Sentient in San Francisco – 21 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 21 March 1887 – Clarice Beckett, an Australian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Princess Bridge”; “Evening Light, Beaumaris“; “Church Street Bridge, Richmond”; “Beaumaris seascape”; “Passing Trams”; “Winter Morning, Beaumaris.”

Musings in Spring: Jane Austen

“None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

Below – Jan Min: “Stormy Sea”

This Date in Art History: Born 21 March 1887 – Clarice Beckett, an Australian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Wet Evening”; “Beaumaris foreshore”; “Ti-tree At Evening (Beaumaris)”; “Chestnut Avenue, Ballarat Gardens”; “Evening, St Kilda Road”; “Autumn Morning.”

A Poem for Today

by Dan Gerber

You know how, after it rains,
my father told me one August afternoon
when I struggled with something
hurtful my best friend had said,
how worms come out and
crawl all over the sidewalk
and it stays a big mess
a long time after it’s over
if you step on them?

Leave them alone,
he went on to say,
after clearing his throat,
and when the rain stops,
they crawl back into the ground.

Contemporary Polish Art – Dmitry Buldakov

Below – “The Black Square”; “A blonde woman in a room with green walls”; “Olga”; “The Liberation of Anna”; ““Lazy Morning.”

Remembering a Great American Writer: Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934), a nature writer of the American Southwest and the author of “The Land of Little Rain.”
Mary Austin is one of my favorite American authors, and “The Land of Little Rain” is a classic in the genre of outdoor writing.

Some quotes from the work of Mary Hunter Austin:

“Man is not himself only…He is all that he sees; all that flows to him from a thousand sources…He is the land, the lift of its mountain lines, the reach of its valleys.”
“This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.”
“What women have to stand on squarely [is] not their ability to see the world in the way men see it, but the importance and validity of their seeing it in some other way.”
“For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars.”
“Man is a great blunderer going about in the woods, and there is no other except the bear makes so much noise. … The cunningest hunger is hunted in turn, and what he leaves of his kill is meat for some other. That is the economy of nature, but with it all there is not sufficient account taken of the works of man. There is no scavenger that eats tin cans, and no wild thing leaves a like disfigurement on the forest floor.”
“When a woman ceases to alter the fashion of her hair, you guess that she has passed the crisis of her experience.”
“The real wonder is not that one man should be a genius, but that every man should not be.”
“Probably we never fully credit the interdependence of wild creatures, and their cognizance of the affairs of their own kind.”
“The palpable sense of mystery in the desert air breeds fables, chiefly of lost treasure. … It is a question whether it is not better to be bitten by the little horned snake of the desert that goes sidewise and strikes without coiling, than by the tradition of a lost mine.”
“The arc of my mind has an equal swing in all directions. I should say the same of your mind if I thought you would believe it. But we are so saturated with the notion that Time is a dimension accessible from one direction only, that you will at first probably be shocked by my saying that I can see truly as far in front of me as I can see exactly behind me.”
“It is always so much easier to be moral than it is to be spiritual.”
“As I walk .. as I walk .. / The universe .. is walking with me .. / Beautifully .. it walks before me …. / Beautifully .. on every side …. / As I walk .. I walk with beauty.”

Contemporary British Art – Alison Chaplin

Below – “High Beach Pond”; “Epping Forest Shadows”; “Reflections ‘…below the purling stream Some unknown joys there be’”; “the eternal forest”; “Violet Shadows on Mousehold Heath”; “Tree Shadows”; “Sweet brook, crystal watery stream.”

A Poem for Today

“Apple Blossoms”
by Susan Kelly-DeWitt

One evening in winter
when nothing has been enough,
when the days are too short,

the nights too long
and cheerless, the secret
and docile buds of the apple

blossoms begin their quick
ascent to light. Night
after interminable night

the sugars pucker and swell
into green slips, green
silks. And just as you find

yourself at the end
of winter’s long, cold
rope, the blossoms open

like pink thimbles
and that black dollop
of shine called

bumblebee stumbles in.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 20 March 2019: The First Day of Spring

Greeting Spring

Below – The Vernal Equinox at Stonehenge

Art for Spring – Pierre-Auguste Cot: “Springtime”

Musings in Spring: Pablo Neruda

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

Below – William Savage Cooper: “Gathering Flowers”

Art for Spring – Paul Cezanne: “The Four Seasons: Spring”

Musings in Spring: John J. Geddes

“I hear the sounds of melting snow outside my window every night and with the first faint scent of spring, I remember life exists.”

Below – Paul Cezanne: “Melting Snow at L Estaque”

Art for Spring – Lawrence Alma-Tadema: “Spring”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 March 1836 – Edward Poynter, an English painter and illustrator.

