Sentient in Seattle – 15 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 15 July 1904 – Anton Chekhov, a Russian playwright and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of Anton Chekhov:

“Do silly things. Foolishness is a great deal more vital and healthy than our straining and striving after a meaningful life.”
“If I wanted to order a ring for myself, the inscription I should choose would be: ‘Nothing passes away.’ I believe that nothing passes away without leaving a trace, and that every step we take, however small, has significance for our present and our future existence.”
“Love, friendship and respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something.”
“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.”
“A good upbringing means not that you won’t spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won’t notice it when someone else does.”
“Everything on earth is beautiful, everything — except what we ourselves think and do when we forget the higher purposes of life and our own human dignity.”
“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”

Art for Summer: Lester Johnson (American, 1919-2010)

Below – “Street Scene Slacks”; “Street Scene 4”; “Street Scene White Dress”

For Your Information: 15 July is National Tapioca Pudding Day in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Born 15 July 1606 – Rembrandt, a Dutch printmaker and painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Artist’s Mother”; “Beggar Man and Woman”; “Old beggar woman with a gourd”; “Bald-Headed Man in Right Profile”; “Old Man With a Flowing Beard”; “Self-Portrait.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A view from the summit of Denali.

This Date in Art History: Born 15 July 1606 – Rembrandt, a Dutch printmaker and painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Aristotle With a Bust of Homer”; “The Abduction of Europa”; “The Night Watch”; “The Philosopher in Meditation”; “The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild”; “Self-Portrait With Beret and Turned-Up Collar.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 15 July 1885 – Rosalia de Castro, a Galician author and poet.

“The Atmosphere Is Incandescent”
by Rosalia de Castro
(translated by Edwin Morgan)

The atmosphere is incandescent;
The fox explores an empty road;
Sick grow the waters
That sparkled in the clear arroyo,
Unfluttered stands the pine
Waiting for fickle winds to blow.

A majesty of silence
Overpowers the meadow;
Only the hum of an insect troubles
The spreading, dripping forest shadow,
Relentless and monotonous
As muffled rattle in a dying throat.

In such a summer the hour of midday
Could as well go
By the name of night, to struggle-weary
Man who has never known
Greater vexation from the vast cares
Of the soul, or from matter’s majestic force.

Would it were winter again! The nights! The cold!
O those old loves of ours so long ago!
Come back to make this fevered blood run fresh,
Bring back your sharp severities and snows
To these intolerable summer sorrows…
Sorrows!…While vine and corn stand thick and gold!

The cold, the heat; the autumn or the spring;
Where, where has delight set up its home?
Beautiful are all seasons to the man
Who shelters happiness within his soul;
But the deserted, orphaned spirit feels
No season smile upon its luckless door.


This Date in Art History: Born 15 July 1857 – Wharton Esherick, an American sculptor and woodblock print artist: Part I of II.

Below (all wood) – “essie”/“rebecca”; “The Actress”; “The Kiss”; “The Centaur”; “Spiral Three-Step Ladder”; Untitled (Horse).

Musing in Summer: Roman Payne

“They say Alexander the Great slept with ‘The Iliad’ beneath his pillow. Though I have never led an army, I am a wanderer. During the waning moon, I cradle Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ as if it were the sweet body of a woman.”

Below – John William Waterhouse: “Odysseus and the Sirens”


This Date in Art History: Born 15 July 1857 – Wharton Esherick, an American sculptor and woodblock print artist: Part II of II.

Below – “Christmas Snows – 2”; “April”; “Ship on Stormy Seas”; “Hedgerow”; “Song of the Broad-Axe”; “The Rose of Sharon.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 15 July 2018

“Only fools and charlatans think they know and understand everything. The stupider they are, the wider they conceive their horizons to be.” – Anton Chekhov.

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Sentient in Seattle – 14 July 2018

Musings in Summer: Edward Hopper

“In general it can be said that a nation’s art is greatest when it most reflects the character of its people.”

Below – Edward Hopper: “New York Movie”

This Date in Art History: Died 14 July 1991 – Constance Stokes, an Australian painter.

Below – “The Sunbather”; “Head of a Young Girl”; “Girl in Red Tights”; “Young Girl”; “Woman and Her Children”; “Nude.”


A Poem for Today

“Picnic, Lightning”
by Billy Collins

It is possible to be struck by a
meteor or a single-engine plane while
reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians
are flattened by safes falling from
rooftops mostly within the panels of
the comics, but still, we know it is
possible, as well as the flash of
summer lightning, the thermos toppling
over, spilling out on the grass.
And we know the message can be
delivered from within. The heart, no
valentine, decides to quit after
lunch, the power shut off like a
switch, or a tiny dark ship is
unmoored into the flow of the body’s
rivers, the brain a monastery,
defenseless on the shore. This is
what I think about when I shovel
compost into a wheelbarrow, and when
I fill the long flower boxes, then
press into rows the limp roots of red
impatiens — the instant hand of Death
always ready to burst forth from the
sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then
the soil is full of marvels, bits of
leaf like flakes off a fresco,
red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick
to burrow back under the loam. Then
the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the
clouds a brighter white, and all I
hear is the rasp of the steel edge
against a round stone, the small
plants singing with lifted faces, and
the click of the sundial as one hour
sweeps into the next.


Contemporary Chinese Painting: Jiang Tie-Feng: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Chinese Artist Jiang Tie-Feng was born in 1938, in Ningbo, Zhejiiang Province, in China. Even as a child he displayed a great love and talent for painting and drawing, and early on he knew the course his life would take.”

Below – “White Tigers”; “Little Horse”; “Purple Dream”; “Youthful Strength”; “Mermaid”; “Dragon Bride.”

Musings in Summer: Pablo Picasso

“The first half of life is learning to be an adult – the second half is learning to be a child.”

Below – Pablo Picasso: “Child with a Dove”


Contemporary Chinese Painting: Jiang Tie-Feng: Part II of II.

Below – In the words of one writer, ‘Tie-Feng Jiang is a storyteller. His paintings are steeped in Buddhist and Chinese mythology. Each figure has a symbolic meaning. The paintings have so much complexity and visual fascination that the viewer is constantly seeing something new. Jiang says ‘For every picture there is a story, and for every story there is a picture.’”

Below – “Leopard”; “Beauty and Flowers”; “Imperial Zebras”; “Spirit of Fire”; “Huntress”; “Delight.”


Worth a Thousand Words: Aldebaran blazing in the night sky.


American Art – Earl Biss (1947-1999): Part I of III.

In the words of one writer, “Artist Earl Biss was a member of the Crow Nation. He had a fine classical education in the arts; graduating from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, followed by several years of study at the San Francisco Art Institute.”
Below – “Stalking With Medicine That Speaks Like Thunder”; “Mist Between the Day and the Night”; “Rhythm of the Restless”; “Crazy Dogs in the Sun”; “Breaking Through an Autumn Grove”; “Buffalo Hunt.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Wild Swans”
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more:
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

Below – Jen Greta Cart: “Wild Swans” (inspired by the poem)

American Art – Earl Biss (1947-1999): Part II of III.

In the words of one writer, “Earl Biss’s works are alive in imagination, with flowing, textured strokes of color and form conveying the moods wonder in the dreams and hopes of an exciting people who are his own, the Crow Indian. A member of the Crow Nation, Earl Biss was one of the most prominent American Indian artists.”

Below – “Dream of Wild Horses”; “Warshield’s Winter Vision”; “North American Indians in the Process of Vanishing”; “Ice Fisherman”; “Unfinished Painting of an Untold Story”; “Old Chiefs Posing.”

Musings in Summer: Vincent van Gogh

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “The Starry Night”


American Art – Earl Biss (1947-1999): Part III of III.

Artist Statement: “My paintings might suggest a harmony of man and nature, a combining of rigid line and free flowing spontaneity, bubbling with rich color with the disciplined design of the hard edge technique. I am not concerned with capturing the outward image of nature, but rather those powers or forces of nature which play such an important part or basis for the way things are. A concept of reality drawn from spontaneous abstractions, and controlled with the subtlety I wield as the creator.”

Below – “General Custer in Blue and Green”; “Autumn Storm on Crazy Woman Mountain”; “Looking Glass”; “Buffalo Sky”; “Silent Sunrise Morning”; “Riders’ Return.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 14 July 2018

There is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson, American scientist and author.

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Sentient in Seattle – 13 July 2018

Be aware: Today is Friday the 13th.

Art for Summer – Part I of III: Ron Jermyn (American, contemporary)

Below (all bronze) – “Prometheus”; “Edge”; “Large Wave”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of Her Death: Died 12 July 2014 – Nadine Gordimer, a South African novelist, short story writer, political activist, and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Nadine Gordimer:

“The truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is.”
“My answer is: Recognize yourself in others.”
“Art defies defeat by its very existence, representing the celebration of life, in spite of all attempts to degrade and destroy it.”
“Nothing fades so quickly as what is unchanged.”
“Written words still have the amazing power to bring out the best and worst of human nature.”
“Books don’t need batteries.”
“Your whole life you are really writing one book, which is an attempt to grasp the consciousness of your time and place– a single book written from different stages of your ability.”

Art for Summer – Part II of III: Wu Jian (Chinese, contemporary)

Below – “Dragon Fly”; “Ambition”; “Sea Breeze”


For Your Information: 13 July is National French Fries Day in the United States. Choose your condiment: catsup, vinegar, or gravy.

Art for Summer – Part III of III: Roger Hayden Johnson (American, contemporary)

Below – “Sunrise at Llano”; “Placitas Bell”; “Golden Oldie”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 13 July 1934 – Role Soyinka, a Nigerian playwright, poet, essayist, and recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Wole Soyinka:

“The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.”
“Don’t take shadows too seriously. Reality is your only safety. Continue to reject illusion.”
“Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth.”
“Looking at faces of people, one gets the feeling there’s a lot of work to be done.”
“The man dies in all those that keep silent.”
“Well, some people say I’m pessimistic because I recognize the eternal cycle of evil. All I say is, look at the history of mankind right up to this moment and what do you find?”
“Culture is a matrix of infinite possibilities and choices. From within the same culture matrix we can extract arguments and strategies for the degradation and ennoblement of our species, for its enslavement or liberation, for the suppression of its productive potential or its enhancement.”


This Date in Art History: Died 13 July 1949 – Walt Kuhn, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Golden Horn”; “Pink Roses in Blue Pitcher”; “Figures in an Interior”; “Athene”; “Sap Bucket and Apples”; “Circus Scene.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A NASA photograph of the Helix Nebula.

This Date in Art History: Died 13 July 1949 – Walt Kuhn, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Still Life with Red Roses”; “Ruth With Green Headcloth”; “Concert”; “Moist Forest”; “Cuban Girl”; “Trude.”

A Poem for Today

“Let It Be Forgotten”
by Sara Teasdale

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold.
Let it be forgotten forever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long-forgotten snow.


This Date in Art History: Died 13 July 1946 – Alfred Stieglitz, an American photographer.

Below – “The Last Joke, Bellagio” (1887); “Winter – Fifth Avenue” (1893); “Spring Showers, The Coach” (1902); “The Steerage” (1907); “Georgia O’Keeffe” (1918); “The Hand of Man” (1902).

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 13 July 2018

“Complacent ignorance is the most lethal sickness of the soul.” – Plato.

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Sentient in Seattle – 12 July 2018

Musings in Summer: Pablo Picasso

“Why do you try to understand art? Do you try to understand the song of a bird?”

Below – Pablo Picasso: “Bird on a Tree”

Art for Summer: Christian Jequel (French, contemporary)

Below – “Portuguese Fishermen”; “Flowers in Pot”; “Violinist”

For Your Information: 12 July is National Pecan Pie Day in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Born 12 July 1824 – Eugene Boudin, a French painter.

Below – “Sailboats hat Trouville”; “Sea Port”; “Berck, Fishermen at Low Tide”; “The Sea at Douarnenez”; “Trouville, Scene de plage.”


Worth a Thousand Words: An oasis in the Sahara Desert.

This Date in Art History: Died 12 July 1929 – Robert Henri, an American painter.

Below – “Snow in New York”; “Mary Agnes, one of the children of Dooagh”; “The Beach Hat”; “Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney”; “Edna Smith in a Japanese Wrap”; “Figure in Motion.”

Musings in Summer: Doris Grumbach

“Old age is somewhat like dieting. Every day there is less of us to be observed.”

Below – John Lautermilch: “Old Woman”


This Date in Art History: Born 12 July 1876 – Alphaeus Philemon Cole, an American artist.

Below – “Portrait of Miss Felicie Waldo Howell”; “Portrait of a Lady”; “On the side table”; “Portrait of a Woman”; “Portrait of a lady with red flowers in her hair”; “Portrait of Pamela Colman Smith.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 12 July 1904 – Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and recipient of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Sonnet Xvii”
By Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

This Date in Art History: Born 12 July 1917 – Andrew Wyeth, an American painter.

Below – “Winter”; “Braids”; “The Berry Picker”; “Knapsack”; “Christina Olson”; “Daydream.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 12 July 2018

“Facts are threatening to those invested in fraud.” ― DaShanne Stokes, American sociologist, scholar, and author.

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Sentient in Seattle – 11 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 July 1899 – E. B. White, an American essayist, journalist, author, and recipient of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for Letters.

Some quotes from the work of E. B. White:

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
“Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you can’t erase it.”
“Being the owner of Dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot. Some day, if I ever get a chance, I shall write a book, or warning, on the character and temperament of the Dachshund and why he can’t be trained and shouldn’t be. I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a Dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do.”
“Make the work interesting and the discipline will take care of itself.”
“I have one share in corporate Earth, and I am nervous about the management.”

Art for Summer – Part I of III: Jamali (American, contemporary)

Below – “Guide”; “Mystic”; “Philosopher”

For Your Information: 11 July is National Blueberry Muffin Day in the United States.

Art for Summer – Part II of III: Daniel Jean-Baptiste (Santa Lucian, contemporary)

Below – “Hawksbill and Triggers”; “Parrot”; “Dancing Butterflies”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 11 July 1966 – Delmore Schwartz, an American poet and short story writer.

“The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me”
by Delmore Schwartz

‘the withness of the body’ – Whitehead

The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.

Breathing at my side, that heavy animal,
That heavy bear who sleeps with me,
Howls in his sleep for a world of sugar,
A sweetness intimate as the water’s clasp,
Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope
Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
–The strutting show-off is terrified,
Dressed in his dress-suit, bulging his pants,
Trembles to think that his quivering meat
Must finally wince to nothing at all.

That inescapable animal walks with me,
Has followed me since the black womb held,
Moves where I move, distorting my gesture,
A caricature, a swollen shadow,
A stupid clown of the spirit’s motive,
Perplexes and affronts with his own darkness,
The secret life of belly and bone,
Opaque, too near, my private, yet unknown,
Stretches to embrace the very dear
With whom I would walk without him near,
Touches her grossly, although a word
Would bare my heart and make me clear,
Stumbles, flounders, and strives to be fed
Dragging me with him in his mouthing care,
Amid the hundred million of his kind,
the scrimmage of appetite everywhere.

Art for Summer – Part III of III: Paul Jenkins (American, 1923-2010)

Below – “Phenomena Katherine Wheel”; “Phenomena Salome Slope”; “Phenomena Disappearance of Saturn”

Worth a Thousand Words: A photograph of X-rays streaming off the sun taken by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array.

This Date in Art History: Born 11 July 1886 – Boris Grigoriev, a Russian painter and illustrator.

Below – “Carnival at Night”; “The Circus Artist’s Dream”; “Sunflowers”; “Village”; “Betrothal”; “Self-Portrait.”

Musings in Summer: Pablo Picasso

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Below – Pablo Picasso: Self-Portrait (1907)


This Date in Art History: Born 11 July 1946 – Martin Wong, an American painter.

Below – Untitled Still Life; Untitled (Portrait of a Boy); “Three Signs”; “Golden State MKT (storefront”; “A Corner in My Cabin Up Inside Waco Warehouse”; “Self-Portrait.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 11 July 2018

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” – E. B. White.

TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 12: People hold signs that read, ” Build that Wall”, as they wait for the start of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on February 12, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The process to select the next Democratic and Republican Presidential candidate continues. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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