Food for the Spirit and the Soul

Because the diverse parts of human nature need to be nourished in different ways.


Dear Readers:

Complications in my family life will make it impossible to post my column for the next few weeks. I apologize for this absence, and I promise to resume posting as soon as possible.

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Spring 2017 – Day 5

Musings in Spring: Charles de Lint

“Everybody’s got a true home—maybe not where they’re living, but
where their heart lives.”

Below – Aiman Asyran: “Orchid Season in Kampung II”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Mikhail Lezin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Noise I”

Musings in Spring: Fennel Hudson

“Old buildings whisper to us in the creaking of floorboards and rattling of windowpanes.”

Art for Spring – Part II of VI: Jan Mapes (American, contemporary)

Below – “Buffalo Run” (bronze)

A Poem for Today

By Randall Mann

Out of the fog comes a little white bus.
It ferries us south to the technical mouth
of the bay. This is biopharma, Double Helix Way.

In the gleaming canteen, mugs have been
dutifully stacked for our dismantling,
a form of punishment.

Executives take the same elevator as I.
This one’s chatty, that one’s gravely engrossed
in his cloud. Proximity measures shame.

I manage in an office, but an office
that faces a hallway, not the bay. One day
I hope to see the bay that way. It all began

in the open, a cubicle—there’s movement.
My door is always open, even when I shut it.
I sit seven boxes below the CEO

on the org chart. It’s an art, the ‘value-add’,
the compound noun. ‘Calendar’ is a verb.
‘To your point’, the kindest prepositional phrase.

Leafy trees grow a short walk from Building 5.
Take a walk. It might be nice to lie and watch the smoky
marrow rise and fall, and rise. Don’t shut your eyes.

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: Curt Mattson (American, contemporary)

Below – “End of the Day” (bronze)

Musings in Spring: Tom Waits

“I made a wish on a sliver of moonlight
A sly grin and a bowl full of stars.”

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Eugene Morelli (American, contemporary)

Below – “At Water’s Edge” (bronze)

Musings in Spring: David Thomson

“Bette Davis lived long enough to hear the Kim Carnes song, ‘Bette Davis Eyes’. The lyrics to that song were not very interesting. But the fact of the song was the proof of an acknowledgement that in the twentieth century we lived through an age of immense romantic personalities larger than life, yet models for it, too – for good or ill. Like twin moons, promising a struggle and an embrace, the Davis eyes would survive her – and us. Kim Carnes has hardly had a consistent career, but that one song – sluggish yet surging, druggy and dreamy – became an instant classic. It’s like the sigh of the islanders when they behold their Kong. And I suspect it made the real eyes smile, whatever else was on their mind.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Sandra Beasley

For six months I dealt Baccarat in a casino.
For six months I played Brahms in a mall.
For six months I arranged museum dioramas;
my hands were too small for the Paleolithic
and when they reassigned me to lichens, I quit.
I type ninety-one words per minute, all of them
Help. Yes, I speak Dewey Decimal.
I speak Russian, Latin, a smattering of Tlingit.
I can balance seven dinner plates on my arm.
All I want to do is sit on a veranda while
a hard rain falls around me. I’ll file your 1099s.
I’ll make love to strangers of your choice.
I’ll do whatever you want, as long as I can do it
on that veranda. If it calls you, it’s your calling,
right? Once I asked a broker what he loved
about his job, and he said ‘Making a killing.’
Once I asked a serial killer what made him
get up in the morning, and he said ‘The people.’

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Iban Navarro (Spanish, contemporary)

Below – “The Majestic”

Musings in Spring: Selina A. Mahmood

“Now when the flowers are in full bloom,
It is the ashes from the past that hidden loom.”

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009)

Below – “Geraniums”

Musings in Spring: Jean-Yves Leloup

“Sometimes we must undergo hardships, breakups, and narcissistic wounds, which shatter the flattering image that we had of ourselves, in order to discover two truths: that we are not who we thought we were; and that the loss of a cherished pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true happiness and well-being.”

A Third Poem for Today

By Kay Ryan

Stardust is
the hardest thing
to hold out for.
You must make of yourself
a perfect plane-
something still
upon which
something settles-
something like
sugar grains on
something like
metal, but with
none of the chill.
It’s hard to explain.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Anastasia Kuznetsova

In the words of one writer, “Anastasia studied in Ufa professional art college, Design Department, and in St. Petersburg State Academy of Art and Industry of A.L. Stieglitz, Department of Fine Textile.”

Below – “Maria’s Knowledge”; “Julia’s Knowledge”; “Aleksandra’s Knowledge”; “Valentina’s Knowledge”; “Vera’s Knowledge”; “Anna’s Knowledge.”

Musings in Spring: Maria Evans

“I’d love to wake up to complete silence, white sheets, and the smell of crisp air and roses.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Alexander Lufer

In the words of one writer, “Alexander Lufer is a very untypical artist to come out of Russia. Whereas most artists from his generation try to avoid photorealism, Lufer effortlessly captures the precise nature of light creating magnificent still lifes. Manipulating the paint, he is able to show reflection, glare and shadow in such a way that gives exacting perspective to his artwork.
His subject matter is often quite disturbing and his usual choice of bright and contrasting colours adds yet another facet to his intrigue. His style has evolved over the last few years to using digital manipulation of images, which further follows his veneration of reflection as beauty.”

Below – “Dreamer”; “Red Dog”; “Bust of Madame”; “Night Guests”; “Girl on a Cube”; “Black Ice.”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“What can be explained is not poetry.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Prairie Town”
By William Stafford

There was a river under First and Main,
the salt mines honeycombed farther down.
A wealth of sun and wind ever so strong
converged on that home town, long gone.
At the north edge there were the sand hills.
I used to stare for hours at prairie dogs,
which had their town, and folded their little
to stare beyond their fence where I was.
River rolling in secret, salt mines with care
holding your crystals and stillness, north prairie
what kind of trip can I make, with what old friend,
ever to find a town so widely rich again?
Pioneers, for whom history was walking through
    dead grass,
I and the main things that happened were miles
    and the time of day-
you built that town, and I have let it pass.
Little folded paws, judge me: I came away.

Below – Ernest Luthi: “Prairie Town”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Zhaoming Wu

In the words of one writer, “Zhaoming Wu was born in China and grew up in Guangzhou City. He received his BFA from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art China and his MFA from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Since 1983, he has been exhibitng his work in Asia, Europe, the United States and other countries around the world. He has won numerous awards, including the Merit Award at the 6th National Art Exhibition in Beijing, China, the Gustafson Fund Award, the National Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Society (US) Award, 1st place in the 9th Biennial National Figure Painting and Drawing Exhibition in Mendocino Art Center, California, Grand Prize Winner in International Artist Magazine (Aug/Sept 2005), the Daler-Rowney Award from the Oil Painters of America 2000, and the Art Distributors Awards of Excellence from the Oil Painters of America 2005. Long active as both an artist and a teacher, he served as a professor of painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art and is currently an instructor of painting at the Academy of Art University.”

Below – “Black Jars and Eggs”; “Grey, Red Wine”; “Black Amber Drink”; “Glasses, Jars, Pink Bottle”; “Nights”; “Crown of the Desert.”

Musings in Spring: Joseph Campbell

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Bonnie Marris

In the words of one writer, “Bonnie Marris has taken an unusual path into art; she developed her talent by portraying animals from the inside out. While she was a student at Michigan State University, Bonnie illustrated several major books. One volume she worked on was a leading experts mammalogists text that contained several hundred drawings and detailed studies. This massive project attracted the attention of noted zoologist George Schaller, who invited Bonnie to prepare the art for posters that would support his worldwide rare animal relief programs. Beyond academic training and emotional involvement, art requires another element for which there is no substitute: experience. Each year, Bonnie makes two major trips, and countless smaller ones, to observe and learn about the wildlife she loves. In 1980, one such voyage took her to Alaska, where she lived in the wilderness for six months. She recounts, ‘To get into a natural environment and see the animals on their own terms is as important as knowing the animals themselves. For instance, gray wolves on the tundra the vast, vast tundra with the wind and other forces of nature at their most extreme-thats what makes them what they are. To stand not far from a grizzly which is so overpowering, so beautiful and so large to watch itself pull up a small tree with a swipe of it’s paw and just a few minutes later see it delicately picking blueberries with its black lips Alaska changed me; it gave me the biggest incentive to paint and increased any interest in predators; the cats, bears, coyotes, wolves, and foxes. They exist on so many levels. Their moods show in their eyes and we can learn so much from them. . . .I’ve studied wolves in the wild and I can tell you that a wolf howl is an amazing, beautiful sound. One member of a pack will start to sing, then the others, one by one, each one has a different note, in a strange wonderful harmony. Why do they sing? To let each other know where they are, to help establish their territory and probably for many other reasons. I like to think the wolf in Wolfsong is howling for happiness celebrating life.’ Bonnie Marris work was selected for the 2002 Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage show.”