Below – “Adoration to Ra”; “Asterie”; “At the Window”; “A day dream”; “Erato, Muse of Poetry”; “The Ides of March.”

Art for Spring – Sandro Botticelli: “Primavera”

Musings in Spring: Rainer Maria Rilke

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”

Below – Frederic Kohl: “Fields of Flowers”

Art for Spring – Vincent van Gogh: “Fishing in Spring”

Musings in Spring: Sitting Bull

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”

Below – Don Bishop: “Spring Carpet”

Art for Spring – Claude Monet: “Springtime”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 March 1856 – John Lavery, an Irish painter.

Below – “Lady Lavery”; “A Summer Afternoon”; “A Rally”; “Mrs. Lavery sketching”; “On the Riviera”; “Hazel in Rose and Grey.”

Art for Spring – Grant Wood: “Spring in the Country”

A Poem for Spring

by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Below – Stuart Campbell-Smith: “One Man and His Dog, a Spring Walk”

Art for Spring – Alphonse Maria Mucha: “Spring”

Musings in Spring: Vita Sackville-West

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”

Below – John Everett Millais: “Spring (Apple Blossoms)”

Art for Spring – Pierre Auguste Renoir: “Spring”

Musings in Spring: Charles Algernon Swinburne

“Blossom by blossom the spring begins.”

Below – Hilary England: “Field of Flowers”

Art for Spring – John William Godward: “Golden Hours”

A Poem for Spring

“In Perpetual Spring”
by Amy Gerstler

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. ‘The lion
and the lamb cuddling up.’
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.

Below – Clare Innes: “Thistle”

Art for Spring – Frederic Leighton: “The Return of Persephone”

Musings in Spring: Mark Twain

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

Below – Terri Redlin: “Spring Fever”

Art for Spring – Anthony Frederick Sandys: “Gentle Spring”

Music for Spring – Antonio Vivaldi: “The Four Seasons: Spring”

Art for Spring – Luc-Olivier Merson: “Awakening Spring”

Musings in Spring: Rainer Maria Rilke
“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”

Below – Olga Novokhatska: “Spring Trees”

Art for Spring – DIgnac Ujvery: “The Rite of Spring”

Musings in Spring: Ruth Stout

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”

Below – Charles Courtney Curran: “Woman in a White Dress in a Garden”

Art for Spring – Pablo Picasso: “Spring”

A Poem for Spring

“Dear One Absent This Long While”
by Lisa Olstein

It has been so wet stones glaze in moss;
everything blooms coldly.

I expect you. I thought one night it was you
at the base of the drive, you at the foot of the stairs,

you in a shiver of light, but each time
leaves in wind revealed themselves,

the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak.
We expect you, cat and I, bluebirds and I, the stove.

In May we dreamed of wreaths burning on bonfires
over which young men and women leapt.

June efforts quietly.
I’ve planted vegetables along each garden wall

so even if spring continues to disappoint
we can say at least the lettuce loved the rain.

I have new gloves and a new hoe.
I practice eulogies. He was a hawk

with white feathered legs. She had the quiet ribs
of a salamander crossing the old pony post road.

Yours is the name the leaves chatter
at the edge of the unrabbited woods.

Below – Paul Bond: “Evening at the Edge of the Garden”

Art for Spring – Winslow Homer: “Spring”

Musings in Spring: Ellis Peters

“Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment.”

Below – Claude Monet: “Poppy Field in Argenteuil”

Art for Spring – Emily Balivet: “Spring Nymphs”

Musings in Spring: Terri Guillemets

“Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.”

Art for Spring – Alan Dick: “Persephone Rising”

Musings in Spring: Edward Giobbi

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

Below – John Dyer: “Gardening and Growing: Kim Wilde’s Garden”

Art for Spring – E. A. Hornel: “The Coming of Spring”

A Poem for Spring

“From you have I been absent in the spring (Sonnet 98)”
by William Shakespeare

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Below – John William Waterhouse: “Spring Spreads one Green Lap of Flowers”

Art for Spring – John Lavery: “Spring”

Musings in Spring: Emily Dickinson

“A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.”

Below – Maria Egilsson: “Dancing with Flowers”

Art for Spring – Walter Crane: “Spring”

Welcome, Wonderful Spring

Below – Arthur Herbert Buckland: “Spring”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 19 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 19 March 1864 – Charles Marion Russell, an American painter and sculptor of the Old American West: Part I of II.

Below – “The Tenderfoot”; “When the Land Belonged to God”; “Meat for Wild Men” (bronze); “The Buffalo Hunt”; “Roundup #2”; “Bronc to Breakfast.”

A Poem for Today

by Jonathan Greene

Honored when
the butterfly lights
on my shoulder.

