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

American Art – Part I of VII: Irena Kononova

In the words of one writer, “Irena Kononova is a Russian born artist who presently resides in the Bay Area. She grew up in the family of an actor in St. Petersburg and attended Art High School. When still a teenager she participated in the nonconformist art group “Alef”. Ms. Kononova received an M.A. from St. Petersburg University, Russia. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1981. In 1987 Irena graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she was a recipient of a Cresson Traveling Scholarship and various prizes.”

Below – “Glowing”; “Waterways #14”; “Over the Ocean”; “Calm”; “A Pathway.”
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A Poem for Today

“A Lover”
By Amy Lowell

If I could catch the green lantern of the firefly
I could see to write you a letter.
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Musings in Winter: Robert Wyland

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
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In the words of one critic, “Jin Hongjun (born 1937) is a native of Beijing. His family are descendants of the Emperors of the Qing Dynasty. He studied Chinese painting with many well-known artists in the Chinese Painting Department, Central Art College of China. As a professional artist at the Beijing Painting Institute, Professor Jin particularly specialized in fine brushwork. His paintings have been collected by the China National Art Museum and by the Chinese government and many important organizations. Jin Hongjun also was invited to visit India and to teach in Japan plus to participate in art exhibitions of his works in the U.S., Singapore, Korea, Canada, Thailand and other countries.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“New Year’s Eve Letter To Friends”
By David Clewell

Every year the odds are stacked against it
turning out the way you’d like:
a year of smooth, a year of easy smile,
a year like a lake you could float on,
looking up at a blue year of soothing sky.

Mostly the letters you’re expecting never come.
Lovers walk out and keep on going
and in no time they’re no friend of yours.
Mostly, the sheer weight of days
gone awfully wrong: a tire blown out,
someone’s heart caving in,
the hole worn finally through the roof.
Sometimes it’s only a few tenacious cells
digging in against complete dissolve.
The smallest strand of DNA, stretched thin
over thousands of years, goes taut
and finally holds.

I’ve watched men at the Mission staring out
into the middle distance,
putting up with the latest version of salvation,
all the time wondering just
how long until the bowl and spoon.
They’ve been around long enough to know
the good part’s always saved for last and
there’s no promise they won’t make to get there.
Each year cuts our life down to size,
to something we can almost use. So we find it
somewhere in our hearts: another ring shows up
when we lay open the cross-section.
One more hard line in the hand
spreading slowly out of its clench.

It used to be the world was so small
You could walk out to the end of it
and back in a single day. Now it seems
to take all year to make it mostly back.
And so this is for my friends all over:
a new year. Year the longshot comes home.
The year letters pour in, full of the good word
that never got as far as you before.
The year lovers come to know a good thing
When they find it in the press of familiar flesh.
Walk out onto the planet tonight. Even the moon
is giving back your share of borrowed light
and you take it back, in the name of everything
you can’t take back in your life.
Imagine yourself filling with it,
letting yourself go and floating
through the skeleton trees to your place
at the top of the sky.

And here’s the best part, coming last,
just after all your practiced shows of faith.
Even now, while you’re still salvaging
what passes for resolve.
Remember this, no matter what else happens:
this year you’ll never go without.
It’s no small thing you’ve been in line for,
this bowl and spoon passed finally to you.
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Musings in Winter: John Burroughs

“Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.”
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Here is a critic describing the artistry of painter Christian de Laubadere: “Christian de Laubadère began living and working in Shanghai in 2001.
The series of 137 paintings displayed in the Hotel Setai (Miami) and the most recent 21 paintings shown in Shanghai are a reflection of Christian’s fascination with the sophistication and sensuality of women, past and present. He paints on paper and canvas using lead pencils, smoke and charcoal as well as printed and embroidered fabric selected from China and France.
His signature in Chinese characters is ‘Lu’ (‘foot of the mountain’) and ‘Mi’ (‘power’) directly translated from a nickname of his childhood ‘Loumi’ which means ‘my favourite one’ in French dialect from Gascogne province.”
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“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.” – Amy Tan, an American writer and author of “The Joy Luck Club,” who was born 19 February 1952.

