Sentient in San Francisco – 19 October 2018

This Date in Art History: Died 19 October 1965 – Edward Willis Redfield, an American painter.

Below – “Boothbay, Maine”; “Bridge and Barges on the River”; “Dune Walk”; “Evening on the Seine”; “France”; “In the Forest of Fontainebleau.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 19 October 1850 – Annie Smith Peck, an American author, mountaineer, and explorer.

Three quotes from the work of Annie Smith Peck:

“Climbing is unadulterated hard labor. The only real pleasure is the satisfaction of going where no man has been before and where few can follow.”
“Nothing to mountaineering, just a little physical endurance, a good deal of brains, lots of practice, and plenty of warm clothing.”
“I am afraid if there is anything to be afraid of. A precipice cannot hurt you. Lions and tigers can. The streets of New York I consider more dangerous than the Matterhorn to a thoroughly competent and careful climber.”

This Date in Art History: Died 19 October 1952 – Edward S. Curtis, an American ethnologist and photographer.

Below – “A Navajo Medicine Man”; “The old-time warrior: New Peace”; “Mandan Man Overlooking the Missouri River”; “Mandan girls gathering berries”; “Geronimo – Apache”; “Boys in kayak, Nunivak”; “Self Portrait.”

This Date in Art History: Died 19 October 1945 – N. C. Wyeth, an American painter and illustrator.

Below – “The Silent Fisherman”; “Louise Loved to Climb to the Summit on One of the Barren Hills Flanking the River, and Stand There While the Wind Blew”; “So Hate That is Brother to Death Was in the Heart of Craftainy the Harper”; Untitled (Portrait of a Cowboy); Untitled (Couple and Wagon); “Indian Brave Fishing.”

Remembering an Important Writer on the Date ofHis Birth: Born 19 October 1948 – James Howard Kunstler, an American writer, social critic, and the author of “The Geography of Nowhere” and “The Long Emergency.”

Some quotes from the work of James Howard Kunstler:

“I like to call it ‘the national automobile slum.’ You can call it suburban sprawl. I think it’s appropriate to call it the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.”
“The twentieth century was about getting around. The twenty-first century will be about staying in a place worth staying in.
It pays to remember that societies get what they deserve, not what they expect.”
“The task we face is reorganizing the systems we depend on for daily life in a way that is consistent with the realities coming down at us.”
“Community is not something you have, like pizza. Now is it something you can buy. It’s a living organism based on a web of interdependencies- which is to say, a local economy. It expresses itself physically as connectedness, as buildings actively relating to each other, and to whatever public space exists, be it the street, or the courthouse or the village green.”
“Americans threw away their communities in order to save a few dollars on hair dryers and plastic food storage tubs, never stopping to reflect on what they were destroying.”
“The immersive ugliness of our everyday environments in America is entropy made visible.”
“Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work. A land full of places that are not worth caring about will soon be a nation and a way of life that is not worth defending.”
“As the places where Americans dwell become evermore depressing and impossible, Disneyworld is where they escape to worship the nation in the abstract, a cartoon capital of a cartoon republic enshrining the falsehoods, half-truths, and delusions that prop up the squishy thing the national character has become–for instance, that we are a nation of families; that we care about our fellow citizens; that history matters; that there is a place called home.”
“I urge people not to think in terms of ‘solutions,’ but in terms of intelligent responses to the quandaries and predicaments that we face. And there are intelligent responses that we can bring forth. But when I hear the word ‘solution,’ I always suspect that there’s a hidden agenda there. And the hidden agenda is: ‘Please, can you please tell us how we can keep on living exactly the way we’re living now, without having to really change our behavior very much?’ And that’s sort of what’s going on in this country. And it’s not going to work.”
“The economy of the 21st century will come to center on agriculture. Life will be intensely and profoundly local in ways that we can’t conceive of today. Economic growth, as we have known it in a cheap energy industrial paradigm, will cease.”
“I generally avoid over-population arguments. But there’s no question we’re in population overshoot. The catch is we’re not going to do anything about it. There will be no policy. The usual suspects: starvation, war, disease, will drive the population down. There’s little more to say about that really, and it’s certainly an unappetizing discussion, but it’s probably the truth. In any case, we’re in overshoot and we face vast resource scarcities.”

