Food for the Spirit and the Soul

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

From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXXVIII

Musings in Winter: Donna Tartt

“Even now I remember those pictures, like pictures in a storybook one loved as a child. Radiant meadows, mountains vaporous in the trembling distance; leaves ankle-deep on a gusty autumn road; bonfires and fog in the valleys; cellos, dark window-panes, snow.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Dodge MacKnight (American, 1860-1950)

Below – “Jigging for Squid”

Musings in Winter: George Gaylord Simpson

“From horses we may learn not only about the horse itself but also about animals in general, indeed about ourselves and about life as a whole.”

A Poem for Today

“The Black Bass”
By David Dodd Lee

My hand became my father’s hand
that day,
for a second or two, as I lifted the fish, and I could feel his loneliness,
my father’s, like mine,

a horse in a stall spooked by guttering candles,
the popping and black smoke, the quivering flanks.

And if a horse, in its loneliness, couldn’t manage
to speak, what difference did it make?
What could he say? Tell a flickering candle Burn true?

Then I thought of my mother, standing in a field with flames
in her hair. She was surrounded by deer, statues
in a circle around her.

Musings in Winter: Virginia Woolf

“Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Joseph McGurl (American, contemporary)

Below – “Cruising on the Coast”

Musings in Winter: Beth Garrod

“The majority of boys think the highest form of creativity is weeing a pattern into snow.”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Brian Porter (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Owl”

Musings in Winter: Dylan Thomas

“It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats.”

Chilean Art – Claudia Olivos

Artist Statement: “I am an artist who is perpetually engaged in the creation of a seemingly ethereal novel….: my life lived among others with the help of H/She who created me in love while simultaneously condemning me by imbedding within me the soul of an artist (as Jung stated: ‘the artist is a blessing unto others-a curse unto himself’).
In a continuous labyrinth of all pictorial, ephemeral and permanent, I am oft distracted, cogitating on what my role as an artist is in society, so that it may more than purely inform as an aesthetic activity…but also act as a viable venue through which I, among others may be enabled to easier attain depths of vision, strength and understanding.
My own work is rooted, not only in my Latin American upbringing, but in the collection of Russian fairy tales my grandmother kept in her house in Santiago, Chile. As a teenager, it was a logical shift when I became interested in Kafka’s stories, which in college led me to discover the Surrealists. Later, I found that I had an affinity with the fact found within Magic Realism: that ancient beliefs and spirits can coexist with modern ones.
Through my work, I hope to capture the development of life, the experience of being.
To portray the tonal effects and subtle contrasts of color that help constitute the promontory, recesses and folds of the labyrinth of the mind, the genesis of the eternal. To find content which is not only valid, but valuable: which can stand on political, personal and moral ground—non calibrated extensions of emotion, discovery, explorations of the psyche, expressions of a magic-real or surreal sensibility, a mysterious spirituality devoid of legalistic religion—all woven together.
To work forevermore intrigued by questions which hold mysteries lying within a multiplicity of answers, and to allow myself never to forget that I understand the necessity in life, to touch the earth.”

Musings in Winter: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Philip Levine

The new grass rising in the hills,
the cows loitering in the morning chill,
a dozen or more old browns hidden
in the shadows of the cottonwoods
beside the streambed. I go higher
to where the road gives up and there’s
only a faint path strewn with lupine
between the mountain oaks. I don’t
ask myself what I’m looking for.
I didn’t come for answers
to a place like this, I came to walk
on the earth, still cold, still silent.
Still ungiving, I’ve said to myself,
although it greets me with last year’s
dead thistles and this year’s
hard spines, early blooming
wild onions, the curling remains
of spider’s cloth. What did I bring
to the dance? In my back pocket
a crushed letter from a woman
I’ve never met bearing bad news
I can do nothing about. So I wander
these woods half sightless while
a west wind picks up in the trees
clustered above. The pines make
a music like no other, rising and
falling like a distant surf at night
that calms the darkness before
first light. “Soughing” we call it, from
Old English, no less. How weightless
words are when nothing will do.

French Art – Part I of II: Louis Tresseras

In the words of one writer, “Louis Treserras claims to be a self taught painter. For 30 years he has been painting young and mysterious nude female models. His rigorous approach to artistic composition would almost compare to a science, like mathematics. His style remains however poetic an intimist, with a very distinct and soft range of colors. A contemporary artist with a highly classical technique, characteristic of the uncompromising self-taught artist.”

Musings in Winter: Alicia Steinbach

“I suspected, however, that I wasn’t homesick for anything I would find at home when I returned. The longing was for what I wouldn’t find: the past and all the people and places there were lost to me.”

Below – Faruk Koksai: “Longing for the Past”

A Third Poem for Today

By Joachim du Bella

I do not write of love: I am no lover.
I do not write of beauty: I have no woman.
I do not write of gentleness but the human
rudeness I see. And my pleasures are all over,
so I do not try to write of pleasure, but only
misery. Favors? No, I am on my own.
I do not write of riches: I have none.
Or of life at court, when I’m far from it and lonely.

I do not write of health, for I’m often ill.
I cannot write of France from a Roman hill.
Or honor? I see so little of that about.
I cannot write of friendship but only pretence.
I will not write of virtue, here in its absence.
Or knowledge or faith, in ignorance and doubt.

Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac

“The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don’t care, it still belongs to me.’”

French Art – Part II of II: Berit Hildre

Artist Statement: “My girls are like flowers, frail daisies in a trough valley; wonderfully fresh and beautiful, a daisy.”

Musings in Winter: Yoshida Kenko

“It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“the suicide kid”
By Charles Bukowski

I went to the worst of bars
hoping to get
but all I could do was to
get drunk
worse, the bar patrons even
ended up
liking me.
there I was trying to get
pushed over the dark
and I ended up with
free drinks
while somewhere else
some poor
son-of-a-bitch was in a hospital
tubes sticking out all over
as he fought like hell
to live.
nobody would help me
die as
the drinks kept
as the next day
waited for me
with its steel clamps,
its stinking
its incogitant
death doesn’t always
come running
when you call
not even if you
call it
from a shining
or from an ocean liner
or from the best bar
on earth (or the
such impertinence
only makes the gods
hesitate and
ask me: I’m

Musings in Winter: Danzy Senna

“It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.”

Russian Art – Dmitry Lisichenko

In the words of one writer, “Dmitry Lisichenko was born into a musical family in Moscow in 1976.
He attended the Moscow Art Lyceum, and later the Moscow State Academic Art Institute (known as the Surikov Art Institute), where he came under the influence of the distinguished professors Eugeny Maximov and Ivan Lubennikov.
After graduating, Dmitry worked as a restorer repairing the famous murals of Moscow Cathedral. This gave the artist a unique opportunity to develop his own skills as a painter.
Dmitry Lisichenko is noted for his atmospheric compositions with their meditative and often enigmatic women.
All the work is oil on canvas.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Alone for a Week”
By Jane Kenyon

I washed a load of clothes
and hung them out to dry.
Then I went up to town
and busied myself all day.
The sleeve of your best shirt
rose ceremonious
when I drove in; our night-
clothes twined and untwined in
a little gust of wind.

For me it was getting late;
for you, where you were, not.
The harvest moon was full
but sparse clouds made its light
not quite reliable.
The bed on your side seemed
as wide and flat as Kansas;
your pillow plump, cool,
and allegorical. . . .

Musings in Winter: Virginia Alison

“Gazing out from the mountains, the clouds are whiter, the sky is bluer, the air seeping into your lungs is as clear as the water roaring down from the snow, melting on the high peaks. A place where heaven is a little closer.”

American Art – Charles Williams

In the words of one writer, “Charles Williams is a professional contemporary realist painter from Georgetown, South Carolina and a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art. From utilizing oils for the basis of landscapes, each painting captures his reflection of human emotions in response to and in sync with the natural environment.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXXVII

Musings in Winter: Dylan Thomas

“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.”

A Poem for Today

“Angel of Duluth” [excerpt]
By Madelon Sprengnether

I lied a little. There are things I don’t want to tell you. How lonely I am today and sick at heart. How the rain falls steadily and cold on a garden grown greener, more lush and even less tame. I haven’t done much, I confess, to contain it. The grapevine, as usual, threatens everything in its path, while the raspberry canes, aggressive and abundant, are clearly out of control. I’m afraid the wildflowers have taken over, being after all the most hardy and tolerant of shade and neglect. This year the violets and lilies of the valley are rampant, while the phlox are about to emit their shocking pink perfume. Oh, my dear, had you been here this spring, you would have seen how the bleeding hearts are thriving.

Art for Winter – Part I of II: Meredith Bingham (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Year to Year”

Musings in Winter: Merrill Moore

“Silence can always be broken by the sound
Of footsteps walking over frozen ground
In winter when the melancholy trees
Stand abject and let their branches freeze.”

Art for Winter – Part II of II: Harold Braul (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Red Birds”

Musings in Winter: Yoshida Kenko

“I have relinquished all that ties me to the world, but the one thing that still haunts me is the beauty of the sky.”

New Zealand Art – Viky Garden

The work of painter Viky Garden (born 1961) is held in private collections around the world.

A Second Poem for Today

By Felipe Benitez Reyes

translated by Aaron Zaritzky

The sensation of being the only guest
in a grand hotel on the outskirts of the city
—and hearing the somnambulistic
elevator and a scream—
or being in an empty theater
or in a lonely plaza
of a lonely unknown city
weighed down with suitcases and no money
surrounded  by escaped doves
from the studio of the worst taxidermist
that ridiculous melancholy of one who feels ignored
at the parties of younger people
whom he calls late at night
from a bar with the lights already turned off
and talks to himself about the comforts
of being an academic ghost
of an orchestra conductor

I fear, in the end, that I’ve kissed
The lips of a mistaken goddess

French Art – Philippe Faraut

In the words of one writer, “Philippe Faraut is a figurative artist specializing in life-size portrait sculptures and monumental stone sculptures. His media of choice are water-based clay and marble.”

Musings in Winter: Amit Kalantri

“Don’t compare the size of your roof with the size of the sky.”

