Sentient in Seattle – 22 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Sei Shonagon

“In autumn, the evenings [are the most beautiful], when the glittering sun sinks close to the edge of the hills and the crows fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos; more charming still is a file of wild geese, like specks in the distant sky. When the sun has set, one’s heart is moved by the sound of the wind and the hum of the insects.”

Art for Spring – Part I of II: David Lloyd Glover (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Storm Passing”; “Rue de Provence, France”; “Lake’s Edge”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 22 May 1967 – Langston Hughes, an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.

by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Art for Spring – Part II of II: David Glynn (American, contemporary)

Below – “Study in Bikes”; “Wine, Women, and Song (Banjo)”; “Whipped Cream”

Worth a Thousand Words: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia.

This Date in Art History: Born 22 May 1948 – Tomas Sanchez, a Cuban painter and engraver.

Below – “Thought Cloud”; “Luz atraves”; “Canal”; “Landscape”; “Contempladores de cascades”; “Naciimiento de Una Isla.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 22 May 1859 – Arthur Conan Doyle, a British writer best known for being the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Some quotes from the work of Arthur Conan Doyle:

“It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.”
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
“You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
“Watson. Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.”
“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
“I’m not a psychopath, I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.”
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
“‘Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’
‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’
‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’
‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.”
“The game is afoot.”

Below – Arthur Conan Doyle; Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes; Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes; Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes; Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.

This Date in Art History: Born 22 May 1844 – Mary Cassatt, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Boating Party”; “Tea”; “Summertime”; “Young Woman in Green, Outdoors in the Sun”; “Young Girl at a Window”; “Self-Portrait.”

Musings in Spring: Casi McLean

“The greatest thing about dreams is they don’t expire. They can lay dormant for years and when you pull them out and dust them off, they shine like new.”

This Date in Art History: Born 22 May 1844 – Mary Cassatt, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Fitting”; “Young Woman in a Black and Green Bonnet”; “Woman Standing Holding a Fan”; “The Child’s Bath”; “Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge”; “The Reader.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 22 May 2018

“Ignorance is not bliss. Rather, ignorance is blistering.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough, American writer.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker/Files – RTX2IRRV

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Sentient in Seattle – 21 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Murasaki Shikibu

“There is much to be said for cherry blossoms, but they seem so flighty. They are so quick to run off and leave you. And then just when your regrets are the strongest the wisteria comes into bloom, and it blooms on into the summer. There is nothing quite like it. Even the color is somehow companionable and inviting.”

Art for Spring: Ablade Glover (Ghanaian, contemporary)

Below – “Red Orange Profile”; “Yellow Forest A1”; “Marketplace 127”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 May 1926 – Robert Creeley, an American poet, novelist, and essayist.

by Robert Creeley

America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.

Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world

you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.

People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.

Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back

what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1844 – Henri Rousseau, a French painter.

Below – “The Dream”; “The Sleeping Gypsy”;“The Snake Charmer”; “A Carnival Evening”; “The Flamingoes”; “Self Portrait.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Algarve, Portugal.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1912 – Chen Dayu, a Chinese painter and calligrapher.

Below – “Rooster”; “The Autumn of the Autumn”; “Songju Sangsha”; “Qian Songyan”; “Green Leaf Poultry Mirror”; “Wisteria Rooster.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 21 May 1923 – Dorothy Hewett, an Australian feminist poet, novelist, and playwright.

“Digging It In”
by Dorothy Hewett

My father’s spade
has the hollow sound of regret
Goodbye Dad but he doesn’t look up
where the cannas once grew by the drain
sour and stubborn he keeps on digging.

The melancholy acres stretch away
behind him the trees already dying
a crow flaps crying
along the boundary fence where once
the timber stood.

I have disappointed him once again
another dream gone west
I won’t be here to listen to his plans
to rechannel the salty creek
replant the trees rejuvenate the farm
he will lease it out for a pittance
eventually selling it off for next to nothing
run down one sheep to the acre

but all the way back
driving across the Nullarbor
over the cattle grids
through the dog-proof fence
an empty drum on the boundary
I will hear the sound of his spade
savagely breaking the clods
for a kitchen garden.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1898 – John McLaughlin, an American painter.

