Sentient in San Francisco – 17 January 2019

Contemporary American Art – Michael Nauert

Below – “Crystal Cove”; “Rocks III”; “Forest Sketch”; “The Plants I”; “Some Other Kind of Picnic”; “Continuum of Magnetic Sleep.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part I of IV.

“Traveling through the Dark”
by William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason—
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all—my only swerving—,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

Contemporary Hungarian Art – Beata Balanszky-Demko: Part I of II.

Below – “Lover’s Bridge”; “Where the Sky Is Born”; “Endless Tranquility”; “Journey Through Seasons”; “Inner Light”; “Will you find me on the other shore? II.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part II of IV.

“A Ritual to Read to Each Other”

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Contemporary Hungarian Art – Beata Balanszky-Demko: Part II of II.

Below – “Dusk by the sea”; “Valley of Dreams”; “Blue Lake by the River”; “Lost in Thought”; “Looking for Mars”; “Houses by the Lake.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part III of IV.

“When I Met My Muse”
by William Stafford

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

Below – Alexandre Cabanel: “Poet with Muse”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Victor Tkadenko

Below – “Appolina”; “Stretch”; “Return of Europa”; “Cacti City Limit”; “Hot”; “Mummy.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part IV of IV.

“At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border”
by William Stafford

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed – or were killed – on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

Below – A field on the Canada – United States border.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 16 January 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 1901 – Arnold Bocklin, a Swiss painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Villa by the Sea”; “Isle of the Dead”; “The island of life”; “Honey Moon”; “Ocean Breakers (The Sound)”; “Venus Anadyomene.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 16 January 1928 – William Kennedy, an American novelist, journalist, author of “Ironweed,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of William Kennedy:

“We are only possible as what happened to us yesterday. We all change as well move.”
“. . . and what if I did drink too much? Whose business is that? Who knows how much I didn’t drink?”
“…the only brotherhood they belonged to was the one that asked that enduring question: How do I get through the next twenty minutes? They feared drys, cops, jailers, bosses, moralists, crazies, truth-tellers, and one another. they loved storytellers, liars, whores, fighters, singers, collie dogs that wagged their tails, and generous bandits. Rudy, thought Francis: he’s just a bum, but who ain’t?”
“But after awhile you stand up, wipe the frost out of your ear, go someplace to get warm, bum a nickel for coffee, and then start walkin’ toward somewheres else that ain’t near no bridge.”
“He would not chance arrest by crawling into a corner of one of the old houses on Lower Broadway where the cops swept through periodically with their mindless net. What difference did it make whether four or six or eight lost men slept under a roof and out of the wind in a house with broken stairs and holes in the floors you could fall through to death, a house that for five or maybe ten years had been inhabited only by pigeons? What difference?”
“One never knows the potential within the human breast.”

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 1901 – Arnold Bocklin, a Swiss painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Homecoming”; “Campagna Landscape’; “Summer Day”; ‘Lovers”; “Landscape”; ’Playing in the Waves.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 16 January 1874 – Robert W. Service, a British-Canadian poet and writer who has often been called “the Bard of the Yukon.”
I first encountered the poetry of Robert W. Service when I was a boy, and it filled my mind with images of vast Klondike landscapes, dog sleds traversing endless snows, and the Northern Lights ablaze overhead. In fact, it was a combination of reading the poetry of Service and Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild” that fostered my youthful determination to one day visit the Yukon in order to commune with the spirits of both writers. Having spent a night beside the Yukon River in the Robert W. Service Campground in Whitehorse and enjoyed a morning standing in front of the places where both he and London wrote, an important part of me feels profoundly fulfilled, which is generally the case, I suppose, when a person realizes one of his or her dreams.

The first stanza of “The Cremation of Sam McGee”
by Robert W. Service

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.”

Below – Ted Harrison (Canadian painter of the Yukon):
“And that very night, as we lay packed
tight in our robes beneath the snow. . .”

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 2009 – Andrew Wyeth, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Winter”; “Braids”; “Christina’s World”; “Battle Ensign”; “French Twist”; “Snow Hill.”

Musings in Winter: Frederick Lenz

“It is always easier to capture eternity in the falling snow or along the coast where the waves crash and in solitary and lonely places. It is the quiet places where it is easiest to feel eternity.”

