April Offerings – Part XXX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Kollabs

In the words of one writer, “Kollab artists Luis Garcia-Nerey and Anke Schofield, explore questions on the human construct within the forest and its inhabitants. They present a serious and provocative series of collaborative paintings and installations that create a sense of wonder evoking questions on, and of, the interaction between human life and the forest environment. The pair split their creative time traveling between studios in both Miami, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia in order to create their wondrous pieces.”

Below – “Burton”; “Einstein”; “Forrest”; “Ruby”; “Mateo”; “Sophie.”
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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” – The opening paragraph of “A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens, the first installment of which was published in the literary periodical “All the Year Round” on 30 April 1859.

Below – The first installment of “A Tale of Two Cities”; the novel; “Charles Dickens in His Study” (1859), by William Powell Frith.
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Fancies in Springtime: Michael Ondaatje

“The desert could not be claimed or owned–it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names… Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape.”
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“Above all keep your colours fresh!” – Edouard Manet, French painter and a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, who died 30 April 1883.

Below – “The Luncheon on the Grass”; “The Café Concert”; “The Bar at the Folies-Bergere”; “The Railway”; “Olympia”; “Self-Portrait with Palette.”
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A Poem for Today

“Wallpapering”
By Sue Ellen Thompson

My parents argued over wallpaper. Would stripes
make the room look larger? He
would measure, cut, and paste; she’d swipe
the flaws out with her brush. Once it was properly

hung, doubt would set in. Would the floral
have been a better choice? Then it would grow
until she was certain: it had to go. Divorce
terrified me as a child. I didn’t know

what led to it, but I had my suspicions.
The stripes came down. Up went
the flowers. Eventually it became my definition
of marriage: bad choices, arguments

whose victors time refused to tell,
but everything done together and done well.
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“If humans one day become extinct from a catastrophic collision, there would be no greater tragedy in the history of life in the universe. Not because we lacked the brain power to protect ourselves but because we lacked the foresight. The dominant species that replaces us in post-apocalyptic Earth just might wonder, as they gaze upon our mounted skeletons in their natural history museums, why large-headed Homo sapiens fared no better than the proverbially pea-brained dinosaurs.”
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From the Movie Archives: Sergio Leone

“In my childhood, America was like a religion. Then, real-life Americans abruptly entered my life – in jeeps – and upset all my dreams…I can’t see America any other way than with a European’s eyes. It fascinates me and terrifies me at the same time.” – Sergio Leone, Italian film director, producer, and screenwriter most associated with the “Spaghetti Western” genre, who died 30 April 1989.

Note: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) is based on Kurosawa Akira’s “Yojimbo” (1961).

Fancies in Springtime: Barry Lopez

“Hunting in my experience—and by hunting I simply mean being out on the land—is a state of mind. All of one’s faculties are brought to bear in an effort to become fully incorporated into the landscape. It is more than listening for animals or watching for hoofprints or a shift in the weather. It is more than an analysis of what one senses. To hunt means to have the land around you like clothing. To engage in a wordless dialogue with it, one so absorbing that you cease to talk with your human companions. It means to release yourself from rational images of what something ‘means’ and to be concerned only that it ‘is.’ And then to recognize that things exist only insofar as they can be related to other things. These relationships—fresh drops of moisture on top of rocks at a river crossing and a raven’s distant voice—become patterns. The patterns are always in motion.”
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In the words of one critic, painter Yakov Feldman was “born in 1969 in Vitebsk (Belarus). In 1987 he graduated from art school in Vitebsk. From 1988 to 1990 he studied at the Art Academy of Vitebsk. He participated in exhibitions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Vitebsk. He emigrated to Israel in 1990, and that is where he lives and works.”
In the words of another critic, ”Feldman’s work range between surrealism, symbolism and super-realism. he is focusing mostly on human faces, which seem cut out from the past, they have an affinity with the early renaissance portraits from the likes of Giotto or Van Eyck but also with the saints of Russian iconography.
The technique of thin layers of glazed oil paint Feldman uses on his panels strengthens the tranquil, aesthetic character of the paintings. The gleaming, crystalline eyes are striking. They seem to be contacting the present through the layers of history with their piercing gaze.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Slow Dancing on the Highway: the Trip North
By Elizabeth Hobbs

You follow close behind me,
for a thousand miles responsive to my movements.
I signal, you signal back. We will meet at the next exit.