Below – “Wolfsong”; “October Winter”; “American Anthem”; “Gray Wolf”; “Above the Clouds”; “Sounds of Spring.”

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Spring 2017 – Day 4

Musings in Spring: Stella Gibbons

“She could feel magic in the quiet spring day, like a sorcerer’s far-off voice, and lines of poetry floated over her mind as if they were strands of spider-web.”

Art for Spring – Part I of IV: Katya Krasnaya (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “House”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

Art for Spring – Part II of IV: Anna Krasnaya (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “River”

Musings in Spring: Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Children, language, lands: almost everything was stripped away, stolen when you weren’t looking because you were trying to stay alive. In the face of such loss, one thing our people could not surrender was the meaning of land. In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home of our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us. Our lands were where our responsibility to the world was enacted, sacred ground. It belonged to itself; it was a gift, not a commodity, so it could never be bought or sold. These are the meanings people took with them when they were forced from their ancient homelands to new places.”

A Poem for Today

“Once in the 40’s”
By William Stafford

We were alone one night on a long
road in Montana. This was in winter, a big
night, far to the stars. We had hitched,
my wife and I, and left our ride at
a crossing to go on. Tired and cold—but
brave—we trudged along. This, we said,
was our life, watched over, allowed to go
where we wanted. We said we’d come back some time
when we got rich. We’d leave the others and find
a night like this, whatever we had to give,
and no matter how far, to be so happy again.

Art for Spring – Part III of IV: Jerry Malzahn (American, contemporary)

Below – “Longs Peak from Loveland”

Musings in Spring: D. Antoinette Foy

“The sky never falls with the rain.
It is never weighed down by all that
it carries. It takes all of its anchors
and turns them into stars.
Learn from this.”

Below – Taka: “Stars in Rain”

Art for Spring: Part IV of IV: Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009)

Below – “Open House”

Musings in Spring: Alain de Botton

“You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Georges Maman

In the words of one writer, “Of Spanish Decent, Georges Maman was born in Algeria in 1954. He now lives and works in Montreal. At a young age, Maman began painting and drawing. Even while completing his medical degree and later specializing in anesthesiology, Maman never left painting behind. After taking time off to travel, he came to the realization that art was his true passion and decided to devote himself entirely to painting.”

Below – “Portrait de Ville Variation”; “Pile”; “Move.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Loving Working”
By Naomi Shihab Nye

     “We clean to give space for Art.”
        Micaela Miranda, Freedom Theatre, Palestine

Work was a shining refuge when wind sank its tooth
into my mind. Everything we love is going away,
drifting – but you could sweep this stretch of floor,
this patio or porch, gather white stones in a bucket,
rake the patch for future planting, mop the counter
with a rag. Lovely wet gray rag, squeeze it hard
it does so much. Clear the yard of blowing bits of plastic.
The glory in the doing. The breath of the doing.
Sometimes the simplest move kept fear from
fragmenting into no energy at all, or sorrow from
multiplying, or sorrow from being the only person
living in the house.

Below – Bei Gao: “Woman Sweeping”

Contemporary Russian Art – Fedor Krushelnitsky

In the words of one writer, “Fedor Krushelnitsky is often called a sculptor-philosopher: his monumental sculptures are concise and reflect upon the industrial-socialist epos. Fedor’s artworks are a so-called monument to a bygone era of the Soviet Union: to the heroic pilots, sailors’ wives, students of workers’ courses and athletes. Graphic works of Krushelnitsky contain the same characters, in the form of humorous sketches, counterbalancing  solid bronze.
Krushelnitsky works in the techniques of bronze casting, ceramics. Like any other great artist, he came up with his own system of visual signs, his own expressive language. The result of that is his bright, always recognizable style.
Other works of the artist also have narrative nature – for example, St. Andrew the First-Called and Dr. Sigmund carry the viewer away into a maze of meanings, just by holding a number of symbolic objects in their hands.”

Below – Below – “Cello Player”; “Venus”; “Sailor’s Wife II”; “Skier”; “Hairstyle”; “Figure Skaters.”

Musings in Spring: Lauren Miller

“‘This probably isn’t something you’re supposed to say at a moment like this, but I think the moon is seriously overrated.’ A moment like what? I bite my cheeks, taming the grin that threatens to take over my face.
‘And the stars?’ I ask, once the smile is under control.
‘Wildly underrated,’ he declares with a grin. He looks up again. ‘The sky is a storybook,’ he says then. ‘Every constellation’s like its own fairy tale.’”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Martha Mans

In the words of one writer, “Martha Mans is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society since 1992 and the National Watercolor Society since 1999. Other signature memberships include the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies and the New Mexico Watercolor Society. She is a recipient of the Silver Certificate of the San Diego Watercolor Society and is a member of the National Arts Club in New York. Martha is also an active member of the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she lives and has a studio. She is a Master Instructor in watercolor. From 1992 to 1997 she taught for the Art Students’ League of Colorado Springs. Her watercolor workshops are offered throughout the United States and abroad. She was Director of the Ghost Ranch Watercolor Workshops from 1987 to 1990 and is presently (2009) the Director and instructor of popular workshops aboard the Clipper Ship, ‘Star Clipper’, where students paint and sail in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Sea. Her work is well represented in many private and corporate collections.”

Below – “After the Snow”; “Garden of the Gods Sunshine”; “High Summer Meadow”; “Lavender in Light”; “Winter Sentinel”; “Rocky Mountain Red Willows.”

Musings in Spring: Joseph Campbell

“I think of mythology as the homeland of the muses, the inspirers of art, the inspirers of poetry. To see life as a poem and yourself participating in a poem is what the myth does for you.”

Below – Baldassarre Peruzzi: “Apollo and the Nine Muses”

A Third Poem for Today

By William Stafford

The least little sound sets the coyotes walking,
walking the edge of our comfortable earth.
We look inward, but all of them
are looking toward us as they walk the earth.

We need to let animals loose in our houses,
the wold to escape with a pan in his teeth,
and streams of animals toward the horizon
racing with something silent in each mouth.

For all we have taken into our keeping
and polished with our hands belongs to a truth
greater than ours, in the animals’ keeping.
Coyotes are circling around our truth.

Below – Charles Greener: “Coyote at Sunrise”

Contemporary American Art – J.D. McKay

In the words of one writer, “J.D. McKay grew up on Glenfield Street in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. There was another person from Oak Cliff who had a great influence on him: Frank Reaugh, although they never met because Reaugh died seven years before McKay was born. McKay’s first exposure to the paintings of Reaugh was at Fair Park, in Dallas, in the form of a wax figure. The Hall of State had several of his small pastels in the basement, and McKay was hooked. However, they were not the first western landscapes that captured his imagination. McKay’s mother had several Frederic Remington prints, which she later gave him, that he admired very much. Reaugh’s more subtle and atmospheric style is what attracted and inspired McKay. Many times during his twenties, McKay made trips to the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon, Texas, to see the collection of Reaugh paintings. He would camp in Palo Duro Canyon with a little box of pastels and sketch until the museum opened, study Reaugh’s work all day, and then go back to the canyon to sketch until the sun went down. Big Bend National Park and Palo Duro Canyon have long been two of his favorite camping places. For McKay, there is something captivating about the vistas of a west Texas horizon that creates a longing unlike anything at Yellowstone or the Grande Tetons McKay does feel that he is evolving as an artist and plans to keep growing for the rest of his life; he never wants to feel as if he’s arrived and has it all down. He makes a point to learn from all kinds of art, not just wildlife art. He is also fortunate to have a family that supports his pursuit of this sometimes less than secure career.”

Below – “Apparition at Aransas”; “Bizarro”; “Blackberry Twitter”; “Field Marshall”; “Downy Up”; “Seasons Together.”

