Food for the Spirit and the Soul

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

American Muse: Stephen Dunn

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“Walking the Marshland”

It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,

Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.

The girls liked saying the words,
gosling,
egret, whooping crane, and they liked

when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier

and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,

the gnats and black flies
weren’t out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn’t risen

from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.

I loved these girls. The world
beyond Brigantine
awaited their beauty and beauty

is what others want to own.
I’d keep that
to myself. The obvious

was so sufficient just then.
Sandpiper. Red-wing
Blackbird. “Yes,” I said.

But already we were near the end.
Praise refuge,
I thought. Praise whatever you can.
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September Offerings – Part XX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Bob Clyatt

According to one writer, “Bob Clyatt grew up roaming the countryside of Northern California, ending up studying art at UC Berkeley in the 70s. Absorbing the zeitgeist of that time and place created a desire for fusion in Bob’s work – ancient and contemporary, organic and technological. Using clay as his central medium connects Bob to the
oldest art-making traditions, and he uses a range of vehicles such as assemblage and the introduction of modern materials and gesture to bring about a fusion in the work and give it contemporary voice. Bob spent 8 years in formal study of sculpture, primarily at the Art Students League, and shows his work widely in New York. He lives and has his studio in Rye, NY.”
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German painter Anna Borowy (born 1985) lives and works in Berlin.
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“You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.” – From “Distressed Haiku,” by Donald Hall, American poet, writer, editor, and literary critic, who was born 20 September 1928.

“Affirmation”

To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

“The Man in the Dead Machine”

High on a slope in New Guinea
The Grumman Hellcat
lodges among bright vines
as thick as arms. In 1943,
the clenched hand of a pilot
glided it here
where no one has ever been.

In the cockpit, the helmeted
skeleton sits
upright, held
by dry sinews at neck
and shoulder, and webbing
that straps the pelvic cross
to the cracked
leather of the seat, and the breastbone
to the canvas cover
of the parachute.

Or say the shrapnel
missed him, he flew
back to the carrier, and every
morning takes the train, his pale
hands on the black case, and sits
upright, held
by the firm webbing.
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According to one writer, “Abdalla Omari is a Syrian painter and film maker born in Damascus in 1986, who graduated from Adham Ismael Institute for Visual Arts in 2009.”
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According to one historian, “Lladró was born in the mid-1950s as a small family workshop in Almácera, a tiny farming community near the city of Valencia, on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast. Born into a humble farming family, the brothers Juan, José and Vicente decided to dedicate their free time to making ceramics as a means of improving their prospects for the future. They enrolled in the Valencia School of Arts and Crafts, where Juan and José studied drawing and painting, while the youngest brother, Vicente, took up sculpture.
In order to put their new knowledge into practice, they built a Moorish-style kiln in the patio of their parents’ home. As their experiments became increasingly successful, they began manufacturing and selling their first ceramic flowers on the local market. Meanwhile, they had started to design and produce their own figurines in porcelain.
In 1958 they moved from their small workshop in the family home in Almácera to a factory located in the nearby town of Tavernes Blanques. The 1960s were years of strong growth and development. In fact, the studios in Tavernes were enlarged seven times until in 1969 the foundations were laid for what was to become Porcelain City, the home of Lladró porcelain art today. For over two decades since that time, Lladró has continued to spread throughout the world, fueling growth back home in tiny Tavernes. Today, with a headcount of two thousand people, Lladró markets its creations in over one hundred countries around the world.”
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Native American History – Part I of II: A Blatant Swindle

20 September 1737 – Runner Edward Marshall completes his journey in the Walking Purchase forcing the cession of 1.2 million acres (4,860 km²) of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony. In the words of one historian, “William Penn’s heirs, John Penn and Thomas Penn, claimed a deed from the 1680s by which the Lenape promised to sell a tract beginning at the junction of the Delaware River and Lehigh River (modern Easton, Pennsylvania) and extending as far west as a man could walk in a day and a half. This document may have been an unsigned, unratified treaty, or even an outright forgery (‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ refers to it as a ‘land swindle.’ The Penns’ agents began selling land in the Lehigh Valley to colonists while the Lenape still inhabited the area.
According to the popular account, Lenape leaders assumed that about 40 miles (60 km) was the longest distance that could be covered under these conditions. Provincial Secretary James Logan, the legend continues, hired the three fastest runners in the colony, Edward Marshall, Solomon Jennings and James Yeates, to run on a prepared trail. They were supervised during the ‘walk’ by the Sheriff of Bucks County, Timothy Smith. The walk occurred on September 19, 1737; only Marshall finished, reaching the modern vicinity of present-day Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, 70 miles (113 km) away. At the end of the walk, Sheriff Smith drew a perpendicular line back toward the northeast, and claimed all the land east of these two lines ending at the Delaware River. This resulted in an area of 1,200,000 acres (4,860 km²), roughly equivalent to the size of Rhode Island, located in the modern counties of: Pike, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh and Bucks.”
Above – The area acquired (shaded); Below – Lenape Chief Lappawinsoe, who protested the arrangement.