A Third Poem for Today

“On the Terrace”
By Landis Everson

The lonely breakfast table starts the day,
an adjustment is made to understand
why the other chair is empty. The morning
beautiful and still to be, should woo me. Yet
the appetite is not shared, lost somewhere in memory.

How lucky the horizon is blue and needs
no handwriting on its emptiness. I am
written on thoroughly, a lost novel
found again. I remember the predictable plot too late,
realize the silly, sad urgency of moss.

Australian Art – Part I of II: Herbert Badham

In the words of one writer, “Herbert Badham, studied at the Sydney Art School (1921-26) and later taught at East Sydney Technical School (1938-1961). He wrote an important historical survey of Australian art which was published in 1949.
In his own work Badham tended to concentrate on domestic or mundane subjects which he recorded with meticulous detail but which also tend to be imbued with a sense of the uncanny. This busy scene with some of its perspective distorted by mirrors and windows is no exception, as we loose our ability to distinguish between what is real and what is reflection.”

Musings in Winter: Thich Nhat Hanh

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

Australian Art – Part II of II: Margaret Woodward

The paintings of Margaret Woodward have won numerous awards.

Musings in Winter: Eudora Welty

“People give pain, are callous and insensitive, empty and cruel…but place heals the hurt, soothes the outrage, fills the terrible vacuum that these human beings make.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“One Way or Another”
By Naomi Shihab Nye

She is gone, where did she go?
He can’t imagine how the house will feel
when he enters it, moving room to room.
Now that the wait is over, a larger pause
will blanket the roof, softness settling
slowly down. By which window or door
may future days enter?  And what about minor
questions called out, to which there was always
that lilting reply?

American Art – Part I of II: Ronald Bowen

Artist Statement:”If I were to define my style of painting, I would call it ‘Transcendental Realism.’ It is my intention to present to the viewer an image that is on the one hand concrete and close to life, yet so filtered, strange and bordering on the abstract that he may be led into a state of contemplation and meditation. There is a minimum of anecdote in my painting in order to allow the viewer space to create his own story, to discover his own mystery.”

Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“The snow in winter, the flowers in spring. There is no deeper reality.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

By CJ Evans
“The dandelions in the moment and then”

It is. And needles don’t fall;
cones don’t fall. The soil keeps

holding the grass seed and the dune
sand beneath is still torn by thirsty,

wooden hands. By bedrock
is where will be my tenoned pine.

And the grass seeds don’t split,
their shoots don’t spill. The clouds

remain, widely. That locked closet
inside will never have its tumblers

turned. Honestly, all I had
was the only lie—that I could be

the one who evades. Sparrows
don’t fall, no owl falls. Left behind

are her thin hands, a box full
of ribbons, a bolt, a knife.

Photographs with anybody’s faces.
Hungry letters, angry letters about

a time and people and love that is
not. No image holds its meaning

within itself. Not one dandelion fell.
Please. Something did happen here.

Below – Steve Pratchett: “Dandelions Overlooking Gawton”

Musings in Winter: Eleanora Duse

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

American Art – Part II of II: William Shih-Chieh Hung

In the words of one writer, “William S. Hung’s works display a profound knowledge of the traditions and techniques of both East and West.
In harmony of composition and precision of execution, they reflect the restraint and refinement of the Chinese tradition. In the use of gauzy layers of color to build images from flakes of light, he recalls the 19th century French artists, while his subjects are often reminiscent of classical sources. Extraordinarily gifted and thoroughly schooled, he produces exquisitely sensitive, intellectually provocative, and delicately rendered portraits and nudes.
Mr. William Shih-Chieh Hung, born in Jieyang, Guangdong China in 1928, is famous for his oil painting internationally. In 1980, he immigrated to the United States with his wife Susie Hsueh-Ping Hung, and is presently settled in the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area. His descendants have also immigrated and settled down in the same area.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXXVI

Musings in Winter: Pablo Neruda

“I am a book of snow,
a spacious hand, an open meadow,
a circle that awaits,
I belong to the earth and its winter.”

A Poem for Today

“Living in Numbers”
By Claire Lee

Sunday, August 22, 2010:
Number of times I’ve woken up after
oversleeping and sprung out of bed like a ninja: 959
Number of broken bones: 3
Number of scars, physical: 4; emotional: 947
Number of funerals attended: 7
Number of friends, Facebook: 744, real: 9
Number of cavities filled: 0

Percentage of people I can stand in the world: 3.5
Number of times I’ve laughed so hard my sides would bruise: 2,972
Number of times I’ve wanted to bawl my eyes out: 320
Number of things I regret: 11
Number of things I know: 918,394

Monday, August 23, 2010:
Number of times I’ve woken up after oversleeping and sprung out of bed like a ninja: 960
Number of broken bones: 3
Number of scars, physical: 4; emotional: 1,293
Number of funerals attended: 7
Number of friends, Facebook: 800, real: 7
Number of cavities filled: 0

Percentage of people I can stand in the world: 3.4
Number of times I’ve laughed so hard my sides would bruise: 2,973
Number of times I’ve wanted to bawl my eyes out: 321
Number of things I regret: 13
Number of things I know: 918,390

Art for Winter – Part I of II: Michael Lewis (American, contemporary)

Below – “Shadows #3”

Musings in Winter: Glenn Gould

“I always assumed everybody shared my love for overcast skies. It came as a shock to find out that some people prefer sunshine.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Instructions on Damaging the Monster’s Cloak of Invisibility”
By Bradley Paul

Grendel appears as a wolf in the kitchen
Grendel appears as a shark
beneath the dining room floor
Grendel appears as a monster named Grendel

Might I have some money? asks a man
and you turn: is this the monster?
Here, says a nun, let’s watch TV together
I knew and liked your mother

Grendel Grendel Grendel
you say
cowering in the dream of the shark
that cowers inside the dream of the wolf
Say his name enough and
it sits like snow
on a chain link fence
not so invisible now

Musings in Winter: Shinji Moon

“You will fall in love with train rides, and sooner or later you will
realize that nowhere seems like home anymore.”

Art for Winter – Part II of II: Ted Lindenmuth (American, 1885-1976)

Below – “Along the Shore”

Musings in Winter: Wendell Berry

“No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people.
And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth.
The name of our present society’s connection to the earth is “bad work” – work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.”

A Third Poem for Today

“The Escape”
By Mark Halperin

Amused when she asks, “is your wife Jewish?” and,
because it’s easier, because I don’t
want to think, I answer yes. It’s the first time.
Later, a pushy man wants to know my
son’s birthday. Confused, I make him younger
and the shift of dates feels so natural

I let it stand. Then it’s happening with family
names, with where I work, how long, with
whom—minor changes in my ‘vita,’ small alterations,
other lives, one variant for this person,
another for that, as though I were picking out
ballpoint pens or books, rummaging for

keep-sakes to give away, a different self to
each, each time. Months pass before I
catch on too and admit I’ve done what I did out of
caution, an attempt to screen the self,
erase the scent, obscure the trail with a series
of dead-ends until no one could thread

a way ahead through those dense thickets back to
me, reeking of fear. what did I think I
had worth hiding and who was I trying to deceive?
Tell me: surrounded by those casual lies
fabricating with disarming aplomb, why didn’t I ask
whose escape I imagined I was fashioning?

Musings in Winter: Katherine Rundell

“Wolves, and stars, and snow: Those things made sense.”

Japanese Art – Keita Morimoto

Painter Keita Morimoto (born 1990) earned a BFA degree from OCAD University.

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

French Art – Part I of II: Bernard Lamotte (1903-1983)

In the words of one writer, “A typical example of the self-made painter, Bernard Lamotte never sought any other avenue in life but that of artistic creation. From his earliest childhood, he ignored traditional games in favor of pencil and paper. A fall down a staircase at age sixteen left him bedridden for two years, which he spent at his window, observing and recording the ever-changing atmosphere of the Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. Like Toulouse-Lautrec, Lamotte’s physical limitation opened his vision; he developed a keen memory and ability to evoke a story from the most commonplace scenes, assets which served him for the rest of his life.”

Below – “Autumn in Paris”; “Boats on River”; “Gypsies, Greece”; “Bay of Naples”; “Preparing Dinner”; “Child in Garden.”

Musings in Winter: Margaret Atwood

“The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Left-Handed Sugar”
By Jane Hirshfield

In nature, molecules are chiral—they turn in one direction or the other. Naturally then, someone wondered: might sugar, built to mirror itself, be sweet, but pass through the body unnoticed? A dieters’ gold mine. I don’t know why the experiment failed, or how. I think of the loneliness of that man-made substance, like a ghost in a ‘50s movie you could pass your hand through, or some suitor always rejected despite the sparkle of his cubic zirconia ring. Yet this sugar is real, and somewhere exists. It looks for a left-handed tongue.

French Art – Part II of II: Julien Spianti

Painter Julien Spianti (born 1982) earned a Master Degree in Philosophy and Aesthetics from the Sorbonne in 2005.

Musings in Winter: Josh Gates

“Travel does not exist without home….If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“What Is the Difference”
By Laurie Sheck

Stein asked what is the difference. She did not ask what is the sameness. Did not ask what like is. Or proximity.  Resemblance. Did not ask what child of what patriarch what height what depth didn’t use a question mark but still wondered at the difference what mutinies it carries over what vast Arctic what far shore.

What is the difference between blind and bond. Between desk and red. Between capsize and sail. Between commodity and question. A lively thing, a fractured thing. To smile at the difference.

(Such gray clouds passing over. Thick, wet sky.)

What is the difference between mutiny and dust. Between noose and edge. Between brittle and obey.

Between shunned and stun. What is the difference.

As now, Mary Shelley’s monster flees to the north, his sack of books his lone companions.

Musings in Winter: A.D. Posey

“Close your eyes. Hear the silent snow. Listen to your soul speak.”

American Art – Part I of II: Zacheriah Kramer

Painter Zacheriah Kramer lives and works in Colorado.

Musings in Winter: Ann Zwinger

“The sky is a meadow of wildstar flowers.”