Next stop:
a rotting log.

Below – Dean Crouser: “Butterfly”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 March 1864 – Charles Marion Russell, an American painter and sculptor of the Old American West: Part II of II.

Below – “The Cryer” (bronze); “The Custer Fight”; “The Scouts”; “Bringing Up the Trail”; “Keeoma #3”; “Deer in Forest.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 March 1933 – Philip Roth, an American novelist, short story writer, two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Philip Roth:

“Stop worrying about growing old. And think about growing up.”
“All that we don’t know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing.”
“The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love.’ People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open.”
“He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach – that it makes no sense.”
“Old age isn’t a battle; old age is a massacre.”
“You cannot observe people through an ideology. Your ideology observes for you.”

Contemporary Belgian Art – Yves Fieve

Below – “Hell”; “Le miroir”; “Le lustre”; “La lucarne”; “La Boucle”; “Cueilleuse.”

A Poem for Today

“Releasing a Tree”
by Thomas Reiter

Softly pummeled overnight, the lower
limbs of our Norway spruce
flexed and the deepening snow held them.
Windless sunlight now, so I go out
wearing hip waders and carrying
not a fly rod but a garden hoe. I begin
worrying the snow for the holdfast
of a branch that’s so far down
a wren’s nest floats above it like a buoy.
I work the hoe, not chopping but cradling,
then pull straight up. A current of air
as the needles loft their burden
over my head. Those grace notes
of the snowfall, crystals giving off
copper, green, rose—watching them
I stumble over a branch, go down
and my gloves fill with snow. Ah, I find
my father here: I remember as a child
how flames touched my hand the time
I added wood to the stove in our ice-fishing
shanty, how he plunged that hand
through the hole into the river, teaching me
one kind of burning can ease another.
The branch bobs then tapers into place
and composes itself, looking
unchanged though all summer
it will bring up this day from underfoot.

Below – Thorolf Holmboe (Norwegian, 1866-1935): “Snow Covered Spruce in Moonlight”

Contemporary American Art – Suren Nersisyan

Below – “Desert Palm Trees in Palm Springs”; “Agapanthuses in Garden, African Lilies”; “Lonely Willow in the Fog”; “Palm Trees on the Beach”; “Old yard”; “The Girl and the Bird.”

Musings in Winter: William Stafford

“And the things you know before you hear them; these are you and the reason you are in the world.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 18 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 18 March 1862 – Eugene Jansson, a Swedish painter: Part I of II.

Below – ‘At Dusk”; “At the Piano”; “The Circus”; “Evening”; “Hornsgatan by Night”; “In the Park.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 March 1956 – Louis Bromfield, an American author, environmentalist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Louis Bromfield:

“There is a rhythm in life, a certain beauty which operates by a variation of lights and shadows, happiness alternating with sorrow, content with discontent, distilling in this process of contrast a sense of satisfaction, of richness that can be captured and pinned down only by those who possess the gift of awareness.”
“As soils are depleted, human health, vitality and intelligence go with them.”
“Houses, like people, have personalities, and, like the personalities of people, they are partly molded by all that has happened to them.”
“It is the duty of every citizen, for his own welfare, if for no other patriotic reason, to support and fight for and possibly initiate measures having to do with conservation of soil, water and forests.”
“This other war, the war upon destruction of natural assets is one that will never be finished. Our weakness in this vast war is largely ignorance, that most of our citizens do not realize what is going on under their very feet.”
“It is simply that in all life on earth as in all good agriculture there are no short-cuts that by-pass Nature and the nature of man himself and animals, trees, rocks and streams. Every attempt at a formula, a short-cut, a panacea, always ends in negation and destruction.”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 March 1862 – Eugene Jansson, a Swedish painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Late March in Tanto Mountains”; “May”; “Moonlight”; “Nocturne”; “The Ring”; “Self-Portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 March 1986 – Bernard Malamud, an American novelist, short story writer, two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Bernard Malamud:

“Without heroes, we are all plain people and don’t know how far we can go.”
“Life is a tragedy full of joy.”
“You see in others who you are.”
“Some men are by nature explorers; my nature is to stay under the same moon and stars, and if the weather is wet, under the same roof. It’s a strange world, why make it stranger?”
“If your train’s on the wrong track every station you come to is the wrong station.”
“The purpose of freedom is to create it for others.”
“The wild begins where you least expect it, one step off your normal course.”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 March 1910 – William Johnson, an American painter.

Below – “Street Musicians”; “Sowing”; “Three Friends”; “The Breakdown”; “Early Morning Work”; “Training for War.”

Remembering a Thinker on the Dare of His Death: Died 18 March 1980 – Erich Fromm, a German-born American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and philosopher.