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 2009 – Andrew Wyeth, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Day Dream”; “The Carry”; “Maga’s Daughter”; “Little Caldwells Island”; “Geraniums”; “Night Sleeper.”

A Poem for Today

“Deer Descending”
by Philip Terman

Perhaps she came down for the apples,
or was flushed out by the saws powering
the far woods, or was simply lost,
or was crossing one open space for another.

She was a figure approaching, a presence
outside a kitchen window, framed
by the leafless apple trees, the stiff blueberry bushes,
the after-harvest corn, the just-before-rain sky,

a shape only narrow bones could hold,
turning its full face upward, head tilted to one side, as if to speak.

I want my life back.

Morning settles around her like a silver coat.
Rustling branches, hooves in flight.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 15 January 2019

Remembering an Important Photographer on the Date of His Death: Died 15 January 1896 – Mathew Brady, an American photographer and journalist best known for his scenes of the Civil War. Mathew Brady is widely regarded as the father of photojournalism.

Below – “Abraham Lincoln”; “Ulysses S. Grant”; “General Robert E. Lee”; A group of soldiers in front of Brady’s mobile darkroom”; “Antietam Dead”; “War Dead – The Battle of Gettysburg.”

Musings in Winter: Andy Goldsworthy

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.”

Below – Peter Shostak: “Where There Is Snow, There Are Children Playing”

This Date in Art History: Died 15 January 1929 – George Cope, an American painter.

Below – “Delaware Water gap landscape with cattle” (1909); “Grubbs Mill” (1922); “Brandywine River landscape” (1913); “Still life with watermelon”; “Portrait of a Pig”; Untitled (1874).

A Poem for Today

by Susan Aizenberg

Before the train screamed him through tunnels
to his windowless office, the idiots
he had to “sir,” my father needed a space
without us, so in a crack of light from the bathroom,
he dressed, held his shoes by two fingers,
and left us sleeping. That walk

to the diner, the last stars fading out,
the sky lightening from black to blue to white,
was his time. He walked in all weather,
let each season touch him all over,
lifted his face to rain and sun. He liked
to watch the old houses stir awake
and nod to the woman in her slippers on 27th,
smoking as she strolled her little mutt.
To step back, smooth as Fred Astaire,
from the paperboy’s wild toss.

Milk bottles sweated on doorsteps,
sweet cream on top, and once, he lifted a quart
from its wire basket, drank it down
beneath our neighbor’s winking porch light,
and left the empty on the stoop.

Contemporary Polish Art – Grazyna Smalej: Part I of II.

Below – “Milky Way II”; “Giraffe”; “Bees, Garden Variation IV”: “The ship of fools”; “Great mysteries”; “Multifloral Pollination.”

Musings in Winter: Roger Ebert

“The very fact of snow is such an amazement.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Grazyna Smalej: Part II of II.

Below – “Avalanche I”; “Peacock”; “The Climber on Everest”; “Avalanche II”; “Soloist II”; “Avalanche V.”

A Poem for Today
by Kim Dower

“I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom,”

breezy, floral, dancing with color
soft, silky, flows as I walk
Easter Sunday and you always liked

to get dressed, go for brunch, “maybe
there’s a good movie playing somewhere?”
Wrong religion, we were not church-goers,

but New Yorkers who understood the value
of a parade down 5th Avenue, bonnets
in lavender, powder blues, pinks, hues

of spring, the hope it would bring.
We had no religion but we did have
noodle kugel, grandparents, dads

who could fix fans, reach the china
on the top shelf, carve the turkey.
That time has passed. You were the last

to go, mom, and I still feel bad I never
got dressed up for you like you wanted me to.
I had things, things to do. But today in L.A.—

hot the way you liked it—those little birds
you loved to see flitting from tree to tree—
just saw one, a twig in its mouth, preparing

a bed for its baby—might still be an egg,
I wish you were here. I’ve got a closet filled
with dresses I need to show you.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 14 January 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 14 January 1836 – Henri Fantin-Latour, a French painter.

Below – “Miss Sarah Budgett”; “White Lilacs”; “Andromeda”; “A la Mémoire de Schumann”; “Study of a Woman”; “Le source dans le bois.”

Remembering an Important Thinker and Avatar of Sanity on the Date of His Birth: Born 14 January 1921 – Murray Bookchin, an American social theorist, author, historian, and political philosopher.

