February Offerings – Part XVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Dave Faville

In the words of one writer, “Dave Faville, born July l6, l965 in Portland, Oregon, grew up with an art gallery in the attic of his home. After studying abstract painting and art history at the University of Oregon, he got his graduate degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Seattle. Working as a graphic designer, Dave had his images published on T-shirts, greeting cards, posters, silk neckties, switchplates, boxes, and jigsaw puzzels. He now works as a cad-cam computer designer for Graphics Arts in Portland, Oregon.”

Below – “Red Dog I”; “Bad Dogs on a Joyride”; “Cats on Mushrooms”; Mushroom Cats III”; “Royal Blue Dog II.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of VI: Bobby Lewis

Born 17 February 1933 – Bobby Lewis, an American rock and roll and R&B singer.

Musings in Winter: Natalie Babbitt

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”
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A Poem for Today

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant -”
By Emily Dickinson

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
aDickinson

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“To live in Australia permanently is rather like going to a party and dancing all night with one’s mother.” – Barry Humphries, Australian comedian, satirist, artist, and author, who was born 17 February 1934.

Some quotes from the work of Barry Humphries:

“Sex is the most beautiful thing that can take place between a happily married man and his secretary.”
“New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.”
“I was born in Melbourne with a precious gift. Dame Nature stooped over my cot and gave me this gift. It was the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others.”
“There is no more terrible fate for a comedian than to be taken seriously.”
“Australia is an outdoor country. People only go inside to use the toilet. And that’s only a recent development.”
“Most of my contemporaries at school entered the World of Business, the logical destiny of bores.”
“My parents were very pleased that I was in the army. The fact that I hated it somehow pleased them even more.”
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Musings in Winter: Anais Nin

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of VI: Gene Pitney

Born 17 February 1941 – Gene Pitney, an American singer-songwriter and musician.

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“As you grow older you will discover that the most important things that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things, as you call them – ‘ordinary things’ is a better expression. That is the way the world is.” – Chaim Potok, American writer, rabbi, and author of “The Chosen,” who was born 17 January 1929.

Some quotes from the work of Chaim Potok:

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”
“Everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.”
“Something that is yours forever is never precious.”
“No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate, that’s the way the world is.”
“Truth has to be given in riddles. People can’t take truth if it comes charging at them like a bull. The bull is always killed. You have to give people the truth in a riddle, hide it so they go looking for it and find it piece by piece; that way they learn to live with it.”
“‘It’s not a pretty world, Papa.’
‘I’ve noticed,’ my father said softly.”
“Literature presents you with alternate mappings of the human experience. You see that the experiences of other people and other cultures are as rich, coherent, and troubled as your own experiences. They are as beset with suffering as yours. Literature is a kind of legitimate voyeurism through the keyhole of language where you really come to know other people’s lives–their anguish, their loves, their passions. Often you discover that once you dive into those lives and get below the surface, the veneer, there is a real closeness.”
“Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a ‘universal’ without patriotism, without home who has found his people everywhere.”
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Musings in Winter: Sam Cummings

“The higher you climb on the mountain, the harder the wind blows.”
2014 © Christopher Martin

American Art – Part II of VI: Judy Morris

In the words of one writer, “Judy Morris earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in art education from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. She taught art at South Medford High School for thirty years before retiring in 1996 to become a full time professional watercolorist. For over fifteen years Morris has been a popular juror and workshop teacher throughout the country and in Canada, Mexico, England, Switzerland, France, Italy and Japan.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Some in Pieces”
By Darnell Arnoult

In World War Two
the oldest
of my uncles
picked up
dead bodies
dead weight
some in pieces
and threw them
onto the beds
of trucks.
His work spread
far as he could see.
When he came
home he poured
salted peanuts
into a Co-Cola
and prepared
for life
with folks
who could
never know
some things
as long
as they lived.
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Musings in Winter: A.A. Milne

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of VI: The Beach Boys

17 February 1962 – The Beach Boys introduce a new musical style with their hit “Surfin.”

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“I bequeath all my property to my wife on the condition that she remarry immediately. Then there will be at least one man to regret my death.” – Heinrich Heine, German poet, essayist, and literary critic, who died 17 February 1856.

“A Palm Tree”

A single fir-tree, lonely,

on a northern mountain height,

sleeps in a white blanket,

draped in snow and ice.

