Sentient in Seattle – 22 April 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 22 April 1873 – Ellen Glasgow, an American novelist.

Some quotes from the work of Ellen Glasgow:

“Human nature. I don’t like human nature, but I do like human beings.”
“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.”
“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.”
“Most women want their youth back again; but I wouldn’t have mine back at any price. The worst years of my life are behind me, and my best ones ahead.”
“Why do all of us, every last one, have to go through hell to find out what we really want?”
“But there is, I have learned, no permanent escape from the past. It may be an unrecognized law of our nature that we should be drawn back, inevitably, to the place where we have suffered most.”
“In the past few years, I have made a thrilling discovery … that until one is over sixty, one can never really learn the secret of living. One can then begin to live, not simply with the intense part of oneself, but with one’s entire being.”

Art for Spring – Part I of II: Jos Diazdel (Spanish, contemporary)

Below – “Minotauro”; “Menga”; “Cleopatra”

For Your Information: 22 April is Earth Day.

Below – The Earth Day Flag.

Art for Spring – Part II of II: Robert Deyber ( American, contemporary)

Below – “Love and Hate Are Two Horns on the Same Goat II”; “The Day He Met His Match III”; “Fish and Chips”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 22 April 1995 – Jane Kenyon, an American poet.

“The Suitor”
by Jane Kenyon

We lie back to back. Curtains
lift and fall,
like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder;
they show their light undersides,
turning all at once
like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling
has been coming closer, stopping
for short visits, like a timid suitor.

This Date in Art History: Died 22 April 1929 – Henry Lerolle, a French painter.

Below – “The Organ Rehearsal”; “The Keeper of the Sheep”; “The Harvesters”; “Farmers in the Field”; “The Long Walk”; “A Lady at Her Toilette.”

Remembering a Philosopher and Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 22 April 1986 – Mircea Eliade, a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, professor at the University of Chicago, and author of “The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion.”

Some quotes from the work of Mircea Eliade:

“Man becomes aware of the Sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different from the Profane … In his encounters with the Sacred, man experiences a reality that does not belong to our world yet is encountered in and through objects or events that are part of the world.”
“The way towards ‘wisdom’ or towards ‘freedom’ is the way towards your inner being. This is the simplest definition of metaphysics.”
“As long as you have not grasped that you have to die to grow, you are a troubled guest on the dark earth.”
“In imitating the exemplary acts of a god or of a mythic hero, or simply by recounting their adventures, the man of an archaic society detaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.”
“The history of religions reaches down and makes contact with that which is essentially human: the relation of man to the sacred. The history of religions can play an extremely important role in the crisis we are living through. The crises of modern man are to a large extent religious ones, insofar as they are an awakening of his awareness to an absence of meaning.”

This Date in Art History: Died 22 April 1945 – Kathe Kollwitz, a German painter, printmaker, and sculptor.

Below – “Misery”; “Bust of a Working Woman in Blue Shawl”; “The Young Couple”; “The Grieving Parents”; “Woman with Dead Child.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Carcross, a railroad town in Yukon Territory, Canada.

This Date in Art History: Died 22 April 1984 – Ansel Adams, an American photographer.

Below – “Aspens, Northern New Mexico”; “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park”; “Sand Dunes, Oceano, California”; “Oak Tree – Snow Storm”; “Moon and Clouds, California”; “Moon and Half Dome.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 22 April 1943 – Louise Gluck, an American poet and recipient of the National Book Award.

by Louise Gluck

All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.

This Date in Art History: Born 22 April 1922 – Richard Diebenkorn, an American painter.

Below – “Sitting Woman”; “Woman in Profile”; “A Long Time Alone”; “Driveway”; “Coffee”; Untitled; “Interior with a Book.”

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

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” ― Napoléon Bonaparte.

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Notes from The Emerald City – 22 April 2018

FAQ: “The Emerald City” is a lovely name. Does Seattle live up to its billing? Is it a colorful city?

Alas, it is not always emerald-like. Thanks to the soggy climate, by the end of winter Seattle is the color of the underside of a mushroom. The photograph below is not sepia; it shows the city as it appears before than annual “clean up” in May.

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Sentient in Seattle – 21 April 2018

Musings in Spring: Henry Thomas Buckle

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

Art for Spring – Part I of III: Francisco Zuniga (Costa Rican, 1912-1998)

Below – “Campesinos”; “Mujeres Caminando II”; “White Rebozo”

Remembering an Influential Environmentalist on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 April 1838 – John Muir, an American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, and Father of America’s National Parks.

Some quotes from the work of John Muir:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
“Hiking – I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
“To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.”
“Of all the paths you take in life,
make sure a few of them are dirt.”
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

Art for Spring – Part II of III: Larry Zox (American, 1937-2006)

Below – “Diamond Drill”; “After She Wolf”; “Blue Bonac”

Worth a Thousand Words: A tumbleweed in Death Valley.