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Native American History – Part II of II: A Forlorn Hope

Died 20 September 1932 – Wovoka, also known as Jack Wilson, a Northern Paiute visionary and religious leader who founded the Ghost Dance movement. In the words of one historian, “The Ghost Dance
was a new religious movement incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. According to the prophet Jack Wilson (Wovoka)’s teachings, proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with the spirits of the dead and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to native peoples throughout the region.”

Above – Wovoka; Below – “The Ghost Dance by the Oglala Lakota at Pine Ridge” – illustration by Frederic Remington, 1890.
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American Art – Part II of III: Matt Hansel

Matt Hansel earned a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art in New Haven.
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A Poem for Today

“American Solitude,”
By Grace Schulman

“The cure for loneliness is solitude.” 
—Marianne Moore
Hopper never painted this, but here
on a snaky path his vision lingers:

three white tombs, robots with glassed-in faces
and meters for eyes, grim mouths, flat noses,

lean forward on a platform, like strangers
with identical frowns scanning a blur,

far off, that might be their train.
Gas tanks broken for decades face Parson’s

smithy, planked shut now. Both relics must stay.
The pumps have roots in gas pools, and the smithy

stores memories of hammers forging scythes
to cut spartina grass for dry salt hay.

The tanks have the remove of local clammers
who sink buckets and stand, never in pairs,

but one and one and one, blank-eyed, alone,
more serene than lonely. Today a woman

rakes in the shallows, then bends to receive
last rays in shimmering water, her long shadow

knifing the bay. She slides into her truck
to watch the sky flame over sand flats, a hawk’s

wind arabesque, an island risen, brown
Atlantis, at low tide; she probes the shoreline

and beyond grassy dunes for where the land
might slope off into night. Hers is no common

emptiness, but a vaster silence filled
with terns’ cries, an abundant solitude.

Nearby, the three dry gas pumps, worn
survivors of clam-digging generations,

are luminous, and have an exile’s grandeur
that says: In perfect solitude, there’s fire.

One day I approached the vessels
and wanted to drive on, the road ablaze

with dogwood in full bloom, but the contraptions
outdazzled the road’s white, even outshone

a bleached shirt flapping alone
on a laundry line, arms pointed down.

High noon. Three urns, ironic in their outcast
dignity—as though, like some pine chests,

they might be prized in disuse—cast rays,
spun leaf—covered numbers, clanked, then wheezed

and stopped again. Shadows cut the road
before I drove off into the dark woods.
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American Art – Part III of III: Dale Chihuly

Born 20 September 1941 – Dan Chihuly, a glass sculptor. In the words of one critic, “His works are considered unique to the field of blown glass.”

Below – “Emerald Green Seaform Set with Yellow Lip Wraps”; “Gilded Ikebana with Ochre Flower and Red Leaf”; “Misty White Seaform”; “Full Wrap Pueblo Cylinder”; “Fire Orange Basket Set”; “Thistle Bloom Macchia with Yellow Lip Wrap”; “Reduced White Basket Set”; “Cobalt Persian Pair with Red Lip Wraps”; “Silvered Venetian with Tansy and Oxblood Flowers”; “Putti with Octopus and Shell on Pink Base.”
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American Muse: Kenneth Rexroth

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“Hojoki”

A thing unknown for years, 

Rain falls heavily in June, 

On the ripe cherries, and on 

The half cut hay. 

Above the glittering 

Grey water of the inlet, 

In the driving, light filled mist, 

A blue heron 

Catches mice in the green 

And copper and citron swathes. 

I walk on the rainy hills. 

It is enough.

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In order to give readers a fuller appreciation of the mood that Rexroth has created in his poem, I have placed below the opening lines of the original “Hojoki,” translated as “The Ten Foot Square Hut.” Written in 1212 by Japanese Buddhist monk Kamo no Chomei, it captures the essence of “mujo,” or the transience of things.

