January Offerings – Part XXI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VII: Brooke Walker-Knoblich

Contemporary realist painter Brooke Walker-Knoblich (born 1982) received her B.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, San Diego.
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From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Jackie Wilson

Died 21 January 1984 – Jackie Wilson, an influential American singer known as “Mr. Excitement.”

Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“The waterfall winks at every passerby.”
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American Art – Part II of VII: Paul Goodnight

Artist Statement: “I would like to be a skilled and consummate draftsman. I try to use a collection of sensuous colors, often revealing mysterious hidden forms. I would love to convey the ability to see between the figures, melding and infusing them into an environment of endless nuances where abstraction and representational images are comfortable in the same space and where passion and humanity resonate. Once I learn to do this well, I will be obligated to pass this on, just as this information has been based on to me.”
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A Poem for Today

“A Country Boy in Winter,”
By Sarah Orne Jewett

The wind may blow the snow about,
For all I care, says Jack,
And I don’t mind how cold it grows,
For then the ice won’t crack.
Old folks may shiver all day long,
But I shall never freeze;
What cares a jolly boy like me
For winter days like these?

Far down the long snow-covered hills
It is such fun to coast,
So clear the road! the fastest sled
There is in school I boast.
The paint is pretty well worn off,
But then I take the lead;
A dandy sled’s a loiterer,
And I go in for speed.

When I go home at supper-time,
Ki! but my cheeks are red!
They burn and sting like anything;
I’m cross until I’m fed.
You ought to see the biscuit go,
I am so hungry then;
And old Aunt Polly says that boys
Eat twice as much as men.

There’s always something I can do
To pass the time away;
The dark comes quick in winter-time—
A short and stormy day
And when I give my mind to it,
It’s just as father says,
I almost do a man’s work now,
And help him many ways.

I shall be glad when I grow up
And get all through with school,
I’ll show them by-and-by that I
Was not meant for a fool.
I’ll take the crops off this old farm,
I’ll do the best I can.
A jolly boy like me won’t be
A dolt when he’s a man.

I like to hear the old horse neigh
Just as I come in sight,
The oxen poke me with their horns
To get their hay at night.
Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
And like to see me come.
Some fellows talk about New York,
But I shall stay at home.

Below – Sue Hartman: “Maine Farm in Winter”
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Musings in Winter: E. B. White

“Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else.”
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Ukrainian Art – Part I of II: Lana Khavronenko

Artist Statement: “My work tells you all about me.”

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From the Music Archives – Part II of III: The Bee Gees

21 January 1978 – The Bee Gees’ “Saturday Night Fever” album reaches #1 on American popular music charts and remains there for twenty-four weeks.

Ukrainian Art – Part II of II: Kateryna Kosyanenko

In the words of one writer, “Ukrainian artist Kateryna Kosyanenko (born 1978) has an M.A. degree in painting and has been a member of the National Artists’ Union of Ukraine since 2002.”
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Musings in Winter: Thomas Merton

“All of this is mystification. The city itself lives on its own myth. Instead of waking up and silently existing, the city people prefer a stubborn and fabricated dream; they do not care to be a part of the night, or to be merely of the world. They have constructed a world outside the world, against the world, a world of mechanical fictions which contemn nature and seek only to use it up, thus preventing it from renewing itself and man.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Richie Havens

Born 21 January 1941 – Richie Havens, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Havens’ opening performance at Woodstock:

Musings in Winter: Terry Tempest Williams

“Wilderness holds an original presence giving expression to that which we lack, the losses we long to recover, the absences we seek to fill. Wilderness revives the memory of unity. Through its protection we can find faith in our humanity.”
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American Art – Part III of VII: Eric Armusik

In the words of one writer, “Eric Armusik studied Fine Arts at Pennsylvania State University. The figurative artist worked under artists Robert Yarber, Julie Heffernan and abroad in Italy. Armusik has a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Art History. The contemporary figurative artist is known for his Old Master-inspired, dramatic, figurative paintings.”
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The Words of a Pilgrim – Part I of III: Quotes from Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek

“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.
I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”
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Musings in Winter: Fennel Hudson

“The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.”