Art for Spring – Part III of III: Bruno Zupan (Slovenian, contemporary)

Below – “Pedestrians”; “Four Seasons”; “Almond Branches”

Remembering an Influential Ecologist on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 April 1915 – Garrett Hardin, an American ecologist and philosopher.
Garrett Hardin is responsible for both Hardin’s First Law of Human Ecology (“We can never do merely one thing. Any intrusion into nature has numerous effects, many of which are unpredictable.”) and
his exposition of “the tragedy of the commons” in a famous 1968 paper in “Science” that elaborated “the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment.”

Some quotes from the work of Garrett Hardin:

“Society does not need more children; but it does need more loved children. Quite literally, we cannot afford unloved children – but we pay heavily for them every day. There should not be the slightest communal concern when a woman elects to destroy the life of her thousandth-of-an-ounce embryo. But all society should rise up in alarm when it hears that a baby that is not wanted is about to be born.”
“In a competitive world of limited resources, total freedom of individual action is intolerable.”
“No one should be able to enter a wilderness by mechanical means.”
“The rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another . . . But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
“Ecology is the overall science of which economics is a minor speciality.”
“A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero.”
“What features of your daily life do you expect to be improved by a further increase in population?”

This Date in Art History: Died 21 April 1668 – Jan Boeckhorst, a German-born Flemish painter.

Below – “Allegory of Summer”; “Peasants going to the market”; “Helena Fourment”; “Achilles amongst the Daughters of Lycomedes”; “Allegory of Africa.”

Musings in Spring: D.H. Lawrence

“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.”

This Date in Art History: Born 21 April 1904 – Jean Helion, a French painter.

Below – “Pegeen”; “Composition”; “Abstract Figure”; “Figure Gothique”; “Nu accoude”; Untitled.

Remembering an Influential Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 21 April 1948 – Aldo Leopold, an American writer, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, environmentalist, and author of “A Sand County Almanac.”

Some quotes from the work of Aldo Leopold:

“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”
“We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.”
“Thinking like a Mountain
We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.…I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”
“Civilization has so cluttered this elemental man-earth relationship with gadgets and middlemen that awareness of it is growing dim. We fancy that industry supports us, forgetting what supports industry.”

Contemporary Chinese Art – Zhou Ling

In the words of one writer, “Zhou Ling has been influenced by ancient frescoes, painted pottery, and sculptures. She paints beautiful, earth mother-type women…In 1991, Zhou Ling traveled to Hawaii. She had been commissioned to do a series of paintings for the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa. Zhou Ling was overwhelmed by the natural beauty of Maui. The tropical environment reminded her of earlier life in the verdant jungles of Yunnan Province. The landscape, its flora and fauna, and people who were Polynesian in appearance brought back memories of the ethnic minority groups of her homeland.”

Below – “Girl and Rose”; “Spring”; “Golden Harvests”; “Hawaiian Life”; “Nature’s Embrace”; “Sun Light.”

A Poem for Today

“Perhaps the World Ends Here”
by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Contemporary American Art – Eric Zener

In the words of one writer, “Artist Eric Zener was born in Astoria, Ore., in 1966, but grew up in Encinitas, a small beach town just north of San Diego, Calif. He received a BA from the University of California. Zener’s work has been exhibited internationally in Australia, Japan and Spain and is included in numerous corporate, private, and museum collections.”

Below – “Stepping Out”; “From One Place to Another”; “Where to Begin”; “All We are is All We’ll Ever Be”; “Calm Woman in a Turbulent Sea”; “Standing Room Only.”

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

“We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders.” ― Noam Chomsky.

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Notes from The Emerald City – 21 April 2018

FAQ: Are there any cults in Seattle?

There is one major cult in The Emerald City, and it is huge and extremely aggressive. Its bizarre rituals include worshipping birds, screaming at members of rival cults, and obsessing over the number 12.

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Sentient in Seattle – 20 April 2018

Remembering an Actor and Activist on the Date of His Birth: Born 20 April 1937 – George Takei, an American actor, director, author, and activist.

Some quotes from the work of George Takei:

“If you have to make laws to hurt a group of people just to prove your morals and faith, then you have no true morals or faith to prove.”
“We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”
“The only thing worse than human ignorance is human pride in that ignorance.”
“This is supposed to be a participatory democracy and if we’re not in there participating then the people that will manipulate and exploit the system will step in there.”
“We need to take our passion and effect real change at the local, state, and federal levels, to help elect progressive leaders, and to stem the tide of division, fear and scapegoating.”
“People forget that stereotypes aren’t bad because they are always untrue. Stereotypes are bad because they are not always true. If we allow ourselves to judge another based on a stereotype, we have allowed a gross generalization to replace our own thinking.”
“And it seems to me important for a country, for a nation to certainly know about its glorious achievements but also to know where its ideals failed, in order to keep that from happening again.”

Art for Spring: Joanna Zjawinska (Polish, contemporary)

Below – “Forever Hoping I Can Find Memories I Left Behind”; “My Brilliant Career”; “Windows”

Remembering a Comic Genius on the Date of His Birth: Born 20 April 1893 – Harold Lloyd, an American actor, comedian, and producer. Harold Lloyd was one of the greatest, most influential, and most popular American comedians of the silent film era, along with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Like Keaton and Chaplin, Lloyd performed his own stunts, sometimes in terrifying circumstances, as is the case in the video below.

This Date in Art History: Died 20 April 1927 – Enrique Simonet, a Spanish painter.

Below – “Paisaje”; “Cisnes”; “Anatomy of the Heart”; “Cafe mature a tanger”; “Judgment of Paris”; “Roman Beauty.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Mount Elbrus, Russia, the highest mountain in Europe (5,642 meters/18,510 feet).

This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1893 – Joan Miro, a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist.

Below – “Pipe and Red Flower”; “Moon Bird”; “Agora I”; “La Lune”; “Dog Barking at the Moon”; “Le Cricket.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 20 April 1982 – Archibald MacLeish, an American poet, playwright, lawyer, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Immortal Autumn”
by Archibald MacLeish

I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,

But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.

Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.

This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1946 – Sandro Chia, an Italian painter and sculptor.

Below – “Wet Paint – Don’t Touch”; Untitled (from “Columbus in Search of a New Tomorrow”); “Children’s Holiday”; “Passeggiata Nella Natura”; “unknown #1”; “Hippolyte Where Is Delphine.”

Musings in Spring: William James

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”

This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1937 – Harvey Quaytman, an American painter.

Below – “Union Square #6”; Untitled (Blue/Yellow); Untitled (Red/Black); “Scorch”; Untitled; “Riley Mumbling to Himself at Night.”

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

“I am emboldened, not cowed, by the words and actions of Trump and his circle. I believe many others are as well. Together we will stand in opposition. I’m not going anywhere, and I won’t be silenced.The only thing worse than human ignorance is human pride in that ignorance.” – George Takei.

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Notes from The Emerald City – 20 April 2018

FAQ: Does the near-constant rainfall in Seattle have any effect on the physical constitution of its inhabitants?

It has one minor consequence that, thanks to adaptive evolution, affects every third-generation person born in the city (see below).

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Sentient in Seattle – 19 April 2018

Musings in Spring: Vincent van Gogh

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Self-Portrait”

Art for Spring – Part I of IV: Leon Zernitsky (Russian/Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Vine and Tulips”; “Swing Jazz”; “Avant-Garde Jazz”

For Your Information: 19 April is National Rice Ball Day in the United States.

Art for Spring – Part II of IV: Feng Zhengjie (Chinese, contemporary)

Below – “Chinese Portrait No. 26”; “Chinese Portrait No. 38”; “Chinese Portrait No. 53”

Musings in Spring: Anatole France

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

Art for Spring – Part III of IV: Zhou Ling (Chinese, contemporary)

Below – “Goddess of the Roses”; “Mountain Nymph”; Untitled

A Poem for Today

“Be Kind”
by Charles Bukowski

we are always asked
to understand the other person’s
no matter how
foolish or
one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
especially if they are
but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
because they have
out of focus,
they have refused to
not their fault?
whose fault?
I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their
age is no crime
but the shame
of a deliberately
among so many

Art for Spring – Part IV of IV: Caroline Zimmermann (American, contemporary)

Below – “Tuscan Landscape”; “Tranquil Water II”; “Poppies”

Worth a Thousand Words: The north end of Yucca Flat, Nevada, where many of America’s underground nuclear bomb tests were conducted.

Contemporary Russian Art – Oleg Zhivetin

In the words of one writer, “Oleg Zhivetin was born in 1964. Russian icon painting is a basic and profound point-of-reference in Oleg Zhivetin’s work. The viewer will find religious imagery golden halos, Madonnas, angels, and saints. Other typical icons include hearts, musical instruments, books, celestial beings, and flowers, symbols of beauty, delicacy, and spiritual development. One of the most beautiful aspects of Oleg’s painting is his skillful rendering of faces, hands and feet. Oleg’s characters often communicate through the use of hand gestures rather than eye contact. Gestures are imbued with subtle meaning; a deep sense of shared experience is created through this control of body language.”

Below – “Big Heart”; “Wish”; “Waiting for Winter”; “Pleasant Daydreams”; “Three Graces”; “Colorful Cat.”

Musings in Spring: Oscar Wilde

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

Contemporary American Art – Vincent Desiderio

In the words of one writer, “Vincent Desiderio is an American realist painter. He is currently a senior critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the New York Academy of Art. He lives and works in Sleepy Hollow, New York.”

Below – “Theater”; “Mourning and Fecundity”; “Sleep”; “Without Words”; “Pantormo in Hell”; “Bathers.”

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