American Art – Part II of II: Dorothy Churchill-Johnson

Artist Statement: “I call my paintings visual haiku after the Japanese poetic tradition of observing nature ‘ferociously’ until substance gives way to spirit. Like haiku, they are meant to represent moments of heightened awareness and existential beauty. I feel that focusing lavish attention on the mundane often elevates it to the sublime. Objects become complex in proportion to the attention one pays them.
I’ve used selected natural objects, exaggerated them, and isolated them in an otherworldly landscape, thus creating a realm of virtual reality. Looking at the paintings it is difficult to judge with certainty, the exact spatial relationships between the background and foreground. The physical perspectives are destabilizing, asking the viewer, in their momentary disorientation, to imagine a world governed by laws other than those we deem universal. For me, they evoke an alternative world, composed of imaginary elements and odd juxtapositions, and a sense of being an isolated consciousness in a beautiful, uninhabited universe which is chillingly indifferent to individuals.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXXV

Musings in Winter: W. Somerset Maugham

“I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history.”

A Poem for Today

“The Cold Heaven”
By William Butler Yeats

Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
So wild that every casual thought of that and this
Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;
And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,
Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,
Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,
Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent
Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken
By the injustice of the skies for punishment?

Art for Winter – Part I of II: Charles Wilson Knapp (American, 1823-1900)

Below – “View in the Susquehanna Valley”

Musings in Winter: Suzy Kassem

“They say that animals are incapable of feelings and reasoning. This is false. No living thing on earth is void of either. They also say that man is the most intelligent — and the most superior — species on earth. This is also false. It is very arrogant to assume that we are the most intelligent species when we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It has been shown that both rats and monkeys learn from making errors, yet we have not. Our history proves this. All creatures on earth have the capacity to love and grieve the same way we do. No life on the planet is more deserving than another. Those who think so, are the true savages.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Happy first anniversary (in anticipation of your thirty-ninth)”
By Bob Hicok

I don’t have much time. I’m an important person
to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder
was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon
I’ll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew,
wanting to bathe in it, hoping the awkwardness
of yesterday (three instances of people talking
with bear traps for mouths) never repeats itself
and we all go forward as if to a party
for a five year old who refuses to smash candy
out of a burro. It’s too cute, the burro, too real
for him not to ask his mother, can I keep it,
and when the other children cry, they’re given
lake front property, it works out, this
is what I see for you, the working out. Think of the year
behind you as a root or think of going to Spain
and feeling sorry for bulls or don’t think,
this isn’t the SATs, don’t think but stay.
Stay happy, honest, stay as tall as you are
as long as you can using giraffes if you need to
to see each other above the crowd. I have these moments
when I realize I’m not breathing, my wife
is never why I’m not breathing and always why
I want to lick a human heart, remember that each of you
is half of why your bed will sag toward the middle
of being a boat and that you both will sag
if you’re lucky together, be lucky together
and acquire in sagging more square footage
to kiss and to hold. And always remember
that I hate you for being so much closer
than I am to where none of us ever get to go
again – first look, first touch, first
inadvertent brush of breath or hair, first time
you turned over and looked at who was surprising
you by how fully she was there.

Art for Winter – Part II of II: Richard Haley Lever (British, 1876-1958)

Below – “On the Sound, Long Island”

Musings in Winter: David Pearce

“It’s not that there are no differences between human and non-human animals, any more than there are no differences between black people and white people, freeborn citizens and slaves, men and women, Jews and gentiles, gays or heterosexuals. The question is rather: are they morally relevant differences? This matters because morally catastrophic consequences can ensue when we latch on to a real but morally irrelevant difference between sentient beings.”

A Third Poem for Today

“real poem (personal statement)”
By Rachel Zucker

I skim sadness like fat off the surface
of cooling soup. Don’t care about
metaphor but wish it would arrive
me. There’s a cool current of air
this hot day I want to ride.
I have no lover, not even my love.
I have no other, not even I.

Musings in Winter: Joanne Harris

“I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.”

Italian Art – Tindaro Calia

In the words of one writer, “Tindaro Calia was born in Segrate in 1956, where he habitually lives. He works as an artist in his studio in Volpara, an evocative village in the Oltrepò Pavese area.”

Musings in Winter: Terry Kaye

“Opposable thumbs are overrated.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

By Mark Irwin

A shark swims into the bay, swirls, and then rises with the ugly grin of millennia.

A match flame to a cigar, years later a campfire, and long after a house on fire.

‘Love’—to forget language and act on instinct, its indestructible form.

—Something written on a piece of paper after an astonishing event. That paper
found a long time later.

‘I am, I am,’ she said, licking a grape Popsicle in July. ‘Make it last,’ he said right after.

It seemed as though she had leapt toward her own cremation.

A few books shining like the wood of trees. —Ones that I’ve climbed or held.

Musings in Winter: Thomas Wolfe

“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing’s sake, back home to aestheticism, to one’s youthful idea of ‘the artist’ and the all-sufficiency of ‘art’ and ‘beauty’ and ‘love,’ back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermude, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time–back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

British Art – Al Saralis: Part I of II

In the words of one writer, “Al Saralis has been a professional artist and art teacher since graduating from Newport in 1977 with an Honours degree in Fine Art. This was followed by a post graduate teaching course in Cardiff in 1978. Hie lives and works in Hampshire where he is Head of Art at Churcher’s College in Petersfield and has a studio next to his home in Four Marks. His surname derives from his Greek grandfather who settled in South Wales and worked in the coal mining industry during the first half of the 20th century. Al was brought up in this working class environment of The Rhymney Valley, where his father and many relatives also worked in the colliery. He was fortunate in that his education, and family, provided him with the opportunity to study Fine Art and thus began his career as a painter.
The human figure has always been his main source of inspiration, since his early life drawing sessions at Art college. This fascination in the form, structure and movement of the figure continues to be central to Al Saralis’s work. The paintings usually consist of a single figure, which is stripped of any narrative reference. Over the years his painting style has moved from a semi abstract style to a more traditional form of painting. Recent works have included a series of paintings where the figure has been fragmented or left incomplete. These were in part inspired by a trip to Florence where Al saw the unfinished ‘Prigioni’ sculptures of Michelangelo. While the paintings reflect the classical beauty of the human figure the dramatic use of light, coupled with the directness of the pose, results in images that are powerful and sometimes confrontational and which also echo the fragility and vulnerability of contemporary man.”

Musings in Winter: Carole Rifka Brunt

“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

By Fady Joudah

Days been dark
don’t say “in these dark days”
done changed my cones and rods

Sometimes I’m the country
other times the countryside

I put my clothes back on
to take them off again

British Art – Al Saralis: Part II of II

Artist Statement: “As an artist one is forever making decisions, re-considering directions and reflecting on one’s work as part of the creative process. I have always been interested in the classical beauty of Renaissance painting, and this alongside my fascination with the human form has led my work to develop to where it is now. I feel that recent paintings are in a sense, indulgent. They allow me to explore the complexities of painting skin and its subtlety of colour, to create something that exists in its own right. Many recent paintings have featured heads and faces, but I am not a portrait painter. I use a restricted number of models to try to achieve my aim, which is to create something that is beautiful as well as being interesting; contemporary as well as being classical and something stripped of any narrative, that is timeless,”

Musings in Winter: Ari Berk

“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”

A Sixth Poem for Today

By Nick DePascal

The pigeons ignore us gently as we
scream at one another in the parking
lot of an upscale grocer. The cicadas
are numbed by their own complaints,
so numbed I won’t even try to describe
the noise and tenor of their hum, but hum
they do like a child humming with his
fingers in his ears. Which, coincidentally,
is what our son is doing. Red shopping
carts crash together, and even the humans
walking by do so dumbly, as if to say,
‘no comment.’ As if two red-faced adults
in tears is as common as the polluted air
they breathe and keep reading about in
‘Time’ and ‘Newsweek,’ but are clueless
as to what to do about it. Is this why we’re
separating our recycling by glass, by plastic,
by paper? Or why we’re buying organic
produce at a place that smells like patchouli
and port-o-potties? I ask you. Pigeons scoot,
and finches hop, and cicadas shout and shed
themselves into loose approximations of what
we might have in a different time called heaven.

American Art – Part I of II: Tor Lundvall

Artist Statement: “I’ve been painting and drawing as far back as I remember. My childhood fascination with cuckoo clocks and dinosaurs led to several crayon drawings which I’ve recently rediscovered in my parent’s attic. My interest in art truly blossomed between 1987 and 1991 when I studied painting and drawing at The American University in Washington D.C.. Although AU had a smaller art program than most universities, the teachers were excellent. I learned how to utilize light, color, composition and learned how to work from life, or as they like to call it, “seeing”. This was a challenging and sometimes frustrating process, especially since I had been working strictly from my imagination up to that point. Although I resented the rigidness and close-mindedness of the academic world for several years afterwards, I eventually gained a profound respect and appreciation for what I had been taught. My imagination now had the backbone and foundation it needed to run free.
My paintings are centered around three basic elements – the landscape, memory and imagination. I usually start a painting from some event in nature. Once a basic surface is established, my creative instincts kick in and a new direction is taken. Nothing is ever planned in advance. Once the paint hits the canvas, figures and landscapes are gradually pulled out of the crude mess until there is finally a sense of resolution. I never paint from photographs which I consider to be a pointless and obvious method.
I exhibited my paintings at various galleries for about 13 years. Although showing my work was necessary in order to gain initial exposure, I found the experience to be ultimately unrewarding. Most of the galleries I’ve dealt with followed their own agendas, using stockbroker tactics to make as much money as possible. Little effort was devoted to promoting the work and the obligatory framing costs were never shared. This ‘gallery vs. artist’ conflict is ageless, however. Most galleries throughout history have been afraid of supporting genuine artists and are still content settling for mediocre commercialism.
My artwork has naturally evolved over the years, although the atmosphere remains relatively constant. I view each of my paintings as part of an unfolding story, although the story often takes unexpected twists and turns. I find it difficult describing my work to others and I have little patience for those who attempt to intellectually dissect art. I’m much more comfortable discussing the technical aspects of my work.
I paint exclusively in oils. There’s something about the feel of it and the smell of it that I love. I avoid using acrylics in spite of their faster drying speed. Although I occasionally use acrylics for drawing, I feel that oils ultimately have more life on the canvas.
Between 1991 and 1995, I utilized larger plains of color in my paintings with ambiguous figures drifting in and out of hazy landscapes. In late 1996, my canvases became increasingly more detailed and animated. The stark planes of the past were reintroduced a few years later, merging with the more fluid and detailed line of the present. My iconography is constantly changing as well, with the earlier, isolated figures giving way to more outlandish beings. Regardless of what I’m painting, the imagery will always remain secondary to the timeless laws of painting. The figures are merely passing through the mystery and silence of the landscape.”

