Food for the Spirit and the Soul

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

Just Another Rainy Sunday – and the Last Day of Arpril

Musings in Spring: Elizabeth Goudge

“In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.”

Art for Spring – Part I of V: Carl Andre (American, contemporary)

Below – “Les Quais”

A Poem for Today
By Barbara Crooker


is a river you wade in until you get to the other side.
But I am here, stuck in the middle, water parting
around my ankles, moving downstream
over the flat rocks. I’m not able to lift a foot,
move on. Instead, I’m going to stay here
in the shallows with my sorrow, nurture it
like a cranky baby, rock it in my arms.
I don’t want it to grow up, go to school, get married.
It’s mine. Yes, the October sunlight wraps me
in its yellow shawl, and the air is sweet
as a golden Tokay. On the other side,
there are apples, grapes, walnuts,
and the rocks are warm from the sun.
But I’m going to stand here,
growing colder, until every inch
of my skin is numb. I can’t cross over.
Then you really will be gone.

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Peter Andrianov (Russian, 1913-1992)

Below – “Winter Scene by a River”

Musings in Spring: Daniel J. Rice

“The contemplative man always lives alone. Regardless of who may reside in his home, his is a solitary world.”

Art for Spring – Part III of V: Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)

Below – “Cowboys: General Custer”

A Second Poem for Today

By Stuart Dybek

Sometimes they are the only thing beautiful
about a hotel.
Like transients,
come winter they have a way of disappearing,
disguised as dirty light,
limp beside a puttied pane.
Then some April afternoon
a roomer jacks a window open,
a breeze intrudes,
resuscitates memory,
and suddenly they want to fly,
while men,
looking up from the street,
are deceived a moment
into thinking
a girl in an upper story
is waving.

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Roy Anguiano (Mexican, 1915-2006)

Below – “Onyx Horses”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“For the winds that awakened the stars are blowing through my blood.”

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Helen Anikst (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Morning Lilies”

A Third Poem for Today

“Restless After School”
By Debra Nystrom

Nothing to do but scuff down
the graveyard road behind the playground,
past the name-stones lined up in rows
beneath their guardian pines,
on out into the long, low waves of plains
that dissolved time. We’d angle off
from fence and telephone line, through
ribbon-grass that closed behind as though
we’d never been, and drift toward the bluff
above the river-bend where the junked pickup
moored with its load of locust-skeletons.
Stretched across the blistered hood, we let
our dresses catch the wind while clouds above
dimmed their pink to purple, then shadow-blue—
So slow, we listened to our own bones grow.

Contemporary Mexican Art – Roberto Ulgade

In the words of one writer, “Roberto Ugalde is an adept oil painter who expresses the essence of his subjects in a way that draws the viewer into the painting. He masters the use of oils in an impressionistic manner which breaths life to his landscapes and figures.
Roberto Ugalde excels his use of oil in an impressionistic manner applied mostly with palette knife with brilliant and heavy paint strokes, however his new direction finds him experimenting with liquid industrial oil paint dropped in an horizontal board and manipulating the color to mixed them and control the shapes of his subjects he navigates from impressionistic landscapes to abstract landscapes.”

Below – “Apple Tree”; “Race to the Sky”; “Wall of Aspens”; “French Lavender”; “Zilker Park Garden”; “Ghost Aspen II.”

Musings in Spring: Jill Davis

“The waves of the sea help me get back to me.”

Contemporary American Art – Joe Andoe

In the words of one writer, “Joe Andoe was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1955. He graduated with an MFA from the University of Oklahoma Norman, OK in 1981. Andoe’s work is instantly recognizable, as his world of light versus dark carves out an image of substance from absence. He extends his use of a monochromatic, earth-colors and Andoe’s images are reduced to next to nothing. Joe Andoe explains, ‘I want to reduce images to their blueprint.’ Andoe strives for an utter distillation of image, ground, and color in his work. Not surprisingly, his inventory of subjects remains basic: horns, wreaths, candles, flowers, cornstalks, trees, cattle, buffaloes, lambs, sheep, and horses. Joe Andoe’s work can be found at MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

Below – “Brown Ivy”; “Red Horse”; “Black Bear”; “Two Horses Suite”; “Tulips II”; “Bird on a Limb.”

Add a comment


Reflections on a Saturday in the Pacific Northwest

Musings in Spring: Elizabeth Kerner

“It might be well enough to wander if you’ve a place and people to come back to, but I tell you now there’s no desolation like wanting to go home and truly not knowing where it is.”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Tony Wang (Chinese, contemporary)

Below – “Landscape”

A Poem for Today

“Wisdom (It Was A Night Of Early Spring)”
By Sara Teasdale

It was a night of early spring,
The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;
Around us shadows and the wind
Listened for what was never spoken.

Though half a score of years are gone,
Spring comes as sharply now as then—
But if we had it all to do
It would be done the same again.

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.

Art for Spring – Part II of VI: Guy Anderson (American, 1906-1998)

Below – “Man Above The Sea”

Musings in Spring: Rebecca Harrington

“Springtime in Massachusetts is depressing for those who embrace a progressive view of history and experience. It does not gradually develop as spring is supposed to. Instead, the crocuses bloom and the grass grows, but the foliage is independent from the weather, which gets colder and colder and sadder and sadder until June when one day it becomes brutishly hot without warning…It was fitting, then, that the first people who chose to settle there were mentally suspect.”

Below – An 1876 illustration of the Salem Witch Trials.

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: An He (Chinese, contemporary”

Below – “Evening Brilliance”

Musings in Spring: Joseph Campbell

“Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.”

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Robin John Anderson (American, contemporary)

Below – “Over the Falls”

A Second Poem for Today

“A Small Story”
By Peter Everwine

When Mrs. McCausland comes to mind
she slips through a small gap in oblivion
and walks down her front steps, in her hand
a small red velvet pillow she tucks
under the head of Old Jim Schreiber,
who is lying dead-drunk against the curb
of busy Market Street. Then she turns,
labors up the steps and is gone . . .

A small story. Or rather, the memory
of a story I heard as a boy. The witnesses
are not to be found, the steps lead nowhere,
the pillow has collapsed into a thread of dust . . .
Do the dead come back only to remind us
they, too, were once among the living,
and that the story we make of our lives
is a mystery of luminous, but uncertain moments,
a shuffle of images we carry toward sleep—
Mrs. McCausland with her velvet pillow,
Old Jim at peace—a story, like a small
clearing in the woods at night, seen
from the windows of a passing train.

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Robert Anderson (American, contemporary)

Below – “Clarity, Movement, and Power”

Musings in Spring: Cormac McCarthy

“If we do not know ourselves in the waking world, what chance in dreams?”

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Diane Anderson (American, contemporary)

Below – “Gathering In The Season”

A Third Poem for Today

“The Circus Animals’ Desertion”
By William Butler Yeats


I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last being but a broken man
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
Winter and summer till old age began
My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,
Lion and woman and the Lord knows what.


What can I but enumerate old themes,
First that sea-rider Oisin led by the nose
Through three enchanted islands, allegorical dreams,
Vain gaiety, vain battle, vain repose,
Themes of the embittered heart, or so it seems,
That might adorn old songs or courtly shows;
But what cared I that set him on to ride,
I, starved for the bosom of his fairy bride.

And then a counter-truth filled out its play,
`The Countess Cathleen’ was the name I gave it,
She, pity-crazed, had given her soul away
But masterful Heaven had intervened to save it.
I thought my dear must her own soul destroy
So did fanaticism and hate enslave it,
And this brought forth a dream and soon enough
This dream itself had all my thought and love.

And when the Fool and Blind Man stole the bread
Cuchulain fought the ungovernable sea;
Heart mysteries there, and yet when all is said
It was the dream itself enchanted me:
Character isolated by a deed
To engross the present and dominate memory.
Players and painted stage took all my love
And not those things that they were emblems of.


Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

Contemporary Spanish Art – Sunol Alvar

In the words of one writer, “Sunol Alvar was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1935. Alvar paints with a subtle, sophisticated tenderness and feeling for his subject matter. Alvar studied at the School of Fine Arts of Barcelona from 1951 to 1957. The eclectic Alvar is a master of all mediums, but each of Alvar’s flawlessly executed works is characterized by a sensitivity to color and a delicacy of form that are unique in contemporary art. Following in the tradition of Braque, Alvar is an artist whose force of emotion and mystical vision are complimented by a strong creative discipline and consummate technical skills. A modern master at the very peak of his powers, Alvar’s works are exhibited in all the fine art centers of the world.”

Below – “Bird in the Hand”; “Night”; “The Pleasures of the Spirit”; “Allegories of the Arts”; “Maternity” (bronze); Untitled.

Musings in Spring: Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

“Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.”

Below – Vicente Romero: “Woman Standing in Surf”

Contemporary American Art – Harold Altman

In the words of one writer, “Harold Altman was born in New York City in 1924. Harold Altman attended the Art Students League, the Black Mountain College, the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, and was a graduate of the Cooper Union Art School. Since 1962 he has lived in the central Pennsylvania, where a nineteenth century frame church serves as his studio. Altman spends one third of each year working in Paris where his lithographs are printed. He is represented in numerous collections. New York’s Museum of Modern Art owns over forty Altmans while the Whitney and Brooklyn Museums, each have over fifty of his works in their permanent collections. Harold Altman work is to be found in many museum collections outside of the United States including the Victoria and Albert Museum of London, the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam, the Kunst Museum of Basel, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Copenhagen and the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris.”

Below – “Central Park II 1990 New York”; “Passante II”; “Benches 1983”; “Statue”; “Shadows”; “San Francisco Bay 1987.”

Add a comment

Musings on a Rainy Friday

Musings in Spring: Jay Crownover

“My home is a little more complicated than coordinates on a map.”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Charles Henry Alston (American, 1907-1977)

Below – “Uptown Harlem”

A Poem for Today

By Natasha Trethewey

We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates,
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen pecans, keep neck bones
for soup. Beating rugs against the house,
we watch dust, lit like stars, spreading
across the yard. Late afternoon, we draw
the blinds to cool the rooms, drive the bugs
out. My mother irons, singing, lost in reverie.
I mark the pages of a mail-order catalog,
listen for passing cars. All day we watch
for the mail, some news from a distant place.

Below – George Albert Thompson: “Woman Looking out a Window”

Art for Spring – Part II of VI:Mathias Joseph Alten (American, 1871-1938)

Below – “Landscape with Trees and Stream”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“When one gets quiet, then something wakes up inside one, something happy and quiet like the stars.”

Below – Koho Shoda (1871-1946): “Fishing Boat on a Moonlit Sea”

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: John Altoon (American, 1925-1969)

Below – “Coffee Drinkers”

A Second Poem for Today

“My Mother’s Music”
By Emilie Buchwald

In the evenings of my childhood,
when I went to bed,
music washed into the cove of my room,
my door open to a slice of light.

I felt a melancholy I couldn’t have named,
a longing for what I couldn’t yet have said
or understood but still
knew was longing,
knew was sadness
untouched by time.

the music was a rippling stream
of clear water rushing
over a bed of river stones
caught in sunlight.

And many nights
I crept from bed
to watch her
swaying where she sat
overtaken by the tide,
her arms rowing the music
out of the piano.

Below – Leo Bervoets: “Woman Playing the Piano”

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Elba Alvarez (Venezuelan, contemporary)

Below – Untitled Landscape

Musings in Spring: Zeena Schreck

“Modern materialists and religious extremists alike lack the spiritual animistic reverence for non-human beings that every culture once understood as a given.”

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Frederick Amat (Spanish, contemporary)

Below – Untitled Bronze

A Third Poem for Today

By Dana Gioia

Echo of the clocktower, footstep
in the alleyway, sweep
of the wind sifting the leaves.

Jeweller of the spiderweb, connoisseur
of autumn’s opulence, blade of lightning
harvesting the sky.

Keeper of the small gate, choreographer
of entrances and exits, midnight
whisper traveling the wires.

Seducer, healer, deity or thief,
I will see you soon enough—
in the shadow of the rainfall,

in the brief violet darkening a sunset—
but until then I pray watch over him
as a mountain guards its covert ore

and the harsh falcon its flightless young.

Note: In the words of Ted Kooser, “This beautiful poem remembers his first son, Michael Jasper, whom Gioia and his wife Mary lost in infancy.”

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Timur Amiry (Iranian, contemporary)

Below – “One Dollar and Twenty-Two Cents”

Musings in Spring: Vita Sackville-West

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”

Below – Hamilton Hamilton: “Falling Apple Blossoms”

American Art – Carlos Almaraz

In the words of one writer, “Carlos Almaraz Mexican/American Artist: 1941-1989. Carlos Almaraz. Almaraz was born in Mexico City, but his family moved when he was a young child, settling in Chicago, Illinois, where his father owned a restaurant for five years and worked in Gary steel mills for another four. The neighborhood Almaraz and his brother were raised in was multicultural, which led him to appreciate the melting pot of American culture. In 1961, Almaraz moved to New York city, with Dan Guerrero, the son of Lalo Guerrero. He left after six months to take advantage of a scholarship offered him by Otis Art Institute. He returned to New York and lived there from 1966 to 1969, where he struggled as a painter in the middle of the new wave movements of the era. His “Echo Park” series of paintings, named after a Los Angeles park of the same name, became known worldwide and have been displayed in many museums internationally.”

Below – “Southwest Song”; “Moonlight Theater”; “Echo Park 4”; “Greed”; “Fools Paradise”; “Echo Park 3.”

Add a comment

Thursday Offerings

Musings in Spring: Susanna Clarke

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Brad Aldridge (American, contemporary)

Below- “Oxbow at Evening”

A Poem for Today

By Faith Shearin

Go north a dozen years
on a road overgrown with vines
to find the days after you were born.
Flowers remembered their colors and trees
were frothy and the hospital was

behind us now, its brick indifference
forgotten by our car mirrors. You were
revealed to me: tiny, delicate,
your head smelling of some other world.
Turn right after the circular room

where I kept my books and right again
past the crib where you did not sleep
and you will find the window where
I held you that June morning
when you opened your eyes. They were

blue, tentative, not the deep chocolate
they would later become. You were gazing
into the world: at our walls,
my red cup, my sleepless hair and though
I’m told you could not focus, and you

no longer remember, we were seeing
one another after seasons of darkness.

Below – Pablo Picasso: “Mother and Child and Study of Hands”

Art for Spring – Part II of VI: Pierre Alechchinsky (French, contemporary)

Below – “Seoul, Korea”

Musings in Spring: African Proverb

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: John Alexander (American, contemporary)

Below – “Marsh Scene”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“Everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy kind of delight.”

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Jason Alexander (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Fruits and Flowers”

A Second Poem for Today

“Aunt Eudora’s Harlequin Romance”
By Marilyn L. Taylor

She turns the bedlamp on. The book falls open
in her mottled hands, and while she reads
her mouth begins to quiver, forming words
like ‘Breathless’. ‘Promises’. ‘Elope’.
As she turns the leaves, Eudora’s cheek
takes on a bit of bloom. Her frowzy hair
thickens and turns gold, her dim eyes clear,
the wattles vanish from her slender neck.
Her waist, emerging from its ring of flesh,
bends to the side. Breasts that used to hang
like pockets rise and ripen; her long legs
tremble. Her eyes close, she holds her breath—
the steamy pages flutter by, unread,
as lover after lover finds her bed.

Below – Henri de Toulouse Lautrec: “In Bed”

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Charles Curtis Allen (American, 1886-1950)

Below – Untitled

A Third Poem for Today

By Ron Koertge

No one would take her when Ruth passed.
As the survivors assessed some antiques,
I kept hearing, “She’s old. Somebody
should put her down.”

I picked her up instead. Every night I tell her
about the fish who died for her, the ones
in the cheerful aluminum cans.

She lies on my chest to sleep, rising
and falling, rising and falling like a rowboat
fastened to a battered dock by a string.

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Roberto Ugalde (Italian, contemporary)

Below – “Claustrophobic Forest II”

Musings in Spring: Kristin Cashore

“She didn’t want to go far, just out of the trees so she could see the stars. They always eased her loneliness. She thought of them as beautiful creatures, burning and cold; each solitary, and bleak, and silent like her.”

Below – Johanna Baruch: “Woman Looking at Stars”

Contemporary American Art – Thomas P. Quinn

In the words of one writer, “One finds in his elegance and simplicity intriguing parallels with the Chinese masters of the Sung dynasty and 18th century Japanese landscape painters – a tendency to suggest with calligraphic brevity, allowing much revelation to be completed in the viewer’s mind.”

Below – “Advance of the Sandhills”; “Coyote Nocturne”; “Flood Tide at China Camp”; “Looking Afar”; “The Appearance of Cougars.”

Add a comment

Musings on an April Wednesday

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“One loses, as one grows older, something of the lightness of one’s dreams; one begins to take life up in both hands, and to care more for the fruit than the flower, and that is no great loss perhaps.”

Art for Spring – Part I of V: Hamilton Aguiar (Brazilian, contemporary)

Below – “Blue”

A Poem for Today

“Just Red”
By Anya Silver

I stand in Walgreens while my mother sleeps.
The store is fluorescent and almost empty.
My father is ailing in a nursing home,
my friend is dying in the hospital.
What I want tonight is lipstick.
As pure a red as I can find—no coral
undertones, no rust or fawn. Just red.
Ignoring the salespeople, I untwist tubes
and scrawl each color on my wrist,
till the blue veins beneath my skin
disappear behind smeared bars. I select one.
Back in my mother’s apartment, silence.
I limn my lips back out of my wan face.
There they are again: smacky and wanting.

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Eric Aho (American, contemporary)

Below – “Soft Evening Sky”

A Second Poem for Today

“All the Questions”
By Robert Tremmel

When you step through
the back door
into the kitchen
father is still
sitting at the table
with a newspaper
folded open
in front of him
and pen raised, working
the crossword puzzle.

In the living room
mother is sleeping
her peaceful sleep
at last, in a purple
robe, with her head
back, slippered feet
up and twisted
knuckle hands crossed
right over left
in her lap.

Through the south window
in your old room
you see leaves
on the giant ash tree
turning yellow again
in setting sun
and falling slowly
to the ground and one
by one all the questions
you ever had become clear.

Number one across:
a four-letter word
for no longer.

Number one down:
an eleven letter word
for gone.

Art for Spring – Part III of V: Paul Aizpiri (French, 1919-2016)

Below – Untitled

Musings in Spring: Aleksandar Hemon

“The hopeless hope is one of the early harbingers of spring, bespeaking an innocent belief that the world might right its wrongs and reverse its curses simply because the trees are coming into leaf.”

Below – Claude Monet: “Spring in Giverny”

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Karl Albert (American, 1911-2007)

Below – “Desert in Bloom”

A Third Poem for Today

“That New”
By Susan Rothbard

At the market today, I look for Piñata
apples, their soft-blush-yellow. My husband
brought them home last week, made me guess at
the name of this new strain, held one in his hand
like a gift and laughed as I tried all
the names I knew: Gala, Fuji, Honey
Crisp—watched his face for clues—what to call
something new? It’s winter, only tawny
hues and frozen ground, but that apple bride
was sweet, and I want to bring it back to him,
that new. When he cut it, the star inside
held seeds of other stars, the way within
a life are all the lives you might live,
each unnamed, until you name it.

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Juergen Aldag (German, 1955-2006)

Below – “Leopard”

Musings in Spring: Paul Bogard

“These are maybe the most exciting stars, those just above where sky meets land and ocean, because we so seldom see them, blocked as they usually are by atmosphere…and, as I grow more and more accustomed to the dark, I realize that what I thought were still clouds straight overhead aren’t clearing and aren’t going to clear, because these are clouds of stars, the Milky Way come to join me. There’s the primal recognition, my soul saying, yes, I remember.”

American Art – Roy Ahlgren

In the words of one writer, “Roy Ahlgren American Artist: b. 1927 – 2011. American Printmaker, painter and instructor, Roy Ahlgren was born in Erie, PA. He earned a BS in art education at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a designer for Marx Toy Company. He also taught at Edinboro University and Erie Technical Memorial High School. His work is in permanent collections of: the US Information Agency in Washington DC; the Butler Art Institute in Youngstown, OH; the Minneapolis Museum of Art; the Seattle Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Fredrikstad, Norway; and other museums in Japan, Poland, Viet Nam, Brazil and the Netherlands.”

Below – “Confluence”; “Passage”; “Op A Go Go”; “Creekside”; “Chautauqua Bell Tower”; “Frontier Park.”

Add a comment

Earth, Sea, and Sky on a Tuesday

Musings in Spring: Amy Leach

“A tree can be tempted out of its winter dormancy by a few hours of southerly sun—the readiness to believe in spring is stronger than sleep or sanity.”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Vano Abuladze (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Fish”

A Poem for Today

By Michael Lauchian

Plows have piled a whitened range—
faux mountains at the end of our street,
slopes shrinking, glazed, grayed. Fog
rules the day. In woolly air, shapes

stir—slow cars leave a trace
of exhaust, careful walkers share
loud intimacies. My mother’s birth
slides across a calendar. Like

a stranger who jumps off a bus,
crosses tracks and strides toward us,
memory parts the sodden gloom

of our winter, as though, today,
only she can see where she
goes and track where she’s been.

Art for Spring – Part II of VI: Vito Acconci (American, contemporary)

Below – “Stones for a Wall”

Musings in Spring: Mary Butts

“All night the earth and the heavens followed their usual arrangements. Stars passed: an immense tide hung over them. A silent sea raced back with the sun, its wave turn-over small, delicate and comfortless. The most glorious of all stars hung above the sun’s threshold and went out. An hour later the sun governed the earth again, mist-chasing, flower-opening, bird-rousing, ghost-driving, spirit-shepherding back out the various gates of sleep.”

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: Loren D. Adams (American, contemporary)

Below – “Sun Lady”

A Second Poem for Today

“L.A. River”
By Jack Cooper

I like how the mallard ducklings
goofy and weak
waddle up the cement incline
then slide into this runoff
of lawn sprinklers and car washes
and how the great blue heron
seems to be teleported here
from the Jurassic
to look for extinct species of fish
but mostly I like the way
the little birds
fly in and out of the barbed wire
with only a smear of water
to keep them singing.

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Wayman Adams (American, 1883-1959)

Below – “Life in Los Angeles” (1916)

Musings in Spring: Jessic Stern

“My breath would catch at the sight of violets-so common in the woods at home, so surprising in the mountains. The violet’s message was ‘Keep up your courage, stay true to what you believe in’.”

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: David Adickes (American, contemporary)

Below – “Suzanne”

Musings in Spring: Paul Bogard

“When I lie back and close my eyes, this farthest lip of beach right next to the end of the ocean feels like being up close to an enormous breathing being, the bass drum surf thump reverberating through the sand. Living out here with no lights, alone, you would indeed become sensitive to seasons, rhythms, weather, sounds- right up next to the sea, right up under the sky, like lying close to a lover’s skin to hear blood and breath and heartbeat.”

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Otto Aguiar (Brazilian, contemporary)

Below – “Splendor”

A Third Poem for Today

By Gary Whited

“My Blue Shirt”

hangs in the closet
of this small room, collar open,
sleeves empty, tail wrinkled.
Nothing fills the shirt but air
and my faint scent. It waits,
all seven buttons undone,
button holes slack,
the soft fabric with its square white pattern,
all of it waiting for a body.
It would take any body, though it knows,
in its shirt way of knowing, only mine
has my shape in its wrinkles,
my bend in the elbows.
Outside this room birds hunt for food,
young leaves drink in morning sunlight,
people pass on their way to breakfast.
Yet here, in this closet,
the blue shirt needs nothing,
expects nothing, knows only its shirt knowledge,
that I am now learning—how to be private and patient,
how to be unbuttoned,
how to carry the scent of what has worn me,
and to know myself by the wrinkles.

Contemporary American Art – Milt Kobayashi

In the words of one writer, “Milt Kobayashi is a sophisticated painter who demonstrates a consummate mastery of design and and unsentimental curiosity about people. The fertile cross-currents of two great cultures have nurtured his art to a harmonious resolve of Western technique with Oriental color, pattern and spatial composition.”

Below – “A Glass of Wine and a Cat”; “Antique Vase”; “Blue and Gold”; “Evening Tones”; “The Patterned Clutch”; “Twilight Cafe.”

Add a comment

And Still the Rain Falls . . .

Musings in Spring: Stanislaw Lem

“A journey is a dismal thing when there can be no homecoming.”

Art for Spring – Part I of V: Gregory Packard (American, contemporary)

Below – “Canyon Light”

A Poem for Today

“Unlike objects, two stories can occupy the same space”
By Charles Peek

Out along the last curve in the brick walk
the grass has begun to green,
with the freezing cold and coming snow
its certain fate.

The cranes make the same mistake,
fields of red capped heads attest their arrival
just before the worst blizzard of winter
makes it impossible to tell the field from the river.

And we, too, have known these mortal mishaps,
miscalculated our time, found ourselves out of step,
arriving too early, staying on too late,
misjudging the nearness, the vengeance of the storm.

The cranes, the grass, they tell us:
this can go on for millions of years.

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935)

Below – “The Water Garden”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“And softness came from the starlight and filled me full to the bone.”

Below – Dan Hollingshead: “Frodo Walking in Starlight”

Art for Spring – Part III of V: Philippe Faraut (French, contemporary)

Below – “Polaris” (black marble)

A Second Poem for Today

“Oak Grove Cemetery”
By Don Thompson

Just enough rain an hour ago
to give the wispy dry grass some hope,
turning it green instantly.

This place has been abandoned,
the old faith overgrown, confused
by brambles,
and in these hard times,
its upkeep cut from the budget.

But we walk, soaked to the knees,
making our slow pilgrimage
among gravestones, speaking
blurred names back into the world.

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Nancy Bush (American, contemporary)

Below – “Evening Light”

Musings in Spring: Helen Dunmore

“They wanted spring, of course they wanted it, more than anything. They longed for sun with every pore of their skin. But spring hurts. If spring can come, if things can be different, how can you bear what your existence has been?”

Below – Josef Rippl Ronai: “Pensive Woman with Vase of Flowers”

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Milt Kobayashi (American, contemporary)

Below – “A Moment’s Thoughts”

A Third Poem for Today

“Look for Me”
By Ted Kooser

Look for me under the hood
of that old Chevrolet settled in weeds
at the end of the pasture.

I’m the radiator that spent its years
bolted in front of an engine
shoving me forward into the wind.

Whatever was in me in those days
has mostly leaked away,
but my cap’s still screwed on tight

and I know the names of all these
tattered moths and broken grasshoppers
the rest of you’ve forgotten.

Below – George Boutwell: “Hazardous Cargo”

Contemporary Russian Art – Alexander Oligerov

In the words of one writer, “Alexander Oligerov was born in 1965 in Kazakhstan. In 1985 he graduated with honors of Donezk State Art College, Monumental Painting Faculty. In 1993 he graduated of Art faculty of Russian State Pedagogical University in St.Petersburg. Since 1988 he has been participating in group and personal exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Since 1993 he is the member of Unesco’s International Federation of Artists. Since 2000 he is a member of Russian Unit of Artists. Since 2009 he is a member of Paris Union of Artists “Les Seize Anges” . He teaches painting in Novgorod State University, he is the associate professor of faculty of the Fine Arts.”

Below – “How I Spent This Summer”; “Blue Owlet”; “Calm in the Stone Garden”; “Icarus”; “Inspiration”; “Fresh Wind.”

Musings in Spring: Paul Bogard

“Most days I live awed by the world we have still, rather than mourning the worlds we have lost. The bandit mask of a cedar waxwing on a bare branch a few feet away; the clear bright sun of a frozen winter noon; the rise of Orion in the eastern evening sky – every day, every night, I give thanks for another chance to notice. I see beauty everywhere; so much beauty I often speak it aloud. So much beauty I often laugh, and my day is made.”

Below – Brenda Thour: “Beauty Everywhere”

Contemporary American Art – C. B. “Buck” Mahaney

In the words of one writer, “One has only to spend a few moments with Buck Mahaney to realize he is a true renaissance man. Born March 15, 1941, Buck has spent most of his adulthood living a free life style to the envy of most city dwellers. Buck lives on several acres in Parker, Texas, a rural community north of Dallas, just around the corner from South Fork Ranch. The cedar, glass and stone home he built houses his studio which is itself a haven from the hectic world outside; filled with memorabilia, trophies and artifacts. A man’s room where friends spend comfortable hours in front of the big stone fireplace listening to his stories and enjoying his art. But it wasn’t always this way. Having the good fortune of owning a successful family business, Mahaney as a young man traveled around the world: big game hunting in Africa, bow hunting in the Amazon basin, fishing and hunting from Old Mexico north to Canada and Alaska. Buck has an excellent eye and is known for his outstanding shooting ability with both a gun and bow. When he was in his thirties he began to use that outstanding hand-eye coordination as an artist. He began painting and sketching. It was not long before Buck’s real talent took hold and he began fashioning fine art bronzes in the old west tradition. Although he kept an active interest in art over the last twenty-five years, it has only been in the last few that Buck has been able to divest himself from his various business activities to focus all his attention toward his sculpture, resulting in some of the finest original works available today.”

Below – “The Great Escape” (bronze); “Buffalo Trail – Buffalo” (bronze with marble); “Hard Times” (bronze); “Quanah” (bronze); “Buffalo Trail – Skull” (bronze with marble); “George Armstrong Custer” (bronze).

Add a comment

And the Rain Returns . . .

Musing in Spring: Christina Bartolomeo

“The poet Swinburne said that spring begins ‘blossom by blossom’.”

Art for Spring – Part I of V: Vladimir Migachev (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Forest 1”

A Poem for Today

“One of the Monkeys”
By Nicholas Johnson

I’m one of the monkeys they’ve got typing
in a room full of monkeys. It’s a play
Shakespeare wrote back in the old days
they want us to write again. So we’re writing
a play we never read. They keep inviting
strangers to watch us and the strangers say:
“They wrote ‘to be or nutti to be’!” They stay
too long if we write something exciting
but the bananas flow like wine. We know
it’s a crazy, morbid, ranting play, a stew
full of murder, love, but with a noble feel.
Shocked, I see hack monkeys come and monkeys go.
One keeper killed my father. What should I do?
I’m watching him. My teeth are as sharp as steel.

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)

Below – “Arcadia”

Musings in Spring: Kevin Hearne

“I forgot how good it feels to be rooted. And to be rooted is not the same thing at all as being tied down. To be rooted is to say, here I am nourished and here will I grow, for I have found a place where every sunrise shows me how to be more than what I was yesterday, and I need not wander to feel the wonder of my blessing. And when you are rooted, defending that space ceases to be an obligation or a duty and becomes more of a desire.”

Art for Spring – Part III of V: John William Waterhouse (English, 1849-1917)

Below – “The Magic Circle”

Musings in Spring: Thornton Wilder

“Throughout the hours of the night, though there had been few to hear it, the whole sky had been loud with the singing of these constellations.”

Below – The night sky in April 2017.

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Edouard Manet (French, 1832-1883)

Below – “Still Life, Lilac Bouquet”

A Second Poem for Today

“The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz”
By Alicia Ostriker

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

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

Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—

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

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

Teeth into floating wood
Then bound back to their owners
Shining wet, with passionate speed
For nothing,
For absolutely nothing but joy.

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1967)

Below – “Sea Turtle”

Musings in Spring: Mark Doty

“And, I think, this greening does thaw at the edges, at least, of my own cold season. Joy sneaks in: listening to music, riding my bicycle, I catch myself feeling, in a way that’s as old as I am but suddenly seems unfamiliar, light. I have felt so heavy for so long. At first I felt odd- as if I shouldn’t be feeling this lightness, that familiar little catch of pleasure in the heart which is inexplicable, though a lovely passage of notes or the splendidly turned petal of a tulip has triggered it. It’s my buoyancy, part of what keeps me alive: happy, suddenly with the concomitant experience of a sonata and the motion of the shadows of leaves. I have the desire to be filled with sunlight, to soak my skin in as much of it as I can drink up, after the long interior darkness of this past season, the indoor vigil, in this harshest and darkest of winters, outside and in.”

Mexican Art – Rufino Tamayo

In the words of one writer, “Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences.”

Below – “Moon Dog”; “Landscape with Moon”; “Watermelon #1”; “Lion and Horse”; “Children Playing with Fire”; “Tres Personages Cantando.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Leda and the Swan”
By William Butler Yeats

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Below – Cecil French Salkeld (Irish, 1908-1968): “Leda and the Swan”

Contemporary American Art – Kyle Polzin

In the words of one writer, “Born on January 16, 1974, Kyle Polzin grew up in South Texas, and began developing his artistic skills at a young age with the guidance of his father. Brought up around horses and the Texas coast, Kyle grew to appreciate the beauty and heritage of his Texas surroundings which is reflected in his art. He also worked closely with his grandfathers who were both skilled carpenters, and through their teachings, learned the meaning of craftsmanship and the reward of creating with your hands. In 1992 Kyle began his formal training in fine art at Victoria College with emphasis in oil painting. During this time, he participated in instructional sessions under the master painter Dalhart Windberg, who became his longtime mentor. After college Kyle worked as a graphic artist and web designer, while painting in his free time. As his popularity and success as a painter grew, he switched to painting full time in 2000. Kyle has had numerous sold out shows and his work has been featured in Art of the West, Southwest Art, Western Art Collector, Texas Outdoors Journal, and numerous other publications. Ducks Unlimited honored him as Sponsor Artist for the state of Texas in 2007 and as Texas State Artist for 2010. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Leigh along with their two young daughters.”

Below – “Five Figs”; “The Underdog”; “Petite Flourish”; “Tiny Treasures”; “Cowboy Canteen”; “Shades of Silver.”

Add a comment

A Friday in April

Musings in Spring: Mary Oliver

“Listen, whatever you see and love—
that’s where you are.”

Art for Spring- Part I of V: Sorin Sorin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Stormy Tide”

A Poem for Today

“What Women Want”
By Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Art for Spring- Part II of V: James Rizzi (American, contemporary)

Below – “Waiting with the Moon”

Musings in Spring: Hermann Hesse

“A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, the longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home.”

Art for Spring- Part III of V: Irene Rumpold (Austrian, contemporary)

Below – “El Jardin Secreto” (bronze)

Musings in Spring: Mark Twain

“Herschel removed the speckled tent-roof from the world and exposed the immeasurable deeps of space, dim-flecked with fleets of colossal suns sailing their billion-leagued remoteness.”

Below – A photograph of deep space taken by the Hubble telescope.

Art for Spring- Part IV of V: Lucia Sarto (Italian, contemporary)

Below – “The Nude”

A Second Poem for Today

“Time’s Exile”
By William Stafford

From all encounters vintages ensue,
bitter, flat, or redolent. When we met
sunflowers were in bloom.
They mark the highway into Kansas yet.

My unreal errands, once the sun goes down,
fadeinto streetlight shadows.
Extenuate as the bright lights will, they run
into the hometown shadows.

I’m alongside old happenings when they flare;
like the dog that found the wounded quail
that came up through breast-feather shadows
into the sights and set their wings and sailed

The proximate field, and melted with shot
into another field – I bring things back from everywhere.
I am a man who detours through the park,
a man like those we used to meet back there –

Whose father had a son,
who has a son,
who finds his way by sunflowers through the dark.

Art for Spring- Part V of V: Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)

Below – “Woman with Robes”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is.”

Below – The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

Contemporary American Art – Jean Richardson

During her college years, she came under the influence of two prominent teachers whose roots were in the ‘Robert Henri’ branch of the New York school. First was Lamar Dodd, once a student himself of Henri, who inspired a generation of young artists at the University of Georgia. Second was Lucille Blanch, who, like her husband Arnold, was a New York painter and best friends with the Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. These and other teachers encouraged Jean in her commitment not only to the vocation, but to the intellectual search for the ideas in which her work was to be grounded. Richardson returned to Oklahoma in the early seventies and has made her home in Oklahoma City since that time.”

Below – “Bright Tomorrow”; “Myth Messengers”; “New Delight”; “Animus”; “Swiftly Run”; “Counterpoise.”

Add a comment

Thursday Musings

Musings in Spring:Hermann Hesse

“Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”

Below – Hermann Hesse

Art for Spring – Part I of V: Jang Mee Park (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “In Some Place”

A Poem for Today

“The Choice”
By William Butler Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Edward Hopper (American, 1882-1967)

Below – “People in the Sun”

Musings in Spring: George R.R. Martin

“Old stories are like old friends … you have to visit them from time to time.”

Below – Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: “Woman Reading a Book”

Art for Spring – Part III of V: Jamie Wyeth (American, contemporary)

Below – “Raven”

A Second Poem for Today

“In Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom”
By Lloyd Schwartz

A chilly light pervades the empty room
bringing neither its current nor former inhabitant peace.
Rather, its immaterial lingering infests
both the air inside and what we see of the grass
outside—brittle, brown, as if it wanted to avoid the sun.
Inside, the visitor must be respectful
and polite, evasive without actually telling lies.
Everything here seems hidden—is hidden—not
just the bricked-up chimney and plastered-over doorway. Any
clue—under the wide floorboards, behind the blocked entrance—
to the haunted chambers of a heart? Patches of verse, of
old wallpaper, the main street not yet a street. What industry
motivated those uncanny dashes—these shadows
still eluding our meager efforts to scrutinize.

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Eugene Titov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Dream 2”

Musings in Spring: Amy Leach

“Even in rainier areas, where dust is less inexorable and submits to brooms and rags, it is generally detested, because dust is not organized and is therefore considered aesthetically bankrupt. Our light is not kind to faint diffuse spreading things. Our soft comfortable light flatters carefully organized, formally structured things like wedding cakes with their scrolls and overlapping flounces.
It takes the mortal storms of a star to transform dust into something incandescent. Our dust, shambling and subtractive as it is, would be radiant, if we were close enough to such a star, to that deep and dangerous light, and we would be ravished by the vision—emerald shreds veined in gold, diamond bursts fraught with deep-red flashes, aqua and violet and icy-green astral manifestations, splintery blinking harbor of light, dust as it can be, the quintessence of dust.”

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)

Below – “Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918” (photograph)

A Third Poem for Today

By William Stafford

Its door opens near. It’s a shrine
by the road, it’s a flower in the parking lot
of The Pentagon, it says, “Look around,
listen. Feel the air.” It interrupts
international telephone lines with a tune.
When traffic lines jam, it gets out
and dances on the bridge. If great people
get distracted by fame they forget
this essential kind of breathing
and they die inside their gold shell.
When caravans cross deserts
it is the secret treasure hidden under the jewels.

Sometimes commanders take us over, and they
try to impose their whole universe,
how to succeed by daily calculation
I can’t eat that bread.

Contemporary American Art – James Moore

In the words of one writer, “James G. (Jim) Moore was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. Jim was fortunate to have parents who worked hard to expose their children to the wonders of the world through regular trips to the mountains, libraries, museums, church and other places of faith and learning. Art was, since childhood, a passion for Jim.
Having served in Naval Reserves and having completed a tour of duty in Iraq, Jim had the benefit of ship board travel in the South Pacific. Here was an opportunity to see parts of Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan where arts and crafts have a strong and interwoven heritage. Huge temple bells and beautiful, serene Zen gardens in Japan made lasting impressions on what was to become his passion.
Formal education began at the University of New Mexico and was completed at the University of Colorado, completing his BA in 1993 and a Masters in Education in 2004. As an artist and art educator, James has been working professionally in bronze for the last 16 years. Good fortune placed him in Colorado during the boom in sculpting and the sculpture industry in the Loveland, Colorado area. Success of the sculptured bells has taken him from full time instructor to a part-time high school art instructor for a charter school in Greeley Colorado. As of early 2009 Jim will concentrate on his sculpting career and retire completely from teaching.”

Below – “Bass Vessel” (bronze); “Blue Gill Vessel” (bronze); “Independence” (bronze); “Prairie Song” (bronze); “Trout Pot” (bronze); “Kingfisher Vessel” (bronze); “Wild River” (bronze).

Add a comment