March Offerings – Part IX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Kyle Paliotto

In the words of one writer, “Oil painter Kyle Paliotto gathers imagery from the beautiful rustic landscape of his local surroundings in North Idaho. He searches out rural settings which display a time gone by when harmony between land and man existed. His style is one that takes from impressionism without disregarding the discipline of representational art up to the early 1900’s. Painting plein air on location is essential to his process but the real meat and potatoes is in the studio. At the age of 36, Kyle has had some great achievements, but his greatest joys are his wife Rebecca and children Vincent and Sophia.”

Below – “Evening Chorus”; “Curious Trio”; “Adventure’s Quiet”; “Thick and Thin”; “Fall Reflections.”
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“The dead of midnight is the noon of thought.” – Anna Laetitia Barbauld, English poet, essayist, literary critic, editor, and children’s author, who died 9 March 1825.

Barbauld’s poetry was influential in the development of British Romanticism.

“To a Dog”

Dear faithful object of my tender care,
Whom but my partial eyes none fancy fair;
May I unblamed display thy social mirth,

Thy modest virtues, and domestic worth:

Thou silent, humble flatterer, yet sincere,

More swayed by love than interest or fear;

Solely to please thy most ambitious view,

As lovers fond, and more than lovers true.

Who can resist those dumb beseeching eyes,

Where genuine eloquence persuasive lies?

Those eyes, where language fails, display thy heart

Beyond the pomp of phrase and pride of art.

Thou safe companion, and almost a friend,

Whose kind attachment but with life shall end,—

Blest were mankind if many a prouder name

Could boast thy grateful truth and spotless fame!

Below – Jean-Honore Fragonard: “Portrait of a Woman with a Dog.”
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A Poem for Today

“Blank”
By George Bilgere

When I came to my mother’s house
the day after she had died
it was already a museum of her
unfinished gestures. The mysteries
from the public library, due
in two weeks. The half-eaten square
of lasagna in the fridge.

The half-burned wreckage
of her last cigarette,
and one red swallow
of wine in a lipsticked
glass beside her chair.

Finally, a blue Bic
on a couple of downs
and acrosses left blank
in the Sunday crossword,
which actually had the audacity
to look a little smug
at having, for once, won.
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Musings in Winter: Henrik Ibsen

“To live is to war with trolls.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Johann Pachelbel

Died 9 March 1706 – Johann Pachelbel, a German organist and composer.

American Art – Part II of VI: Bryan Larsen

Here is part of the Artist Statement of American romantic realist painter Bryan Larsen (born 1975): “My goal is to portray the heroic and romantic in human nature and human achievement in a realistic style and a modern setting. I place particular emphasis on composition, technique, realistic detail, proper craftsmanship and consistency of style.”
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Musings in Winter: Buddha

“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Pink Pantsuit”
By Nancy Simpson

It hangs around the wardrobe
for days, dull,
or reclines in the hamper

like a flattened flamingo.
I wash it in soft water.
I give it new life, and what thanks?

It walks out the door with my legs,
through the gate,
headed straight for the racetrack.
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From the Music Archives – Part II of III: John Cale

“The only reason we wore sunglasses onstage was because we couldn’t stand the sight of the audience.” – John Cale, Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriter, record producer, and a founding member of the band Velvet Underground, who was born 9 March 1942.

Musings in Winter: Stephen Jay Gould

“We have become, by the power of a glorious evolutionary accident called intelligence, the stewards of life’s continuity on earth. We did not ask for this role, but we cannot abjure it. We may not be suited to it, but here we are.”
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Italian artist Mario Bogani (born 1932) lives and works in Fenegro.
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A Third Poem for Today

“Holiday Concert”
By Maryann Corbett

Forgive us. We have dragged them into the night
in taffeta dresses, in stiff collars and ties,
with the wind damp, the sleet raking their cheeks,

to school lunchrooms fitted with makeshift stages
where we will sit under bad fluorescent lighting
on folding chairs, and they will sing and play.

We will watch the first grader with little cymbals,
bending her knees, hunched in concentration
while neighbors snicker at her ardent face.

Forgive us. We will hear the seventh-grade boy
as his voice finally loses its innocence
forever, at the unbearable solo moment

and know that now, for years, he will wince at the thought
of singing, yet will ache to sing, in silence,
silence even to the generation to come

with its night, its sleet, its hideous lunchroom chairs.
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Musings in Winter: Carlos Maria Dominguez

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Ornette Coleman

“I’m interested in music, not in my image. If someone plays something fantastic, that I could never have thought of, it makes me happy to know it exists.” – Ornette Coleman, American saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, composer, major innovator in the free jazz movement of the 1960s, and recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album “Sound Grammar,” who was born 9 March 1930.

“Turnaround,” from “Sound Grammar”:

American Art – Part III of VI: Thomas Cole

During the years 1833-1836, American artist Thomas Cole produced a five-part series of paintings called “The Course of Empire” that depicts the growth and fall of an imaginary city. It is notable in part for reflecting popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay.