Some quotes from the work of Erich Fromm:

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”
“To love somebody is not just a strong feeling – it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.”
“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”
“Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself.”
“If other people do not understand our behavior-so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being ‘asocial’ or ‘irrational’ in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them.”
“Alienation as we find it in modern society is almost total… Man has created a world of man-made things as it never existed before. He has constructed a complicated social machine to administer the technical machine he built. The more powerful and gigantic the forces are which he unleashes, the more powerless he feels himself as a human being. He is owned by his creations, and has lost ownership of himself.”
“The lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness.”
“As we ascend the social ladder, viciousness wears a thicker mask.”
“The deepest need of the human being is to overcome our
separateness, to leave the prison of our loneliness.”

Contemporary British Art – Nadia Attura

Below – “The Keys”; “Backwaters Jungle”; “New York Blue Red”; “Cactus Pool”; “Desert Flight”; “Desert Dreams.”

A Poem for Today

“I Ask My Mother to Sing”
by Li-Young Lee

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.

I’ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.

But I love to hear it sung;
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more.

Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her song.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 17 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 17 March 1856 – Mikhail Vrubel, a Russian painter.

Below – “The girl on the background of a Persian carpet”; “The Swan Princess”; “Chrysanthemums”; “Fortune teller”; “Lilac”; “Pan.”

Musings in Winter: Ezra Taft Benson

“It is not on the pinnacle of success and ease where men and women grow most. It is often down in the valley of heartache and disappointment and reverses where men and women grow.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Victor Tkachenko

Below – “Flower V”; “Flower”; “Nadicus Gerelishinas blooming”; “Waiting”; “Flower D”; “Blue Eyebrow.”

From the American Old West: Born 17 March 1804 – Jim Bridger, who was, in the words of one writer, “an American mountain man, trapper, Army scout and wilderness guide who explored and trapped the Western United States in the first half of the 19th century. Bridger is known for participating in numerous early expeditions into the western interior as well as mediating between Native American tribes and westward-migrating European-American settlers, and by the end of his life had earned a reputation as one of the foremost frontiersmen in the American Old West.”
Here is an interesting comment on Jim Bridger from “The Revanant,” by Michael Punke: “Yet it wasn’t the Mississippi River that captured Jim Bridger’s imagination : it was the Missouri. A mere six likes from his ferry the two great rivers joined as one, the wild waters of the frontier pouring into the bromide current of the everyday. It was the confluence of old and new, known and unknown, civilization and wilderness. Bridger lived for the rare moments when the fur traders and voyageurs tied their sleek Mackinaws at the ferry landing, sometimes even camping for the night. He marveled at their tales of savage Indians, teeming game, forever plains, and soaring mountains.
The frontier for Bridger became an aching presence that he could feel, but could not define, a magnetic force pulling him inexorably toward something that he had heard about, but never seen. A preacher on a swaybacked mule rode Bridger’s ferry one day. He asked Bridger if he knew God’s mission for him in life. Without pause Bridger answered, ‘Go to the Rockies.’ The preacher was elated, urging the boy to consider missionary work with the savages. Bridger had no interest in bringing Jesus to the Indians, but the conversation stuck with him. The boy came to believe that going west was more than just a fancy for someplace new. He came to see it as a part of his soul, a missing piece that could only be made whole on some far-off mountain or plain.”

Contemporary British Art: Ellie Hesse

Below – “Amazon I”; “Pure Joy”; “Letting Loose”; “Stage Presence”; “Amazon II”; “Amazon III.”

A Poem for Today

“My Mother’s Hats”
by Robert Hedin

She kept them high on the top shelf,
In boxes big as drums—

Bright, crescent-shaped boats
With little fishnets dangling down—

And wore them with her best dress
To teas, coffee parties, department stores.

What a lovely catch, my father used to say,
Watching her sail off into the afternoon waters.

Below – Amedio Modigliani: “Portrait of a Woman in Hat”

Contemporary Latvian Art – Sandra Strele

Below – “The swimmer”; “Melancholy”; “Who will be the first one?”; “Through the trees”; “Museum of nature”; “The pond.”

A Poem for Today

“After Filing for Divorce”
by Chelsea Rathburn

Your paperwork in, it’s like the morning after
a party, the shaken survey of damage,
a waste of bottles where there was laughter.
It all seems so much more than you can manage:
the accusing cups and stubbed-out cigarettes,
the sun assaulting the window, your throbbing head.
It’s not enough to face your own regrets
(though they’re coming back fast, the things you said)
because someone’s trailed bean dip across the table,
someone’s ground salsa in the rug with his shoe.
So you start to clean, as much as you are able,
and think how far those hours have fled from you,
before the hangover and your sour tongue,
when you felt lovely, and infinite, and young.