Some quotes from the work of Amy Tan:

“Chance is the first step you take, luck is what comes afterward.”
“I hid my deepest feelings so well I forgot where I placed them.”
“Sure I loved him – too much. And he loved me, only not enough. I just want someone who thinks I’m number one in his life. I’m not willing to accept emotional scraps anymore.”
“Isn’t hate merely the result of wounded love?”
“‘Now you see,’ said the turtle, drifting back into the pond, ‘why it is useless to cry. Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else’s joy. And that is why you must learn to swallow your own tears.’”
“That was how dishonesty and betrayal started, not in big lies but in small secrets.”
“Isn’t that how it is when you must decide with your heart? You are not just choosing one thing over another. You are choosing what you want. And you are also choosing what somebody else does not want, and all the consequences that follow. You can tell yourself, That’s not my problem, but those words do not wash the trouble away. Maybe it is no longer a problem in your life. But it is always a problem in your heart.”
“We all had our miseries. But to despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.”
“I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.”
“Because sometimes that is the only way to remember what is in your bones. You must peel off your skin, and that of your mother, and her mother. Until there is nothing. No scar, no skin, no flesh.”
“Why do you think you are missing something you never had?”
“Your life is what you see in front of you.”
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American Art – Part II of VII: Kelly Detweiler

Kelly Detweiler has earned degrees from Grossmont College, California State University at Hayward, and the University of California at Davis.”

Below – “High School”; “Woman with Bird”; “Landscape with Moon”; “Bird Guide”; “Animal Magnetism.”
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Musings in Winter: H. P. Lovecraft

“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Bad News About My Vocation”
By Ron Koertge

I remember how the upper crust in my hometown
pronounced it- Care-a-mel. Which is correct, I guess,
but to everyone else it was carmel.

Which led to the misconception about the order of
Carmelites.

I imagined they served God by heating sugar
to about 170 C, then adding milk and butter
and vanilla essence while they
listened to the radio.

I thought I could do that. I could wear the white
shirt and pants. I knew I couldn’t be good
but I might be a good candy maker.

So imagine my chagrin when I learned about
the vows of poverty and toil enjoined
by these particular friars.

I also crossed off my list the Marshmallowites
and the Applepieites, two other orders
I was thinking of joining.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Pascale Pratte: “What inspires me in the creation of these colorful characters is femininity. At times strong, at times sensual, these women seem to follow the paths of my emotions. They are within me and are part of my being.”

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Musings in Winter: Rumi

“Beyond what we wish and what we fear may happen,
we have another life…
as clear and free as a mountain stream.”
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In the words of one critic, artist Natalya Osadcha “was born May 21, 1979 in Ukraine. In 1997 she graduated from a professional art institution as ‘Painter to the wood, performer of works of art – decorative.’ She later worked as a decorator at a company of ceramic art in Ukraine.”

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“There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.” – Carson McCullers, American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, poet, and author of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” who was born 19 February 1917.

Some quotes from the work of Carson McCullers:

“It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
“How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”
“But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things.”
“All we can do is go around telling the truth.”
“We wander, question. But the answer waits in each separate heart – the answer of our own identity and the way by which we can master loneliness and feel that at last we belong.”
“The Heart is a lonely hunter with only one desire! To find some lasting comfort in the arms of another’s fire…driven by a desperate hunger to the arms of a neon light, the heart is a lonely hunter when there’s no sign of love in sight!”
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Musings in Winter: Henry Grunwald

“A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.”
Beach combing in Okinawa Japan for seashells and sea glass

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Winter Stars”
By Larry Levis

My father once broke a man’s hand
Over the exhaust pipe of a John Deere tractor. The man,
Ruben Vasquez, wanted to kill his own father
With a sharpened fruit knife, and he held
The curved tip of it, lightly, between his first
Two fingers, so it could slash
Horizontally, & with surprising grace,
Across a throat. It was like a glinting beak in a hand,
And, for a moment, the light held still
On those vines. When it was over,
My father simply went in & ate lunch, & then, as always,
Lay alone in the dark, listening to music.
He never mentioned it.