Musings in Winter: Virginia Woolf

“They say the sky is the same everywhere. Travellers, the shipwrecked, exiles, and the dying draw comfort from the thought, and no doubt if you are of a mystical tendency, consolation, and even explanation, shower down from the unbroken surface.”

American Art – Part II of II: Jay J. Johnson

In the words of one writer, “Jay J. Johnson resides in America’s northeast and travels widely across the North American continent. His family ancestry includes close ties to the Maine woods, and the Atlantic seacoast of Massachusetts (where he grew up on a wave-bound peninsula). His knowledge of wildlife comes from traversing thousands of miles of American wilderness.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXIV

Musings in Winter:J. B. Priestley

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

Art for Winter – Part I of II: Marshall Jones (American, 19th C.)

Below – “Laundry”

A Poem for Today

“White Lobelia”
By Stephen Burt

Little megaphones,
we hang out in the garden center and gossip
with the petunias three seasons a year.
With leaves too small to resemble
thumbs or hands or hearts, too soft
for any parts
of our threadable stems to grow thorns,
we prefer to pretend we are horns,
cornets and alto sax, prepared to assemble
in studios and sightread any charts.
We are of course for sale
to generous homes. Some of us have become
almost overfamiliar with ornamental
cabbage, with the ins and outs of kale.
Others have lost our voice
in a painstaking effort to justify our existence
as a perennial second choice.
Like you, we dismiss whatever comes easiest
to us and overestimate what looks hard.
In our case that means we admire
our neighbors’ luxuriant spontaneities
and treat the most patient preparers with disregard.
We strive for contentment in our
hanging baskets once
we know we will not touch ground.
We tell ourselves
and one another that if you listen
with sufficient
generosity, you will be able
to hear our distinctive and natural sound.

Musings in Winter: Michael Crichton

“If nothing else, school teaches that there is an answer to every question; only in the real world do young people discover that many aspects of life are uncertain, mysterious, and even unknowable. If you have a chance to play in nature, if you are sprayed by a beetle, if the color of a butterfly’s wing comes off on your fingers, if you watch a caterpillar spin its cocoon– you come away with a sense of mystery and uncertainty. The more you watch, the more mysterious the natural world becomes, and the more you realize how little you know. Along with its beauty, you may also come to experience its fecundity, its wastefulness, aggressiveness, ruthlessness, parasitism, and its violence. These qualities are not well-conveyed in textbooks.”

Art for Winter – Part II of II: Lee Lufkin Kaula (American, 1865-1957)

Below – “Coreopsis and Larkspur”

Spanish Art – Deangel

Self-taught painter Deangel lives and works in Barcelona.

Musings in Winter: Carl Sagan

“Many religions have attempted to make statues of their gods very large, and the idea, I suppose, is to make us feel small. But if that’s their purpose, they can keep their paltry icons. We need only look up if we wish to feel small.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Road Trip”
By Vijay Seshyadri

I could complain. I’ve done it before.
I could explain. I could say, for instance, that
I’m sick of being slaughtered in my life’s mountain passes,
covering my own long retreat,
the rear guard of my own brutal defeat—
dysentery and frostbite and snipers,
the mules freezing to death,
blizzards whipping the famished fires until they expire, 
the pathetic mosquito notes of my horn . . .
But, instead, for once, I’m keeping quiet, and maybe tomorrow
or maybe the day after or maybe the day after that
I’m just going to drive away down the coast
and not come back.
I haven’t told anyone, and I won’t.
I won’t dim with words the radiance of my gesture.
And besides, the ones who care have guessed already.
Looking at them looking at me, I know they know
when they turn their backs I’ll go.
The secrets I was planning to floor them with?
They’re already packed in my trunk, in straw,
in a reinforced casket.
The bitter but herbal and medicinal truths I concocted
to revive them with?
Tomorrow or the day after or the day after that,
on the volcano beaches fringed with black sand
and heaped with tangled beds of kelp,
by the obsidian tide pools that cradle the ribbed limpet
and the rockbound star,
I’ll scatter those truths to the sea breezes,
and float the secrets on the waters that the moon
reels in and plays out,
reels in and plays out,
with a little votive candle burning on their casket,
and then I’ll just be there, in the sunset’s coppery sheen,
in the dawn pearled by discrete, oblong, intimate clouds
that move without desire or motive.
Look at the clouds. Look how close they are.

Musings in Winter: Dieter Braun

“Even if mankind can go on without them, a piece of our vibrantly diverse world dies along with each species.”

Turkish Art – Soner Cakmak

In the words of one writer, “Soner Çakmak was born in Sinop in 1976. He graduated from the Painting Department in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Marmara University in 2001. He has had several solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Turkey. He has received many awards. Currently, he continues to work in Istanbul.”

Musings in Winter: Rinsai Rossetti

“Pale sky, white land; like somewhere past the end of the world.”

A Third Poem for Today

By Nicole Callihan

Our paper house sat
on the banks of the red river
and though mother
wasn’t like other mothers
I was like other girls
trapped and lonely
and painting pictures
in the stars. I was slick
with old birth or early longing,
already halfway between
who I wanted to be and who I was.
Our floors were made of flame
but there was no wind
so we were as safe as anyone.
When spring came,
I walked for a very long time
up I-35, and at the end of the road,
I found a boy who placed earphones
onto my head and pumped opera
into my body. I can feel it still.
Underneath that treeless sky,
I was as changed as I would ever be.
Not even mother noticed.   

Musings in Winter: Thich Nhat Hanh

“A real love letter is made of insight, understanding, and compassion. Otherwise it’s not a love letter. A true love letter can produce a transformation in the other person, and therefore in the world. But before it produces a transformation in the other person, it has to produce a transformation within us. Some letters may take the whole of our lifetime to write.”

Greek Art – Christos Tsimaris

Artist Statement: “I usually like to paint portraits and figures, and regularly jump from representational to almost abstract, and from very disciplined and precise to very gestural, to almost messy.
I find that painting myself is a good way to use the studio and hone my skills between other works. I often spend endless hours in front of the mirror painting or drawing intensively myself, as I am, to quote Lucian Freud, ‘permanently available’.
Other times, I feel the need to become more abstract, and more intuitive, organising shape and colours with no specific aim. I am not trying to keep the two styles separate, nor am I trying to merge them, though both events can occasionally occur naturally. 
I tend to put multiple layers on my paintings, and quite often a painting is finished only because I stop working on it (although there is always a possibility that I will work on it again in the future). 
I welcome little accidents that can occur in the process, and try to use them to my advantage, sometimes even building the whole painting around them.
When I add a new layer, it is almost inevitable that I will scrape part of it off to reveal the previous layer, or even scrape the whole thing back. This process tends to reduce my pallet into grey muddy tones and sometimes demands more radical action such as rubbing raw pigment, cement powder, or other building materials like tile adhesive, onto the surface . This process gives me an instant dry surface which I can draw on, using a thick charcoal or a pallet knife. 
Quite often I use photographs that inspire me for some reason, but I won’t necessarily transfer the image directly to the canvas – they are merely the vessel that will initiate or ignite a painting, with the painting developing in to something independent of any emotional weight that may have triggered the initial reaction . My main aim is to explore how the painting is created in terms of structure, composition, colour and mark making, rather than focussing solely on what it represents.”

Musings in Winter: Germaine Greer

“Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark … In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

By Joseph O. Legaspi

Somewhere someone rises
far earlier than you before
the faintest glimmer blues
the darkest dark wakens
without alarm without body
roused by the nightingales
neighbor friend or stranger
who hasn’t seen his sunlit
children faces a cold sink
oh caffeinated sleepwalker
march daily industry with
necessity down one flight
then up two is heaven in
someone warm beside you

Musings in Winter: Rebecca Solnit

“The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.”

American Art – Part I of II: Scott Noel

In the words of one writer, “Scott Noel received his BFA from Washington University. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions in Philadelphia at the Gross McCleaf Gallery and at the More Gallery. His paintings are included in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Arkansas Art Center and the Woodmere Museum. Reviews of and articles on his work have appeared in Art in America and American Artist and his paintings have been reproduced in New American Paintings. Scott Noel teaches painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.”

Musings in Winter Joseph Wood Krutch

“The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed on one thing and one thing only.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“And the Sea”
By Ryan Frank

Once, I wanted to be Hemingway.
But so did Hemingway. That act is hard—
dumb facts decked out as art, and anyway,
who gets what they want? And then who cares?
What matters when the water at your feet
is running out without you? I grew my beard
and bought a little boat on credit, named
it after myself and painted all of it blue,
then put us out to sea. And when it’s calm
and when the sun is out, we disappear.
We’re gone. What else was I supposed to do?

Musings in Winter: Tom Robbins

“There are landscapes in which we feel above us not sky but space. Something larger, deeper than sky is sensed, is seen, although in such settings the sky itself is invariably immense. There is a place between the cerebrum and the stars where sky stops and space commences, and should we find ourselves on a particular prairie or mountaintop at a particular hour, our relationship with sky thins and loosens while our connection to space becomes solid as bone.”