A direct source of literary inspiration for The Course of Empire paintings is Lord Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” (1812–18), particularly these lines from Canto IV:

“There is the moral of all human tales;
‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory — when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption, — barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page . . .”

Below – “The Course of Empire – The Savage State”; “The Course of Empire – The Arcadian or Pastoral State”; “The Course of Empire – The Consummation of Empire”; “The Course of Empire – Destruction”; “The Course of Empire – Desolation.”
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Musings in Winter: Miguel Syjuco

“It kills me how these days everyone has clinical justification for their strangeness.”
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“Any work of architecture that does not express serenity is a mistake.” – Luis Barragan, Mexican architect, who was born 9 March 1902.

Some quotes from Luis Barragan:

“I don’t divide architecture, landscape and gardening; to me they are one.”
“I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.”
“Architecture is an art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being.”
“A garden must combine the poetic and he mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.
“Beauty is the oracle that speaks to us all.”
‘It is essential to an architect to know how to see: I mean to see in such a way that the vision is not overpowered by rational analysis.”
‘Life deprived of beauty is not worthy of being called human.”
“My house is my refuge, an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience.”

Above – Luis Barragan.
Below – The Campbell Divertimento House; the San Cristobal Stables; the garden of the Eduardo Prieto Lopez House; a section of Barragan’s house and studio.
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Musings in Winter: Paul Coelho

“Hide your craziness behind a beautiful smile. That’s all you need.”
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From the Television Archives – Part I of II: Edward R. Murrow

9 March 1954 – In an inspiring act of moral courage, Edward R. Murrow delivers a half-hour “See It Now” special on CBS called “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Seed”
By Kathleen Driskell

In first grade, you met Squanto,
nearly naked and
on his haunches, showing
those thick-headed pilgrims
how one must plant fish
to grow maize. And in autumn
you dove into the lobotomized
pumpkin, into the gooey pulp
and seeds, raising a clump
like a slimy chandelier
from the Titanic. And now
in late summer, daughter,
you smile, holding a ripe watermelon,
cut in half, exposing the black
seed within its bright red heart.
Your melon. How proud you are
to think you grew this delicious
thing all on your own.
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Russian painter Andrej Mashkovtsev (born 1966) studied at the Faculty of Automatics and Telemechanics of Vinnitsa Technical University. His artworks are held in private collections throughout Europe.
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From the Television Archives – Part II of II: George Burns

“I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.” – George Burns, American actor, comic, and straight man for Gracie Allen on the Burns and Allen comedy team, who died 3 March 1996.

And what a great team it was:

Musings in Winter: Jhumpa Lahiri

“Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of Japanese painter Shinji Nakabori (born 1956): “Twenty years ago or so I faced the torment of missing the direction of painting, hopelessly at an impasse with no way out.
It was at that time of despair when I encountered Maitreya bodhisattva at Koryuji Temple in Kyoto. Standing in front of the statue emitting gentle lights with dignity beyond time and space, I received ‘something’ that I could not find appropriate words for.
Since then, it has been all I hope my painting will communicate ‘something’ that directly reaches you.
I am and will be on the way to looking for that ‘something.’”
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From the American History Archives: Barbie

9 March 1959 – Mattel introduces Barbie to America.

Below – Three famous Barbie dolls: The first Barbie doll was available as either a blonde or a brunette; for some reason, the name of Oreo Barbie, introduced in 1997, proved to be controversial; Caribou Barbie.
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Evan Wilson

Here is how Peter Baldaia, Chief Curator, Huntsville Museum of Art, describes the artistry of American painter Evan Wilson (born 1953): “The accomplished paintings of Evan Wilson imbue everyday reality with a heightened sense of elegance and grace. His varied subjects–including engaging portraits, dazzling floral still lifes, genteel interiors, and vibrant genre scenes–transcribe the world into something slightly rarified, a realm in which beauty reigns supreme. For nearly twenty-five years, Wilson has worked as a professional artist in the venerable realist tradition, evolving a painting style that fuses the keen observational clarity of John Singleton Copley with the dash and spirit of John Singer Sargent. His best works capture the present as they acknowledge the past, and underscore the enduring power of realism in skilled and dedicated hands.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“The Vanity of the Dragonfly”
By Nancy Willard

The dragonfly at rest on the doorbell—
too weak to ring and glad of it,
but well mannered and cautious,
thinking it best to observe us quietly
before flying in, and who knows if he will find
the way out? Cautious of traps, this one.
A winged cross, plain, the body straight
as a thermometer, the old glass kind
that could kill us with mercury if our teeth
did not respect its brittle body. Slim as an eel
but a solitary glider, a pilot without bombs
or weapons, and wings clear and small as a wish
to see over our heads, to see the whole picture.
And when our gaze grazes over it and moves on,
the dragonfly changes its clothes,
sheds its old skin, shriveled like laundry,
and steps forth, polished black, with two
circles buttoned like epaulettes taking the last space
at the edge of its eyes.
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Musings in Winter: Erol Ozan

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
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American Art – Part V of VI: Dave Sellers

In the words of one writer, “Dave Sellers spent his first summer after high school painting watercolors of North American waterfowl. This enabled him to fund his education in art and history at Humboldt State University in northern California. He sold his work over the summer between school years and caught the attention of various conservation groups, including the California Waterfowl Association and Ducks Unlimited. These two organizations helped to publicize Dave’s work and he soon became well known throughout the state among those interested in preserving wetland habitat. After a few years as a wildlife painter, Dave was on his way to national notice.”

Below – “Dawn Boundary Waters”; “The River in Winter”; “Cypress Sentinels”; “Marin Islands Remembered”; “Old Oaks and Ancient Hills”; “Moods of the Forest.”
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Blind Date”
By Jay Leeming

Our loneliness sits with us at dinner, an unwanted guest
who never says anything. It’s uncomfortable. Still

we get to know each other, like students allowed
to use a private research library for only one night.

I go through her file of friends, cities and jobs.
“What was that like?” I ask. “What did you do then?”

We are each doctors who have only ourselves
for medicine, and long to prescribe it for what ails

the other. She has a nice smile. Maybe, maybe . . .
I tell myself. But my heart is a cynical hermit

who frowns once, then shuts the door of his room
and starts reading a book. All I can do now is want

to want her. Our polite conversation coasts
like a car running on fumes, and then rolls to a stop;

we split the bill, and that third guest at the table
goes home with each of us, to talk and talk.
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“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.” – Charles Bukowski, German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer, who died 9 March 1994.

Adam Kirsch of ‘The New Yorker’ wrote, “the secret of Bukowski’s appeal (is that) he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”

“A Radio With Guts”

it was on the 2nd floor on Coronado Street
I used to get drunk
and throw the radio through the window
while it was playing, and, of course,
it would break the glass in the window
and the radio would sit there on the roof
still playing
and I’d tell my woman,
“Ah, what a marvelous radio!”
the next morning I’d take the window
off the hinges
and carry it down the street
to the glass man
who would put in another pane.
I kept throwing that radio through the window
each time I got drunk
and it would sit there on the roof
still playing-
a magic radio
a radio with guts,
and each morning I’d take the window
back to the glass man.
I don’t remember how it ended exactly
though I do remember
we finally moved out.
there was a woman downstairs who worked in
the garden in her bathing suit,
she really dug with that trowel
and she put her behind up in the air
and I used to sit in the window
and watch the sun shine all over that thing
while the music played.
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Musings in Winter: Ashly Lorenzana

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Eric Bealer

In the words of one writer, “Eric is mainly a self-taught artist who was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania. He spent 13 years showing and selling his work in the New England are before moving to the town of Haines, in Southeast Alaska, in 1989. Desiring a more remote location, he and his wife have since moved, and they now live outside the small fishing village of Pelican on Chichagof Island.
Having worked with watercolors and then metal etchings, Eric feels he has truly found himself in wood engraving. ‘Living in the Rainforest and working with wood is a very positive experience for me,’ he says. ‘My work is inspired by the world around me. I start with a small idea, something I have seen or experienced, and let it grow from there.’
Wood engraving is a technical and time-consuming process, and Eric often finds that he has far more ideas and feelings than can be cut into a single block. ‘Nature is so full of beautiful details. Far more than we can hold in our eyes and mind at one time. All those details combine to create the whole.’ Eric tries to create a special feeling in each print. ‘If I can speak to you a feeling, then that is all you need.’”

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

Below – “Be Like the Sea”; “Breathe Deep”; “Bull Pines”; “Flight of the Fox”; “Free Verse”; “The Next Step.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Out of the World There Passed a Soul”
By Sherod Santos

The day of my mother’s funeral I spend clearing out
her overgrown flower beds, down on my knees
in the leaf rot, nut shells, tiny grains of sandlot sand
spilling from the runoff gullies. The hot work was to see
not feel what had to be done, not to go on asking,
not to wonder anymore. Full from scraps I’d found
at the back of the refrigerator, her mongrel dog
lay curled on a stone and watched me work.
It was Sunday. The telephone rang, then stopped,
then rang again. By the end of the day, I’d done
what I could. I swept the walk, put away the tools,
switched on the indoor safety lamps, and then
(it hardly matters what I think I felt) I closed
the gate on a house where no one lived anymore.
American house exterior with white closed wooden gate

Musings in Winter: Vicky Corona

“Remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!”
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Bart Walker

In the words of one writer, “Bart Walker, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, felt the influence of his father who worked in watercolor, and an older brother, an accomplished draughtsman and oil painter. ‘Standing behind my brother on the shores of String Lake in Teton National Park, I was amazed at how easily he captured the scene. I then thought to myself, I can do that. But, I soon realized the difficult path I had chosen and began a long journey into the craft of oil painting.’”

Below – “Bodega”; “Twilight Cypress”; “Russian River Shadows”; “Quiet”; “Pacific Air”; “Cows on a Ridge in Marin.”
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