Food for the Spirit and the Soul

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

August Offerings – Part XXIX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Max Ferguson

Max Ferguson (born 1959) earned a B.S. degree from New York University.

Below – “Violin Repair Shop”; “24 Hour Self-Portrait”; “Time”; “Shoe Repair Shop”; “Fish Vendor”; “Katz.”







“With my somewhat vague aspiring mind, to be imprisoned in the rude details of a most material life was often irksome.” – Edward Carpenter, English poet, socialist, philosopher, and early LGBT activist, who was born 29 August 1844.

Here is one critic describing Edward Carpenter: “A leading figure in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Walt Whitman and Rabindranath Tagore, corresponding with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isadora Duncan, Havelock Ellis, Roger Fry, Mahatma Gandhi, James Keir Hardie, J. K. Kinney, Jack London, George Merrill, E D Morel, William Morris, E R Pease, John Ruskin, and Olive Schreiner.”

“So Thin a Veil”

So thin a veil divides
Us from such joy, past words,
Walking in daily life–the business of the hour, each detail seen to;
Yet carried, rapt away, on what sweet floods of other Being:
Swift streams of music flowing, light far back through all Creation shining,
Loved faces looking–
Ah! from the true, the mortal self
So thin a veil divides!

Reflections in Summer: Wallace Stevens

“We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in the cold.”

Summer Haiku – Part I of VI

summer clouds
the jogger’s mouth waters
for buttermilk

From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Charlie Parker

“Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.” – Charlie Parker, known as “Bird,” American jazz saxophonist and composer, who was born 29 August 1920.

Born 29 August 1780 – Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a French Neoclassical painter.

Below – “Achilles Receiving the Envoys of Agamemnon”; “Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne”; “Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus”; “Grande Odalisque”; “Oedipus and the Sphinx.”





Summer Haiku – Part II of VI

heat wave
an undulating pattern
in the man’s tie

Reflections in Summer: John Ruskin

Word carved on John Ruskin’s desk: “TODAY.”


Nobel Laureate: Maurice Maeterlinck

“We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us.” – Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian poet, playwright, essayist, and recipient of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Literature “in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations,” who was born 29 August 1882.

Some quotes from the work of Maurice Maeterlinck:

“When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough.”
“All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than the animals that know nothing.”
“At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future tradition has placed 10, 000 men to guard the past”
“As soon as we put something into words, we devalue it in a strange way. We think we have plunged into the depths of the abyss, and when we return to the surface the drop of water on our pale fingertips no longer resembles the sea from which it comes. We delude ourselves that we have discovered a wonderful treasure trove, and when we return to the light of day we find that we have brought back only false stones and shards of glass; and yet the treasure goes on glimmering in the dark, unaltered.”
“Besides, I myself have now for a long time ceased to look for anything more beautiful in this world, or more interesting, than the truth; or at least than the effort one is able to make towards the truth.”
“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together … Speech is too often … the act of quite stifling and suspending thought, so that there is none to conceal … Speech is of Time, silence is of Eternity … It is idle to think that, by means of words, any real communication can ever pass from one man to another.”
“Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?”

Reflections in Summer: Larry McMurtry

“It’s like I told you last night son. The earth is mostly just a boneyard. But pretty in the sunlight, he added.”

Summer Haiku – Part III of VI

scented breeze
what did you caress
before cooling me

Reflections in Summer: Simone Weil

“Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.”

From the American History Archives: The First Indian Reservation

29 August 1758 – The New Jersey Legislature creates the country’s first Indian Reservation. In the words of one historian, “The New Jersey Assembly in 1758 established a permanent home for the Lenni-Lenape in Burlington County. It was the first ‘Indian reservation,’ The tribe had relinquished all rights to New Jersey, except for hunting and fishing privileges. About 200 of the ‘original people’ gathered to make their home under the benevolent supervision of John Brainerd. Reverend Brainerd optimistically called the reservation Brotherton in the hopes that all men would be brothers. He was an enthusiastic organizer and devout missionary. He helped them to set up grist and sawmills and encouraged them to adapt to the new way of life. For a while it seemed to be working and the area became known as Indian Mills.”

Reflections in Summer: Tracy L. Higley

“The fear of the unknown was eclipsed by the gladness that came of taking action, of doing something rather than waiting, of following what seemed to be the call of my life.”

American Art – Part II of III: Megan Bogonovich

Artist Statement: “The sculptures combine naturalistic and abstracted imagery to suggest the possibility of the real and the imagined cohabitating. (I) present scenarios about the comforts and limitations of our personal worlds.”
aBog1 copy

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“The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.” – John Locke, English philosopher, physician, and one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers, who was born 29 August 1632.

Some quotes from the work of John Locke:

“So that, in effect, religion, which should most distinguish us from beasts, and ought most peculiarly to elevate us, as rational creatures, above brutes, is that wherein men often appear most irrational, and more senseless than beasts themselves.”
“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”
“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common.”
“We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.”
“Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.”
“To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.”
“There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.”

Reflections in Summer: Jackie Haze

“I felt that the magical people must be in the hidden back roads and dusty cubby holes of life; on highways, in hostels, and in shabby, smoky cafes. These enchanting people are in trees, around fires and under hand-knit hats and street lamps reflecting gold on rain soaked pavement. They dance while others dangle; they vibrantly sing the songs that get jumbled and stuck in the subconscious of others who only wish to catch tune. They are the rare ones whose uncommon experiences touch your heart through just a wink of their eye, the stories stitched in the holes of their shoes, invoking a longing for the unknown, taking others to a place of missing what they’ve never even had — they do not settle, they do not compromise.”

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: The Beatles

29 August 1966 – The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

A Poem for Today

“Night Journey”
By Theodore Roethke

Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night
To see the land I love.

Reflections in Summer: Marty Rubin

“Mountain climbers think of the mountain not of the danger.”

From the Movie Archives: Ingrid Bergman

“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.” – Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress and three-time Academy Award winner best known for her portrayal of Ilsa Lund in “Casablanca,” who was born 29 August 1915.

Summer Haiku – Part IV of VI

vegetable garden
a new scarecrow points
at the starlings

Reflections in Summer: Alain de Botton

“What ease our seemingly entrenched lives might be altered were we simply to walk down a corridor and onto a craft that in a few hours would land us in a place of which we had no memories and where no one knew our name.”


“Their relationship consisted
In discussing if it existed.” – Thom Gunn, Anglo-American poet and author of “The Man with Night Sweats,” who was born 29 August 1929.

“The Man with Night Sweats”

I wake up cold, I who
Prospered through dreams of heat
Wake to their residue,
Sweat, and a clinging sheet.

My flesh was its own shield:
Where it was gashed, it healed.

I grew as I explored
The body I could trust
Even while I adored
The risk that made robust,

A world of wonders in
Each challenge to the skin.

I cannot but be sorry
The given shield was cracked,
My mind reduced to hurry,
My flesh reduced and wrecked.

I have to change the bed,
But catch myself instead

Stopped upright where I am
Hugging my body to me
As if to shield it from
The pains that will go through me,

As if hands were enough
To hold an avalanche off.

Below – Jack Brummet: “Night Sweats”

Reflections in Summer: Edna Ferber

“Then there were long, lazy summer afternoons when there was nothing to do but read. And dream. And watch the town go by to supper. I think that is why our great men and women so often have sprung from small towns, or villages. They have had time to dream in their adolescence. No cars to catch, no matinees, no city streets, none of the teeming, empty, energy-consuming occupations of the city child. Little that is competitive, much that is unconsciously absorbed at the most impressionable period, long evenings for reading, long afternoons in the fields or woods.”

Summer Haiku – Part V of VI

sand dollar
the whole ocean becomes
a wishing well

Back from the Territory – Art: Stephanie Ryan – Part II

Artist Statement: “I am originally from a small town in Ontario, Canada. I took art classes all through high school with some evening studies at the local Queen’s University in printmaking and life-drawing. I went to Trent University where I completed my bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies. My painting and drawing were used as an escape from my studies when I could afford the time!
I spent 3 summers planting trees in Northern BC to pay for my education, although I think it also helped draw me north, being in those beautiful mountains every day. In 1997, I travelled to Whitehorse to see the Yukon and fell in love with it – I spent all my free time paddling rivers, mountain biking and hiking in the mountains. I filled many journals with sketches of river bends, amazing mountain vistas and lists of all the future places that I want to explore.
I finished my B.A. in 1998 and moved to Yellowknife, NWT for a winter before moving back to the Yukon. In Whitehorse, Yukon, I worked as a greenhouse manager and landscaper for 10 years, and this work allowed me to be outside and to be creative with colour and texture in a different way. In 2010, I began work as a backcountry patroller for Park Canada on the Chilkoot Trail. Working 9 day shifts in the mountains inspires a lot of creative ideas. While the trail is geographically always the same, it changes by the minute with light, snow, rain, wind, and plants and wildlife following the seasons. I have found that working seasonally allows me to focus on my art in the winter, when the weather is much less inviting to be painting outdoors!”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Blueberries on Long Hill, Chilkoot Trail, Alaska”; “Caribou Mountain”; “Mountain Haven”; “Mount Macdonald, Snake River, Yukon”; “Nadahini, Haines Pass.”





Summer Haiku – Part VI of VI

starlit lake
a stray bobber afloat
in the galaxy

Reflections in Summer: Elizabeth Eaves

“Travel is life-changing. That’s the promise made by a thousand websites and magazines, by philosophers and writers down the ages. Mark Twain said it was fatal to prejudice, and Thomas Jefferson said it made you wise. Anais Nin observed that ‘we travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.’ It’s all true. Self-transformation is what I sought and what I found.”

American Art – Part III of III: Trey Friedman

Trey Friedman attended both the Pratt Institute, School of Architecture and Syracuse University, School of Visual Arts, Department of Painting.

Below – “Service”; “Trees on a Line #23”; “Trees on a Line #140”; “Trees on a Line #100”; “Laura”; “Cost of Living.”






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August Offerings – Part XXVIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Susan Wiggin

Artist Statement: “Our home sits on the eastern edge of a bowl perched upon the side of a mountain. On a clear day you can see nearly a hundred miles. The weather comes from the west. Clouds move across this vast space towards us, piling against the mountains behind. There is time to study an approaching storm. Light is the variable element. It is the verb, revealing and concealing endless detail. This direct observation of the landscape provides the primary motif for my paintings and monoprints. My intention is to hold a moment.”

Below – “Fleeting”; “Suspended”; “River Wide”; “Peach Trees”; “Dashing Clouds”; “Lake Light.”







Literary Giants – Part I of II: Goethe

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, statesman, and author of several great and influential works, including “The Sorrows of Young Werther” and “Faust,” who was born 28 August 1749.

Some quotes from the work of Goethe:

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”
“If you’ve never eaten while crying, you don t know what life tastes like.”
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”
“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”
“Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.”
“By seeking and blundering we learn.”
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.”
“There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.”
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
“Nothing is worth more than this day.”