I never understood how anyone could risk his life,
Then listen to Vivaldi.

Sometimes, I go out into this yard at night,
And stare through the wet branches of an oak
In winter, & realize I am looking at the stars
Again. A thin haze of them, shining
And persisting.

It used to make me feel lighter, looking up at them.
In California, that light was closer.
In a California no one will ever see again,
My father is beginning to die. Something
Inside him is slowly taking back
Every word it ever gave him.
Now, if we try to talk, I watch my father
Search for a lost syllable as if it might
Solve everything, & though he can’t remember, now,
The word for it, he is ashamed…
If you can think of the mind as a place continually
Visited, a whole city placed behind
The eyes, & shining, I can imagine, now, its end—
As when the lights go off, one by one,
In a hotel at night, until at last
All of the travelers will be asleep, or until
Even the thin glow from the lobby is a kind
Of sleep; & while the woman behind the desk
Is applying more lacquer to her nails,
You can almost believe that elevator,
As it ascends, must open upon starlight.

I stand out on the street, & do not go in.
That was our agreement, at my birth.

And for years I believed
That what went unsaid between us became empty,
And pure, like starlight, & that it persisted.

I got it all wrong.
I wound up believing in words the way a scientist
Believes in carbon, after death.

Tonight, I’m talking to you, father, although
It is quiet here in the Midwest, where a small wind,
The size of a wrist, wakes the cold again—
Which may be all that’s left of you & me.

When I left home at seventeen, I left for good.

That pale haze of stars goes on & on,
Like laughter that has found a final, silent shape
On a black sky. It means everything
It cannot say. Look, it’s empty out there, & cold.
Cold enough to reconcile
Even a father, even a son.
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Musings in Winter: Connie Willis

“That’s what literature is. It’s the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death! Listen to them!”
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In the words of one historian, “William Herbert ‘Buck’ Dunton (28 August 1878 – 18 March 1936) was an American artist and a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists. He is noted for paintings of cowboys, New Mexico, and the American Southwest.”

Below – “Delivering the Mail”; “A Lazy Day in Camp”; “The End of the Day”; “The Horse Rustler”; “Woman on Horse”; “The Horse Wrangler”;“Prairie Courtship”; “Bronc Rider”; “In the Tetons”; “Timberline.”
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Musings in Winter: Jon Krakauer

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
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“There is only one history of any importance, and it is the history of what you once believed in, and the history of what you came to believe in.” – Kay Boyle, American poet, novelist, educator, and political activist, who was born 19 February 1903.

“Monody to the Sound of Zithers”

I have wanted other things more than lovers . . .
I have desired peace, intimately to know
The secret curves of deep-bosomed contentment,
To learn by heart things beautiful and slow.

Cities at night, and cloudful skies, I’ve wanted;
And open cottage doors, old colors and smells a part;
All dim things, layers of river-mist on river –
To capture Beauty’s hands and lay them on my heart;

I have wanted clean rain to kiss my eyelids,
Sea-spray and silver foam to kiss my mouth.
I have wanted strong winds to flay me with passion;
And, to soothe me, tired winds from the south.

These things I have wanted more than lovers . . .
Jewels in my hands, and dew on morning grass –
Familiar things, while lovers have been strangers.
Friended thus, I have let nothing pass.
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In the words of one writer, “Lorraine Lewitzka was born in South Australia in 1952, into a family of artists and worked as a fashion and illustrative artist in the late ’60’s, beginning watercolour painting in 1985. In 1988, Lorraine was accepted as a Fellow of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts and began exhibiting in private and mixed exhibitions.”
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19 February 1949 – The first Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Ezra Pound.

“In a Station of the Metro”

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough.
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Here is how one writer describes the early years of Italian painter Sandro Bastioli: “Bastioli was born in Spoleto in 1949. He went to live in Switzlerland at an early age, where he soon showed a skill for drawing and painting. When he returned to Italy he went to live in Milan, where he attended the Accademia di Pittura di Bovisio Masciago for two years, under the guidance of Professor Cino Balleri. Here, he improved his tecnique in oil painting. He began his artistic career after overcoming many milestones, and he ventured into painting ‘nude women’ as a start. He painted them both in oil and sanguine, which he preferred.”
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Musings in Winter: John Keats

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
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19 February 1963 – The Bollingen Prize for Poetry is awarded to Robert Frost.