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Spring 2017 – Day 3

Musings in Spring: Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Plants are also integral to reweaving the connection between land and people. A place becomes a home when it sustains you, when it feeds you in body as well as spirit. To recreate a home, the plants must also return.”

A Poem for Today

“In General”
By Pattiann Rogers

This is about no rain in particular,
just any rain, rain sounding on the roof,
any roof, slate or wood, tin or clay
or thatch, any rain among any trees,
rain in soft, soundless accumulation,
gathering rather than falling on the fir
of juniper and cedar, on a lace-community
of cobwebs, rain clicking off the rigid
leaves of oaks or magnolias, any kind
of rain, cold and smelling of ice or rising
again as steam off hot pavements
or stilling dust on country roads in August.
This is about rain as rain possessing
only the attributes of any rain in general.

And this is about night, any night
coming in its same immeasurably gradual
way, fulfilling expectations in its old
manner, creating heavens for lovers
and thieves, taking into itself the scarlet
of the scarlet sumac, the blue of the blue
vervain, no specific night, not a night
of birth or death, not the night forever
beyond the frightening side of the moon,
not the night always meeting itself
at the bottom of the sea, any sea, warm
and tropical or starless and stormy, night
meeting night beneath Arctic ice.
This attends to all nights but no night.

And this is about wind by itself,
not winter wind in particular lifting
the lightest snow off the mountaintop
into the thinnest air, not wind through
city streets, pushing people sideways,
rolling ash cans banging down the block,
not a prairie wind holding hawks suspended
mid-sky, not wind as straining sails
or as curtains on a spring evening, casually
in and back over the bed, not wind
as brother or wind as bully, not a lowing
wind, not a high howling wind. This is
about wind solely as pure wind in itself,
without moment, without witness.
Therefore this night tonight–
a midnight of late autumn winds shaking
the poplars and aspens by the fence, slamming
doors, rattling the porch swing, whipping
thundering black rains in gusts across
the hillsides, in batteries against the windows
as we lie together listening in the dark, our own
particular fingers touching–can never
be a subject of this specific conversation

Below – Freida: “Wind and Rain Night Time”

Musings in Spring: Kathleen Alcott

“I had lived my life before in accordance with the poverty and itinerancy of my childhood, sliding in and out of other people’s leases, never expecting to stay very long and tolerating circumstances that strike me now as completely absurd.”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Aleksandr Kosenkov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Still Life with Orchid”

Musings in Spring: Joseph Campbell

“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment-not discouragement-you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Liberty Brass”
By Edward Hirsch

I was sitting across from the rotating sign
For the Liberty Brass Turning Company

‘Automatic Screw Machine Products’

And brooding about our fathers
Always on the make to make more money

‘Screw Machine Products Automatic’

Tender wounded brassy unsystematic
Free American men obsessing about margins

‘Machine Products Automatic Screw’

Selling every day of their God-damned lives
To some Liberty Brass Turning Company

‘Products Automatic Screw Machine’

Until they were screwed into boxes
And planted in plots paid and unpaid

‘Automatic Screw Machine Products’

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him up for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.”

Art for Spring – Part II of VI: Vladimir Kozin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Flea”

Musings in Spring: John N. Gray

“Anyone who truly wants to escape human solipsism should not seek out empty places. Instead of fleeing to desert, where they will be thrown back into their own thoughts, they will d better to seek out the company of other animals.
A zoo is a better window from which to look out of the human world than a monastery.”

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: Vincenzo Laricchia (Italian, contemporary)

Below – “Waves Crashing”

Musings in Spring: Lauren Willig

“It’s the exile’s dilemma. The home they yearn for is never the home to which they return. If they return.”

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Gene Kloss (American, 1903-1996)

Below – “Cathedral Rock, Arizona”

Musings in Spring: Charlotte Eriksson

“Work until your eyes are tired and head is heavy, and keep working even after that.
Then take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more. 
You’re doing just fine.
You’re doing fine.
I’m doing just fine.”

A Third Poem for Today

By Nathaniel Bellows

At the time the time felt well spent but now
I see it was wasted. Not a waste—it just had
no point—no shape—no hourglass’ tapering
waist. At a certain point, bliss gets replaced
by disinterest. If you will allow me for once
to be honest. I left the sea’s lacy wake, waking
each day well-rested, untested, unmet. Nothing
was going to change, and that was the point.
The seabirds sang: Protect your gifts! burying
their doomed eggs in the sand—sand to heat,
to melt, shape into that chalice of time: bulb
upon bulb, curvaceous, urgent as an aging
odalisque. It was a version of love not meant
to set—the best—not trashed, but wholly left
to the mists of that idly mown lawn, the little
boat trolling a coast, bereft of tide or tempest.

Musings in Spring: Sappho

“The evening star
Is the most
of all stars.”

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Dan Lutz (American, 1906-1978)

Below – “Birch Wood Campsite”

Musings in Spring: Terry Pratchett

“‘Yes, but humans are more important than animals,’ said Brutha.
‘This is a point of view often expressed by humans,’ said Om.”

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009)

Below – “Dogwood”

Musings in Spring: D. Antoinette Foy

“I wear the universe backwards.
I imagine putting stars in my
coffee, and sugar in the sky.
I imagine going fishing in clouds,
and watching the sun hide
behind lakes. I’m too busy dancing
with my imagination to even tip toe
with reality for a second.

They say I’m going mad.
They’re right.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Zbigniew Kopania

In the words of one writer, “Zbigniew Kopania was born in Poland. Having graduated from secondary schools in 1969, he became a student at the state theatrical, television, and film college, the Faculty of Camera-Works. Included among its distinguished alumni is Roman Polanski. Together with film and photographic activities, he cultivated paintings in the department of Art. The early stage of his painting was under the guidance of Dr. K. Zwolinska and J. Mierzejewski, a renowned painter in Poland and abroad. After graduating in 1974, Kopania began work as a cameraman, making both documentaries and feature films. He did not neglect his painting, however; when interest in his oil paintings began to grow, he abandoned his work in film and devoted himself entirely to painting. Then came his first joint and individual exhibitions in Poland. Kopania’s first voyages abroad began in 1979. He established connections with galleries in Frankfurt, and held shows in London and Amsterdam. Many of his works are owned by private collectors in many European countries as well as the United States, Canada, Africa, and Australia. In his early works Kopania’s oeuvre originates from the 18th century Dutch masters of still life. His work is equal in precision and palette. Through time, his paintings have given way to a brighter and happier mood as well as an intensified realism in color, leaving behind the often darker tones of 18th century Dutch painting. Over the course of nine years, Kopania frequently visited Holland where many of his paintings were created.”

Below – “Twilight River”; “Scholar’s Still Life”; “Bronze Figure with Still Life”; “Water Landscape”; “Still Life with Cherries”; “Quickwater.”

Musings in Spring: Xiao Hong

“In our part of the country, spring passes quickly. If you haven’t been out for five days, you find the trees in bud. If you don’t see the trees for another five days, you discover that they’ve put out leaves. In another five days, they’re so green you wouldn’t recognize them. It makes you wonder: Can these be the same trees I saw a few days before? And you answer yourself: Of course they are. That’s how fast spring goes by. You can almost see it. From far away it comes racing toward you. And when it reaches you it whispers in your ear, ‘I’m here,’ and then runs swiftly on.
Spring – what a rush it’s in. Every place seems to be urging it to come. If it delays its arrival a bit, the sunlight fades and the earth turns to stone. Trees especially can’t endure any delay. Let spring dally even briefly on the way, and many lives are lost.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Tatiana Korshunova

In the words of one writer, “Korshunova was born in Leningrad, USSR in 1956. After applying to numerous remarkable art schools, she eventually managed to secure a place at the outstanding secondary school of Art named after I. E. Repin. In 1975, having graduated from this college, Korshunova continued with her artistic studies by being admitted to and successfully gaining a Masters of Fine Art with honors in 1981 from the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg. Here, the majority of her studies were conducted at the workshop of Professor M. Anikushin.
Throughout her education and having graduated from university, Korshunova continued to participate in numerous exhibitions in Russia (at the time USSR) as well as abroad from 1980s onwards. Accordingly, having completed her degree, and as is the tradition in Russia, Korshunova became an associate within the Union of Artists from 1981 onwards. The union of artists is a particular guild, where all artists who were considered as being duly trained and properly instructed were able to join, having had completed official criteria as instructed by the Ministry of Culture. If an artist was not part of the Union of Artists at the time, then he or she would be deemed as not being one by the state. In 1988 Korshunova was granted full membership into the Union, which solidified her reputation as an artist and additionally boosted her selling potential.”