Some quotes from the work of Murray Bookchin:

“The assumption that what currently exists must necessarily exist is the acid that corrodes all visionary thinking.”
“As long as hierarchy persists, as long as domination organises humanity around a system of elites, the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction.”
“If we do not do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable.”
“The plundering of the human spirit by the market place is paralleled by the plundering of the earth by capital.”
“Until society can be reclaimed by an undivided humanity that will use its collective wisdom, cultural achievements, technological innovations, scientific knowledge, and innate creativity for its own benefit and for that of the natural world, all ecological problems will have their roots in social problems.”
“Capitalism is a social cancer. It has always been a social cancer. It is the disease of society. It is the malignancy of society.”
“We are part of nature, a product of a long evolutionary journey. To some degree, we carry the ancient oceans in our blood. … Our brains and nervous systems did not suddenly spring into existence without long antecedents in natural history. That which we most prize as integral to our humanity – our extraordinary capacity to think on complex conceptual levels – can be traced back to the nerve network of primitive invertebrates, the ganglia of a mollusk, the spinal cord of a fish, the brain of an amphibian, and the cerebral cortex of a primate.
If we recognize that every ecosystem can also be viewed as a food web, we can think of it as a circular, interlacing nexus of plant animal relationships (rather than a stratified pyramid with man at the apex)… Each species, be it a form of bacteria or deer, is knitted together in a network of interdependence, however indirect the links may be.”
“Nor do piecemeal steps however well intended, even partially resolve problems that have reached a universal, global and catastrophic character. If anything, partial ‘solutions’ serve merely as cosmetics to conceal the deep seated nature of the ecological crisis. They thereby deflect public attention and theoretical insight from an adequate understanding of the depth and scope of the necessary changes.”
“I am puzzled by people today who, after moralizing about the need for cooperation and goodwill and love-thy-neighbor-as-thyself, suddenly invoke the most primitive, barbarous motivations for any kind of progress.”
“In our own time we have seen domination spread over the social landscape to a point where it is beyond all human control. Compared to this stupendous mobilization of materials, of wealth, of human intellect, of human labor for the single goal of domination, all other recent human achievements pale to almost trivial significance. Our art, science, medicine, literature, music and charitable acts seem like mere droppings from a table on which gory feasts on the spoils of conquest have engaged the attention of a system whose appetite for rule is utterly unrestrained.”
“Nor do piecemeal steps however well intended, even partially resolve problems that have reached a universal, global and catastrophic character. If anything, partial ‘solutions’ serve merely as cosmetics to conceal the deep seated nature of the ecological crisis. They thereby deflect public attention and theoretical insight from an adequate understanding of the depth and scope of the necessary changes.
Until we become the architects of a society that is truly free and ecological, it will always seem that when the human brain is not adaptive, it is more often destructive than creative.”

This Date in Art History: Born 14 January 1841 – Berthe Morisot, a French painter.

Below – “Julie Daydreaming”; “After Luncheon”; “Child in Rose Garden”; “Young Girl with an Umbrella”; “Study, The Water’s Edge”; “Two Sisters on a Couch.”

A Poem for Today

by David Huddle

Fifteen I got a job at Leggett’s, stock
boy, fifty cents an hour. Moved up—I come
from that kind of people—to toys at Christmas,
then Menswear and finally Shoes.

Quit to go
to college, never worked retail again, but
I still really like stores, savor merchandise
neatly stacked on tables, sweaters wanting
my gliding palm as I walk by, mannequins
weirdly sexy behind big glass windows,
shoes shiny and just waiting for the right feet.

So why in my seventies do Target, Lowes,
and Home Depot spin me dizzy and lost,
wanting my mother to find me, wipe my eyes,
hold my hand all the way out to the car?

This Date in Art History: Born 14 January 1928 – Garry Winogrand, an American photographer.

Below – “El Morocco, New York (1955)”; “New York” (1950); “Coney Island, New York (1952)”; “Albuquerque” (19570; Untitled (circa 1969); Untitled.