You blow kisses, which I return.
You mouth “I love you,” a message for my rearview mirror.

We do a slow tango as we change lanes in tandem,
gracefully, as though music were guiding us.
It is tighter than bodies locked in heat,
this caring, this ardent watching.
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“If everyone had the luxury to pursue a life of exactly what they love, we would all be ranked as visionary and brilliant. … If you got to spend every day of your life doing what you love, you can’t help but be the best in the world at that. And you get to smile every day for doing so. And you’ll be working at it almost to the exclusion of personal hygiene, and your friends are knocking on your door, saying, ‘Don’t you need a vacation?!,’ and you don’t even know what the word ‘vacation’ means because what you’re doing is what you want to do and a vacation from that is anything but a vacation — that’s the state of mind of somebody who’s doing what others might call visionary and brilliant.”
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Young artist painting an autumn landscape

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“The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.” – Louis Kronenberger, American critic, novelist, and biographer, who died 30 April 1980.

Some quotes from the work of Louis Kronenberger:

“There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease to behave.”
“Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do at least one outrageous thing every week.”
“Individualism is rather like innocence; there must be something unconscious about it.”
“The closer and more confidential our relationship with someone, the less we are entitled to ask about what we are not voluntarily told.”
“It is the gossip columnist’s business to write about what is none of his business.”
“Nothing so soothes our vanity as a display of greater vanity in others; it make us vain, in fact, of our modesty.”
“Privacy was in sufficient danger before TV appeared, and TV has given it its death blow.”
“Highly educated bores are by far the worst; they know so much, in such fiendish detail, to be boring about.”
“In art there are tears that lie too deep for thought.”
“Many people today don’t want honest answers insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing. They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety.”
“One of the misfortunes of our time is that in getting rid of false shame we have killed off so much real shame as well.”
“The Englishman wants to be recognized as a gentleman, or as some other suitable species of human being; the American wants to be considered a good guy.”

Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth – scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books – might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it, and through constant repetition many of them finally get it.”
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American Art – Part II of VI: Kayleen Ylitalo-Horsma

Artist Statement: “I paint simple strokes. Strokes that mature into figures that are emphasized by the intentions of chiaroscuro. Using the contrast of light and shadow to highlight the essence of its focal point, resulting in loose but believable figurative oil paintings.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Summer Downpour on Campus”
By Juliana Gray

When clouds turn heavy, rich
and mottled as an oyster bed,

when the temperature drops so fast
that fog conjures itself inside the cars,
as if the parking lots were filled
with row upon row of lovers,

when my umbrella veils my face
and threatens to reverse itself
at every gust of wind, and rain
lashes my legs and the hem of my skirt,

but I am walking to meet a man
who’ll buy me coffee and kiss my fingers—

what can be more beautiful, then,
than these boys sprinting through the storm,
laughing, shouldering the rain aside,
running to their dorms, perhaps to class,
carrying, like torches, their useless shoes?
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Latvian painter Irina Vorkale (born 1953) is a graduate of both the Art School of Riga and the Painting Department of the Latvian Academy of Arts.
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Fancies in Springtime: Stanley Crawford

“To dream a garden and then to plant it is an act of independence and even defiance to the greater world.”
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From the American History Archives: Mr. Potato Head

30 April 1952 – Mr. Potato Head becomes the first toy advertised on television. In the words of one historian, “The campaign was also the first to be aimed directly at children; before this, commercials were only targeted at adults, so toy adverts had always been pitched to parents. This commercial revolutionized marketing, and caused an industrial boom.”