Below – Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; “V-1957.”

Musings in Spring: Robinson Jeffers

“I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy… parts of one organic whole…. (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.) The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars; none of them seems to me important in itself, but only the whole. This whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine.”

Contemporary American Art – Milton Glaser

In the words of one writer, “Born in New York City, he studied art at the Cooper Union Art School and the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy as a Fulbright Scholar from 1952 to 1953. He has done much design work and from 1954 to 1974, was Chairman of the Board and Director of Design for ‘New York’ magazine. He has taught at the School of the Visual Arts in New York and lived in New York City.”

Below – Untitled Triptych; “Matisse Drawing from Life”; “Monet Reaching for His Palette”; From “The Tuscan Series”; “Lautrec and His Ladies”; “Monet and His Nudes.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 21 May 2018

“I personally think humans have got about as far as we can go. We’re wrecking the planet. We’re never short of good reasons to massacre each other. Wrong god. Wrong race. Wrong color. Wrong sex. I’m actually quite surprised a thoroughly pissed-off History hasn’t waved a flaming sword and we’re all back in caves in the snow, chewing on half-cooked mammoth. And even that’s more than we deserve.
No wonder we still can’t get to Mars. I suspect the Universe is making damned sure we don’t get the chance to contaminate other planets with our stupidity. It’s keeping us on this one where the only thing we can damage is each other.” ― Jodi Taylor, British writer.

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Sentient in Seattle – 20 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Sei Shonagon

“In summer the nights [are the most beautiful]. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is!”

Art for Spring – Part I of II: Andre Gisson (American, 1921-2003)

Below – “Carousel”; “Les Baignenses”; “Bouquet by the Sea”

Worth a Thousand Words: New Zealand – the Southern Alps.

Art for Spring – Part II of II: Carson Gladson (American, contemporary)

Below – “Sunlit Path”; “Pond”; Untitled

Musings in Spring: Guy Davenport

“Art is the attention we pay to the wholeness of the world.”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 May 1898 – Eduard Ole, an Estonian painter.

Below – “Passengers”; “Rannavaade”; “Linnavaade Alpidest”; “Strandpromenad i San Sebastian”; “Hilissugisene maastik”; “Pariisi vaade.”

A Poem for Today

“Love Song to My Neighborhoods”
by Kelli Russell Agodon

Sometimes I stroll through forests
just sprayed for the gypsy moths. I throw a rock
into the bushes to distract the hunters. Deer
me. I am writing to my hazards.
Open gutter to the lake, green oil, paint dumped—
I swam there, cut my foot on a beer bottle
and kept paddling
to years by the power plant, my bed
placed so I could see the voltage through my window,
an evening sparked from metal towers. I was pulsing
beneath an uncharged moon. Still am.
Let me introduce you to the nuclear
sub base, the girl next door. At night, missiles leave
their home on trains, protesters appear on tracks
a day too late. Afternoons, I buzz to the hum
of the generator. I know your lecture in my radioactive
sing organic, vegetarian bliss. But I can afford
to live here. I am a poor it.
Open my wallet and find. . . Moths?
Coins radiating? A small hazmat team? Let’s dream
big together. Turn off the lights. Watch my lungs glow.
I know you’d pay to see them.

This Date in Art History: Born 20 May 1907 – Carl Mydans, an American photographer and journalist: Part I of II:

Below – Daughter, Migratory Workers, Lower Rio Grande, near Raymondville, Texas; Italians in Refugee Camp; Wales; Saigon Refugee; CCC Corp Workers; Winter in Russia.

Musings in Spring: Roger Zelazny

“I watched the spinning stars, grateful, sad and proud, as only a man who has outlived his destiny and realizes he might yet forge himself another, can be.”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 May 1907 – Carl Mydans, an American photographer and journalist: Part II of II:

Below – Children of British Coal Miners; Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas with Basket; Sand Hogs; General Douglas MacArthur Landing at Luzon, Philippines, 1945; Cafe in Pikesville, Tennessee, 1936; Sharecroppers Standing on a Porch.