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 14 January 1925 – Yukio Mishima, a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, film director, nationalist, and founder of the Tatenokai (Shield Society).
“Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters” (1985) is an American biographical film drama co-written and directed by Paul Schrader. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas were executive producers of the movie. In the words of one writer, the film depicts Mishima (played by Ken Ogata) by “interviewing episodes from his life with dramatizations of segments from his books.”
Further, the movie is hauntingly beautiful, and critics responded to it accordingly. Again in the words of one writer, “The film premiered at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 1985 where it won the award for Best Artistic Contribution by cinematographer John Bailey, production designer Eiko Ishioka and music composer Philip Glass.”

Some quotes from the work of Yukio Mishima:

“Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they’re just repeating what others before them have done.”
“Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.”
“What transforms this world is – knowledge. Do you see what I mean? “Nothing else can change anything in this world. Knowledge alone is capable of transforming the world, while at the same time leaving it exactly as it is. When you look at the world with knowledge, you realize that things are unchangeable and at the same time are constantly being transformed.”
“Dreams, memories, the sacred–they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.”
“The highest point at which human life and art meet is in the ordinary. To look down on the ordinary is to despise what you can’t have. Show me a man who fears being ordinary, and I’ll show you a man who is not yet a man.”
“Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one’s own heart.”
“Living is merely the chaos of existence.”
In the pale light of daybreak the gravestones looked like so many white sails of boats anchored in a busy harbor. They were sails that would never again be filled with wind, sails that, too long unused and heavily drooping, had been turned into stone just as they were. The boats’ anchors had been thrust so deeply into the dark earth that they could never again be raised.”
“There’s a huge seal called ‘impossibility’ pasted all over this world. And don’t ever forget that we’re the only ones who can tear it off once and for all.”

Contemporary German Art – Maria Remedios Kleinschmidt

Below – “Irene and The Fox”; “Dark Self”; “Old West Twoface”; “Clairvoyant #2”; “Quick Stripes #3”; “Emile #3”; “Monglia Dreaming #1”; “Nude With Turban.”

Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 13 January 2019

American Art – Edward Simmons (1852-1931): Part I of II.

Below – “The Reflection”; “Girl reading”; “High Sea”; “July Afternoon”; “Awaiting His Return”; “Boston Public Gardens.”

Musings in Winter: J. B. Priestley

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”

American Art – Edward Simmons (1852-1931): Part II of II.

Below – “Contemplation”; “Dressing”; “Gathering Wood”; “Homeward Bound”; “Le Printemps”; “September Afternoon.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 13 January 1957 – Claudia Emerson, an American poet.

“Eight Ball”
by Claudia Emerson

It was fifty cents a game
beneath exhausted ceiling fans,
the smoke’s old spiral. Hooded lights
burned distant, dull. I was tired, but you
insisted on one more, so I chalked
the cue—the bored blue—broke, scratched.
It was always possible
for you to run the table, leave me
nothing. But I recall the easy
shot you missed, and then the way
we both studied, circling—keeping
what you had left me between us.

This Date in Art History: Died 13 January 1956 – Lyonel Feininger, a German-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “The High Shore”; “Yellow Street II”; “Mystic River”; “Storm Brewing”; “Bathers on the Beach”; “On the Bridge.”

Remembering a Great Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 13 January 1941 – James Joyce, an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and author of “Dubliners,” “Ulysses,” and “Finnegans Wake.”

Some quotes from the work of James Joyce:

“Your mind will give back to you exactly what you put into it.”
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
“Shut your eyes and see.”
“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”
“There is no past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present.
“They lived and laughed and loved and left.”
“But we are living in a sceptical and, if I may use the phrase, a thought-tormented age: and sometimes I fear that this new generation, educated or hyper-educated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day.”
“People trample over flowers, yet only to embrace a cactus.”
“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.”

Contemporary British Art – Tim Fawcett

Below – “unwrapped”; “tenement girl”; “Underwater Moonlight”; “Blaze”; “Seraphim”; “Look Famous.”

A Poem for Today

“The Way We Said Goodbye”
by Mark Vinz

So many years later, the old dog
still circles, head lowered, crippled by
arthritis, nearly blind, incontinent.
We repeat the litany, as if we need
convincing that the end is right.

I’ll get her an ice cream cone if you’ll
drive her to the vet, my wife says.
So there we sit on the front steps
with our friend, and in the car, as always,
when she senses the doctor’s office
drawing near, she moans and tries to
burrow underneath the seats.

What remains, the memory of how
she taught us all the way we need
to learn to live with wasting.
There we sit, together, one last time
as all that sweetness slowly disappears.