Below – The original Mr. Potato Head.
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Italian painter Gavino Pedoni (born 1945) lives and works in Sassari.
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“Give me a land of boughs in leaf
A land of trees that stand;
Where trees are fallen there is grief;
I love no leafless land.” – A. E. Housman, English classical scholar, poet, and author of “A Shropshire Lad,” who died 30 April 1936.

“Bredon Hill”

In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear.

Here of a Sunday morning
My love and I would lie,
And see the coloured counties,
And hear the larks so high
About us in the sky.

The bells would ring to call her
In valleys miles away:
“Come all to church, good people;
Good people, come and pray.”
But here my love would stay.

And I would turn and answer
Among the springing thyme,
“Oh, peal upon our wedding,
And we will hear the chime,
And come to church in time.”

But when the snows at Christmas
On Bredon top were strown,
My love rose up so early
And stole out unbeknown
And went to church alone.

They tolled the one bell only,
Groom there was none to see,
The mourners followed after,
And so to church went she,
And would not wait for me.

The bells they sound on Bredon
And still the steeples hum.
“Come all to church, good people,”–
Oh, noisy bells, be dumb;
I hear you, I will come.
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil Gaiman

“I asked him if it were a mirage, and he said yes. I said it was a dream, and he agreed, But said it was the desert’s dream not his. And he told me that in a year or so, when he had aged enough for any man, then he would walk into the wind, until he saw the tents. This time, he said, he would go on with them.”
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American Art – Part III of VI: Drew Ernst

Painter Drew Ernst (born 1979) is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
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“Because my love for you is beyond words, I decided to shut up.” – Nizar Qabbani, a Syrian diplomat, publisher, and poet, who died 30 April 1998. In the words of one critic, “His poetic style combines simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism. Qabbani is one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world.”

“Maritime Poem”

In the blue harbor of your eyes

Blow rains of melodious lights,

Dizzy suns and sails

Painting their voyage to endlessness.

In the blue harbor of your eyes

Is an open sea window,

And birds appear in the distance

Searching for islands still unborn.



In the blue harbor of your eyes

Snow falls in July.

Ships laden with turquoise

Spill over the sea and are not drowned.



In the blue harbor of your eyes

I run on the scattered rocks like a child

Breathing the fragrance of the sea

And return an exhausted bird.



In the blue harbor of your eyes

Stones sing in the night.

Who has hidden a thousand poems

In the closed book of your eyes?



If only, if only I were a sailor,

If only somebody’d give me a boat,

I would furl my sails each evening

In the blue harbor of your eyes.
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Iranian painter Pooneh Oshidari is a graduate of the Academy of Art University in Tehran.
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“We have designed our civilization based on science and technology and at the same time arranged things so that almost no one understands anything at all about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster.”
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“At its best New Wave/punk represents a fundamental and age-old Utopian dream: that if you give people the license to be as outrageous as they want in absolutely any fashion they can dream up, they’ll be creative about it, and do something good besides.” – Lester Bangs, American music journalist, author, and musician, who died 30 April 1982.

Greil Marcus (author of “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music” and “Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century”) has collected many of the best essays of Lester Bangs in “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic.”

Some quotes from the work of Lester Bangs:

“I suspect almost every day that I’m living for nothing, I get depressed and I feel self-destructive and a lot of the time I don’t like myself. What’s more, the proximity of other humans often fills me with overwhelming anxiety, but I also feel that this precarious sentience is all we’ve got and, simplistic as it may seem, it’s a person’s duty to the potentials of his own soul to make the best of it. We’re all stuck on this often miserable earth where life is essentially tragic, but there are glints of beauty and bedrock joy that come shining through from time to precious time to remind anybody who cares to see that there is something higher and larger than ourselves. And I am not talking about your putrefying gods, I am talking about a sense of wonder about life itself and the feeling that there is some redemptive factor you must at least search for until you drop dead of natural causes.”
“Rock ‘n’ roll is an attitude, it’s not a musical form of a strict sort. It’s a way of doing things, of approaching things. Writing can be rock ‘n’ roll, or a movie can be rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a way of living your life.”
“Don’t ask me why I obsessively look to rock ’n’ roll bands for some kind of model for a better society. I guess it’s just that I glimpsed something beautiful in a flashbulb moment once, and perhaps mistaking it for prophecy have been seeking its fulfillment ever since.”
“Sometimes I think nothing is simple but the feeling of pain.”
“I’ll probably never produce a masterpiece, but so what? I feel I have a Sound aborning, which is my own, and that Sound if erratic is still my greatest pride, because I would rather write like a dancer shaking my ass to boogaloo inside my head, and perhaps reach only readers who like to use books to shake their asses, than to be or write for the man cloistered in a closet somewhere reading Aeschylus while this stupefying world careens crazily past his waxy windows toward its last raving sooty feedback pirouette.”
“If the main reason we listen to music in the first place is to hear passion expressed- as I’ve believed all my life-then what good is this music going to prove to be? What does that say about us? What are we confirming in ourselves by doting on art that is emotionally neutral? And, simultaneously, what in ourselves might we be destroying or at least keeping down?”
“The trend toward narcissistic flair has been responsible in large part for smiting rock with the superstar virus, which revolves around the substituting of attitudes and flamboyant trappings, into which the audience can project their fantasies, for the simple desire to make music, get loose, knock the folks out or get ‘em up dancin.’ It’s not enough just to do those things anymore; what you must do instead if you want success on any large scale is figure a way of getting yourself associated in the audience’s mind with their pieties and their sense of ‘community,’ i.e., ram it home that you’re one of THEM; or, alternately, deck and bake yourself into an image configuration so blatant or outrageous that you become a culture myth.”
“But since death is inevitable we don’t have to deal with it (it’ll deal with us when it decides to). What we do have to deal with is the psychic, physical, and fusion diseases wrought during our so-called lives as byproducts of the elemental clash. In other words we’re all terminally psychotic and no doctor, hospital, pill, needle, book or guru holds the cure. Because the disease is called life and there is no cure for that but death and death’s just part of the set-up designed to keep you terrified and thus in bondage from the cradle to the crypt so ha ha the joke’s on you except there’s no punchline and the comedian forgot you ever existed as even a comma.”
“Personally I feel that real rock ‘n’ roll may be on the way out, just like adolescence as a relatively innocent transitional period is on the way out. What we have instead is a small island of new free music surrounded by some good reworkings of past idioms and a vast sargasso sea of absolute garbage.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Pablo Neruda

“I shivered in those
solitudes
when I heard
the voice
of
the salt
in the desert.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Drought”
By Felicia Caton Garcia

Try to remember: things go wrong in spite of it all.
I listen to our daughters singing in the crackling rows
of corn and wonder why I don’t love them more.
They move like dark birds, small mouths open

to the sky and hungry. All afternoon I listen
to the highway and watch clouds push down over the hills.
I remember your legs, heavy with sleep, lying across mine.
I remember when the world was transparent, trembling, all

shattering light. I had to grit my teeth against its brilliance.
It was nothing like this stillness that makes it difficult
to lift my eyes. When I finally do, I see you
carrying the girls over the sharp stones of the creek bed.

When they pull at my clothes and lean against my arms,
I don’t know what to do and do nothing.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Greek painter Maria Giannakaki: “I was born in Athens and I am a professional painter. I graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts in 1983. Under a state scholarship I spent 3 years in China studying traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. I love traveling and I have visited many countries, mostly in Europe and Asia. Last year I spent a month in Tibet. In my spare time I help stray animals and practice yoga.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.”
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“Where have I seen before, against the wind,
These bright virgins, robed and bare of bonnet,

Flowing with music of their strange quick tongue
And adventuring with delicate paces by the stream,—
Myself a child, old suddenly at the scream
From one of the white throats which it hid among?” – From “Vision by Sweetwater,” by John Crowe Ransom, American educator, scholar, literary critic, essayist, editor, and poet, who was born 30 April 1888.

“Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”

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

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

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

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

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

Below – Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910): “The Goose Girl”
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“If you take the mystery out of art, you’re left with nothing but design and illustration.” – F. E. McWilliam, Irish sculptor, who was born 30 April 1909.

Below – “Women of Belfast”; “Angular Figure”; “Woman in Bomb Blast”; “Legs Static.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“We all have a thirst for wonder. It’s a deeply human quality. Science and religion are both bound up with it. What I’m saying is, you don’t have to make stories up, you don’t have to exaggerate. There’s wonder and awe enough in the real world. Nature’s a lot better at inventing wonders than we are.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Houdini”
By Kay Ryan

Each escape
involved some art,
some hokum, and
at least a brief
incomprehensible
exchange between
the man and metal
during which the
chains were not
so much broken
as he and they
blended. At the
end of each such
mix he had to
extract himself. It
Was the hardest
part to get right
routinely: breaking
back into the
same Houdini.
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Fancies in Springtime: Terry Pratchett

“Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.”
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Canadian artist Leslie Watts (born 1961) became a full-time painter in 2007.
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Fancies in Springtime: Barry Lopez

“I had come to the canyon with expectations. I wanted to see snowy egrets flying against the black schist at dusk; I saw blue-winged teal against the green waters at dawn. I had wanted to hear thunder rolling in the thousand-foot depths; I heard the guttural caw of four ravens…what any of us had come to see or do fell away. We found ourselves at each turn with what we had not imagined.”
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“It has always been a happy thought to me that the creek runs on all night, new every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed book on a shelf continues to whisper to itself its own inexhaustible tale.” – Annie Dillard, American writer and author of “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” (which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction), who was born 30 April 1945.

Some quotes from the work of Annie Dillard:

“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.”
“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.
I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”
“There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life.”
“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.”
“Nature is, above all, profligate. Don’t believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a deranged manic-depressive with limitless capital. Extravagance! Nature will try anything once.”
“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”
“It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance.”
“We have not yet encountered any god who is as merciful as a man who flicks a beetle over on its feet.”
“I am a fugitive and a vagabond, a sojourner seeking signs.”
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Jeremy Lipking

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Jeremy Lipking (born 1975): “Realism has been misunderstood through most of the twentieth century as an art of imitation. In truth, when practiced by a painter like Jeremy Lipking, realist painting is a powerful creative force. Many viewers are drawn to his art thinking that it looks just like a photograph. Actually Lipking’s vision is the opposite of what a camera does. A photograph tends to flatten an image, reducing all relationships of color and shade to a stiff mechanical pattern. Lipking’s skill lies in his ability to probe in and around his subject. With a highly sensitive eye, he sees nuances of value and hue that the camera and most people can never see. More incredibly, he is able to translate his highly nuanced vision into a painted image. Lipking’s true subject is his pictorial fluency. Seeing one of his paintings involves entering into the pictorial world he has created. Like all great realists, he has the ability to generate powerful fictions.”
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From the American Music Archives – Native Genius, Part I of II: Richard Farina

“Been down so long it looks like up to me.” – Richard Farina, American writer, folk singer, musician, songwriter, and the author of “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me,” a comic novel based on Farina’s college and travel experiences, who died 30 April 1968.
Below – Richard Farina performing his best-known song with his wife Mimi Baez Farina, sister of Joan Baez.

Fancies in Springtime: Dorothy B. Hughes

“He’d always had a quickening of the heart when he crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country. This was as the desert should be, this was the desert of the picture books, with the land unrolled to the farthest distant horizon hills, with saguaro standing sentinel in their strange chessboard pattern, towering supinely above the fans of ocotillo and brushy mesquite.”
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American Art – Part V of VI: Josh Bronaugh

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Josh Bronaugh: “His portraits allow him to focus feelings of longing, and to develop intellectual elaboration. Interaction of color is always at the forefront of his work, and the elements shape and composition have their genesis in motion and peripheral vision. When these principles combine, we are presented with a constant state of vibration and emergence.”
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Fancies in Springtime: June Stoyer

“Dandelions, like all things in nature are beautiful when you take the time to pay attention to them.”
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From the American Music Archives – Native Genius, Part II of II: Willie Nelson

“It keeps me from killing people.” – Willie Nelson, American singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and social activist, who was born 30 April 1933, on why he smokes marijuana.

A Sixth Poem for Today

“Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle”
By Freya Manfred

I spy his head above the waves,
big as a man’s fist, black eyes peering at me,
until he dives into darker, deeper water.
Yesterday I saw him a foot from my outstretched hand,
already tilting his great domed shell away.
Ribbons of green moss rippled behind him,
growing along the ridge of his back
and down his long reptilian tail.
He swims in everything he knows,
and what he knows is never forgotten.
Wisely, he fears me as if I were the Plague,
which I am, sick unto death, swimming
to heal myself in his primeval sea.
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Fancies in Springtime: Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: Gail Niebrugge (Part V)

In the words of one writer, “Gail Niebrugge (Knee-brew-ghe) born and raised in California has pursued art since childhood, winning a poster contest on the Johnny Jet television show at the age of twelve. The Niebrugge family fell in love with Alaska while on vacation in 1976 and never returned home, instead they established a residence in the remote interior settlement of Copper Center. Since 1995 Palmer has been home to the Niebrugges.
Traveling by mail plane, ski plane, helicopter, boat, raft, ATV, canoe, truck and camper as well as hiking on foot, enables her to gain first-hand knowledge and understanding of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, landscape and history. Returning home to work in the studio her love of these subjects is translated into colorful paintings.”

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

Below – “Coupe at Chitna”; “Creek Street”; “Discovery”; “Four Iris”; “Fresh Snow”; “The Great One”; “Icy Calm”; “Iris and Forget-Me-Not”; “Iris, Forget-Me-Not & Fireweed”; “Juneau Glacier”; “Mirror Image.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua…that’s the only name I can think of for it…like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. ‘What’s new?’ is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question ‘What is best?,’ a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. There are eras of human history in which the channels of thought have been too deeply cut and no change was possible, and nothing new ever happened, and ‘best’ was a matter of dogma, but that is not the situation now. Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum. Some channel deepening seems called for.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

From “The Bridge: To Brooklyn Bridge”
By Hart Crane

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day …

I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene
Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;

And Thee, across the harbor, silver paced
As though the sun took step of thee yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!

Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.

Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene;
All afternoon the cloud flown derricks turn …
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.

And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon … Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.

O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,

Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

Under thy shadow by the piers I waited
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year …

O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

Below – “We have seen night lifted in thine arms”: Brooklyn Bridge; Golden Gate Bridge.
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Lisa Lala

Artist Statement:

“Light has always mesmerized me with its effortless power.
Transporting me to an environment of both euphoria and calm.
But that power was elusive.
Now with new technologies, the power to control light is becoming mine.
I wanted the fragmented color you see in your eyelashes when squinting into sunlight.
I wanted portals of light glistening.
I wanted these portals to have a soul, to be created through real moments and not through math.
The solution is cutting edge technologies, brought to life with abstracted videos from actual things, places and memories.
Some of these portals play shows created from my actual paintings— like a bird, I flew my camera over their surfaces, capturing colors and patterns.
Other portals go back one step further, to the same inspirations that have driven my work for the past decade: such as Coney Island, where my Ferris Wheel Series began.
I take these moments of video and interact with them…fragmenting, combining, speeding, slowing, intensities, transitions and placement…
Finally all the color and speed and intensity achieve that splendid energy.
It’s the same feeling I get when I know a painting is done…
This is my painting in LIGHT.

I had to go away for awhile
Into the darkness
Away from the world I love of laughter and stories Of easy days and warm nights
In the darkness I had to sift though the stars Of finding, and letting go
Of memories and passions
Of fear
And then I had to swim back to the surface From the inky bottom
Seeing the bubbles illuminate more as I approached Lungs bursting
I am sorry I had to be gone But what I brought back was light.”

Below – “Afternoon at the Park”; “That Little Voice”; “Open Crop”; “Levity”; “Seemless”; “You Fill Them Up”; “Path Opening Up”; “Apple of My Eye #2”; “Times.”
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