Musings in Spring: Edmond Rostand

“My soul, be satisfied with flowers,
With fruit, with weeds even; but gather them
In the one garden you may call your own.”

Contemporary American Art – Kamal Givian

In the words of one writer, “Inspired by masters such as Goya and Delacroix, he has spent decades painting, drawing, and sculpting. His work has been exhibited in galleries in Paris, New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, and New Orleans, among others. Central to most of Kamal’s creations is the distillation, interpretation, and/or reimagining of natural beauty, often as part of a dialogue with wilderness or the human body. He attributes his commitment to art to the purity of expression it affords him.”

Below – “Spring”; “Eye of Hurricane”; “Country”; “Terrace”; “Summer Houses”; “Aphrodite” (terracotta).

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 20 May 2018

“There’s no point in arguing with an idiot – save for exposing their stupidity in their own words.” ― Christina Engela, South African writer.

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Sentient in Seattle – 19 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Margaret Atwood

“But my dreaming self refuses to be consoled. It continues to wander, aimless, homeless, alone. It cannot be convinced of its safety by any evidence drawn from my waking life.”

Art for Spring – Part I of III: Gunther Gerzso Wendland (Hungarian/Mexican, 1915-2000)

Below – “Manantial”; “Tierra Amarilla”; “Ciudadela”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 May 1971 – Ogden Nash, an American poet best known for his humorous verses.

Below – A few examples of the work of Ogden Nash:

“The Grackle”

The grackle’s voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words,
And should a human interfere,
Attacks that human in the rear.
I cannot help but deem the grackle
An ornithological debacle.

“The Middle”

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.
Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me Us.

“The Octopus”

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me Us.

Art for Spring – Part II of III: Yankel Ginzburg (Khazakhstani, contemporary)

Below – Untitled; “Shadows”; “Abundance in Yellow”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 May 1946 – Booth Tarkington, an American novelist, dramatist, and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Booth Tarkington:

“I’m not sure he’s wrong about automobiles…With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization — that is, in spiritual civilization. It may be that they will not add to the beauty of the world, nor to the life of men’s souls.”
“Youth cannot imagine romance apart from youth. That is why the roles of the heroes and heroines of plays are given by the managers to the most youthful actors they can find among the competent.”
“I mean the things that we have and that we think are so solid—they’re like smoke, and time is like the sky that the smoke disappears into. You know how wreath of smoke goes up from a chimney, and seems all thick and black and busy against the sky, as if it were going to do such important things and last forever, and you see it getting thinner and thinner—and then, in such a little while, it isn’t there at all; nothing is left but the sky, and the sky keeps on being just the same forever.”
“Boyhood is the longest time in life for a boy. The last term of the school-year is made of decades, not of weeks, and living through them is like waiting for the millennium.”
“Destiny has a constant passion for the incongruous.”

Art for Spring – Part III of III: Walter Girotto (Italian, contemporary)

Below – “Oh, My…”; “Black Hat”; “Climbing the Moon”

Worth a Thousand Words: Mount Jefferson, Oregon.

This Date in Art History: Born 19 May 1967 – Massimo Taccon, an Italian painter and sculptor.

Below – “Peace”; “Evoluton 1”; “Domine Quo Vadis”; “Dinamica 2”; “Alpha and Omega.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 May 1984 – John Betjemen, an English poet, writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972 until his death.

“The Last Laugh”
by John Betjemen

I made hay while the sun shone.
My work sold.
Now, if the harvest is over
And the world cold,
Give me the bonus of laughter
As I lose hold.

This Date in Art History: Born 19 May 1929 – Richard Larter, an Australian painter.

Below- “Middle Shift”; “Egyptian Nights, Auckland Daze”; “Woman in Interior”; “Ginnindera – Wind and Water”; “Market Stitch Game”; “Julie.”