Below – Pablo Picasso: “Femme aux Bras Croises”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 16 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 16 March 1898 – Aubrey Beardsley, an English illustrator and author.

Below – “The Peacock Skirt”; “The Black Cat”; “Venus Between Terminal Gods”; “Et in Arcadia Ego”; “The driving of Cupid from the garden”; “The Stomach Dance.”

Remembering a Brave Dog on the Date of His Death: Died 16 March 1926 – Sergeant Stubby, and American dog and official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment. In the words of one writer, “He served for 18 months and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and once caught a German soldier by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him. His actions were well-documented in contemporary American newspapers.
Stubby has been called the most decorated war dog of World War I, and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat, a claim having no official documentary evidence, but recognized in connection with an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution.”

This Date in Art History: Died 16 March 1955 – Nicolas de Stael, a French-Russian painter and illustrator.

Below – “Landscape Study”; “Boy Figure on the Beach”; “Sicilian Landscape”; “The Sun”; “Mediterranean Landscape”; “Menerbes.”
Musings in Winter: Chris Hedges

Musings in Winter: Chris Hedges

“It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.”

This Date in Art History: Died 16 Match 1998 – Esther Bubley, an American photographer.

Below – “A student at Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington DC, 1943”; “An instructor of the Capital transit company” (1943); “Teenage Fledgling” (circa 1957); “Miss America Contest” (1957); “Women War Workers in the Capital’s Boarding Houses” (1943); “Self-Portrait” (circa 1950).

From the American Old West: Died 16 March 1903 – Phantly Roy Bean, Jr., an American saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace who called himself “The Law West of the Pecos.”

Some quotes from the work of Roy Bean:

“You can’t tell how good a man or a watermelon is ’til they get thumped.”
“Don’t interfere with something that ain’t bothering’ you none.”
“A decent cowboy does not take what belongs to someone else and if he does he deserves to be strung up and left for the flies and coyotes.”
“Hang ’em first, try ’em later.”
“I find this corpse guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and I fine it $40.”

Contemporary American Art – Geoffe Greene

Below – “Large Lotus Garden”; “pose two”; “Woman With a Gun, Too”; “Spring Forest”; “In the Park”; “Island of Trees”; “quod amisimus in pompeianum”; “Large Blue Gazebo”; “Martha with Mushmelon.”

A Poem for Today

by Karla Huston

The cruelest thing I did to my dog
wasn’t to ignore his barking for water
when his tongue hung like a deflated balloon

or to disregard his chronic need for a belly rub
but to teach him to shake hands,
a trick that took weeks of treats, his dark eyes

like Greek olives, moist with desire.
I made him sit, another injustice,
and allowed him to want the nuggets enough

to please me. Shake, I said. Shake?
touching the back of his right leg
until he lifted it, his saliva trickling

from soft jowls, my hand wet with his hunger.
Mistress of the biscuit, I ruffled his ears
and said good dog until he got it. Before long,

he raised his paw, shook me until he got
the treat, the rub, the water in a chilled silver bowl,
the wilderness in him gone, his eyes still lit with longing.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 15 March 2019

Contemporary Italian Art – Cesare Reggiani: Part I of II.

Below – “Profile and Oryx”; “Finding the Elsewhere”; “The Place of the Rendezvous”; “The Revealed Forest”; “Another Shore”; “The Apparent Calm.”

Beware the Ides of March!

15 March 44BCE – Julius Caesar is assassinated by a group of senators. “Et tu, Brute?”
15 March 1974 CE – I get married, an event that ultimately leads to my character being constantly assassinated by three thuggish sons.
“Et tu, Brutes?”
I think that Caesar got the better deal.
Below – Vincenzo Camuccini: “Death of Caesar”; the aforementioned

Contemporary Italian Art – Cesare Reggiani: Part II of II.

Below – “The Revealed Night”; “Profile and a sacred ibis”; “The morning flight”; “The first passage”; “The waiting forest”; “Lagoon porcupine.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 March 1983 – Rebecca West, an English author, journalist, literary critic, and travel writer.

Some quotes from the work of Rebecca West:

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”
“No great thing happens suddenly.”
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: “I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
“The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.”
“Life ought to be a struggle of desire toward adventures whose nobility will fertilize the soul.”
“Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.”
“It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion.”
“Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.”
“The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots.”
“You must always believe that life is as extraordinary as music says it is.”
“Existence in itself, taken at its least miraculous, is a miracle.”

