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

American Art – Part I of VI: Christine Peloquin

Artist Statement: ”The majority of my art work can be summarized as drawing and painting on fabric and paper collage. The subjects range from idealized faces and figures of women to landscapes, nature scenes and abstracts.
All the pieces begin with fabric and paper collage arranged, sewn and adhered to wood panels. The collages consist of any of the following: antique cloths, contemporary fabrics, antique dictionary pages, old children’s school books, atlases, architectural plans, wallpaper, tablecloths, napkins, lace, buttons, flowers, leaves and any variety of papers and 2D found objects. Over the collages, the drawings are done in charcoal and the work is painted with acrylics and mediums.
My intention is to weave an autobiographical tapestry invoking and addressing universal issues such as philosophy, spirituality, sexuality, motherhood and self-awareness.
The joy in this process is the instinctual choices of rendering and harmonizing what I will cover up and what I will leave to be revealed.”
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Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part I of V

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part I of X

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
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A Poem for Today

“Of Mere Being”
By Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
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Musings in Winter: Theodore Roosevelt

“Surely our people do not understand even yet the rich heritage that is theirs. There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majesty all unmarred.”
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Died 26 January 1824 – Théodore Géricault, an influential French painter and lithographer.

Below – “The Raft of the Medusa”; “The Derby at Epsom”; “Portrait of a Kleptomaniac”; “Portrait of a Demented Woman”; “Portrait of Laura Bro”; “The Capture of a Wild Horse.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part II of X

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
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“As science pushes forward, ignorance and superstition gallop around the flanks and bite science in the rear with big dark teeth.” – Philip Jose Farmer, American author best known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy works, who was born 26 January 1918.

Some quotes from the work of Philip Jose Farmer:

“The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.”
“These people who expect to be saints in heaven, though they were not on Earth, have ignored the wisdom of the founders of the great religions. This wisdom is that the kingdom of heaven is within you and that you do not go to heaven unless you are already in it. The magic must be wrought by you and you alone. God has no fairy wand to tap the pig and turn it into a swan.
People ignore this. And those who believe in sinners burning in hell are, perhaps, not so much concerned with going to heaven as with being sure that sinners-–others-–roast forever in the flames.”
“Dullard: Someone who looks up a thing in the encyclopedia, turns directly to the entry, reads it, and then closes the book.”
“It was the essence of life to disbelieve in death for one’s self, to act as if life would continue forever. And life had to act also as if little issues were big ones. To take a realistic attitude toward life and death meant that one lapsed into unreality. Into insanity. It was ironic that the only way to keep one’s sanity was to ignore that one was in an insane world or to act as if the world were sane.”
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Musings in Winter: William Cullen Bryant

“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.”
At a stream the sunflower grew

A Second Poem for Today

“Reading Primo Levi Off Columbus Circle”
By J. T. Barbarese

Re-reading him in Bouchon
past noon, it is mobbed midtown,
like an ant farm seen through painkillers.
God, what a bust it’s all been,

capitalism, communism, feminism,
this lust to liberate.
Che should have stayed in medicine.
The girls here admit they can’t wait

to marry and get to the alimony,
before they hit thirty. The men,
heads skinned like ‘Lager’ inmates,
know only the revolutions

in diets and spinning classes.
Still, one table away,
these two, with gnarled empretzled hands,
seem unhappy in the old way.
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American Art – Part II of VI: Michael Bartholomew

Artist Statement: “My philosophy towards still life painting is to say more with less with simplistic arrangements and the use of organic and inanimate objects.
To me, art is the vehicle that transcends through time, what we love, feel, and experience about this life we live. It represents every expression of humanity, good bad, or indifferent. It is not to be taken for granted or dismissed as something that is simply just there for the taking. But instead, art is to be respected because it tells the truth and reveals the soul of its creator.”
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Musings in Winter: Peter Mattiessen

“My foot slips on a narrow ledge; in that split second, as needles of fear pierce heart and temples, eternity intersects with present time. Thought and action are not different, and stone, air, ice, sun, fear, and self are one. What is exhilarating is to extend this acute awareness into ordinary moments, in the moment-by-moment experiencing of the lammergeier and the wolf, which, finding themselves at the center of things, have no need for any secret of true being. In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us…the present moment. The purpose of mediation practice is not ‘enlightenment’ – it is to pay attention even at unextraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part III of X

“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”
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Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part II of V

“When I encounter a sunrise, a painting, a woman, or an idea that makes my heart bound like a young calf, then I know I am standing in front of happiness.”

