Sentient in Seattle – 22 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 22 July 1967 – Carl Sandburg, an American poet, writer, historian, editor, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Two Poems by Carl Sandburg

“Fog”

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

“Grass”

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.


Art for Summer – Part I of III: Kofi Kayiga (Jamaican, contemporary)

Below – “Golden Serpent”;“Fire Spirit Mask”; “Night Spirit Mask”

For Your Information: 22 July is National Penuche Fudge Day in the United States.

Art for Summer – Part II of III: Yumiko Kayukawa (Japanese, contemporary)

Below – “The planet far, far away”; “Small Universe”; “Quiet Please”

Remembering a Great Engineer on the Date of His Death: Died 22 July 1869 – John Augustus Roebling, a German-American engineer who designed the Brooklyn Bridge.
An excellent discussion of the design and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is the chapter “The Builders” in David McCullough’s wonderful book “Brave Companions: Portraits in History.”

Below – John Augustus Roebling; “Unto us lowliest sometimes sweep, descend/And of the curveship lend a myth to God” – Hart Crane, from “The Bridge: To Brooklyn Bridge.”


Art for Summer – Part III of III: Margaret D. H. Keane (American, contemporary)

Below – “Flower Princess”; “Lonely Sixties”; “Artist as a Young Man”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 22 July 1898 – Stephen Vincent Benet, an American poet, novelist, short story writer, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Campus Sonnets: May Morning”
by Stephen Vincent Benet

I lie stretched out upon the window-seat
And doze, and read a page or two, and doze,
And feel the air like water on me close,
Great waves of sunny air that lip and beat
With a small noise, monotonous and sweet,
Against the window – and the scent of cool,
Frail flowers by some brown and dew-drenched pool
Possesses me from drowsy head to feet.

This is the time of all-sufficing laughter
At idiotic things some one has done,
And there is neither past nor vague hereafter.
And all your body stretches in the sun
And drinks the light in like a liquid thing;
Filled with the divine languor of late spring.

Below – Bill Bledsoe: “May Morning”

American Art – Steve Kaufman (1960-2010)

In the words of one writer, “Steve Kaufman was a legend. His paintings have found their way into the homes and hearts of so many, capturing the true American pop art experience. Steve Kaufman painted such timeless pieces such as: Coca Cola, Marilyn Monroe, Mozart, Beethoven, Wizard of Oz, Muhammad Ali, his money series, and his paintings of famous singers, actors and icons.”

Below – “Einstein State II”; “Tower Bridge”; “Napoleon State I”; “Abe Lincoln Portrait”; “Historical Famous Icons”; “Venus State II.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A photograph of the Milky Way during the Perseids meteor shower.

Contemporary American Art – Alex Katz: Part I of II:

In the words of one writer, “Alex Katz is one of the most innovative leaders in the return to figurative realism and representation among avant-garde artists in America and Europe today. By 1960, very early in Katz’ career, Alex Katz had already found his original and poetic solution to the dilemma of choice between earlier, dominant abstraction and realism by giving primacy to style over subject matter. With considerable brilliance and expressive power, Alex Katz managed to synthesize the artistic impulses of his own era with an earlier modernism, forging elements of Abstract Expressionism with the elegant forms of Manet and Matisse, artists who also explored color and planes, who compressed volume into flatness, and yet evoked convincing weight, movement and the human personality in their paintings.”

Below – “Sasha 2”; “Vivien X 5”; “10:30 AM”; “Oona”; “Grey Ribbon”; “Ariel Black and White.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 22 July 1932 – Thomas Eugene “Tom” Robbins, an American novelist and author of “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”

Some quotes from the work of Tom Robbins:

“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”
“There are two kinds of people in this world : those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.”
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
“You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans.”
“Our greatest human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. “We are in this life to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain.”
“Of the Seven Dwarfs, the only one who shaved was Dopey. That should tell us something about the wisdom of shaving.”
“The only authority I respect is the one that causes butterflies to fly south in fall and north in springtime.”
“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.”
“How can you admire a human who consciously embraces the bland, the mediocre, and the safe rather than risk the suffering that disappointment can bring?”
“Our similarities bring us to a common ground; Our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.”
“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.”
“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.
“You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? Have you risked disapproval? Have you ever risked economic security? Have you ever risked a belief? I see nothing particularly courageous about risking one’s life. So you lose it, you go to your hero’s heaven and everything is milk and honey ’til the end of time. Right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That’s not courage. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one’s clichés.”

Contemporary American Art – Alex Katz: Part II of II:

In the words of one writer, “Since the seventies, in particular, Alex Katz’s paintings have drawn attention by reason of their large formats, simple reductions of form, abrupt and unexpected transitions, and for the suggestive metaphors embodied in his subject matter. Alex Katz unique style has managed the difficult feat of reconciling realism not only with mainstream modernism but with post modernism as well.”

Below – “Pas de Deux”; “Departure”; “Black Dress”; “Dog at Duck Trap”; “Olympic Swimmer”; “Cityscape.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 22 July 2018

“Throughout most of our history, nothing – not flood, famine, plague, or new weapons – has endangered humanity one-tenth as much as the narcissistic ego, with its self-aggrandizing presumptions and its hell-hound spawn of fear and greed.”- Tom Robbins.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in Seattle – 21 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 21 July 1945 – Wendy Cope, an English poet and critic.

“After the Lunch”
by Wendy Cope

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. You’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
The head does its best but the heart is the boss.
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Below – Claude Monet: “Waterloo Bridge”


Art for Summer: Emily Kaufman (American, contemporary)

Below – “Aurora” (resin, with painted details); “Garden Repose” (resin, with painted details); Untitled (ceramic); “Pendant” (resin painted in oils)

Remembering an Influential Thinker on the Date of His Birth: Bornn 21 July 1911 – Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual.

Some quotes from the work of Marshall McLuhan:

“Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.”
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”
“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”
“American youth attributes much more importance to arriving at driver’s license age than at voting age.”
“Many a good argument is ruined by some fool who knows what he is talking about.”
“We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
“The medium is the message.”
“Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment.”
“Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.”
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.”


This Date in Art History: Born 21 July 1858 – Lovis Corinth, a German painter.

Below – “The Artist and His Family”; “Morning Sunshine”; “At the Mirror”; “Walchensee Panorama”; “Self-Portrait with Skeleton.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 July 1899 – Ernest Hemingway, an American novelist, short story writer, journalist, and recipient of the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Ernest Hemingway:

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
“Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you quit, try.”
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
“The rain will stop, the night will end, the hurt will fade. Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found.”
“All thinking men are atheists.”
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
“Courage is grace under pressure.”
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
“‘But man is not made for defeat,’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’”

This Date in Art History: Born 21 July 1858 – Alfred Henry O’Keeffe, a New Zealand painter.

Below – “Portrait of a Young Mediterranean Man”; “Where bush meets the sea, New Zealand”; “Still Life, Roses and Arum Lilies”; “The Model at Rest”; “In a Dark Setting.”


Worth a Thousand Words: Peter Hurd (American, 1904-1984): “Eve of Saint John” (1980). What a lovely rendering of light and shade.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 July 1866 – Carlos Schwabe, a Swiss Symbolist painter and printmaker.

Below – “Evening Bells”; “La douleur”; “L’Ame du Vin”; “Lotte, the artist’s daughter”; “Silent Interior”; “Les Champs-Elysees.”

Remembering an Important Thinker on the Date of His Death: Died 21 July 2000 – Marc Reisner, an American environmentalist, writer, and author of “Cadillac Desert: The American West And Its Disappearing Water.”

Some quotes from “Cadillac Desert”:

“In the West, it is said, water flows uphill toward money. And it literally does, as it leaps three thousand feet across the Tehachapi Mountains in gigantic siphons to slake the thirst of Los Angeles, as it is shoved a thousand feet out of Colorado River canyons to water Phoenix and Palm Springs and the irrigated lands around them.”
“Reason is the first casualty in a drought.”
“Western Congressmen, in the 1970s, were perfectly willing to watch New York City collapse when it was threatened with bankruptcy and financial ruin. After all, New York was a profligate and sinful place and probably deserved such a fate. But they were not willing to see one acre of irrigated land succumb to the forces of nature, regardless of cost. So they authorized probably $1 billion worth of engineered solutions to the Colorado salinity problem in order that a few hundred upstream farmers could go on irrigating and poisoning the river. The Yuma Plant will remove the Colorado’s salt—actually just enough of it to fulfill our treaty obligations to Mexico—at a cost of around $300 per acre-foot of water. The upriver irrigators buy the same amount from the Bureau for three dollars and fifty cents.”
“Great American Desert appeared to have retreated westward across the Rockies to the threshold of the Great Basin. Such a spectacular climatic transformation was not about to be dismissed as a fluke, not by a people who thought themselves handpicked by God to occupy a wild continent. A new school of meteorology was founded to explain it. Its unspoken principle was divine intervention, and its motto was ‘Rain Follows the Plow’.”
“A place that receives seven inches [of rain] or less—as Phoenix, El Paso, and Reno do—is arguably no place to inhabit at all.”
“For the first time in their history, Americans had come up against a problem they could not begin to master with traditional American solutions — private capital, individual initiative, hard work — and yet the region confronting the problem happened to believe most fervently in such solutions. […] When they finally saw the light, however, their attitude miraculously changed — though the myth didn’t — and the American West quietly became the first and most durable example of the modern welfare state.”
“That project, the State Water Project, more than anything else, is the symbol of California’s immense wealth, determination, and grandiose vision — a demonstration that it can take its rightful place in the company of nations rather than mere states. It has also offered one of the country’s foremost examples of socialism for the rich.”
“More than anyplace else, California seems determined to prove that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a lie.”
“Throughout its history, the conservation movement had been little more than a minor nuisance to the water-development interests in the American West. They had, after all, twice managed to invade National Parks with dams; they had decimated the greatest salmon fishery in the world, in the Columbia River; they had taken the Serengeti of North America—the virgin Central Valley of California, with its thousands of grizzly bears and immense clouds of migratory waterfowl and its million and a half antelope and tule elk—and transformed it into a banal palatinate of industrial agriculture.”


This Date in Art History: Emil Orlik, a Czech painter, etcher, and lithographer.

Below- “Winter”; “Heidelberg by Night with Fireworks”; “Japanese Garden”; “Landscape with Mount Fuji in the Distance”; “Japanese Resting on the Mountain.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 July 1899 – Hart Crane, an American poet.

from “The Bridge: To Brooklyn Bridge”
by Hart Crane

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day …

I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene
Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;

And Thee, across the harbor, silver paced
As though the sun took step of thee yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!

Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.

Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene;
All afternoon the cloud flown derricks turn …
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.

And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon … Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.

O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,

Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

Under thy shadow by the piers I waited
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year …

O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

Below – Emile Renouf: “View of the Brooklyn Bridge”


This Date in Art History: Born 21 July 1903 – Russell Lee, an American photographer.

Below – “Japanese American internment, 1942”; “Resting Farmer, Crowley LA”; “Drawing water from a hand pump, Oklahoma City”; “Old man born in slavery displays the horn formerly used to call slaves, Texas”; “Quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico”; “Snake handling in a Kentucky church, 1946.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 21 July 2015 – E. L. Doctorow, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, recipient of the National Book Award, and three-time recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Some quotes from the work of E. L. Doctorow:

“Stories distribute the suffering so that it can be borne.”
“The difference between Socrates and Jesus is that no one had ever been put to death in Socrates’ name. And that is because Socrates’ ideas were never made law. Law, in whatever name, protects privilege.”
“It was evident to him that the world composed and recomposed itself constantly in an endless process of dissatisfaction.”
“Someone dying asks if there is life after death. Yes, comes the answer, only not yours.”
“Because like all whores you value propriety. You are creature of capitalism, the ethics of which are so totally corrupt and hypocritical that your beauty is no more than the beauty of gold, which is to say false and cold and useless.”
“I asked this question: How can I think about my brain when it’s my brain doing the thinking? So is this brain pretending to be me thinking about it?”
“I watched bulls bred to cows, watched mares foal, I saw life come from the egg and the multiplicative wonders of mudholes and ponds, the jell and slime of life shimmering in gravid expectation. Everywhere I looked, life sprang from something not life, insects unfolded from sacs on the surface of still waters and were instantly on prowl for their dinner, everything that came into being knew at once what to do and did it, unastonished that it was what it was, unimpressed by where it was, the great earth heaving up bloodied newborns from every pore, every cell, bearing the variousness of itself from every conceivable substance which it contained in itself, sprouting life that flew or waved in the wind or blew from the mountains or stuck to the damp black underside of rocks, or swam or suckled or bellowed or silently separated in two.”
“The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a library card.”

Contemporary American Art – Robert Katona

In the words of one writer, “Born in Athens, Ohio, he has chosen to live most of his life in Golden, Colorado. He is a self-taught artist and a falconer. His close association and familiarity with hunting birds, hawks and falcons, has led to illustration contributions to the Raptor Research Foundation and the North American Peregrine Foundation.”

Below – “Falcon Rider”; “Tiger Tree”; “Last of the Buffalo”; “Elk Thunderbird War Eagle”; “Hunt of the Sacred Buffalo”; “Dolphins of Neptune.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 21 July 2018

“I am often asked the question How can the masses permit themselves to be exploited by the few. The answer is – By being persuaded to identify with them.” ― E.L. Doctorow.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in Seattle – 20 July 2018

Remembering a Great Mountaineer on the Date of His Birth: Born 20 July 1919 – Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist.

Some quotes from the work of Edmund Hillary:

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”
“Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.”
“Life’s a bit like mountaineering – never look down.”
“While on top of Everest, I looked across the valley towards the great peak Makalu and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed. It showed me that even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn’t the end of everything. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.”
“The explorers of the past were great men and we should honour them. But let us not forget that their spirit lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find.”
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”


Art for Summer: Deborah Kass (American, contemporary)

Below – “Yellow, Blue, Silver and Red Deb”; “Nature”; “Diamond Deb”


For Your Information: 20 July is both National Fortune Cookie Day and National Lollipop Day in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Born 20 July 1847 – Max Liebermann, a German painter.

Below – “The Artist’s Studio”; “Riding Donkey at the Seashore”; “Bleaching on the Lawn”; “Two Riders on the Beach”; “Restaurant Terrace in Nienstedten.”

Remembering an Influential Martial Artist on the Date of his Death: Died 20 July 1973 – Lee Jun-tan, known professionally as Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong and American martial artist, actor, film director, martial arts instructor, philosopher, and founder of the marital art Jeet Kune Do.

Some quotes from the work of Bruce Lee:

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”
“The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.”
“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”
“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”


This Date in Art History: Born 20 July 1895 – Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a Hungarian painter, photographer, and sculptor.

Below – “Finland, 1930” (photograph); “Konstruktion IV” (lithograph); “A 19” (painting); “LIS” (painting); “Self-Portrait” (photograph).

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 20 July 1933 – Cormac McCarthy, an American novelist, playwright, screenwriter,
and recipient of the National Book Award for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Some quotes from the work of Cormac McCarthy:

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
“There is no God and we are his prophets.”
“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”
“If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.”
“Listen to me, he said, when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you’re happy again, then you’ll have given up. Do you understand? And you can’t give up, I won’t let you.”
“The point is there ain’t no point.”
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”


This Date in Art History: Died 20 July 1994 – Paul Delvaux, a Belgian painter.

Below – “The Tunnel”; “The Retreat”; “The Streetcar”; “The Phases of the Moon II”; “Shadows”; “Night Visit.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A Blue Moon in January 2018.


This Date in Art History: Died 20 July 2011 – Lucian Freud, a British painter and illustrator.

Below – “Girl in a White Dress”; “John Minton”; “Girl with a Kitten”; “Portrait of Kitty”; “Girl with a White Dog.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 20 July 1924- Thomas Berger, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and the author of “Little Big Man.”

Some quotes from”Little Big Man”:

“If you want to really relax sometime, just fall to rock bottom and you’ll be a happy man. Most all troubles come from having standards.”
“Believe me, the real romantic person is him who ain’t done anything but imagine. If you have actually participated in disasters, like me, you get conservative.”
“I expect Custer was crazy enough to believe he would win, being the type of man who carries the whole world within his own head and thus when his passion is aroused and floods his mind, reality is utterly drowned.”
“You might have thought the colonel would be interested in my experiences of five years’ barbarism, but he wasn’t. I wasn’t long in discovering that it is a rare person in the white world who wants to hear what the other fellow says, all the more so when the other fellow really knows what he is talking about.”
“For he was big, and I don’t care what you say, for every inch a man grows over five foot five, his brain diminishes proportionately. All my life I have had a prejudice against overgrown louts.”
“Time belongs to everybody and everything, and nobody and nothing can lay claim to any part of it exclusively, so if you talk about the past as though there was just one version of it that everybody agrees on, you might be seen as stealing the spirit of others.”
“I love her still, for if you know anything about that kind of feeling, you know how close it is connected to hopelessness and thus is about the only thing in civilization that don’t degenerate with time.”

This Date in Art History: Died 20 July 1980 – Maria Martinez, a Native American potter.

Below – “A Pot”; “Matte-on-glossy blackware wedding vase”; “Black-on-black ceramic vessel”; “Pinch Pot”; “Pot”; “Ceremonial Corn Storage Jar.”


A Poem for Today

“He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”
by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


American Art – Henriette Wyeth (1907-1997)

In the words of one writer, “Henrietta Wyeth was noted for her portraits and still life paintings.”

Below – “Portrait of Peter Wyeth Hurd”; “Beulah Emmett”; “Portrait of Linda Darnell”; “Portrait of My Father”; “Portrait of a Woman”; “Portrait of Peter Hurd.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 20 July 2018

“It’s a fact that people are afraid of what they don’t understand. And most are too lazy or ignorant to find out more.” ― Richelle Mead, an American writer.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in Seattle – 19 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 19 July 1374 – Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca), an Italian poet and scholar.

“You who hear the sound, in scattered rhymes”
By Petrarch

You who hear the sound, in scattered rhymes,
of those sighs on which I fed my heart,
in my first vagrant youthfulness,
when I was partly other than I am,

I hope to find pity, and forgiveness,
for all the modes in which I talk and weep,
between vain hope and vain sadness,
in those who understand love through its trials.

Yet I see clearly now I have become
an old tale amongst all these people, so that
it often makes me ashamed of myself;

and shame is the fruit of my vanities,
and remorse, and the clearest knowledge
of how the world’s delight is a brief dream.

Below – The 19th century portrait of Petrarch by Stefano Tofanelli.


Art for Summer – Part I of II: Jan Kasprzycki (American, contemporary)

Below – “Cool Grass, Hot Day”; “Hawaiian Lily Pond”; “Tulips”

Remembering a Pioneering Activist on the Date of Her Death: Died 19 July 1850 – Margaret Fuller, an American journalist, social critic, women’s rights activist, and author of “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” a book considered the first major feminist work in the United States.

Some quotes from the work of Margaret Fuller:

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”
“We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to women as freely as to men. If you ask me what offices they may fill, I reply – any. I do not care what case you put; let them be sea captains, if you will.”
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
“It was not meant that the soul should cultivate the earth, but that the earth should educate and maintain the soul.”
“Let every woman, who has once begun to think, examine herself.”
“The especial genius of women I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency.”
“Man is not made for society, but society is made for man. No institution can be good which does not tend to improve the individual.”
“Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.”
“All around us lies what we neither understand nor use. Our capacities, our instincts for this our present sphere are but half developed. Let us confine ourselves to that till the lesson be learned; let us be completely natural; before we trouble ourselves with the supernatural. I never see any of these things but I long to get away and lie under a green tree and let the wind blow on me. There is marvel and charm enough in that for me.”
“Wine is earth’s answer to the sun.”

Below – The only known daguerreotype of Margaret Fuller (by John Plumbe, 1846).


Art for Summer – Part II of II: Yousuf Karsh (Armenian, 1908-2002)

Below (all photographs) – “Albert Einstein”; “Joan Miro”; “Pablo Casals”

Worth a Thousand Words: A color photograph of Saturn taken by the
NASA Cassini mission.

This Date in Art History: Born 19 July 1834 – Edgar Degas, a French painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “A Cotton Office in New Orleans”; “The Dance Class”; “L’Absinthe”; “Musicians in the Orchestra”; “Woman Combing Her Hair”; “Self-Portrait.”


Remembering an Important Thinker on the Date of His Birth: Born 19 July 1898 – Herbert Marcuse, a German-American philosopher, sociologist, political theorist, and author of “Eros and Civilization” and “One-Dimensional Man.”

Some quotes from the work of Herbert Marcuse:

“Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who could change the world.”
“The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing the gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one’s own destruction, has become a ‘biological’ need.”
“The means of communication, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers to the producers and, through the latter to the whole social system. The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood…Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior.”
“There is no free society without silence, without the internal and external spaces of solitude in which the individual freedom can develop.”
“The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.”
“Not every problem someone has with his girlfriend is necessarily due to the capitalist mode of production.”
“Thought that accepts reality as given is no thought at all.”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 July 1834 – Edgar Degas, a French painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “At the Cafe Concert”; “Portrait of Miss Cassatt, Seated, Holding Cards”; “Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers”; “Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts”; “The Millinery Shop”; “Kneeling Woman.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 19 July 1921 – Elizabeth Spencer, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction.

Some quotes from the work of Elizabeth Spencer:

“August in Mississippi is different from July. As to heat, it is not a question of degree but of kind. July heat is furious, but in August the heat has killed even itself and lies dead over us.”
“He read it over twenty times and though the darkness that sang on held steady about him, the unhurried words fell bright through his mind, going down golden through deep water, and when one passed another came, ceaselessly, shining.”
“His house to me as a child was a heart of happiness. If there is a wonder childhood possesses which makes it forever superior to what shall come after, it is the happy and uncritical love of whatever is happy, place or person, it does not matter which.”


This Date in Art History: Born 19 July 1895 – Xu Beihong, a Chinese painter.

Below – “Portrait of Ms Jenny”; “Portrait of Madam Cheng”; “Portrait of a Young Lady”; “Kitten with Butterfly”; “Two Horses”; “Buffalo and the Herd Boy.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 19 July 1893 – Vladimir Mayakovsky, a Russian playwright and poet.

“Past One O’Clock, Shorter Version”
by Vladimir Mayakovsky

Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night.
I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams
I have no cause to wake or trouble you.
And, as they say, the incident is closed.
Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind.
Now you and I are quits. Why bother then
to balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts.
Behold what quiet settles on the world.
Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.
In hours like these, one rises to address
The ages, history, and all creation.


Contemporary American Art – Peter Karis

In the words of one writer, “Karis works in acrylics and the subject matter is usually figurative but impressionistic, with maximum color, conveying emotion and power. The work tends to draw you into a memory of your own, more evocative than descriptive, the viewer tends to become a participant.”

Below – “Monet’s Water Lilies”; “Evening’s Garden #2”; “Anasazi #1”; “Bird of Paradise”; “Deco Roses”; “Thunder Palm, Lowcountry Sky.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 19 July 2018

“One-dimensional thought is systematically promoted by the makers of politics and their purveyors of mass information. Their universe of discourse is populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hypnotic definitions of dictations.” – Herbert Marcuse.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in Seattle – 18 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 18 July 1811 – William Makepeace Thackeray, and English novelist, poet, and author of “Vanity Fair.”

Some quotes from the work of William Makepeace Thackeray:

“Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.”
“People hate as they love, unreasonably.”
“Are not there little chapters in everybody’s life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the history?”
“Vanity Fair is a very vain, wicked, foolish place, full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.”
“A good laugh is sunshine in a house”
“Follow your honest convictions, and stay strong.”


Art for Summer – Part I of III: Alexander Kanchik (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Julie”; “Once Upon a Day”; “Jester”

Remembering a Vocalist on the Date of Her Death: Died 18 July 2001 – Margarita Mimi Baez Farina, better known as Mimi Farina, an American singer-songwriter, activist, younger sister of singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez, and wife of folksinger, songwriter, poet, and novelist Richard Farina.


Art for Summer – Part II of III: Vyacheslav Kalinin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Lambada”; Untitled; “Self-Portrait With Nude Model”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 18 July 1817 – Jane Austen, a English novelist and author of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma.”

Some quotes from the work of Jane Austen:

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
“I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control. ”
“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.”

Below – Portrait of Jane Austen (circa 1810) by her sister Cassandra.
Art for Summer – Part III of III: Mark Kaplan (Russian/French, contemporary)

Below – “English Breakfast in Provence”; “3 Days in Cannes”; “Iris du Cap Bernat”

Worth a Thousand Words: A section of the Yukon River.

This Date in Art History: Died 18 July 1610 – Caravaggio, an Italian painter.

Below – “Basket of Fruit”; “The Musicians”; “The Calling of Saint Matthew”; “Boy With Basket of Fruit”; “Salome with the Head of John the Baptist”; “Amor Vincit Omnia.”

Remembering an Activist on the Date of Her Birth: Born 18 July 1908 -Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, an American non-denominational spiritual teacher, mystic, pacifist, vegetarian activist, and peace activist. Norman adopted the name “Peace Pilgrim” and walked throughout the United States for twenty-eight years.

Some quotes from the work of Peace Pilgrim:

“Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness, possesses you. And in this materialistic age, a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.”
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.”
“We are all cells in the body of humanity.”
“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”


This Date in Art History: Died 18 July 1721 – Jean-Antoine Watteau, a French painter.

Below – “Pleasures of Love”; “The Feast (or Festival) of Love”; “The Italian Comedians”; “La Boudeuse”; “The Dance”; “Quellnymphe.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 18 July 1902 – Jessamyn West, an American novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Friendly Persuasion.”

Some quotes from the work of Jessamyn West:

“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”
“It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.”
“There are two barriers that often prevent communication between the young and their elders. The first is middle-aged forgetfulness of the fact that they themselves are no longer young. The second is youthful ignorance of the fact that the middle aged are still alive.”
“Nothing is so dear as what you’re about to leave.”
“You make what seems a simple choice: choose a man or a job or a neighborhood- and what you have chosen is not a man or a job or a neighborhood, but a life.”
“A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.”
“Each death and departure comes to us as a surprise, a sorrow never anticipated. Life is a long series of farewells; only the circumstances should surprise us.”
“A good time for laughing is when you can.”


Contemporary American Art – Phyllis Kapp

In the words of one writer, “Phyllis Kapp has been many things: mother, gallerist, mentor but throughout it all she has also been an artist, devoted to expressing her understanding of the world through color and form. Her exuberant works have chronicled her life, and have found homes in the hearts and homes of collectors from across the planet. Kapp’s passion for creation led her to start anew at 55, leaving her hometown of Chicago for Santa Fe. She had a dream to sell her art from her own studio along Canyon Road. She arrived on a snowy December evening in 1985, rented a room for her studio and dedicated herself to turning her goal into reality.”

“Night Waltz”; “The Moon and You”; “The Breeze is Sighing”; “Filled With Joy”; “Rhythmic Impressions”; “Valley of Love.”

A Poem for Today

“What Do 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.

Below – Michael J. Austin: “Red Dress”

Contemporary American Art – Wolf Kahn

In the words of one writer, “Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart in 1927, he fled Germany at age 12 and moved to the United States in 1940. After attending the High School of Music and Art in New York City, he continued his studies at the Hans Hofmann School, becoming Hofmann’s studio assistant. After over two years of training under Hofmann, Kahn later relocated to Chicago where Kahn received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Chicago. Influenced by Hofmann’s practice of using nature as the starting point for a painting, Kahn’s work encompasses both pictorial landscape and painterly abstraction. Converging color and light to create atmospheric and sensual pictorial fields, Kahn’s paintings evoke the ethereal world of nature even when they are non-representational. Often juxtaposing saturated magentas, pinks and oranges with cool, muted pastels, Kahn achieves a balance that transports the viewer into his tranquil world.”

Below – “Maine Waters”; “Green Turning”; “Secret Meadow”; “Tree Trunks on a Rise”; “Bold color”; “Aura II.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 18 July 2018

“Angry people are not always wise.” ― Jane Austen.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment