From the Pacific Northwest – Part XVIII

A Poem for Today

“Potpourri”
By Lola Ridge

Do you remember
Honey-melon moon
Dripping thick sweet light
Where Canal Street saunters off by herself among quiet trees?
And the faint decayed patchouli—
Fragrance of New Orleans
Like a dead tube rose
Upheld in the warm air…
Miraculously whole.

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Musings in Autumn: Theodore Roosevelt

“Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”

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American Art – Tom Blue

Artist Statement: “I was born in Washington, D.C., in 1945, and moved to Seattle in 1947 with my mother and brother. I grew up in a time when the roadside attractions and similar architectural subjects I like to paint were still in use and appreciated.
After graduating from the University of Washington in 1971 with a BFA in painting, I thought I would balance my art career while working for John Denman, who was the only archival framer in Seattle at the time.
In 1974, an art school friend, Spike Hendricksen, and I started Plasteel Frames in the basement of my house on Capitol Hill, naively thinking it would be a good way to support our painting time.  Thirty-four years of fifty to sixty hour weeks plus a family obviously limited our art creation.  I retired from the business at the end of 2007 and finally had time to make art at leisure.
The architectural objects that interest me are mostly abandoned and forgotten, from another time. I like to see them with contrasting shadows and intense color. I like to bring them out into the light.
We live in an area that is often cloudy and gray but that does not mean I have to continue the Northwest Mystics’ use of low light and gray, with small splashes of color. I can wait for the sun.”

Below – “Okeedokees Cafe”; “Seafood Market”; “Sandwich Parts”; “Teapot Dome Gas”; “Hat and Boots”; “Elephant Super Wash.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Dream of Knife, Fork, and Spoon”
By Kimiko Hahn

I can’t recall where to set the knife and spoon.
I can’t recall which side to place the napkin
or which bread plate belongs to me.  Or
how to engage in benign chatter.
I can’t recall when more than one fork—
which to use first.  Or what to make of this bowl of water.
I can’t see the place cards or recall any names.
The humiliation is impressive. The scorn.
No matter how much my brain “revises” the dinner
to see if the host was a family member—
I can’t recall which dish ran away with which spoon.    

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Musings in Autumn: Thomas Wolfe

“I believe that we are lost here in America, but I believe we shall be found. And this belief, which mounts now to the catharsis of knowledge and conviction, is for me–and I think for all of us–not only our own hope, but America’s everlasting, living dream.”

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Art for November – Part I of II: Gloria DeArcangelis

Below – “Christine”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Weave in, My Hardy Life”
By Walt Whitman

Weave in, weave in, my hardy life,
Weave yet a soldier strong and full for great campaigns to come,
Weave in red blood, weave sinews in like ropes, the senses, sight weave in,
Weave lasting sure, weave day and night the weft, the warp, incessant weave, tire not,
(We know not what the use O life, nor know the aim, the end, nor really aught we know,
But know the work, the need goes on and shall go on, the death-envelop’d march of peace as
       well as war goes on,)
For great campaigns of peace the same the wiry threads to weave,
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.

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Art for November – Part II of II: Kenneth Callahan

Below – “The Descent”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Prairie Spring”
By Willa Cather

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.

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Musings in Autumn: T.. Whipple

“All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.”

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Canadian Art – Part I of II: Gordon Webster

Artist Statement: “When I was first introduced to glassblowing, I was immediately captivated. I was intrigued not only by the process itself, but by the materials ability to be transformed into fluid forms that could hold light and vivid colour. As I became more familiar with the process of glass blowing, I became engaged in working with cane. This process/technique has enabled me to explore colour and pattern in infinite combinations.
As an avid naturalist, nature itself has been my biggest inspiration. Micro/macro details of flora and fauna inform my work through colour, pattern and form. Combining these elements allows me to create sculptures that are expressive yet suggestive of the natural world around us.”

Below – “Bubble Pod – Reseda Green/Orange”; “Linee Lantern – Reseda Green/Grey/Blue”; “Linee Lantern – Purple/Red/Mocha.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“The Supple Deer”
By Jane Hirshfield

The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.
Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.
No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.
I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.
Not of the deer:
To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

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Musings in Autumn: Woody Guthrie

“As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”

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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Sonnet”
By Alice Dunbar-Nelson

I had no thought of violets of late,      
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.       
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,          
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine. 
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed, 
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;            
The perfect loveliness that God has made,— 
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.      

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Canadian Art – Part II of II: Kathie Thomas

Artist Statement: “Having spent the past twelve years focusing upon motherhood, in recent years I have been able to more intensely pursue my artistic passions. During the time away from the studio, I was able to reconsider what my artistic priorities, as well as explore other avenues of creativity, including experimenting with various forms of paint applications. Consequently, my attitude towards creativity and art transformed. I began to put more thought into what it meant to be an artist, who was also a mother, an Albertan, or to be someone immersed in a certain kind of landscape and lifestyle. Such a revelation has, of course, not only shifted my philosophical outlook, but also altered my formal application, such as the use of color, whereas I employ it less schematically, and more in search of a mood or emotional stand-in for whatever my subject might be. In addition, such an increasingly open approach to art making has allowed for more trial and error, and thus more humor and personality into my painting. This is something that in hindsight, I can see was lacking in my previous work.
As a result of all of this, it makes a great deal of sense to me that my latest painterly efforts have become increasingly organic in nature, as opposed to the more formal, and geometric emphasis that preoccupied my pursuits during and after graduate school. Obviously, having children gave me the time to rethink my concerns as a painter, reawakening the spontaneous approach I had with painting before entering formal studies, and better utilizing the benefits of such an education. Instead of believing that art had to be associated with some grand historical canon, I see now that my personal surroundings can contribute, and in a meaningful way, to what and how I paint. The landscape, my garden, our pets, all provide me with a copious amount of subject matter. Previously, my approach to a painting started with an idea, and predominantly I treated that idea as a concept with rules I believed I had to adhere to. In my latest painterly pursuits, I do begin with an idea, but now I allow serendipity to play an increasing role. Subsequently, the constant editing – scraping and adding – has changed my view of creating art, whereas the process of finding the painting is as important as the end result itself.”

Below – “Blue Fish”; “Cat”; “Horse”; “Two Fish.”

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