Below – “Dreaming Lady”; “Wearing the Stocking”; “Morning Toilet”; “Reading Lady”; “The Empress.”

Musings in Spring: Mishima Yukio

“The blossoms seem unusually lovely this year. There were none of the scarlet-and-white-striped curtains that are set up among the blossoming trees so invariably that one has to come to think of them as the attire of cherry blossoms; there were no bustling tea-stalls, no holiday crowds of flower-viewers, no one hawking balloons and toy windmills; instead there were only the cherry trees blossoming undisturbed among the evergreens, making one feel as though he were seeing the naked bodies of the blossoms. Nature’s free bounty and useless extravagance had never appeared so fantastically beautiful as it did this spring. I had an uncomfortable suspicion that Nature had come to reconquer the earth for herself.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Eugenia Kosushkina

In the words of one writer, “She was born in Yanaul village (Bashkortostan Republic). Kosushkina has a brilliant academic background: in 2004 she graduated from art school in Krasnodar. In 2004-2010 she studied at Surikov Moscow State Academy Art Institute. In return she was awarded for academic success with the Golden Medal of Russian Academy of Arts in 2008. The critics have said that the energy of Eugenia’s potential is especially noticeable in her works.  The influence of expressionism is felt in the texture of her works, hot brush strokes and abstract landscapes. Her style could be titled as expressive lyricism.”

Below – “Black River”; “Evening City”; “The Speed of Light”; “Road 3”; “Twilight”; “Castle.”

Musings in Spring: Edward Abbey

“The weather here is windy, balmy, sometimes wet. Desert springtime, with flowers popping up all over the place, trees leafing out, streams gushing down from the mountains. Great time of year for hiking, camping, exploring, sleeping under the new moon and the old stars. At dawn and at evening we hear the coyotes howling with excitement – mating season. And lots of fresh rabbit meat hopping about to feed the young ones with.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Looking for Someone”
By William Stafford

Many a time driving over the Coast Range,
down the cool side—hemlock, spruce, then shore pine—
I’ve known something I should have said one time:
“If we hadn’t met, then everything would have to change.”

We were judged, our shadows knew our height,
and after dark, exact, the air confirmed
all with its move or stillness:
we both were trapped on an odd-shaped island.

Sleet persuades a traveler: I all night
know no under the earth escape
even when the sky goes back remote.
Walking till the stars forget, I look out

And watch the smoke at Astoria and Seaside
cringing along the coast, and barefoot gulls
designing the sand: “Go flat, go flat,”—the waves;
the little boat, the mild riding light,

The sand going democratic, trading places down the wind,
everything distancing away. Finding this
took all this time, and you’re not even here.
Though we met, everything had to change.

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Joseph Lorusso

In the words of one writer, “While in school, Lorusso majored in watercolor and considers himself self-taught as an oil painter. He learned to paint by studying the works of master painters, often losing himself in the halls of the Chicago Art Institute during lunch hours, which frequently turned into afternoons of self-study.”

Below – “In Her Eyes”; “Sunshine Smile”; “New Nude”; “Like Moths to the Light”; “Reflection”; “After the Bath II.”

Musings in Spring: William Faulkner

“Stars were golden unicorns neighing unheard through blue meadows.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Jack Kreutzer

In the words of one writer, “Kreutzer’s art and life have a hint of whimsy about them. He was no more than a boy when he discovered art, and at forty, with boyish eagerness, he jumps from subject to subject, from the rhythm of the human figure to wildlife and nature, wanting to sample and attack everything like a child in a candy shop. ‘There’s a lot to be said for experimentation,’ he says. ‘I’ve heard it said that consistency in an artist’s work gives a sense of maturity. I know that jumping around in subject or medium may seem a bit flighty, but, at the same time, maybe I can come up with something that is just a little bit different.’ Quite aware of the fine line between emotionalism and sentimentalism, he goes on to say that one of his goals is to build more emotion into his work, to create an emotional response by the viewer. He was born on the Pineridge Reservation in South Dakota, where his father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Jack loved playing with clay, drawing and coloring from an early age and decided at age eight that he was going to be an artist. He tagged along to his sister’s college drawing course at age fourteen and discovered sculpture the following year. Kreutzer calls the time after graduating from high school ‘the kicking-around years’ because the places and situations he found himself in were always connected with art. He spent a year in a track gang for the Santa Fe Railroad, endearing himself by rendering sweethearts and mothers from his co-workers’ wallet photos. Soon after, he landed at the Sonnenberg Gardens near Canadaigua, New York, where he became the artist in residence, drawing and studying the Garden’s extensive sculpture collection. Eventually, he returned to school, enrolling in Colorado State University, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1977. Since then, Kreutzer has produced more than 40 sculptures while working full time at two of the largest foundries in the west, both in Loveland, Colorado. He worked first at Art Castings of Colorado until 1987, and then at Loveland Scuplture Works until 1993, when he gave up the security of regular work to pursue his art full-time. Maintaining his studio near the foundries and next door to the Loveland Academy of Fine Arts where he teaches, Kreutzer is right where he wants to be: independent, artistic, and with a lot to express.”

Below – “Flora” (bronze); “House of Cards – Tall” (bronze); “Spanish Dagger” (bronze); “Graces on Parade”; “Tiptoes” (bronze); “Minotaur – Large” (bronze).

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Spring 2017 – Day 2

Musings in Spring: Jessica Stern

“I can still bring into my body the joy I felt at seeing the first trillium of spring, which seemed to be telling me, “Never give up hope, spring will come.”

Art for Spring – Part I of III: Nikolay Kopeikin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “No Exit”

A Poem for Today

By Billy Collins

Remember the 1340’s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.

The 1790’s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

Art for Spring – Part II of III: Huang Jinsong (Chinese, contemporary)

Below – “Shanxi Alleyway I”

Musings in Spring: Willa Cather

“After that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air. Every morning I wakened with a fresh consciousness that winter was over. There were none of the signs of spring for which I used to watch in Virginia, no budding woods or blooming gardens. There was only—spring itself; the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere: in the sky, in the swift clouds, in the pale sunshine, and in the warm, high wind—rising suddenly, sinking suddenly, impulsive and playful like a big puppy that pawed you and then lay down to be petted. If I had been tossed down blindfold on that red prairie, I should have known that it was spring.”

Art for Spring – Part III of III: Robert Koch (South African, contemporary)

Below – “Lake Clark, Alaska”

Musings in Spring: Bess Streeter Aldrich

“A piece of rusty pump and a pile of stones,–all that was left of the place he and Marthy had called home. ‘Home’. What a big word that was. Lots of attempts made lately to belittle it. Plenty of fun poked at it. Young folks laughed about it,–called it a place to park. Everybody wanted to get some place else, seemed like. They’d find out. They’d understand some day. When they got old, they’d know. They’d want to go home. sometimes in their lives everybody wanted to go home.”

Contemporary Italian Art: Antonio Iannicelli

In the words of one writer, “Iannicelli was born in Naples in 1952 but now lives and works in Castelvolturno, Italy. As a boy, he showed a great inclination for painting which he cultivated with love, using the heaven, sea and people of Naples as his teachers. He has staged about twenty personal showings in Italy and abroad and has participated almost uninterruptedly in the highest national art expositions. He has won numerous awards and prizes. Iannicelli excels, above all, in coastal and Venetian views and landscapes, where he manages to render unusual aspects with expressive immediateness. His works are found in public and private collections.”

Below – “Coastal Scene”; “Bacali”; “European Coast.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Basho Matsuo

Dead my old fine hopes
And dry my dreaming but still…
Iris, blue each spring.