This Date in Art History: Died 19 October 1943 – Camille Claudel, a French sculptor and illustrator.

Below – “Sakuntala”; “The Wave”; “Auguste Rodin”; “Perseus and the Gorgon”; “The Waltz”; “The Mature Age.”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 October 1882 – Umberto Boccioni, an Italian painter and sculptor.

Below – “The Morning”; “Three Women”; “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”; “Modern Idol”; “The Street Enters the House”; “Self Portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 19 October 1950 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American poet, playwright, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Dirge Without Music”
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.

Below – Thomas Brooks: “The Sister’s Grave”

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As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams

I spent the afternoon with my family walking through the glorious landscapes of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. I was especially pleased while visiting the quintessentially Japanese Moon Viewing Garden (see below), with its lovely plants, stone pagodas, and moon viewing platform, and I could almost imagine myself lingering in a similar garden in Kyoto or Nara. However, my pleasant reverie ended abruptly when I read a plaque indicating that a tree beside the viewing pool was dedicated to the memory of Katharine Rexroth Leavitt, who died at age 42. I instantly knew that this woman was the daughter of Kenneth Rexroth, one of my favorite American poets and the translator of “One Hundred Poems from the Japanese.” My heart grew heavy, and I spent several moments in silent meditation pondering the truth of my own mortality. To honor the memory of Katharine Rexroth Leavitt, and to remind everyone that we are all sojourners in an ephemeral and uncertain world, I am posting three Japanese poems translated by Kenneth Rexroth that poignantly describe the human condition.

“A strange old man
Stops me,
Looking out of my deep mirror.”
— Hitomaro

“Others may forget you, but not I.
I am haunted by your beautiful ghost.”
-The Empress Yamatohime

“As I watch the moon
Shining on pain’s myriad paths,
I know I am not
Alone involved in Autumn.”
–Oe No Chisato

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A Impending New Arrival – 10 October 2018

Dear Readers: My first grandchild is supposed to be born today, and so things are likely going to be somewhat hectic for the next several days. Therefore, I will not be posting very often for some time, but I will, of course, let you know when the baby arrives.

Below – Gustave Klimt: “Mother and Child”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 10 October 2018

Remembering a Musician on the Date of His Birth: Born 10 October 1917 – Thelonious Monk, an American jazz pianist and composer.

This Date in Art History: Died 10 October 1720 – Antoine Coysevox, aF French sculptor: Part I of II.

Below – “Neptune”; “Amphritrite – Goddess of the Seas”; “Castor and Pollux”; “Fame Riding Pegasus”; “Le Marne”; “Le Seine.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 10 October 1938 – Lily Tuck, an American novelist, short story writer, and recipient of the National Book Awards.

Two quotes from the work of Lily Tuck:

“Surprising yourself is a big thing for me—to go somewhere that I don’t even know I’m going.”
“Her first day in Paris she can hardly get out of bed. When finally she does, she stands at the window and watches the cats. She does not feel depressed so much as absent.”

This Date in Art History: Died 10 October 1720 – Antoine Coysevox, aF French sculptor: Part II of II.

Below – “Mercury Riding Pegasus”; “Portrait of Marie Serre, Mother of Hyacinth Rigaud”; “Portrait Bust of Louis XIV”; “Madame du Vaucel”; “Self Portrait.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Childe Hassam: “Nude in Sunlit Wood.”

This Date in Art History: Born 10 October 1901 – Alberto Giacometti, a Swiss sculptor and painter.

Below – “Cat”; “L’Homme qui Marche I”; “Dog”; “La Clairière”; “Caroline”; “Interior.”

A Poem for Today

“White Fog”
by Sara Teasdale

Heaven-invading hills are drowned
In wide moving waves of mist,
Phlox before my door are wound
In dripping wreaths of amethyst.

Ten feet away the solid earth
Changes into melting cloud,
There is a hush of pain and mirth,
No bird has heart to speak aloud.

Here in a world without a sky,
Without the ground, without the sea,
The one unchanging thing is I,
Myself remains to comfort me.

This Date in Art History: Born 10 October 1910 – Julius Shulman, an American architectural photographer.

