From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXXVIII

Musings in Autumn: Colleen Mariotti

“It is such a privilege to learn from children as they discover new worlds of possibility and give themselves full over to their dreams, inspiring a few adults along the way.”

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American Art – Gabriel Liston: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Working from a large collection of sketchbooks and oil studies, he constructs pictures of children engaged at the intersection of place, light, and culture. About his work, Gabriel says: ‘I paint pictures of children taking the world apart from the inside-out in those places where the world shows its seams.’”

Below – “An Ambush on the Road”; “Good Afternoon, Citizens”; “Bierstadt cannonballs into the lake”; “My Troubles Are Over”; “The Track Ends.”

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A Poem for Today

“Sliverswords”
By Juliet S. Kono

At cold daybreak
we wind
up the mountainside
to Haleakala Crater.
Our hands knot
under the rough of
your old army blanket.

We pass protea
and carnation farms
in Kula,
drive through
desolate rockfields.

Upon this one place
on Earth,
from the ancient
lava rivers,
silverswords rise,
startled
into starbursts
by the sun.
Like love, sometimes,
they die
at their first
and rare flowering.

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Musings in Autumn: Umberto Eco

“We are a pluralist civilisation because we allow mosques to be built in our countries, and we are not going to stop simply because Christian missionaries are thrown into prison in Kabul. If we did so, we, too, would become Taliban.”

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American Art – Gabriel Liston: Part II

In the words of one writer, “Gabriel Liston was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Western Colorado. He studied painting there, in Denver, and in Portland, Oregon, receiving a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1998. Liston’s work has been exhibited in many group and solo shows in Oregon and Colorado since 1994. Liston’s work was recently profiled by Daily Serving, an international online publication for contemporary art.

Below – “Snowfall on the Retreat from the Pinnacles”; “June Snowball”; “Above the Reservoir, with Nighthawks”; “Mt Shasta over Lake Klamath from the Train”; “Silver Creek, Rico, Colorado”; “Spider Magnolia.”

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Musings in Autumn: Gary Larson

“I don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Potato”
By Joseph Stroud

Three days into the journey
I lost the Inca Trail
and scrambled around the Andes
in a growing panic
when on a hillside below snowline
I met a farmer who pointed the way—
Machu Picchu allá, he said.
He knew where I wanted to go.
From my pack I pulled out an orange.
It seemed to catch fire
in that high blue Andean sky.
I gave it to him.
He had been digging in a garden,
turning up clumps of earth,
some odd, misshapen nuggets,
some potatoes.
He handed me one,
a potato the size of the orange
looking as if it had been in the ground
a hundred years,
a potato I carried with me
until at last I stood gazing down
on the Urubamba valley,
peaks rising out of the jungle into clouds,
and there among the mists
was the Temple of the Sun
and the Lost City of the Incas.
Looking back now, all these years later,
what I remember most,
what matters to me most,
was that farmer, alone on his hillside,
who gave me a potato,
a potato with its peasant face,
its lumps and lunar craters,
a potato that fit perfectly in my hand,
a potato that consoled me as I walked,
told me not to fear,
held me close to the earth,
the potato I put in a pot that night,
the potato I boiled above Machu Picchu,
the patient, gnarled potato
I ate.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Rody Kenny Hammond Courtice

Below – “The White Calf”

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Musings in Autumn: David McCullough

“‘The thought of going abroad makes my heart Leap,’ (Charles) Sumner wrote. ‘I feel, when I commune with myself about it, as when dwelling on the countenance and voice of a lovely girl. I am in love with Europa.’”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Fishing in Winter”
By Ralph Burns

A man staring at a small lake sees
His father cast light line out over
The willows. He’s forgotten his
Father has been dead for two years
And the lake is where a blue fog
Rolls, and the sky could be, if it
Were black or blue or white,
The backdrop of all attention.