Musings in Spring: Rawi Hage

“In cities it is useless to look at the stars or to describe them, worship them, or seek direction from them. When lost, one should follow the tracks of the camels.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Great Sleeps I Have Known”
By Robin Becker

Once in a cradle in Norway folded
like Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir
as a ship in full sail transported the dead to Valhalla

Once on a mountain in Taos after making love
in my thirties the decade of turquoise and silver

After your brother walked into the Atlantic
to scatter your mothers ashes his khakis soaked
to the knees his shirtsleeves blowing

At the top of the cottage in a thunderstorm
once or twice each summer covetous of my solitude

Immediately following lunch
against circadian rhythms, once
in a bunk bed in a dormitory in the White Mountains

Once in a hollow tree in Wyoming
A snow squall blew in the guide said tie up your horses

The last night in the Katmandu guest house
where I saw a bird fly from a monk’s mouth
a consolidated sleep of East and West

Once on a horsehair mattress two feet thick
I woke up singing
as in the apocryphal story of my birth
at Temple University Hospital

On the mesa with the burrowing owls
on the mesa with the prairie dogs

Willing to be lucky
I ran the perimeter road in my sleep
entrained to the cycles of light and dark
Sometimes my dead sister visited my dreams

Once on the beach in New Jersey
after the turtles deposited their eggs
before my parents grew old, nocturnal

Below – Andrew Wyeth: “Day Dream”

Musings in Spring:William Butler Yeats

“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”

Below – The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

Contemporary Russian Art – Aleksandr Korolev

Artist Statement: ”As a painter, one should not interfere with the picture, rather one should feel it and read what the composition dictates, as opposed to imposing his or her own plan.
This is my personal understanding of the progression of art that I have developed over the period of my growth as an artist. One should not crush and physically and brutally exploit the materials used. I enjoy working with the materials and coming up with a mutual cooperation and understanding. This is what underlines the laws of composition when it comes to art. As an artist, I try to give the materials I use a certain life and judgment of their own. Afterwards I retreat into a state of contemplation over what has occurred and let the painting complete itself.”

Below – “Sitting”; “Red Lying”; “Girl with the Knees”; “Sitting Winter.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

From “Rooftop Soliloquy”
By Roman Payne

So the nymphs they spoke,
we kissed and laid.
By noontime’s hour
our love was made.

Like braided chains of crocus stems,
we lay entwined, I laid with them.
Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea,
our bodies draping wearily,
we slept, I slept so lucidly,
with hopes to stay this memory.

Below – John William Waterhouse: “Hylas and the Nymphs”

Contemporary South African Art – Martin Koch

Artist Statement: “You almost have to become one of the animals to paint them realistically. I spend weeks practically living with them, making sketches for future paintings. You can read all about animals in books, but you never really know them until you become part of their lives…Despite the worldwide movement to save African wildlife, I think that many years from now, much of the scenery and animal life that I have painted will only be seen on canvas, as civilization will take its toll on Africa’s natural beauty.”

Below – “Lion with Lioness”; “Water Buffalo”; “Victoria Falls”; “Kudu”; “Elephants at the Baobab Tree”; “Watering Hole.”

Musings in Spring: Joseph Campbell

“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Susan Kliewer

In the words of one writer, “Susan Kliewer, a native of California, has lived in Arizona for nearly 37 years, five of them at Marble Canyon Trading Post in a remote area of Northern Arizona near the Colorado River. Dreams of horses, deserts, canyons, rivers and sunsets have been her constant companions since she was a child.
A painter since the age of 10, she turned to sculpting in 1987 after working in an art casting foundry for 10 years. Susan won a competition to create a monument of Sedona Schnebly, in honor of one of the founders of Sedona, Arizona. The ten-foot tall bronze figure was installed in front of the Sedona Library in 1994. Kliewer’s life-size fountain portraying the Sinagua people and a fountain of a Hopi Water Maiden are also to be found in Sedona. “My work” Kliewer says, “aims to show the common thread that underlies all human experience, and which I hope brings us to a greater understanding between all peoples.”
She often uses her Navajo friends and grandchildren as models to capture that special intimacy which is the hallmark of her work. Her depiction of the ways of Native Americans in everyday life, from the past as well as the present, has attracted major collectors from all over the world.”

Below – “Beauty Before Me” (bronze); “At Last I Shall Give Myself to the Desert Again (Maynard Dixon” (bronze); “Runs with Wolves” (bronze); “Beauty Way” (bronze); “Watermelon Man” (bronze); “Healing Dress Dancer” (bronze).

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Looking for Gold”
By William Stafford

A flavor like wild honey begins
when you cross the river. On a sandbar
sunlight stretches out its limbs, or is it
a sycamore, so brazen, so clean and so bold?
You forget about gold. You stare—and a flavor
is rising all the time from the trees.
Back from the river, over by a thick
forest, you feel the tide of wild honey
flooding your plans, flooding the hours
till they waver forward looking back. They can’t
return; that river divides more than
two sides of your life. The only way
is farther, breathing that country, becoming
wise in its flavor, a native of the sun.

Musings in Spring: Robin Schneider

“Steinbeck wrote about the tide pools and how profoundly they illustrate the interconnectedness of all things, folded together in an ever-expanding universe that’s bound by the elastic string of time. He said that one should look from the tide pool to the stars, and then back again in wonder.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Kate Kiesler

Artist Statement: “My paintings are about the natural world around me. I am taken by the shapes and light found there.
Details are unimportant. I am much more interested in conveying an interpretation through brushwork and the juxtaposition of value and color. My background in illustration focused on detail and on story telling, so my paintings free me to play a little more—to create spontaneously without specific instruction and with a certain amount of abandon. My biggest challenge is to allow my pieces to evolve on their own without my thought processes interrupting the flow of things.
My best work comes directly from freeing my mind and my hand and moving from shape to shape intuitively.”

Below – “Among Poppies”; “Autumn Paint”; “Beneath the Snow Cap”; “Clearing Fog”; “Points West”; “Textured Hills.”

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Spring Equinox 2017


Below – Takeyce Walter: “Spring Equinox”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Frederick Leighton: “Return of Persephone”

Musings in Spring: Mary Oliver

“Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.”

Below – Harriet Hue: “Spring Trees”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Alfred Sisley: “Spring Orchard”

Musings in Spring: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”

Below – David Hockney: “Arrival of Spring”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Istvan Csok: “The Awakening of Spring”

A Poem for Spring

“[in Just-]”
By E. E. Cummings

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan          whistles

Below – J O Huppler: “Puddle Jumping”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Tom Thomson: “Spring Ice”

Musings in Spring: Lilly Pulitzer

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Fishing in Spring”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Geng Ting Shan: “Plum Blossom Greets Coming Spring in Snow”

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 – Terry Redlin: “Spring Fever”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Vincent van Gogh: “Blossoming Almond Tree”

A Second 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 – Justin Beckett: “Late Light on Mount Maxwell”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Utagawa Fusatane: “Comparison of Beauties with Spring Flowers: Cherry, Mountain Rose, and Plum”

Musings in Spring: E E. Cummings

Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves”

Below – Peter Taylor Quidley: “Apple Blossom”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Claude Monet: “Willows in Spring”

Musings in Spring: Emma C. Dowd

“A wizard must have passed this way

Since—was it only yesterday?

Then all was bare, and now, behold,

A hundred cups of living gold!”

Below – Pat Koscienski: “Spring’s Sunshine”

Welcoming Spring with Art – George Wilson: “The Spring Witch”

Musings in Spring: Emily Dickinson

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

Below – Frederic Soulacroix: “Spring”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Alfons Mucha: “Spring”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Claude Monet: “Spring Orchard”

A Third Poem for Spring

“A Light exists in spring”

By Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Below – Harold Knight: “Morning Sun”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Pablo Picasso: “Spring”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Paul Cezanne: “The Four Seasons: Spring”

Musings in Spring: Hal Borland

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”

Below – Jamie Williams Grossman: “Spring Buds”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Pierre Auguste Renoir: “Spring (The Four Seasons)”

A Fourth 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 – Louise: “Thistle”

Welcoming Spring with Art -Sandro Botticelli: “Primavera (Allegory of Spring)”

Musings in Spring: Pablo Neruda

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

Below – Nita Leger Casey: “Spring Fields of Wild Flowers”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Pierre Auguste Cot: “Springtime”

A Fifth Poem for Spring

“The Trees”
By Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Below – Herb Dickinson: “Spring Foliage”

Welcoming Spring with Art – John Everett Millais: “Spring (Apple Blossoms)”

Musings in Spring: Ellis Peters

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

Below – John William Waterhouse: “Windswept”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Arthur Herbert Buckland: “Spring”

Musings in Spring: Ruth Stout

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

Below – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Gardening (Spring)”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Wilson J. Ong: “Persephone”

Musings in Spring: Rainer Maria Rilke

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”

Below – Joan Mentzinger: “Spring Landscape”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Grant Wood: “Spring in Town”

Welcoming Spring with Art – Anita Huffington: “Persephone Rising” (marble)

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXIX

Musings in Winter: Louisa May Alcott

“Some books are so familiar, reading them is like being home again.”

Below – Winslow Homer: “Girl in a Hammock”

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Dmitry Kochanovich (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Secret”

A Poem for Today

“The Only Day in Existence”
By Billy Collins

The early sun is so pale and shadowy,
I could be looking up at a ghost
in the shape of a window,
a tall, rectangular spirit
looking down at me in bed,
about to demand that I avenge
the murder of my father.
But the morning light is only the first line
in the play of this day–
the only day in existence–
the opening chord of its long song,
or think of what is permeating
the thin bedroom curtains

as the beginning of a lecture
I will listen to until it is dark,
a curious student in a V-neck sweater,
angled into the wooden chair of his life,
ready with notebook and a chewed-up pencil,
quiet as a goldfish in winter,
serious as a compass at sea,
eager to absorb whatever lesson
this damp, overcast Tuesday
has to teach me,
here in the spacious classroom of the world
with its long walls of glass,
its heavy, low-hung ceiling.

Art for Winter – Part II of IV: John French (American, contemporary)

Below – “The Unexpected”

Musings in Winter: William Butler Yeats

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Joseph A. Imhof (American, 1871-1955)

Below – “Pot Creek Canyon, NM”

A Second Poem for Today

“Caribbean Marsh”
By Muna Lee

Acres of mangrove, crowding the sea-streaked marsh,
Acres of mangrove, wading toward the beaches,
And here and there a milky-white bloom tossed
On fragile boughs above the flooded reaches.
Mangrove thrusts deep in salty mud,
Balances uneasily upon its three-pronged roots,
Huddles from wind in its dissonance of leaves.
Tempest and drought it has withstood,
This straggling orchard that bears no fruits,
This field where none will garner sheaves.
Sucking life up from the acrid marsh,
Drawing life down from the burning sun,
All the year offers of crude and harsh
There between sea and shore it has known.
Wave and glare, sea-urge, sea-drift,
It has been their victim, proved their power,
Persisting bleakly for one end alone—
Through an unheeded hour
Briefly, awkwardly, to lift
This frail, inconsequent flower.

Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Jamie Wyeth (American, contemporary)

Below – “Portrait of Shorty”

Musings in Winter: Daniel Koontz

“Anyway, in those years, I was happy, as to one extent or another I have always been happy. The forest was not a wilderness to me, but served instead as my private garden, comforting in spite of its vastness, and endlessly mysterious.
The more familiar a place becomes, the more mysterious it becomes, as well, if you are alert to the truth of things. I have found this to be the case all of my life.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Looking Across the River”
By William Stafford

We were driving the river road.
It was at night. “There’s the island,”
someone said. And we all looked across
at the light where the hermit lived.

“I’d be afraid to live there”—
it was Ken the driver who spoke.
He shivered and let us feel
the fear that made him shake.

Over to that dark island
my thought had already crossed—
I felt the side of the house
and the night wind unwilling to rest.

For the first time in all my life
I became someone else:
it was dark; others were going their way;
the river and I kept ours.

We came on home that night;
the road led us on. Everything
we said was louder—it was hollow,
and sounded dark like a bridge.

Somewhere I had lost someone—
so dear or so great or so fine
that I never cared again: as if
time dimmed, and color and sound were gone.

Come for me now, World—
whatever is near, come close.
I have been over the water
and lived there all alone.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Alexandr Kompaniets

In the words of one writer, “Kompaniets, Alexander was born in Krasnodar in 1986. He graduated from the Krasnodar Art College in 2006. Graduated from the Saint-Petersburg State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Ilya Repin in 2012, the specialty is Painting.”

Below – “Shore”; “Autumn Asphalt”; “Sprig”; “Place of Beauty”; “Butterfly”; “Field”;

Musings in Winter: Jack Canfield

“If your dog doesn’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Laughing Heart”
By Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Tao (Sergey Kondrashkin)

In the words of one writer, “Tao (Sergey Kondrashkin) was born in 1979 in Leningrad. He graduated from I. Repin St. Petersburg State Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, took internships abroad, and taught sculpture in an art college in China. Currently works and exhibits in St. Petersburg. His works are in the collections of the Hermitage and in private collections in Russia, the Netherlands, China, Belgium, Italy and Finland. Sergey Kondrashkin’s monumental artworks are installed in Novosibirsk and Chengdu, Sichuan Province (China). The sculptor finds inspiration in folklore, myths, and esoteric.”

Below – “Fallow Deer”; “The Golden Fleece”; “Wise Man.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old.” – “No Country for Old Men”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Winter Stars”
By Sara Teasdale

I went out at night alone;
The young blood flowing beyond the sea
Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—
I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head
From shadows shaken on the snow,
I saw Orion in the east
Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,
Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
The faithful beauty of the stars.

Musings in Winter: Mary Stewart

“I saw the first light, fore-running the sun, gather in a cup of the eastern cloud, gather and grow and brim, till at last it spilled like milk over the golden lip, to smear the dark face of heaven from end to end. From east to north, and back to south again, the clouds slackened, the stars, trembling on the verge of extinction, guttered in the dawn wind, and the gates of day were ready to open at the trumpet.”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Bill Inman

Artist Statement: “I strive for such excellence as will leave the collector without regret and consequently allow the subtleties and nuances of the painting to surface over time for the heightened enjoyment of the viewer, enhancing the intrinsic worth of the painting.”

Below – “Ancient Dreams”; “At Home on the Range”; “Greenhorn Mountain Creek”; “Rye Winter Road”; “Vantage Point”; “Hollyhocks.”

Musings in Winter: Joseph Campbell

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: John Darling Haynes

Artist Statement: “My painting is inspired by the visuals of my life journeys as well as my imagination of the mundane. I find it a privilege to wander into the forgotten places of daily routine and ‘rearrange the furniture.’ The joy of breathing life into a lonely place with color and brushstroke is overwhelming at times.
I look back and ponder the thoughts of ‘who sat in that chair… what conversation transpired over the table… what secret narratives were played out by the family and friends in each room for generations?’ On the other hand, some paintings evoke humor and everyday thoughts such as ‘will you clean up your room… do I have any clean underwear for tomorrow… how much longer are you going to be in the tub?’”

Below – “River Harvest”; “A View Inside”; “Out to Pasture”; “A Place to Be”; “Down the Open Road 2”; “Blazin.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXVIII

Musings in Winter: Jack Canfield

“A dog is one of the few remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Konstantin Kazantsev (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Lanberghini Murcielago yellow crash”

Musings in Winter: Amy Leach

“Living in a galaxy is like living in a neighborhood where the house down the street might have burned down four thousand years ago but you wouldn’t know it for another three thousand years.”

A Poem for Today

By Natasha Trethewey

What’s left is footage: the hours before
Camille, 1969—hurricane
parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
fronds blown back,

a woman’s hair. Then after:
the vacant lots,
boats washed ashore, a swamp

where graves had been. I recall

how we huddled all night in our small house,
moving between rooms,
emptying pots filled with rain.

The next day, our house—
on its cinderblocks—seemed to float

in the flooded yard: no foundation

beneath us, nothing I could see
tying us to the land.
In the water, our reflection
when I bent to touch it.

Below – The aftermath of Hurricane Camille.

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Galina Khailu (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Merry Go Round”

Musings in Winter: Phillip Wollen

“When animals do something noble we say they are behaving ‘like humans’. When humans do something disgusting we say they are behaving ‘like animals’. Clumsy use of the English language perpetuates the myth that animals are inferior and disposable beings.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Study in Orange and White”
By Billy Collins

I knew that James Whistler was part of the Paris scene,
but I was still surprised when I found the painting
of his mother at the Musée d’Orsay
among all the colored dots and mobile brushstrokes
of the French Impressionists.

And I was surprised to notice
after a few minutes of benign staring,
how that woman, stark in profile
and fixed forever in her chair,
began to resemble my own ancient mother
who was now fixed forever in the stars, the air, the earth.

You can understand why he titled the painting
“Arrangement in Gray and Black”
instead of what everyone naturally calls it,
but afterward, as I walked along the river bank,
I imagined how it might have broken
the woman’s heart to be demoted from mother
to a mere composition, a study in colorlessness.