Musings in Spring: Murasaki Shikibu

“People make a great deal of the flowers of spring and the leaves of autumn, but for me a night like this, with a clear moon shining on snow, is the best — and there is not a trace of color in it. I cannot describe the effect it has on me, weird and unearthly somehow. I do not understand people who find a winter evening forbidding.”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 May 1871, Died 19 May 1963 – Walter Bowman Russell, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Stream, Italy”; Untitled Landscape; “Two Figures Gathering Water in the Desert”; “Solitude (Rocky Mountains)”; “Steamship Maine”; “Mark Twain” (bronze).

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 19 May 2018

“Donald Trump is a liar because he is a coward. It is fear and cowardice that make him lie. it is his fragile ego that makes him lie.” – Gizmo, The Puzzled Puppy, an American writer and author of “What Donald Trump Supporters Need to Know: But Are Too Infatuated to Figure Out.”

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Sentient in Seattle – 18 May 2018

Musings in Spring: Sei Shonagon

“In spring it is the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud trail over them.”

This Date in Art History: Died 18 May 1867 – William Clarkson Stanfield, an English painter.

Below – “Mount St. Michael, Cornwall”; “Mountainous landscape with a hunter and travellers”; “View on the Scheldt”; “Rione Terra”; “At the Foot of the Acropolis, Athens.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 18 May 1872 – Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and recipient of the 1950 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Bertrand Russell:

“The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other.”
“Science tells us what we can know but what we can know is little and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive of many things of very great importance. Theology, on the other hand, induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge where in fact we have ignorance and by doing so generates a kind of impertinent insolence towards the universe. Uncertainty in the presence of vivid hopes and fears is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.”
“Religion is based … mainly upon fear … fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.”
“If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion. So whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.”
“The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.”
“Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”
“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 April 1936 – Michael Sandle, an English sculptor.

Below – “Maquette for Animals in War Memorial” (wood and epoxy); “Gondola” (bronze); “A Mighty Blow for Freedom”; “Der Trommier”; “As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap: An Allegory.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A section of Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania.

This Date in Art History: Born 18 May 1822 – Mathew Brady, an American photographer and journalist.

Below – “Portrait of Abraham Lincoln”; “Portrait of Walt Whitman”; “Battlefield Casualties, Battle of Gettysburg”; “President Abraham Lincoln and General George McClellan”; “Ulysses S. Grant”; “General William Tecumseh Sherman.”

Remembering a Teacher on the Date of His Birth – Born 18 May 1904 – Shunryu Suzuki, a Japanese-American Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, and author of “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.”

Some quotes from the work of Shunryu Suzuki:

“Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.”
“Wherever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see. You are one with everything. That is more true than I can say, and more true than you can hear.”
“What we call ‘I’ is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.”
“The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.”
“If you can just appreciate each thing, one by one, then you will have pure gratitude. Even though you observe just one flower, that one flower includes everything.”
“Faith is a state of openness or trust…In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to the truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”
“Wherever you go you will find your teacher, as long as you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 May 1852 – Gertrude Kasebier, an American photographer.

Below – “Chief Iron Tail”; “Chief Flying Hawk”; “Miss N”; “Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz”; “Auguste Rodin”; “The Red Man.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 18 May 1809 – George Meredith, an English novelist, poet, and seven-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“Youth in Age”
By George Meredith

Once I was part of the music I heard
On the boughs or sweet between earth and sky,
For joy of the beating of wings on high
My heart shot into the breast of the bird.

I hear it now and I see it fly,
And a life in wrinkles again is stirred,
My heart shoots into the breast of the bird,
As it will for sheer love till the last long sigh.

This Date in Art History: Born 18 May 1938 – Janet Fish, an American painter.

Below – “Black Bowl, Red Scarf”; “Strawberries, Geese”; “Daisies”; “Pumpkin”; “Apple Blossom/Spring Trees”; “Pinwheels and Poppies.”

Musings in Spring: Rebecca Solnit

“The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell.”

Remembering an Artist and Writer on the Date of His Death – Died 18 May 1980 – Reid Blackburn, an American photographer and journalist. Reid Blackburn was killed in the 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Below – Reid Blackburn adjusting one of his cameras on Mount St. Helens.

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 18 May 2018

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell.

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