He wades out to join the father,
Following where the good strikes
Seem to lead. It’s cold. The shape
Breath takes on a cold day is like
Anything else — a rise on a small lake,
The Oklahoma hills, blue scrub —
A shape already inside a shape,
Two songs, two breaths on the water.

Young man fishing on a lake from the boat at sunset

Art for November – Part II of II: Bertram Brooker

Below – “Bridge Near Portage Le Prairie”

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Musings in Autumn: Farley Mowat

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Philosopher in Florida”
By C. Dale Young

Midsummer lies on this town
like a plague: locusts now replaced
by humidity, the bloodied Nile

now an algae-covered rivulet
struggling to find its terminus.
Our choice is a simple one:

to leave or to remain, to render
the Spanish moss a memory
or to pull it from trees, repeatedly.

And this must be what the young
philosopher felt, the pull of a dialectic so basic
the mind refuses, normally,

to take much notice of it.
Outside, beyond a palm-tree fence,
a flock of ibis mounts the air,

our concerns ignored
by their quick white wings.
Feathered flashes reflected in water,

the bending necks of the cattails:
the landscape feels nothing—
it repeats itself with or without us.

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Pirsig

“People spend their entire lives at those lower altitudes without any awareness that this high country exists.”

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Canadian Art – Mildred Valley Thornton – Part I

In the words of one writer, “Born in Dresden, Ontario in 1890, she moved with her family to Regina in 1913 and became interested in the Plains Indians. She began to paint professionally in the 1920s, painting portraits of more than 300 aborignal people. In response to the Depression, she came with her family to Vancouver in 1934. Having attended Olivet College in Michigan, the Ontario School of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, she wrote for the ‘Vancouver Sun’ as an art critic from 1944 to 1959. Thornton was inducted into the Royal Society of Arts in 1954 and became president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club, but she could never attain her greatest wish: to have the government of Canada accept her donation of her work en masse. She claimed the Kwakiutl of the Clan Eagle had named her ‘Ah-ou-Mookht,’ meaning “’the one who wears the blanket because she is of noble birth,’ and the Crees had named her ‘Owas-ka-esk-ean’ or ‘putting your best ability for us.’ After her husband died in 1958, Mildred Valley Thornton moved to England in 1959 to live with one of her sons. A major exhibit of her work was mounted by the Royal Commonwealth Institute but she was afflicted by a skin disease and could not attend. She came back to Vancouver in 1961.”

Below – “At Fort Sabine”; “English Bay”; untitled farm scene; untitled mountain lake; untitled beachscape; untitled landscape.

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Musings in Autumn: Alice Walker

“Horses make a landscape look beautiful.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“A Winter Blue Jay”
By Sara Teasdale

Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
“Oh look!”
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?

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Musings in Autumn: Jack Kerouac

“The eyes of hope looking over the flare of the hood into the maw with its white line feeding in straight as an arrow, the lighting of fresh cigarettes, the buckling to lean forward to the next adventure something that’s been going on in America ever since the covered wagons clocked the deserts in three months flat.”

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Canadian Art – Mildred Valley Thornton – Part II

In the words of one writer, “Thornton’s first book Indian Lives and Legends (Mitchell Press, 1966) pertained mainly to B.C. and included twelve, hand-inserted colour plates. Thornton gradually succumbed to her skin disease, dying in 1967, at age 77. Embittered by the lack of official support for her art, she had a codicil in her will that requested all her paintings should be burned to ashes after her death. This codicil was not acted upon on the grounds that it had not been legally witnessed. The collection was saved but it has been mostly sold piecemeal. Her 1966 book has been retitled ‘Potlatch People: Indian Lives and Legends of British Columbia’ (Hancock, 2003), edited by her son John M. Thornton. Its preceding companion volume, ‘Buffalo People: Portraits of a Vanishing Nation’ (Hancock, 2000), contains 38 paintings pertaining to the prairies.”

Below – “Saskatchewan Summer”; “Mountain Scene”; “Anarchist Mountain”; “The Willows”; untitled Saskatchewan landscape”; untitled landscape.

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