As the summer couples leaned into each other
along the quay and the wide, low-slung boats
full of spectators slid up and down the Seine
between the carved stone bridges
and their watery reflections,
I thought: how ridiculous, how off-base.

It would be like Botticelli calling “The Birth of Venus”
“Composition in Blue, Ochre, Green, and Pink,”
or the other way around
like Rothko titling one of his sandwiches of color
“Fishing Boats Leaving Falmouth Harbor at Dawn.”

Or, as I scanned the menu at the cafe
where I now had come to rest,
it would be like painting something laughable,
like a chef turning on a spit
over a blazing fire in front of an audience of ducks
and calling it “Study in Orange and White.”

But by that time, a waiter had appeared
with my glass of Pernod and a clear pitcher of water,
and I sat there thinking of nothing
but the women and men passing by–
mothers and sons walking their small fragile dogs–
and about myself,
a kind of composition in blue and khaki,
and, now that I had poured
some water into the glass, milky-green.

Below – James Whistler: “Arrangement in Gray and Black”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Jonathan Hardesty (American, contemporary)

Below – “Nectarines”

Musings in Winter: Robinson Jeffers

“This wild swan of a world is no hunter’s game.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Beasts Bounding Through Time”
By Charles Bukowski

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller
the impossibility
Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato
Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun
Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops
the impossibility
Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench
Chatterton drinking rat poison
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
Nietzsche gone totally mad
the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Stanislav Kazimov

In the words of one writer, “Stanislav Kazimov was born in Leningrad in 1979. In 2001 he graduated in Fine Arts from St. Petersburg State Pedagogical University. In 2001 he won the III International Contest miniature prints – Norfolk (USA). In 2008 he received a special prize at the Competition of Young Artists of Russia ‘Classical print D.A. Rovinsky in Moscow. In 2006 he was awarded a state grant from the Ministry of Culture.
Since 2001 Kazimov is a member of the Saint Petersburg Union of Artists of Russia and of the International Association of Art Critics (AIS).”

Below – “Birds”; “Kittens”; “Metamorphoses”; “Clouds of Cloudless Childhood.”

Musings in Winter: Ellen Meloy

“For bighorns, topography is memory, enhanced by acute vision. They can anticipate the land’s every contour–when to leap, where to climb, when to turn, which footholds will support their muscular bodies. To survive, this is what the band would have to do: make this perfect match of flesh to earth.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Sergey Kiselev

The paintings of Sergey Kiselev (born 1968) have won numerous awards. He is a member of the Union of Artists of Russia.

Below – “Gothic”; “Coffee Mill”; “Mountain View”; “Surfaces 02.03.16”; “Northern Darkness #6”; “Suggestive Images 05.02.16.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Toward early morning he woke, sat up quickly and looked about him. It was still dark and the fire had long since died, still dark and quiet with that silence that seems to be of itself listening, an astral quiet where planets collide soundlessly, beyond the auricular dimension altogether. He listened. Above the black ranks of trees the mid-summer sky arched cloudless and coldly starred. He lay back and stared at it and after a while he slept.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Long Distance”
By William Stafford

Sometimes when you watch the fire
ashes glow and gray
the way the sun turned cold on spires
in winter in the town back home
so far away.

Sometimes on the telephone
the one you hear goes far
and ghostly voices whisper in.
You think they are from other wires.
You think they are.

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Doug Hyde

In the words of one writer, “For the last two decades, Hyde has been a recognized leader among Native American artists, and his reputation has been increasing. From images evoked by Indian lore to those reflecting the modern Native American, his work exudes emotion, strength, and beauty and resonates with influences from his Native American heritage.”

Below – “Moon Girl” (bronze); “Honor Song” (bronze); “Last Doll” (bronze); “People of the Red Tail Hawk” (bronze); “Spring and Autumn” (bronze); “Traditional or Contemporary Design?” (pink Portuguese marble).

Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard

“An anchorite’s hermitage is called an anchor-hold; some anchor-holds were simple sheds clamped to the side of a church like a barnacle to a rock. I think of this house clamped to the side of Tinker Creek as an anchor-hold. It holds me at anchor to the rock bottom of the creek itself and keeps me steadied in the current, as a sea anchor does, facing the stream of light pouring down. It’s a good place to live; there’s a lot to think about. The creeks are an active mystery, fresh every minute. Theirs is the mystery of the continuous creation and all that providence implies: the uncertainty of vision, the horror of the fixed, the dissolution of the present, the intricacy of beauty, the pressure of fecundity, the elusiveness of the free, and the flawed nature of perfection. The mountains are a passive mystery, the oldest of them all. Theirs is the simple mystery of creation from nothing, of matter itself, anything at all, the given. Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Chad Haspels

In the words of one writer, “Nationally known sculptor, Chad Haspels’ award winning artistic background began at a young age and lead to a Fine Arts degree from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT in 2000. His introduction to sculpture came through working in bronze, stone, and metal. Chad began sculpting in wood in 1998 and in 1999 worked an apprenticeship under Internationally renowned Master Woodsculptor James Acheampong in Kumasi, Ghana. Sculpting full time since 2002, Chad has produced many high profile works throughout the U.S. and has recieved multiple awards for his work.”

Below – “Emergence” (wood); “This Moment” (wood – Ponderosa Pine); “Refuge” (wood – Douglas Fir); “American Bison” (wood – Douglas Fir); “Edge of Tomorrow” (wood – Douglas Fir); “Bison Mini II” (wood – Boxelder).

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXVII

Musings in Winter: Arthur Quiller-Couch

“In a flash I saw the truth; that my love for this spot is built up of numberless trivialities, of small memories all incommunicable, or ridiculous when communicated.”

Below – Katie Hennessey: “Memories of Home”

A Poem for Today

By Billy Collins

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?

This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,

dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,

and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.

Musings in Winter: Albert Schweitzer

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Eric Elliot (American, contemporary)

Below – “Photinia with Green Background”

Musings in Winter: Amy Leach

“Whether people need nature or not, it was clear that nature needed people. But perhaps nature needs us like a hostage needs her captors: nature needs us not to annihilate her, not to run her over, not to cover her with cement, not to chop her down. We can hardly admire ourselves, then, when we stop to accommodate nature’s needs: we are dubious heroes who create peril and then save it’s victims, we who rescue the animals and the trees from ourselves.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Sitting Outside”

By W. D. Snodgrass

These lawn chairs and the chaise lounge
of bulky redwood were purchased for my father
twenty years ago, then plumped down in the yard
where he seldom went when he could still work
and never had stayed long. His left arm
in a sling, then lopped off, he smoked there or slept
while the weather lasted, watched what cars passed,
read stock reports, counted pills,
then dozed again. I didn’t go there
in those last weeks, sick of the delusions
they still maintained, their talk of plans
for some boat tour or a trip to the Bahamas
once he’d recovered. Under our willows,
this old set’s done well: we’ve sat with company,
read or taken notes—although the arm rests
get dry and splintery or wheels drop off
so the whole frame’s weakened if it’s hauled
across rough ground.  Of course the trees,
too, may not last: leaves storm down,
branches crack off, the riddled bark
separates, then gets shed. I have a son, myself,
with things to be looked after. I sometimes think
since I’ve retired, sitting in the shade here
and feeling the winds shift, I must have been filled
with a child dread you could catch somebody’s dying
if you got too close. And you can’t be too sure.

Art for Winter – Part II of IV: Fran Ellisor (American, contemporary)

Below – “Lady”

Musings in Winter: Patti Smith

“Home is a desk. The amalgamation of a dream. Home is the cats, my books, and my work never done. All the lost things that may one day call to me, the faces of my children who will one day call to me. Maybe we can’t draw flesh from reverie nor retrieve a dusty spur, but we can gather the dream itself and bring it back uniquely whole.”

Below – Wilfrido Garcia: “Memories of Home”

A Third Poem for Today

“My Cats”
By Charles Bukowski

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so

they complain but never
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can’t

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
hesitation or

when I am feeling
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my

I study these

they are my

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Pyotr Gorban (Russian, 1923-1995)

Below – “Models”

Musings in Winter: Chris Jami

“You might be an introvert if you were ready to go home before you left the house.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Living on the Plains”
By William Stafford

That winter when this thought came-how the river
held still every midnight and flowed
backward a minute-we studied algebra
late in our room fixed up in the barn,
and I would feel the curved relation,
the rafters upside down, and the cows in their life
holding the earth round and ready
to meet itself again when morning came.

At breakfast while my mother stirred the cereal
she said, “You’re studying too hard,”
and I would include her face and hands in my glance
and then look past my father’s gaze as
he told again our great race through the stars
and how the world can’t keep up with our dreams.

Musings in Winter: Sylvia Dolson

“Like us, animals feel love, joy, fear and pain, but they cannot grasp the spoken word. It is our obligation to speak on their behalf ensuring their well-being and lives are respected and protected.”

Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Tatiana Gubareva (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Mirage”

Musings in Winter: Sanober Khan

“i can’t always tell
what’s better

long drives
in the star-spangled deserts

or long walks
along winding tea gardens.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Ekaterina Gracheva

Artist Statement: “The canvas and the artist is one sacred entity. When an artist surrenders everything to an artwork the time must come for the work to be witnessed. If the work is not perceived or understood, the artist will mourn. This is why we need to be heard and recognized.
I try not to stray from this path. Usually, when people tell me, ‘Do this or that’ I usually respond by saying ‘I am an artist, if you accept my methods and my aesthetic judgment I will take on your challenge.’
Everyone is free to do as they please and do what they find meaningful. This also goes for the world of art.”

Below – “Farewell to Venice”; “Night 1”; “Twilight in Venice”; “Age of Autumn”; “Night 2”; “Champs Elysees.”

Musings in Winter: Jeff VanderMeer

“I looked not for shooting stars but for fixed ones, and I would try to imagine what kind of life lived in those celestial tidal pools so far from us.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Maksim Kayotkin

In the words of one writer, “1972  was born in Snezhinsk (Chelyabinsk area)
1992  graduated from Sverdlovsk Art Academy of I.D. Shadr, Ekaterinburg
1998  graduated from Ural filial of Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Perm
1999-2001  had an assistantship at painting department of Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow
2003  assigned to a headmaster position at Ural of Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Perm.”

Below – “Sky above Shumkovoe”; “Pass”; “Coalfield”; “Locomotive Reserve”; “Boatyard”; “Destination Point.”

Musings in Winter:Jack Canfield

“They (dogs) love us, heal us, teach us, make us laugh and sometimes break our hearts with their passing.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“The House Dog’s Grave”
By Robinson Jeffers

I’ve changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you,
If you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you’d soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no,
All the nights through I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read‚
And I fear often grieving for me‚
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dears, that’s too much hope:
You are not so well cared for as I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided…
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Contemporary American Art – Sara Ware Howsam

In the words of one writer, “Sara Ware Howsam celebrates the complex and rhythmic beauty of the natural world. Exuberant, harmonious landscapes are created with a joyous excess of patterned shapes and layer upon layer of acrylic glazes. Her influences are many: medieval illuminations, Japanese woodcuts, the gilded paintings of Gustav Klimt and the colorful canvases of the French Impressionists.”

Below – “Blue Horizon #1”; “Canyon Suite”; “First Snow”; “Mesa Verde Dawn #1”; “Thundersnow”; “Glorious Colorado.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXVI

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Wrap me in the weathers of the earth, I will be hard and hard. My face will wash rain like the stones.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Armen Gasparian (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Libra”

Musings in Winter: Pablo Neruda

“It’s well known that he who returns never left,”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Frank Ferrante (American, contemporary)

Below – “Toward Pikes Peak”

A Poem for Today

“How These Words Happened”
By William Stafford

In winter, in the dark hours, when others
were asleep, I found these words and put them
together by their appetites and respect for
each other. In stillness, they jostled. The traded
meanings while pretending to have only one.

Monstrous alliances never dreamed of before
began. Sometimes they lost. Never again
do they separate in this world. They are
together. They have a fidelity that no
purpose of pretense can even break.

And all of this happens like magic to the words
in those dark hours when others sleep.

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009)

Below – “Master Bedroom”

Musings in Winter: Peter Hien

“How instructive
is a star!
It can teach us
from afar
just how small
each other are.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Eliza Griswold

I woke to a voice within the room. perhaps.
The room itself: “You’re wasting this life
expecting disappointment.”
I packed my bag in the night
and peered in its leather belly
to count the essentials.
Nothing is essential.
To the east, the flood has begun.
Men call to each other on the water
for the comfort of voices.
Love surprises us.
It ends.

Below – Franca Franchi: “Far, Far Away”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

In the words of one writer, “Russian artist Yaroslav Gerzhedovich prefers to make his paintings in dark colours, creating haunting, often monochrome images, which recall barrens and something mystical. Following the traditions of classical art and ‘fantasy’ style, the author paints images of other worlds and times, exciting the imagination of his numerous fans, who download his images constantly.”

Below – “Among the Stones”; “Questions & Answers”; “Place Where Dreams Burn”; “The Departing”; “Portrait of a Woman”; “Entrance.”

Musings in Winter: Sylvia Dolson

“Walk in kindness toward the Earth and every living being. Without kindness and compassion for all of Mother Nature’s creatures, there can be no true joy; no internal peace, no happiness. Happiness flows from caring for all sentient beings as if they were your own family, because in essence they are. We are all connected to each other and to the Earth.”

A Third Poem for Today

“In the Library”
By William Stafford

You are reading a book, and think you know
the end, but others can’t wait—they crowd
on the shelves, breathing. You stop and look around.
It is the best time: evening is coming,
a bronze haze has captured the sun,
lights down the street come on.

You turn the page carefully. Over your shoulder
another day has watched what you do
and written it down in that book
you can’t read till all the pages are done.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Larisa Golubeva

In the words of one writer, “ In 1989 she graduated from the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after I. Repin
Member of the Greci-Marino International Academy, Italy
Member of Accademia Severiade, Milan, Italy
Member of Neuer Sachsischer Kunstverein (New Saxon Art Union, Dresden).”

Below – “Road”; “Sleeplessness”; “Morning”; “In a Train”; “Interior”; “Power Line.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“The immappable world of our journey. A pass in the mountains. A bloodstained stone. The marks of steel upon it. Names carved in the corrosible lime among stone fishes and ancient shells. Things dimmed and dimming. The dry sea floor. The tools of migrant hunters. The dreams encased upon the blades of them. The peregrine bones of a prophet. The silence. The gradual extinction of rain. The coming of night.”

Below – Valentina: “The Coming of Night”

A Fourth Poem for Today

By Robinson Jeffers

A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again.
I will go to the lovely Sur Rivers
And dip my arms in them up to the shoulders.
I will find my accounting where the alder leaf quivers
In the ocean wind over the river boulders.
I will touch things and things and no more thoughts,
That breed like mouthless May-flies darkening the sky,
The insect clouds that blind our passionate hawks
So that they cannot strike, hardly can fly.
Things are the hawk’s food and noble is the mountain, Oh noble
Pico Blanco, steep sea-wave of marble.

Below – Pico Blanco

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Veryl Goodnight

Artist Statement: “I was born loving animals and the American West, this has been the focus of my art for over three decades. Working from life was initially an excuse to be outdoors and near the horses, birds, and many other animals that shared my life. The reality, however, is that having a living, breathing model nearby not only provides information that a thousand photos couldn’t convey, it keeps me excited. Working from life also keeps me from becoming repetitious. The subtle differences of each living being have become my passion, whether I am sculpting or painting.”

Below – “Running the Chaparral” (bronze); “Old Blue” (bronze); “Emergence” (bronze); “Dinner Bell” (oil on board); “A New Beginning” (bronze); “Fall Harvest” (bronze).

Musings in Winter: Munia Khan

“Dust is the parent of a star!”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Tony Eubanks

In the words of one writer, “Tony Eubanks’ talent is recognized and understood in the genre of contemporary western painting. With a background in illustration, Tony remains a very diversified painter; he believes that most illustrators are taught to have a wide range of interest so it is a natural follow-through for him as a painter. Years of travel have also greatly equipped Tony to expand his realm of subject matter, although he is well-known for his western subjects which include figurative, landscape, pueblo Indians and cowboys. Formal training for Tony includes a B.A. Degree from North Texas State University and advanced studies at the Art Center in Los Angeles. Having been born in Texas, Tony and wife Brenda, still reside in the state. He currently lives in Clifton, in the beautiful hill country of Bosque County.”

Below – “Gallantin River”; “Mr. Austin’s Cow”; “Old Tree and Fence”; “Bosque County Farm”; “Old Timers”; “Fall Sumac.”

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