Contemporary American Art – Owen Normand

Below – “The Middle Way”; “Kire”; “Losing Edges”; “Cut ’n’ Fade”; “Try Again.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 15 March 1937 – H. P. Lovecraft, an American short story writer, novelist, and editor. Lovecraft was a master of horror fiction, particularly in the works related to his Cthulhu Mythos, and his influence on both literature and film is extensive.
H. P. Lovecraft and I have a history:

The Call of Cthulhu

Contemporary French Art – Ramona Russu

Below – “The girl with black hair”/Van Gogh Collection; “The girl with black hair”/Van Gogh Collection; “The Girl With Black Hair”/Klimt Edition; “The girl with black hair”/Van Gogh Collection; “The girl with black hair”/ Maquis Edition; “The girl with black hair”/Maquis Edition.

A Poem for Today

“Spirit of the Bat”
by Peggy Shumaker

Hair rush, low swoop—
so those of us

stuck here on earth
know—you must be gods.

Or friends of gods,
granted chances

to push off into sky,
granted chances

to hear so well
your own voice bounced

back to you
maps the night.

Each hinge
in your wing’s

an act of creation.
Each insect

you snick out of air
a witness.

You transform

into sounds,
then dodge them.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 14 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 14 March 1898 – Reginald Marsh, an American painter.

Below – “Merry-Go-Round”; “Wonderland Circus”; “The Bowery”; “Night Worker”; “Coney Island”; “Texas Guinan and Her Gang.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 14 March 1879 – Albert Einstein, a German-born theoretical physicist and recipient of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Some quotes from the work of Albert Einstein:

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
“Don’t listen to the person who has the answers; listen to the person who has the questions.”
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
“A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagination is the language of the soul. Pay attention to your imagination and you will discover all you need to be fulfilled.”
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
“Everything that exists in your life, does so because of two things: something you did or something you didn’t do.”
“The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.”
“The height of stupidity is most clearly demonstrated by the individual who ridicules something he knows nothing about.”
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.”

This Date in Art History: Born 14 March 1923 – Diane Arbus, an American photographer.

Below – “Woman with eyeliner, NYC”; “Lady bartender at home with a souvenir dog, New Orleans, La.”; “Triplets in their bedroom, N.J.”; “The Human Pincushion, Roland C. Harrison, MD”; “Girls in Matching Bikinis”; “42nd Street movie theater audience, N.Y.C.”

A Poem for Today

“This Morning I Could Do/A Thousand Things”
by Robert Hedin

I could fix the leaky pipe
Under the sink, or wander over
And bother Jerry who’s lost.                                                                               
In the bog of his crankcase.
                                                                                   I could drive the half-mile down 
                                                                       To the local mall and browse 
                                                                    Through the bright stables
                                                                                  Of mowers, or maybe catch
                                                                               The power-walkers puffing away                                                                       
On their last laps. I could clean 
                                                                      The garage, weed the garden,
                                                                             Or get out the shears and
                                                                               Prune the rose bushes back.
                                                                            Yes, a thousand things
                                                                                         This beautiful April morning.                                                                           
But I’ve decided to just lie                                                                              
Here in this old hammock, 
                                                                      Rocking like a lazy metronome, 
                                                                     And wait for the day lilies
                                                                                   To open. The sun is barely
                                                                              Over the trees, and already
                                                                               The sprinklers are out,
                                                                               Raining their immaculate
                                                                              Bands of light over the lawns.

Contemporary British Art – Kristjana S Williams

Below – “Ros Two Animal Garden”; “Undra Skagi 2017”; “Singjandiholur Edvard Standfor Mercator’s”; “Winter Wreath”; “Primavera Owl”; “Laufa Fidrildi Bleikt og Graent.”

Musings in Winter: Chris Hedges

“We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, and lie to make money. They throw poor people out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars for profit, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power.”

Contemporary French Aft – Stephanie De Malherbe: Part I of II.

Below – “Winter atmosphere V”; “Reflets XIV”; “Delicatesse IV”; “La Magie De La Lecture II”; “Winter V”; “River light.”

Remembering a Great American Psychologist: James Hillman (1926-2011).

Some quotes from the work of James Hillman:

“Aging is no accident. It is necessary to the human condition, intended by the soul. We become more characteristic of who we are simply by lasting into later years; the older we become, the more our true natures emerge. Thus the final years have a very important purpose: the fulfillment and confirmation of one’s character.”
“Anytime you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna lose something. You’re losing what you’re hanging onto to keep safe. You’re losing habits that you’re comfortable with, you’re losing familiarity.”
“Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.”
“Love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.”
“Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering.”
“Everything that everyone is afraid of has already happened: The fragility of capitalism, which we don’t want to admit; the loss of the empire of the United States; and American exceptionalism. In fact, American exceptionalism is that we are exceptionally backward in about fifteen different categories, from education to infrastructure.”
“I like to imagine a person’s psyche to be like a boardinghouse full of characters. The ones who show up regularly and who habitually follow the house rules may not have met other long-term residents who stay behind closed doors, or who only appear at night. An adequate theory of character must make room for character actors, for the stuntmen and animal handlers, for all the figures who play bit parts and produce unexpected acts. They often make the show fateful, or tragic, or farcically absurd.”
“Of course, a culture as manically and massively materialistic as ours creates materialistic behavior in its people, especially in those people who’ve been subjected to nothing but the destruction of imagination that this culture calls education, the destruction of autonomy it calls work, and the destruction of activity it calls entertainment.”