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Died 21 January 1914 – Theodor Kittelsen, a Norwegian artist famous for his nature paintings, as well as for his illustrations of fairy tales and legends.

Below – “Echo”; “Water Spirit”; “The White Bear King”; “Boy on White Horse”; “The Twelve Wild Ducks”; “Water Spirit”; “Self-Portrait.”
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Musings in Winter: Robert M. Pirsig

“When you have mountains in the distance or even hills, you have space.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“The World in the Evening,”
By Rachel Sherwood

As this suburban summer wanders toward dark
cats watch from their driveways — they are bored
and await miracles. The houses show, through windows
flashes of knife and fork, the blue light
of televisions, inconsequential fights
between wife and husband in the guest bathroom

voices sound like echoes in these streets
the chattering of awful boys as they plot
behind the juniper and ivy, miniature guerillas
that mimic the ancient news of the world
and shout threats, piped high across mock fences
to girls riding by in the last pieces of light

the color of the sky makes brilliant reflection
in the water and oil along the curb
deepened aqua and the sharp pure rose of the clouds
there is no sun or moon, few stars wheel
above the domestic scene — this half-lit world
still, quiet calming the dogs worried by distant alarms

there — a woman in a window washes a glass
a man across the street laughs through an open door
utterly alien, alone. There is a time, seconds between
the last light and the dark stretch ahead, when color
is lost — the girl on her swing becomes a swift
apparition, black and white flowing suddenly into night.

Below – “Suburbia,” by Leonard Koscianski
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“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair), English novelist, essayist, journalist, critic, democratic socialist, and author of “1984,” “Animal Farm,” and “Homage to Catalonia,” who died 21 January 1950.

Some quotes from the work of George Orwell:

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”
“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.”
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
“Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”
“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”
“Big Brother is Watching You.”
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Musings in Winter: Jane Wilson-Howarth

“The river is such a tranquil place, a place to sit and think of romance and the beauty of nature, to enjoy the elegance of swans and the chance of a glimpse of a kingfisher.”
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American Art – Part IV of VII: Susan Seaberry

In the words of one critic, painter Susan Seaberry “received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Art Center Collage of Design in California and began her busy career as an illustrator and designer. Her experience in art continues to produce imaginative and prolific work that is exhibited widely in galleries and celebrated in print. This is a career that began at the forefront of the Functional Art Movement in Los Angeles and continues today with her commissions in portraiture and with her narrative figure paintings. Inspiration comes from revealing the character of her subjects and the playful use of metaphor in the telling of their stories. A high regard for draftsmanship and a contemporary take in blending romanticism and classicism is a recognizable theme throughout her art.”

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The Words of a Pilgrim – Part II of III: Quotes from Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.”
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In the words of one critic, “Kate Hansen graduated from the University of Regina in 2001 with a BFA in fine arts, focusing on painting. Her grad show was at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and it was a series of figurative oil paintings. She was married in 2002 and moved to Crowsnest Pass in the rocky mountains of Alberta. She continued to paint during this time, exhibiting several times with group shows at the Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery. In 2007 she gave birth to her first child, and began to work with conte crayons instead of oil paints. Her series ‘Madonna and Child\’ was inspired by the birth of her son. In 2008 the family moved to Courtenay on Vancouver Island in BC, and their second child was born shortly thereafter. Kate continues to live and work in Courtenay with her family.”
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Musings in Winter: Sanober Khan

“i can’t always tell
what’s better

long drives
in the star-spangled deserts

or long walks
along winding tea gardens.”
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21 January 1935 – The Wilderness Society is incorporated. This organization is dedicated to protecting America’s wilderness and fostering an American land ethic. The eight founders of the Wilderness Society were: Bob Marshall, chief of recreation and lands for the Forest Service; Aldo Leopold, noted wildlife ecologist and later author of “A Sand County Almanac”; Robert Sterling Yard, publicist for the National Park Service; Benton MacKaye, the “Father of the Appalachian Trail”; Ernest Oberholtzer, proponent of the Quetico-Superior wilderness area; Harvey Broome; Bernard Frank; and Harold C. Anderson. Yard became the Society’s first secretary and the editor of its magazine, “The Living Wilderness.” Biologist Claus Murie became president of the Society in 1950.
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A Third Poem for Today