Here is one critic describing the artistry of Russian-born painter Dima Dmitriev: “Dmitriev’s paintings represent forms of ‘visual paradise.’ He describes this as the process of extracting the color, light, and texture from real places and distilling these onto his canvases as idealized worlds. Dima rarely uses a brush. His preferred tool is the palette knife. Dmitriev also adds depth and color saturation to some of his works by starting with black, rather than the traditional white, canvas. Dima’s Impressionistic composition and style combined with his mastery of the palette knife create oil paintings that are vibrant and sculptural. His works often include themes of childhood, nature and the sea.”














Literary Giants – Part II of II: Tolstoy

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Russian writer, philosopher, political thinker, and author of the masterpieces “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” who was born 28 August (O.S.) 18928.

Some quotes from the work of Leo Tolstoy:

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”
“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”
“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”
“Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed. ”
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.”
“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”


Reflections in Summer: Matthew Arnold

“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”


Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Vivian Thierfelder: “In choosing the subjects for my latest works, I have concentrated on the linear aspects of flowers and still life, allowing colour and form to emerge with the use of strong natural light and often employing elements of chiaroscuro. Contrast heightens the impact for the viewer and reveals the objects – flowers, glass or metallics to their best advantage. I have a fascination with light playing on various textures (petals, leaves, cloth), reflective surfaces (brass, steel) and densities (water, glass). A secondary motif that I explore at times is colour-related borders ‘imposed’ on the works, creating a kind of window, adding energy and an element of mystery. I find it quite magical – the manner in which a brush, pigments and paper can create a ‘reality’: the illusion of three dimensions in two. I hope you enjoy these works and feel the same sense of wonder that I did in creating them.”












A Poem for Today

“Confusing Weather”
By Joshua Mehigan

The sun came to in late December. Spring
Seemed just the thing that flattered into bloom
The murdered shrubs along the splintered fence.
The awnings sagged with puddles. Roads were streams.
Wet leaves in sheets streaked everything with rust.
The man who raked his lawn transferred a toad
Too small to be a toad back to the woodpile.
In the countryside, he thought he spied the trust
That perished from his day to day relations.

His head was like a shoebox of old pictures,
Each showing in the background, by some fluke,
Its own catastrophe: divorce, lost friends,
A son whose number he could not recall—
This weather, nothing but a second fall,
Ending, if somewhat late, just how fall ends.
Each day that week he sat outside awhile
And watched his shadow lengthen, disappear.
Then winter followed through its machinations,
Crept up and snapped the green head off the year.


From the American History Archives – Part I of II: St. Augustine, Florida

28 August 1585 – The Spanish establish St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied European-founded settlement in the continental United States. For comparison, Jamestown was founded in 1607 and Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Below – St. Augustine City Gate, circa 1861.

American Art – Part II of IV: David Mueller

Artist Statement: “I like to create renderings that capture the essence of simple, yet profound, aesthetics. The current focus of my work is primarily figurative paintings, many including some kind of decorative element. I strive to create ‘timeless’ images. My style is aimed at finding a happy medium between classical realism and impressionism. I also love to plein air paint to try to capture the essence of natural landscape.”







From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Tom Thumb

28 August 1830 – “Tom Thumb,” the first locomotive in the United States, makes its initial run from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill.

Below – A re-enactment of the Tom Thumb locomotive carrying directors from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Reflections in Summer: Aida Mitsu

“Those who want to start a new journey, there are always new roads open for you.”

From the Music Archives: Richard Wagner

28 August 1850 – Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin” premieres at Weimar, Germany.


“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” – John Betjeman, English poet, writer, broadcaster, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972-1984, who was born 28 August 1906.

“Five O’Clock Shadow”

This is the time of day when we in the Men’s ward
Think “one more surge of the pain and I give up the fight.”
When he who struggles for breath can struggle less strongly:
This is the time of day which is worse than night.

A haze of thunder hangs on the hospital rose-beds,
A doctors’ foursome out of the links is played,
Safe in her sitting-room Sister is putting her feet up:
This is the time of day when we feel betrayed.

Below the windows, loads of loving relations
Rev in the car park, changing gear at the bend,
Making for home and a nice big tea and the telly:
“Well, we’ve done what we can. It can’t be long till the end.”

This is the time of day when the weight of bedclothes
Is harder to bear than a sharp incision of steel.
The endless anonymous croak of a cheap transistor
Intensifies the lonely terror I feel.

Reflections in Summer: John Singer Sargent

“Cultivate an ever-continuous power of observation. Wherever you are, be always ready to make slight notes of postures, groups and incidents. Store up in the mind… a continuous stream of observations from which to make selections later. Above all things get abroad, see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.”

Below – John Singer Sargent: “Carnation”

A Second Poem for Today

“On The Death Of Friends in Childhood”
By Donald Justice

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.

“The possession of arbitrary power has always, the world over, tended irresistibly to destroy humane sensibility, magnanimity, and truth.” – Frederick Law Olmsted, American landscape architect, conservationist, journalist, social critic, public administrator, and co-designer (with Calvert Vaux) of New York City’s Central Park, who died 28 August 1903.

Below – Frederick Law Olmsted, oil painting by John Singer Sargent, 1895; Central Park, New York City.


Reflections in Summer: Alex Morritt

“Motorcycle adventures are the perfect antidote to middle age.”

From the Movie Archives: John Huston

“You walk through a series of arches, so to speak, and then, presently, at the end of a corridor, a door opens and you see backward through time, and you feel the flow of time, and realize you are only part of a great nameless procession.” – John Huston, American film director, screenwriter, and actor, who died 28 August 1987.

John Huston directed many great movies, including “The Treasure of Sierra Madre,” “Key Largo,” “The African Queen,” and, of course, “The Maltese Falcon.”

28 August 1845 – “Scientific American” magazine publishes its first issue. In the words of one historian, “‘Scientific American’ is an American popular science magazine. It has a long history of presenting scientific information on a monthly basis to the general educated public, with careful attention to the clarity of its text and the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles in the past 168 years. It is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States.”

American Art – Part III of IV: John Evans

John Evans (born 1945) earned a BFA and an MFA from Boston University.

Below – “October Nite”; “String Trio”; “Silent Garden”; “Coincidence”; “The Still Mind”; “Horizon.”






Reflections in Summer: Jayden Hunter

“I realized if I didn’t just go, I’d never go. Going was the key. It didn’t matter where I was headed just as long as I was headed somewhere.”


American Muse – Part I of II: Rita Dove

“Being true to yourself really means being true to all the complexities of the human spirit.” – Rita Dove, American poet and recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, who was born 28 August 1952.

“Teach Us to Number Our Days”

In the old neighborhood, each funeral parlor
is more elaborate than the last.
The alleys smell of cops, pistols bumping their thighs,
each chamber steeled with a slim blue bullet.

Low-rent balconies stacked to the sky.
A boy plays tic-tac-toe on a moon
crossed by TV antennae, dreams

he has swallowed a blue bean.
It takes root in his gut, sprouts
and twines upward, the vines curling
around the sockets and locking them shut.

And this sky, knotting like a dark tie?
The patroller, disinterested, holds all the beans.

August. The mums nod past, each a prickly heart on a sleeve.

Back from the Territory – Art: Stephanie Ryan – Part I

Artist Statement: “I am originally from a small town in Ontario, Canada. I took art classes all through high school with some evening studies at the local Queen’s University in printmaking and life-drawing. I went to Trent University where I completed my bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies. My painting and drawing were used as an escape from my studies when I could afford the time!
I spent 3 summers planting trees in Northern BC to pay for my education, although I think it also helped draw me north, being in those beautiful mountains every day. In 1997, I travelled to Whitehorse to see the Yukon and fell in love with it – I spent all my free time paddling rivers, mountain biking and hiking in the mountains. I filled many journals with sketches of river bends, amazing mountain vistas and lists of all the future places that I want to explore.
I finished my B.A. in 1998 and moved to Yellowknife, NWT for a winter before moving back to the Yukon. In Whitehorse, Yukon, I worked as a greenhouse manager and landscaper for 10 years, and this work allowed me to be outside and to be creative with colour and texture in a different way. In 2010, I began work as a backcountry patroller for Park Canada on the Chilkoot Trail. Working 9 day shifts in the mountains inspires a lot of creative ideas. While the trail is geographically always the same, it changes by the minute with light, snow, rain, wind, and plants and wildlife following the seasons. I have found that working seasonally allows me to focus on my art in the winter, when the weather is much less inviting to be painting outdoors!”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Wheaton Valley Ridgeline”; “Reptile Creek on Snake River”; “Wind River.”



Reflections in Summer: Larry McMurtry

“‘It’s funny, leaving a place, ain’t it?’ he said. ‘You never do know when you’ll get back.’”
American Muse – Part II of II: William Stafford

“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” – William Stafford, American poet and pacifist, who died 28 August 1993.

“The Way It Is”

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Below – Lachesis, one of the Three Fates in Greek mythology, measuring the thread of life for an individual human being.

Reflections in Summer: Robert Ardrey

“Art is an adventure. When it ceases to be an adventure, it ceases to be art. Not all of us pursue the inaccessible landscapes of the twelve-tone scale, just as not all of us strive for inaccessible mountain-tops, or glory in storms at sea. But the human incidence is there. Could it be that these two impractical pursuits — of beauty and of adventure’s embrace — are simply two differing profiles of the same uniquely human reality?”

A Third Poem for Today

“The Cook Fire”
By Timothy Murphy

There is this demon in my lower brain.
Call him the Devil. Call him Charlie Russell.
He guzzles alcohol to dull his pain
and rustles calves beside the Little Mussel.

Why is he pained? Perhaps because the sky
is scared to call the badland its horizon.
Perhaps because a pony on the fly
shies from the shorthorns of a painted bison.

One of the Russells hanging in my head
captures the struggles of a grizzly bear,
twice-roped, spread-eagled, kicking apart a bed
of coals and ashes in his huge despair.

What overcomes insensate fear of fire?
Abandon, or invincible desire?

Below – Charles Russell: “Roping a Grizzly”

American Art – Part IV of IV: Sharon Wandel

In the words of one writer, “Born in Bemidji, Minnesota, Sharon Wandel earned an MA from Columbia University, a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College. She studied art at the Art Students League and at SUNY Purchase. She lives and works in New York.

Her work is included in the collections of the Westinghouse Corporation, the Pfizer Corporation, the Art Students League, the National Academy of Design, the Housatonic Museum, and the Toyamura Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Her work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally — Japan, Italy, England, and Sweden. She is the recipient of many awards including the Hartwig and the Speyer Awards from the National Academy; the Meisner, Hexter, Spring and Meiselman Awards from the National Sculpture Society; a Chaim Gross Foundation Award from Audubon Artists; Allied Artist Awards; North American Sculpture Exhibition Prize; and full Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center.”

Below – “Suspended Bird, Twisted Brambles”; “Arc”; “Finial Bird on Toast Rack”; “Bird in Blossoms”; “Finial Bird on Wooden Ball”; “Suspended Bird, Leaves.”