American Art – Part II of II: Rebecca Litt

Artist Statement: “Leggy, pot-bellied women and bearded, slouching men inhabit rooftops and partially-enclosed vacant lots in a city that closely resembles Brooklyn. They hide under bubble wrap, construct creaky forts out of warped boards and orange construction fence, and work industriously to erect flimsy barriers. What they are hiding from is not exactly clear, but clinging to permeable barriers, such as plastic netting and incomplete fences, offers at best a false sense of security.
Like characters in a novel, the people in my paintings unquestioningly accept absurd or unlikely situations as normal. The settings follow directly from the characters’ emotions; the compositios are as spatial visualization of the emotional boundaries people construct as they navigate interpersonal relationships. My frequent consumption of fiction influences the way I think about art making. I want my paintings to have a novelistic, artificial quality, rather than be tied to fact and first-person perception in the manner of a documentary or a memoir. Thus, although there is a degree of naturalism in some of the details, the work depicts an invented, introspective world; a fictionalized autobiography loosely inspired by my own experiences.
I work mainly from my imagination, with the help of mirrors, studies from life, and photographs. I usually start by drawing improvisationally, letting the imagery evolve organically and spontaneously. The drawings suggest a loose narrative for the paintings, which together form a series of related vignettes about the same or similar characters. I often play around with negative and positive space, painstakingly painting imagery glimpsed through a construction fence square by square in order to preserve the brilliance of thinly-painted orange in the foreground.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXIII

Musings in Winter: Maya Angelou

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”


Art for Winter – Part I of II: Eastman Johnson (American, 1824-1906)

Below – “The Cradle Song”


A Poem for Today

“Some Things Don’t Make Any Sense at All”
By Judith Viorst

My mom says I’m her sugarplum.
My mom says I’m her lamb.
My mom says I’m completely perfect
Just the way I am.
My mom says I’m a super-special wonderful terrific little guy.
My mom just had another baby.


Musings in Winter: Vera Nazarian

“Sunrise paints the sky with pinks and the sunset with peaches. Cool to warm. So is the progression from childhood to old age.”



Art for Winter – Part II of II: Hugh Bolton Jones (American, 1848-1927)

Below – “Autumn Trees along a Stream”


Musings in Winter: Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan

“Even if we ourselves are not personally scandalized by the notion of other animals as close relatives, even if our age has accommodated to the idea, the passionate resistance of so many of us, in so many epochs and cultures, and by so many distinguished scholars, must say something important about us. What can we learn about ourselves from an apparent error so widespread, propagated by so many leading philosophers and scientists, both ancient and modern, with such assurance and self-satisfaction?
One of several possible answers: A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them–without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. With untroubled consciences, we can render whole species extinct–for our perceived short-term benefit, or even through simple carelessness. Their loss is of little import: Those beings, we tell ourselves, are not like us. An unbridgeable gap gas thus a practical role to play beyond the mere stroking of human egos. Darwin’s formulation of this answer was: ‘Animals whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equals.’”


A Second Poem for Today

“My Great Great Etc. Uncle Patrick Henry”
By James Tate

There’s a fortune to be made in just about everything
in this country, somebody’s father had to invent
everything—baby food, tractors, rat poisoning.
My family’s obviously done nothing since the beginning
of time. They invented poverty and bad taste
and getting by and taking it from the boss.
O my mother goes around chewing her nails and
spitting them in a jar: You shouldn’t be ashamed
of yourself she says, think of your family.
My family I say what have they ever done but
paint by numbers the most absurd and disgusting scenes
of plastic squalor and human degradation.
Well then think of your great great etc. Uncle
Patrick Henry.


Argentinean Art – Mercedes Farina

Painter Mercedes Farina (born 1976) is a graduate of the Rogelio Yrurtia Fine Arts Municipal School.

Mercedes Farina

Mercedes Farina

Mercedes Farina

Mercedes Farina

Mercedes Farina

Mercedes Farina

Musings in Winter: Wallace Stegner

“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.”


A Third Poem for Today

“Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]”
By Frank O’Hara

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up


Musings in Winter: Tammaya Guru

“I have a cottage in a dense forest and the animals of the forest are members of my cottage.”


Chinese Art – Li Chengzhong

In the words of one writer, “Mr. Li Chengzhong was born in July, 1945 in the city of Qujing in the province of Yunnan. He has been an artist for 35 years. He is a member of the China Art Association, a member of China Artist Association, a director in Yunnan Art Association, a member of Yunnan Artist Association, an honorary chairman of city of Qujing Artist Association, a registered Second Level artist in China and a distinguished guest professor in the art school of Qujing in Yunnan. Also, he was once the head of this art school and later became a chairman there. He also served as the president of the Yunnan Province Artists Association.”







Musings in Winter: Victor Hugo

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”


French Art – Diane Garces de Marcilla

Painter Diane Garces de Marcilla lives and works in Toulouse.

Diane Garces de Marcilla

Diane Garces de Marcilla

Diane Garces de Marcilla

Diane Garces de Marcilla

Diane Garces de Marcilla

Diane Garces de Marcilla

Musings in Winter: Aleksandar Hemon

“Home is where somebody notices when you are no longer there.”


American Art – Part I of II: Joshua Flint

In the words of one writer, “Joshua Flint grew up across the West Coast from the wet Pacific Northwest to the dry Southwest. From an early age he filled his days with playing outdoors and drawing. During these formative years he lived near Santa Fe, NM and in Jackson Hole, WY. These two strong art communities left an indelible impression about the art world beyond his early attempts at drawing and painting. As he grew older he realized he should pursue an art education not knowing what would be the most fitting creative path. He attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and studied Illustration, but naturally gravitated towards Fine Art for its more personal voice. After graduation, he looked to enter the entertainment industry, however, it was his paintings that started to bring him recognition. Joshua then moved back to the Pacific Northwest to pursue Fine Art, and made Portland, Oregon his home
He has studied under preeminent artists across the country, which led him to China for intensive workshops. His exhibitions have been up and down the West Coast from Seattle, WA to Laguna Beach, CA., and most recently in Charleston, SC and Santa Fe, NM. His work has garnered national awards and has been featured in major publications. As an active member in his local creative community, he donates his time and art for various causes. Joshua is an accomplished teacher at the undergrad level and runs his own painting workshops.”








A Fourth Poem for Today

“It Was Like This: You Were Happy”
By Jane Hirshfield

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness—
between you, there is nothing to forgive—
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.


Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“He lay on his back in his blankets and looked our where the quartermoon lay cocked over the heel of the mountains. In the false blue dawn the Pleiades seemed to be rising up into the darkness above the world and dragging all the stars away, the great diamond of Orion and Cepella and the signature of Cassiopeia all rising up through the phosphorous dark like a sea-net. He lay a long time listening to the others breathing in their sleep while he contemplated the wildness about him, the wildness within.”


American Art – Part II of II: Scott Mattlin

In the words of one writer, “Scott Mattlin is an artist with a deep and passionate appreciation for beauty in the natural world and within the human spirit. This enthusiastic and sensitive joy is reflected strongly in his artwork. His work is executed in a vibrant, impressionistic style, which – while still retaining its representational roots, incorporates abstract elements, resulting in a uniquely contemporary union. Mattlin paints the private world to which he bears witness. Whether it be an intimate moment captured between mother and child, a glimpse into the solitary reverie of a ballet dancer, or a private view into that sacred world of the timeless nude … Scott’s choice of subject matter, his masterful ability for extemporaneous composition, and his brilliant talent for the juxtaposition of light and shadow – all evoke a powerful old world feel, yet with an irresistible modern edge.”







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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXII

Musings in Winter: E.B. White

“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.”


Art for Winter – Part I of II: Wilson Henry Irvine (American, 1869-1936)

Below – “A Day in March”


A Poem for Today

By Marilyn Nelson

Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.

For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
spreading their
inseparable lives
from equator to pole.

My hand, my arm,
make sweeping circles.
Dust climbs the ladder of light.
For this infernal, endless chore,
for these eternal seeds of rain:
Thank you. For dust.


Art for Winter – Part II of II: Alexander Robertson James

Below – “Woodstock Street, Woodstock, NH”


Musings in Winter:George Moore

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”


A Second Poem for Today

“My House, I Say”
By Robert Louis Stevenson

My house, I say. But hark to the sunny doves
That make my roof the arena of their loves,
That gyre about the gable all day long
And fill the chimneys with their murmurous song:
Our house, they say; and mine, the cat declares
And spreads his golden fleece upon the chairs;
And mine the dog, and rises stiff with wrath
If any alien foot profane the path.
So, too, the buck that trimmed my terraces,
Our whilom gardener, called the garden his;
Who now, deposed, surveys my plain abode
And his late kingdom, only from the road.


Musings in Winter: Hugo Hamilton

“Maybe your country is only a place you make up in your own mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it’s not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve been to. I’m not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don’t have to be like anyone else. I’m walking on the wall and nobody can stop me.”

Man with hiking equipment walking in mouton forest

Russian Art – Alexander Sheversky

In the words of one writer, ‘Striking a harmonic balance between classical composition and modern disposition an original oil painting by Sheversky speaks to an appreciation for the vocation to contemporary realism. Each canvas is stately and monumental, extolling the virtues of discipline and emotion styled by the foremost of his teachers – Rembrandt and Vermeer. The interplay of light and shadow and especially Sheversky’s inherent understanding of light bring a life to the painting that resonates and lives before the viewer. Whether it is a figurative study or a still life its own existence is captured by the emotive values of light itself that the artist exhibits, thus embodying the living, omnipresent nature of the subject. And so a Sheversky painting espouses a marriage of the meticulous detail of classical technique to that which is clean, modern, and conceptually crisp.”








A Third Poem for Today

“Exquisite Candidate”
By Denise Duhamel

I can promise you this: food in the White House
will change! No more granola, only fried eggs
flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!
Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!
Pigs will become the new symbol of glee,
displacing smiley faces and “Have A Nice Day.”
Car bumpers are my billboards, billboards my movie screens.
Nothing I can say can be used against me.
My life flashes in front of my face daily.
Here’s a snapshot of me as a baby. Then
marrying. My kids drink all their milk which helps the dairy industry.
A vote for me is not only a pat on the back for America!
A vote for me, my fellow Americans, is a vote for everyone like me!
If I were the type who made promises
I’d probably begin by saying: America,
relax! Buy big cars and tease your hair
as high as the Empire State Building.
Inch by inch, we’re buying the world’s sorrow.
Yeah, the world’s sorrow, that’s it!
The other side will have a lot to say about pork
but don’t believe it! Their graphs are sloppy coloring books.
We’re just fine—look at the way
everyone wants to speak English and live here!
Whatever you think of borders,
I am the only candidate to canoe over Niagara Falls
and live to photograph the Canadian side.
I’m the only Julliard graduate—
I will exhale beauty all across this great land
of pork rinds and gas stations and scientists working for cures,
of satellite dishes over Sparky’s Bar & Grill, the ease
of breakfast in the mornings, quiet peace of sleep at night.