[“I Saw Myself”],
By Lew Welch

I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
“ring of bone” where
ring is what a

bell does
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Musings in Winter: Hopi Maxim

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
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American Art – Part V of VII: Nelson Shanks

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Nelson Shanks: “As was well understood from the Renaissance forward, it takes years of concentration and practice to become a highly skilled painter. Throughout his career, Nelson has painted nearly every day of the year—landscape, still life, the figure, and portraits. He takes pride in setting his own goals to grow and improve with every painting.”
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The Words of a Pilgrim – Part III of III: Quotes from Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”
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Here is how one writer describes the artistry of Ton Dubbeldam: “It is remarkable to see that the Dutch Painter, Ton Dubbeldam, often chooses themes that beautifully come together with his impressionistic and pointillist techniques. There is a certain atmosphere about his canvasses, which will give you the feelings of a 17th century landscape painting. You will notice his specific use of light and dark shades, the depth, the high skies, the wilderness and the far horizons, which are not disrupted by buildings or trees. The angles from which Ton Dubbeldam views his subjects are far from traditional. Horizons will sometimes be very high up and views of the water and sky are strongly accented…Dubbeldam’s paintings in oil, combined with dry pastel, and sometimes by using spotting and dripping techniques will make you associate his work with various art forms and different periods of time.”
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21 January 1983 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Anthony Hecht.

“The End of the Weekend”

A dying firelight slides along the quirt

Of the cast iron cowboy where he leans

Against my father’s books. The lariat

Whirls into darkness. My girl in skin tight jeans

Fingers a page of Captain Marriat

Inviting insolent shadows to her shirt.


We rise together to the second floor.

Outside, across the lake, an endless wind

Whips against the headstones of the dead and wails

In the trees for all who have and have not sinned.

She rubs against me and I feel her nails.

Although we are alone, I lock the door.

The eventual shapes of all our formless prayers:

This dark, this cabin of loose imaginings,

Wind, lip, lake, everything awaits

The slow unloosening of her underthings

And then the noise. Something is dropped. It grates
against the attic beams. I climb the stairs

Armed with a belt.

A long magnesium shaft

Of moonlight from the dormer cuts a path

Among the shattered skeletons of mice.

A great black presence beats its wings in wrath.

Above the boneyard burn its golden eyes.

Some small grey fur is pulsing in its grip.
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Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“Under a red desert sky all thought seems superfluous.”
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American Art – Part VI of VII: Edward J. Reed

Artist Statement: “Few paintings, no matter how beautifully crafted, captivate me unless they contain a strong central idea…Not sweating the details early lets me remain loose and expressive, which breathes life into my work…I plunge in with meaningful color from the first stroke.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Absences,”
By Donald Justice

It’s snowing this afternoon and there are no flowers.
There is only this sound of falling, quiet and remote,
Like the memory of scales descending the white keys
Of a childhood piano—outside the window, palms!
And the heavy head of the cereus, inclining,
Soon to let down its white or yellow-white.

Now, only these poor snow-flowers in a heap,
Like the memory of a white dress cast down . . .
So much has fallen.
And I, who have listened for a step
All afternoon, hear it now, but already falling away,
Already in memory. And the terrible scales descending
On the silent piano; the snow; and the absent flowers
abounding.
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Musings in Winter: Ojibway Proverb

“Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the while I am being carried across the sky by beautiful clouds.”
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American Art – Part VII of VII: David Baltzer

Artist Statement: “My painting is an exploration of the often overlooked qualities of objects: the play of light on a casual grouping; a chance relationship of objects, a juxtaposition of textures, colors or shapes that combine with the manipulation of paint to express something striking… something deeper than their casual presence would at first suggest.”

Below – “Café Chairs”; “St. John’s #20”; “St. John’s #19”; “Gros Morne II (Green Gardens)”; “Roomscape Redux”; “Wood Bowl with Japanese Pears”; “Baker Street (San Francisco)”; “Bird in Tree”; “Boat in Snow.”
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