Below – David M. Jackson: “Old Dog”


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Sentient in San Francisco – 12 January 2019

This Date in Art History – Born 12 January 1856 – John Singer Sargent, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Daughters of Edward Darley Bolt”; “An Out-of-Doors Study”; “Portrait of Madame X”; “Morning Walk”; “Muddy Alligators”; “Rosina.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 12 January 1949 – Haruki Murakami, an award-winning Japanese novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

Some quotes from the work of Haruki Murakami:

“Say it before you run out of time. Say it before it’s too late. Say what you’re feeling. Waiting is a mistake.”
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
“The journey I’m taking is inside me. Just like blood travels down veins, what I’m seeing is my inner self and what seems threatening is just the echo of the fear in my heart.”
“But if you knew you might not be able to see it again tomorrow, everything would suddenly become special and precious, wouldn’t it?”
“Deep rivers run quiet.”
“Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.”
“No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself.”

This Date in Art History – Born 12 January 1856 – John Singer Sargent, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood”; “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”; “In a Garden, Corfu”; “Mountain Fire”; “Head of a Capri Girl”; “Nude Study of an Egyptian Girl.”

Remembering a Performer on the Date of His Birth: Born 12 January 1905 – Tex Ritter, an American country and western music vocalist, actor, and the man who secured his place in cinematic history by singing “The Ballad of High Noon” (1952).

This Date in Art History – Died 12 January 1938 – Oscar Florianus Bluemner, a German-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Evening Tones”; “Form and Light, Motif in West New Jersey”; “Old Canal Port”; “Illusion of a Prairie, New Jersey (Red Farm at Pochuck)”; “Jersey Silkmills”; “Snow, December.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 12 January 1876 – Jack London, an American novelist, journalist, and author of “The Call of the Wild.”

Some quotes from the work of Jack London:

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
“It is so much easier to live placidly and complacently. Of course, to live placidly and complacently is not to live at all.”
“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
“Desire is a pain which seeks easement through possession.”
“With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence. It was an old song, old as the breed itself–one of the first songs of the younger world in a day when songs were sad.”

This Date in Art History: Died 12 January 2006 – Pablita Velarde, a Native American, Santa Clara Pueblo painter.

Below- “Basket Dance”; “Plaza Dance”; “Bear Hunt – Ancient Hunter, earth”; “The First Twins”; Untitled; “Old Father Storyteller.”

A Poem for Today

“With Spring In Our Flesh”
by Don Welch

With spring in our flesh
the cranes come back,
funneling into a north
cold and black.

And we go out to them,
go out into the town,
welcoming them with shouts,
asking them down.

The winter flies away
when the cranes cross.
It falls into the north,
homeward and lost.

Let no one call it back
when the cranes fly,
silver birds, red-capped,
down the long sky.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 11 January 2019

Contemporary Georgian Art – Jacob Jugashvili

Below – “Dangerous Waters IV”; “On The Other Side 3”; “Above the Horizon 9”; “On The Other Side 1”; “Lost In Clouds IV”; “Dangerous Waters XII.”


Musings in Winter: Susan Orlean

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder.”

Contemporary Australian Art – Trisha Lambi: Part I of III.

Below – “Beyond Time”; “Guardian of the Soul”; “What Once Was”; “February Face”; “Forever Summer”“Symphony in Green.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 11 January 1928 – Thomas Hardy, an English novelist and poet.

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Hardy:

“Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.”
“The sky was clear – remarkably clear – and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse.
“And yet to every bad there is a worse.”
“Happiness is but a mere episode in the general drama of pain.”
“Remember that the best and greatest among mankind are those who do themselves no worldly good. Every successful man is more or less a selfish man. The devoted fail.”

Contemporary Australian Art – Trisha Lambi: Part II of III.

Below – “Into the Darkness”; “Lately Things Didn’t Seem The Same”;
“Whispering Stillness”; “The Places You Will Go”; “On The Way to Oia”; “Twilights and Mists.”

Remembering an Important Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 January 1887 – Aldo Leopold, an American writer, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, environmentalist, and author of “A Sand County Almanac.”

