Sentient in San Francisco – 17 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Born 17 November 1919 – Kim Heungsou, a Korean painter.

Below – Untitled; Untitled; “Un Pose.”

A Poem for Today

“Strict Diet”
by James Crews

Though the doctors said no salt,
salt was all my father craved.
His body bloated, skin water-logged
and gray, still he wanted potato chips,
honey-baked ham, greasy slabs
of Polish sausage from Piekutowski’s.
He begged for pepperoni pizza,
garlic butter, ribs slathered in sauce.
But when I did the shopping,
I searched only for labels that said
‘low sodium’ and ‘no preservatives’, instead
bringing home heads of broccoli,
turkey burgers, shredded wheat.
And when he died anyway,
guilt gnawed me like an ulcer—
how could I have denied him
his few final pleasures?—
until I found Big Mac wrappers
stuffed under the car seat,
jars of pickles in the hall closet,
and hidden among wads of tissues
near the night stand, his stash—
a half-used canister of salt.
I sat down on his sagging mattress
now stripped of stained sheets
and studied that blue label
with the girl in the yellow dress
holding her umbrella against a rain
of salt still falling from the sky.

This Date in Art History: Born 17 November 1928 – Arman, a French-American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Accumulation”; “Macbeth”; Untitled; “Flamenco”; “Liberty.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of Her Death: Died 17 November 2013 – Doris Lessing, a British novelist, poet, playwright, and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Doris Lessing:

“Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.”
“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”
“Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.”
“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”
“In university they don’t tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.”
“As you get older, you don’t get wiser. You get irritable.”
“This is a time when it is frightening to be alive, when it is hard to think of human beings as rational creatures. Everywhere we look we see brutality, stupidity, until it seems that there is nothing else to be seen but that–a descent into barbarism, everywhere, which we are unable to check. But I think that while it is true there is a general worsening, it is precisely because things are so frightening we become hypnotized, and do not notice–or if we notice, belittle–equally strong forces on the other side, the forces, in short, of reason, sanity and civilization.”

This Date in Art History: Born 17 November 1921 – Albert Bertelsen, a Danish painter and illustrator.

Below – “Interior with sewing machine and figure”; “Red farm”; “Drømmepigen”; “Fjeldlys”; “ Hus i aftenlys”; “Low-hanging Mist.”

A Poem for Today

“After You Get Up Early on Memorial Day”
by Susanna Lang

You take the cats out with you, shut
the door: I have the whole wide bed, all
the covers to fall back asleep in, while you
cut up and sugar the strawberries, grind
the coffee, leave the radio off
so I won’t be disturbed. The room is still
dark, rain forecast for the entire day,
other people’s family picnics cancelled,
barbecues moved into basements, parades
rerouted to avoid flooded viaducts, the iris
losing petals beside newly cleaned graves,
their mason jars spilt into the saturated ground.
But here is my holiday, this drift back beneath thought
while I lie in the warm impression of your body.

Below – Daniel Kozeletckiy: “Sleeping with Beads”

Contemporary American Art – Ryan Swallow

In the words of one writer, “Ryan Swallow paints hauntingly beautiful figures, expressing emotion through the figure, causing anyone who gazes long enough to see a piece of themselves.”

Below – “Luna Triste”; “Chameleon”; “Anhelo”; “Diluvio de Lagrimas”; “Hermanas II”; “Willy.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 16 November 2018

Art for Autumn – Malcolm Morley (British, contemporary)

Below – “Sky Above, Mud Below”; “Fallacies of Enoch 1”; “Devonshire Bullocks”

Musings in Autumn: Cecil Day-Lewis

“The river this November afternoon
Rests in an equipoise of sun and cloud:
A glooming light, a gleaming darkness shroud
Its passage. All seems tranquil, all in tune.”

British Art – Norman Prescott-Davies (1862-1915)

Below – “As Time Goes By”; “Iris”; “Profumo di rose”; “Azaleas”; “Classical Girl with a Stringed Instrument”; “Summer Idyll.”

Musings in Autumn: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“November–with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes–days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees. What cared they? Old Tom had built his roof well, and his chimney drew.”

American Art – George Luks (1867-1933)

Below – “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter”; “Pennsylvania Coal Town”; “The Polka Dot Dress”; “Pennsylvania Landscape”; “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “Purple Hills.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 16 November 1973 – Alan Watts, an English-American philosopher and author.