Below – “Los Angeles California Fire Station No. 28”; “Case Study House #22, Los Angeles, 1960”; “Santa Monica Mountains”; “Chemosphere”; “Convair Astronautics, San Diego, CA, 1958”; “Glass House, New Canaan, 2006.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 9 October 2018

Musings in Autumn: Anatole France

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Art for Autumn: Vyacheslav Mikhailov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Leda and the Swan”; “Landscape”; “Christmas”

Worth a Thousand Words: Yukon Territory, Canada.

This Date in Art History: Born 9 October 1874 – Nicholas Roerich, a Russian painter and archaeologist.

Below – “Mountain of Five Treasures”; “Path to Kailas”; “Lake of the Nagas”; “Three Jewels”; “Star of the Hero”; “New Moon.”

Musings in Autumn: Theodore Roosevelt

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”

This Date in Art History: Born 9 October 1947 – John Doubleday, an English painter and sculptor.

Below – “Blackwater Moon”; “Distant Water”; “Echoes”; “Blackwater”; “Liminal State”; “Still Life with Gin Bottle.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 9 October 2014 – Carolyn Kizer, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Great Blue Heron”
by Carolyn Kizer

M.A.K. September,1880-September,1955

As I wandered on the beach
I saw the heron standing
Sunk in the tattered wings
He wore as a hunchback’s coat.
Shadow without a shadow,
Hung on invisible wires
From the top of a canvas day,
What scissors cut him out?
Superimposed on a poster
Of summer by the strand
Of a long-decayed resort,
Poised in the dusty light
Some fifteen summers ago;
I wondered, an empty child,
“Heron, whose ghost are you?”

I stood on the beach alone,
In the sudden chill of the burned.
My thought raced up the path.
Pursuing it, I ran
To my mother in the house
And led her to the scene.
The spectral bird was gone.
But her quick eye saw him drifting
Over the highest pines
On vast, unmoving wings.
Could they be those ashen things,
So grounded, unwieldy, ragged,
A pair of broken arms
That were not made for flight?
In the middle of my loss
I realized she knew:
My mother knew what he was.

O great blue heron, now
That the summer house has burned
So many rockets ago,
So many smokes and fires
And beach-lights and water-glow
Reflecting pinwheel and flare:
The old logs hauled away,
The pines and driftwood cleared
From that bare strip of shore
Where dozens of children play;
Now there is only you
Heavy upon my eye.
Why have you followed me here,
Heavy and far away?
You have stood there patiently
For fifteen summers and snows,
Denser than my repose,
Bleaker than any dream,
Waiting upon the day
When, like grey smoke, a vapor
Floating into the sky,
A handful of paper ashes,
My mother would drift away.

James Williamson: “Great Blue Heron”

Contemporary American Art – Pablo Antonio Milan

In the words of one writer, “He is a recognized contemporary artist known for his powerful, brightly colored paintings. The images of his southwest heritage explode onto the canvas with loose brushstrokes revealing expressionistic versions of warriors, dancers and horsemen riding across landscape. The intense variations of colors and forms in the Southwest are also evident in his abstract paintings. The artist is renowned for his variety of painting techniques utilizing acrylic blends with broad brush strokes and heavy texture to delicate washes and splatters all in union to produce his own unique style of contemporary art.”

Below – “Four Indian Warriors on Horse Back”; “Monument Valley”; “Kachina Dancer”; “Western Landscape With Riders”; “Starlight Dance”; “Turquoise Sunset.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 8 October 2018

Musings in Autumn: Robert MacFarlane

“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.”

Russian Art – Igor Medvedev (1931-2015): Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Igor Medvedev was born in Novopskov city in the Lugansk region of Eastern Ukraine. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology with a degree in Physical Chemistry and went on to work as an engineer for the next 3 years. While working, he began studying art history at the Open University of the Soviet Union, eventually giving up engineering to become a teacher of fine art at a local college.”

Below – “Seashore”; “Nocturnal II”; “Sunset on Crete, Greece”; “Under the Sun II”; “Innocent”; “Summer Night Dream.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Winslow Homer: “The Blue Boat.”

Russian Art – Igor Medvedev (1931-2015): Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “Since 1990 Igor has been painting full time and exhibiting his work in various galleries and salons. His first solo exhibition took place in November 1990 at the Lithuanian State Youth Theatre in Vilnius. His paintings are regularly displayed at the galleries Kitai Gorod and Fleyta in Moscow and at the Prefecture of Zelenograd.”

Below – “Silver Bride”; “Dreaming”; “Terrace”; “Oliver”; “Harmony in Blue”; “Two Guardians.”

Musings in Autumn: Rainer Maria Rilke

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”

This Date in Art History: Born 8 October 1930 – Faith Ringgold, an American artist.

Below – “The Beach 2”; “You Put the Devil in Me”; “The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles”; “ Coming to Jones Road Part II n.7 Our Secret Wedding in the Woods”; “Listen to the Trees”; “Somebody Stole My Broken Heart.”

A Poem for Today

“The Second Coming”
by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

This Date in Art History: Born 8 October 1947 – Stephen Shore, an American photographer.

Below – “Horseshoe Bend Motel, Lovell, Wyoming”; “Three Forks, Montana, August 6, 2017”; “New York, New York, November 29, 2017”; “Winslow, Arizona, September 19, 2013”; “West 15th and Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio”; “Moore Haven, Florida”; “Main Street, Gull Lake, Sakatchewan.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 7 October 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 October 1935 – Thomas Keneally, who, in the words of one writer, is an “Australian novelist, playwright, and essayist. He is best known for writing Schindler’s Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982 which was inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. The book would later be adapted to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.”

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Keneally:

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
“But then what is the alternative to trying to tell the truth about the Holocaust, the Famine, the Armenian genocide, the injustice of dispossession in the Americas and Australia? That everyone should be reduced to silence? To pretend that the Holocaust was the work merely of a well-armed minority who didn’t do as much harm as is claimed-and likewise, to argue that the Irish Famine was either an inevitability or the fault of the Irish-is to say that both were mere unreliable rumors, and not the great motors of history they so obviously proved to be. It suited me to think so at the time, but still I believe it to be true, that if there are going to be areas of history which are off-bounds, then in principle we are reduced to fudging, to cosmetic narrative.”
“The principle was, death should not be entered like some snug harbor. It should be an unambiguous refusal to surrender.”
“Personal finances are like people’s personal health, crucial and tragic to the sufferer but tedious to the listener.”
“The taste one gets of death in dreams I find more penetrating and atmospheric than the ordinary fear one might suffer while awake.”

Art for Autumn – Part I of II: Ron Reeves Meadow (American, contemporary)

Below – “Iris and Bud”; “Compassion” (bronze vase sculpture); “Rose and Light”

Remembering a Musician on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 October 1955 – Yo-Yo Ma, a French-born American cellist.

Art for Autumn – Part II of II: Lev Meshberg (Russian, 1933-2007)

Below – “Aquarium III”; “Still Life with Bananas”; “Chair”

Worth a Thousand Words: The Waipio Valley, Hawaii.

Contemporary American Art – Nigel van Wieck: Part I of III.

In the words of one writer, Nigel Van Wieck “is a British figurative painter and he’s working in the tradition of American realism. He has been living and working in New York, USA, since 1979. The fact that the artist is actually English is not apparent, in the least not in his works. They recall too much the works of American Realist artists, with whom he came in contact with after moving to America.”

Below – “First Floor”; “Tri Rail”; “The Builder”; “The Roofer 1”; “The Roofer 2”; “Sunbather.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 7 October 1849 – Edgar Allan Poe, an American poet, short story writer, and critic.

by Edgar Allan Poe

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir—
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul—
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll—
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole—
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere—
Our memories were treacherous and sere,—
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)—
We noted not the dim lake of Auber
(Though once we had journeyed down here)—
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn—
As the star-dials hinted of morn—
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn—
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said: “She is warmer than Dian;
She rolls through an ether of sighs—
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies—
To the Lethean peace of the skies—
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes—
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes.”

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said: “Sadly this star I mistrust—
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:
Ah, hasten! —ah, let us not linger!
Ah, fly! —let us fly! -for we must.”
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust—
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust—
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied: “This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendour is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty tonight!—
See!—it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright—
We safely may trust to a gleaming,
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom—
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb—
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said: “What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?”
She replied: “Ulalume -Ulalume—
‘Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere—
As the leaves that were withering and sere;
And I cried: “It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed—I journeyed down here!—
That I brought a dread burden down here—
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon hath tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber—
This misty mid region of Weir—
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

Below – “Ulalume” as illustrated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, circa 1847–1848.

Contemporary American Art – Nigel van Wieck: Part II of III.

In the words of one writer, “At first it was the American Realist paintings of the late 19th century that impressed Van Wieck, such as those of Thomas Eakins or Winslow Homer. But even stronger was his fascination with the work of Edward Hopper, whose art he thought was exemplary and in whom he perceived a kindred spirit.”

Below – “The Watertower Man 1”; “Workmen on Ladders”; “The Welder”; “Roller Skates For Hire”; “The Sweeper”; “The Artist.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 October 1966 – Sherman Alexie, a Native American novelist, short story writer, poet, filmmaker, and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Sherman Alexie:

“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.”
“’I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,’ I said. ‘By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn’t true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not.’”
“These are things you should learn. Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you; your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you. Maybe you don’t wear a watch, but your skeletons do, and they always know what time it is. Now, these skeletons are made of memories, dreams, and voices. And they can trap you in the in-between, between touching and becoming. But they’re not necessarily evil, unless you let them be.”
“At least half the country thinks the mascot issue is insignificant. But I think it’s indicative of the ways in which Indians have no cultural power. We’re still placed in the past. So we’re either in the past or we’re only viewed through casinos.”
“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.”
“Can you hear the dreams crackling like a campfire? Can you hear the dreams sweeping through the pine trees and tipis? Can you hear the dreams laughing in the sawdust? Can you hear the dreams shaking just a little bit as the day grows long? Can you hear the dreams putting on a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke? Can you hear the dreams stay up late and talk so many stories?”

Contemporary American Art – Nigel van Wieck: Part III of III.

Artist Statement: “I remember the day I wanted to be a painter, I was 10, at school in a painting class. The teacher demonstrated how to paint a sky by wetting a piece of paper and then running a brush loaded with blue paint across the top of the paper; as the blue paint ran down the paper, it diluted eventually becoming white thus creating a realistic sky. I then painted my own sky, and put a man in the foreground, it was magic and I was hooked.”

Below – “The Harlem Line”; “The Coat Check Girl”; “On the Way to Herravura”; “The Ticket Sales Girl”; “Mates”; “Full Moon.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 6 October 2018

Musings in Autumn: Pablo Neruda

“Laughter is the language of the soul.”

Art for Autumn – Part I of IV: Peggy McGivern (American, contemporary)

Below – “Autumn”; “Blue River”; “Pasture in Hill Country”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 6 October 1892 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, an English poet and Poet Laureate from 1850-1892.

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“Mariana in the Moated Grange”
(Shakespeare, Measure for Measure)

With blackest moss the flower-plots
Were thickly crusted, one and all:
The rusted nails fell from the knots
That held the pear to the gable-wall.
The broken sheds look’d sad and strange:
Unlifted was the clinking latch;
Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
Upon the lonely moated grange.
She only said, “My life is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!”

Her tears fell with the dews at even;
Her tears fell ere the dews were dried;
She could not look on the sweet heaven,
Either at morn or eventide.
After the flitting of the bats,
When thickest dark did trance the sky,
She drew her casement-curtain by,
And glanced athwart the glooming flats.
She only said, “The night is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!”

Upon the middle of the night,
Waking she heard the night-fowl crow:
The cock sung out an hour ere light:
From the dark fen the oxen’s low
Came to her: without hope of change,
In sleep she seem’d to walk forlorn,
Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn
About the lonely moated grange.
She only said, “The day is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!”

About a stone-cast from the wall
A sluice with blacken’d waters slept,
And o’er it many, round and small,
The cluster’d marish-mosses crept.
Hard by a poplar shook alway,
All silver-green with gnarled bark:
For leagues no other tree did mark
The level waste, the rounding gray.
She only said, “My life is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said “I am aweary, aweary
I would that I were dead!”

And ever when the moon was low,
And the shrill winds were up and away,
In the white curtain, to and fro,
She saw the gusty shadow sway.
But when the moon was very low
And wild winds bound within their cell,
The shadow of the poplar fell
Upon her bed, across her brow.
She only said, “The night is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said “I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!”

All day within the dreamy house,
The doors upon their hinges creak’d;
The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse
Behind the mouldering wainscot shriek’d,
Or from the crevice peer’d about.
Old faces glimmer’d thro’ the doors
Old footsteps trod the upper floors,
Old voices called her from without.
She only said, “My life is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!”

The sparrow’s chirrup on the roof,
The slow clock ticking, and the sound
Which to the wooing wind aloof
The poplar made, did all confound
Her sense; but most she loathed the hour
When the thick-moted sunbeam lay
Athwart the chambers, and the day
Was sloping toward his western bower.
Then said she, “I am very dreary,
He will not come,” she said;
She wept, “I am aweary, aweary,
Oh God, that I were dead!”

Below – John Everett Millais: “Mariana”

Art for Autumn – Part II of IV: DeLoss McGraw (American, contemporary)

Below – “Down the Rabbit Hole”; “Do Not Love Too Long”; “Drowned Ophelia”

For Your Information: 6 October is National Noodle Day in the United States.

Art for Autumn – Part III of IV: Madeleine McKay (Irish/American, contemporary)

Below – “Croton”; “Visitor”; “Beloved”

Musings in Autumn: Liam James

“Dreams are like stars. You may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.”

Art for Autumn – Part IV of IV: Joshua Meador (American, 1911-1965)

Below – Untitled; “Cannon Beach, Oregon”; “Bodega Bay Seascape, California”

Worth a Thousand Words: Nigel Van Wieck (American, contemporary): “Q Train.”

American Art – Dave McGary (1958-2013)

In the words of one writer, “Artist Dave McGary grew up in Cody, Wyoming, the son of a ranching family. At age 16, McGary headed to Pietrasanta, near the Carrara Alps in Italy, where he worked in a foundry by day and on his own sculpture at night for a year and a half. Returning to the United States in 1976, he went to work for Shidoni Foundry, then moved from Santa Fe to the Hondo Valley in southern New Mexico where he ultimately built his own foundry outside Ruidoso, NM. Today, Dave McGary oversees every step of his creative process in a 14,000 square-foot finishing studio where a large staff handles details of chasing, patina and painting his work. The connection to Native American culture through his friendship with Daniel Long Soldier is one way that McGary’s art stands apart from other contemporary interpretations of Native American culture. Though he immerses himself in history books and other means of study, it is his living connection to Native American culture that breathes life into each piece.”

Below (all bronze) – “Free Spirits at Noisy Water”; “Crow and the Bear”; “In Her Father’s Footsteps”; “Rainmaker”; “When Lightning Strikes”; “Stronghearts.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 6 October 1979 – Elizabeth Bishop, an American short story writer, poet, and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“One Art”
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Contemporary American Art – Thomas Frederick McKnight

Artist Statement: “I try to integrate what is real about a place or thing with its underlying truth, its invisible soul.”

Below – “Austrian Garden”; “Storm Over Mykonos”; “Sonata”; “Oracle”; “Amphora”; “Pan’s Cove.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 5 October 2018

“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options. You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can go around it. You can dig under it. You can fly over it. You can blow it up. You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You can turn around and go back the way you came. Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.”

Art for Autumn – Frederick McDuff (American, contemporary)

Below – “August 1970”; “Parc Monceau”; “Beach Cabana”

Musings in Autumn: Italo Calvino

“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.
Or the question it asks you, forcing you to answer, like Thebes through the mouth of the Sphinx.”

Below – Taylan Soyturk: “San Francisco City Skyline.”

Japanese-French Art – Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968): Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita was a Japanese–French painter and printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan, who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings. He has been called ‘the most important Japanese artist working in the West during the 20th century.’”

Below – “Printemps”; “La vièrge et trois dames“: “Portrait d’une jeune favorite”; “La Mésangère”; “Mother and Child”; “Buste de femme.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Ford Madox Brown (British, 1821-1893): “An English Autumn Landscape.”

Japanese-French Art – Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968): Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “His ‘Book of Cats,’ published in New York by Covici Friede, 1930, with 20 etched plate drawings by Foujita, is one of the top 500 (in price) rare books ever sold, and is ranked by rare book dealers as ‘the most popular and desirable book on cats ever published.’”

Below – “Tete de chat”; “Chat assis”; “Couturier Cat”; “Vase of Roses”; “Adam and Eve”; “Self-Portrait.”

Musings in Autumn: Henry Beston

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

This Date in Art History: Born 5 October 1898 – Nachum Gutman, a Moldovan-Israeli painter and sculptor.

Below – “A Galilean Landscape”; “Figures in the Woods”; “Cafe in Tiberias”; “Playing music on the balcony in Jaffa”; “Carriage”; “The Yellow Coachman.”

A Poem for Today

“Love in Autumn”
by Sara Teasdale

I sought among the drifting leaves,
The golden leaves that once were green,
To see if Love were hiding there
And peeping out between.

For thro’ the silver showers of May
And thro’ the summer’s heavy heat,
In vain I sought his golden head
And light, fast-flying feet.

Perhaps when all the world is bare
And cruel winter holds the land,
The Love that finds no place to hide
Will run and catch my hand.

I shall not care to have him then,
I shall be bitter and a-cold —
It grows too late for frolicking
When all the world is old.

Then little hiding Love, come forth,
Come forth before the autumn goes,
And let us seek thro’ ruined paths
The garden’s last red rose.

Below – Elena Polozova: “Red Rose”

This Date in Art History – Born 5 October 1950 – James Rizzi, an American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Water under the Bridge”; “Moo Moo Moo”; “It’s Time to Buy a New TV”; “The Last Stop is Coney Island”; “Passion Fruit/Green”; “Rain.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 4 October 2018

Remembering a Vocalist on the Date of Her Death: Died 4 October 1970 – Janis Joplin, an American singer-songwriter.

This Date in Art History: Born 4 October 1814 – Jean-Francois Millet, a French painter.

Below – “The Sheepfold”; “Woman Baking Bread”; “The Sower”; “The Gleaners”; “Potato Planters”; “The Goose Girl.”

For Your Information: 4 October is World Animal Day, an international day of action for animal rights and welfare.

This Date in Art History: Died 4 October 1999 – Bernard Buffet, a French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Granville”; “L’Homme Orchestre”; “St. Tropez”; “Rolls Royce 1937”; “Bouquet de Marqueites”; “Village Road.”

Remembering a Comic Genius on the Date of His Birth: Born 4 October1895 – Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton, an American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. Critic Roger Ebert wrote of the “extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, [when] he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor–director in the history of the movies.”

This Date in Art History: Born 4 October1927 – Wolf Kahn, an American painter.

Below – “Two Farm Buildings and a Pond”; “Scene in Hawaii”; “Jet-Trail in October”; “At the Edge of the Pond”; “Dark Trees”; Untitled Winter Landscape.

Worth a Thousand Words: Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (Japanese-French, 1886-1968): “Cafe.”

Contemporary American Art – Harry McCormick: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “The atmospheric interiors of restaurants and bars are the focus of McCormick’s increasingly psychological examination of isolated individuals. Seductive visual elements portray feelings of alienation associated with contemporary urban life. These paintings address the pause between moments of possible dramatic action.”

Below – “Dragon Screen”; “At the Door”; “Artist Studio”; Untitled Reclining Woman; “Admirer”; “Fisherman.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 4 October 1974 – Anne Sexton, an American poet.

“The Fury of Overshoes”
by Anne Sexton

They sit in a row
outside the kindergarten,
black, red, brown, all
with those brass buckles.
Remember when you couldn’t
buckle your own
or tie your own
or tie your own shoe
or cut your own meat
and the tears
running down like mud
because you fell off your
Remember, big fish,
when you couldn’t swim
and simply slipped under
like a stone frog?
The world wasn’t
It belonged to
the big people.
Under your bed
sat the wolf
and he made a shadow
when cars passed by
at night.
They made you give up
your nightlight
and your teddy
and your thumb.
Oh overshoes,
don’t you
remember me,
pushing you up and down
in the winter snow?
Oh thumb,
I want a drink,
it is dark,
where are the big people,
when will I get there,
taking giant steps
all day,
each day
and thinking
nothing of it?

Contemporary American Art – Harry McCormick: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “McCormick’s capacity for minute description disguises a more private vision. Neither romantic nor glamorous, his closely observed naturalism has a capacity to arrest our attention and persuade us to share both his fascination with objects and the latent content. While McCormick’s work, with it’s obvious technical virtuosity, has remained aloof from any modernist mold, it deserves close scrutiny, going beyond the visual content of his chosen subjects to the nature of contemporary relationships.”

Below – “McSorley’s Old Ale House”; “Lady in Red”; “Paxtons Herd”; “New York Bar”; “Marise with Carpets”; “Empire Diner.”

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