November Offerings – Part XXX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of II: Forest Rogers

Here is the brief Artist Statement of sculptor Forest Rogers: “Just a word here, for the moment. I studied stage design at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, receiving an MFA in Costume Design. I make critters, both ‘fine’ and commercial.”
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A Poem for Today

“Lilacs on My Birthday,”
By Joyce Peseroff

The flowerets look edible before they open,
like columns of sugar dots on tiny strips
I bought as a child. Hard to bite the candy without

some paper adhering, as adding machine tape will
to large, red numbers. Lilacs are like that: another year
unspools without major accomplishment,

while I question “major” and “accomplishment.”
And when I find in Costco those clusters
of pointillist pastel, I hope they will become

someone else’s nostalgia—honorable emotion
propelling Ulysses toward Ithaca, and a woman
to set lilacs in her dooryard as mother did.
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“Philosophy and Art both render the invisible visible by imagination.” – G. H. Lewes, English philosopher and literary critic, who died 30 November 1878.

Some quotes from the work of G. H. Lewes:

“As all Art depends on Vision, so the different kinds of Art depend on the different ways in which minds look at things.”
“Imagination is not the exclusive appendage of artists, but belongs in varying degrees to all men.”
“Ordinary men live among marvels and feel no wonder, grow familiar with objects and learn nothing new about them.”
“We must never assume that which is incapable of proof.”
“Science is the systematic classification of experience.”
“The true function of philosophy is to educate us in the principles of reasoning and not to put an end to further reasoning by the introduction of fixed conclusions.”

“If you want to have clean ideas, change them as often as your shirt.” – Francis Picabia, French painter and poet, who died 30 November 1953.

Below – “Hera”; “Horses”; “Machine Turn Quickly”; “Dances at the Spring”; “Two Women with Poppies”; “Self-Portrait.”
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Musings in Autumn: Joe Bageant

“It is fair to say that television and the American culture are the same thing. More than any other factor, it is the glue of society and the mediator of our experience. American culture is stone-cold dead without it. If all the TVs in America wend black, so would most of America’s collective consciousness and knowledge, because corporate media have replaced nearly all other previous forms of accumulated knowledge.
Especially the ancient forms, such as contemplation of the natural world, and the study and care of the soul. And I do not mean ‘soul’ in the religious sense, either. I mean the deeper self, the one you go to sleep with every night.” – “Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball”
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Israeli Art – Part I of II: Ilan Itach

Here is how one art historian describes the background of painter Ilan Itach (born 1975): “(He) was born in Jerusalem where he still lives and works. Itach is a self-taught artist from an immigrant, working-class neighborhood in Jerusalem. His first studio was nestled on a hilltop overlooking Jerusalem’s picturesque Old City whose ancient walls appear in many of his early artworks. He has spent considerable periods of his professional career painting abroad, particularly in Spain’s Toledo and Seville, where he immersed himself in the rich and colorful Spanish culture of music and dance.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“The Mountain Cemetery,”
By Edgar Bowers

With their harsh leaves old rhododendrons fill
The crevices in grave plots’ broken stones.
The bees renew the blossoms they destroy,
While in the burning air the pines rise still,
Commemorating long forgotten biers.
Their roots replace the semblance of these bones.

The weight of cool, of imperceptible dust
That came from nothing and to nothing came
Is light within the earth and on the air.
The change that so renews itself is just.
The enormous, sundry platitude of death
Is for these bones, bees, trees, and leaves the same.

And splayed upon the ground and through the trees
The mountains’ shadow fills and cools the air,
Smoothing the shape of headstones to the earth.
The rhododendrons suffer with the bees
Whose struggles loose ripe petals to the earth,
The heaviest burden it shall ever bear.

Our hard earned knowledge fits us for such sleep.
Although the spring must come, it passes too
To form the burden suffered for what comes.
Whatever we would give our souls to keep
Is merely part of what we call the soul;
What we of time would threaten to undo

All time in its slow scrutiny has done.
For on the grass that starts about the feet
The body’s shadow turns, to shape in time,
Soon grown preponderant with creeping shade,
The final shadow that is turn of earth;
And what seems won paid for as in defeat.
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Israeli Art – Part II of II: Yigal Ozeri

In the words of one critic, “Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri (born 1958) seems to respond to today’s demand for high-definition television with paintings that take photorealism to a new level.”
Ozeri lives and works in New York.
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A Third Poem for Today

“Advice to a Prophet,”
By Richard Wilbur

When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,
Mad-eyed from stating the obvious,
Not proclaiming our fall but begging us
In God’s name to have self-pity,

Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,
The long numbers that rocket the mind;
Our slow, unreckoning hearts will be left behind,
Unable to fear what is too strange.

Nor shall you scare us with talk of the death of the race.
How should we dream of this place without us?–
The sun mere fire, the leaves untroubled about us,
A stone look on the stone’s face?

Speak of the world’s own change. Though we cannot conceive
Of an undreamt thing, we know to our cost
How the dreamt cloud crumbles, the vines are blackened by frost,
How the view alters. We could believe,

If you told us so, that the white-tailed deer will slip
Into perfect shade, grown perfectly shy,
The lark avoid the reaches of our eye,
The jack-pine lose its knuckled grip

On the cold ledge, and every torrent burn
As Xanthus once, its gliding trout
Stunned in a twinkling. What should we be without
The dolphin’s arc, the dove’s return,

These things in which we have seen ourselves and spoken?
Ask us, prophet, how we shall call
Our natures forth when that live tongue is all
Dispelled, that glass obscured or broken

In which we have said the rose of our love and the clean
Horse of our courage, in which beheld
The singing locust of the soul unshelled,
And all we mean or wish to mean.

Ask us, ask us whether with the worldless rose
Our hearts shall fail us; come demanding
Whether there shall be lofty or long standing
When the bronze annals of the oak-tree close.
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Canadian Art – Part I of II: Oliver Ray

Painter Oliver Ray lives and works in a small village on Prince Edward Island.
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“It’s not what the world holds for you. It’s what you bring to it.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian writer and author of “Anne of Green Gables,” who was born 30 November 1874.

Some quotes from the work of Lucy Maud Montgomery:

“There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
“‘After all,’ Anne had said to Marilla once, ‘I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.’”
“As a rule, I am very careful to be shallow and conventional where depth and originality are wasted.”
“You may tire of reality but you never tire of dreams.”
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.”
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”
“Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.”
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Canadian Art – Part II of II: Michel Pellus

According to one critic, self-taught painter Michel Pellus (born 1945) is a “dazzling, gifted technician, as well as an alchemist of color and form.”
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Musings in Autumn: James Howard Kunstler

“Everything we do these days, our lust for ever more comfort, pleasure, and distraction, our refusals to engage with the mandates of reality, our fidelity to the cults of technology and limitless growth, our narcissistic national exceptionalism – all this propels us toward the realm where souls abandon all hope.” – “Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation”
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“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” – Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, an American writer, humorist, and author of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” who was born 30 November 1835.

Some quotes from the work of Mark Twain:

“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well”.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
“‘Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”
“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
“I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”
“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.”
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
“What would men be without women? Scarce, sir…mighty scarce.”
“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”
“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”
“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”
“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?”
“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
“The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.”
“Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ”
“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”
“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”
“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.”
“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”
“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven – not man’s.”
“There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.”
“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”
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Here is one writer describing the background of Alexander Sigov: “Painter and graphic artist. Born 25 February 1955 in Leningrad. Graduated from the Art College, Valentin Serov in 1975 . Member of the Artists’ Union of Russia since 1994 . Participant in more than 150 exhibitions in Russia and abroad. His works are in numerous private collections in Russia and other countries.”
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Musings in Autumn: Annie Dillard

“These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present.” – “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”

Below – Spring in Seattle; Summer in San Francisco; Autumn in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Winter in Boston.
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Divinely Superfluous Beauty,”
By Robinson Jeffers

The storm-dances of gulls, the barking game of seals,
Over and under the ocean …
Divinely superfluous beauty
Rules the games, presides over destinies, makes trees grow
And hills tower, waves fall.
The incredible beauty of joy
Stars with fire the joining of lips, O let our loves too
Be joined, there is not a maiden
Burns and thirsts for love
More than my blood for you, by the shore of seals while the wings
Weave like a web in the air
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In the words of one writer, “Lindsey Carr is an artist living and working on the south west coast of Scotland.”
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Musings in Autumn: Henry David Thoreau

“A traveler! I love his title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from–toward; it is the history of every one of us.” – “The Journal, 1837-1861”

Below – Nicholas Roerich: “Ienno-Guio-Dia: Friend of Travelers”; Gerald Cassidy: “Navajo Travelers”; Dan McCaw: “Moonlight Traveler.”
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American Art – Part II of II: Mikel Glass

Artist Statement: “My work is often characterized by a tension between subconscious concepts and deliberate execution.
For me, painting is a vehicle with which to explore the psyche. Chance and free association are ready doors to explore one’s condition. I feel akin to the Dadaists and Surrealists in their fear of the tyranny of the obvious and the conscious.
As a consequence, I divide into two personalities when working. First is the Zen artist who comes up with the ideas in an intuitive realm. The second is the craftsman who must actually execute those images in paint. As an artist, I feel kinship with the Freudian inspired artists that modernism has unleashed. As a craftsman, I admire Rubens and Rembrandt as the ultimate executors of painting as a craft.
The greatest peril in my process is when I come up with an idea that swims in my head. . . only to realize that it may not be appreciated by others in the physical realm.
The greatest triumph in my process is when I am able to pluck a flapping image down from the clouds of the subconscious and set it firmly in paint where it is then appreciated by others.
Either way art, at its best, provides fodder for thought. It is my hope that my work acts as a catalyst for this process.”
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