May Offerings – Part XIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Derek Buckner

Artist Statement: “For me, painting is not about inventing something new but instead it’s the act of seeing and considering my world from new perspectives. A painting, unlike a photograph, does not represent a moment in time but is itself and collection of memories and decisions – an artifact of an experience. It is the desire to translate my experience of seeing through paint, which compels me to put my brush to canvas. In order for me to paint I need to be emotionally excited by a subject.”

Below – “Freeway #4”; “Gowanus Factories”; “Conspiracy”; “Gowanus Factories”; “Gowanus Canal Evening”; untitled; “Manhattan Bridge.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Mary Wells

Born 13 May 1943 – Mary Wells, an American singer who helped define the Motown sound.

Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“There were human cultures that taught an afterlife of the blessed on mountaintops or in clouds in caverns or oases but she could not recall any in which if you were very, very good when you died you went to the beach.”
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A Poem for Today

“Pandrol Jackson”
By T.R. Hummer

Along a derelict railroad, abandoned machinery takes
its last tour of duty toward rust. Another town is stalling.
Another house smolders with rot while a television rages.
Crows patrol banked cinders beside a landfill with a sign:
‘No Dumping.’ We were Jews in Austria. No, we spoke German
in Czechoslovakia—by order of the Alliance, we filed
Into a railroad car and died. No, we were black in Arkansas.
Here is a filthy contraption, like a grim lawn mower
With flanged iron wheels, ‘Pandrol Jackson’ in blue paint
on its rotted housing: a rail grinder, used to polish steel
To brilliance, forgotten here as after the Rapture. And the carcass
of a boxcar warps just down the track, groaning with a cargo of bones.
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British Art – Part I of III: Peter Henry Emerson

Born 13 May 1856 – Peter Henry Emerson, a British writer and photographer who was one of the first individuals to promote photographs as an art form. According to one critic, Emerson “is known for taking photographs that displayed natural settings and for his disputes with the photographic establishment about the purpose and meaning of photography.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts

“Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Stevie Wonder

Born 13 May 1950 – Stevie Wonder, born Stevland Hardaway Morris, an American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Fancies in Springtime: Robinson Jeffers

“I have heard the summer dust crying to be born.”
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British Art – Part II of III: Frank McNab

Artist Statement: “I live and work in Scotland and am considered by many who have the misfortune to know me personally as a bad-tempered intolerant grumpy old bastard. This is how I appear, but it hides a belief in me that people are generally good, the world is a wonderful place, and we are all exceptionally fortunate to be in it. It is my delusion and I still have it, but you wouldn’t know it if you met me…
Thanks for taking the time to look at my paintings. The pictures are a combination of how I see the world and how I want to see the world. I am aware that I have to sometimes use ‘deliberate delusion’ in order to see the way I do. This is the same process we all use when we believe we are ‘in love’ – we see what we want to see.”
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13 May 1648 – The construction of the Red Fort in Delhi, India is completed. This imposing structure was the palace of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who also ordered the building of the lovely Taj Mahal.

British Art – Part III of III: Antony Gormley

In the words of one critic, English sculptor Antony Gormley (born 1950) “has made sculpture that explores the relation of the human body to space at large.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“A Pot of Red Lentils”
By Peter Pereira

simmers on the kitchen stove.
All afternoon dense kernels
surrender to the fertile
juices, their tender bellies
swelling with delight.

In the yard we plant
rhubarb, cauliflower, and artichokes,
cupping wet earth over tubers,
our labor the germ
of later sustenance and renewal.

Across the field the sound of a baby crying
as we carry in the last carrots,
whorls of butter lettuce,
a basket of red potatoes.

I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.
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Argentinean painter Marcelo Zampetti (born 1967) studied at the University of Cordoba in Argentina.
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Fancies in Springtime: Ray Bradbury

“I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry.
Then I looked at the window and thought: Why, yes, it’s just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and turned over, sadder still, and fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on.”
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Pulitzer Prize: Willa Cather

13 May 1923 – The Pulitzer Prize is awarded to Willa Cather for “One of Ours.”

“Life was so short that it meant nothing at all unless it were continually reinforced by something that endured; unless the shadows of individual existence came and went against a background that held together.” – From “One of Ours”
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Greek Art – Part I of II: D. Andreadakis

In the words of one critic, “D. Andreadakis (born 1964), artist and professor at the University of Crete,
creates oil paintings and watercolors that capture the human form in all its aspects.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Alire Saenz

“The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Shackleton’s Biscuit”
By T. R. Hummer

