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

American Art – Part I of V: Sandra Jones Campbell

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of American painter Sandra Jones Campbell: “(Her) depiction of social and political scenes reflect both her professional respect for the 30’s style German Expressionists Max Beckman, George Grosz and Otto Dix, and her uniquely gentle wit. Multiple figures populate lively acrylics on paper or canvas images that blend Sandra’s optimism and candor, along with the artist’s keen visual skill: balancing color, form composition, humor and subject matter.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part I of XII

“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, ‘It makes a difference for this one.’ I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”
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A Poem for Today

“The Collection,”
By Michael Chitwood

Even two years later, she still gets correspondence
addressed to him. Correspondence. This like that.

Mostly about his hobby. Coin collector brochures.
Announcements of collector swap meets. His pastime.

A way to spend an afternoon back when an afternoon
needed spending. Before all the silence flooded the house.

He had old currency. Nickels worth ten dollars.
And heavy, the bags. Musical, too.

She needs to sort through them all.
That’s what she should do, realize its value.

But what she is thinking of is spending it,
buying gum and soft drinks, maybe a chocolate bar.

Just get face value for mint-condition rarities.
Get them back into circulation. Circulation. The afterlife

where someone else could get them as change
and be joyful at the luck of finding his life’s pleasure.
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Musings in Winter: Ruskin Bond

“I have come to believe that the best kind of walk, or journey, is the one in which you have no particular destination when you set out.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Sam Cooke

Born 22 January 1931 – Sam Cooke, influential American recording artist and singer-songwriter.

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part II of XII

“Man no longer dreams over a book in which a soft voice, a constant companion, observes, exhorts, or sighs with him through the pangs of youth and age. Today he is more likely to sit before a screen and dream the mass dream which comes from outside.”

Below – Edward Hopper: “New York Movie”

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In the words of one writer, “Fernando Vicente Sánchez (Madrid, 1963) is a cartoonist, illustrator and painter. He has produced work for Spanish magazines and newspapers, illustrated book and record covers, exhibited across Spain and published several books of his work.”
The paintings below are from the Atlas Series.
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Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part I of IV

“East away from the Sierras, south from Panamint and Amargosa, east and south many an uncounted mile, is the Country of Lost Borders.”

Below – The Country of Lost Borders, an area of land between Death Valley and the High Sierras.
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A Second Poem for Today

“Lock and Key,”
By Rachel Sherwood

I hardly know where to look
anymore. Places have a
putrid familiarity
like the smell of my own sheets
or the close air of the kitchen —
fishbones on the drain
left in the ghastly order
of temporal things.

I have been sitting in this bar
for years now
the beer is stale, the wine off-color
the music is always the same,
old, sad songs that get older
no better than endless conversation
night after forgotten night
when all I or you can recall
is the dark, the traffic lights,
the bartender’s comments
about drunk women
in public places.

I would like to go home
finally, down the long streets
north and south crossed with small gold leaves;
I forget just where the hell
anything is. Locked out.

Below – Jennifer Cronin: “Cake.”

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Musings in Winter: Elizabeth Kolbert

“Right now, in the amazing moment that to us counts as the present, we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed. No other creature has ever managed this and it will, unfortunately, be our most enduring legacy.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part III of XII

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

Below – The Arkansas River in Salida, Colorado.
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From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Addie “Micki” Harris

Born 22 January 1940 – Addie “Micki” Harris, an American vocalist and member of the singing group The Shirelles.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of English sculptor Lynn Muir: “Lynn sculpts whimsical figures in wood, mainly from driftwood gathered from the beach near her home in Cornwall after a strong south westerly wind. Her pieces are characterised by their humour and by their simple shapes. Their forms are shaped with saws and sanding tools, the wood itself often suggesting the figure, its size, stance or hairstyle. Detailing is added with her fine painting, of facial features and decorative patterning of clothes, frequently jumpers which are ‘just like one I had.’
Lynn was born in East Anglia and trained at Colchester School of Art in Illustration. Her workshop overlooking the Atlantic was established when she moved to Cornwall in 1986.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part IV of XII

“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. If he is of the proper sort, he will return with a message. It may not be a message from the god he set out to seek, but even if he has failed in that particular, he will have had a vision or seen a marvel, and these are always worth listening to and thinking about…. One must seek, then, what only the solitary approach can give – a natural revelation.”

Below – From the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest: An image of the supernatural power which a human could gain through a vision quest.
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“I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.” – George Gordon Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement, who was born 22 January 1788.

“She Walks in Beauty”

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Below – Alexis Hale: “She Walks in Beauty”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part V of XII

“Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.”
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American Art – Part II of V: Michael Pyrdsa

Michael Pyrdsa earned a B.S. degree from the College of New Jersey.

