolved into a practice. My methodology has changed some over the years, but my current practice is as follows: I begin by preparing my art materials. Then I meditate for thirty to forty-five minutes, following my breath. Afterwards, I leave my cushion and go to my drafting table to begin painting. I approach the prepared paper non-judgmentally, allowing the mark making to fluidly progress. I allow my authentic self to manifest on paper. I accept the change each mark makes and build upon it. I try not to edit nor get attached to what materializes. I let the work unfold. When the moment feels right, I stop. Only then do I study and edit what I have done.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

From Valhalla to My Father, David Athey

"From Valhalla to My Father," by David Athey, is featured in the winter 2014 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly

I’d been at war with words for long enough to know that the only resort is surrender. Even with a meticulous writing schedule, giving specific hours to the craft, the pursuit of the sublime is usually a realization that one cannot capture it. One can merely work hard enough to be in a position to give up. The paradox of the artistic life is like the paradox of all life, including the way of suffering and healing: we do as much as we can while knowing that God is doing it all.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Diana Crane's "The Visitor"

The upcoming winter issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly will feature fiction by Diana Crane. The Visitor is the story of Sid, who thought he had found a creative solution to his waning art career . . . until he opened his door one day to a visitor. This entertaining story is accompanied by paintings of Susan Landor Keegin. Here is an excerpt:

The woman who stepped off the elevator was younger and more attractive than he had expected. Early forties, possibly, with light brown hair and pale complexion, elegantly but simply dressed in black trousers and black jacket, with a black and white silk scarf around her neck. They shook hands, but he recalled afterwards that she had identified herself downstairs only by her first name—Rachel. 
“Who sent you?” he asked right away. She mentioned the name of one of his galleries with which he had not been in contact for several months. He was pleased that Hank was taking an interest in his work again. Sales were good and his prices were steady, but it didn’t pay to let oneself become over-confident and complacent. The market was always volatile. Success could vanish as suddenly as it had appeared. 
“Did I interrupt your work?” she asked politely. “I don’t want to disturb you.”  
Admiring Matisse 
Mother, Son, and Modigliani 

“I was just finishing up for the day,” he told her. 
“May I watch?” she asked eagerly. “I’d love to see you at work. It would help me to understand what you’re doing.” 
Flattered, in spite of the fact that he considered her opinion of his work worthless, he led her into the area of the loft that he used as his studio. His current canvas was very large. It almost covered a partition that separated the studio from the living area of the loft. It was a complicated work with a great many different images and colors in a variety of styles. He had completed it several months ago, but since then had been redoing parts of it. After each new version, he thought the painting was finally finished, only to discover a few weeks later that certain details struck him as being trite and had to be redone once again. The problem, he told himself, was that now young painters were introducing all sorts of very poorly crafted images into painting. Technical proficiency counted for nothing anymore. Aesthetic standards were in flux. It was hard to resist pernicious influences from paintings that were being indiscriminately praised and shown in galleries all over the city. 
Now, the two of them stood in front of the canvas. Rachel studied it carefully. 
“It’s beautiful,” she said. 
Beauty was not the effect Sid was aiming for, although he had been categorized by certain critics, particularly at the beginning of his career, as an “easy” painter, one whose work was decorative rather than challenging. His later canvases were by no means ugly. He despised the ugliness of much of the current work he saw in galleries. Philosophical, not aesthetic statements. But he did not consider his present work decorative, although some critics tried to claim he had never quite lived up to the potential they had seen in his early work.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I Never Knew Blue Could Be So Beautiful

Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition is Blue: Color of the Clear Sky and the Deep Sea. I think it's one of our finest exhibitions. It's quite dazzling to see so much blue. When the show went live last week, one of our artists wrote to me: I never knew blue could be so beautiful!



A person's too weak to trust his own head, she told him. When you're in trouble, she said, don't listen to what your mind says. Listen to the faint voices outside of yourself—stones rattling at the bottom of a creek, the rustle of leaves. There's messages out there if you know how to look. There's more meaning in an owl's cry than in a shelf full of Bibles. Watch what the fish are biting, study how a dog sleeps, remember where the dragonflies gather to drink from the mud. 
Vincent Louis Carrella, Serpent Box

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Roy Money: Underlying Relationships

Conventional human perception inevitably recognizes elements in its visual field by their correspondence to names and concepts stored in the brain. A rigid adherence to the confines of these internal schemas can limit our sense of underlying relationships, including that between perceiver and perceived. For many artists and contemplatives a fundamentally unitary awareness of reality serves as a counterpoint to the bounded character of physical entities. William Blake expressed this in the line "to see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower."    ~Roy Money

Roy Money, Before and After in Wenshu, Chengdu

The photography of Roy Money will be featured in the upcoming winter 2014 issue of Stone Voices. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

Susan Bloom: Digital Fine Artist

The work of Susan Bloom will be featured in the upcoming winter 2014 issue of Stone Voices. Bloom  is considered one of the world leaders in digital fine art and is always experimenting with techniques and materials in an effort to make meaningful maeks. She holds an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is professor and chair of the department of art and art history at McDaniel College, in Westminster, Maryland.

One never knows where the next inspirational thought will come from, sometimes the line of a poem, a quote from a master, etc. They all mix in the creative soup in my head. They churn there until they are given the opportunity to be expressed creatively, through my hand.