Some quotes from the work of Aldo Leopold:

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”
“There can be no doubt that a society rooted in the soil is more stable than one rooted in pavements.”
“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.”
“The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”
“The hope of the future lies not in curbing the influence of human occupancy – it is already too late for that – but in creating a better understanding of the extent of that influence and a new ethic for its governance.”
“That the situation appears hopeless should not prevent us from doing our best.”
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: ‘What good is it’?”
“Once you learn to read the land, I have no fear of what you will do to it, or with it. And I know many pleasant things it will do to you.”
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”
“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
“This song of the waters is audible to every ear, but there is other music in these hills, by no means audible to all. On a still night, when the campfire is low and the Pleiades have climbed over rimrocks, sit quietly and listen, and think hard of everything you have seen and tried to understand. Then you may hear it – a vast pulsing harmony – its score inscribed on a thousand hills, its notes the lives and deaths of plants and animals, its rhythms spanning the seconds and the centuries.”

Contemporary Australian Art – Trisha Lambi: Part III of III.

Below – “Desert Dreaming”; “Biding Time”; “Pears in Black”; “Red Velvet”; “Sheer Vintage”; “I Am My Mother’s Garden.”

A Poem for Today

by Ginger Murchison

Late afternoons, we’d tuck up our hems
under Minisa Bridge, scrape our white knees
on scrub brush and drowned trees to slide

down the dirt bank past milk-weed
gone to seed, cattails and trash to sit on stones
at the edge of the river and giggle and smoke,

waiting to wolf-whistle North High’s rowing team.
In the shadows where the milk-chocolate river
unfolded, ooze between our toes, we’d strip,

risk long-legged insects, leeches and mothers
for the silt slick on our thighs, the air thick
with the smell of honeysuckle, mud—the rest

of the day somewhere downstream. We didn’t
know why, but none of us wanted
to go home to polite kitchens and mothers

patiently waiting for what happened next,
the way women have always waited for hunter husbands,
kept vigils and prayed at the entrance of mines.

Below – Louis M. Eilshemius: “Three Girls and River”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 10 January 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 10 January 1941 – John Lavery, an Irish painter.

Below – “Woman with golden turban, Hazel Lavery née Hazel Martyn”;
“Evelyn Farquhar wife of Captain Francis Douglas Farquhar”; “Hazel in rose and gray”; “A Summer Afternoon”; “Lady Lavery”; “Mrs. Ralph Peto as a Bacchante.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 10 January 1928 – Philip Levine, an American poet, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and two-time recipient of the National Book Award.

“An Abandoned Factory, Detroit”
by Philip Levine

The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fencing stands,
An iron authority against the snow,
And this grey monument to common sense
Resists the weather. Fears of idle hands,
Of protest, men in league, and of the slow
Corrosion of their minds, still charge this fence.

Beyond, through broken windows one can see
Where the great presses paused between their strokes
And thus remain, in air suspended, caught
In the sure margin of eternity.
The cast-iron wheels have stopped; one counts the spokes
Which movement blurred, the struts inertia fought,

And estimates the loss of human power,
Experienced and slow, the loss of years,
The gradual decay of dignity.
Men lived within these foundries, hour by hour;
Nothing they forged outlived the rusted gears
Which might have served to grind their eulogy.

This Date in Art History: Born 10 January 1916 – Eldzier Cortor, an American painter.

Below – “Classical Study No. 34”; “Dance Composition No. 31”; “Figure/Assemblage I”; “Trio Assemblage #1/Composition III”;
“Figure Composition No. II”; “Sepia Odalisque I.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Death: Died 10 January 1951 – Harry Sinclair Lewis, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, author of “It Can’t Happen Here,” recipient of the Pulitzer Prize (which he declined), and recipient of the 1930 Nobel Prize in Literature. (Lewis was the first American author to receive the award.)

Some quotes from the work of Sinclair Lewis:

“When fascism comes to the United States it will be wrapped in the American flag and will claim the name of 100-percent Americanism.”
“I am convinced that everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit, and that the preservation of this spirit is more important than any social system whatsoever. But the men of ritual and the men of barbarism are capable of shutting up the men of science and silencing them forever.”
“I must say I’m not very fond of oratory that’s so full of energy it hasn’t any room for facts.”
“Every man is a king so long as he has someone to look down on.”
“Men die, but the plutocracy is immortal; and it is necessary that fresh generations should be trained to its service.”
“It’s one of our favorite American myths that broad plains necessarily make broad minds, and high mountains make high purpose.”