“The current of the flowing river does not cease, and yet the water is not the same water as before. The foam that floats on stagnant pools, now vanishing, now forming, never stays the same for long. So, too, it is with the people and dwellings of the world.”
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September Offerings – Part XIX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Brian Biedul

In the words of one critic, “Brian Biedul was born in Colorado Springs in 1955 and soon thereafter moved to Europe with his family. He spent the better part of his early youth in Europe where his love of art began. While living in Paris he was enrolled in his first art class under the instruction of Siegfried Hahn. After returning to America he spent time in various cities across the United States including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles where he later settled. In 1984 he graduated with a BFA from Art Center College of Design where soon thereafter taught Saturday figure drawing classes.”
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Here is one critic describing Mexican painter Victor Rodriguez (born 1970): “Victor is considered to be the leader of the new generation of hyperrealist artists working internationally today. He has exhibited extensively internationally, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Flint Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Museo de Monterrey in Mexico and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey MARCO.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Chubby Checker

19 September 1960 – Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” reaches number one on American popular music charts.

Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of French painter Catherine Gran (born 1966): “She began her academic studies with courses in History of Art at the Sorbonne University, Paris. She then went on to the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, from where she graduated in 1992. Her paintings are enigmatic, conveying an atmosphere of strangeness and eccentricity through unexpected perspectives and unusual objects combined with the commonplace and the fantastic. She continues to explore her favourite enigmatic themes of the bizarre and the surreal represented by the incongruous relationship between objects, form and figures. Yet at the same time she paints in a scrupulously detailed manner to give a hallucinatory sense of reality.
Her work borders on the surreal and is often concerned with organic and sensual form and also, on occasion, symbolist, characterised by visual expression of emotional experience. The elegant figures, smartly dressed almost theatrical in demeanour, retain their nobility and quirky expressions. They are the cognoscenti basking in their appreciation and love of life and the arts. Gran’s paintings, with their unusual perspectives and ambiguous combinations of shapes, objects, and figures are depicted in a singular painterly style, reinforcing her ability to create disorientating realist imagery which is thought provoking and compelling.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Gram Parsons

Died 19 September 1973 – Gram Parsons, an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist, who worked in several notable bands, including the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

American Art – Part II of V: Bettye Lane

Born 19 September 1930, Died 19 September 2012 – Bettye Lane, a photographer, photojournalist, and journalist who was known for photographs which documented major events within the feminist, civil rights, and gay rights movements.
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From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Skeeter Davis

Died 19 September 2004 – Skeeter Davis, an American country music singer best known for her crossover pop music songs of the early 1960s.

Here is part of the Artist Statement of South African ceramicist Elizabeth Balcomb: “I love the smell of paper clay in the kiln at 200˚C. It reminds me of lemon creams.
This is one small aspect of the picture within the landscape of ceramics within which I find myself. I could say that clay is part of my destiny… it’s tempting to see it that way. I could also say I stumbled upon it. Either way, here I am, with a new universe to explore… a fantastic adventure.”
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American Art – Part III of V: Sandra Fisher

Died 19 September 1995 – Sandra Fisher, an ex-pat figure painter living in London.

Below – “Kitaj” (Fisher’s husband); “Cosima in a Black Hat”; “Days on the Water”; “Little Venice.”
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(c) Pallant House Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) R.B. Kitaj; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) R.B. Kitaj; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Died 19 September 1927 – Michael Peter Ancher, a Dutch impressionist artist.

Below – “Will He Round the Point”; “A Stroll on the Beach”; “Appraising the Day’s Work”; “Children and Young Girls Picking Flowers in a Field North of Skagen.”
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“All modern men are descended from wormlike creatures, but it shows more on some people.” – Will Cuppy, American humorist, literary critic, and author of “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody,” who died 19 September 1949.

Some quotes from the work of Will Cuppy:

“It’s easy to see the faults in people, I know; and it’s harder to see the good. Especially when the good isn’t there.”
“A hermit is simply a person to whom civilization has failed to adjust itself.”
“We all make mistakes, but intelligence enables us to do it on purpose.”
“If an animal does something, we call it instinct. If we do the same thing for the same reason, we call it intelligence.”
“Armadillos make affectionate pets, if you need affection that much.”
“Just when you’re beginning to think pretty well of people, you run across somebody who puts sugar on sliced tomatoes.”
“He had also learned that there is no use murdering people; there are always so many left, and if you tried to murder them all you would never get anything else done.”
“The pre-frontal region of the Peking man resembles that found in some parts of the Middle West.”
“Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.”
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Died 19 September 1967 – Zinaida Serebriakova, a Russian painter.