Below – Robert Fowler (1853-1926): “The Birth of Venus”
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Russian painter Oxana Zaika (born 1969) lives and works in Paris.
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“What I desire of a poem is a clear understanding of motive, and a just evaluation of feeling A poem in the first place should offer us a new perception…bringing into being a new experience Verse is more valuable than prose for its rhythms are faster and more highly organised and lead to greater complexity.” – Yvor Winters, American poet and literary critic, who died 25 January 1968.

“The Slow Pacific Swell”

Far out of sight forever stands the sea, 

Bounding the land with pale tranquillity. 

When a small child, I watched it from a hill 

At thirty miles or more. The vision still 

Lies in the eye, soft blue and far away: 

The rain has washed the dust from April day; 

Paint-brush and lupine lie against the ground; 

The wind above the hill-top has the sound 

Of distant water in unbroken sky; 

Dark and precise the little steamers ply- 

Firm in direction they seem not to stir. 

That is illusion. The artificer 

Of quiet, distance holds me in a vise 

And holds the ocean steady to my eyes.

Once when I rounded Flattery, the sea 

Hove its loose weight like sand to tangle me 

Upon the washing deck, to crush the hull; 

Subsiding, dragged flesh at the bone. The skull
Felt the retreating wash of dreaming hair. 

Half drenched in dissolution, I lay bare. 

I scarcely pulled myself erect; I came 

Back slowly, slowly knew myself the same. 

That was the ocean. From the ship we saw 

Gray whales for miles: the long sweep of the jaw, 

The blunt head plunging clean above the wave. 

And one rose in a tent of sea and gave 

A darkening shudder; water fell away; 

The whale stood shining, and then sank in spray.

A landsman, I. The sea is but a sound. 

I would be near it on a sandy mound, 

And hear the steady rushing of the deep 

While I lay stinging in the sand with sleep. 

I have lived inland long. The land is numb. 

It stands beneath the feet, and one may come 

Walking securely, till the sea extends 

Its limber margin, and precision ends. 

By night a chaos of commingling power, 

The whole Pacific hovers hour by hour. 

The slow Pacific swell stirs on the sand, 

Sleeping to sink away, withdrawing land, 

Heaving and wrinkled in the moon, and blind; 

Or gathers seaward, ebbing out of mind.
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Musings in Winter: James Michener

“The South Pacific is memorable because when you are in the islands you simply cannot ignore nature. You cannot avoid looking up at the stars, large as apples on a new tree. You cannot deafen your ear to the thunder of the surf. The bright sands, the screaming birds, and the wild winds are always with you.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part IV of X

“Wine is bottled poetry.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Dawn Revisited”
By Rita Dove

Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits –
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.
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American Art – Part III of VI: Brad Slaugh

Artist Statement: ”I work in several ways, all of them representational but not strictly realist, with an emphasis on immediate response and tactile exploration of form and color.
Many artists have influenced my work from el Greco, Caravaggio and Egon Schiele to more recent artists like Alice Neel, Eric Fischl and David Hockney.”
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Musings in Winter: Mark Twain

“If we hadn’t our bewitching autumn foliage, we should still have to credit the weather with one feature which compensates for all its bullying vagaries-the ice storm: when a leafless tree is clothed with ice from the bottom to the top – ice that is as bright and clear as crystal; when every bough and twig is strung with ice-beads, frozen dew-drops, and the whole tree sparkles cold and white, like the Shah of Persia’s diamond plume. Then the wind waves the branches and the sun comes out and turns all those myriads of beads and drops to prisms that glow and burn and flash with all manner of colored fires, which change and change again with inconceivable rapidity from blue to red, from red to green, and green to gold-the tree becomes a spraying fountain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels; and it stands there the acme, the climax, the supremest possibility in art or nature, of bewildering, intoxicating, intolerable magnificence. One cannot make the words too strong.”
A tree covered with hoarfrost is seen at the Korday pass

Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part III of V

“I should learn to run, to wrestle, to swim, to ride horses, to row, to drive a car, to fire a rifle. I should fill my soul with flesh. I should fill my flesh with soul. In fact, I should reconcile at last within me the two internal antagonists.”

Below – K. Madison Moore: “Fire in the Body and Soul”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Altar”
By Charles Simic

The plastic statue of the Virgin
On top of a bedroom dresser
With a blackened mirror
From a bad-dream grooming salon.

Two pebbles from the grave of a rock star,
A small, grinning windup monkey,
A bronze Egyptian coin
And a red movie-ticket stub.

A splotch of sunlight on the framed
Communion photograph of a boy
With the eyes of someone
Who will drown in a lake real soon.

An altar dignifying the god of chance.
What is beautiful, it cautions,
Is found accidentally and not sought after.
What is beautiful is easily lost.
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Musings in Winter: John Muir

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part V of X

“Sightseeing is the art of disappointment.”
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In the words of one art critic, “Born in 1963 in Sichuan, China, Pang Maokun received an MA from the Sichuan Arts Institute in 1988. Pang frequently shows work in major exhibitions and has held seven solo exhibitions. Pang showed work overseas as early as the 1980s and has taken part in academic visits in Paris and Amsterdam which provided further creative stimulus
Pang Maokun is not the type of intellectual who seeks social reform or the salvation of mankind or the society. He is more concerned with his own independent spiritual exploration and artistic creation, adopting an attitude of benign indifference to the dramatic changes in social life and to the prevailing cultural mediocrity. While keeping a distance from the daily life, Maokun concentrates in the perfection of his own character and in his artistic exploration – a way of spiritual self-salvation. Exactly in this kind of dogged spiritual pursue, we sense the independence of Chinese intellectual in this era of changing urban culture.”
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Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part IV of V

“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.”

Below – Scott Kahn: “Full Moon Afternoon”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part VI of X

“Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.”
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Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“There is a low mist in the woods—
It is a good day to study lichens.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Singing Voice”
By Kenneth Rexroth

Once, camping on a high bluff
Above the Fox River, when
I was about fourteen years
Old, on a full moonlit night
Crowded with whippoorwills and
Frogs, I lay awake long past
Midnight watching the moon move
Through the half drowned stars. Suddenly
I heard, far away on the warm
Air a high clear soprano,
Purer than the purest boy’s
Voice, singing, “Tuck me to sleep
In my old ‘Tucky home.”
She was in an open car
Speeding along the winding
Dipping highway beneath me.
A few seconds later
An old touring car full of
Boys and girls rushed by under
Me, the soprano rising
Full and clear and now close by
I could hear the others singing
Softly behind her voice. Then
Rising and falling with the
Twisting road the song closed, soft
In the night. Over thirty
Years have gone by but I have
Never forgotten. Again
And again, driving on a
Lonely moonlit road, or waking
In a warm murmurous night,
I hear that voice singing that
Common song like an
Angelic memory.
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Daniel Bilmes

In the words of one writer, “Daniel Bilmes blends his unique family history with personal experiences around the world to create a lasting, impressionable body of work.
Semyon Bilmes, his father, attended the exclusive Russian Soviet Academy before immigrating to the United States in 1975 to attend the prestigious Parsons Academy in New York. There he met and fell in love with his future wife Alla, as she studied alongside such notable classmates as Mark Jacobs and Isaac Mizrahi at Parson’s School of Fashion Design.
Daniel began his lifelong artistic education as an eight year old at The Bilmes Art School in Southern Oregon under Semyon’s tutelage. The youngest student at his father’s school, Daniel displayed a natural talent and sensitivity for the medium while rapidly developing the awareness and focus needed to create meaningful art. Daniel, though younger than many of his peers, rapidly rose to become one of his father’s most trusted and able instructors.
Throughout his life Daniel has immersed himself in different cultures all over the world, acquiring inspiration, lifelong influence from such masters as Rafael, llya Repin, Ingres, Lawrence, Alma-Tadema, and Rembrandt, as well as an innate understanding of the lives and places he reinvents on canvas.
Daniel currently spends his time painting on Maui’s north shore. His studio, which he personally designed and helped build, is a beautiful space bathed in north light. The beautiful sunsets, exotic plant and wildlife, and serenity of the ocean, combined with Hawaii’s sublime landscape, provide Daniel an ideal setting to pursue his artistic ambitions.”
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Musings in Winter: Stefanie Brook Trout

“Here I find the true nature of the tree – not in the bulk of its shape but in the way its form alters my vision of the world.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part VII of X

“Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”
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From the American History Archives: Rocky Mountain National Park

26 January 1915 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the bill creating Rocky Mountain National Park.

Below – The Big Thompson River on the east side of the park; Hallett Peak (left); Longs Peak seen from the Dream Lake trail; Grand Lake; view from Bear Lake; Ouzel Falls.
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“The Work”
By Robert Penick

The plumbing is undone
at one end of the house
like my childhood train set
and how the trains never came back.
My father’s tools are scattered
through these rooms and I wonder
how long it would take him
to sort things out.
To couple the pipes and
make the equation.

I have outshone my father
in one vital respect:
I screwed this job up
in half the time
he would have needed
to actually complete it.
Somewhere he is shaking his head
and giving me that ancient look,
the one shot from
fathers to sons
forever.
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Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard

“The news, in other words, breaks on the beaches.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part VIII of X

“Extreme busyness is a symptom of deficient vitality, and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”
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American Art – Part V of VI: Julie Robertson

Artist Statement: “I am a Tokyo-born Japanese+American artist currently residing near Oklahoma City in the US. My work portrays the delicate beauty of Japanese women, expressed through layers of mixed media and strategic paint drips. I explore the juxtaposition of realism and non-objectivity, elegance and tumult, tradition and modernism, innocence and mortality. Fashion, film, music videos, and literature all provide me with inspiration for my surreal-looking subjects. I hope you as the viewer are engaged, intrigued, mesmerized. My work is a true representation of the thoughts and strivings that are in my soul.”
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Musings in Winter: Constance Chuks Friday

“Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part IX of X

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
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Lluis Sogorb is a Spanish wildlife artist and illustrator.
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Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part V of V

“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea.”
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A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part X of X

“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Fireflies”
By Marilyn Kallet

In the dry summer field at nightfall,
fireflies rise like sparks.
Imagine the presence of ghosts
flickering, the ghosts of young friends,
your father nearest in the distance.
This time they carry no sorrow,
no remorse, their presence is so light.
Childhood comes to you,
memories of your street in lamplight,
holding those last moments before bed,
capturing lightning-bugs,
with a blossom of the hand
letting them go. Lightness returns,
an airy motion over the ground
you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.
If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies
again, not part of your stories,
as unaware of you as sleep, being
beautiful and quiet all around you.
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Musings in Winter: Peter Matthiessen

“The sun is roaring, it fills to bursting each crystal of snow. I flush with feeling, moved beyond my comprehension, and once again, the warm tears freeze upon my face. These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.”
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Brian Pollett

Here is one writer describing the artistry of American painter Brian Pollett: “Since early 2012, Brian began exploring the infinite realms of digital art and integrated himself within the collaborative minds of West Coast Visionary artists and event producers, a (group that wishes) to move culture forward through creative expression.”
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