“An Old Man’s Winter Night”

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him — at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; — and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man — one man — can’t keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It’s thus he does it of a winter night.
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In the words of one writer, “Anthony Palliser was born in 1949 of an English father and a Belgian mother. He studied at Downside school and graduated from New College Oxford. In 1967 he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. In 1970 he settled in Paris where he still lives and works. From 1995 to 1997 he taught as visiting professor at the New York School of Visual Arts in Savannah, Georgia. He remains a frequent visitor to Savannah and Charleston, SC. where the unique landscapes of the low-country remain a constant source of inspiration.”
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19 February 1995 -The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Kenneth Koch.

“Mountain”

Nothing’s moving I don’t see anybody
And I know that it’s not a trick
There really is nothing moving there
And there aren’t any people. It is the very utmost top
Where, as is not unusual,
There is snow, lying like the hair on a white-haired person’s head
Combed sideways and backward and forward to cover as much of the top
As possible, for the snow is thinning, it’s September
Although a few months from now there will be a new crop
Probably, though this no one KNOWS (so neither do we)
But every other year it has happened by November
Except for one year that’s known about, nineteen twenty-three
When the top was more and more uncovered until December fifteenth
When finally it snowed and snowed
I love seeing this mountain like a mouse
Attached to the tail of another mouse, and to another and to another
In total mountain silence
There is no way to get up there, and no means to stay.
It is uninhabitable. No roads and no possibility
Of roads. You don’t have a history
Do you, mountain top? This doesn’t make you either a mystery
Or a dull person and you’re certainly not a truck stop.
No industry can exploit you
No developer can divide you into estates or lots
No dazzling disquieting woman can tie your heart in knots.
I could never lead my life on one of those spots
You leave uncovered up there. No way to be there
But I’m moved.
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Musings in Winter: Kobayashi Issa

“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
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American Art – Part IV of VII: Lawrence McAdams

Artist Statement: “The images in my paintings are metaphors for the adventure, battle and beauty of life. They were created to intrigue, inspire, or connect with viewers – and their own stories.”

Below – “Consequential Adaptation”; “The Long Surrender”; “Passages”; “Aurora”; “Piercing the Veil”; “Whirlwind.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Her Kind”
By Anne Sexton

have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
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Musings in Winter: Anais Nin

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of II: “Mama” Cass Elliot

Born 19 February 1943 – “Mama” Cass Elliot, an American singer and member of The Mamas and The Papas.

American Art – Part V of VII: Sara Scribner

Artist Statement: “Traveling the world through books, sifting through stories, I find myths and folktales that use flora and fauna in their allegories. When combined with realism, the results are contemporary paintings that speak a language that has been used by painters and poets for centuries.
Both flowers and animals have been used symbolically by many different cultures. Translating these stories and making them my own is where my creativity thrives. I search for the moment when my sitter finds the magic within herself and capture that on canvas.”

Below – “Birdsong Interrupted”; “Take Heed”; “She Captured the Night”; “Her Feathers Danced”; “Aloft with Their Plumes No More”; “And She Was Courted by the Sun.”
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Musings in Winter: Helen Keller

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Eddie Hardin

Born 19 February 1949 – Eddie Hardin, an English rock pianist and singer-songwriter best known for his association with the Spencer Davis Group.

Musings in Winter: Laura Ingalls Wilder

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
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Russian painter Dmitry Lisichenko (born 1976) is a graduate of both the Moscow Art Lyceum and the Moscow State Academic Art Institute.
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Dishwater”
By Ted Kooser

Slap of the screen door, flat knock
of my grandmother’s boxy black shoes
on the wooden stoop, the hush and sweep
of her knob-kneed, cotton-aproned stride
out to the edge and then, toed in
with a furious twist and heave,
a bridge that leaps from her hot red hands
and hangs there shining for fifty years
over the mystified chickens,
over the swaying nettles, the ragweed,
the clay slope down to the creek,
over the redwing blackbirds in the tops
of the willows, a glorious rainbow
with an empty dishpan swinging at one end.
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Spanish painter Paco Ferrando Menarguez (born 1946) lives and works in Barcelona.

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Musings in Winter: George Mallory

“So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of Polish painter Bogna Palmowska: “I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the UW Department of Sociology, Applied Social Sciences. In 2012, graduated from the Faculty of Painting under the direction of Professor Jarosław Modzelewski.
I mostly paint on canvas, but also compose works on paper using mixed techniques, where the role
equivalent to the presentation plays intense, luminous color. I live and work in Żoliborz, Warsaw.”
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February 19 1932 – William Faulkner completes his novel “Light in August.”

Some quotes from “Light in August”:

“In August in Mississippi there’s a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there’s a foretaste of fall, it’s cool, there’s a lambence, a soft, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and—from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere. It lasts just for a day or two, then it’s gone. . .the title reminded me of that time, of a luminosity older than our Christian civilization.”
“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. Knows remembers believes a corridor in a big long garbled cold echoing building of dark red brick sootbleakened by more chimneys than its own, set in a grassless cinderstrewnpacked compound surrounded by smoking factory purlieus and enclosed by ten food steel-and-wire fence like a penitentiary or a zoo, where in random erratic surges, with sparrowlike childtrebling, orphans in identical and uniform blue denim in and out of remembering but in knowing constant in the bleak walls, the bleak windows where in rain soot from the yearly adjacenting chimneys streaked like black tears.”
“Knowing not grieving remembers a thousand savage and lonely streets.”
“I know now that what makes a fool is an inability to take even his own good advice.”
“He thought that it was loneliness which he was trying to escape and not himself. But the street ran on: catlike, one place was the same as another to him. But in none of them could he be quiet. But the street ran on in its moods and phases, always empty: he might have seen himself as in numberless avatars, in silence, doomed with motion, driven by the courage of flagged and spurred despair; by the despair of courage whose opportunities had to be flagged and spurred.”
“How false the most profound book turns out to be when applied to life.”
“At first it had been a torrent; now it was a tide, with a flow and ebb. During its flood she could almost fool them both. It was as if out of her knowledge that it was just a flow that must presently react was born a wilder fury, a fierce denial that could flag itself and him into physical experimentation that transcended imagining, carried them as though by momentum alone, bearing them without volition or plan. It was as if she knew somehow that time was short, that autumn was almost upon her, without knowing yet the exact significance of autumn. It seemed to be instinct alone: instinct physical and instinctive denial of the wasted years. Then the tide would ebb. Then they would be stranded as behind a dying mistral, upon a spent and satiate beach, looking at one another like strangers, with hopeless and reproachful (on his part with weary: on hers with despairing) eyes.”
“Though children can accept adults as adults, adults can never accept children as anything but adults too.”
“Surely heaven must have something of the color and shape of whatever village or hill or cottage of which the believer says, This is my own.”
“The whiskey died away in time and was renewed and died again, but the street ran on. From that night the thousand streets ran as one street, with imperceptible corners and changes of scene …”
“It is just dawn, daylight: that gray and lonely suspension filled with the peaceful and tentative waking of birds. The air, inbreathed, is like spring water. He breathes deep and slow, feeling with each breath himself diffuse in the natural grayness, becoming one with loneliness and quiet that has never known fury or despair. ‘That was all I wanted,’ he thinks, in a quiet and slow amazement. ‘That was all, for thirty years. That didn’t seem to be a whole lot to ask in thirty years.’”
“A man. All men. He will pass up a hundred chances to do good for one chance to meddle where meddling is not wanted. He will overlook and fail to see chances, opportunities, for riches and fame and welldoing, and even sometimes for evil. But he won’t fail to see a chance to meddle.”
“And I reckon them that are good must suffer for it the same as them that are bad.”
“A man will talk about how he’d like to escape from living folks. but it’s the dead folks that do him the damage. It’s the dead ones that lay quiet in one place and don’t try to hold him, that he cant escape from.”
“It does not take long. Soon the fine galloping language, the gutless swooning full of sapless trees and dehydrated lusts begins to swim smooth and swift and peaceful. It is better than praying without having to bother to think aloud. It is like listening in a cathedral to a eunuch chanting in a language which he does not even need to not understand.”

Below – Faulkner’s home Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi, where he wrote “Light in August.”
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Musings in Winter: Virginia Woolf

“When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Starry Night over the Rhone”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“New Year’s Resolution”
By Linda Davis

I ask my friend Bob what his New Year’s Resolutions are and he says, with a shrug (indicating that this is obvious or not surprising ): to drink less, to lose weight… He asks me the same, but I am not ready to answer him yet.

I have been studying my Zen again, in a mild way, out of desperation over the holidays, though mild desperation. A medal or a rotten tomato, it’s all the same, says the book I have been reading. After a few days of consideration, I think the most truthful answer to my friend Bob would be: My New Year’s Resolution is to learn to see myself as nothing.

Is this competitive? He wants to lose some weight, I want to learn to see myself as nothing. Of course, to be competitive is not in keeping with any Buddhist philosophy. A true nothing is not competitive. But I don’t think I’m being competitive when I say it. I am feeling truly humble, at that moment. Or I think I am—in fact, can anyone be truly humble at the moment they say they want to learn to be nothing?

But there is another problem, which I have been wanting to describe to Bob for a few weeks now: at last, halfway through your life, you are smart enough to see that it all amounts to nothing, even success amounts to nothing. But how does a person learn to see herself as nothing when she has already had so much trouble learning to see herself as, something in the first place? It’s so confusing.

You spend the first half of your life learning that you are something after all, now you have to spend the second half learning to see yourself as nothing. You have been a negative nothing, now you want to be a positive nothing.

I have begun trying, in these first days of the New Year, bur so far it’s pretty difficult. I’m pretty close to nothing all morning, but by late afternoon what is in me that is something starts throwing its weight around.

This happens many days. By evening, I’m full of something and it’s often something nasty and pushy. So what I think at this point is that I’m aiming too high, that maybe nothing is too much, to begin with. Maybe for now I should just try, each day, to be a little less than I usually am.

Below – “Empty Mind”
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Musings in Winter: Saul Bellow

“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”
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American Art – Part VI of VII: Kristin Lindseth Rivera

Artist Statement: “As a sculptor and a printmaker I am drawn to the alchemical nature of the processes in which the final piece is only fully realized in its final material after going through several other material states. I began my artistic journey as a Printmaker. Intaglio prints, etched on metal plates in many stages, are complete only after the plates have been inked and run through a press. Likewise, bronze sculptures go through states of being in clay, wood or other materials before being made into wax, which is next burned and melted away, and the hollow shell is filled with molten metal. The final material state always contains an element of discovery. In my work I begin with drawings to get out the ideas, and eventually use all of the above mentioned materials in a layered process to create the final result in bronze.
I have chosen to focus on the human figure in sculpture since the mid 1990s. My bronze sculptures include heads, figures and fragments, and are about the universal experience of being human. They deal with the life experience of men and women of diverse cultures, ages and backgrounds, particularly with respect to inner experience and relationship; i.e. alienation, freedom of choice, loss, wholeness and joy…The inspiration for sculpture comes from the people I am closest to, as well as from students and others who I meet in my work, and I use these same people for my models in many cases. The audience that I hope to reach includes people of all backgrounds, since the themes and the subjects are universal.
The sculptural heads that I create are more an exploration of the inner world of the individual. The constructions which include architectural elements, animal and nature references, relate the self to mythologies, dreams and universal concepts. In some cases, these pieces investigate the boundaries between the self and the outer world, but they are all primarily about inner experience.”

Below – “Transformation”; “Night”; “Ocixemaj”; “Ullalume”; “Labyrinth of Time”; “Crow”; “Walking Meditation”; “Unquiet”; “Seer.”
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Musings in Winter: Jill Davis

“The waves of the sea help me get back to me.”
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An Eighth Poem for Today

“Fields”
By Faith Shearin

For Henry and Irene Spruill

My great grandfather had some fields in North Carolina
and he willed those fields to his sons and his sons
willed them to their sons so there is a two-hundred-year-old
farm house on that land where several generations
of my family fried chicken and laughed and hung

their laundry beneath the trees. There are things you
know when your family has lived close to the earth:
things that make magic seem likely. Dig a hole on the new
of the moon and you will have dirt to throw away
but dig one on the old of the moon and you won’t have

enough to fill it back up again: I learned this trick
in the backyard of childhood with my hands. If you know
the way the moon pulls at everything then you can feel
it on the streets of a city where you cannot see the sky.
My mother says the moon is like a man: it changes

its mind every eight days and you plant nothing
until its risen full and high. If you plant corn when
the signs are in the heart you will get black spots
in your grain and if you meet a lover when the
signs are in the feet he will never take you dancing.

When the signs are in the bowels you must not plant
or your seed will rot and if you want to make a baby
you must undress under earth or water. I am the one
in the post office who buys stamps when the signs
are in the air so my mail will learn to fly. I stand in my

front yard, in the suburbs, and wish for luck and
money on the new of the moon when there
are many black nights. I may walk the streets
of this century and make my living in an office
but my blood is old farming blood and my true

self is underground like a potato. At the opera
I will think of rainfall and vines. In my dreams
all my corn may grow short but the ears will be
full. If you kiss my forehead on a dark moon
in March I may disappear—but do not be afraid—
I have taken root in my grandfather’s
fields: I am hanging my laundry beneath his trees
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Musings in Winter: David McCullough, Jr.

“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Bobby Nashookpuk

Artist Statement: ““I am an Inupiat Eskimo from the village of Point Hope, Alaska, one of the oldest historical settlements in North America. We subsist on the land and the ocean with whatever nature provides us. Growing up in Point Hope, I got my training watching my father, uncles, and grandfather, who were carvers and important artists. My mother was my inspiration. She encouraged me to carve. My father was a great hunter, tribal doctor, and the whaling captain of our village. I’ve lived in Fairbanks for several years and make my living by selling my art. Each piece of art I make is an original, made by my hands, using traditional materials and tools; bones from the whale, baleen, walrus ivory, and driftwood. I like to tell the stories of my ancestors through my art. I remember the stories of the Shaman using the Kikituq to protect the village from evil spirits, the transformation, and ancient dances.”

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

Below – “Seals Dancing” (fossilized whale bone, ivory, baleen); “Smile” (fossilized whale bone) “Frown” (fossilized whale bone); “Owl Inua: (whale bone, ivory, baleen).
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American Art – Part VII of VII: Gregg Chadwick

In the words of one writer, “Gregg Chadwick creates his artwork in an old airplane hangar in Santa Monica, California. The recurring sound of airplane take-offs and landings from the active airport runaway outside his studio reminds him of his own history of travel. Chadwick has exhibited his artworks in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree at UCLA and a Master’s Degree at NYU, both in Fine Art. He has had notable solo exhibitions at the Manifesta Maastricht Gallery (Maastricht, The Netherlands), Space AD 2000 (Tokyo, Japan), the Lisa Coscino Gallery (Pacific Grove), and the Sandra Lee Gallery (San Francisco) among others. He has participated in nearly one hundred group exhibitions including the LOOK Gallery (Los Angeles), the Arena 1 Gallery (Santa Monica), the di Rosa Preserve Gallery (Napa) and the Arts Club of Washington (Washington DC). Chadwick’s art is notably included in the collections of the Adobe Corporation, the Gilpin Museum, the Graciela Hotel – Burbank, the Harbor Court Hotel – San Francisco; the Kimpton Group’s headquarters in San Francisco, the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Nordstrom Company Headquarters, the W Hotel Hollywood, and Winona State University.”

Below – “Mystery Train”; “Rio Grande”; Three Secrets”; “Taksim”; “Museum Whispers”; “In the Hanami Rain”; “Meditations on a Wave on the Day of the Venice Art Walk: May 22, 2011.”
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