“It’s fall coming, I thought, I can smell that sour-molasses smell of silage, clanging the air like a bell – smell like somebody’s been burning oak leaves, left them to smolder overnight because they’re too green.”
Below – George Cartlidge: “Burning Autumn Leaves”
Canadian Art – Part I: Shi Le
Artist Statement: “My landscape painting is my response to nature, especially to the environment where I live. I feel the environment through my heart and translate this by a filtering and colouring process. Walking along the river through the bush and sitting on the rocks watching the trickling ripples of water makes me feel at peace in the tranquility of nature.”
Gloomy and bare the organ-loft,
Bent-backed and blind the organist.
From rafters looming shadowy,
From the pipes’ tuneful company,
Drifted together drowsily,
Innumerable, formless, dim,
The ghosts of long-dead melodies,
Of anthems, stately, thunderous,
Of Kyries shrill and tremulous:
In melancholy drowsy-sweet
They huddled there in harmony.
Like bats at noontide rafter-hung.
Musings in Autumn: Monica Baldwin
“The Sussex lanes were very lovely in the autumn . . . spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end . . . earth scents and the sky winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul.”
Robert Frost (1874-1963) was an American poet.
Some quotes from the work of Robert Frost:
“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
“I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.”
“The best way out is always through.”
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”
“How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?”
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”
“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”
“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”
A Second Poem for Today
“The Captured Goddess”
By Amy Lowell
Over the housetops,
Above the rotating chimney-pots,
I have seen a shiver of amethyst,
And blue and cinnamon have flickered
At the far end of a dusty street.
Through sheeted rain
Has come a lustre of crimson,
And I have watched moonbeams
Hushed by a film of palest green.
It was her wings,
Who stepped over the clouds,
And laid her rainbow feathers
Aslant on the currents of the air.
I followed her for long,
With gazing eyes and stumbling feet.
I cared not where she led me,
My eyes were full of colours:
Saffrons, rubies, the yellows of beryls,
And the indigo-blue of quartz;
Flights of rose, layers of chrysoprase,
Points of orange, spirals of vermilion,
The spotted gold of tiger-lily petals,
The loud pink of bursting hydrangeas.
And watched for the flashing of her wings.
In the city I found her,
The narrow-streeted city.
In the market-place I came upon her,
Bound and trembling.
Her fluted wings were fastened to her sides with cords,
She was naked and cold,
For that day the wind blew
Men chaffered for her,
They bargained in silver and gold,
In copper, in wheat,
And called their bids across the market-place.
The Goddess wept.
Hiding my face I fled,
And the grey wind hissed behind me,
Along the narrow streets.
Musings in Autumn: John Hay
“And there, next to me, as the east wind blows in early fall, a season open to great migrations, are those lives, threading the air and waters of the sea, that come out of an incomparable darkness, which is also my own.”
A Third Poem for Today
“Before a Painting”
By James Weldon Johnson
I knew not who had wrought with skill so fine
What I beheld; nor by what laws of art
He had created life and love and heart
On canvas, from mere color, curve and line.
Silent I stood and made no move or sign;
Not with the crowd, but reverently apart;
Nor felt the power my rooted limbs to start,
But mutely gazed upon that face divine.
And over me the sense of beauty fell,
As music over a raptured listener to
The deep-voiced organ breathing out a hymn;
Or as on one who kneels, his beads to tell,
There falls the aureate glory filtered through
The windows in some old cathedral dim.
Below – Edward Robert Hughes: “Star of Heaven”
Musings in Autumn: Gary Snyder
“Range after range of mountains.
Year after year after year.
I am still in love.”
Canadian Art – Part II: Les Thomas
Artist Statement: “The past 4-5 years I have been working on a group of landscape paintings inspired by the Bow River. The subjects of these paintings are not culled solely from the river itself, but also from the landscape lining its banks, as well as some of the creatures inhabiting its waters and shorelines. My familiarity of the Bow has evolved over the past 20 years. I have hiked great lengths of its shores, slept next to the sounds of its current, fished its waters, and drifted upon its varied flow. Well before the 2013 floods I had come to fully appreciate the immense scale and power of this world class river. As a painter, I wanted to avoid simply paying homage to the Bow by documenting her in any traditional manner. Instead, I wanted to use my experience & knowledge of this river as a point of departure or inspiration, resulting in artworks that – in some instances bare little resemblance to the rivers’ factual appearance – but nevertheless, absorb enough of the Bow’s character so as they may be amplified by any subjective liberties I may have taken.”
“Take heart and dive into the quiet maturity of autumn.”
Canadian Art – Part I: William Lazos
In the words of one writer, “William Lazos has painted an impressive number of mural projects, including major commissions for the Queen West Health Centre, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, and a project for American abstract artist Frank Stella at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Lazos has been exhibiting since 1984 across Canada, the US, and Europe.
Lazos’s painted surfaces are technically precise and smoothly rendered, using a combination of meticulous airbrush and paintbrush techniques to capture subtle plays of light and complex textural surfaces. His subjects—carnival scenes, colourful commercial products, and other contemporary cultural objects—call on all the senses in their striking detail. While certainly familiar and even nostalgic, Lazos’s works are also unmistakably contemporary. More than photographic imitation, his paintings combine haze and sharp focus, document and memory, hyper-realism and childlike wonder to mesmerizing effect.”
The cheerful sundial;
it falls in the shadow
of thy leaves.
where your branches
against the gate of heaven
Musings in Autumn: Edward Hirsch
“And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet and playwright.
Some quotes from the work of Edna St. Vincent Millay:
“Night falls fast. Today is in the past.”
“My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.”
“It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it’s one damn thing over and over.”
“Life must go on; I forget just why.” “I love humanity but I hate people.”
“No one but Night, with tears on her dark face, watches beside me in this windy place.”
“Music, my rampart and my only one.” “Soar, eat ether, see what has never been seen; depart, be lost, but climb.”
“Stranger, pause and look;
From the dust of ages
Lift this little book,
Turn the tattered pages,
Read me, do not let me die!
Search the fading letters finding
Steadfast in the broken binding
All that once was I!”
A Second Poem for Today
“Baseball and Classicism”
By Tom Clark
Every day I peruse the box scores for hours
Sometimes I wonder why I do it
Since I am not going to take a test on it
And no one is going to give me money
The pleasure’s something like that of codes
Of deciphering an ancient alphabet say
So as brightly to picturize Eurydice
In the Elysian Fields on her perfect day
The day she went 5 for 5 against Vic Raschi
Below – Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot: “Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld”; Victor John Angelo “Vic” Raschi.
Musings in Autumn: Donna Lynn Hope
“Joy – in the fall, winter, and always in the mountains where people are few, wildlife is abundant and there is peace in the quiet.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Frank Ormsby
The lights come on and stay on under the trees.
Visibly a whole neighborhood inhabits the dusk,
so punctual and in place it seems to deny
dark its dominion. Nothing will go astray,
the porch lamps promise. Sudden, as though a match
failed to ignite at the foot of the garden, the first squibs
trouble the eye. Impossible not to share
that sportive, abortive, clumsy, where-are-we-now
dalliance with night, such soothing relentlessness.
What should we make of fireflies, their quick flare
of promise and disappointment, their throwaway style?
Our heads turn this way and that. We are loath to miss
such jauntiness in nature. Those fugitive selves,
winged and at random! Our flickery might-have-beens
come up form the woods to haunt us! Our yet-to-be
as tentative frolic! What do fireflies say?
That loneliness made of light becomes at last
convivial singleness? That any antic spark
cruising the void might titillate creation?
And whether they spend themselves, or go to ground,
or drift with their lights out, they have left the gloom,
for as long as our eyes take to absorb such absence,
less than it seemed, as childless and deprived
as Chaos and Old Night. But ruffled, too,
as though it unearthed some memory of light
from its long blackout, a hospitable core
fit home for fireflies, brushed by fireflies’ wings.
Canadian Art – Part II: Niko Haskova
Artist Statement: “For me, painting is about confronting the plastic of modern existence. I am fascinated by contrasts, literally and metaphorically. Whether I am recording the tension of human relationships, the conflict between environment and ‘sprawl’, or the collision of black silk and pale skin, I am constantly drawn to opposing elements.”
Below – “Foundation”; “Flitter”; “Part of It All”; “Fly Away”; “I Am Made of Light”; “Evermore.”
“For as long as she could remember, she had thought that autumn air went well with books, that the two both somehow belonged with blankets, comfortable armchairs, and big cups of coffee or tea.”
Canadian Art – Part I: Frederick Hagan
In the words of one writer, “Frederick Hagan’s (1918-2003) unique work has for decades responded to and shaped Canadian painting. Born in Toronto and raised in Cabbagetown, Hagan looked to his lived environments as sources for his artistic subjects: the bustling urban life of a growing city, memories of family and childhood experiences, and the idyllic scenery of the Muskoka region, to which he traveled regularly.
Hagan was quickly recognized for his talent, and by age 21 was exhibiting with the Royal Canadian Academy, while taking classes at the Ontario College of Art under the direction of John Alfsen and Frank Carmichael. Soon, he would take on the role of educator himself, a vocation which would come to define Hagan’s career in equal part to his studio practice. Between 1946 and 1983, Hagan taught painting, drawing, and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art; a talented lithographer in his own right, he influenced an entire generation of artists who would take up the challenge of figurative painting and revive its role as a valuable genre that could comment meaningfully on a contemporary spirit.
Immersed in a culture of painting that increasingly privileged abstraction, Hagan was—in the words of Damian Tarnopolsky, writing for the Globe and Mail—‘immune to artistic fashions,’ and firmly committed to his figurative style with little investment in self-promotion. But the artist’s canvases were nonetheless deeply symbolic, powerful, and energized portraits of humanity that combined Cubist, Mannerist, Expressionist, and even Classical principles of composition while ultimately creating a style all his own, rooted his personal, existential questioning.
Early figurative painting depicts the character and atmosphere of depression-era Toronto in rich oils; figures are almost caricatured, flattened or exaggerated bodies that serve as archetypal subjects of industry, labour, family, and politics. Hagan’s watercolours—by no means demoted in the artist’s oeuvre—are completed works that similarly comment on the human condition by way of the figure’s absence. These works on paper, most of which were painted outdoors during Hagan’s travels—are sensitive renderings of a natural world in which we are merely reverent visitors.
In 1967, Hagan was awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal; in 1985, he was commissioned by Canada Post to create the 16 postage stamps, issued 1986-1989; in 1998, he was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal. His work is presented in prominent public collections including those of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Frederick Hagan passed away on September 6, 2003 at the age of 85.
Below – Untitled #43 (1983) “Dull Morning, Elizabeth & Albert Streets, Toronto” (1938); “Streetcar” (c. 1939); Untitled (1991); “The Boat” (1939); “Summer Gas Works” (1938).
A Poem for Today
You must remain.
I must depart.
Two autumns falling in the heart.
Musings in Autumn: Giovanna Fletcher
“I love the arrival of a new season — each one bringing with it its own emotion: spring is full of hope; summer is freedom; autumn is a colourful release, and winter brings an enchanting peace. It’s hard to pick which one I enjoy the most — each time the new one arrives, I remember its beauty and forget the previous one whose qualities have started to dim.”
Gary Snyder is an American poet, essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist.
Some quotes from the work of Gary Snyder:
“As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.”
“In Western Civilization, our elders are books.”
“I have a friend who feels sometimes that the world is hostile to human life–he says it chills us and kills us. But how could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions–gravity and a livable temperature range between freezing and boiling–have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The ‘place’ (from the root plat, broad, spreading, flat) gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind. We should be thankful for that, and take nature’s stricter lessons with some grace.”
“Having a place means that you know what a place means…what it means in a storied sense of myth, character and presence but also in an ecological sense…Integrating native consciousness with mythic consciousness”
“The size of the place that one becomes
a member of is limited only by
the size of one’s heart.”
learn the flowers
A Second Poem for Today
By Jennifer Gray
The neighbor’s horses idle
under the roof
of their three-sided shelter,
looking out at the rain.
one or another
will fade into the shadows
in the corner, maybe
to eat, or drink.
Still, the others stand,
blowing out their warm
breaths. Rain rattles
on the metal roof.
Their hoof prints
in the corral
open gray eyes to the sky,
and wink each time
another drop falls in.
Musings in Autumn: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.”
A Third Poem for Today
On this road
where nobody else travels
Canadian Art – Part II: Laura Harris
Artist Statement: “Fueled by good coffee and the music of Joe Purdy, Ben Harper and Bob Dylan, my mornings are spent in my 8 x 12ft studio. When people ask me for a tour of my studio, I have to laugh… it’s small but I couldn’t ask for more. There’s paint on the walls, the ceiling, on the curtains and rug, and I love that no one has asked me to clean it up. Music loud, I can’t help but wiggle a bit and I think that movement finds its way into the paintings… I can see it in the strokes. I trust the mistakes and feel that a successful painting is one that conveys my emotion.
A lot of my work has a ‘big sky’ feel to it. While creating these, I am generally aware of a lost connection between people. We live in a world where cell phones and blackberries are often getting more affection than our family and friends. I fear that a loss of intimacy and connection is growing. The splatters of paint represent people or souls, rising from the ground up into the horizon… open and searching, connecting, together. The black represents the chaos of daily life, and the brightness represents hope, calm, and the inner peace I feel when I stop… like when I watch my husband and daughter beachcombing together and for that moment, there’s nothing else in the whole world.”
Below – “Little River”; “The Bluest Joy”; “Unapologetically So”; “The Sweetest Advice”; “The Space In Between”; “Breathe It In.”
“Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard.”
Canadian Art – Part I: Elizabeth Harris
Artist Statement: “I was born in the Peace River Country, and spent my formative years on a cattle ranch. I have been educated at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and have developed a strong background in facilitation of artist environments within society structures and independent studios and galleries. I have taught adult art education throughout British Columbia, and exhibit widely in both private and public galleries with work that reflects my ideas of relevance.
My art is an idiosyncratic mix of contemporary aspirations and conceptual leanings with undercurrents of rural stoicism. I am a multi media artist, and have found, that the ability to create dialogue in several mediums is what keeps my work alive. My conversations in art are an extrospective view of everyday life, with emphasis on the significance of nature.”
Below – “Tundra Walker”; “Bear with Salmon”; “Red Raku”; “Bear with Leaves”; “Green Bear I”;“Bear with Blackberries.”
A Poem for Today
On a bare branch
a crow is perched –
Musings in Autumn: Wallace Stegner
“The perfect weather of Indian Summer lengthened and lingered, warm sunny days were followed by brisk nights with Halloween a presentiment in the air.”
Abraham Maslow (1908`1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Some quotes from the work of Abraham Maslow:
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
“Be independent of the good opinion of other people.”
“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.”
“I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
“The sacred is in the ordinary…it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard…travel may be a flight from confronting the scared–this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” “It looks as if there were a single ultimate goal for mankind, a far goal toward which all persons strive. This is called variously by different authors self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health, individuation, autonomy, creativity, productivity, but they all agree that this amounts to realizing the potentialities of the person, that is to say, becoming fully human, everything that person can be.”
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.
Musings in Autumn: Sanober Khan
“Once in a while i am struck
all over again… by just how blue
the sky appears .. on wind-played
autumn mornings, blue enough
to bruise a heart.”
Canadian Art – Part II: Ted Fullerton
In the words of one writer, “Ted Fullerton works in contemporary painting, printmaking and sculpture, and have achieved numerous awards such as the Juror’s Award in the CIM Centennial Art Competition and the Boston Printmaker’s Juried Exhibition award. His significant sculpture commissions are for the City of Kitchener and the Davenport Architectural Corp. Ted Fullerton graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1976. In 1993 and 1994, he was artist-in-residence at Cape Dorset, and at Canadore College in North Bay.”
Below – “Catch and Release (Axis Mundi)”; “Free as a Bird (Axis Mundi)”; “Expecting the Unexpected (Axis Mundi)”; “3 Graces (Axis Mundi”; “Nurture, Nature”; “The Day the Earth Stood Still (Figures in a Landscape).”
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
Canadian Art – Part I: Mark Fletcher
In the words of one writer, “Mark Fletcher is an artist whose paintings tell stories. The stories are of us as seen through the eyes of a youth who moved about, living in various regions of the country. In 1974, he was enrolled at Trinity College School, Port Hope, ON and began a casual study of painting and art history. His interest in the arts continued into university and flourished into a full time career.
Mark’s paintings seem to extend beyond their physical bounds. They live with you and perhaps even haunt the viewer. The suggested movement is dynamic and they evoke feelings, which cannot be forgotten or overlooked. His use of vivid colour creates a joy that emanates from his canvases.
The minimal landscapes that he creates are personal and sensitive.
In all of Mark’s paintings there is a clear graphic statement, finely defined. As a viewer his works, first on a visceral, captures your level and then intellectually and spiritually.”
Below – “Storm Arrives”; “Old Barn in the Valley”; “Last Year’s Snow Fence”; “Wild Roses”; “Summer Hawk”; “Out on the Edge of Town.”
A Poem for Today
“The morns are meeker than they were -“
By Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were –
The nuts are getting brown –
The berry’s cheek is plumper –
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf –
The field a scarlet gown –
Lest I sh’d be old-fashioned
I’ll put a trinket on.
Musings in Autumn: H.T. Tuckerman
“It is a delightful pastime to sit in the pleasant sunshine of autumn, and gazing from this little spot of free earth over such a landscape, let the imagination luxuriate amid the thrilling associations of the scene!”
Bill Hicks (1961-1994) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, and musician.
Some quotes from the work of Bill Hicks:
“If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”
“This is where we are at right now, as a whole. No one is left out of the loop. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.”
“I’m glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, ‘My God! I love everything.’ Yeah, now if that isn’t a hazard to our country … how are we gonna justify arms dealing when we realize that we’re all one?”
“I never got along with my dad. Kids used to come up to me and say, ‘My dad can beat up your dad.’ I’d say Yeah? When?”
“Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right?”
“It’s always funny until someone gets hurt.
Then it’s just hilarious.”
“I ascribe to Mark Twain’s theory that the last person who should be President is the one who wants it the most. The one who should be picked is the one who should be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House.”
“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”
“I left in love, in laughter, and in truth, and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.”
Musings in Autumn: Hal Borland
“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”
A Second Poem for Today
“The Death of Autumn”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like agèd warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek,–
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again,–but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn ! Autumn !–What is the Spring to me?
Musings in Autumn: Emily Bronte
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree,,,”
Canadian Art – Part II: Shaun Downey
In the words of one writer, “Shaun Downey strives to breathe fresh life into realist painting by combining classical ideals within the context of his own life and surroundings. His paintings have elements of decades past, but are firmly grounded in present day. Often painting his wife and friends within the confines of his home, we are allowed a voyeuristic glance into his world as he reveals his efforts to capture the fleeting beauty of modern life.
As outside viewers, we find ourselves longing to understand who Shaun Downey’s subjects are. What their lives are like, and which chain of events led them to the exact moment the artist has captured. His meticulously rendered paintings call out to be understood, but we the viewer are left to make our own assumptions.”
Below – “Blue Coco”; “In Autumn Light”; “Red Head with Pearls”; “In Her Auburn Sweater”; “Towards the Cabin”; “Mint Dervla.”
“As autumn returns to earth’s northern hemisphere,
and day and night are briefly,
balanced at the equinox,
may we remember anew how fragile life is —-
human life, surely, but also the lives of all other creatures,
trees and plants,
waters and winds.
May we make wise choices in how and what we harvest,
may earth’s weather turn kinder,
may there be enough food for all creatures,
may the diminishing light in our daytime skies
be met by an increasing compassion and tolerance
in our hearts.”
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Darlene Cole
In the words of one writer, “For years, Darlene Cole has been capturing a hazy, haunting world of poetry and wonder for audiences worldwide. The artist’s distinct oil painting techniques lend a watercolour effect to her subjects without compromising rich colour values and velvety textures. Cole’s canvases—dreamy expanses inhabited by spirited figures—are studies of time and memory. These figures—both human and animal—play a pivotal role, evoking emotional responses in the viewer as Cole navigates between layers of reference and meaning. At once playful and melancholic, Cole’s work draws on themes characteristic of her established painting career: the inherent mystery of old architectural interiors, the power of painterly colour and texture to spark memory, and the exploration of childhood innocence and its loss. Canvases offer delicate detail work that gives form to softly blended screens of colour, mapping the seamless and often unconscious journey from visual prompt to archetypal meaning: an elk’s elegant antlers emerge against a mossy plane; a child’s red dress bursts through the haze of a dreamy playground; a rowboat sails off toward a dusky horizon. Other recurring tropes in Cole’s work—velvet curtains, picture frames, and armoires—are thresholds that beckon us to an exciting place, far beyond the frame.”
Below – “Intimates (Behind the Curtain)”; “Emblem (Belles and the Beat)”; “In Blush Time (If My Heart Could Talk); “Brave as a Bear (We Kissed as the Sky Held Us Close)”; “Emblem (Melt with You)”; “Emblem (Brings Me to Another Place).”
A Poem for Today
By Mortimer Crane Brown
I know the year is dying,
Soon the summer will be dead.
I can trace it in the flying
Of the black crows overhead;
I can hear it in the rustle
Of the dead leaves as I pass,
And the south wind’s plaintive sighing
Through the dry and withered grass.
Ah, ’tis then I love to wander,
Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature’s undertone;
Wrapt in thoughts I cannot utter,
Dreams my tongue cannot express,
Dreams that match the autumn’s sadness
In their longing tenderness.
Musings in Autumn: Harriette Arnow
“There was something frantic in their blooming, as if they knew that frost was near and then the bitter cold. They’d lived through all the heat and noise and stench of summertime, and now each widely opened flower was like a triumphant cry, ‘We will, we will make seed before we die.’”
Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, and translator.
Some quotes from the work of Mary Anne Evans:
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”
“It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.”
“It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy: to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small hungry shivering self—never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardor of a passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dim-sighted.”
“It is a common sentence that knowledge is power; but who hath duly considered or set forth the power of ignorance? Knowledge slowly builds up what ignorance in an hour pulls down.”
“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
Musings in Autumn: Hal Borland
“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.”
A Second Poem for Today
“You Reading This, Be Ready”
By William Stafford
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life—
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
Musings in Autumn: Charles Dickens
“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels . . .”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Ken Campbell
In the words of one writer, “Ken Campbell is a second-generation painter and has been immersed in the visual arts all of his life. Ken’s father mentored him as a youngster, in the principles and techniques of visual art. So while not formally trained, his passion for art grew in a supportive family environment. After his university sociology/psychology studies he returned to his pursuit of art and brought his interest in humanities with him.
In his early career Ken shared his creative time between fine art and commercial art. Like his early influences, Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven, many of whom were also commercial artists, he wore many creative hats including editorial cartoonist, production artist, graphic designer, art director, creative director, book illustrator and painter. In these too he was largely self-taught, preferring to train on-the-job, resulting in the emergence of a distinctive style that earning recognition in television, display, print, publishing and the galleries.
Today Ken Campbell is a full-time fine art painter working in British Columbia. His original fine art includes drawings, plein aire paintings and studio works. A practitioner in oils and acrylic media he adapts such techniques as “oils over acrylics”, “metallic pigments painting” and Renaissance-style “underpainting & glazing”. His style is based in realism with notes of impressionism and abstraction. Ken’s oil and acrylic canvases reflect his passion for remarkable places and contemplative moments… seascapes, landscapes, figurative, still life and wildlife compositions.”
Below – “Luna Azul E Canoe”; “Sandspit – VIII”; “Woodland Flowers – II”; “Tidal Pool – II”; “Sandbar – II”; “Lily Bay – II.”
Who can mediate
between the body and its undoing?
At night in each of my limbs
I feel the skeletal tree ache,
and I dream of leaves
in their feverish colors, floating
through the small streams
and tributaries of the blood.
At noon in the smoldering woods
I gather black grapes
that purse and caress the mouth,
I gather thistles and burrs —
whole armfuls of dissolution,
while from a branch
the chuck-will’s widow calls
Canadian Art – Part I: Neil Clifford
Artist Statement: “I believe the quality of our lives is enhanced by surrounding ourselves with art that express values beyond their aesthetic that possess intelligence in their creation, that one can interact with and that will stimulate the senses every time one engages with them.
Over the past thirty-five years I have traveled to remote areas of the planet, fascinated by cultures that live in community with nature – to engage with artists whose work is imbued with powerful connections to their ancestral lands. The awareness that art-making acts as a vehicle for understanding our place within a greater context guides my own artistic pursuits.
The rugged Canadian wilderness provides the inspiration and the materials for my new series of sculptures. While scouting rapids on wild rivers, hiking through dense forest or snowshoeing along frozen shorelines, I encounter special stones. Eroded and etched, some fractured and split by the powerful forces of wind, water, and ice and changing seasons – I choose each one for its natural beauty.
With great care and effort, I bring these stones back to the studio and create sculptures that compliment their unique characteristics. Influenced by my journeys into the wilds and by those whose lives remain connected to the earth, I strive to make compelling works of art for the viewer that evokes the dynamic of our natural world.”
“There comes a time when it cannot be put off any longer. The radio warns of a killing frost coming in the night, and you must say good-by to the garden. You dread it, as you dread saying good-by to any good friend; but the garden waits with its last gifts, and you must go with a bushel basket or big buckets to receive them.”
Anais Nin (1903-1977) was an essayist and memoirist born to Cuban Parents in France. She lived most of her life in the United States.
Some quotes from the work of Anais Nin:
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”
“One word I would banish from the dictionary is ‘escape.’ Just banish that and you’ll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you’re in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything…. We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one’s sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it’s what we want to do.
You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.”
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Ted Hughes
October is marigold, and yet
A glass half full of wine left out
To the dark heaven all night, by dawn
Has dreamed a premonition
Of ice across its eye as if
The ice-age had begun its heave.
The lawn overtrodden and strewn
From the night before, and the whistling green
Shrubbery are doomed. Ice
Has got its spearhead into place.
First a skin, delicately here
Restraining a ripple from the air;
Soon plate and rivet on pond and brook;
Then tons of chain and massive lock
To hold rivers. Then, sound by sight
Will Mammoth and Sabre-tooth celebrate
Reunion while a fist of cold
Squeezes the fire at the core of the world,
Squeezes the fire at the core of the heart,
And now it is about to start.
Musings in Autumn: Alfred Tennyson
“Looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”
Canadian Art – Part II: Cori Creed
In the words of one writer, “Cori Creed is a Canadian painter who has the ability to capture the west coast landscape with joy and vitality.
The wealth of textures and colours in our Canadian landscape provide Creed with the perfect reference for an exploration in process. The reflections of tangled branches observed while canoeing on a tranquil eastern lake; the graphic contrast found in a grove of birches; shadows cast over jumbles of rocks and driftwood on west coast beaches; and wading through fields of wild grasses and blooms all lend inspiration to Creed’s work. The artist’s strong connection to the natural world encourages her to draw from its revelations and recreate an impression of the land on canvas.”
Below – “Beyond Black Rivers”; “Fading Storms”; “Another Beginning”; “Mountain Mist”; “Night Rising”; “Moved by Music.”
Below – Graydon Parrish: “The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001”
American Art – Part I of V: Sherry Karver
In the words of one writer, “Sherry Karver combines photography, painting, and narrative text to create new media works that focus on urban life and the individual’s place in a crowded world. Featuring public spaces from New York to San Francisco, she addresses themes of identity, voyeurism, and surveillance that form part of modern existence.
Born in Chicago, Karver has spent her life in metropolitan areas. Her work reflects the multitude of issues and truths of living in large cities. Karver describes aspects of urban living as, ‘loneliness and alienation in our fast paced society, the concept of personal identity and the loss of it, the individual as part of the crowd.’ In placing personalized biographical details, sometimes humorous, over selected figures captured in a crowd, Karver seeks to highlight individuality and establish connection within an otherwise anonymous sea of life.”
Below – “Be Present”; “Without Hesitation”; “In the Near Future”; “Crosswalk”; “Avenue of Possibilities.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part I of VI
“Route Song and Epitaph”
Living on catastrophe, eating the pure light
What have we come to but the mother dark?
Over our heads, obscurely, the stars work
Heedless. They did not invent the night.
From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Johann Sebastian Bach
Reflections in Summer: Jeff Rasley
“My own experiences in the wild rank in value just behind the birth of my children, my wedding, and the memorial services and graduations I’ve attended. I am permanently affected by those solitary encounters with land, sky, and water, and all that’s contained within. I don’t really know if I am a better person because of them, but I am happier for them.”
American Art – Part II of V: Roberto Santo
Sculptor Roberto Santo (born 1953) earned degrees from the University of Oregon and the Art Center College of Design.
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part II of VI
“Against the False Magicians”
for Don Gordon
The poem must not charm us like a film:
See, in the war-torn city, that reckless, gallant
Handsome lieutenant turn to the wet-lipped blonde
(Our childhood fixation) for one sweet desperate kiss
In the broken room, in blue cinematic moonlight —
Bombers across that moon, and the bombs falling,
The last train leaving, the regiment departing —
And their lips lock, saluting themselves and death:
And then the screen goes dead and all go home…
Ritual of the false imagination.
The poem must not charm us like the fact:
A warship can sink a circus at forty miles,
And art, love’s lonely counterfeit, has small dominion
Over those nightmares that move in the actual sunlight.
The blonde will not be faithful, nor her lover ever return
Nor the note be found in the hollow tree of childhood —
This dazzle of the facts would have us weeping
The orphaned fantasies of easier days.
It is the charm which the potential has
That is the proper aura for the poem.
Though ceremony fail, though each of your grey hairs
Help string a harp in the landlord’s heaven,
And every battle, every augury,
Argue defeat, and if defeat itself
Bring all the darkness level with our eyes —
It is the poem provides the proper charm,
Spelling resistance and the living will,
To bring to dance a stony field of fact
And set against terror exile or despair
The rituals of our humanity.
Below – Edward Henry Potthast: “A Family at the Beach”
From the American History Archives: The Mountain Meadows Massacre
11 September 1857 – The Mountain Meadows Massacre takes place in Southern Utah. Mormons dressed as Indians murder 120 men, women, and children. In the words of one historian, “In early 1857, several groups of emigrants from the northwestern Arkansas region started their trek to California, joining up on the way to form a group known as the Baker–Fancher party. The groups were mostly from Marion, Crawford, Carroll, and Johnson counties in Arkansas, and had assembled into a wagon train at Beller’s Stand, south of Harrison, to emigrate to southern California.
The Mountain Meadows massacre was a series of attacks on the Baker–Fancher emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. The attacks culminated on September 11, 1857, with the mass slaughter of most in the emigrant party by members of the Utah Territorial Militia from the Iron County district, together with some Paiute Native Americans.
The militia, officially called the Nauvoo Legion, was composed of Utah’s Mormon settlers (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS Church). Intending to give the appearance of Native American aggression, their plan was to arm some Southern Paiute Native Americans and persuade them to join with a larger party of their own militiamen—disguised as Native Americans—in an attack. During the militia’s first assault on the wagon train, the emigrants fought back and a five-day siege ensued. Eventually fear spread among the militia’s leaders that some emigrants had caught sight of white men and had likely discovered the identity of their attackers. As a result militia commander William H. Dame ordered his forces to kill the emigrants.”
Below – Mountain Meadows; a memorial at the scene of the massacre; a memorial in Harrison, Arkansas.
Reflections in Summer: Harvey Broome
“Where wilderness can still be found, the ancientness of the land and the nobility of man’s struggle emerge. Wilderness is vastly different from the clutter and clatter of much of our civilized world. In wilderness one experiences exhilaration and joy. In freedom and simplicity, in its vitality and immense variety, happiness may not only be pursued; it is ofttimes found.”
American Art – Part III of V: Nona Hyytinen
Artist Statement: “Growing up, I entertained myself by illustrating stories and characters from books, and as an adult, I still do. I naturally became a figurative artist for that reason. I continue to be inspired by literature and history, myth, my Finnish heritage and love of dogs and horses.”
Below – “Orpheus and Eurydice”; “Girl with Pug”; “Artemis and Her Hounds”; “No Frigate Like a Book”; “Sauna Girl”; “The Wanderer.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part III of VI
“Gone Away Blues”
Sirs, when you are in your last extremity,
When your admirals are drowning in the grass-green sea,
When your generals are preparing the total catastrophe—
I just want you to know how you can not count on me.
I have ridden to hounds through my ancestral halls,
I have picked the eternal crocus on the ultimate hill,
I have fallen through the window of the highest room,
But don’t ask me to help you ’cause I never will.
Sirs, when you move that map-pin how many souls must dance?
I don’t think all those soldiers have died by happenstance.
The inscrutable look on your scrutable face I can read at a glance—
And I’m cutting out of here at the first chance.
I have been wounded climbing the second stair,
I have crossed the ocean in the hull of a live wire,
I have eaten the asphodel of the dark side of the moon,
But you can call me all day and I just won’t hear.
O patriotic mister with your big ear to the ground,
Sweet old curly scientist wiring the birds for sound,
O lady with the Steuben glass heart and your heels so rich and round—
I’ll sent you a picture postcard from somewhere I can’t be found.
I have discovered the grammar of the Public Good,
I have invented a language that can be understood,
I have found the map of where the body is hid,
And I won’t be caught dead in your neighborhood.
O hygienic inventer of the bomb that’s so clean,
O lily white Senator from East Turnip Green,
O celestial mechanic of the money machine—
I’m going someplace where nobody makes your scene.
Good-by, good-by, good-by,
Adios, au ’voir, so long,
Sayonara, dosvedanya, ciao,
By-by, by-by, by-by.
Below – Huck Finn lighting out for the Territory.
Reflections in Summer: Edward Abbey
“A world without huge regions of total wilderness would be a cage; a world without lions and tigers and vultures and snakes and elk and bison would be – will be – a human zoo. A high-tech slum.”
“All people dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the morning to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, For they dream their dreams with open eyes, And make them come true.” – David Herbert Lawrence, an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic, painter, and author of “Studies in Classic American Literature” (which every American should read), who was born 11 September 1885. In the words of one critic, “His collected works, among other things, represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, some of the issues Lawrence explores are emotional health, vitality, spontaneity and instinct.”
Some quotes from the work of D. H. Lawrence:
“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”
“Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom.”
“Art has two great functions. First, it provides an emotional experience. And then, if we have the courage of our own feelings, it becomes a mine of practical truth. We have had the feelings ad nauseam. But we’ve never dared dig the actual truth out of them, the truth that concerns us, whether it concerns our grandchildren or not.”
“Sanity means the wholeness of the consciousness. And our society is only part conscious, like an idiot.”
“It’s no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You’ve got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they’ve got to come. You can’t force them.”
“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
“No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all there is in life, it seems to me. But I grant you, if you deny the variety of love you deny love altogether. If you try to specialize love into one set of accepted feelings, you wound the very soul of love. Love must be multi-form, else it is just tyranny, just death.”
“Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.”
“It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing.”
“I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.”
“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.”
Reflections in Summer: Robert M. Pirsig
“This forest silence improves anyone.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part IV of VI
I don’t belong in this century—who does?
In my time, summer came someplace in June—
The cutbanks blazing with roses, the birds brazen, and the astonished
Pastures frisking with young calves . . .
That was in the country—
I don’t mean another country, I mean in the country:
And the country is lost. I don’t mean just lost to me,
Nor in the way of metaphorical loss—it’s lost that way too—
No; nor in no sort of special case: I mean
Now, down below, in the fire and stench, the city
Is building its shell: elaborate levels of emptiness
Like some sea-animal building toward its extinction.
And the citizens, unserious and full of virtue,
Are hunting for bread, or money, or a prayer,
And I behold them, and this season of man, without love.
If it were not a joke, it would be proper to laugh.
—Curious how that rat’s nest holds together—
Distracting . . .
Without it there might be, still,
The gold wheel and the silver, the sun and the moon,
The season’s ancient assurance under the unstable stars
Our fiery companions . . .
And trees, perhaps, and the sound
Of the wild and living water hurrying out of the hills.
Without these, I have you for my talisman:
Sun, moon, the four seasons,
The true voice of the mountains. Now be
(The city revolving in its empty shell,
The night moving in from the East)
—Be thou these things.
From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Moby
“I like tea and yoga, but I don’t do yoga.” – Moby, the stage name of Richard Melville Hall, American singer, songwriter, musician, DJ, photographer, and animal rights activist, who was born 11 September 1965.
Reflections in Summer: Edmund Wilson
“If I could only remember that the days were, not bricks to be laid row on row, to be built into a solid house, where one might dwell in safety and peace, but only food for the fires of the heart.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Deon Matzen
Here is part of the Artist Statement of Deon Matzen: “I am a painter. When I started in 1995 I painted in watercolor exclusively. In 2002 I returned from living in China and felt that oil would better lend itself to painting the scenes of China. Since that time I paint in oil and find it the best medium for the style of painting I like to create, representational work. Bordering on photorealism, my work shifts colors, rearranges the scene and pops up the contrast of values, abstracting the original somewhat.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part V of VI
Sixty years at hard labor
In the stony fields of his country.
I think of buffalo bones,
Broken hame straps,
Tractors rusting beside the abandoned farmhouse.
Reflections in Summer: Robert Heinlein
“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.”
Below – Auguste Rodin: “The Old Courtesan”
From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part VI of VI
“A Coal Fire in Winter”
Something old and tyrannical burning there,
(Not like a wood fire which is only
The end of summer, or a life)
But something of darkness, heat
From the time before there was fire
And I have come here
To warn that blackness into forms of light,
To set free a captive prince
From the sunken kingdom of the father coal.
A warming company of the cold-blooded–
These carbon serpents of bituminous gardens,
These inflammable tunnels of dead song from the black pit,
This sparkling end of the great beasts, these blazing
Stone flowers diamond fire incandescent fruit.
And out of all that death, now,
At midnight, my love and I are riding
Down the old high roads of inexhaustible light.
Reflections in Summer: Terry Tempest Williams
“My spiritual life is found inside the heart of the wild.”
“A bunch of the boys were whooping it up
in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box
was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game,
sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love,
the lady that’s known as Lou.” – From “The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” by Robert W. Service, Canadian writer and poet called “The Bard of the Yukon,” who died 11 September 1958. In the words of one literary historian, “His vivid descriptions of the Yukon and its people made it seem that he was a veteran of the Klondike gold rush, instead of the late-arriving bank clerk he actually was. ‘These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day.’”
To hell with the neurasthenic members of the “literary set.” Read the following lines, look at the photographs below, close your eyes, and imagine . . .
From “The Cremation of Sam McGee”
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Below – The midnight sun, Yukon Territory; the Northern Lights, Yukon Territory; Lake Laberge, Yukon Territory.
Back from the Territory – Art: Mark Preston
In the words of one writer, “Mark Preston (Tenna `Tsa `Teh) was born in Dawson City, Yukon. He is of Tlingit and Irish ancestry presently living in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He learned about is Tlingit ancestry through family and school study. Initially, Mark began studying art through European masters such as Leonardo da Vinci but later discovered other notable masters: Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Roy Vickers.
Mark has studied various mediums in paper, cloth, wood, metals, stone and most recently started working on glass. He began studying silver carving with well known master jeweler and carver Phil Janze (Gitskan Nation) at Hazelton, B.C.
‘When I think about what art is, it is more than illustration or objects to be doted over. Art is the magic, the glue that binds us all together. It is the language that transcends its forms.’”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
“This is not wilderness for designation or for a park. Not a scenic wilderness and not one good for fishing or the viewing of wildlife. It is wilderness that gets into your nostrils, that runs with your sweat. It is the core of everything living, wilderness like molten iron.”
American Art – Part V of V: Karen Kosoglad
In the words of one writer, “Karen Kosoglad’s figurative paintings capture women during their introspective moments. Her expressive style, sometimes monochromatic, sometimes colorful, reveals her interest in what she describes as ‘the gestural moments in everyday life and the balance between weight, rhythm, shape and color.’ Black contour lines highlight the curves and form of her live models who she has pose in chairs, with her dog, or occasionally outside in the landscape. She uses mirroring to increase narrative ambiguity in her works and introduce the idea of contemplation with figures pictured alongside their reflections. The paintings reveal various moods, not necessarily those of the models, but of the artist responding to the moment and process of paintings itself.”
Below – “Seated Wysdom”; “The Heart of a Girl”; “Natural Rhythms”; “Figure and Reflection (Pink and Yellow)”; “Two Women and Tea”; “Loke and Mary.”
In the words of one writer, “Best known for the soft, painterly effects in his highly abstract compositions, photographer Christopher Harris often employs a hand- constructed pinhole camera and long exposures.
With the qualities of a subdued painted surface and quiet gradations of colors, Harris captures tranquil scenes that present boundless Northwest scenery. He often works in series, which include explorations of the Palouse region’s vast, agrarian expanses; Port Susan, an inlet of Puget Sound that he photographed from a single vantage point through all four seasons from daybreak to nightfall; twilight scenes of the Skagit Valley; and blossoms from the urban gardens of Seattle. His ‘Two Coasts’ series features seascapes from Cape Cod and Southern California and the ‘Prairie’ series captures the remnants of the original ‘Tallgrass’ prairie of the America West.”
Below – “Riot of Pink”; “Twilight Hills, Prune Orchard Road, Whitman County”; “Winter Tree”; “Prairie Path”; “Old Chevy”; “Approaching Storm.”
A Poem for Today
“Six Urban Love Songs
I. Central Park”
By Kate Light
Can one think, in sunglasses, in the park; think
with the children playing and the adult banter,
and someone smoking; and experiment, in ink,
through the invading dogs, and toddler-gallivanter—?
escape the Ice-cold-beer-and-Snapple hawking
and the ones who target you when you’re alone,
and so they stare, or come over, talking?
But how can I (who’ve been rather accident-prone)
forget it was just that dappled fate-and-chance—
and perhaps the shade of arrogance—
that brought me you? and though I tried to shake
you off (“Don’t bother me; I’m mean, I’m grieving”)
the discouragement didn’t seem to take—
so I came to accept that you weren’t leaving.
Then I’ll let these clowns distract me with their dance—
there’s a weird wisdom in persistence—
I’ll stick to my mount of grass and moss and clover,
writing things down, and thinking things over.
Italian artist Barbara Bonfilio graduated with a degree in Painting from the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts of Turin in 2000.
“Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview – nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.” – Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, writer, and historian of science, who was born 10 September 1941.
Some quotes from Stephen Jay Gould:
“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.”
“We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.”
“We have become, by the power of a glorious evolutionary accident called intelligence, the stewards of life’s continuity on earth. We did not ask for this role, but we cannot abjure it. We may not be suited to it, but here we are.”
“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”
“We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes—one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximum freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way.”
“We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher answer’– but none exists.”
“Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism–and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.”
“Life is short, and potential studies infinite. We have a much better chance of accomplishing something significant when we follow our passionate interests and work in areas of deepest personal meaning.”
“Science is not a heartless pursuit of objective information; it is a creative human activity.”
“Homo sapiens [are] a tiny twig on an improbable branch of a contingent limb on a fortunate tree.”
“People talk about human intelligence as the greatest adaptation in the history of the planet. It is an amazing and marvelous thing, but in evolutionary terms, it is as likely to do us in as to help us along.”
“No Geologist worth anything is permanently bound to a desk or laboratory, but the charming notion that true science can only be based on unbiased observation of nature in the raw is mythology. Creative work, in geology and anywhere else, is interaction and synthesis: half-baked ideas from a bar room, rocks in the field, chains of thought from lonely walks, numbers squeezed from rocks in a laboratory, numbers from a calculator riveted to a desk, fancy equipment usually malfunctioning on expensive ships, cheap equipment in the human cranium, arguments before a road cut.”
“The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.”
“I would not choose to live in any age but my own; advances in medicine alone, and the consequent survival of children with access to these benefits, should preclude any temptation to trade for the past. But we cannot understand history if we saddle the past with pejorative categories based on our bad habits for dividing continua into compartments of increasing worth towards the present. These errors apply to the vast paleontological history of life, as much as to the temporally trivial chronicle of human beings. I cringe every time I read that this failed business, or that defeated team, has become a dinosaur and is succumbing to progress. ‘Dinosaur’ should be a term of praise, not opprobrium. Dinosaurs reigned for more than 100 million years and died through no fault of their own; Homo sapiens is nowhere near a million years old, and has limited prospects, entirely self-imposed, for extended geological longevity.”
“Obsolescence is a fate devoutly to be wished, lest science stagnate and die.”
“The human mind delights in finding pattern—so much so that we often mistake coincidence or forced analogy for profound meaning. No other habit of thought lies so deeply within the soul of a small creature trying to make sense of a complex world not constructed for it.”
“When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.”
“The facts of nature are what they are, but we can only view them through the spectacles of our mind. Our mind works largely by metaphor and comparison, not always (or often) by relentless logic. When we are caught in conceptual traps, the best exit is often a change in metaphor — not because the new guideline will be truer to nature (for neither the old nor the new metaphor lies ‘out there’ in the woods), but because we need a shift to more fruitful perspectives, and metaphor is often the best agent of conceptual transition.”
“Science is an integral part of culture. It’s not this foreign thing, done by an arcane priesthood. It’s one of the glories of the human intellectual tradition.”
“I had learned that a dexterous, opposable thumb stood among the hallmarks of human success. We had maintained, even exaggerated, this important flexibility of our primate forebears, while most mammals had sacrificed it in specializing their digits. Carnivores run, stab, and scratch. My cat may manipulate me psychologically, but he’ll never type or play the piano.”
“There are no shortcuts to moral insight. Nature is not intrinsically anything that can offer comfort or solace in human terms — if only because our species is such an insignificant latecomer in a world not constructed for us. So much the better. The answers to moral dilemmas are not lying out there, waiting to be discovered. They reside, like the kingdom of God, within us — the most difficult and inaccessible spot for any discovery or consensus.”
“The causes of life’s history [cannot] resolve the riddle of life’s meaning.”
“If we use the past only to creature heroes for present purposes, we will never understand the richness of human thought or the plurality of ways of knowing.”
“So much of science proceeds by telling stories.”
Reflections in Summer: John L. Culliney
“The oceans are the planet’s last great living wilderness, man’s only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Robert Bly
A man told me once that all the bad people
Were needed. Maybe not all, but your fingernails
You need; they are really claws, and we know
Claws. The sharks—what about them?
They make other fish swim faster. The hard-faced men
In black coats who chase you for hours
In dreams—that’s the only way to get you
To the shore. Sometimes those hard women
Who abandon you get you to say, ‘You.’
A lazy part of us is like a tumbleweed.
It doesn’t move on its own. Sometimes it takes
A lot of Depression to get tumbleweeds moving.
Then they blow across three or four States.
This man told me that things work together.
Bad handwriting sometimes leads to new ideas;
And a careless god—who refuses to let people
Eat from the Tree of Knowledge—can lead
To books, and eventually to us. We write
Poems with lies in them, but they help a little.
Below – Annie Fourgette: “Tumbleweed”
Reflections in Summer: Ryel Kestenbaum
“The old school of thought would have you believe that you’d be a fool to take on nature without arming yourself with every conceivable measure of safety and comfort under the sun. But that isn’t what being in nature is all about. Rather, it’s about feeling free, unbounded, shedding the distractions and barriers of our civilization—not bringing them with us.”
From the Music Archives: Johannes Brahms
Reflections in Summer: Michael Pollan
“Anthropocentric as [the gardener] may be, he recognizes that he is dependent for his health and survival on many other forms of life, so he is careful to take their interests into account in whatever he does. He is in fact a wilderness advocate of a certain kind. It is when he respects and nurtures the wilderness of his soil and his plants that his garden seems to flourish most. Wildness, he has found, resides not only out there, but right here: in his soil, in his plants, even in himself…
But wildness is more a quality than a place, and though humans can’t manufacture it, they can nourish and husband it…
The gardener cultivates wildness, but he does so carefully and respectfully, in full recognition of its mystery.”
A Third Poem for Today
A Poem for Today
“Odysseus to Telemachus,”
By Joseph Brodsky
My dear Telemachus,
The Trojan War
is over now; I don’t recall who won it.
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland.
But still, my homeward way has proved too long.
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon,
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.
I don’t know where I am or what this place
can be. It would appear some filthy island,
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs.
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other.
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son!
To a wanderer the faces of all islands
resemble one another. And the mind
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons,
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears.
I can’t remember how the war came out;
even how old you are–I can’t remember.
Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong.
Only the gods know if we’ll see each other
again. You’ve long since ceased to be that babe
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks.
Had it not been for Palamedes’ trick
we two would still be living in one household.
But maybe he was right; away from me
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions,
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.
Below – Nona Hyytinen: “Circe and Odysseus”
In 2009, Australian figurative painter Claire Bridge won
both the People’s Choice Award and the Living Art Award for the Stan and Maureen Duke Gold Coast Art Prize.”
American Muse – Part I of III: Hilda Doolittle
“At least I have the flowers of myself,
and my thoughts, no god
can take that;
I have the fervour of myself for a presence
and my own spirit for light;
and my spirit with its loss
though small against the black,
small against the formless rocks,
hell must break before I am lost;
before I am lost,
hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass.” – From “Eurydice,” by Hilda “H.D.” Doolittle, poet, novelist, memoirist, and author of “Sea Garden,” who was born 10 September 1886.
All Greece hates
the still eyes in the white face,
the lustre as of olives
where she stands,
and the white hands.
All Greece reviles
the wan face when she smiles,
hating it deeper still
when it grows wan and white,
remembering past enchantments
and past ills.
Greece sees, unmoved,
God’s daughter, born of love,
the beauty of cool feet
and slenderest knees,
could love indeed the maid,
only if she were laid,
white ash amid funereal cypresses.
Below – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Helen of Troy”
Reflections in Summer: Rob Schultheis
“There’s a silent voice in the wilderness that we hear only when no one else is around. When you go far, far beyond, out across the netherlands of the Known, the din of human static slowly fades away, over and out.”
American Art – Part II of III: Joe Velez
Joe Velez (born 1978) is a self-taught painter.
American Muse – Part II of III: Georgia Douglas Johnson
“Rise with the hour for which you were made.” – Georgia Douglas Johnson, poet, playwright, member of the Harlem Renaissance, and author of “The Heart of a Woman,” who was born 10 September 1880.
And who shall separate the dust
What later we shall be:
Whose keen discerning eye will scan
And solve the mystery?
The high, the low, the rich, the poor,
The black, the white, the red,
And all the chromatique between,
Of whom shall it be said:
Here lies the dust of Africa;
Here are the sons of Rome;
Here lies the one unlabelled,
The world at large his home!
Can one then separate the dust?
Will mankind lie apart,
When life has settled back again
The same as from the start?
Reflections in Summer: John Muir
“Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Ron Stephens
In the words of one writer, “Ron Stephens, reduction stoneware potter, painter and sheet metal sculptor, was born in Kitchener, Ontario. In high school, he took a potters course. The craft came naturally to him. After graduation, Ron hitch-hiked west in the late 70’s and found work in a pottery supply house in Calgary, Alberta. In 1983 he started his own wheel thrown high-fire production pottery business near Vancouver, B.C., distributing his wares throughout the west for 20 years.
His current love and inspiration is metal sculpture. Ron designs and produces by hand a full line of honest depictions of wild life and domestic creatures.
Each rustic metal sculpture is real rusted metal (just like his car). Ron delights in bringing metal to life by hand-cutting and bending and welding (like origami metal) and allowing the west coast humidity to slowly rust the surface, “bloomed” to develop a finish that is unique, variable and natural. Then the surface is sealed. Your hinterland creation may be used as an indoor shelf or outdoor garden ornament.
Because the sculptures are already rusty, you can leave them outside without any maintenance. The rust will act as a paint and they will not rust away, but continue to get that rich pitted textured surface. If you want to freshen up the finish, spray on some clear urethane.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Below – “Bear”; “Moose”; “Salmon”; “Bear Head Hook”; “Moose Head Hook.”
Reflections in Summer: Edward Abbey
“I thought of the wilderness we had left behind us, open to sea and sky, joyous in its plenitude and simplicity, perfect yet vulnerable, unaware of what is coming, defended by nothing, guarded by no one.”
American Muse – Part III of III: Amy Clampitt
“The music is a vibration in the brain rather than the ear. ” – Amy Clampitt, poet, writer, and author of “A Silence Opens: Poems,” who died 10 September 1994.
First daylight on the bittersweet-hung
sleeping porch at high summer; dew
all over the lawn, sowing diamond-
the hired man’s shadow revolving
along the walk, a flash of milkpails
passing; no threat in sight, no hint
anywhere in the universe, of that
apathy at the meridian, the noon
of absolute boredom; flies
crooning black lullabies in the kitchen,
milk-soured crocks, cream separator
still unwashed; what is there to life
but chores and more chores, dishwater,
fatigue, unwanted children; nothing
to stir the longueur of afternoon
except possibly thunderheads;
climbing, livid, turreted alabaster
lit up from within by splendor and terror
— forked lightning’s
Below – Tracy Tauber: “Thunderclouds with Lightning”
Reflections in Summer: Sigurd F. Olson
“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”
American Art – Part III of III: Ed Kamuda
In the words of one writer, “Established artist Ed Kamuda creates abstractions that reveal a reverence for nature and a mystic bent that link him to Northwest School of painters such as Guy Anderson, Morris Graves, and Mark Tobey. The Pacific Northwest forests, Cascade Mountains and fields of rural Washington, especially the Skagit Valley are the inspiration for his works. He is known for his use of simplified shapes that symbolically and pictographically convey the essence of the natural landscape and the human experience. Form and line are reduced to primitive, bold elements, sometimes playful, but ever sophisticated.
Kamuda works with a palette knife rather than a brush, building up and scratching away oil pigments before finishing the surface with a wax varnish to enhance and give texture to the surface. This method results in lively, facetted surfaces that complement his bold lines and shapes, and serve to reinforce his interpretation nature strong and wondrous.”
Below – “Chance of Rain in a Dry Year”; “In Dry Country Near Pipestone”; “In the Cabbage Field”; “Singing in the Night”; “Roof of the World”; “Relic with Red Sky.”
In the words of one writer, “Photographer Peter de Lory works most frequently in black and white, creating images that formally and symbolically invite viewers to plumb their own memories and experiences for meaning. Long interested in the history and literature of the West, he explores the intersection of the natural landscape and human presence. During his long career, De Lory has followed the Lewis and Clark Trail, revealed Native American traces, documented iconic Western topography from the desert to forest floors to waterfalls. His works for Sound Transit and Seattle water department (now Seattle Public Utilities) show his versatility in dramatizing the urban environment.”
Below – “Night Passage, Northern Star Trails on the Burr Trail, Utah”; “San Juan de Fuca”; “Fool’s Progress”; “Smith Tower – Alaskan Viaduct”; “Cottonwood Tree, Pyramid Lake, Nevada”; “Icarus #1.”
A Poem for Today
By Elinor Wylie
My locks are shorn for sorrow
Of love which may not be;
Tomorrow and tomorrow
Are plotting cruelty.
The winter wind tangles
These ringlets half-grown,
The sun sprays with spangles
And rays like his own.
Oh, quieter and colder
Is the stream; he will wait;
When my curls touch my shoulder
He will comb them straight.
Below – John Everett Millais: “Ophelia”
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Bill Monroe
Died 9 September 1996 – Bill Monroe, an American musician and vocalist credited with creating bluegrass music.
Reflections in Summer: Loren Eiseley
“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a time in the wilderness.”
From the American Old West: American Horse
9 September 1876 – Sioux Chief American Horse dies during the Battle of Slim Buttes.
In the words of one historian, “American Horse the Elder is notable in American history as one of the principal war chiefs allied with Crazy Horse during Red Cloud’s War (1866-1868) and the Battle of the Little Bighorn during the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877.”
In the words of a second historian, “American Horse the Elder was an Oglala Lakota warrior chief renowned for Spartan courage and honor. American Horse is notable in American history as one of the principal war chiefs allied with Crazy Horse during Red Cloud’s War (1866-1868) and the Battle of the Little Bighorn during the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877. Chief American Horse was a son of Old Chief Smoke, an Oglala Lakota head chief and one of the last great Shirt Wearers, a highly prestigious Lakota warrior society.”
No photograph of American Horse the Elder is known to exist.
Below – Slim Buttes, the site of the battle in which American Horse was killed.
Reflections in Summer: Doug Peacock
“The whole concept of ‘wild’ was decidedly European, one not shared by the original inhabitants of this continent. What we called ‘wilderness’ was to the Indian a homeland, ‘abiding loveliness’ in Salish or Piegan. The land was not something to be feared or conquered, and ‘wildlife’ were neither wild nor alien; they were relatives.”
Below – Roland Gissing: “Teepees by a mountain river”
American Art – Part II of V: Frederic Kellogg
According to one critic, “Kellogg is one of a number of artists engaged in the search for what can be called a contemporary realism. Like others, he has been deeply influenced by the work of American realists Edward Hopper and Fairfield Porter, and challenged by the impact of photography as an art form, as well as the innovations of the mid-twentieth-century Abstract Expressionists and their aftermath. ‘Realism has to find a new legitimacy,’ the artist says. ‘It demonstrates what only painting can do in helping people to see what is around them but with new techniques and innovative approaches.’”
A Second Poem for Today
“Men at Forty”
By Donald Justice
Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.
At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.
And deep in mirrors
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret
And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.
Below – William Brody: “House on the Hill”
Reflections in Summer: T.K. Whipple
“All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.”
Dutch Art – Part I of II: Herman Smorenburg
According to one critic, “The world according to Herman Smorenburg is full of imagination and vision. His interest in mysticism and esoteric philosophy and a classic education at the Amsterdam School of Art have evolved into a gifted idiosyncratic artist, who manages to touch upon the depth of life in his oil paintings.
Herman S. was born in Alkmaar in the north of Holland in 1958. After his formal training he studied the classical painting technique of applying transparent oil glazes on a monochrome underpainting resulting in the subtlety of colour and delicate hues of light and shade which have become characteristic of his work. In his subject matter he concentrates on mythology and visionary landscapes, sometimes with architectural structures from Antiquity or a long gone era. Female figures inhibit the world of his dreams. They invite the viewer to come along and enjoy the serenity of the scene. They function as mediators between heaven and earth, living in a timeless dimension.
Herman’s paintings, just as any poem or symphony, may function as a channel: he encourages us to open our hearts and feel the truth of his message inside.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: David Allan “Dave” Stewart
Born 9 September 1952 – Dave Stewart, an English musician and songwriter best known for his work with Eurythmics.
Reflections in Summer: Robert Louis Stevenson
“The most beautiful adventures are not those we go to seek.”
Dutch Art – Part II of II: Rieke van der Stoep
In the words of one critic, “For pictorial artist Rieke van der Stoep, artistry is a way of life. To her, sculpting is a sublime utterance of what she experiences in her inner self. Even though she chose to become an artist in her later life, as a child she also engaged in artistic pastimes. She worked with textiles, designing and making clothes, acting, painting, drawing, designing decors. Her attention was drawn to graphics and she owned a graphic design company for some years. Artistic dynamic coach and glassblowing training illustrate her many-sided creativity.”
Reflections in Summer: Peter Heller
“Maybe freedom really is nothing left to lose. You had it once in childhood, when it was okay to climb a tree, to paint a crazy picture and wipe out on your bike, to get hurt. The spirit of risk gradually takes its leave. It follows the wild cries of joy and pain down the wind, through the hedgerow, growing ever fainter. What was that sound? A dog barking far off? That was our life calling to us, the one that was vigorous and undefended and curious.”
According to one critic, “Born in Saigon, Marc Bourlier spent his youth moving between Africa, South America, and Asia. After watching the light passing through so many landscapes, he developed an eye and appreciation for the colors and textures of the natural world. He first became a painter, admiring the work of Calder, Miró, Braque, and Leger. Even when working with paint, it is said that he has always had a gift for letting the material ‘show its own face.’
After a show in Brussels in 1986, he began a period where he worked exclusively with corrugated cardboard for almost ten years. The style of Bourlier’s work that we see now seems to be the product of random chance: one day in 1995 while sitting on the beach in Normandy, a small piece of driftwood caught his eye, and he used it to make his first driftwood piece. This act of appropriation marked the transition of the artist from color to non-color, and from painting to ‘almost’ sculpture. The only common thread from his previous work to now is the human element at the heart of his approach.”
A Third Poem for Today
“Meaner than a Junkyard Dog,
Turner’s Evil Twin”
By Turner Cassity
Our genes have junk in them. Not all the messages
That DNA contains does RNA read out.
Inheritance has drastic editing. What, though,
Are unused possibilities the relic of?
A better us, or worse? Are we as we exist
Young Dr. Jekyll failed or full-blown Hyde avoided?
(If avoided). As of now we cannot know.
All we can say is, both the shadow archetype
And Doppelgänger, and the succubus as well,
Hang near us. Life, genetic outcome of a code
That has its blind spots, parallels what it is not—
An endless replicase of what it has destroyed
To be. Dumb corpse one carries, Siamese dark self
Whose only life is to embarrass, in our joint
Past where did we in aim diverge? Is it that aim
Was in itself the agency of difference?
Ambition’s never quite evaded progeny,
A shadow is by definition follower.
But in the hidden mirror of the goal suppressed,
What proud construct of junk discarded bides his time?
American Art – Part III of V: Daniel Ludwig
Here is one writer describing the background and artistry of painter and sculptor Daniel Ludwig: “Born in September, 1959, in Colorado, Ludwig’s family moved to Lexington, KY in his teens. He received his BA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1981 and went on to receive an MFA in Painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1986. Ludwig has portrayed the female human figure throughout his career searching for classical purity, influenced by modern masters like Matisse and Diebenkorn.”
Polish artist Tomasz Rut (born 1961) trained in Art Conservation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and continued his education in New York City at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and at Columbia University in Manhattan. In the words of one critic, “Rut’s mural sized paintings are contemporary conversions of the classical vocabulary variously continued by Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Rubens.”
Reflections in Summer: Jimmy Carter
“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Irish painter Ronan Goti (born 1978): “My paintings attempt to show humanity in harmony with nature and also try to capture a balance that exists when the natural world is left to itself. My work reflects my views about how I would like the world to be. I observe the beauty around me and try to capture that in my paintings, so that others may experience what I see and feel.”
Reflections in Summer: Marty Rubin
“Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Karla Nolan
This is how American painter Karla Nolan describes her artistry: “J.M.W. Turner, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Cezanne — all have had an incredible influence on my perception of fine art and I admire each of them greatly. My style of art might be called ‘abstract realism,’ an oxymoron in its own right. I tend to relive my memories of the landscapes, flowers, food, and skies that I have witnessed and studied as I paint them.”
Below – “Red Cliff Dusk”; “The Vastness of Where My Loved Ones Are”; “Imagination at Dark”; “Red Sky Falling”; “Delicate Arch, Utah”; “Embers Sunset”; “Valley of the Gods, Utah”; “Wild Flowers of the Wild West” (painting on glass); “Pink Dusk through Winter Aspens”; “Mesa Verde, Panoramic View.”
American Literary Genius: Mary Hunter Austin
“We are not all born at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later… Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.” – Mary Hunter Austin, American nature writer of the American Southwest, author of “The Land of Little Rain,” and a masterful prose stylist, who was born 9 September 1868.
Some quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”:
“Probably we never fully credit the interdependence of wild creatures, and their cognizance of the affairs of their own kind.”
“People would be surprised to know how much I learned about prayer from playing poker.”
“This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.”
“Man is a great blunderer going about in the woods, and there is no other except the bear makes so much noise.”
“The manner of the country makes the usage of life there, and the land will not be lived in except in its own fashion.”
“The country where you may have sight and touch of that which is written lies between the high Sierras south from Yosemite—east and south over a very great assemblage of broken ranges beyond Death Valley, and on illimitably into the Mojave Desert. You may come into the borders of it from the south by a stage journey that has the effect of involving a great lapse of time, or from the north by rail, dropping out of the overland route at Reno. The best of all ways is over the Sierra passes by pack and trail, seeing and believing. But the real heart and core of the country are not to be come at in a month’s vacation. One must summer and winter with the land and wait its occasions. Pine woods that take two and three seasons to the ripening of cones, roots that lie by in the sand seven years awaiting a growing rain, firs that grow fifty years before flowering,—these do not scrape acquaintance. But if ever you come beyond the borders as far as the town that lies in a hill dimple at the foot of Kearsarge, never leave it until you have knocked at the door of the brown house under the willow-tree at the end of the village street, and there you shall have such news of the land, of its trails and what is astir in them, as one lover of it can give to another.”
Below – Mary Austin; a classic in the genre of outdoor literature; “the brown house under the willow-tree at the end of the village street.”
Reflections in Summer: Nancy Wynne Newhall
“The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Saila Kipanek
Saila Kipanek in an Inuit sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Below – “Narwhale.”
Reflections in Summer: Robert Macfarlane
“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.”
American Art – Part V of V: Terry Furchgott
In the words of one writer, “Figurative artist, Terry Furchgott, creates narrative works, often incorporating intricate still life subjects. Furchgott works with live models and sets up tableaux in the studio or during her travels, incorporating domestic objects and architectural elements. Her works, whether in acrylic or pastel, are notable for their masterful use of color and pattern. Through dynamic compositions, her paintings explore the nature of human relationships.
Originally from New York City, Terry Furchgott studied at Camden Arts Centre, London, England and Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Terry Furchgott has completed numerous public arts commissions that capture the diversity of people and richness of urban life. Collections of public works throughout Washington State include large-scale murals and mobiles for the Kent Regional Justice Center, the University of Washington Medical Center, Portland Northeast Health Center and many public schools in Washington State and Alaska.”
Below – “Complementary Offering”; “Flora”; “Persimmons and Cup”; “Morning in the Night Orchard”; “The Little Odalisque”; “High Summer in the Garden.”