Some quotes from the work of Alan Watts:

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
“By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.”
“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between a causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality.”
“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”
“Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.”
“Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction.
“We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we’re in and reverse our thinking and see that the past always flows back from the present. That now is the creative point of life. So you see it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that…Also, watch the flow of music. The melody as its expressed is changed by notes that come later. Just as the meaning of a sentence…you wait till later to find out what the sentence means…The present is always changing the past.”
“The destination of life is this eternal moment.”
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but an experience to be had.”
“You are the universe experiencing itself.”

Symbolist Art: Louis Welden Hawkins (French, 1849-1910)

Below – “Clytie”; “Priestess”; “Girls Singing Music”; “The Haloes”; “Mask”;“Self-Portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth – Born 16 November 1967 – Craig Arnold, an American poet.

by Craig Arnold

You have towered here
leaning half over the wall
all my awareness

years before I knew
what silkworm was or China
I felt your berries

pulp under my feet
tracked your purple all over
grandmother’s carpet

a sapling planted
by some sea captain to make
shade for a future

This winter you lost
one of  your long low branches
to a backed-up car

and the old woman
who has known you all her life
wept at the split wood

Your bark is wrinkled
more deeply than any face
you live so slowly

do our voices sound
to you like the fluttering
of  paper moth wings

do we seem rootless
holding fast to the anchor
of  the saddest things

Below – Claude Millau: “Old Mulberry Tree”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 15 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Died 15 November 1985 – Meret Oppenheim, a German-Swiss painter and photographer.

Below – “Red head, blue body”; “Octopus’s garden”; “Subterranean Bow”; “Waldinneres mit Dryaden”; “Caterpillar on Metamorphosis”; “Windhose.”

Musings in Autumn: Emily Dickinson

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”

American Art – George Luks (1867-1933)

Below – “Noontime, St. Botolph Street, Boston”; “The North River, New York”; “October Flowers”; “Old Schoolhouse, Ryders”; “On the Marne”; “Old Woman.”

Musings in Autumn: Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann

“November; Crows are approaching – Wounded leaves fall to the ground.”

This Date in Art History: Died 15 November 1966 – William Zorach, a Lithuanian-American sculptor and painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Puma”; “Tree – Yosemite”; “Floating Figure”; “New Horizons”; “The Wild Country, Grenada, British West Indies”; “Boats.”

A Poem for Today

by John Foy

I took the dog and went to walk
in the auditorium of the woods,
but not to get away from things.
It was our habit, that was all,
a thing we did on summer days,
and much there was to listen to.
A slight wind came and went
in three birches by the pond.
A crow uphill was going on
about the black life it led,
and a brown creeper went creeping up
a brown trunk methodically
with no record of ever having
been understood by anyone.
A woodpecker was working out
a deep hole from the sound of it
in a stand of dead trees up there.
And then a jay, much put upon,
complained about some treachery
it may or may not have endured,
though most are liars anyway.
The farther in, the quieter,
till only the snapping of a stick
broke the silence we were in.
The dog stood still and looked at me,
the woods by then already dark.
Much later, on the porch at night,
I heard the owl, an eldritch thing.
The dog, still with me, heard it too,
a call that came from where we’d been,
and where we would not be again.

This Date in Art History: Died 15 November 1966 – William Zorach, a Lithuanian-American sculptor and painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Spirit of the Sea”; “Birth”; “Girl with Clasped Hands”; “The Purveyor”; “Red Flowers”; “Figure of a Woman.”

A Poem for Today

“The Address Book”
by John Phillips

How could I predict
That my life wd become whatever,
So many people
Passing thru—address books

Filled with names & numbers
I no longer recognize,
Pages torn loose,
Addresses crossed out,

Lives badly smudged,
Decades of earnest grief,
Missed opportunities,
Phones disconnected.

What am I now?
Just another old man
Among old men.
Turn the calendar upside down

& let the days fall out.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 14 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Died 14 November 1691 – Tosa Mitsuoki, a Japanese painter.

Below – “Genji Monogatari”; “The Seven Gods of Good Fortune”; “Two Cranes”; “Camellia”; “Warrior at Imperial Court”; Untitled.

Musings in Autumn: E.M. Forster

“The house was very quiet, and the fog—we are in November now—pressed against the windows like an excluded ghost.”

This Date in Art History: Born 14 November 1840 – Claude Monet, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Impression, Sunrise”; “Madame Monet in a Japanese Kimono”; “Women in the Garden”; “The Luncheon”; “Woman in a Garden”; “La place de Trouville.”

A Poem for Today

“From the Pentagon”
by Jehanne Dubrow

He brings me chocolate from the Pentagon,
dark chocolates shaped like tanks and fighter jets,
milk chocolate tomahawks, a bonbon
like a kirsch grenade, mint chocolate bayonets.
He brings me chocolate ships, a submarine
descending in a chocolate sea, a drone
unmanned and filled with hazelnut praline.
He brings me cocoa powder, like chocolate blown
to bits. Or chocolate squares of pepper heat.
Or if perhaps we’ve fought, he brings a box
of truffles home, missiles of semisweet
dissolving on the tongue. He brings me Glocks
and chocolate mines, a tiny transport plane,
a bomb that looks delicious in its cellophane.

This Date in Art History: Born 14 November 1840 – Claude Monet, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Springtime”; “The Studio Boat”; “Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son”; “Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge”; “Water Lilies”; “Weeping Willow”; “The Rose Walk, Giverny.”

Musings in Autumn: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods…for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.”

This Date in Art History: Born 14 November 1897 – John Steuart Curry, an American painter.

Below – “On the Porch”; “Tornado Over Kansas”; “Kansas Cornfield”;
“Ajax”; “Baptism in Kansas”; “Bathers.”

A Poem for Today

“Listen to the Deer Tick Sing”
by Jim Zimmerman

I wait for you to come
to brush your shoe against
the blade of grass I’m sitting on
touch me with your hand
as you reach for one last
violet to take home

or pick up a worm to place
gracefully in the garden

even better if you lie
on a hillside to watch the sunset
or breathe in stars

I will feel your warmth, bury
my head next to that freckle
on your calf, that hair
on your forearm, or just behind
the lobe of your left ear

I promise not to take too much
blood into my swelling body

only what I think I need

and I will never
let you know I am here
though I will love you


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Sentient in San Francisco – 13 November 2018

Musings in Autumn: Lawrence Durrell

“These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean.”

This Date in Art History: Died 13 November 1903 – Camille Pissarro, a Danish-French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Orchard in Bloom”; “Two Women Chatting by the Sea”; “The Hay Cart”; “Road in a Forest”; “Old Chelsea Bridge, London”; “Still Life: Apples and Pears in a Round Basket.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 13 November 1850 – Robert Louis Stevenson, a British novelist, poet, essayist, musician, and travel writer.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
“The man is a success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.”
“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”
“The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life.
“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
“Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.”
“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

Below – A portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson by John Singer Sargent.

This Date in Art History: Died 13 November 1903 – Camille Pissarro, a Danish-French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Hay Harvest at Eragny”; “The Woods at Marly”; “Portrait of Paul Cezanne”; “Conversation”; “Children on a Farm”; “The Garden of the Tuileries on a Spring Morning.”

A Poem for Today

“My Cousin, Milton”
by Terri Kirby Erickson

My cousin, Milton, worked for a cable company.
The boy I knew when we were children

had fists that were often clenched, his face set like
an old man whose life had been so hard,

it hardened him. But the man’s hands opened to let
more of the world in. He sent the funniest

cards to family and friends at Christmas, laid down
cable so others could connect. Yet, he lived

alone, kept to himself much of the time, so when
his sister found his body, he’d been gone

a good while. He died young at fifty-seven, without
fuss or bother. No sitting by the bedside

or feeding him soup. He just laid himself down like
a trunk line and let the signal pass through.

This Date in Art History: Born 13 November 1930 – Benny Andrews, an American painter and printmaker.

Below – Untitled (Woman in a Yellow Dress under a Tree); “Portrait of Black Madonna”; “Dinner Time”; “Down the Road”; “Self-Portrait”; “Rising Sun.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 12 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Died 12 November 2013 – Kurt Trampedach, a Danish painter and sculptor.

Below – “Horse”; “Figure Composition”; “Walking Man (selfportrait)”; “Horse”; “Woman’s Head”; “Red Horse.”

A Poem for Today

“Sleeping With the Chihuahua”
by Tami Haaland

In the evening she comes to me
like a child ready for bed.
She slips under covers, curls
into my curves or stretches against
my spine. Some have said they fear
I might crush her, but we’re a tender
pair, each aware of the warmth
and the other.

I knew a woman once who kept
an orphaned antelope, let it
roam her kitchen, sleep in her bed,
musky scent and hooves.

This dog looks like a small deer,
poised and silent in the lawn,
but at night, she is a dark body, lean
and long against the lavender cotton
of my summer sleeping. We are bone
and bone, muscle and muscle,
and underneath each surface
a quiet and insistent pulse.

Mexican Art – Gustavo Montoya (1905-2003)

In the words of one writer, “At the age of 14 he entered the Academia de San Carlos (Mexico’s art academy) and studied with German Gedovius and Roberto Montenegro. He studied there and also traveled to Paris, Italy and England to study. For a while he lived in Los Angeles and worked as a poster illustrator in Hollywood. He is best known for his paintings of the Mexican children.”

Below – ‘Hombre con Algodón de Azúcar”; “Man with Toys”; “Ninas con Paraguas”; “Gallinita Ciega”; “Nina en Amarillo”; “Nina de Rosa.”

Remembering a Musician on the Date of His Birth: Born 12 November 1945 – Neil Young, a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

American Art – George Luks (1867-1933)

Below – “Market at Dawn”; “Milk Wagon”; “Mining Village No. 3”; “Morning Shadows”; “My Garden, Berk Hills”; “Morning Light.”

A Poem for Today

“No Encore”
by Betty Adcock

I’m just an assistant with the Vanishing Act.
My spangled wand points out the disappeared.
It’s only a poor thing made of words, and lacks
the illusive power to light the darkling year.

Not prophecy, not elegy, but fact:
the thing that’s gone is never coming back.

Late or soon a guttering silence will ring down
a curtain like woven smoke on thickening air.
The audience will strain to see what’s there,
the old magician nowhere to be found.

For now, I wear a costume and dance obliquely.
The applause you hear is not for me, its rabid sound
like angry rain—as one by one the known forms cease to be:
childhood, the farm, the river, forested ground;
the tiger and the condor, the whale, the honeybee;
the village, the book, the lantern. Then you. Then me.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 11 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Born 11 November 1868 – Edouard Vuillard, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Le corsage rayé”; “Two Seamstresses in the Workroom”;
“Garden at Vaucresson”; “The Table”; “Breakfast”; “Le Grand Teddy.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 November 1821 – Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and philosopher.

Some quotes from the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky:

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying – lying to others and to yourself.”
“The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he’s in prison.”
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
“When I look back on my past and think how much time I wasted on nothing, how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it, how many times I sinned against my heart and soul-then my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, every minute can be an eternity of happiness.”
“The soul is healed by being with children.”
“Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.”

This Date in Art History: Born 11 November 1868 – Edouard Vuillard, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Flowered Dress”; “Man and Woman Beneath a Tree”; “The Little Restaurant”; “In Front of a Tapestry”; “The Two Sisters”; “After the Lunch.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of HIs Birth: Born 11 November 1922 – Kurt Vonnegut Jr., an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and author of the timely “A Man Without a Country,”

Some quotes from the work of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.:

“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
“It’s a terrible waste to be happy and not notice it.”
“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”
“You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society.”
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
“I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don’t matter anymore.”
“Hate, in the long run, is about as nourishing as cyanide.”
“While on the subject of burning books, I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

Contemporary Mexican Art – Victoria Montesinos: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Victoria Montesinos was born in Mexico and is the only daughter of the well-known movie director, Fernando A. Rivero, and Maty Humana. When barely three years old, Victoria was sent to live with her grandparents. She loved to draw from her early childhood. By the time Victoria was twelve she had the opportunity to paint with Jose Bardasano, the great Spanish painter who had arrived in Mexico as a refugee from the Spanish Civil War. She studied with Bardasano for five years. In late 1983, Victoria moved to New York to work with one of the largest galleries in the United States to study developing high quality lithographic works. During that period, Victoria’s talent became widely recognized in the US.”

Below – “Isadora”; “Midnight Blues”; “Flamenco”; “Sunlight Faded”; “An Apple Tale”; “Just Waiting.”

A Poem for Today

“The Mud Room”
by David Mason

His muddy rubber boots
stood in the farmhouse mud room
while he sat in the kitchen,
unshaven, dealing solitaire.

His wife (we called her Auntie)
rolled out dough in the kitchen
for a pie, put up preserves
and tidied, clearing her throat.

They listened to the TV
at six, he with his fingers
fumbling the hearing aids,
she watching the kitchen clock.

Old age went on like that,
a vegetable patch, a horse
some neighbor kept in the barn,
the miles of grass and fences.

After he died his boots
stood muddy in the mud room
as if he’d gone in socks,
softly out to the meadow.


Contemporary Mexican Art – Victoria Montesinos: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “Victoria decided to return to Mexico in the late 1980’s. She worked ardently in her homeland and developed an outstanding new style. Through her oil paintings and serigraphs on textiles she gained fame and recognition. In the mid-1990’s, Victoria signed new contracts to work with various galleries in the United States. When Montisenos returned to New York she decided to make flowers the focus of her attention. Montesinos was captured by their beauty and described them as an incredible way for nature to show the infinity of existing colors. Vicky Montesinos executed her idea brilliantly through her magnificent brush, great skill, and abundant creative passion.”

Below – “Way Out”; “Sensual Blues”; “Royal Lilies”; “On a Rainy Day”; Untitled; “Awakening.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 10 November 2018

Art for Autumn: Kobus Moller (Zimbabwean, contemporary)

Below – “Zebra”; Untitled; Big Five”; “Leopard Study”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 10 November 2007 – Norman Mailer, an American novelist, essayist, recipient of the National Book Award, and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Norman Mailer:

“I really am a pessimist. I’ve always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It’s something essentially splendid because it’s not at all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory.”
“To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.”
“Love asks us that we be a little braver than is comfortable, a little more generous, a little more flexible. It means living on the edge more than we care to.”
“America is a hurricane, and the only people who do not hear the sound are those fortunate if incredibly stupid and smug White Protestants who live in the center, in the serene eye of the big wind.”

American Art – George Luks (1867-1933)

Below – ‘Lady with White Hat”; “Japanese Woman in Profile”; “The Ledge”; “Lower Ausable Lake, Adirondacks”; “Little Girl in a Top Hat”; “Leda and the Swan.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 10 November 1960 – Neil Gaiman, an award-winning English author, illustrator, and screenwriter.

Some quotes from the work of Neil Gaiman:

“Go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”
“First rule of magic: Don’t let anyone know your real name. Names have power.”
“Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.”
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”
“People who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
“A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope.”
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”
“I like the stars. It’s the illusion of permanence, I think. I mean, they’re always flaring up and caving in and going out. But from here, I can pretend…I can pretend that things last. I can pretend that lives last longer than moments. Gods come, and gods go. Mortals flicker and flash and fade. Worlds don’t last; and stars and galaxies are transient, fleeting things that twinkle like fireflies and vanish into cold and dust. But I can pretend.”

Contemporary American Art – Ron Mondz

In the words of one writer, “Ron Mondz’ impressionistic/neoclassical style brings together the rich traditions of Raphael and Michelangelo, with the delicate touch of Seurat, Monet and Renoir. Ron Mondz’ paintings bond the timeless beauty of the classics with the open-air traditions of impressionism. With an antlike patience, Mondz’ paintings reveal thousands of individual dots of paint. The brushstrokes are not juxtaposed, but rather arranged in small layers and linked like threads of fabric.”

Below – “Dance of the Koi”; “Monterey on the Rocks”; “Mt. Fuji Whispers”; “Marina Delivery”; “Ancient Beliefs.”

A Poem for Today

“Three Days with the Long Moon”
By Adrian Koester

That field nag, old-penny
swayback. Low hawk, to
ducks in train to a quad of geese,
in case. Last night, the long

moon lay it seemed a tissue
of snow, but then dawn told
that wasn’t so. Late morning, now,
the fire, the hearth, eggs

sitting for the mute plate
and fork, this pen making
a thing of them. Two more nights—
waterfowl safe and noisy

in the dusk, the low rails
running flank to the river
at midnight—find what they’ll
make of that river, this moon.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 9 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Died 9 November 2015 – Ernst Fuchs, an Austrian painter, sculptor, and illustrator.

Below – “Observator Infinitor”; “The Angel of History”; “Self-Portrait with Feather Hat”; “Cherub with an Amethyst”; “The Spirit of Mercury”; “Nymph Gramophone.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 9 November 1929 – Imre Kertesz, a Hungarian author and recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Imre Kertesz:

“I am sick of atrocities, though these are now the natural order of our world. And I would still like to act!”
“One cannot start a new life, you can only continue the old one.”
“I tried to depict the human face of this history, I wanted to write a book that people would actually want to read.”
“Nonexistence. The society of the nonexistent. In the street yesterday a nonexistent person trod on my foot with his nonexistent foot.”
“I would like to live a little bit longer in this beautiful concentration camp.”

This Date in Art History: Died 9 November 1942 – Charles Courtney Curran, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Lotus Lilies”; “Lady with a Bouquet”; “Sunshine and Haze”; “Shadows”; “A Breezy Day”; “Fair Critics.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 9 November 2004 – Iris Chang, an American historian, journalist, and the author of
“The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.”

Some quotes from the work of Iris Chang:

“Please believe in THE POWER OF ONE. One person can make an enormous difference in the world. One person – actually, one idea – can start a war, or end one, or subvert an entire power structure. One discovery can cure a disease or spawn new technology to benefit or annihilate the human race. You as ONE individual can change millions of lives. Think big. Do not limit your vision and do not ever compromise your dreams or ideals.”
“As the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel warned years ago, to forget a holocaust is to kill twice.”
“When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day — but by the minute.”
“Whatever is not commonly seen is condemned as alien.”

This Date in Art History: Died 9 November 1942 – Charles Courtney Curran, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Hollyhocks and Sunlight”; “On the Heights”; “The Lanterns”; “Goldenrod Curran”; “The Cabbage Field”; “Peonies.”

A Poem for Today

“The Cache”
by Dan Gerber

Behind the house in a field
there’s a metal box I buried
full of childhood treasure, a map
of my secret place, a few lead pennies
from 1943.
The rest I’ve forgotten,
forgotten even the exact spot
I covered with moss and loam.

Now I’m back and twenty years
have made so little difference
I suspect they never happened,
this face in the mirror
aged with pencil and putty.
I suspect even
the box has moved as a mole would move
to a new place long ago.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 8 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Born 8 November 1883 – Charles Demuth, an American painter.

Below – “The Boat Ride from Sorrento”; “Sail: In Two Movements”; “Wild Orchids”; “Trees and Barns Bermuda”; “The Jazz Singer”; “In Vaudeville (Dancer with Chorus).”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 8 November 1954 – Kazuo Ishiguro, a British novelist, screenwriter, short story writer, and recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Kazuo Ishiguro;

“I’m interested in memory because it’s a filter through which we see our lives, and because it’s foggy and obscure, the opportunities for self-deception are there. In the end, as a writer, I’m more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.”
“Many of our deepest motives come, not from an adult logic of how things work in the world, but out of something that is frozen from childhood.”
“You have to accept that sometimes that’s how things happen in this world. People’s opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other. It just so happens you grew up at a certain point in this process.”
“If you are under the impression you have already perfected yourself, you will never rise to the heights you are no doubt capable of.”
“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn’t like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I’m wondering if without our memories, there’s nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.”
“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”
“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”

This Date in Art History: Born 8 November 1905 – Victor Borisov-Musatov, a Russian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Pool”; “Self-Portrait with Sister”; “The Emerald Necklace”; “May Flowers”; “Spring”; “Lady in a Rocking Chair.”

A November Poem

“November, Late in the Day”
by John M. Ridland

So this is aging: the bare sun, skinned,
palely bucking the dark wind,
slides through the glass, crawls on the carpet,
climbs the footboard, lies crosswise on the blanket,
a spoiled dog waiting to be fed.

Not now, dear warmth. The kindling’s in the shed,
too far to fetch. Those two great logs that close
together to make fire, repose
apart, an old couple reminiscing
on conflagrations they’re now missing:
how every sunny Saturday afternoon,
Hey, diddle-diddle, the dish ran away with the spoon.

Not yet, dear spoon. Some hotter day, dear dish.
No tidbits now. Instead, let’s make a wish,
and boil fresh water for the small teapot
to keep it piping hot.

This Date in Art History: Born 8 November 1905 – Victor Borisov-Musatov, a Russian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Phantoms”; “Autumn Song”; “Requiem”; “Agave”; “Daphnis and Chloe”; “Self-Portrait.”

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