His dreams are of a palm-tree,

who, far in eastern lands,
weeps, all alone and silent,

among the burning sands.
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Musings in Winter: Isak Dinesen

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Where Have All the Whistlers Gone?”
By Cliff Lynn

at what point in our history did lazy wend
its way into a four lettered word? backyard

hammock days reading wooden fiction or
Mad magazine with our eyes closed or

whistling our way into town like tom
or huck or becky work wasn’t the enemy

wasn’t a concept worth a whittle of our
time. where have all the whistlers gone?

like earl hagen who whistled andie and opie
to the fishin’ hole. I met earl he was a guest

at a high school assembly blind as a black-eyed
pea crossed the stage with his son as a crutch

but that old slacker he could still warble
with the best of ’em. seems we’ve become

wounded with wasted worry compound
fractures of day jobs head wounds of second

jobs of worry. snow white wondered why
we wouldn’t just whistle while we worked. but

ms. white aside, old earl got it right. he didn’t
whistle while he worked- whistling was his work.
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of VI: The Beatles

17 February 1967 – The Beatles release “Penny Lane.”

Musings in Winter: Steve Maraboli

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”
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Russian painter Victor Sheleg (born 1962) lives and works in Latvia.
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“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher and spiritual leader, who died 17 February 1986.

Some quotes from the work of Jiddu Krishnamurti:

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.”
“It is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.”
“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”
“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.”
“Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone.”
“The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.”
“Governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.”
“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”
“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
“Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.”
“Do not repeat after me words that you do not understand. Do not merely put on a mask of my ideas, for it will be an illusion and you will thereby deceive yourself.”
“The ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge is always within the shadow of ignorance. Meditation is freedom from thought and a movement in the ecstasy of truth. Meditation is explosion of intelligence.”
“Follow the wandering, the distraction, find out why the mind has wandered; pursue it, go into it fully. When the distraction is completely understood, then that particular distraction is gone. When another comes, pursue it also. ”
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”
“Happiness is strange; it comes when you are not seeking it. When you are not making an effort to be happy, then unexpectedly, mysteriously, happiness is there, born of purity, of a loveliness of being.”
“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. … The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.”
“When you once see something as false which you have accepted as true, as natural, as human, then you can never go back to it.”
“We carry about us the burden of what thousands of people have said and the memories of all our misfortunes. To abandon all that is to be alone, and the mind that is alone is not only innocent but young — not in time or age, but young, innocent, alive at whatever age — and only such a mind can see that which is truth and that which is not measurable by words.”
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Musings in Winter: Emily Dickinson

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”
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American Art – Part III of VI: Willard Leroy Metcalf

In the words of one art historian, “Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. His family moved to a farm in Maine in 1863, but eventually returned to Massachusetts, purchasing a home in Cambridgeport in 1872. Metcalf’s parents, themselves artistically inclined, early recognized their son’s talents and encouraged his proper training. He served first as an apprentice to a wood engraver and later as a student of George Loring Brown (1814-1889), a portrait and landscape painter of considerable reputation at the time. Metcalf also took evening life drawing classes at the Lowell Institute and was the first student to receive a scholarship to the Museum of Fine Arts school, which he attended from 1877-1878.
From 1883-1889 Metcalf lived in France where he studied at the Academie Julian under Gustave Boulanger (1824-1890) and Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911). He traveled through Brittany and Normandy beginning in 1884, sketching and painting near the villages of Pont-Aven and Grez-su-Loing, and within a few years frequenting Giverny with several American colleagues, including Theodore Robinson. Visiting North Africa during the winter of 1887 Metcalf discovered the subject that inspired him to paint Marche de Kousse-Kousse a Tunis, which received an honorable mention at the Paris Salon the following year.
Upon returning to the United States, Metcalf lived briefly in Boston, then settled in New York City. In addition to painting and illustrating, he taught for a short time at the Art Students League and for ten years at the Cooper Union.
In 1904, disenchanted with his personal and professional life, Metcalf retreated from the city and went to stay with his parents in Clark’s Cove, Maine, near Boothbay and the Damariscotta River. This highly productive visit brought about a turning point in the artist’s career. He seemed to develop a greater sensitivity to the natural world around this time and began producing the lush New England landscapes for which he would become best known. Although not as poetic or ethereal as his friend Twachtman’s representations of the brooks, fields, and woods, Metcalf’s paintings effectively captured the beauty and serenity of his surroundings during every season and under varied climatic conditions. Despite his use of the divided brushstrokes and bright palette of the impressionists, his images continued to emphasize three-dimensional form, and fidelity to the natural subject.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Coda”
By Alice D’Alessio

for my mother

You broke my heart, you said.
And then you died

leaving the two raw pieces in my lap,
like weeping pomegranate.

Because I tasted the seeds and knew
the underworld? Because your meadows

couldn’t hold me, and beyond the fence
I found a wilderness more tempting

than you – virtuous as a nun –
could comprehend? Was I to blame?

You loved the idea of my life: dinners for eight,
bright kids, bright flowers, filling your dreams

of domesticity. Was it wrong
to hide frayed edges as they pulled apart?

Only daughter of a lonely mother
I was doomed to disappoint

as every seed you planted escaped
your nurturing to flaunt

its own wild weedy dance.
Look, the marsh marigolds we treasured

have disappeared this spring
gobbled by deer, overrun by reed canary grass
but still the redwing blackbird sings.
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Musings in Winter: Lao Tzu

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
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From the Music Archives – Part V of VI: The Beatles

17 February 1967 – The Beatles release “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Autumn Skye Morrison (born 1983): “My purpose is to create. In that process I find stillness and rhythm, my teacher and passion. I believe that art can be a life shaking experience, or an intimate rendezvous. For me it is both.

I place intention in what I create. Either through words, actions, thoughts, or artwork, I aim to share honesty and awakening. To celebrate this fantastic adventure. To inspire and be inspired.

 I begin with planting seeds of ideas, and intuitively progress through the piece. I go on a journey with each painting; evolving together. I am constantly surprised and inspired by what is translated by my imagination and hands.

 Thereafter, your story is whispered. A reflection of light and shadow of your human beauty, your geometric perfection, and your ancient divinity.”
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Musings in Winter: Jarod Kintz

“I find out a lot about myself by sleeping. Dreams, they are who I am when I’m too tired to be me.”
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A Fifth P0em for Today

“The Zen Buddhist in Produce At Our Local Wal-Mart”
By Herb Kitson

First of all, he refuses to punch the time clock,
says it’s against his religion,
that he’s not here for the money.
And he takes so long to do anything!
Days, weeks, months…it’s all the same.
Just the other day, in fact, he held a lemon in his hand
the whole second shift, stood there staring at it.
“It’s the center of the universe,” he said,
“bright, clean, like a new sun.”
Management would like to fire him, but can’t.
Discrimination, you know, equal opportunity employment.
They wouldn’t want to anyway.
Compared to Zen masters at other Wal-Marts, he’s quick.
Besides he pulls in lots of customers.
They love watching how he plays with time,
how when he steps into the store, it seems to stop.
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Musings in Winter: William Stafford

“Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.”
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From the American Old West: Geronimo

“I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.” – Geronimo, prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Native American tribal lands during the Apache Wars, who died 17 February 1909.

A few quotes from Geronimo:

“The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians.”
“I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust.”
“I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I was living peaceably when people began to speak bad of me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.”

Below – A portrait of Geronimo made in 1905 by Edward S. Curtis.
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Living In The Body”
By Joyce Sutphen

Body is something you need in order to stay
on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not
be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful
enough, it will not be fast enough, it will
not keep on for days at a time, but will
pull you down into a sleepy swamp and
demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry
from one day into the next. Always the
same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same
skin when you look in the mirror, and the
same creaky knee when you get up from the
floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and
costly—better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave
eventually. You know that because you have
seen others do it, others who were once like you,
living inside their pile of bones and
flesh, smiling at you, loving you,
leaning in the doorway, talking to you
for hours and then one day they
are gone. No forwarding address.

Below – Ferdinand Hodler: “Spring”
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Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.”
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Philip Pearlstein

Philip Pearlstein (born 1924) is best known for painting nudes in a Modernist Realism style.

Below – “Male and Female Nudes with Red and Purple Drape”; “Two Models in a Window with Cast Iron Toys”; “Two Nudes with Lion, Ostrich, and Minstrel”; “Model with Model Ship”: “Nude with Red Model Airplane”; Model with Flamingo”; “Fox, Fish, Models, and Wooden Lady”; “Self-Portrait.”
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Musings in Winter: C. JoyBell C.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
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From the Music Archives – Part VI of VI: Thelonious Monk

Died 17 February 1982 – Thelonious Monk, an American jazz pianist and composer considered one of the giants of American music.

Musings in Winter: Bridget Asher

“This mountain, the arched back of the earth risen before us, it made me feel humble, like a beggar, just lucky to be here at all, even briefly.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Ode to American English”
By Barbara Hamby

I was missing English one day, American, really,
with its pill-popping Hungarian goulash of everything
from Anglo-Saxon to Zulu, because British English
is not the same, if the paperback dictionary
I bought at Brentano’s on the Avenue de l’Opera
is any indication, too cultured by half. Oh, the English
know their dahlias, but what about doowop, donuts,
Dick Tracy, Tricky Dick? With their elegant Oxfordian
accents, how could they understand my yearning for the hotrod,
hotdog, hot flash vocabulary of the U. S. of A.,
the fragmented fandango of Dagwood’s everyday flattening
of Mr. Beasley on the sidewalk, fetuses floating
on billboards, drive-by monster hip-hop stereos shaking
the windows of my dining room like a 7.5 earthquake,
Ebonics, Spanglish, “you know” used as comma and period,
the inability of 90% of the population to get the past perfect:
I have went, I have saw, I have tooken Jesus into my heart,
the battle cry of the Bible Belt, but no one uses
the King James anymore, only plain-speak versions,
in which Jesus, raising Lazarus from the dead, says,
“Dude, wake up,” and the L-man bolts up like a B-movie
mummy, “Whoa, I was toasted.” Yes, ma’am,
I miss the mongrel plentitude of American English, its fall-guy,
rat-terrier, dog-pound neologisms, the bomb of it all,
the rushing River Jordan backwoods mutability of it, the low-rider,
boom-box cruise of it, from New Joisey to Ha-wah-ya
with its sly dog, malasada-scarfing beach blanket lingo
to the ubiquitous Valley Girl’s like-like stuttering,
shopaholic rant. I miss its quotidian beauty, its querulous
back-biting righteous indignation, its preening rotgut
flag-waving cowardice. Suffering Succotash, sputters
Sylvester the Cat; sine die, say the pork-bellied legislators
of the swamps and plains. I miss all those guys, their Tweety-bird
resilience, their Doris Day optimism, the candid unguent
of utter unhappiness on every channel, the midnight televangelist
euphoric stew, the junk mail, voice mail vernacular.
On every boulevard and rue I miss the Tarzan cry of Johnny
Weismueller, Johnny Cash, Johnny B. Goode,
and all the smart-talking, gum-snapping hard-girl dialogue,
finger-popping x-rated street talk, sports babble,
Cheetoes, Cheerios, chili dog diatribes. Yeah, I miss them all,
sitting here on my sidewalk throne sipping champagne
verses lined up like hearses, metaphors juking, nouns zipping
in my head like Corvettes on Dexadrine, French verbs
slitting my throat, yearning for James Dean to jump my curb.
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Musings in Winter: Vikram Oberoi

“When the wind calls, you know, that somewhere in the mountains, it has found the answers that you were looking for. The pull of the horizon overcomes the inertia of reason…And you just have to go.”
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Back from the Territory – Part I of II: Cross-Country Skiing

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – A cross country ski trailhead in Fairbanks. One can travel along this trail for many miles – a testing but profoundly fulfilling experience, especially if your backpack contains a thermos filled with tea and your heart is filled with the spirit of adventure.
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American Art – Part V of VI: Jacquline Hurlbert

In the words of one writer, “Jacquline Hurlbert, who moved to Oregon from California in 1991, was originally from Nebraska. She attended the University of Nebraska where she first discovered ceramics. Her clay sculptures take many forms creating a different series of works to express each group of emotions that she experiences. Some find her work shocking or disturbing, while she sees it as a sign of hope. ‘The strong, feathered wings, modeled after those of birds rather than angels are symbolic of trying to lift ourselves out of the sorrows and tribulations of the world.’”

Below – “One Winged Figure”; “Red Cat Defending Territory”; “I Promised You a Rose Garden”; “Journal Torso”; “New Winged Figure.”
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Back from the Territory – Part II of II: Granite Tors Trail

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – A typical scene along Granite Tors Trail, outside Fairbanks. The light is dazzling and, partly because a section of it is next to a river, the cold is ferocious.
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Ken Patecky

In the words of one writer, “Ken’s medium is as unique as his style. Although he works in wood, bronze and terra cotta, Ken has perfected his own combination of sands, cements and aggregates to form his own formula cement block that he carves as if it were stone. The finished sculpture is sometimes massive and always compact and smooth. Ken began experimenting with concrete in the 1960’s trying various combinations of materials until he arrived at the perfect mixture enabling him to carve. He has used sand from the Oregon beaches and ash from Mt. St. Helens in his sculptures.”

Below – “Odalisque”; “Uplifting”; “Reverie”; “Classic Pose II”; “Mother and Child”; “Leda.”
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