This Date in Art History: Died 10 January 1967 – Charles E. Burchfield, an American painter.

Below – “Summer Sun”; “Woodland Scene”; “November Storm”;
“Haunted Twilight”; “Bluebird and Cottonwoods (The Birches)”; “An April Mood.”

This Date in the History of the American Old West: Two Important Figures.

Died 10 January 1862 – Samuel Colt, an American inventor, industrialist, businessman, and founder of Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company, an enterprise that made the mass production of the revolver commercially viable.
Died 10 January 1917 – William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, an American scout, bison hunter, and showman.

This Date in Art History: Died 10 January 1978 – Hannah Gluckstein, a British painter.

Below – “Before the Races, St Buryan, Cornwall, 1924”; “Edith Craig in Uniform”; “Baldock vs Bell at the Royal Albert Hall, 1927”; “Portrait of Miss Watts”; “Lords and Ladies”; “Orchestra.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of Her Death: Died 10 January 1957 – Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet and recipient of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Literature. (Mistral was the first Latin American author to receive this prize.)

“The Rose”
by Gabriela Mistral

The treasure at the heart of the rose
is your own heart’s treasure.
Scatter it as the rose does:
your pain becomes hers to measure.

Scatter it in a song,
or in one great love’s desire.
Do not resist the rose
lest you burn in its fire.

Below – Judy Mackey: “Burning Rose”

Contemporary French Art – Cecile van Hanja

Below – “The Stillness of the swimming pool”; “Spotlight on Modernism”; “Japanese house”; “Fallingwater”; “Soft Modernism”; “Desert Modern.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 10 January 1887 – Robinson Jeffers, an American poet.

“Hurt Hawks”
by Robinson Jeffers

The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,

No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.

He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.

He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,

The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.

You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.


I’d sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.

We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance.

I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 9 January2019

This Date in Art History: Died 9 January 2011 – Makinti Napanangka, an indigenous Australian artist.

Below – “Rooks at Lupulnga”; “Seed Gathering Napangati women”; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; “Two Women Dreaming.”

Remembering a Thinker on the Date of Her Birth: Born 9 January 1908 – Simone de Beauvoir, a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist.

Some quotes from the work of Simone de Beauvoir:

“The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands, since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.”
“No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.”
“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.”
“Whatever the country, capitalist or socialist, man was everywhere crushed by technology, made a stranger to his own work, imprisoned, forced into stupidity. The evil all arose from the fact that he had increased his needs rather than limited them; . . . As long as fresh needs continued to be created, so new frustrations would come into being. When had the decline begun? The day knowledge was preferred to wisdom and mere usefulness to beauty. . . . Only a moral revolution – not a social or political revolution – only a moral revolution would lead man back to his lost truth.”
“I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth – and truth rewarded me.”
“All oppression creates a state of war.”
“To be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future.”

Contemporary German Art – Rudolf Kosow: Part I of II.

Below – “Arrived”; “Find Spot”; “Collector”; “Last Leaves”; “Best Friends”; “Protectress.”

Remembering a Performer on the Date of His Death: Died 9 January 1995 – Peter Cook, an English actor, satirist, writer, and comedian.

Contemporary German Art – Rudolf Kosow: Part II of II.

Below – “Source V”; “Case”; “Occurrence 4.04”; “The Brooch”; “Golden Curls”; “Alone.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 9 January 1923 – Katherine Mansfield, a New Zealand novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

Some quotes from the work of Katherine Mansfield.

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it it’s only good for wallowing in.”
“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.”
“How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you — you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences — like rags and shreds of your very life.”
“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”
“I adore Life. What do all the fools matter and all the stupidity. They do matter but somehow for me they cannot touch the body of Life. Life is marvelous. I want to be deeply rooted in it – to live – to expand – to breathe in it – to rejoice – to share it. To give and to be asked for Love.”
“I think of you often. Especially in the evenings, when I am on the balcony and it’s too dark to write or to do anything but wait for the stars. A time I love. One feels half disembodied, sitting like a shadow at the door of one’s being while the dark tide rises. Then comes the moon, marvelously serene, and small stars, very merry for some reason of their own. It is so easy to forget, in a worldly life, to attend to these miracles.”
“No, no the mind I love must still have wild places – a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown litde wood, the chance of a snake or two (real snakes), a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with those little flowers planted by the wind.”