Musings in Winter: Tiffany Madison

“When the Rule of Law disappears, we are ruled by the whims of men.”


Spanish Art – Part I of II: Miguel Castillo Onate

Painter Miguel Castillo Onate lives and works in Barcelona.







Musings in Winter: Dodie Smith

“Rose doesn’t like the flat country, but I always did – flat country seems to give the sky such a chance.”


Spanish Art – Part II of II: Joan Mateu Bagaria

Painter Joan Mateu Bavaria was born in Salt, Girona in 1976.

Below – “Sparks”; “Morning Has Broken”; “Journey To Ithaca”; “Calor”; “Interiors”; “Fulls & Fulles”; “Underground Stair.”








Musings in Winter: Catherynne M. Valente

“When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier; it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”


American Art – Part I of II: Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor earned a BFA from Brigham Young University in 2007.





Picture 041


Musings in Winter: Monica Dickens

“When I can’t ride anymore, I shall keep horses as long as I can hobble around with a bucket and a wheelbarrow. When I can’t hobble, I shall roll my wheelchair out to the fence of the field where my horses graze and watch them.
Whether by wheelbarrow or wheelchair, I will do likewise to keep alive-as long as I can do as best I can-my connection with horses.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

“Home is so Sad”
By Philip Larkin

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.


Musings in Winter: Dejan Stojakovic

“There is another alphabet, whispering from every leaf, singing from every river, shimmering from every sky.”


American Art – Part II of II: Korin Faught

In the words of one writer, “Korin Faught was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1981 and raised in Colorado. She received her BFA from Art Center College of Design in 2004. Faught finds inspiration in mid-century modern design, fashion, and white on white. Her work has been exhibited at numerous galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle, including Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Copro Nason, Gallery Nucleus, The Shooting Gallery and Aidan Savoy Gallery.”









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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXI

Musings in Winter: Gary Snyder

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”


Art for Winter – Part I of III: Sylvester Phelps Hodgdon (1830-1906)

Below – “Park Street in Winter, Boston”


A Poem for Today

“9773 Comanche Ave.”
By David Trinidad

In color photographs, my childhood house looks
fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim

squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
Whose dream was this confection?
This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?

The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
The Avon Lady treks door to door.

Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
squinting in California sunlight,
striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.

I sit in the backyard (this picture’s black-and-white),
my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
each palm tree and round “granite” house.

Half a century later, I barely recognize it
when I search the address on Google Maps
and, via “Street view,” find myself face to face—

foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted
a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
one of the windows. I can almost see what’s inside.


Art for Winter – Part II of III: Edward Hopper (American, 1882-1967)

Below – “Farm House at Essex”


Musings in Winter: Jean Cocteau

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”


Art for Winter – Part III of III: William S. Horton (American, 1865-1936)

Below – “Sun in the Mountains, Gstaad”


A Second Poem for Today

“At Lumen-Empty Monastery, Visiting the Hermitage of Master Jung, My Departed Friend”
By Meng Hao-jan

The blue-lotus roof standing beside a pond,
White-Horse Creek tumbling through forests,

and my old friend some strange thing now.
A lingering visitor, alone and grief-stricken

after graveside rites among pines, I return,
Looking for your sitting-mat spread on rock.

Bamboo that seems always my own thoughts:
It keeps fluttering here at your thatch hut.


Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“‘One never reaches home,’ she said. ‘But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.’”


British Art – Adam Barsby

In the words of one writer, “Adam Barsby was born in Leicester in 1969. After graduating in Illustration at The Kent Institute of Art and Design with a first class honours degree in 1992, he began his artistic career as a freelance illustrator. At the same time he began working in galleries in and around London. This is where he saw painting and fine art as a vehicle not only to successfully finance himself, but as a means to express his creativity.
Since turning fully professional in 1996, Adam has been awarded a number of accolades which include Best Up and Coming Artist 1999, Best Selling Artist of the Year 2000, and no less than three nominations for Best Published Artist.
For the last two years however, Adam has sought to redefine his style. Figurative work has enabled him to express his ideas about love and our journey through life. Landscapes, Cityscapes and Seascapes are also common themes that help express his love for the world around him.”








A Third Poem for Today

By Naomi Shihab Nye

These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips

These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares

These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out

This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky

This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it

The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world


Musings in Winter: Isaac Asimov

“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.”


German Art – Caroline Caprice de Melo

In the words of critic Elena Rempel, “This name appropriately characterises the essentials of the works of Melo: They come from her deepest inside and offer to the viewer an amount from astonishing and original approaches of situations, people and moods.”







A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Cabbage”
By Ruth Stone

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter’s painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.

Below – Mary James: “The Cabbage”


Musings in Winter: Kahlil Gibran

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”


Taiwanese Art – Hsin Yao Tseng

In the words of one writer, “Hsin-Yao Tseng was born in Taipei Taiwan in 1986. He was born to be an artist. At the age of ten, he began painting in watercolors, as well as other mediums. This activity at such an early age was self-inspired and self-taught. It gave Hsin-Yao insights into the foundation he would need to excel in producing work to the standards he expected.
He received his B.F.A of Fine Art Painting from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2009. The subjects he chooses to explore include landscapes, the figure and still-life using bright color and expressive brush-strokes. The word “explore” is chosen purposely to describe Hsin-Yao’s artistic drive and evolution as a fine artist. He will experiment with technique using his medium to accentuate the intrinsic personality of his subjects and themes. An urban scene will be expressed in a more organic, edgey manner causing him to use his medium in a bit more aggressive and spontaneous fashion, while painting figure requires a more gentle and cautious hand.”








A Fifth Poem for Today

“On the Disadvantages of Central Heating”
By Amy Clampitt

cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod
stove-warmed flatiron slid under
the covers, mornings a damascene-
sealed bizarrerie of fernwork
decades ago now

waking in northwest London, tea
brought up steaming, a Peak Frean
biscuit alongside to be nibbled
as blue gas leaps up singing
decades ago now

damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung
habitat of bronchitis, of long
hot soaks in the bathtub, of nothing
quite drying out till next summer:
delicious to think of

hassocks pulled in close, toasting-
forks held to coal-glow, strong-minded
small boys and big eager sheepdogs
muscling in on bookish profundities
now quite forgotten

the farmhouse long sold, old friends
dead or lost track of, what’s salvaged
is this vivid diminuendo, unfogged
by mere affect, the perishing residue
of pure sensation


Musings in Winter: George Carlin

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ”

Carlin copy

American Art – Part I of II: Charles Hopkinson

In the words of one writer, “A highly successful portrait painter with such elite clients as President Calvin Coolidge and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Charles Hopkinson was acclaimed by Time Magazine in 1948 as “The Dean of U.S. Portraitists.” His success was evident early on when he received his training at some of the most prestigious local and foreign institutions. Born and raised in Cambridge, Hopkinson was a Harvard graduate who went on to study at the Art Students League in New York and at the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1897, he received his first portrait commission to paint the then infant, E. E. Cummings. Later commissions resulted from the interest of his friends and neighbors, as well as from his Harvard connection, including a series of 45 portraits of Harvard presidents. Between the years of 1920 and 1950, Hopkinson went on to complete over 350 commissioned portraits.”

Below – “Harriot Drawing”; “Ladies on the Lawn”; “Colorful Fields”; “Woman with White Scarf”; “View from the Porch, Manchester”; “Huckleberries, Naushon, MA.”







A Sixth Poem for Today

By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.


Musings in Winter: Ptolemy

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.”


American Art – Part Ii of II: Aldro T. Hibbard

In the words of one writer, “Aldro Hibbard, like his namesake, 16th century Italian artist-naturalist Ulysses Aldrovandi, found enough in nature for a lifetime of contemplation and study. Trained at the Boston Museum School, Hibbard carried forth the tenets of traditional academic art into the 20th century. Upon his return to Boston from a whirlwind tour of Europe, Hibbard painted several fine winter landscapes, including Winter Days, which was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts in 1920. He exhibited widely across the U.S. and launched himself in the Boston art world with a one-man exhibition at the Boston Art Club in 1916. Three years later, a show of his winter scenes at the Guild of Boston Artists received glowing reviews.”

Below –  “Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta, Canada”; “Vermont Valley in Winter”; “Windswept Cypress, Carmel, California”; “Winter Waterfall”; “Snowy Landscape”; “Winter Thaw.”







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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXX

Musings in Winter: Jawaharlal Nehru

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Winter Lights

A Poem for Today

“The Tree Sparrows”
By Joseph O. Legaspi

We suffer through blinding equatorial heat,
refusing to unfold the suspended bamboo shade 
nested by a pair of hardworking, cheerless sparrows.
We’ve watched them fly in-and-out of their double
entryways, dried grass, twigs clamped in their beaks.
They skip, nestle in their woodsy tunnel punctured
with light, we presume, not total darkness, their eggs
aglow like lunar orbs. What is a home? How easily 
it can be destroyed: the untying of traditional ropes,
pull, the scroll-unraveling. For want of a sweltering
living room to be thrown into relief by shadow.

The sunning couple perch open-winged, tube lofty
as in Aristophanes’ city of birds, home made sturdy
by creature logic and faith that it will all remain afloat.


Musings in Winter: Katherine S. White

“From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens – the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind’s eye.”


Art for Winter – Part I of II: Hermann Herzog (American, 1832-1932)

Below – “A Walk along a Path at Sunset”;


Musings in Winter: Pascal Mercier

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”


A Second Poem for Today

“To My Mother”
By Robert Louis Stevenson

You too, my mother, read my rhymes
For love of unforgotten times,
And you may chance to hear once more
The little feet along the floor.


Musings in Winter: Lissa Warren

“All those windows, and not a cat in them. All that light to bask in, wasted.”


Art for Winter – Part II of II: Laura Coombs Hills (American, 1859-1952)

Below – “Lilies and Roses”


Chinese Art – Jiang Enlian

In the words of one writer, “Jiang Enlian was born in Guangzhou in 1949. She is now member of the Guangdong Provincial Fine Arts Association, member of the Guangdong Provincial Serial Pictorial Association, deputy leader of the Guangzhou Xiang Xue (Scent Snow) Calligraphy and Painting Society and a committee member of the Guangzhou Poetry Society.
Jiang Enlian is a graduate of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. She is good at elaborate, figure painting as well as landscapes and serial pictures. Her works are light and delicate in color, exquisite in style, and rich in poetic flavor, mirroring her unique personality. Many of her masterpieces have been displayed and awarded in provincial and national art exhibitions as well as exhibitions abroad. In October of 1991, Jiang Enlian held a personal exhibition at Guangdong Art Gallery, where she earned high praises for her work. The exhibition was also filmed and made into a special TV feature which was broadcasted a number of times. In addition to TV coverage, her talent at painting also won her attention from newspapers, magazines and journals. Her name has been listed in “Dictionary of Modern Chinese Painters.”







George Carlin – Part II of II (Part I yesterday)

George Carlin (1937-2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, author, recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (2008), and National Treasure.

Some quotes from the work of George Carlin:

“Everyone smiles in the same language.”
“So I say, ‘Live and let live.’ That’s my motto. ‘Live and let live.’ And anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s always worked in our family.”
“No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.”
“Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.
No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.”
“People can’t seem to get it through their heads that there is never any healing or closure. Ever. There is only a short pause before the next ‘horrifying’ event. People forget there is such a thing as memory, and that when a wound “heals” it leaves a permanent scar that never goes away, but merely fades a little. What really ought to be said after one of these so-called tragedies is, ‘Let the scarring begin.’”
“Conservatives want live babies so they can train them to be dead soldiers.”
“Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.”
“‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that ‘I do’ is the longest sentence?”
“You show me a lazy prick who’s lying in bed all day, watching TV, only occasionally getting up to piss, and I’ll show you a guy who’s not causing any trouble.”
“The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.”
“I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.”
“I figured out years ago that the human species is totally fucked and has been for a long time. I also know that the sick, media-consumer culture in America continues to make this so-called problem worse. But the trick, folks, is not to give a fuck. Like me. I really don’t care. I stopped worrying about all this temporal bullshit a long time ago. It’s meaningless.”
“There are women named Faith, Hope, Joy, and Prudence. Why not Despair, Guilt, Rage, and Grief? It seems only right. ‘Tom, I’d like you to meet the girl of my dreams, Tragedy.’ These days, Trajedi.”
“I am a personal optimist but a skeptic about all else. What may sound to some like anger is really nothing more than sympathetic contempt. I view my species with a combination of wonder and pity, and I root for its destruction. And please don’t confuse my point of view with cynicism; the real cynics are the ones who tell you everything’s gonna be all right.”
“There’s a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”


Musings in Winter: E. E. Cummings

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.”


A Third Poem for Today

“A Home in the Country”
By James Allen Hall

Down on Comegys Road, two miles
from the Rifle Club that meets Wednesdays,
summer to fall, firing into a blackness
they call night but I know is a body,
in unpaved Kennedyville, not far
from the Bight, on five acres of green
organic farm, next to the algaed pond
that yields the best fishing in all of Kent County
(my neighbor says it is a lingering death I deal
the trout when he sees me throw the small
bodies back), down where the commonest
cars are tractors and hayfetchers, and men
wave as they pass, briefly bowing a gentleman’s
straw hat, you can find the wood cabin
where I live, infested with stink bugs. 
Every day, my boyfriend asks the murder count,
making light of my hatred. Even reading I sit,
swatter poised on the couch’s arm,
all the windows closed, fans off, the whole house
listening for the thwat of stink alighting
smartly on sun-warmed glass, their soft-backed
geometric carapaces calling to be stopped. 
I did not grow up like this, here
on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but I am most
at home now I live with something inside to kill. 


Musings in Winter: Hunter S. Thompson

“All around us were people I had spent ten years avoiding–shapeless women in wool bathing suits, dull-eyed men with hairless legs and self-conscious laughs, all Americans, all fearsomely alike. These people should be kept at home, I thought; lock them in the basement of some goddamn Elks Club and keep them pacified with erotic movies; if they want a vacation, show them a foreign art film; and if they still aren’t satisfied, send them into the wilderness and run them with vicious dogs.”


Armenian Art – Arthur Hovhannisyan

Arthur Hovhannisyan is a graduate of the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Painting.








Musings in Winter: Jacquetta Hawkes

“In the sheltered heart of the clumps last year’s foliage still clings to the lower branches,  tatters of orange that mutter with the passage of the wind, the talk of old women warning the green generation of what they, too, must come to when the sap runs back.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

“Where You Live”
By Jonathan Wells

Imagine you are coming home. Your front
steps are scattered with fresh petals or no
they are not there and you return in your
regular shoes from your regular leather chair.
The feeling is the same. The petals are just
as fine, the colors just as blithe and were placed
or unplaced by the same loving hand
or troubled hand or loving troubled hands.
You walk into the foyer and kiss her cheek
or the air that was merely there when she left
the room. Your kiss is just as eager or as meek,
your lips just as ready to speak as yesterday.
The difference is immense and thin.
The difference is the house you’re living in.


Musings in Winter: Harold Edmund Stearns

“Something must be radically wrong with a culture and a civilisation when its youth begins to desert it. Youth is the natural time for revolt, for experiment, for a generous idealism that is eager for action. Any civilisation which has the wisdom of self-preservation will allow a certain margin of freedom for the expression of this youthful mood. But the plain, unpalatable fact is that in America today that margin of freedom has been reduced to the vanishing point. Rebellious youth is not wanted here. In our environment there is nothing to challenge our young men; there is no flexibility, no colour, no possibility for adventure, no chance to shape events more generously than is permitted under the rules of highly organised looting. All our institutional life combines for the common purpose of blackjacking our youth into the acceptance of the status quo; and not acceptance of it merely, but rather its glorification.”


French Art – Robin Goldring

Painter Robin Goldring lives and works in Paris.








Musings in Winter: Johnn Muir

“Nature chose for a tool, not the earthquake or lightning to rend and split asunder, not the stormy torrent or eroding rain, but the tender snow-flowers noiselessly falling through unnumbered centuries.”

Below – Muir Glacier


A Fifth Poem for Today

“Another of the Happiness Poems”
By Peter Cooley

It’s not that we’re not dying.
Everything is dying.
We hear these rumors of the planet’s end
none of us will be around to watch.
It’s not that we’re not ugly.
We’re ugly.
Look at your feet, now that your shoes are off.
You could be a duck,
no, duck-billed platypus,
your feet distraction from your ugly nose.
It’s not that we’re not traveling,
we’re traveling.
But it’s not the broadback Mediterranean
carrying us against the world’s current.
It’s the imagined sea, imagined street,
the winged breakers, the waters we confuse with sky
willingly, so someone out there asks
are you flying or swimming?
That someone envies mortal happiness
like everyone on the other side, the dead
who stand in watch, who would give up their bliss,
their low tide eternity rippleless
for one day back here, alive again with us.
They know the sea and sky I’m walking on
or swimming, flying, they know it’s none of these,
this dancing-standing-still, this turning, turning,
these constant transformations of the wind
I can bring down by singing to myself,
the newborn mornings, these continuals—


British Art – Simon Davis

In the words of one writer, “Simon was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and studied illustration and graphic design at Warwickshire College and Swindon School of Art.”








A Sixth Poem for Today

“For Sale”
By Margo Taft Stever

My childhood house is stripped,
bared, open to the public.
The for-sale sign impales

the front pasture, grass
is cut and prim, no trimmings
left to save.

Women in sable parade
through halls and men in
tailored suits talk about

dimensions. They don’t know
lizards present themselves
on the basement stairs or worms

dapple pears in the orchard.
Doors of rabbit hutches
hang from hinges and rust

scratches on rust in wind, noise
unheard by workers who
remodel the old farmhouse

into an Italian villa painted peach.
Death can empty a house of shoes
worn and new, of children

who climbed the grandfather
trees, impressing outlines like fossils
littering the banks of the creek.


Musings in Winter: Jeffrey Eugenides

“Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we’ve all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.”

Integrated Assembly Line 1913


American Art – Liz Haywood-Sullivan: Part I of II

In the words of one writer, “Based in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, PSA, is a representational artist working in pastel.”

Below – “Midsummer, Boston”; “Sunset Triptych”; “Riverside Landing”; “Reeds, Ripples and Reflections”; “Mt. Washington from Long Island, ME”; “Moving Complements.”







A Seventh Poem for Today

“A Carpapalooza: An American Anthem”
By Regie Cabico

I can write about colonialism, Disney, riots 
& inoculations. Centuries of American history 
before me: Pocahontas’ bust, Rosa Parks 
arrest records, Elvis Presley meeting Nixon 
but with only an hour to go before recording 
a poem at The National Archives, I’m in 
Starbucks obsessed and struggling 
with the queerest piece of literature 
in the Archives- Eat The Carp. The Bureau 
of Fisheries urges Americans to Eat The Carp. 
This resilient variety of fish that lolled the tea 
gardens of Japan & became the staple 
for gefilte to Jews is 43 million pounds strong 
at the turn of the 20th century. We were coaxed 
to eat carp croquettes, jelly and caviar. Before 
there were Mcnuggets, there was the Carp.
These over-sized gold fish that multiplied 
from Carolina to California with the force 
of horseless carriages pounding through 
our streams. How do I pay homage to this 
tenacious piece of protein that has fortified 
our American bellies. For weeks, I have labored 
over composing haikus to the Carp, Neruda-like 
odes to the Carp. Howl Allen Ginsberg-style 
to the Carp. Sketch a Jackson Pollock splatter 
of concrete poetry all over our marbled 
Carp-ital City to the Carp. I even wanted to write 
something personally ethnic like a Filipino riddle 
to the Carp. Ultimately, this is a Carpe Diem poem 
to the Carp. So I say to you live and roam free 
as the Carp. Seize the Carp! Roast the Carp 
till our appetites are lit into star spangled flames 
leading us into a new dawn of Omega 3’s 
& prosperity. Oh Lord, give me Carp & the power 
to forge and be prolific as Carp. Though I can’t pay 
my student loans & while I haven’t found a husband 
on Plenty of Fish, Scruff, Tinder & OK Cupid. I am 
Ok Carp, Gung Ho Carp, Play The Carp, Watch me 
star in ‘Les Carpelables,’ the musical: “Carp On High, 
Hear My Prayer…” Carplohoma:  “Carplohoma 
where the carp come sweeping through the plains…”   
Give me Carp crispy-fried in Crisco & well done! 
Oh Lord, serve me a sweltering sausage of Carp 
smeared with a smack of sriracha, a kiss of mayo 
& mustard on a whole wheat bun.


Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”


American Art – Liz Haywood-Sullivan: Part II of II

In the words of one writer, “After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1978 with a degree in Environmental Design, she worked as an industrial designer, exhibit designer, and professional illustrator prior to spending 11 years operating Haywood & Sullivan, Inc., a full-service graphic design business with her husband. In 1996 she decided to leave graphic design to pursue what she describes as a ‘love affair’ with pastels through a full-time art career.”

Below – “Passage to the Beach”; “Solstice”; “Rexhame Cedar”; “On the Kresque Rocks”; “River Road, Chatham”; “Harbor Dusk.”







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From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXIX

Musings in Winter: Willa Cather

“The pale, cold light of the winter sunset did not beautify – it was like the light of truth itself. When the smoky clouds hung low in the west and the red sun went down behind them, leaving a pink flush on the snowy roofs and the blue drifts, then the wind sprang up afresh, with a kind of bitter song, as if it said” “This is reality, whether you like it or not. All those frivolities of summer, the light and shadow, the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies, and this is what was underneath. This is the truth.” It was as if we were being punished for loving the loveliness of summer.”


A Poem for Today

“A Daughter of Eve”
By Christina Rossetti

A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It’s winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warm’d sweet to-orrow:
Stripp’d bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow.

Below – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Portrait of Christina Rossetti”


Art for Winter – Part I of II: Arthur M. Hazard (American, 1872-1930)

Below – “Summertime, Gloucester, Massachusetts”


Musings in Winter: Guy de Maupassant

“It was one of those bitter mornings when the whole of nature is shiny, brittle, and hard, like crystal. The trees, decked out in frost, seem to have sweated ice; the earth resounds beneath one’s feet; the tiniest sounds carry a long way in the dry air; the blue sky is bright as a mirror, and the sun moves through space in icy brilliance, casting on the frozen world rays which bestow no warmth upon anything.”


Art for Winter – Part I of II: Mary Brewster Hazelton (American, 1868-1953)

Below – “Reverie”


George Carlin – Part I of II (Part II tomorrow)

George Carlin (1937-2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, author, recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (2008), and National Treasure.

Some quotes from the work of George Carlin:

“I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
“If it requires a uniform, it’s a worthless endeavor.”
“Have you noticed that most of the women who are against abortion are women you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place? There’s such balance in nature.”
“Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.’”
“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!
But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”
“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
“We’re so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fuckin’ planet? . . . And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin’ great. It’s been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn’t goin’ anywhere, folks. We are! We’re goin’ away. Pack your shit, we’re goin’ away. And we won’t leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we’ll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake.”
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.”
“I do this real moron thing, and it’s called thinking. And apparently I’m not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.”
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”
“I’ve begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, and a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to ‘God’ are all answered at about the same 50% rate.”
“Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” “When you’re born into this world, you’re given a ticket to the freak show. If you’re born in America you get a front row seat.”


Musings in Winter: Anthony Liccione

“I don’t know what’s worse by number in America, the vacant houses standing, or the homeless people falling into them.”


A Second Poem for Today

“The Street of Broken Dreams”
By Minnie Bruce Pratt

The dog lunged at me and choked on its chain
guarding a house on the street of broken dreams.
What does it take to be safe? A sun-porch window
barred shut with a wood-spooled bed frame. Fradon
lock store down the block, a giant curlicue key
advertising sleep all night, sweet dreams. A bumble-
bee in the clover fumbling to find its damp-dirt home.

No way to tell who owns my neighborhood homes
until the for-sale-by-bank signs grow overnight,
and of course there’s the bank at James and Lodi
with the blue light, CHASE, that stays on 24/7.
On my street some people harrow a vacant lot,
green turned under into small rows, they harvest
weathered rocks and pile those up in the corner.
In another city, some foreclosed people got so angry
the big finance company had to hide its sign, AIG.
The people were so angry. That makes me feel more
safe, the people come out of their houses to shout:

“We demand.” Not rabble and rabid, not shadow, not terror,
the neighbors stand and say: “The world is ours, ours, ours.”


British Art – Jake Wood-Evans

In the words of one writer, “Mixing the two worlds of classical and contemporary art, Jake’s oil paintings range from small, sensitive studies to large scale, epic canvasses. With his loose, instinctive use of paint he creates dark, ethereal works which capture imaginations, and provoke emotions, whilst at the same time being both unsettling and beautiful.”

Jake Wood-Evans

Jake Wood-Evans

Jake Wood-Evans

Jake Wood-Evans

Jake Wood-Evans

Jake Wood-Evans

Musings in Winter: Ruth Stout

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you …..  In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”


A Third Poem for Today

“A Few Surprising Turns”
By Ira Sadoff

A few surprising turns follow us everywhere.
I was shopping for something to replace
what I once felt. Weren’t there buildings there
where we once lived, fully furnished
and looking out on the sea? Didn’t we distill
from neighbors the necessary codes
and gestures? At the core we were all traipse
and meander, governed by fill in the blank.
But it was here, the ramshackle Cape Cod
with rattling shutters eaten away
then revived, mended and painted over.
It takes just a scent of sea spray
to bring back the once was: skimpy,
the bikini, the beach, the conversation,
the veil of summer, skimpy the engine
that chugs toward love, skimpy the cover
of the universe. Thanks to this fragrance
we can sit under our favorite cedar,
or picture the old dreaded barber shop.
Now I want my hair touched, and my cheek.
I want the salt rubbed out with a handkerchief.


Musings in Winter: David Goodis

“Winter was gray and mean upon the city and every night was a package of cold bleak hours, like the hours in a cell that had no door.”


Iranian Art – Iman Maleki

In the words of one writer, “Iman Maleki paintings are known for its realistic touch that contributes to the line of photo-realistic paintings. Iman is an Iranian artist who was born on 1976 in Tehran. During his childhood days, he showed amazing interest on art. He started learning painting at the age of 15 under the great realist painter Morteza Katouzian.
He completed his graduation in Graphic Design from the Tehran Art university. He established his own studio  named ARA painting studio and started to teach painting. Iman participated in different realistic exhibitions and received William Bouguereau award in 2005.”







Musings in Winter: Donna Lynn Hope

“Joy – in the fall, winter, and always in the mountains where people are few, wildlife is abundant and there is peace in the quiet.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

“Our House”
By Sophie Cabot Black

As the leaves turn their backs on us
And the lilac gives over to dusk, nothing
Is ever certain, not even the house, stubborn
In twilight as it outlasts the grove
It was wrestled from. Those left behind,
The oak and ancient elm, lean against each other
As if in consent. Out of dirt, out of
Some small mistake, comes the seedling;
It too has learned to watch, as we walk in and out
Of what wilderness was, and will again become,
As we enter our home, the way we enter love
Returning from elsewhere to call out
Each other’s names, pulling the door closed behind us.


German Art – Christian Schoeler

Painter Christian Schoeler lives and works in Dusseldorf.









Musings in Winter: Patricia Hampl

“The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty.   It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in a milky haze, making everything quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn.”


A Fifth Poem for Today

“Crooked as a Dog’s Hind Leg”
By Melissa Range

Yanking my lank hair into dog-ears,
my granny frowned at my cowlick’s
revolt against the comb, my part
looking like a dog’s shank
no matter what she did, crooked
as the dogtrot path
out the mountain county I left
with no ambitions to return,
rover-minded as my no-count granddaddy, crooking
down switchbacks that crack the earth
like the hard set of the mouth
women are born with where I’m from.
Their faces have a hundred ways to say
“Don’t go off,” “Your place is here,”
“Why won’t you settle down?”—
and I ignored them all like I was one
of their ingrate sons (jobless, thankless,
drugged up, petted to death), meandering
like a scapegrace in a ballad,
as a woman with no children likes to do,
as a woman with crooked roots knows she can.
“When you coming home?” my granny
would ask when I called, meaning “to visit”
but meaning more “to stay,”
and how could I tell her
that the creeks crisscrossing
our tumbledown ridges
are ropes trying to pull my heart straight
when it’s a crooked muscle,
its blood crashing in circles?
Why should I tell her
that since I was a mop-headed infant
and leapt out of my baby bed,
I’ve been bent on skipping
the country, glad as a chained-up hound
until I slipped my rigging?
What could I say but “I’ll be home Christmas,”
what could I hear but “That’s a long time,”
what could I do but bless
the crooked teeth in my head
and dog the roads that lead all ways
but one?


Italian Art – Elena Arcangeli

In the words of one writer, “Elena Arcangeli, born in Florence in 1972, graduated from the high school for visual arts in 1991. After studying graphic arts for a period and working in decorative painting, Ms Arcangeli enrolled in The Florence Academy of Art in 1994 and completed the painting program in 1998.”








Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“Winter gold: the sparrow’s footprints in the snow.”


American Art – Bonnie Sklarski

Bonnie Sklarski earned a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Brooklyn College.







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