Contemporary French Aft – Stephanie De Malherbe: Part II of II.

Below – “L’Espace du temps III”; “Promenade IV”; “Reflets X”; “Reflets XI”; “Je voudrais du soleil vert V”; “Rythm I.”

A Poem for Today

“The First Morel”
by Amy Fleury

Up from wood rot,
wrinkling up from duff
and homely damps,
spore-born and cauled
like a meager seer,
it pushes aside earth
to make a small place
from decay. Bashful,
it brings honeycombed
news from below
of the coming plenty
and everything rising

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 13 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 13 March 1825 – Hans Gude, a Norwegian painter.

Below – “By the Mill Pond”; “Ladies in the Sunshine”; “Fresh Breeze off the Norwegian Coast”; “Resting on the path”; “Under the Oak”; “Hardanger fjord.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 March 1900 – Giorgos Seferis, a Greek poet and recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Flowers of the Rock”
by Giorgos Seferis

Flowers of the rock facing the green sea
with veins that reminded me of other loves
glowing in the slow fine rain,
flowers of the rock, figures
that came when no one spoke and spoke to me
that let me touch them after the silence
among pine-trees, oleanders, and plane-trees.

This Date in Art History: Born 13 March 1864 – Alexej von Jawlensky, a Russian painter.

Below – “Head in Blue”; “Young Girl in a Flowered Hat”; “Medusa”; “Violet Turban”; “Astonishment”; “Self-Portrait.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 13 March 1975 – Ivo Andric, a Yugoslav novelist, poet, short story writer, author of “The Bridge on the Drina,” and recipient of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Ivo Andric

“Of everything that man erects and builds in his urge for living nothing is in my eyes better and more valuable than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred than shrines. Belonging to everyone and being equal to everyone, useful, always built with a sense, on the spot where most human needs are crossing, they are more durable than other buildings and they do not serve for anything secret or bad.”
“Between the fear that something would happen and the hope that still it wouldn’t, there is much more space than one thinks. On that narrow, hard, bare and dark space a lot of us spend their lives.”
“What doesn’t hurt – is not life; what doesn’t pass – is not happiness.”
“To be a man, to have been born without knowing it or wanting it, to be thrown into the ocean of existence, to be obliged to swim, to exist; to have an identity; to resist the pressure and shocks from the outside and the unforeseen and unforeseeable acts – one’s own and those of others – which so often exceed one’s capacities. And what is more, to endure one’s own thoughts about all this: in a word, to be human.”
“Forgetfulness heals everything and song is the most beautiful manner of forgetting, for in song man feels only what he loves.”
“If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear.”

This Date in Art History: Born 13 March 1870 – William Glackens, an American painter and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “East River Park”; “Soda Fountain”; “Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire”; “At Mouquin’s”; “Bathers at Bellport”; “Nude with Apple.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 13 March 1943 – Stephen Vincent Benet, an American poet, short story writer, novelist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Campus Sonnets: May Morning”
by Stephen Vincent Benet

I lie stretched out upon the window-seat
And doze, and read a page or two, and doze,
And feel the air like water on me close,
Great waves of sunny air that lip and beat
With a small noise, monotonous and sweet,
Against the window – and the scent of cool,
Frail flowers by some brown and dew-drenched pool
Possesses me from drowsy head to feet.

This is the time of all-sufficing laughter
At idiotic things some one has done,
And there is neither past nor vague hereafter.
And all your body stretches in the sun
And drinks the light in like a liquid thing;
Filled with the divine languor of late spring.

This Date in Art History: Born 13 March 1870 – William Glackens, an American painter and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “Descending from the Bus”; Cape Cod Pier”; “Parade, Washington Square”; “Young Woman in Green”; “Cafe Lafayette (Kay Laurel)”; “Breezy Day Tugboats, New York Harbor.”