Contemporary Chinese Art – Chu Van

Below – “lotus2”; “Wild sunflowers I”; “crazy”; “H’mong woman”; “night street”; “White Lotus.”

A Poem for Today

“Summer Morning”
by Jennifer Gray

He has transformed
his Tonka dump truck
into a push mower, using

lumber scraps and duct tape
to construct a handle
on the front end of the dump box.

One brave screw
holds the makeshift
contraption together.

All summer they outline
the edges of these acres,
first Daddy, and then,

behind him
this small echo, each
dodging the same stumps,

pausing to slap a mosquito,
or rest in the shade,
before once again pacing

out into the light,
where first one,
and then the other,

leans forward to guide the mowers
along the bright edges
of this familiar world.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 8 December 2018

This Date in Art History: Born 8 January 1836 – Lawrence Alma-Tadema, a Dutch-English painter.

Below – “The Roses of Heliogabalus”; “Silver Favorites”; “Egyptian Chess Players”; “Anna and Laurence”; “Unconscious Rivals”; “Sappho and Alcaeus”; “A Dedication to Bacchus.”

Musings in Winter: Glen Duncan

“Snow makes cities innocent again, reveals the frailty of the human gesture against the void.”

This Date in Art History: Born 8 January 1926 – Lazzaro Donati, an Italian painter.

Below – “Firenz”; “Rooftops of Florence”; “Cheerful Harbor”; “Regina in Green”; “Nude Woman”; “Reclining Nude.”

A Poem for Today

by Arden Levine

She tells him she’s leaving him and he
bakes a pie. His pies are exquisite,
their crusts like crinoline.

He doesn’t change clothes, works
in slacks, shirtsleeves rolled.
Summer makes the kitchen unbearable

but he suffers beautifully, tenderly
cuts the strawberries, pours
into the deep curve of the bowl.

She hadn’t missed his hands since
last they drew her to his body.
Now she watches them stroke the edges

of the dough, shape it like cooling glass.
When the oven opens, his brow drips,
he brings his hands to his face.

This Date in Art History: Died 8 January 1925 – George Bellows, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Dempsey and Firpo”; “City Dwellers”; “Central Park”; “Steaming Streets”; “Blue Morning”; “Summer Night, Riverside Drive.”

Remembering The King on the Date of His Birth: Born 8 January 1935 – Elvis Presley, an American singer, guitarist, and actor.

This Date in Art History: Died 8 January 1925 – George Bellows, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Summer Fantasy”; “Evening Blue”; “Breaking Sky, Monhegan”; “Blue Snow the Battery”; “The Bridge, Blackwell’s Island”; “Nude with a Parrot.”

Musings in Winter: Andrew McMahon

“It’s easy to love the snow because at the end of every snowstorm it’s as if the world has started over. There is no dirt, no footprints, just a layer of seamless, indiscriminate nature connecting everything to everything else. Isn’t that the amazing thing about the natural world? You can tear it down, you can drill holes in it, you can ignore its power with all your might, but one morning you wake up and it has selflessly given despite all of our abuse. I think I’ll make a snowman.”

This Date in Art History: Died 8 January 2013 – Kenojuak Ashevak, a Canadian Inuit illustrator and sculptor.

Below – “Luminous Char”; “Six-Part Harmony”; Untitled; “Hare Spirits”: “The Enchanted Owl”; Untitled.

A Poem for Today

“My Dead”
by Tim Nolan

They grow in number all the time
The cat, the Mother, the Father
The grandparents, aunts, and uncles

Those I knew well and hardly at all
My best friend from when I was ten
The guy who sat with me in the back

Of the class where the tall kids lived
‘Bill the Shoemaker’ from Lyndale Avenue
The Irish poet with rounded handwriting

They live in ‘The Land of Echo, The Land
Of Reverb’, and I hear them between
The notes of the birds, the ‘plash’ of the wave

On the smooth rocks. They show up
When I think of them, as if they always
Are waiting for me to remember

I drive by their empty houses
I put on their old sweaters and caps
I wear their wristwatches and spend

Their money. So now I’m in six places
At once—if not eighteen or twenty
So many places to be thinking of them

Strange how quiet they are with their presence
So humble in the low song they sing
Not expecting that anyone will listen

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