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Musings in Winter: Vincente Garcia Groyon

“When you’re in the city, trapped among the cubic structures, it’s easy to forget that you’re connected to the earth, because you’re so separated from it by layers and layers of protection – the soles of your shoes, sandals, or slippers, sheets of asphalt, concrete, linoleum tiling.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Johann Sebastian Bach

A Third Poem for Today

“The Aunts,”
By Joyce Sutpen

I like it when they get together
and talk in voices that sound
like apple trees and grape vines,

and some of them wear hats
and go to Arizona in the winter,
and they all like to play cards.

They will always be the ones
who say “It is time to go now,”
even as we linger at the door,

or stand by the waiting cars, they
remember someone—an uncle we
never knew—and sigh, all

of them together, like wind
in the oak trees behind the farm
where they grew up—a place

I remember—especially
the hen house and the soft
clucking that filled the sunlit yard.
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Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part II of IV

“The coyote is your true water-witch, one who snuffs and paws, snuffs and paws again at the smallest spot of moisture-scented earth until he has freed the blind water from the soil. Many water-holes are no more than this detected by the lean hobo of the hills in localities where not even an Indian would look for it.”
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In the words of one writer, Italian painter Vincenzo Calli (born 1953) “lives and works in his studio near Anghiari, a medieval hilltown dominating the upper Tiber Valley of Tuscany. He obtained his diploma from Sansepolcro’s Institute of Art, and continued his artistic training at the Academy of Belle Arts in Florence. He held his first public exhibition at the age of 21. In 1984, he was introduced in America and to worldwide galleries through an invitation to exhibit at the World Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part VI of XII

“Some degree of withdrawal serves to nurture man’s creative powers. The artist and the scientist bring out of the dark void, like the mysterious universe itself, the unique, the strange, the unexpected. Numerous observers have testified upon the loneliness of the process.”

Below – Walden Pond.
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Musings in Winter: George Bernard Shaw

“Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.”
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“One could not do without repetition in life, like the beating of the heart, but it was also true that the beating of the heart was not all there was to life.” – Kobo Abe, Japanese writer, playwright, photographer, and inventor, who died 22 January 1993. In the words of one critic, “Among the honors bestowed on him were the Akutagawa Prize in 1951 for the short story “The Crime of S. Karuma” (published in “Beyond the Curve”), the Yomiuri Prize in 1962 for “Woman in the Dunes,” and the Tanizaki Prize in 1967 for the play “Friends.”

Some quotes from the work of Kobe Abe:

“When I look at small things, I think I shall go on living: drops of rain, leather gloves shrunk by being wet…When I look at something too big, I want to die: the Diet Building, or a map of the world…”
“The most frightening thing in the world is to discover the abnormal in that which is closest to us.”
“There wasn’t a single item of importance [in the newspaper]. A tower of illusion, all of it, made of illusory bricks and full of holes. If life were made up only of important things, it really would be a dangerous house of glass, scarcely to be handled carelessly. But everyday life was exactly like the headlines. And so everybody, knowing the meaninglessness of existence, sets the centre of his compass at his own home.”
“Loneliness was an unsatisfied thirst for illusion.”
“Still, the one who best understands the significance of light is not the electrician, not the painter, not the photographer, but the man who lost his sight in adulthood. There must be the wisdom of deficiency in deficiency, just as there is the wisdom of plenty in plenty.”
“He wanted to believe that his own lack of movement had stopped all movement in the world, the way a hibernating frog abolishes winter.”
“You don’t need me. What you really need is a mirror. Because any stranger is for you simply a mirror in which to reflect yourself. I don’t ever again want to return to such a desert of mirrors.”
“What in heaven’s name was the real essence of this beauty? Was it the precision of nature with its physical laws, or was it nature’s mercilessness, ceaselessly resisting man’s understanding?”
“I rather think the world is like sand. The fundamental nature of sand is very difficult to grasp when you think of it in its stationary state. Sand not only flows, but this very flow is the sand.”
“Certainly sand was not suitable for life. Yet, was a stationary condition absolutely indispensable for existence? Didn’t unpleasant competition arise precisely because one tried to cling to a fixed position? If one were to give up a fixed position and abandon oneself to the movement of the sands, competition would soon stop. Actually, in the deserts flowers bloomed and insects and other animals lived their lives. These creatures were able to escape competition through their great ability to adjust–for example, the man’s beetle family.
While he mused on the effect of the flowing sands, he was seized from time to time by hallucinations in which he himself began to move with the flow.”
“Being free always involves being lonely.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part VII of XII

“If it should turn out that we have mishandled our own lives as several civilizations before us have done, it seems a pity that we should involve the violet and the tree frog in our departure.”

Below – A chart of one hundred small animals that have recently become extinct.
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Changing Light”
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The changing light
at San Francisco
is none of your East Coast light
none of your
pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light
And the light of fog
blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate
to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like
it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o’clock
sweeping the hills

And then the veil of light of early evening

And then another scrim
when the new night fog
floats in
And in that vale of light
the city drifts
anchorless upon the ocean

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Musings in Winter: Anna Quindlen

“In the woods it was not so much that it was quiet as that the few sounds were loud and distinct, not the orchestra tuning-up of the city but individual grace notes. Birdcalls broken into pieces like a piano exercise, a tree branch snapping sharp and then swishing down and thump on the ground, the hiss of water coming off the mountain.”

Below – Douglas Herr: “Quiet Woods”
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Born 22 January 1891 – Moise Kisling, a Polish-born French painter.

Below – “Provence Landscape”; “Nude on a Black Sofa”; “Vase of Mimosa”; “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “Three Orphans”; “Self-Portrait with a Pipe.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part VIII of XII

“The magic that gleams an instant between Argos and Odysseus is both the recognition of diversity and the need for affection across the illusions of form. It is nature’s cry to homeless, far-wandering, insatiable man: ‘Do not forget your brethren, nor the green wood from which you sprang. To do so is to invite disaster.’”

Below – Argos and Odysseus.
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Everybody”
By Marie Sheppard Williams

I stood at a bus corner
one afternoon, waiting
for the #2. An old
guy stood waiting too.
I stared at him. He
caught my stare, grinned,
gap-toothed. Will you
sign my coat? he said.
Held out a pen. He wore
a dirty canvas coat that
had signatures all over
it, hundreds, maybe
thousands.
I’m trying
to get everybody, he
said.
I signed. On a
little space on a pocket.
Sometimes I remember:
I am one of everybody.
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American Art – Part III of V: Zoe Zylowski

In the words of one writer, “Zoe has studied at the Art Academy of Hillsborough since June 2010 under the direction of Kevin Murphy. Mr. Murphy is an internationally recognized, award winning portrait painter and illustrator.
From June 2011 to June 2012 Zoe served as apprentice to Mr. Murphy. During this apprenticeship Zoe painted two commissioned portraits for the Hillsborough Township Public Art Collection.
Zoe’s paintings and drawings have won local, state, national and international awards.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part IX of XII

“Since the first human eye saw a leaf in Devonian sandstone and a puzzled finger reached to touch it, sadness has lain over the heart of man. By this tenuous thread of living protoplasm, stretching backward into time, we are linked forever to lost beaches whose sands have long since hardened into stone. The stars that caught our blind
amphibian stare have shifted far or vanished in their courses, but still that naked, glistening thread winds onward. No one knows the secret of its beginning or its end. Its forms are phantoms. The thread alone is real; the thread is life.”

Below – The Thread of Life.
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Musings in Winter: Ruskin Bond

“I never cease to wonder at the tenacity of water – its ability to make its way through various strata of rock, zigzagging, back-tracking, finding space, cunningly discovering faults and fissures in the mountain, and sometimes traveling underground for great distances before emerging into the open. Of course, there’s no stopping water. For no matter how tiny that little tickle, it has to go somewhere.”
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22 January 1951 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to John Crowe Ransom.

“Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”

There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study
Astonishes us all.

Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond

The lazy geese, like a snow cloud
Dripping their snow on the green grass,
Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud,
Who cried in goose, Alas,

For the tireless heart within the little
Lady with rod that made them rise
From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle
Goose-fashion under the skies!

But now go the bells, and we are ready,
In one house we are sternly stopped
To say we are vexed at her brown study,
Lying so primly propped.

Below – Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910): “The Goose Girl”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part X of XII

“Every man contains within himself a ghost continent.”

Below – Figures from the Ghost Panel in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah.
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Here is Argentinean painter Fernando O’Connor describing the genesis of his career: ”I was born in Buenos Aires on July, 1966. I started painting in the late 80’s. I spent very short periods of time at the Prilidiano Pueyrredón and Ernesto de la Cárcova Schools of Fine Art. But my real formation was at the Fine Arts Stimulation Academy drawing live models.”
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Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part III of IV

“Just as the mesa twilights have their vocal note in the love call of the burrowing owl, so the desert spring is voiced by the mourning doves. Welcome and sweet they sound in the smoky mornings before breeding time, and where they frequent in any great numbers water is confidently looked for.”
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“78 RPM”
By Jeff Daniel Marion

In the back of the junkhouse
stacked on a cardtable covered
by a ragged bedspread, they rest,
black platters whose music once
crackled, hissed with a static
like shuffling feet, fox trot or two-step,
the slow dance of the needle
riding its merry-go-round,
my mother’s head nestled
on my father’s shoulder as they
turned, lost in the sway of sounds,
summer nights and faraway
places, the syncopation of time
waltzing them to a world
they never dreamed, dance
of then to the dust of now.
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part XI of XII

“The venture into space is meaningless unless it coincides with a certain interior expansion, an ever-growing universe within, to correspond with the far flight of the galaxies our telescopes follow from without.”