Remembering a Great Attorney on the Date of His Death: Died 13 March 1936 – Clarence Darrow, an American lawyer, author, and a leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Some quotes from the work of Clarence Darrow:

“When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I’m beginning to believe it.”
“When we fully understand the brevity of life, its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains; when we accept the facts that all men and women are approaching an inevitable doom: the consciousness of it should make us more kindly and considerate of each other. This feeling should make men and women use their best efforts to help their fellow travelers on the road, to make the path brighter and easier as we journey on. It should bring a closer kinship, a better understanding, and a deeper sympathy for the wayfarers who must live a common life and die a common death.”
“The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.”
“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.”
“A criminal is someone without the capital to incorporate.”
“Do you, good people, believe that Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden and that they were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge? I do. The church has always been afraid of that tree. It still is afraid of knowledge. Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. So does whiskey. I believe in the brain of man.”
“Nothing is so loved by tyrants as obedient subjects.”
“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.”
“It is indeed strange that with all the knowledge we have gained in the past hundred years we preserve and practice the methods of an ancient and barbarous world in our dealing with crime. So long as this is observed and exercised there can be no change except to heap more cruelties and more wretchedness upon those who are the victims of our foolish system.”
“If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think.”
“I have lived my life, and I have fought my battles, not against the weak and the poor – anybody can do that – but against power, against injustice, against oppression, and I have asked no odds from them, and I never shall.”
“The most human thing we can do is comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

This Date in Art History: Died 13 March 1971 – Rockwell Kent, an American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Alaska Impression”; “Winter Sunrise”; “Red Evening”; “Matterhorn”; “Mountain Road”; “Moonlight.”

A Poem for Today

“Sixth Grade”
by Jeanie Greenfelder

We didn’t like each other,
but Lynn’s mother had died,
and my father had died.

Lynn’s father didn’t know how to talk to her,
my mother didn’t know how to talk to me,
and Lynn and I didn’t know how to talk either.

A secret game drew us close:
we took turns being the prisoner,
who stood, hands held behind her back,

while the captor, using an imaginary bow,
shot arrow after arrow after arrow
into the prisoner’s heart.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 12 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 12 March 1863 – Carl Holsoe, a Danish painter.

Below – “Woman in an Interior with a Mirror”; “Girl in an Interior”; “Waiting by the Window”; “Woman with a Fruit Bowl”; “A Lady Playing the Piano”; “Girl Standing on a Balcony.”

Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

This Date in Art History: Born 12 March 1885 – Mario Sironi, an Italian painter.

Below – “The Cyclist”; “Urban Landscape”; “The blue jacket”; “Cityscape with truck”; “Portrait of Brother Ettore”; “Self-Portrait.”

A Poem for Today

“Cattle Fording Tarryall Creek”
by Catharine Savage Brosman

With measured pace, they move in single file,
dark hides, white faces, plodding through low grass,
then walk into the water, cattle-style,
indifferent to the matter where they pass.

The stream is high, the current swift—good rain,
late snow-melt, cold. Immersing to the flank,
the beasts proceed, a queue, a bovine chain,
impassive, stepping to the farther bank—

continuing their march, as if by word,
down valley to fresh pasture. The elect,
and stragglers, join, and recompose the herd,
both multiple and single, to perfect

impressions of an animated scene,
the creek’s meanders, milling cows, and sun.
Well cooled, the cattle graze knee-deep in green.
We leave them to their feed, this painting done.

Below – William Preston Phelps: “Cattle Crossing Stream”

This Date in Art History: Born 12 March 1918 – Elaine de Kooning, an American painter.

Below – “Sunday Afternoon”; “Fairfield Porter #1”; “Bacchus #3”; “Spring”; “Torchlight Cave Drawing V”; “Self-Portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 12 March 1922 – Jack Kerouac, ann American novelist, poet, and author of “On the Road” and “The Dharma Bums.”

Some quotes from the work of Jack Kerouac:

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
“I was having a wonderful time and the whole world opened up before me because I had no dreams.”
“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”
“The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual the world is.”
“A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”
“He had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars.”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Sergi Ramirez

Below – “Family on the beach II”; “trips and leisure”; “N-340 XII”; “travels and meetings”; “N-340 XXXI”; “trips-airports”; “the fair.”

A Poem for Today

“After the Funeral”
by Peter Everwine

We opened closets and bureau drawers
and packed away, in boxes, dresses and shoes,
the silk underthings still wrapped in tissue.
We sorted through cedar chests. We gathered
and set aside the keepsakes and the good silver
and brought up from the coal cellar
jars of tomato sauce, peppers, jellied fruit.
We dismantled, we took down from the walls,
we bundled and carted off and swept clean.
Goodbye, goodbye, we said, closing
the door behind us, going our separate ways
from the house we had emptied,
and which, in the coming days, we would fill
again and empty and try to fill again.

Below – Edward Hopper: “Sun in Empty Room”


Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment