March Offerings – Part XXXI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: John LaFarge

“The past, though it cannot be relived, can always be repaired.” – John LaFarge, American painter, muralist, stained glass window maker, and writer, who was born 31 March 1835.

Below – “The Great Statue of Amida Buddha at Kamakura”; “Portrait of Henry James”; “Young Girls Preparing Kava Outside of the Hut Whose Posts Are Decorated with Flowers”; “Paradise Valley”; “Agathon to Erosanthe”; “View in Ceylon near Dambula Looking over Rice Fields.”
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“Look twice before you leap.” – Charlotte Bronte, English novelist, poet, and author of “Jane Eyre,” who died 31 March 1855.

Some quotes from “Jane Eyre”:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”
“‘No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,’ he began, ‘especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?’
‘They go to hell,’ was my ready and orthodox answer.
‘And what is hell? Can you tell me that?’
‘A pit full of fire.’
‘And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?
‘No, sir.’
‘What must you do to avoid it?’
I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: ‘I must keep in good health and not die.’”
“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
“Flirting is a woman’s trade, one must keep in practice.”
“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”
“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”
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“There is nothing ugly; I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.” – John Constable, English Romantic painter known for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home (now known as “Constable Country”), who died 31 March 1837.

Below – “Dedham Vale”; “Wivenhoe Park”; “Weymouth Bay”; “The Hay Wain”; “Seascape Study with Rain Cloud”; “The Cornfield.”
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“Never doubt that you can change history. You already have.” – Marge Piercy, American poet, novelist, and social activist, who was born 31 March 1936.

“More Than Enough”

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

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American Art – Part II of IV: Bonnie Marris

In the words of one critic, artist Bonnie Marris “has been studying and painting wolves, foxes, dogs and horses since childhood. She remembers her family home as a refuge for anyone in trouble, human or animal. ‘At one time we had two wolves and a three-month-old coyote living with us,’ she recalls with a smile. Always, when Marris wasn’t around animals, she was painting them, and this love led her to pursue degrees in zoology and animal behavior.
Animals are an integral part of both her life and her art.
The passion Bonnie Marris has for wilderness, for animals, and for light and color come together in her art, and she feels her work has accomplished its purpose when a viewer feels that same passion.”
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“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and who played an important role in the scientific revolution, who died 31 March 1727.

Some quotes from the work of Sir Isaac Newton:

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”
“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.”
“And to every action there is always an equal and opposite or contrary, reaction.”
“A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true.”
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.”
“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.”
“Live your life as an Exclamation rather than an Explanation.”

Above – William Blake: “Newton”

“It’s a story about justice for victims.” – Brandon Lee, American actor and martial artist, who died 31 March 1993, commenting during the making of the movie “The Crow.”

“The Crow” achieved cult status thanks in large part to Brandon Lee’s portrayal of Eric Draven.

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“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.” – John Donne, English poet, satirist, lawyer, and cleric, who died 31 March 1631.

“No Man Is An Island”

No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thine own

Or of thine friend’s were.

Each man’s death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

Below – Heather Gallup: “No Man Is An Island”
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Spanish Art – Part I of II: Fernando Pascual Lopez

Painter Fernando Pascual Lopez (born 1945) lives and works in Malaga.
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“I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.” – Nikolai Gogol, Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, dramatist, and author of “Dead Souls,” who was born 31 March 1809.

Some quotes from the work of Nikolai Gogol:

“But wise is the man who disdains no character, but with searching glance explores him to the root and cause of all.”
“The longer and more carefully we look at a funny story, the sadder it becomes.”
“We have the marvelous gift of making everything insignificant.”
“However stupid a fools words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.”
“Perfect nonsense goes on in the world. Sometimes there is no plausibility at all”
“There are occasions when a woman, no matter how weak and impotent in character she may be in comparison with a man, will yet suddenly become not only harder than any man, but even harder than anything and everything in the world.”
“What is stronger in us — passion or habit? Or are all the violent impulses, all the whirl of our desires and turbulent passions, only the consequence of our ardent age, and is it only through youth that they seem deep and shattering?”
“Everywhere across whatever sorrows of which our life is woven, some radiant joy will gaily flash past.”
“Let me warn you, if you start chasing after views, you’ll be left without bread and without views”
“It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.”
“Man is such a wondrous being that it is never possible to count up all his merits at once. The more you study him, the more new particulars appear, and their description would be endless.”
“What are you laughing at? You are laughing at yourself.”
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Spanish Art – Part II of II: Monica Castanys

Spanish artist Monica Castanys (born 1973) graduated from the School of Arts and Crafts of Barcelona in 1993. She specializes in painting scenes from what one critic calls an “imagined metropolis,” recording the lives of individuals without their noticing.
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“Gather the flowers, but spare the buds.” – Andrew Marvell, English metaphysical poet and politician, who was born 31 March 1621.

“To His Coy Mistress”

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
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Italian painter Emanuele Dascanio (born 1983) lives and works in Milan.
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31 March 1988 – The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction is awarded to Toni Morrison for “Beloved.”

Some quotes from “Beloved”:

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
“Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.”
“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
“There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smoothes and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind–wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.”
“He wants to put his story next to hers.”
“Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my memory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think if, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”

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“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.” – George Braque, French painter, collagist, draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, who died 31 March 1963.

Below – “The Viaduct at L’Estaque”; “Little Harbor in Normandy”; “The Guitar”; “Nature morte (Fruit Dish, Ace of Clubs)”; “The Cup”; “Man with a Guitar.”
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“It’s ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.” – Cesar Chavez, Mexican-American farm worker, labor leader, civil rights activist, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, who was born 31 March 1927.

Some quotes from the work of Cesar Chavez:

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease. When the poor share some of the power that the affluent now monopolize, we will give a damn.”
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… The people who give you their food give you their heart.”
“I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.”
“Perhaps we can bring the day when children will learn from their earliest days that being fully man and fully woman means to give one’s life to the liberation of the brother who suffers.”
“Our opponents in the agricultural industry are very powerful and farm workers are still weak in money and influence. But we have another kind of power that comes from the justice of our cause. So long as we are willing to sacrifice for that cause, so long as we persist in non-violence and work to spread the message of our struggle, then millions of people around the world will respond from their heart, will support our efforts…and in the end we will overcome.”

American Art – Part III of IV: Paul Strand

“The material of the artist lies not within himself nor in the fabrications of his imagination, but in the world around him. The element which gives life to the great Picassos and Cezannes, to the paintings of Van Gogh, is the relationship of the artist to context, to the truth of the real world. It is the way he sees this world and translates it into art that determines whether the work of art becomes a new and active force within reality, to widen and transform man’s experience. The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” – Paul Strand, American photographer and filmmaker who helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century, who died 31 March 1976.

Below – “Wall Street” (1915); “Portrait, Washington Square Park” (1917); “New York” (1917); “Katie Morag, Morrison, South Uist” (1954); “City Hall Park, New York” (1915): “The White Fence” (1915).
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“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.” – John Fowles, English novelist and author of “The Magus,” who was born 31 March 1926.

Some quotes from the work of John Fowles:

“There are only two races on this planet – the intelligent and the stupid.”
“Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see relationship between objects. Whether the objects love each other, need each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women – and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow-men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.”
“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
“Our accepting what we are must always inhibit our being what we ought to be.”
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.”
“In essence the Renaissance was simply the green end of one of civilization’s hardest winters.”
“Most marriages recognize this paradox: Passion destroys passion; we want what puts an end to wanting what we want.”
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.”
“We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.”
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Russian artist Alexander Akhanov (born 1957) is a self-taught painter.
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Nobel Laureate: Octavio Paz

“Deserve your dream.” – Octavio Paz, Mexican poet, writer, diplomat, and recipient of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Literature “for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity,” who was born 31 March 1914.

“As One Listens to the Rain”

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.

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Here is one writer describing the character of Vietnamese painter Co Chu Pin (born 1948): “Among the many painters working and living in Hanoi, the 56 year old Co Chu Pin is easily recognizable with his long hair and thick beard and his air of calm and stability. Conversing with Co Chu Pin one immediately senses the gallant and romantic side of a true Hanoian: born in the city, nurtured by its air and spirits and most importantly, seasoned through life in this unique environment. Economic prosperity has begun to affect the architecture and the general ambience of Hanoi. The city is increasingly filled with modern buildings chipping away at its romantic soul. For painters and poets these changes represent a big loss as for decades they have been inspired by the fragile and tranquil charm of their beloved home.”
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A Poem for Today

“Museum of Childhood,”
By Joyce Peseroff

Dad didn’t play the ponies
or manic games at night;

Mom was addicted
only to her soaps. Sisters

at war never swore.
Silence was genius

of an era, nothing
personal. Our hidden grief

shadowed the Fifties’ sunshine
like Eisenhower’s speech

against the military-industrial
complex, like playground

platoons still blowing up Japs.
Thanksgiving comes late

in this museum of childhood,
flower painted at the bottom

of a porcelain teacup:
cracked saucer, no sugar, no milk.

Below – Andrea Banjac: “Childhood Memories”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Healing Gila,”
By Lawson Fusao Inada

‘for The People’

The people don’t mention it much.
It goes without saying,
it stays without saying—

that concentration camp
on their reservation.

And they avoid that massive site
as they avoid contamination—

that massive void
punctuated by crusted nails,
punctured pipes, crumbled
failings of foundations . . .

What else is there to say?

This was a lush land once,
graced by a gifted people
gifted with the wisdom
of rivers, seasons, irrigation.

The waters went flowing
through a network of canals
in the delicate workings
of balances and health . . .

What else is there to say?

Then came the nation.
Then came the death.

Then came the desert.
Then came the camp.

But the desert is not deserted.
It goes without saying,
it stays without saying—

wind, spirits, tumbleweeds, pain.

Below –Eleanor Roosevelt at Gila River, Arizona Japanese-American Internment Center; Japanese-American Girl Scouts at the Center.
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Alberto Gonzalez

Here is one critic describing Cuban-born artist Jorge Alberto Gonzalez (born 1949): “Jorge Alberto Gonzalez lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland and paints under the name Jorge-Alberto. For Jorge Alberto, Baltimore offers an extensive cultural community as it is conveniently located near the major metropolitan cities like Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City where he has enjoyed support from the artistic community. A former resident of Florence, Italy, Jorge Alberto returns to Florence often to paint and reflect in this city of artistic treasures.”
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