Below – Linda Wein: “Inner Space – Passage.”
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American Art – Part IV of V: Leon Richman

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of sculptor Leon Richman:
“Beginning in medium to large-scale marble figures, his passion to explore the beauty of the human form in all dimensions soon led him to a more pliable medium, allowing more freedom in the creative process. The result has been an inspired body of work, each piece possessing its own unique spirit and personality.
Leon Richman is a California artist with a formal education from the renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and years of practical experience in the field of commercial art, but his soul and passion have always been deeply rooted in the finer arts. He has almost as many years experience in drawing and painting as he’s been living and breathing. Now he has directed his creative ambitions towards the art of sculpture.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Safe”
By Steven Huff

You used to be able to flag a ride in this country.
Impossible now—everyone is afraid
of strangers. Well, there was fear then too,
and it was mutual: drivers versus hitchhikers.
And we rode without seat belts,
insurance or beliefs. People
would see me far ahead on a hill like a seedling,
watch me grow in the windshield
and not know they were going to stop until
they got right up to me. Maybe they wanted
company or thought I’d give them
some excitement. It was the age
of impulse, of lonesome knee jerks. An old woman
stopped, blew smoke in my face
and after I was already in her car she asked me
if I wanted a ride. I’m telling you.
Late one night a construction boss pulled over.
One of his crew had been hit
by the mob, he said as he drove, distraught
and needing to talk to someone.
We rode around for a long time.
He said, I never wore a gun to a funeral before,
but they’ve gotta be after me too.
Then he looked at me and patted the bulge
in his coat. Don’t worry, he said, you’re safe.
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Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac

“Sometimes I’d yell questions at the rocks and trees, and across gorges, or yodel – “What is the meaning of the void?” The answer was perfect silence, so I knew.”
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Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part IV of IV

“There is seldom and wind with first snows, more often rain, but later, when there is already a smooth foot or two over all the slopes, the drifts begin. The late snows are fine and dry, mere ice granules at the wind’s will. Keen mornings after a storm they are blown out in wreaths and banners from high ridges sifting into the canons.”
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An Eighth Poem for Today

“The World as It is”
By Carolyn Miller

No ladders, no descending angels, no voice
out of the whirlwind, no rending
of the veil, or chariot in the sky—only
water rising and falling in breathing springs
and seeping up through limestone, aquifers filling
and flowing over, russet stands of prairie grass
and dark pupils of black-eyed Susans. Only
the fixed and wandering stars: Orion rising sideways,
Jupiter traversing the southwest like a great firefly,
Venus trembling and faceted in the west—and the moon,
appearing suddenly over your shoulder, brimming
and ovoid, ripe with light, lifting slowly, deliberately,
wobbling slightly, while far below, the faithful sea
rises up and follows.
Lost River Spring

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Musings in Winter: Sanober Khan

“the ocean mist
engulfs me, like a lifetime’s
friendship honored.”
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Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part XII of XII

“The creature was very young. He was alone in a dread universe. I crept on my knees and crouched beside him. It was a small fox pup from a den under the timbers who looked up at me. God knows what had become of his brothers and sisters. His parents must not have been home from hunting. He innocently selected what I think was a chicken bone from an untidy pile of splintered rubbish and shook it at me invitingly… the universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to present its face and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing.
It was not a time for human dignity. It was a time only for the careful observance of amenities written behind the stars. Gravely I arranged my forepaws while the puppy whimpered with ill-concealed excitement. I drew the breath of a fox’s den into my nostrils. On impulse, I picked up clumsily a whiter bone and shook it in teeth that had not entirely forgotten their original purpose. Round and round we tumbled and for just one ecstatic moment I held the universe at bay by the simple expedient of sitting on my haunches before a fox den and tumbling about with a chicken bone. It is the gravest, most meaningful act I shall ever accomplish, but, as Thoreau once remarked of some peculiar errand of his own, there is no use reporting it to the Royal Society.”
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American Art – Part V of V: Rebecca Guay

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Rebecca Guay: “In her personal watercolors and oils—her self determined narratives—she delves deep into archetypes of masculine and feminine and deals with complex ideas of sexuality and sensuality. Her philosophy of image making is driven by the principles of creating a remarkable moment, thereby making a deep emotional connection with the viewer. Rebecca’s recent work creates an environment of lush surfaces, forms and gesture that live in a reality entirely of her own creation.”
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