Below (left to right) – “Harvest”; “House of Cards”; “Lit by the Sun”; “Self-Portrait Wearing a Scarf”; “Self-Portrait.”
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“Too much good fortune can make you smug and unaware. Happiness should be like an oasis, the greener for the desert that surrounds it.” – Rachel Field, American poet, writer, and author of “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years” (which won the Newbery Award in 1930) and “Time Out of Mind (which won one of the inaugural National Book Awards as the Most Distinguished Novel of 1935), who was born 19 September 1894.

“Something Told The Wild Geese”

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,-’Snow.’

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,-’Frost.’

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

“If Once You Have Slept On An Island”

If once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,
You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.
Oh! you won’t know why and you can’t say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You’ll never be quite the same.

“The Animal Store”

If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more,
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go
Straight to the animal store.

I wouldn’t say, “How much for this or that?”
“What kind of a dog is he?”
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye,
Or wagged a tail at me!

I’d take the hound with the drooping ears
That sits by himself alone;
Cockers and Cairns and wobbly pups
For to be my very own.

I might buy a parrot all red and green,
And the monkey I saw before,
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more.

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American Art – Part IV of V: Martha Holmes

Died 19 September 2006 – Martha Holmes, a photographer and photojournalist.

Below (left to right) – Jackson Pollock; Natalie Wood; Salvador Dali and his wife Gala; Brother and Sister on the Phone, Talking to Santa Claus; Un-American Activities Hearings, 1947.
JACKSON POLLOCK
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A Poem for Today

“A Little Language,”
By Robert Duncan

I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous. My cat is fluent. He
converses when he wants with me. To speak

is natural. And whales and wolves I’ve heard
in choral soundings of the sea and air
know harmony and have an eloquence that stirs
my mind and heart—they touch the soul. Here

Dante’s religion that would set Man apart
damns the effluence of our life from us
to build therein its powerhouse.

It’s in his animal communication Man is
true, immediate, and
in immediacy, Man is all animal.

His senses quicken in the thick of the symphony,
old circuits of animal rapture and alarm,
attentions and arousals in which an identity rearrives.
He hears
particular voices among
the concert, the slightest
rustle in the undertones,
rehearsing a nervous aptitude
yet to prove his. He sees the flick
of significant red within the rushing mass
of ruddy wilderness and catches the glow
of a green shirt
to delite him in a glowing field of green
—it speaks to him—
and in the arc of the spectrum color
speaks to color.
The rainbow articulates
a promise he remembers
he but imitates
in noises that he makes,

this speech in every sense
the world surrounding him.
He picks up on the fugitive tang of mace
amidst the savory mass,
and taste in evolution is an everlasting key.
There is a pun of scents in what makes sense.

Myrrh it may have been,
the odor of the announcement that filld the house.

He wakes from deepest sleep

upon a distant signal and waits

as if crouching, springs

to life.

Below – “Cowpuncher’s Lullaby,” by Frederic Remington.
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American Art – Part V of V: Darrell Hill

“Born 1941 in Hillsborough, Illinois and raised in California, he received formal art instruction at the College of the Sequoias, Fresno State University and Brooks Institute, School of Fine Art in Santa Barbara.”
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American Muse: Robert Duncan

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“A Little Language”

I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous. My cat is fluent. He
converses when he wants with me. To speak

is natural. And whales and wolves I’ve heard
in choral soundings of the sea and air
know harmony and have an eloquence that stirs
my mind and heart—they touch the soul. Here

Dante’s religion that would set Man apart
damns the effluence of our life from us
to build therein its powerhouse.

It’s in his animal communication Man is
true, immediate, and
in immediacy, Man is all animal.

His senses quicken in the thick of the symphony,
old circuits of animal rapture and alarm,
attentions and arousals in which an identity rearrives.
He hears
particular voices among
the concert, the slightest
rustle in the undertones,
rehearsing a nervous aptitude
yet to prove his. He sees the flick
of significant red within the rushing mass
of ruddy wilderness and catches the glow
of a green shirt
to delite him in a glowing field of green
—it speaks to him—
and in the arc of the spectrum color
speaks to color.
The rainbow articulates
a promise he remembers
he but imitates
in noises that he makes,

this speech in every sense
the world surrounding him.
He picks up on the fugitive tang of mace
amidst the savory mass,
and taste in evolution is an everlasting key.
There is a pun of scents in what makes sense.

Myrrh it may have been,
the odor of the announcement that filld the house.

He wakes from deepest sleep

upon a distant signal and waits

as if crouching, springs

to life.

Below – “Cowpuncher’s Lullaby,” by Frederic Remington
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September Offerings – Part XVIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Timothy W. Jahn

In the words of one writer, “American born artist Timothy W. Jahn is a representational painter and teacher. He currently lives and paints in Anguilla where he is the head instructor of Ani Art Academies Anguilla.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Linda O’Grady: “After being solely a portrait painter for nearly twenty years, I am currently enjoying the resurgence in popularity of figurative art across the country. There is endless inspiration to be found in the human figure and no shortage of subject matter in our daily lives. I love to paint the nude; the fluidity of flesh in all its forms and am totally absorbed in the burlesque/cabaret scene. Beautifully posed bodies with stunning costumes and a little dose of eroticism! I continue to paint portraits as well, religiously entering all the portrait annual exhibitions I can, but now I have a greater variety of work to show, all still telling some story or other, and what that story is very much depends on what you, the viewer, sees.
I believe art should be available to all and am trying particularly to dispel the myth that real art, and a portrait in particular, is hugely expensive or that you have to sit in a draughty artist’s studio for months on end. I’d like to feel that there is a place for my paintings in any environment.”
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“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” – Samuel Johnson, English poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer, who was born 18 September 1709.

In the “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,” critic Pat Rogers refers to Samuel Johnson as “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history.”

Some quotes from Samuel Johnson:

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”
“Bachelors have consciences, married men have wives.”
“One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.”
“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
“The return of my birthday, if I remember it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of humanity to escape.”
“Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those who we cannot resemble.”
“The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”
“Courage is the greatest of all virtues, because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.”
“Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.”
“No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned… a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company.”
“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”
“Getting money is not all a man’s business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.”
“Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.”
“When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live.”
“No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring.”
“Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities which he does not possess.”
“The happiest conversation is that of which nothing is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression.”
“What is easy is seldom excellent.”
“It is reasonable to have perfection in our eye that we may always advance toward it, though we know it can never be reached.”
“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.”
“Language is the dress of thought.”
“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
“He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.”
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Turkish painter Samet Dogan (born 1970) studied in the Department of Fine Arts of Dokuz Eyulul University.
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Here is part of the Artist Statement of Vietnamese painter Tran Quoc Vinh (born 1959): “I often paint night scenes, with shimmering lights, moonlight, and early dawn. Only at night do dreams come, and we experience our most private world.”
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Died 18 September 1970 – Jimi Hendrix, an American musician, singer, and songwriter widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music.

American Art – Part II of III: Tom Sierak

In the words of one critic, “‘Painting tomorrow’s memories today’… that’s how Tom Sierak likes to describe his pastel paintings. He says, ‘People often talk about the “good ol’ days,” and how nice it would be to return to them. I think the times we are living now are tomorrow’s good ol’ days. Places and things may change around us, but that special bond that exists between children, parents, and grandparents and even pets, never does. I try to convey a message of warmth and emotion, and hope these late 20th century portraits of American life eventually become viewer’s window to the past.’”
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“When I get ready to explain homemade fascism in America, I can take my example from the state capitol of Texas.” – J. Frank Dobie, American folklorist, writer, and newspaper columnist best known for his books depicting the traditions of life in rural Texas during the days of the open range. In the words of one historian, “As a public figure, he was known in his lifetime for his outspoken liberal views against Texas state politics, and for his long personal war against what he saw as bragging Texans, religious prejudice, restraints on individual liberty, and the assault of the mechanized world on the human spirit.”

A few quotes from J. Frank Dobie:

“I rate censors, particularly those of church and state, as low as I rate character assassins; they often run together.”
“The average PhD thesis is nothing but a transference of bones from one graveyard to another.”
“Conform and be dull.”
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Spanish painter Antonio Gadea (born 1965) studied Fine Arts at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
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“It’s complicated, being an American,
Having the money and the bad conscience, both at the same time.
Perhaps, after all, this is not the right subject for a poem.” – Louis Simpson, Jamaican-born American poet, who died 18 September 2012.

“To The Western World”

“A siren sang, and Europe turned away
From the high castle and the shepherd’s crook.
Three caravels went sailing to Cathay
On the strange ocean, and the captains shook
Their banners out across the Mexique Bay.

And in our early days we did the same.
Remembering our fathers in their wreck
We crossed the sea from Palos where they came
And saw, enormous to the little deck,
A shore in silence waiting for a name.

The treasures of Cathay were never found.
In this America, this wilderness
Where the axe echoes with a lonely sound,
The generations labor to possess
And grave by grave we civilize the ground.”
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of Sibylle Peretti: “In all aspects of her work – her wall panels, dome compositions and her cast busts – Peretti acknowledges that while childhood and a flower’s bloom are fleeting, our draw to nature’s mysteries, its power to heal and its potential for beauty are always tied to our own dreams and wishes and ultimately our survival.
Sybille Peretti was born in 1964 in Mulheim-Ruhr, Germany. She was trained as a glass designer at the School for Glass Making in Zweisel, Germany. She received her MFA in painting and sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cologne, Germany.”
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“The past is never where you think you left it.” – Katharine Anne Porter, American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, political activist, and recipient of both the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 1966 National Book Award for “The Collected Stories,” who died 18 September 1980.

Some quotes from Katherine Anne Porter:

“There seems to be a kind of order in the universe…in the movement of the stars and the turning of the Earth and the changing of the seasons. But human life is almost pure chaos. Everyone takes his stance, asserts his own right and feelings, mistaking the motives of others, and his own.”
“I shall try to tell the truth, but the result will be fiction.”
“I get so tired of moral bookkeeping.”
“Love must be learned and learned again; there is no end.”
“Trust your happiness and the richness of your life at this moment. It is as true and as much yours as anything else that ever happened to you.”
“Death always leaves one singer to mourn.”
“The road to death is a long march beset with all evils, and the heart fails little by little at each new terror, the bones rebel at each step, the mind sets up its own bitter resistance and to what end? The barriers sink one by one, and no covering of the eyes shuts out the landscape of disaster, nor the sight of crimes committed there.”
“It is a simple truth that the human mind can face better the most oppressive government, the most rigid restrictions, than the awful prospect of a lawless, frontierless world. Freedom is a dangerous intoxicant and very few people can tolerate it in any quantity; it brings out the old raiding, oppressing, murderous instincts; the rage for revenge, for power, the lust for bloodshed. The longing for freedom takes the form of crushing the enemy – there is always the enemy! – into the earth; and where and who is the enemy if there is no visible establishment to attack, to destroy with blood and fire? Remember all that oratory when freedom is threatened again. Freedom, remember, is not the same as liberty.”
“The whole effort for the past one hundred years has been to remove the moral responsibility from the individual and make him blame his own human wickedness on his society, but he helps to make his society, you see, and he will not take his responsibility for his part in it.”
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Greek Art – Part I of II: Irini Iliopoulou

In the words of one writer, “Irini Iliopoulou was born in Athens. From 1977-1981 she studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She continued her studies in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Leonardo Cremonini.”
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Greek Art – Part II of II: Christos Pallantzas

Here is one writer describing the background of Christos Pallantzas: “He was born in Larissa, Greece in 1962. He studied (1983-1989) at the Highest School of Fine Arts in Athens, Greece. He took Painting, Byzantine Icons’ Technique, Fresco, History of Art, History of Architecture and Rhythmology. With the scholarship of the French Government he continued with post-graduate studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris (1990-1992), Atelier de la Peinture of Mr. Pierre Carron.”
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A Poem for Today

“The Unborn,”
By Sharon Olds

Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,

Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,

The children we could have,

The glimmer of them.



Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing 

In some antechamber – servants, half-

Listening for the bell. 



Sometimes I see them lying like love letters

In the Dead Letter Office



And sometimes, like tonight, by some black

Second sight I can feel just one of them

Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea 

In the dark, stretching its arms out 

Desperately to me.
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American Art – Part III of III: Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

In the words of one writer, “Elizabeth Allen-Cannon was born in 1988 in Kansas City, Mo. While attending the Rhode Island School of Design, she was chosen for the European Honors Program to study abroad in Rome, Italy, and completed a fellowship at the RISD Museum of Art in Art Conservation. After completing her BFA, she moved back to Kansas City and was accepted into Charlotte Street Foundation’s Urban Culture Project residency. In 2012, she was selected to be a participating artist in the Kansas City Collection II.”
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Elizabeth Allen-Cannon
Elizabeth Allen-Cannon
Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

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American Muse: Sharon Olds

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“The Unborn”

Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,

Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,

The children we could have,

The glimmer of them.



Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing 

In some antechamber – servants, half-

Listening for the bell. 



Sometimes I see them lying like love letters

In the Dead Letter Office



And sometimes, like tonight, by some black

Second sight I can feel just one of them

Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea 

In the dark, stretching its arms out 

Desperately to me.
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September Offerings – Part XVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Neilson Carlin

Painter Neilson Carlin earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
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Italian Art – Part I of II: Marta Dell’Angelo

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Marta Dell’Angelo (born 1970): “Working in oils and pencil, her subjects are often women. She appears to have penchant for mixing subtle and bold colours to very good effect.”
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Italian Art – Part II of II: Renato Bertini

Painter Renato Bertini (born 1939) graduated from the Art Institute in Pesaro in 1956.
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One critic describes the work of Russian painter Vladimir Soldatkin (born 1949) as “romantic and lyrical.”
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“If you’re a Conservative, why aren’t you behind conserving the land?” – Ken Kesey, American writer and author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” who was born on 17 September 1935.

Some quotes from the work of Ken Kesey:

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
“If grass were legalized, it would help our drug problem enormously.”
“There’s something about taking a plow and breaking new ground. It gives you energy.”
“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
“Nowhere else in history has there ever been a flag that stands for the right to burn itself. This is the fractal of our flag. It stands for the right to destroy itself.”
“People don’t want other people to get high, because if you get high, you might see the falsity of the fabric of the society we live in.”
“The fundamentalists have taken the fun out of the mental.”
“I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph.”
“You can’t really be strong until you see a funny side to things.”
“Ritual is necessary for us to know anything.”
“The frontiers we broke into in the ’60s are still largely unexplored.”
“The Haight is just a place; the ’60s was a spirit.”
“The truth doesn’t have to do with cruelty, the truth has to do with mercy.”
“When Shakespeare was writing, he wasn’t writing for stuff to lie on the page; it was supposed to get up and move around.”
“When we first broke into that forbidden box in the other dimension, we knew we had discovered something as surprising and powerful as the New World when Columbus came stumbling onto it.”
“You’ve got to get out and pray to the sky to appreciate the sunshine; otherwise you’re just a lizard standing there with the sun shining on you.”
“To hell with facts! We need stories!”
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English Art – Part I of III: Richard Brazier

In the words of one writer, “Richard Brazier is a figurative artist who is currently based in London. After graduating with honours in 1996 from The Rhode Island School of Design in the United States, he returned to London and began working from his studio in Battersea where spends his time either working on a variety of commissioned portraits or other figurative works.”
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English Art – Part II of III: Anthony Tewfik

According to one critic, “Anthony Tewfik’s work mostly depicts the human form, though seascape, landscape and still life are occasionally included in his compositions. Most of the works are made either by observation from life, photographs, or more often both. Some works are however made from imagination without references.
The naked body is his main preoccupation ‘I regard the true portrait of being the whole body, not confined to the details acceptable to be viewed in public.’”
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According to one critic, “There is poetry of perception expressed in David Brayne’s work that is informed by his earlier Minimalist training and his growing Classical concerns. His surfaces are chalky dry, reminiscent of early Renaissance frescoes, his colours while subtly English invariably have a warm vibrant Italian ochre singing out: creating a perfect harmonious palette. Land and sea appear blended together in a gentle linear exchange where there are no shadows – all as if in a dream – a lyrical memory. These compositions are often interrupted with figures and boats, juxtaposed as if in a delicate dance, exquisitely and quintessentially beautiful. The tender portrayal of the graceful women and men as they hold their fishing lines and nets, making improbable but graceful shapes. These are paintings that have a perfection of form, expressed with a beautiful and strange aesthetic.”
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Latvian painter Paulis Postazs (born 1976) graduated with a degree in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Riga.
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American Art – Part II of III: Tacha Vosburgh

In the words of one critic, “The figures of Tacha Vosburgh stand as sentinels to stories of people that have never happened, but are always happening. They are portraits of no one in particular, but of everyone. The artist is reaching for that strange, but somehow familiar place that we long to connect with, that place of grounding that we know about if we just take the time to remember. ‘There is a universality in these figures,’ Tacha explains. ‘People recognize something vaguely familiar about them. . Humans have always used myth to explain ourselves. This series is like a myth. With each interpretation, it gets retold and re-crafted through time.’”
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A Poem for Today

“Happiness,”
By Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.
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American Art – Part III of III: Seth Haverkamp

Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of Seth Haverkamp (born 1980): “Seth Haverkamp graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carson Newman College and has studied with internationally-known artist Nelson Shanks at Studio Incamminiati and renowned artist Robert Liberace. Known for his unique still lifes and portraits, Haverkamp derives his primary inspiration from beauty — color, form, and the drama of light and dark. His wife and children are a frequent subject of his work. As Seth says ‘The meaning? It is found in beauty. At the moment, that’s enough.’”
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American Muse: Jane Kenyon

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“Happiness”

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.
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September Offerings – Part XVI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Deborah Scott

Artist Statement: “I work in the genre painting tradition. My work is a mash-up of classically styled figurative painting and contemporary iconography. My narratives are based on biography, tarot, mythology and fairytale. Iconic brands and contemporary imagery support the narrative in my work.
I am a graduate of the Drawing and Painting Atelier at Gage Academy of Art. Prior to my art career, I worked in global brand marketing with familiar brands including Cheerios, Betty Crocker, and Amazon.com. In this role I became fascinated with the power of Jungian archetypes, works by Joseph Campbell, and iconography. Developing my understanding and expression of figurative archetypes is the cornerstone of my work.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: B. B. King

“I don’t think anybody steals anything; all of us borrow.” – B. B. King, American blues musician, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, who was born 16 September 1925.

Ukrainian artist Natalia Makovetzkaya (born 1968) is a graduate of the I. E. Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture.
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“It was a rich and gorgeous sunset – an American sunset; and the ruddy glow of the sky was reflected from some extensive pools of water among the shadowy copses in the meadow below.” – Francis Parkman, American historian and author of “The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life,” who was born 16 September 1823. Here is one critic describing “The Oregon Trail”:
“The book is a breezy, first-person account of a 2-month summer tour in 1846 of the U.S. states of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas. Parkman was 23 at the time. The heart of the book covers the three weeks Parkman spent hunting buffalo with a band of Oglala Sioux.”
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Iranian painter Saeed Rafiee Monfared (born 1971) earned a BA in Fine Art from Azad University.
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From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Ringo Starr

16 September 1977 – Ringo Starr releases “Drowning in the Sea of Love.”

American Art – Part II of III: Lisa Reinertson

In the words of one critic, “Lisa Reinertson is known for both her life size figurative ceramic sculptures and her large-scale public sculptures cast in bronze.
Coming from a family of peace and social activists, Reinertson’s work has an underlying humanism that can be seen both in her poetic ceramic figures with animals, to her more historic public commissions that express ideals of peace and social justice. In her public sculptures of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez she blends bas-relief into her three-dimensional sculptural forms creating an historic and powerfully moving narrative. Her work combines a realism rooted in figurative art traditions, with a contemporary expression of social and psychological content.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Mary Travers

Died 16 September 2009 – Mary Travers, an American singer and a member of the group Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Latvian artist Kristine Kvitka (born 1983) earned an MFA in Painting from the Art Academy of Latvia.
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Ron Blair

Born 16 September 1948 – Ron Blair, an American musician best known for being the bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Dutch sculptor Erwin Meijer: “What young sculptors are still prepared to go to extremes when it comes to technique and finish? Erwin Meijer is a member of that select group. He creates bronzes with the feeling for detail of a violin maker. Anatomical perfection, exquisite detail and supreme quality of casting result in sculptures of sheer dedication without compromise. But this is not the entire story. Nor will this story ever be told, because Erwin Meijer’s sculptures, however well-crafted their detail, ultimately remain unfinished stories. His figures are engrossed in activities, without being aware of the spectator. Meijer portrays them at their moment of inspiration, or as they collect their thoughts or are concentrating upon their surroundings. We are mere witnesses to an intimate moment of which we are no part. The maturity of Erwin Meijer’s sculptures is striking. This is the result of his approach: he works on several sculptures simultaneously in a given period. By switching his attention from one work to another, he repeatedly affords himself a fresh look, which sometimes leads to rigorous changes. Thus, Meijer’s sculptures are allotted ample time to ‘ripen’ into well-balanced, inspired works of art.”
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A Poem for Today
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“The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz,”
By Alicia Ostriker

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves

The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—

Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—

Pursuing pleasure
More than obedience
They race, skid to a halt in the wet sand,
Sometimes they’ll plunge straight into
The foaming breakers

Like diving birds, letting the green turbulence
Toss them, until they snap and sink

Teeth into floating wood
Then bound back to their owners
Shining wet, with passionate speed
For nothing,
For absolutely nothing but joy.
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American Art – Part III of III: Shawn Zents

Artist Statement: “To have viewers look through my eye’s at the canvas and to respond to the beauty is my deepest hope and perhaps feel the eternal truths of life.”
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