Of ox and luncheon tongue, six hundred pounds;
of Wiltshire bacon, seven-tenths of a ton.
Seventeen hundred miles they walked, and it was
pony meat that saved them. But one biscuit, this one
Of thousands, baked by Huntley & Palmers, a special formulation
fortified with milk protein, survives—the men
Long dead, and the ponies, whose lives flew through
Bullet holes easily over the frozen labyrinth of the Fortuna Glacier,
all gone to powder. Found a century later in the wrecked
Larder of one of Shackleton’s way stations, it remains
perfectly nutritious, and sold at a Christie’s auction
Is worth a thousand-some sterling. “We had seen God in
His splendors; we had reached the naked soul of man,”
He wrote. And: “This biscuit,” said a Christie’s director,
“is an object that really catches the imagination.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig

“I know what it is! We’ve arrived at the West Coast! We’re all strangers again! Folks, I just forgot the biggest gumption trap of all. The funeral procession! The one everybody’s in, this hyped-up, fuck-you, supermodern, ego style of life that thinks it owns this country.”
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Greek Art – Part II of II: Odysseas Oikonomou

Albanian-born painter Odysseas Oikonomou (born 1967) lives and works in Greece.
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Fancies in Springtime: Robinson Jeffers

“The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking beauty
Will remain when there is no heart to break for it.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of German-born artist Kathrin Longhurst (born 1971): “My art is about desire, the desire to show how every woman can be transformed by letting her inner being shine through. By removing, the mask of self-doubt and changing a world that says women must conform to unrealistic images that are portrayed on countless glossy women’s magazines.
My desire is to show through an ultra feminine style how women can see themselves if they choose. This idea stands in complete opposition to the proletarian and rather masculine art of East Germany where I grew up. This has become a visual response to my early life experience: like a gesture of artistic liberation. My paintings aim to fulfill a quest for beauty and luxury, which I was denied when growing up in Eastern Europe.”
Kathrin Longhurst lives and works on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“Some thrive for time, while most quickly vanish.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“What We Need”
By Jo McDougall

It is just as well we do not see,
in the shadows behind the hasty tent
of the Allen Brothers Greatest Show,
Lola the Lion Tamer and the Great Valdini
in Nikes and jeans
sharing a tired cigarette
before she girds her wrists with glistening amulets
and snaps the tigers into rage,
before he adjusts the glimmering cummerbund
and makes from air
the white and trembling doves, the pair.
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Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts

“For man seems to be unable to live without myth, without the belief that the routine and drudgery, the pain and fear of this life have some meaning and goal in the future. At once new myths come into being – political and economic myths with extravagant promises of the best of futures in the present world. These myths give the individual a certain sense of meaning by making him part of a vast social effort, in which he loses something of his own emptiness and loneliness. Yet the very violence of these political religions betrays the anxiety beneath them – for they are but men huddling together and shouting to give themselves courage in the dark.”
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American Art – Part II of III: Benjamin Anderson

American painter Benjamin Anderson (born 1977) has studied in Florence, Italy and the San Francisco Academy of Art.
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig

“The branches and leaves move with each light breeze as if it were expected, were what had been waited for all this time.”
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Poet to Poet: Amy Lowell to Li Tai-Po

Yesterday was the anniversary of American poet Amy Lowell’s death, and while many people are acquainted with her poetry, not as many know that Lowell was also a promoter of historical poets. For example, in the words of one historian, “her book ‘Fir-Flower Tablets’ was a poetical reworking of literal translations of works of ancient Chinese poets, notably Li Tai-po (701-762).” Li Tai-po is more commonly known by the name Li Po or Li Bai in the West, and he was one of the great poets during the Tang Dynasty, known as the “Golden Age of China.” In the words of one literary critic, “(his) poems were models for celebrating the pleasures of friendship, the depth of nature, solitude, and the joys of drinking wine.”

Here is Lowell’s statement of purpose in the Introduction to “Fir-Flower Tablets”: “LET me state at the outset that I know no Chinese. My duty in Mrs. Ayscough’s and my joint collaboration has been to turn her literal translations into poems as near to the spirit of the originals as it was in my power to do. It has been a long and arduous task, but one which has amply repaid every hour spent upon it. To be suddenly introduced to a new and magnificent literature, not through the medium of the usual more or less accurate translation, but directly, as one might burrow it out for one’s self with the aid of a dictionary, is an exciting and inspiriting thing. The method we adopted made this possible, as I shall attempt to show. The study of Chinese is so difficult that it is a life-work in itself, so is the study of poetry. A sinologue has not time to learn how to write poetry; a poet has no time to learn how to read Chinese. Since neither of us pretended to any knowledge of the other’s craft, our association has been a continually augmenting pleasure.”

Four of Amy Lowell’s transliterations of poems by Li Tai-Po:

“Looking at the Moon After Rain”

The heavy clouds are broken and blowing,
And once more I can see the wide common stretching beyond the four sides of the city.
Open the door. Half of the moon-toad is already up, 17
The glimmer of it is like smooth hoar-frost spreading over ten thousand li. 18
The river is a flat, shining chain.
The moon, rising, is a white eye to the hills;
After it has risen, it is the bright heart of the sea.
Because I love it – so – round as a fan,
I hum songs until the dawn.

“On Hearing the Buddhist Priest of Shu Play His Table-Lute”

The Priest of the Province of Shu, carrying his table-lute in a cover of green, shot silk,
Comes down the Western slope of the peak of Mount Omei.
He moves his hands for me, striking the lute.
It is like listening to the waters in ten thousand ravines, and the wind in ten thousand pine-trees.
The traveller’s heart is washed clean as in flowing water.
The echoes of the overtones join with the evening bell.
I am not conscious of the sunset behind the jade-grey hill,
Nor how many and dark are the Autumn clouds.

“Descending the Extreme South Mountain; Passing the House of Ssu, Lover of Hills; Spending the Night in the Preparation of Wine”

We come down the green-grey jade hill,
The mountain moon accompanies us home.
We turn and look back up the path:
Green, green, the sky; the horizontal, kingfisher-green line of the hills is fading.
Holding each other’s hands, we reach the house in the fields.
Little boys thrown open the gate of thorn branches,
The quiet path winds among dark bamboos,
Creepers, bright with new green, brush our garments.
Our words are happy, rest is in them.
Of an excellent flavour, the wine! We scatter the dregs of it contentedly.
We sing songs for a long time; we chant them to the wind in the pine-trees.
By the time the songs are finished, the stars in Heaven’s River are few.
I am tipsy. My friend is continuously merry.
In fact, we are so exhilarated that we both forget this complicated machine, the world.

“Drinking Alone in the Moonlight”

IF Heaven did not love wine,

There would be no Wine Star in Heaven,

If Earth did not love wine,

There should be no Wine Springs on Earth.

Why then be ashamed before Heaven to love wine?
I have heard that clear wine is like the Sages;

Again it is said that thick wine is like the Virtuous Worthies.

Wherefore it appears that we have swallowed both Sages and Worthies.

Why should we strive to be Gods and Immortals?

Three cups, and one can perfectly understand the Great Tao;

A gallon, and one is in accord with all nature.

Only those in the midst of it can fully comprehend the joys of wine;

I do not proclaim them to the sober.

Below – Laing K’ai (1140-1210): “Li Bai on a Stroll”; Amy Lowell in her garden.
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: Katie Sevigny (Part I)

In the words of one writer, “Katie moved to Haines, Alaska in 1994 as a young adult in search of a better life. She met her husband, Craig, in 1997. Katie and Craig moved to Anchorage in 2000 and married in 2002. Katie gave birth to their first son, Cooper, in 2003 and second son, Rowan, in 2005. Katie and Craig started to see the freedom of having two sons off to school and then they decided to throw themselves back into the trenches and gave birth to their third son, Satchel, in 2011!!
Katie has two great loves, her family and Art. One brings her joy and the other sanity! Between her three sons and a busy schedule, Katie tries to live her dream of being a successful artist.”

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

Below – “More Trees”; “Summer Whispers”; “Bear Face”; “Birch Forest”; “Birch Trunks”; “Black Tail Deer in Forest”; “Blue Grass Poppies.”
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Fancies in Springtime: William Kittredge

“I imagine children on a trampoline. What kind of singularity on earth am I trying to invent? Is our happy land still part-way intact? Our lilac bloom and buzz with honeybees and hummingbirds. Can we find ways to live in some approximation of home-child heaven?”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Tangerine”

By Ruth L. Schwartz
It was a flower once, it was one of a billion flowers
whose perfume broke through closed car windows,
forced a blessing on their drivers.
Then what stayed behind grew swollen, as we do;
grew juice instead of tears, and small hard sour seeds,
each one bitter, as we are, and filled with possibility.
Now a hole opens up in its skin, where it was torn from the
branch; ripeness can’t stop itself, breathes out;
we can’t stop it either. We breathe in.
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig

“The orange turns to dull bronze light and continues to show what it has shown all day long, but now it seems to show it without enthusiasm. Across those dry hills, within those little houses in the distance are people who’ve been there all day long, going about the business of the day, who now find nothing unusual or different in this strange darkening landscape, as we do. If we were to come upon them early in the day they might be curious about us and what we’re here for. but now in the evening they’d just resent our presence. The workday is over. It’s time for supper and family and relaxation and turning inward at home. We ride unnoticed down this empty highway through this strange country I’ve never seen before, and now a heavy feeling of isolation and loneliness becomes dominant and my spirits wane with the sun.”
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American Art – Part III of III: Aaron Apsley

Artist Statement: “I’ve been painting and drawing my entire life, usually just observing and depicting things around me that I find interesting or beautiful. When I moved to New York, I was limited by the amount of workspace in my apartment so I decided to focus on working mostly in watercolors. I am working on an ongoing series of watercolor street scenes of New York, because I am so amazed by the great variety and scale of the architecture in the city.”

Below – “Out of the Blue”; “Jefferson Street”; “26th Street”; “Broadway, Jackson”; “Portsmouth Street”; “9th Ave”; “Habersham Street Ghosts.”
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