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August Offerings – Part XXVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Ann Thiffault

Artist Statement: “I attempt to paint my feelings. Although I am conscious of composition, perspective and values, those things are secondary to creating a painting that speaks to me, and hopefully, to others. The smell of oil paint and turpentine, the creamy feel of the paint as I apply it with the knife, the heavy impasto on the board, and I become completely lost in the experience of creating a painting.”

Below – “Lilacs and Pears”; “Lemons and Red Chair”; “Broken Egg”; “Garlic and Red Flower”; “Lilacs and Duck.”





A Poem for Today

“Speaking of Trees”
By Greg Williamson

For the tree of the field is man’s life.
Deuteronomy 20:19

I’m here with some sugar maples, speaking of trees,
And they’re not saying much. In spite of all
The rumors of persistent whispering,
They do not mention genealogies,
Wisdom with all its branches nor the Fall,
As if they wouldn’t stand for anything.

We’ve made them our field representatives,
Rooted in history but branching out,
Replete with trunks, limbs, crowns and sappy hearts,
Sowing their seeds in time, shedding their leaves
In the very autumn Shakespeare writes about,
As if they were our natural counterparts.

They simply do not care, nor break their silence
On our blossoming conceit. And while I hug
Myself against the cool and breezy plain
As the brow of a storm is darkening with violence,
Look how the sugar maples seem to shrug,
Turning their palmate leaves to catch the rain.



“What experience and history teach is this—that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.” – Georg William Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher, who was born 27 August 1770.

Some quotes form the work of Georg William Friedrich Hegel:

“To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.”
“Education is the art of making man ethical”
“Everybody allows that to know any other science you must have first studied it, and that you can only claim to express a judgment upon it in virtue of such knowledge. Everybody allows that to make a shoe you must have learned and practiced the craft of the shoemaker, though every man has a model in his own foot, and possesses in his hands the natural endowments for the operations required. For philosophy alone, it seems to be imagined, such study, care, and application are not in the least requisite”
“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”
“The length of the journey has to be borne with, for every moment is necessary.”

Reflections in Summer: Steven Hudson

“It is the unknown that we thirst for. Curiosity that drives us… to learn. Not to hear, or to be told. But to see and feel, to experience.”


Here is one critic describing the artistry of Miguel Avataneo (born 1962): “Avataneo is one of the brightest talents in Argentina’s art world. He is a painter of images that combine a love of classicism with the South American tradition of magical realism. His images are rooted in the real world of European classicism but are infused with a naturally fantastical element, with exquisitely drawn figures placed in dreamlike environments.
Avataneo’s imagery is sensual and evocative and employs a luxurious use of color and detail that give his canvases a luminous quality that is mesmerizing.”










From the Music Archives: Sonny Sharrock

Born 27 August 1940 – Warren Harding “Sonny” Sharrock, an American jazz guitarist.

Reflections in Summer: D.C. Leberknight

“If you go on the road hoping to find it, you might discover you’ve had it with you all along. That which you seek is yourself.”

American Art – Part II of IV: Claudia Olds Goldie

Here is one critic describing the artistry of sculptor Claudia Olds Goldie: “Claudia Olds Goldie portrays mature women with candor. In one, the figure wears gym gear and has lifted, with little effort, a barbell satirically bedecked with the accoutrements of the modern ‘superwoman’: cellular phone, computer keyboard, teddy bear, frying pan, dog bowl, paintbrush, books. Another exposes a tired, plump swimmer wearing an old-fashioned swim cap. Goldie’s ‘girls’ are whimsical but not a bit funny. While once we judged women primarily by their sexuality, the criterion has shifted, but is no less harsh, Goldie suggests. The haggard lifter is the antithesis of the celebrated male athlete, who even in pudgy retirement is paid to tout cars or comment on televised sports events.”








A Second Poem for Today

By James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.


“Art is the stored honey of the human soul.” – Theodore Dreiser, influential American novelist, journalist, and author of “Sister Carrie” and “An American Tragedy,” who was born 27 August 1871.

A few quotes from the work of Theodore Dreiser:

“How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean.”
“The most futile thing in this world is any attempt, perhaps, at exact definition of character. All individuals are a bundle of contradictions – none more so than the most capable.”
“A thought will color a world for us.”


Reflections in Summer: Robin Hobb

“It was as if I had been following a narrow trail, and had suddenly realized that at any time I could leave it and strike out cross-country.”

American Comedy: Paul Reubens

“I’ve always felt like a kid, and I still feel like a kid, and I’ve never had any problem tapping into my childhood, and my kid side.” – Paul Reubens (born Paul Rubenfeld), American actor, writer, film producer, game show host, and comedian best known for his character Pee-wee Herman, who was born 27 August 1952.

A Third Poem for Today

By William Stafford


It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked-
elves, goblins, trolls, and spiders:-we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

Below – Camille Pissarro: “Women Planting Pea Stakes”

Reflections in Summer: Thomas F. Hornbein

“Evenings were peaceful, smoke settling in the quiet air to soften the dusk, lights twinkling on the ridge we would camp on tomorrow, clouds dimming the outline of our pass for the day after. Growing excitement lured my thoughts again and again to the West Ridge….
There was loneliness, too, as the sun set, but only rarely now did doubts return. Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me. Once on the mountain I knew (or trusted) that this would give way to total absorption with the task at hand. But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find what I really sought was something I had left behind.”

27 August 1883 – The volcano Krakatoa, west of Java, explodes with a force of 1,300 megatons and kills approximately 40,000 people. In the words of one historian, “The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) began on August 26, 1883 (with origins as early as May of that year) and culminated with several destructive eruptions of the remaining caldera. On August 27, two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago.”

Below – A lithograph of the eruption, circa 1888; an eruption of Krakatoa in 2008.


American Art – Part III of IV: Bev Doolittle

In the words of one critic, “Bev Doolittle is one of America’s most collected artists. Her camouflage art is loved by art collectors around the world. Through sheer force of talent and dedication, has achieved a status in the art world few contemporary artists even dream of. Crowded with intricate visual detail, haunted by presences seen and unseen, her paintings captivate the viewer on many levels.”













“They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?” – Jeanette Winterson, British writer, broadcaster, lesbian activist, and author of “Sexing the Cherry,” “Oranges are Not the Only Fruit,” and “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?,” who was born 27 August 1959.

Some quotes from the work of Jeanette Winterson:

“What you risk reveals what you value.”
“‘You’ll get over it…’ It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever. You don’t get over it because ‘it’ is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”
“When I look at my life I realise that the mistakes I have made, the things I really regret, were not errors of judgment but failures of feeling.”
“I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had.”
“I seem to have run in a great circle, and met myself again on the starting line.”
“‘Do you fall in love often?’
‘Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all.’”
“To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.”
“It’s hard to remember that this day will never come again. That the time is now and the place is here and that there are no second chances at a single moment.”


Reflections in Summer: Paul Bamikole

“Curiosity is the offspring of mystery. For without mystery there be no need for curiosity. Curiosity is the search for the things that can be, it is the inspiration of the true adventurer.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Josie Iqaluq

Josie Iqaluq is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Seals on Ice”

Reflections in Summer: Dennis McKay

“In the silence of the mountain there is much you can learn.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

By Doug Williamson

“Narcissus …”

Narcissus, who was never very wise,
Observed a water-spirit in a pond
And grew enamored of the comely blonde
Who matched his gaze and filled his shallow eyes.

Through all the dawns, it never dawned on him
Why such a face would shatter at a tear
And flee his touch or why the pond’s veneer
Would duplicate an overhanging limb.

The spirits featured in the face of waves,
The lips of fountains or the fountainhead
Are images of us in nature’s stead,
Reflecting on the way the world behaves,

And as the spring of youth matures tomorrow
To Old Man Winter and old age, we look
And look and ask the figure in the brook,
As long ago Narcissus did, “Who are you?”

“… And Echo”

Echo, who tricked a Queen with her replies,
Received a sentence only to respond
And gradually became a vagabond,
A voice, unable to extemporize.

Seeing Narcissus at the water’s brim,
She fell in love, but when he said, “Come here,”
The timbre of the forest said, “Come, hear,”
And she became the selfless eponym

For words we put into the mouths of caves,
The teeth of canyons and the woodenhead
Ravines. Though nature’s ministries seem led
By honest voices in the open naves,

Divine and inspirational and true,
The words resounding from an overlook
Are only ours, as once beside a brook,
Narcissus heard from Echo, “Who are you?”

Below – John William Waterhouse: “Echo and Narcissus”

Reflections in Summer: Jon Krakauer

“Because I was alone, however, even the mundane seemed charged with meaning. The ice looked colder and more mysterious, the sky a cleaner shade of blue. The unnamed peaks towering over the glacier were bigger and comelier and infinitely more menacing than they would have been were I in the company of another person. And my emotions were similarly amplified: The highs were higher; the periods of despair were deeper and darker.
To a self-possessed young man inebriated with the unfolding drama of his own life, all of this held enormous appeal.”

American Art – Part IV of IV: John Stockwell

In the words of one writer, “Inspired by the fields, flowers, and skies of southern Sweden and southern France, John Stockwell paints a world where shimmering layers of atmosphere shine within endless sun kissed horizons of soft ivory camomille and brilliant red poppies.

Touching upon soft sensual total abstraction, Stockwell paints open meadows and empty fields rich with warm light, limitless color, and infinite depth.”

Below – “Red Field 05”; “White Fields with Clouds”; “Black Trees and Shadow”; “Apple Orchard”; “Red Streak at Gordes”; “Poppy Field in Borgeby.”





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August Offerings – Part XXVI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Tom Steinmann

Artist Statement: “I began painting at the age of seven after discovering my aunt’s set of oil paints in the basement of my parents’ home in St. Louis. From that point on, a whole new world of color and light opened up for me as I found my way of interpreting the world around me.

I am fascinated by the dramatic interaction of color and light in the landscape. My favorite times to be out painting and gathering material are early in the morning after sunrise and then late in the afternoon as the shadows grow longer and colors intensify. I will often work well into the evening making field sketches in pencil and watercolor along with written notes. Back in my studio on Cape Cod, I will use these tools to create my paintings. I build my paintings slowly, using layers of color to create the effect I desire.

I enjoy working in both oil and watercolor, although oil is my preference. There is something about the process of working in oil along with the richness of the colors and actual feel of the paint that I love.

Painting is a passion for me. I love the process of going from white canvas and the chaos of the first strokes if paint to gradual symmetry and balance while still striving to keep an underlying abstract structure just as there is in nature.

Creating art is a solitary process; sharing it is not. My goal through my art is to share a moment in time I have experienced that may never repeat itself again.”

Below – “Wintered Cedar”; “Sunset Marsh”; “Autumn Clouds Over North Beach”; “Indian Summer”; “Evening’s Last Glow.”





A Poem for Today

“Climbing along the River,”
By William Stafford

Willows never forget how it feels
to be young.

Do you remember where you came from?
Gravel remembers.

Even the upper end of the river
believes in the ocean.

Exactly at midnight
yesterday sighs away.

What I believe is,
all animals have one soul.

Over the land they love
they crisscross forever.


“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” – William James, American philosopher, psychologist, and author of “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” who died 26 August 1910.

Some quotes from the work of William James:

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.”
“Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.”
“Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies … and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to ‘keep’ by force of mere inertia.”
“If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.”
“Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile.”
“To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”
“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”


Reflections in Summer: Ursula Le Guin

“I am tired of safe places, and roofs, and walls around me.”

American Art – Part II of III: Ann Marshall

In the words of one writer, “Ann Marshall grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and earned her BFA from School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has worked in a gallery, illustrated an award winning children’s book on the Holocaust, and traveled nationally and internationally as an ethnographer and consumer anthropologist . Her fine art work has been exhibited in New York City’s Gallery at Lincoln Center. She now works as a portrait and fine artist.”


aMarsh4 copy

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Reflections in Summer: Eudora Welty

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”


“I have seen the science I worshiped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.” – Charles A. Lindbergh, American aviator, writer, inventor, explorer, and author of “The Spirit of St. Louis,” which won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize, who died 26 August 1974.

Some quotes from Charles A. Lindbergh:

“I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.”
“From now on, depressions will be scientifically created.”
“Whether outwardly or inwardly, whether in space or time, the farther we penetrate the unknown, the vaster and more marvelous it becomes.”
“The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That board administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people’s money.”
“Science is insulating man from life – separating his mind from his senses. The worst of it is that it soon anaesthetizes his senses so that he doesn’t know what he’s missing.”
“I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.”

Reflections in Summer: Marty Rubin

“Where the fog is thickest, begin.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron,”
By William Stafford

Out of their loneliness for each other
two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch
forward and become suddenly a life
lifted from dawn or the rain. It is
the wilderness come back again, a lagoon

with our city reflected in its eye.
We live by faith in such presences.

It is a test for us, that thin
but real, undulating figure that promises,
“If you keep faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light,
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.”

Reflections in Summer: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”


Born 26 August 1899 – Rufino Tamayo, a Mexican painter and one of my favorite artists.

Below – “Moon Dog”; “Watermelons”; “Spinning Woman”; “Two Dogs”; “Women of Tehuantepec”; “Carnival”; “Heavenly Bodies”; “Animals”; “Lion and Horse”; “Moon and Sun.”










Reflections in Summer: James Branch Cabell

“Everything in life is miraculous. It rests within the power of each of us to awaken from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness.”


“Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique and not too much imagination.” – Christopher Isherwood, English writer, novelist, and managing editor of “Vedanta and the West,” who was born 26 August 1904.

Some quotes from the work of Christopher Isherwood:

“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence.
I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.”
“Fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is taking over our world. Fear is being used as a tool of manipulation in our society. Itʼs how politicians peddle policy and how Madison Avenue sells us things that we donʼt need. Think about it. Fear that weʼre going to be attacked, fear that there are communists lurking around every corner, fear that some little Caribbean country that doesnʼt believe in our way of life poses a threat to us. Fear that black culture may take over the world. Fear of Elvis Presleyʼs hips. Well, maybe that one is a real fear. Fear that our bad breath might ruin our friendships… Fear of growing old and being alone.”
“For other people, I can’t speak – but, personally, I haven’t gotten wise on anything. Certainly, I’ve been through this and that; and when it happens again, I say to myself, Here it is again. But that doesn’t seem to help me. In my opinion, I, personally, have gotten steadily sillier and sillier – and that’s a fact.”
“Waking up begins with saying am and now. That which has awoken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognized I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it has expected to find itself: what’s called at home.”

Reflections in Summer: Robert M. Pirsig

“People spend their entire lives at those lower altitudes without any awareness that this high country exists.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Jomie Aipeelee

Jomie Aipeelee is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Musk Ox”

A Third Poem for Today

“From the Silver Mines”
By Michael T. Young

Here, in this photo, I turn and look back,
my hair blown unnaturally to one side,
my mouth half open, maybe in surprise,
or maybe saying something best unsaid.

The innocence of being caught off-guard
is heightened by a sense of what escaped:
the only evidence of words, a ghost,
a sheet of condensed breath torn from my lips.

I think of others who looked back: Lot’s wife,
and Orpheus, who had so much at stake—
how carelessly they must have turned and glanced,
looking like this before the shock set in.

And those who found Medusa over their shoulder,
gazed into her eyes, her sinister stars,
and saw themselves, into their wishes, saw
their future as a past and hardened to stone.

How quietly regret sneaks up behind us,
how slowly it accumulates, like salt,
or silver used to make a photograph
of someone, somewhere I would rather be.

Reflections in Summer: Rachel Carson

“The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.”

“What you don’t necessarily realize when you start selling your time by the hour is that what you’re really selling is your life.” – Barbara Ehrenreich, American writer, political activist, and author of “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” who was born 26 August 1941.

Some quotes from the work of Barbara Ehrenreich:

“When someone works for less pay than she can live on — when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently — then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The ‘working poor,’ as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.”
“No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”
“Of all the nasty outcomes predicted for women’s liberation…none was more alarming than the suggestion that women would eventually become just like men.”
“I was raised the old-fashioned way, with a stern set of moral principles: Never lie, cheat, steal or knowingly spread a venereal disease. Never speed up to hit a pedestrian or, or course, stop to kick a pedestrian who has already been hit. From which it followed, of course, that one would never ever — on pain of deletion from dozens of Christmas card lists across the country — vote Republican. ”
“I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone — better jobs, health care, and so forth — there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met — in my utopia, anyway — life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.”
“But the economic meltdown should have undone, once and for all, the idea of poverty as a personal shortcoming or dysfunctional state of mind. The lines at unemployment offices and churches offering free food includes strivers as well as slackers, habitual optimists as well as the chronically depressed. When and if the economy recovers we can never allow ourselves to forget how widespread our vulnerability is, how easy it is to spiral down toward destitution.”
“I grew up hearing over and over, to the point of tedium, that ‘hard work’ was the secret of success: ‘Work hard and you’ll get ahead’ or ‘It’s hard work that got us where we are.’ No one ever said that you could work hard – harder even than you ever thought possible – and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt.”
“In matters of the heart as well, a certain level of negativity and suspicion is universally recommended. You may try to project a thoroughly positive outlook in order to attract a potential boyfriend, but you are also advised to Google him.”
“Human intellectual progress, such as it has been, results from our long struggle to see things ‘as they are,’ or in the most universally comprehensible way, and not as projections of our own emotions. Thunder is not a tantrum in the sky, disease is not a divine punishment, and not every death or accident results from witchcraft. What we call the Enlightenment and hold on to only tenuously, by our fingernails, is the slow-dawning understanding that the world is unfolding according to its own inner algorithms of cause and effect, probability and chance, without any regard for human feelings.”

American Art – Part III of III: Linda Pochesci

Artist Statement: “I grew up in New Jersey and attended college there. While an undergraduate, I studied with the artist Mel Leipzig. Upon graduation I moved to Boston and attended graduate school at Massachusetts College of Art. I studied with the artist George Nick while earning my MFA in painting.
I have exhibited extensively in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In 1995 The Dodge Foundation awarded me a major grant as part of their ‘Artist Initiative’ program.
I currently live in Boston where I work professionally as an artist.”

Below – “Clouds in the Room”; “The Blue Chest”; “Triplets”; “The Perfect Spot”; “The Waiting Room”; “On the Dunes.”





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August Offerings – Part XXV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Elliot Orr

In the words of one writer, “Elliot Orr was born in Flushing, New York in 1904. He studied at Grand Central Art School with Charles Hawthorne and moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1924. He studied with George Luks in 1927. Orr was included in the exhibitions ‘Romantic Painting in America’ at the Carnegie Institute. In 1977, he moved to Naples, Florida, where he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition held at Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples. He died in 1997.”

Below – “The Day Begins”; “Stage Harbor, Chatham”; “Small Craft
Warning”; “Morris Island Life Saving Station”; “Cape Cod, Where the Land Meets the Sea.”





Reflections in Summer: Paul Theroux

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”

A Poem for Today

By Len Krisak

(Grand Trunk Western Railroad, 1967)

Cocky and freshly spurred, he climbed
Amid the alien corn: green row
On row arrayed in June and primed.
He climbed and saw those ranked spears grow

As close as ears could get to tracks.
Far off, four rails consumed their ties
Until they were the least of facts
And disappeared before his eyes.

This was his summer job: to dig
Heels in, step up, belt on, come down.
But slung back in his aerie’s rig,
A yellow hard hat for a crown,

The lineman only meant to sight
How far his lonely kingdom ran
From such a pole, at such a height
As might become a brand new man.

He strung the wire and walked till Fall,
To see what might be out of joint.
But nothing there seemed wrong at all,
From vantage clear to vanishing point.

Reflections in Summer: Josh Gates

“If travel has momentum and wants to stay in motion, as I mentioned earlier, then adventure has the gravitational pull of a black hole. The more you do it, the more you find a way to keep doing it.”

In the words of one writer, “Chris Bennett is an Australian artist currently living in Hobart, Tasmania. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Art in 2006, and continued in 2007 to obtain first class honours at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane. Chris has been developing his current series over the last five years, focusing on themes of urban alienation, entropy and social decay, and the slow death of personal aspiration.”







Reflections in Summer: Roy T. Bennett

“Until you step into the unknown, you don’t know what you’re made of.”


“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, German philosopher, philologist, cultural critic, poet, composer, and author of “The Birth of Tragedy” and “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” who died 25 August 1900.

Some quotes from the work of Friedrich Nietzsche:

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
“Faith: not wanting to know what the truth is.”
“Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood.”
“Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings — always darker, emptier and simpler.”
“There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth.”
“The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”
“There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe.”
“Art is the proper task of life. ”
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”


Reflections in Summer: Steve Goodier

“Leaving what feels secure behind and following the beckoning of our hearts doesn’t always end as we expect or hope. We may even fail. But here’s the payoff: it can also be amazing and wonderful and immensely satisfying.”

American Art – Part II o IV: Carolyn Pyfrom

Carolyn Pyfrom (born 1971) has studied painting at Obirin University, Troy University, and the Florence Academy of Art.





Reflections in Summer: Abby Lass

“They told me adventures were over, so I got off the internet and got on a plane. They told me kindness was a thing of the past, so I spent a year helping others in need. They told me love was dead, so I fell into it. Head over heels.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Living Ancients,”
By Matthew Shenoda

For those of us young
we will face the mourning of our elders.
Bury them beneath
the earth.
And for those of us
who believe the living
we will stand by the graves of our teachers
and know that we
like those we’ve buried
are living ancients.

Below – Edward Manet: “The Funeral” (This painting depicts the funeral of Manet’s friend, the writer Charles Baudelaire.)

Reflections in Summer: Frank Lloyd Wright

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Below – Frank Lloyd Wright: Falling Water House


“Did you ever, in that wonderland wilderness of adolescence ever, quite unexpectedly, see something, a dusk sky, a wild bird, a landscape, so exquisite terror touched you at the bone? And you are afraid, terribly afraid the smallest movement, a leaf, say, turning in the wind, will shatter all? That is, I think, the way love is, or should be: one lives in beautiful terror.” – Truman Capote (born Truman Streckfus Persons), American writer, playwright, screenwriter, and author of “Other Voices, Other Rooms” and “In Cold Blood,” who died 25 August 1984.

Some quotes from the work of Truman Capote:

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
“Good luck and believe me, dearest Doc – it’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.”
“Life is difficult enough without Meryl Streep movies.”
“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.”
“The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the surface: and why not? any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person’s nature; only hypocrites would hold a man responsible for what he loves, emotional illiterates and those of righteous envy, who, in their agitated concern, mistake so frequently the arrow pointing to heaven for the one that leads to hell.”
“But we are alone, darling child, terribly, isolated each from the other; so fierce is the world’s ridicule we cannot speak or show our tenderness; for us, death is stronger than life, it pulls like a wind through the dark, all our cries burlesqued in joyless laughter; and with the garbage of loneliness stuffed down us until our guts burst bleeding green, we go screaming round the world, dying in our rented rooms, nightmare hotels, eternal homes of the transient heart.”
“Let me begin by telling you that I was in love. An ordinary statement, to be sure, but not an ordinary fact, for so few of us learn that love is tenderness, and tenderness is not, as a fair proportian suspect, pity; and still fewer know that happiness in love is not the absolute focusing of all emotion in another: one has always to love a good many things which the beloved must come only to symbolize; the true beloveds of this world are in their lovers’s eyes lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends, a child’s Sunday, lost voices, one’s favourite suit, autumn and all seasons, memory, yes, it being the earth and water of existence, memory.”
“Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”


Reflections in Summer: Dan Chaon

“There is your car and the open road, the fabled lure of random adventure. You stand at the verge, and you could become anything. Your future shifts and warps with your smallest step, your shitty little whims. The man you will become is at your mercy.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Love the Wild Swan”
By Robinson Jeffers

“I hate my verses, every line, every word.
Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
One grass-blade’s curve, or the throat of one bird
That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.
Oh cracked and twilight mirrors ever to catch
One color, one glinting flash, of the splendor of things.
Unlucky hunter, Oh bullets of wax,
The lion beauty, the wild-swan wings, the storm of the wings.”
—This wild swan of a world is no hunter’s game.
Better bullets than yours would miss the white breast,
Better mirrors than yours would crack in the flame.
Does it matter whether you hate your…self? At least
Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can
Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.

Reflections in Summer: Francis Bacon

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”

Below – Emily Carr: “Yan”

American Art – Part III of IV: Christyl Boger

Here is one writer describing the artistry of ceramicist Christyl Boger: “As an artist I have always been interested in the strange balancing act performed by the human animal; in our ongoing struggle between impulse and control, personal and communal agenda, and the desires of the animal body overlaid by a veneer of cultural constraint. Finding a physical form for these thoughts has involved two additional parameters, the first a concern for issues of representation and the second a commitment to the contemporary possibilities of clay as a medium. My intent has been to explore areas where these concerns intersect, and has involved confronting the complex historical associations of both ceramics objects and figurative sculpture.”






Reflections in Summer: William Hazlitt

“Travel’s greatest purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“After the Season”
By Kate Light

Do not talk to me just now; let me be.
We were up to our ears in pain and loss, and so
I am reuniting all the lovers, fishing the drowned from the sea.

I am removing daggers from breasts and re-
zipping. Making it clear who loves whom—please go.
Do not talk to me just now; let me be.

I am redistributing flowers and potions and flutes, changing key;
rewriting letters, pulling spring out of the snow.
I am reuniting all the lovers, fishing the drowned from the sea.

I am making madness sane, setting prisoners free,
cooling the consumptive cheek, the fevered glow.
Do not talk to me just now; let me be.

Pinkerton and Butterfly make such a happy
couple; Violetta has five gardens now to show …
I am reuniting all the lovers, fishing the drowned from the sea.

The jester and his daughter have moved to a distant city.
Lucia colors her hair now, did you know?
Come, let us talk, sit together and be
lovers reunited, fished like the drowned from the sea.


Reflections in Summer: F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others–young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Johnny Qavavau

Johnny Qavavau is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Walking Bear”

Reflections in Summer: Evelyn Waugh

“Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.”

American Art – Part IV of IV: Chet Jones

In the words of one writer, “Chet Jone’s moody and evocative oil paintings convey a pared-down and primordial house from within an existential landscape. There is a freshness to the colors and brushwork that fills his painted forms with a vibrant and sometimes haunting presence. His ability to focus on shape allows him to magnify and amplify common architecture and transform it into a new, yet familiar landscape.”

Below – “A Home at Last”; “N. Truro Shed and Bush”; “Collection Bin”; “Library in Winter”; “Summer Room”; “Orange Light.”






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August Offerings – Part XXIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: John Hare

In the words of one writer, “John Hare (1909 – 1978) Coastal New England Painter of portraits, landscapes and marine scenes. Considered the ‘Dean’ of Cape Cod artists. Masterful in both oil and watercolor painting, his use of color is subtle but extremely effective. In Chatham in 1971 he said, ‘Though I miss much of the colorful atmosphere and some of the things that have disappeared since 1938, there are still some very good subjects left to paint.’”

Below – “Dark Harbor”; “Harbor Silouette, Gloucester”; “Drifting Mist, Gloucester”; “Farm Scene”; “Newfound Gap, Great Smokies, NC”; “Old Lumber Mill, North Carolina Mountains.”







“They tell you that you’ll lose your mind when you grow older. What they don’t tell you is that you won’t miss it much.” – Malcolm Cowley, American novelist, poet, literary critic, and journalist, who was born 24 August 1898.

Some quotes from the work of Malcolm Cowley:

“Everywhere was the atmosphere of a long debauch that had to end; the orchestras played too fast, the stakes were too high at the gambling tables, the players were so empty, so tired, secretly hoping to vanish together into sleep and … maybe wake on a very distant morning and hear nothing, whatever, no shouting or crooning, find all things changed.”
“(B)ut you drank your black coffee by choice, believing that Paris was sufficient alcohol.”
“Going back to Hemingway’s work after several years is like going back to a brook where you had often fished and finding the woods as deep and cool as they used to be.”
“The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece. Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization. Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else – and this was a frequent solution – they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.”

Reflections in Summer: D.K. Vick

“By the time we began to understand enough about what the world to ask the right questions, our visit is over, and someone else is visiting, asking the same questions.”

Japanese painter Rojin Matsuki (born 1927) worked during the late twentieth century.





24 August 79 – Mt. Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum, and killing an estimated 16,000 people.

Paleontologist Charles Pellegrino has written a fascinating account of the Vesuvius eruption and its aftermath – “Ghosts of Vesuvius.”

Below – John Martin: “Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum.”


Reflections in Summer: Princess Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco

“Winter draws what summer paints.”

A Poem for Today

“Long Strange Trip”
By A.M. Juster

The flower children gone to seed
Bake brownies for the PTA
And give to liberals in need.

Their ponytails display some gray
And nothing tie-dyed ever fits
Despite the tofu and sorbet.

Now they are mocked as “hippie-crits”
By free-range children who refuse
To heed their parents’ tired views
On love and peace and endless summer.

What a bummer.

Reflections in Summer: Maryrose Wood

“Nowadays, people resort to all kinds of activities in order to calm themselves after a stressful event: performing yoga poses in a sauna, leaping off bridges while tied to a bungee, killing imaginary zombies with imaginary weapons, and so forth. But in Miss Penelope Lumley’s day, it was universally understood that there is nothing like a nice cup of tea to settle one’s nerves in the aftermath of an adventure- a practice many would find well worth reviving.”

From the Music Archives: Alexandre Lagoya

Died 24 August 1999 – Alexandre Lagoya, a Greek-Italian classical guitarist.

Reflections in Summer: Omar Bradley

“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

Bulgarian painter Ivan Madzharov (born 1986) graduated from the Department of Fine Arts of St. Cyril and Methodius University.







“Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” – Jean Rhys, Dominica-born British writer and author of “Wide Sargasso Sea,” a novel written as a “prequel” to Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre,” who was born 24 August 1890.

Some quotes from the work of Jean Rhys:

“I hated the mountains and the hills, the rivers and the rain. I hated the sunsets of whatever colour, I hated its beauty and its magic and the secret I would never know. I hated its indifference and the cruelty which was part of its loveliness. Above all I hated her. For she belonged to the magic and the loveliness. She had left me thirsty and all my life would be thirst and longing for what I had lost before I found it.”
“My life, which seems so simple and monotonous, is really a complicated affair of cafés where they like me and cafés where they don’t, streets that are friendly, streets that aren’t, rooms where I might be happy, rooms where I shall never be, looking-glasses I look nice in, looking-glasses I don’t, dresses that will be lucky, dresses that won’t, and so on.”
“There are always two deaths, the real one and the one people know about.”
“But they never last, the golden days. And it can be sad, the sun in the afternoon, can’t it? Yes, it can be sad, the afternoon sun, sad and frightening.”
“When you are a child you are yourself and you know and see everything prophetically. And then suddenly something happens and you stop being yourself; you become what others force you to be. You lose your wisdom and your soul.”

Reflections in Summer: Norman Rockwell

“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.”

Below – Norman Rockwell: “The Runaway”

Luo Wenyong graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1998, and he is now a member of the China Artists Association and the Committee of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy.





A Second Poem for Today

“What I Learned From My Mother,”
By Julia Kasdorf

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

Reflections in Summer: Miguel de Cervantes

“‘I do not insist,’ answered Don Quixote, ‘that this is a full adventure, but it is the beginning of one, for this is the way adventures begin.’”

Below – Picasso: “Don Quixote”


“If I had a large amount of money I should certainly found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears.” – Stephen Fry, English writer, comedian, actor, and social activist, who was born 24 August 1957.

Some quotes from the work of Stephen Fry:

“The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriousity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
“Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my ry check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it’s the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it’s a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.”
You are who you are when nobody’s watching.”
“When you’ve seen a nude infant doing a backward somersault, you know why clothing exists.”
“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.
Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”
“Choking with dry tears and raging, raging, raging at the absolute indifference of nature and the world to the death of love, the death of hope and the death of beauty, I remember sitting on the end of my bed, collecting these pills and capsules together and wondering why, why when I felt I had so much to offer, so much love, such outpourings of love and energy to spend on the world, I was incapable of being offered love, giving it or summoning the energy with which I knew I could transform myself and everything around me.”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and you will be happy.”
“The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are mingled at every turn. The French language, like Paris, has attempted, through its Academy, to retain its purity, to fight the advancing tides of Franglais and international prefabrication. English, by comparison, is a shameless whore.”
“I like to wake up each morning and not know what I think, that I may reinvent myself in some way.”

American Art – Part II of III: William F. Shepherd

In the words of one writer, “William F. Shepherd was born (1943) and raised in Casper, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1976, he stayed in Laramie for a few years, then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, preferring to remain in the West rather than settle in a major city. His career as a professional artist began while he was still in college, when he began selling his landscape paintings through a gallery in Denver, Colorado.
Shepherd’s early landscapes were vistas of Wyoming. Over time, his work evolved into large-format paintings of tumbled stones and streambeds. After several decades of landscape painting he decided he needed a change and began painting still lifes. As a young man, he had been fascinated by the Indian regalia and Western accoutrements he saw in the homes of his ranch friends, and these became natural subject matters for his new focus.”







A Third Poem for Today

By Paul Lake

A road of dirt and stone
lies half under trees’ shade.

Dust curtains sun,
blights flower, dulls leaf sheen.

Heavy, heavy the scent
of honeysuckle, heavy as rain.

Its sweetness falls
honey-thick on sense.

It dampens the dust down.

Reflections in Summer: Barbara Kingsolver

“It’s what you do that makes your soul.”

Below – Emily Carr: Untitled (Self-Portrait)
Untitled (Self-portrait)


“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” – Howard Zinn, American historian, writer, professor, playwright, social activist, and author of “A People’s History of the United States,” who was born 24 August 1922.

Some quotes from the work of Howard Zinn:

“I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
“If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
“History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.”
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
“If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.”
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
“The prisons in the United States had long been an extreme reflection of the American system itself: the stark life differences between rich and poor, the racism, the use of victims against one another, the lack of resources of the underclass to speak out, the endless ‘reforms’ that changed little. Dostoevski once said: ‘The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.’
It had long been true, and prisoners knew this better than anyone, that the poorer you were the more likely you were to end up in jail. This was not just because the poor committed more crimes. In fact, they did. The rich did not have to commit crimes to get what they wanted; the laws were on their side. But when the rich did commit crimes, they often were not prosecuted, and if they were they could get out on bail, hire clever lawyers, get better treatment from judges. Somehow, the jails ended up full of poor black people.”
“Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals the fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such as world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.”
“What struck me as I began to study history was how nationalist fervor–inculcated from childhood on by pledges of allegiance, national anthems, flags waving and rhetoric blowing–permeated the educational systems of all countries, including our own. I wonder now how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own. Then we could never drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, or napalm on Vietnam, or wage war anywhere, because wars, especially in our time, are always wars against children, indeed our children.”
“What most of us must be involved in–whether we teach or write, make films, write films, direct films, play music, act, whatever we do–has to not only make people feel good and inspired and at one with other people around them, but also has to educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world.”

Reflections in Summer: Saul Bellow

“The ocean was waiting with grand and bitter provocations, as if it invited you to think how deep it was, how much colder than your blood or saltier, or to outguess it, to tell which were its feints or passes and which its real intentions, meaning business.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Johnny Luuku

Johnny Luuku is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Whale”

From the American History Archives: Territory of Alaska

24 August 1912 – District Alaska becomes an organized incorporated territory of the United States. In the words of one historian, “The Territory of Alaska or Alaska Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 24, 1912, until January 3, 1959, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Alaska. The territory was previously the District of Alaska, created on May 17, 1884.”





Reflections in Summer: Alexandros Evangelou Xenopouloudakis

“Instructions For Wayfarers”

They will declare: Every journey has been taken.
You shall respond: I have not been to see myself.
They will insist: Everything has been spoken.
You shall reply: I have not had my say.

They will tell you: Everything has been done.
You shall reply: My way is not complete.

You are warned: Any way is long, any way is hard.
Fear not. You are the gate – you, the gatekeeper.
And you shall go through and on . . .

American Art – Part III of III: Larry Horowitz

In the words of one writer, “(Larry Horowitz is a versatile artist), working in several mediums such as pastel, oil, print, and watercolor. A native New Yorker, Horowitz has come to appreciate and paint the tranquil landscapes of the Lower Cape. Summering in Wellfleet, with his wife, Larry has developed a great following of collectors and enthusiasts on Cape Cod.”

Below – “Beach Shadows”; “Shellfish Station”; “Day Glow Light”; “Cottage and Grasses”; “Rosa Rigosa”; “Victorians on the Bluff.”





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August Offerings – Part XXIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Carolyn Evans

In the words of one writer, “A highly imaginative artist, Ms. Evans draws upon her early love affair with nature to produce imaginary landscapes midway between realism and abstraction. She takes enticing dreamlike vignettes and projects them onto her canvas in ways that playfully challenge perception as we know it.”

Below – “Greenhouse Effect”; “Magnetic Field”; “Basket Case”; “Living the Dream”; “Sunshine Bridge”; “Not a Still Life.”





Picture 001

A Poem for Today

“Catching Up”
By Jeff Holt

The plastic menus with faint ketchup smears,
The water rings on wrinkled paper mats,
Wouldn’t have bugged us then. But it’s been years.
We wipe and talk. Summed up, our lives are ruts
Disguised by cheer. His lipsticked coffee mug
Must be replaced. I struggle through a joke
He doesn’t get, half-listen to him brag
About his car. He offers me a smoke.
I say I quit. Our burgers come. We eat
Like restless kids who long to get away
From boring grown-up talk. We have to wait
Five minutes for the check, and then we’re free
To disappear from one another’s view,
Wondering what we wanted to renew.

Reflections in Summer: Antonio Porchia

“Set out from any point. They are all alike. They all lead to a point of departure.”

French painter Carole Bressan (born 1973) is a graduate of the University of Visual Arts in Rennes.






“To this generation I would say:
Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty.” – Edgar Lee Masters, American poet, biographer, dramatist, and author of “Spoon River Anthology,” who was born 23 August 1868.

In the words of one critic, “‘Spoon River Anthology’…is a collection of short free-form poems that collectively narrates the epitaphs of the residents of a fictional small town of Spoon River, named after the real Spoon River that ran near Masters’ home town.” The first poem in the anthology – “The Hill” – serves as an introduction:

“The Hill”

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife —
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one? —
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
One of a broken pride, in the search for heart’s desire,
One after life in far-away London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag —
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution? —
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying —
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where is Old Fiddler Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary’s Grove,
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.

American Art – Part II of III: Max Ginsburg

In the words of one critic, “Max Ginsburg’s paintings are about people, the people one finds on the streets of New York. Simply put, he finds beauty in unglamorous reality. His paintings explore the range of daily human life, concerned as much with life’s ironies and social injustices, as with its many joys. He paints people that he can identify with, real people with regular lives.”






Reflections in Summer: Josh Gates

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

A Second Poem for Today

By Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books–

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Russian painter Victor Kinus (born 1957): “Victor Kinus is an accomplished Russian painter who has created a considerable body of work with musical themes. His cubist inspired paintings contain intertwined elements of representationalism and symbolic abstraction that capture the multidimensional way in which we experience music. The listener watches the performer and hears with their ears, their hearts, their memory and their dreams all at the same time.”
Victor Kinus watercolor painting

Victor Kinus watercolor painting

Victor Kinus watercolor painting

Victor Kinus watercolor painting

Victor Kinus watercolor painting

Victor Kinus watercolor painting

Reflections in Summer: David Almond

“Books. They are lined up on shelves or stacked on a table. There they are wrapped up in their jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages. They look like such orderly, static things. Then you, the reader come along. You open the book jacket, and it can be like opening the gates to an unknown city, or opening the lid of a treasure chest. You read the first word and you’re off on a journey of exploration and discovery.”


“Insanity — a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” – R. D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist and author of “The Politics of Experience,” who died 23 August 1989.

Some quotes from the work of R. D. Laing:

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
“Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is one hundred percent.”
“Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.”
“Few books today are forgiveable.”
“There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain.”
“In a world full of danger, to be a potentially seeable object is to be constantly exposed to danger. Self-consciousness, then, may be the apprehensive awareness of oneself as potentially exposed to danger by the simple fact of being visible to others. The obvious defence against such a danger is to make oneself invisible in one way or another.”
“The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.”
“We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.”
“Attempts to wake before our time are often punished, especially by those who love us most. Because they, bless them, are asleep. They think anyone who wakes up, or who, still asleep, realizes that what is taken to be real is a ‘dream’ is going crazy.”
“We all live under the constant threat of our own annihilation. Only by the most outrageous violation of ourselves have we achieved our capacity to live in relative adjustment to a civilization apparently driven to its own destruction.”
“We are all murderers and prostitutes – no matter to what culture, society, class, nation one belongs, no matter how normal, moral, or mature, one takes oneself to be.”
“Even facts become fictions without adequate ways of seeing ‘the facts.’ We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory. We are not satisfied with faith, in the sense of an implausible hypothesis irrationally held: we demand to experience the ‘evidence.’”
“Human beings seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to deceive themselves, and to deceive themselves into taking their own lies for truth.”
“Human beings seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to deceive themselves, and to deceive themselves into taking their own lies for truth.”
“The Lotus opens. Movement from earth, through water, from fire to air. Out and in beyond life and death now, beyond inner and outer, sense and non-sense, meaning and futility, male and female, being and non-being, Light and darkness, void and full. Beyond all duality, or non-duality, beyond and beyond. Disincarnation. I breathe again.”

Italian painter Sergio Turle lives and works in Milan.





Reflections in Summer: Washington Irving

“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.”

Scottish painter Graham Little (born 1972) studied at Goldsmiths College, London.




A Third Poem for Today

By Sara Teasdale

It will not hurt me when I am old,
A running tide where moonlight burned
Will not sting me like silver snakes;
The years will make me sad and cold,
It is the happy heart that breaks.

The heart asks more than life can give,
When that is learned, then all is learned;
The waves break fold on jewelled fold,
But beauty itself is fugitive,
It will not hurt me when I am old.

Back from the Territory – Art: Joanie Ragee

Joanie Ragee is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Bear”; “Dancing Bear.”


Reflections in Summer: Andre Gide

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

American Art – Part III of III: Bud Hambleton

In the words of one writer, “Bud Hambleton was born in Jamestown, New York. As a boy he moved to Rochester, New York and in 1972 he and his wife, Carolyn and family moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts. From 1974- 1979 inclusive, he established the Hambleton Gallery on Nantucket, managed by his wife, and showing not only his sculpture, but other painters and sculptors. Hambleton uses arc-welded Cor-ten steel as his medium for both figurative and non-objective images. At times he applies color to sculptures-with others he allows natural weathering of the material to transpire.”

Below – “Welded Metal Fox Sculpture”; “Girl on a Swing”; “Oread”; “19th Century Woman.”



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August Offerings – Part XXII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Nancy Colella

In the words of one writer, “Nancy was a painting major at Muskingum College and graduated with a BA in Art Education, then continued her studies at the Aegean School of Fine Arts in Paros, Greece and at the Instituto de Allende in San Miquel Mexico. After a career in the Hospitality business and while raising her two children, she began studying again at Mass College of Art in Boston, MA and at the North River Arts Society in Marshfield Hills, MA. She has studied with numerous contemporary impressionist painters; Charles Sovek, Peggi Kroll Roberts, Ken Auster, Kim English, Colin Page, Carol Marine and Karin Jurick, to name a few. She is a gallery artist and faculty member at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA the North River Arts Society in Marshfield, Hill, Ma. and a Copley Artist at the Copley Society in Boston. Nancy lives in Norwell, MA with her husband and yellow lab Cello.”







Reflections in Summer: Ansel Adams

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

Below – Ansel Adams: “Winter, Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California.

A Poem for Today

“California Hills in August”
By Dana Gioia

I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.

An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.

One who would hurry over the clinging
thistle, foxtail, golden poppy,
knowing everything was just a weed,
unable to conceive that these trees
and sparse brown bushes were alive.

And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion.
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.

And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain—
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.

Reflections in Summer: John Fowles

“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.”

From the Music Archives: Claude Debussy

Born 22 August 1862 – Claude Debussy, a French composer.

Reflections in Summer: Christopher McCandless

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

American Art – Part II of IV: Chelsea Gibson

Artist Statement: “I observe human forms and relationships with fascination, awareness, empathy, and frustration. The human figure allows me to use my painterly hand and see more abstract forms – making it possible to paint with other issues in mind. A bunch of triangles becomes an arm; wallpaper becomes scribbles; a knee a line. Objectivity creates intimacy and distance simultaneously. Seeing subtle formal phenomena and having a very accurate imagination play a large part in my painting how a person is. My hope is that even a stranger can become intensely known to the viewer.”






Reflections in Summer: George Eliot

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”

“But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult! The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” – Kate Chopin, American novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Story of an Hour” and “The Awakening,” who died 22 August 1904.

Some quotes from the work of Kate Chopin:

“Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.”
“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”
“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
“There were days when she was very happy without knowing why. She was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day. She liked then to wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places. She discovered many a sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in. And she found it good to dream and to be alone and unmolested.
There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why—when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation.”
“She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of space and solitude, which the vast expanse of water, meeting and melting with the moonlit sky, conveyed to her excited fancy. As she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself.”


Reflections in Summer: Karen Blixen

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”

American Art – Part III of IV: Virginia Derryberry

In the words of one critic, “Virginia Derryberry’s work is shown regularly in exhibitions throughout the United States in such venues as the Carnegie Museum of Art, Forum Gallery, NYC, the London Institute of Art, the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, the Gelb Gallery at Phillips Academy, MA, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Morris Museum of Art, the Erie Museum of Art, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.”
Virginia Derryberry


Virginia Derryberry



Virginia Derryberry

Virginia Derryberry

Reflections in Summer: Beryl Markham

“There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.”


“Man is unique not because he does science, and he is unique not because he does art, but because science and art equally are expressions of his marvelous plasticity of mind.” – Jacob Bronowski, Polish-English mathematician, biologist, historian of science, poet, dramatist, inventor, and author of “The Ascent of Man” (both the book and the BBC television documentary series), who died on 22 August 1974.

Some quotes from Jacob Bronowski:

“Man masters nature not by force but by understanding. This is why science has succeeded where magic failed: because it has looked for no spell to cast over nature.”
“Dissent is the native activity of the scientist, and it has got him into a good deal of trouble in the last years. But if that is cut off, what is left will not be a scientist. And I doubt whether it will be a man.”
“Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime.”
“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”
“To me, being an intellectual doesn’t mean knowing about intellectual issues; it means taking pleasure in them.”
“No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.”
“That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer.”
“Science has nothing to be ashamed of even in the ruins of Nagasaki. The shame is theirs who appeal to other values than the human imaginative values which science has evolved.”
“The values by which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline.”
“You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not end with you. It will return to the soil, and there a plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more on a cycle of plant and animal life.”


Reflections in Summer: Trenton Lee Stewart

“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.”

Artist Boris Correa (born 1981) studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chile, and then continued his studies in London.





A Second Poem for Today

“Boats in a Fog,”
By Robinson Jeffers

Sports and gallantries, the stage, the arts, the antics of dancers,
The exuberant voices of music,
Have charm for children but lack nobility; it is bitter earnestness
That makes beauty; the mind
Knows, grown adult.
A sudden fog-drift muffled the ocean,
A throbbing of engines moved in it,
At length, a stone’s throw out, between the rocks and the vapor,
One by one moved shadows
Out of the mystery, shadows, fishing-boats, trailing each other
Following the cliff for guidance,
Holding a difficult path between the peril of the sea-fog
And the foam on the shore granite.
One by one, trailing their leader, six crept by me,
Out of the vapor and into it,
The throb of their engines subdued by the fog, patient and
Coasting all round the peninsula
Back to the buoys in Monterey harbor. A flight of pelicans
Is nothing lovelier to look at;
The flight of the planets is nothing nobler; all the arts lose virtue
Against the essential reality
Of creatures going about their business among the equally
Earnest elements of nature.

Reflections in Summer: Jean Toomer

“No eyes that have seen beauty ever lose their sight.”


“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury, American writer of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery and author of “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Illustrated Man,” and “Dandelion Wine,” who was born 22 August 1920.

Some quotes from the work of Ray Bradbury:

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: ‘It’s gonna go wrong.’ Or ‘She’s going to hurt me.’ Or, ‘I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .’ Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t ‘try’ to do things. You simply ‘must’ do things.”
“A good night’s sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine.”
“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.’ Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.”
“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
“I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”



Reflections in Summer: Eric Liddell

“Where does the power come from to finish the race? From within.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Jaw Pootoogook

Jaw Pootoogook is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Polar Bear”

Reflections in Summer: Sean O’Casey

“I have found life an enjoyable, enchanting, active, and sometime terrifying experience, and I’ve enjoyed it completely. A lament in one ear, maybe, but always a song in the other.”

American Art – Part IV of IV: Arthur Day

Arthur Day (born 1923) grew up in suburban New Jersey. Following a tenure in the Navy during World War II, he became active in international politics. His life as a painter began in 1985, when in the words of one writer, he studied oil and watercolor painting at the Art Student’s League of New York.

Below – “Diva”; “Food Carts at the Met”; “Shades of Red”; “Restaurant With Table On Sidewalk”; “Highway Jungle”; “Bus Stop.”





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August Offerings – Part XXI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Karen Cappotto

In the words of one writer, “Originally from Syracuse, Karin Cappotto has been a summer resident of Provincetown since 1988. Cappotto studied at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ma., Boston College, and Oxford University. Her work is in various public and private collections and she has received multiple awards and prizes for her mixed media constructions. Recently she was awarded joint first prize in the 2010 international Picture Works Competition in Ireland. In March 2011 she was included in a three-person exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum titled, ‘Beyond Surface’.
Karen creates both collages and oil paintings using a variety of materials. Her collages are thoughtfully composed and often seen on vintage paper that has been layered with paint, graphite and ink. A combination of line and soft, torn edges make Karen’s work dynamic. Her paintings on wood panel and canvas are felt things, often revealing their meaning to her after she has finished. The subject matter reflects the resonance and consideration of place, memory and the history of her found collage materials.”

Below – “Oceanside”; “Bridge V”; “Still Life II”; “Thursday Child III”; “Solstice”; “Still Life III.”






Reflections in Summer: Roman Payne

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.”

Below – Lhasa, Tibet.


“I’d be glad to go out on a limb with those
Who want nothing beyond what the wind bestows,
Were I not bound to roots, dug in deep to bear
Never being done grasping for light and air” – X. J. Kennedy, American poet, translator, anthologist, editor, and author of children’s literature, who was born 21 August 1929.

“Nude Descending a Staircase”

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,

A gold of lemon, root and rind,

She sifts in sunlight down the stairs

With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister

A constant thresh of thigh on thigh–

Her lips imprint the swinging air

That parts to let her parts go by.

One-woman waterfall, she wears

Her slow descent like a long cape

And pausing, on the final stair

Collects her motions into shape.

Below – Marcel Duchamp: “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.”

Reflections in Summer: Jacob Mraz

“Here’s to freedom, cheers to art. Here’s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Greek painter Irene Georgopoulou (born 1964): “I am basically a still life and floral painter working in oils and pastels. I find great delight painting a close-up of a flower, capturing details as precisely as I can and combining light and dark flavoring with brilliant color.”





Reflections in Summer: Basho

“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought.”

A Poem for Today

“Farm Boy after Summer”
By Robert Francis

A seated statue of himself he seems.
A bronze slowness becomes him. Patently
The page he contemplates he doesn’t see.

The lesson, the long lesson, has been summer.
His mind holds summer as his skin holds sun.
For once the homework, all of it, was done.

What were the crops, where were the fiery fields
Where for so many days so many hours
The sun assaulted him with glittering showers?

Expect a certain absence in his presence.
Expect all winter long a summer scholar,
For scarcely all its snows can cool that color.

Reflections in Summer: Marc Chagall

“The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep.”

Below – Marc Chagall: “Blue Circus”

In the words of one critic, “Harry Epworth Allen (1894 – 1958) was an English painter. He was one of the twentieth century’s most distinctive interpreters of landscape.”
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen

Harry Epworth Allen

Harry Epworth Allen


Harry Epworth Allen

Reflections in Summer: Jane Rule

“Every artist seems to me to have the job of bearing witness to the world we live in. To some extent I think of all of us as artists, because we have voices and we are each of us unique.”

From the Canadian History Archives: Fort Selkirk

21 August 1852 – Tlingit Indians attack and destroy Fort Selkirk, Yukon Territory. In the words of one historian, “Fort Selkirk is a former trading post on the Yukon River at the confluence of the Pelly River in Canada’s Yukon. For many years it was home to the Selkirk First Nation (Northern Tutchone).
Archaeological evidence shows that the site has been in use for at least 8,000 years. Robert Campbell established a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post nearby in 1848. In early 1852 he moved the post to its current location. Resenting the interference of the Hudson’s Bay Company with their traditional trade with interior Athabaskan First Nations, Chilkat Tlingit warriors attacked and looted the post that summer. It was rebuilt about 40 years later and became an important supply point along the Yukon River. It was essentially abandoned by the mid-1950s after the Klondike Highway bypassed it and Yukon River traffic died down.
Many of the buildings have been restored and the Fort Selkirk Historic Site is owned and managed jointly by the Selkirk First Nation and the Yukon Government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. There is no road access. Most visitors get there by boat, though there is an airstrip, Fort Selkirk Aerodrome, at the site.”

Below – A group of women and children at Fort Selkirk, circa 1920; some of the restored buildings at Fort Selkirk; an aerial view of Fort Selkirk.



Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Brian LaSaga:“Nature is my muse and inspiration simply because of her endless subject matter and surprises. This collaboration offers me something I never even thought of. Although I prefer to paint nature themes, weathered objects and rural settings, I’m open to other things that may catch my eye. As an artist, I feel that I’m just a work in progress, and there is always something to learn. Exploring and collecting material for paintings is a great adventure for me, and always a thrill to wonder what’s around the bend or beyond that ridge. I like to create a sense of place that is somewhere but nowhere in particular. My goal is not to paint life, but to paint life into my work and create an emotional connection that I hope will inspire my viewers.”
Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga


Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga


Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga

Brian LaSaga

Reflections in Summer: Christopher Morley

“In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Cutting Bait”
By Rhina P. Espaillat

The trouble with the dead is how we need them
to play themselves for us, to keep us warm
in the curve of their being, as if they shared
the sun with us, wore our seasons like gloves.

Aching with absence, we tug at their deaths
to hold them: how one bright old man forgot
our names, but quavered Puccini; another
dwindled between the sheets to sixty pounds
of paper bones and nerves and skin like glass;
and one bought roadside fruit for a sick friend
until a downhill truck with failed brakes found
her, dragged her spinning from the axle,
scattering peaches.

But they need to step
clear of us now; they send out mosses
and lichens to cover their human names,
they untangle themselves from our hunger,
our lame grief. We bring them children, poems,
but nothing ever lures them back into their
gestures, the flesh we remember.

Reflections in Summer: Amelia Barr

“All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.”

American Art – Part II of III: Bryce Cameron Liston

Artist Statement: “My goal is to regain the traditions of the past along with the standards of craftsmanship and training. By studying the great artists of the past, we artists of today can once again regain a full command of proficiency to create great works of art…art about life.”
In the words of one critic, “Bryce Cameron Liston believes that the highest form of art is the representation of the human figure. As a traditional painter and sculptor, he considers sound draftsmanship and a solid knowledge of human anatomy essential for the successful execution of his work. Collectors around the world are very familiar with his knowledge and talent. When viewing Liston’s work in person you can’t help but to be drawn into the evocative scenes. His paintings scintillate and vibrate with the poetry of light and subtle color variations.
But Liston’s paintings of timeless beauty embody so much more than sound draftsmanship. He believes that an accomplished artist has the power to convey emotion and even passion through his work by virtue of imagination, talent and experience. The artist’s sensibilities, along with his practical knowledge allow him to merge together the technical with the aesthetic, the physical with the spiritual. ‘I’m a figurative painter focusing on narrative subjects,’ he says.”






Reflections in Summer: Terry Pratchett

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

From the American History Archives: Hawaii

21 August 1959 – Hawaii becomes the 50th U.S. state. In the words of one historian, “The Admission Act, formally An Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union (enacted March 18, 1959) is a statute enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower which dissolved the Territory of Hawaii and established the State of Hawaii as the 50th state to be admitted into the Union. Statehood became effective on August 21, 1959.”

Below – Diamond Head; Hanauma Bay; Mauna Loa Volcano.


Reflections in Summer: John Burroughs

“Look underfoot. You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don’t despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world.”

Isaac Oqutaq is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Whales”; “Whales”; “Whales.”



Reflections in Summer: J.K. Rowling

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
Night Falls at Jialuo Hu

A Third Poem for Today

“Wild Geese,”
By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Seven Canadian Geese flying in formation on clear blue sky

Reflections in Summer: Edward Abbey

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

American Art – Part III of III: Joy Brown

Artist Statement: “Remember what it feels like to squish mud between your toes, pack mud pies, or dig in the warm sand at the beach? That’s the feeling I have when my hands are in wet clay. It is the source of creativity for me. The dialogue begins between me and the clay. The forms emerge.
I love working with clay and fire. It is challenging and liberating to explore the relationship between the clay, the kiln, the fire, the shapes, and my own intention. The process of integrating these elements over 35 years has been an organic one, moving from early animal shapes and vessels to the human-like forms and abstract wall reliefs of recent decades.
Clay led me to bronze as each piece begins in clay. My bronzes can be so intimate that you can hold one in your hand and so large that you can sit in its lap. The largest bronze figures are permanently exhibited in Jing’An Sculpture Park, Shanghai.”

Below – “sitter with head in hand”; “riding elephant”; “dreaming”; “sitter with one leg over side”; “recliner with head in hand”; “sitter leaning forward.”






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August Offerings – Part XX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of II: Karen Woods

Karen Woods earned a B.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, Oakland.

Below – “Open Arms”; “The Way to Wilder”; “Sweet Stop”; “Mercury”; “Bridge II”; “Double Helix.”






Reflections in Summer: A.E. Housman

“The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in.”

A Poem for Today

By Suzanne Doyle

Though I may scent black cherry,
Violets or truffles in the nose,
Make my companions weary
Praising the bull’s blood that I chose,
Though it courses through my heart
And makes me brave (but rarely true),
And is the consummated art
Of all that tastebuds can construe,
Though I forget, I won’t deny:
The peroration to all this,
When the radiant glass is dry,
Is one expensive piss.

Reflections in Summer: Diogenes

“We are more curious about the meaning of dreams than about things we see when awake.”

From the Music Archives: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

20 August 1882 – Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” debuts in Moscow.

Reflections in Summer: Walt Whitman

“Re-examine all that you have been told . . . dismiss that which insults your soul.”


20 August 1741 – Danish explorer and Russian naval officer Vitus Bering becomes the first European to discover and explore Alaska. In the words of one historian, “Having returned to Okhotsk with a much larger, better prepared, and much more ambitious expedition, Bering set off towards North America in 1741. While doing so, the expedition spotted Mount Saint Elias, and sailed past Kodiak Island. A storm separated the ships, but Bering sighted the southern coast of Alaska, and a landing was made at Kayak Island or in the vicinity.”

Reflections in Summer: Arnold Bennett

“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”

According to one critic, Norwegian painter Froydis Aarseth (born 1968) “has always known what she wanted in life and that was to live a life as a classical painter. Not only to paint paintings that are beautiful to look at, but also to convey a deeper importance that will give the viewer something more than only aesthetics.
Frøydis has been a student of The Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. Here she got an education in classical drawing and painting. She also studied anatomy under teacher Andrew Ameral. After three years at the academy she continued her studies as an apprentice under Odd Nerdrum.”







Reflections in Summer: Flannery O’Connor

“At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.”

From the American History Archives: The Great White Fleet

20 August 1908 – America’s Great White Fleet arrives in Sydney, Australia, to be greeted with a tremendous welcome. In the words of one historian, “On 20 August 1908 well over half a million Sydneysiders turned out to watch the arrival of the United States Navy’s ‘Great White Fleet.’ For a city population of around 600,000 this was no mean achievement. The largest gathering yet seen in Australia, it far exceeded the numbers that had celebrated the foundation of the Commonwealth just seven years before. Indeed, the warm reception accorded the crews of the 16 white-painted battleships during ‘Fleet Week,’ was generally regarded as the most overwhelming of any of the ports visited during the 14 month and 45,000 mile global circumnavigation. The NSW Government declared two public holidays, business came to a standstill and the unbroken succession of civic events and all pervading carnival spirit encountered in Sydney (followed by Melbourne and Albany) severely tested the endurance of the American sailors. More than a few decided to take their chances and stay behind when the fleet sailed!”
In fact, 221 American sailors decided to remain in Australia – the largest desertion in U.S. naval history. No worries, mate. We’ll just put another 221 shrimp on the barbie.

Below – The Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbor.

Reflections in Summer: Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“It is only with the Heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Rhina P. Espaillat

I’m learning the subjunctive, mood of choice
once the indicative has slipped away
that seemed to say it all once. Active voice,
yes, all the tenses—I need those to say
act and remembrance, why and how we live—
but now, subjunctive and conditional
(“If that should happen”) and obligative
(“Let this be said”) feel truer than “I shall,
he did, we are,” a ripening to speech
spiced and complex and tart, past what I’m sure
of—or was sure of—or set out to reach;
how to acquire a taste for the impure
provisional, that’s what I need to know,
before the last imperative says “Go.”

Reflections in Summer: Adrienne Rich

“Poetry is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.”

French artist Frederic Clement is the author of “The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams,” for which he also provided the illustrations.








Reflections in Summer: Richard Dawkins

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”


“I shout love in a blizzard’s

scarf of curling cold,

for my heart’s a furred sharp-toothed thing

that rushes out whimpering

when pain cries the sign writ on it.

I shout love into your pain

when skies crack and fall

like slivers of mirrors,

and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,

pluck the balled yarn of your brain.

I shout love at petals peeled open

by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun,

terribly like an adhesive bandage,

for love and pain, love and pain

are companions in this age.” – “I Shout Love,” by Milton Acorn, Canadian poet, writer, and playwright, who died 20 August 1986.

“Live with Me on Earth under the Invisible Daylight Moon”

Live with me on Earth among red berries and the bluebirds

And leafy young twigs whispering

Within such little spaces, between such floors of green, such

figures in the clouds

That two of us could fill our lives with delicate wanting:

Where stars past the spruce copse mingle with fireflies

Or the dayscape flings a thousand tones of light back at the
sun —

Be any one of the colours of an Earth lover;

Walk with me and sometimes cover your shadow with mine.

Reflections in Summer: Robert Frost

“And were an epitaph to be my story I’d have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

Back from the Territory – Art: George Alayco

George Alayco is in an Inuit Sculptor.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Walking Bear”; “Whale.”

Reflections in Summer: Joseph Campbell

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”

20 August 1980 – Reinhold Messner, mountaineer, adventurer, explorer, and author from the Italian autonomous province of South Tyrol, completes the first solo ascent of Mount Everest. In the words of one historian, “on August 20, 1980, Messner again stood atop Mount Everest without oxygen after climbing a new route up the North Face. For this audacious ascent, the first solo new route on the mountain, Messner traversed across the North Face, and then climbed the Great Couloir directly to the summit, avoiding the Second Step on the Northeast Ridge. He was the only climber on the mountain and spent only three nights above his advanced base camp below the North Col.”

Below – Reinhold Messner on the summit of Everest.

Reflections in Summer: Arnold Bennett

“It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Sleeping in the Forest,”
By Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

Below – “Sleeping in the Forest,” a greeting card inspired by the Mary Oliver poem.

Reflections in Summer: James Wright

“Love is a cliff,
A clear, cold curve of stone, mottled by stars,
Smirched by the morning, carved by the dark sea
Till stars and dawn and waves can slash no more,
Till the rock’s heart is found and shaped again.”

American Art – Part II of II: Rob Brooks

In the words of one writer, “Rob Brooks’ work has been described by the Cape Cod Times as ‘fun-pop art with a hint of surrealism,’ and ‘hard-edged impressionism.’ His rich color pallet and strong lines create unique and compelling perspectives that should not be missed viewing. Mr. Brooks follows in the tradition of the Northampton Realists, but with a unique style that is all his own. His work focus on urban scenes, seascapes, American contemporary icons and, in his words,’ kitsch.’ His use of vivid color, and deliberate brush strokes, yields realistic yet thought-provoking images of the modern world, with a hint of the surreal. Educated at the Institute of Art in Boston, Rob currently lives in Rhode Island.

Below – “Two by the Sea”; “Sunset Schooner”; “Dahlia”; “We All Scream”; “Surfin Samba”; “Guard House”;

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