From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXVI

A Poem for Today

“January” (from “A Child’s Calendar”)
By John Updike

The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

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Art for Winter – Part I of II: Gordon Grant (American, 1875-1962)

Below – “The Mackerel Seine”

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Musings in the New Year: Vern McLellan

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

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Art for Winter – Part II of II: Albert Gold (American, 1916-2006)

Below – “The Carousel”

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Musings in Winter: Tove Jansson

“Nothing can be as peaceful and endless as a long winter darkness, going on and on, like living in a tunnel where the dark sometimes deepens into night and sometimes eases to twilight, you’re screened from everything, protected, even more alone than usual.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“It sifts from Leaden Sieve”
By Emily Dickinson

It sifts from Leaden Sieves –
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road –

It makes an even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain –
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again –

It reaches to the Fence –
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces –
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack – and Stem –
A Summer’s empty Room –
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them –

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen –
Then stills it’s Artisans – like Ghosts –
Denying they have been –

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Canadian Art – Dene Croft

Artist Statement: “I’ve always believed that by the time you turn professional as an artist you are a thousand influences deep. . my great influences are Tamara De Lempicka and Edward Hopper and with endless respect and admiration for the ground that they broke for future painters, I pay homage to them daily in my own work, while constantly pressing forward with my own sense of aesthetic and story telling.
My figurative paintings often reflect a bit of film noir ‘kitsch’- narrative paintings that leave the viewer writing the end of the story.
Painting has become both a great passion and a blessed curse for me; I love what I do and I love to infuse my passion for my art in others and with that, my studio has become a hive of creativity in the mentoring of other artists, and marries my passion for what I do as an artist and my love of people through my teaching.”

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Musings in Winter: Terri Guillemets

“I am grateful for the silence of winter mornings, for the beauty and wonder of the glint of sunlight in frost melting to dew, for the early-riser’s peaceful solitude that sets a mood of thankfulness, hope, and calm for the dawning day.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Snow”
By Louis MacNeice

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes–
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of your hands–
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

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Romanian Art – Victor Hagea

Artist Statement: “I have been much influenced by the Flemish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and French great masters. I saw in their multi-faceted work multiple windows toward the absolute. Then Dali showed me what kinds of possibilities dwell within the domain of the ‘real’ and what the artists can make of it. After a time of experimenting in several directions such as cubism, constructivism, and abstractionism and using various techniques, I came back to the kind of painting that best expresses who I am. I have always dreamed of painting this way, finding means to capture the passing and evanescent nature of reality through forms that transcend it. Traditional Indian philosophy claims that ‘life is a dream,’ underscoring an invisible boundary that separates different worlds from each other and therefore the respective ‘realities’ that correspond to them. There is something in each ‘reality’ that transcends its physical immediacy taking the form of a projection or emanation, thus outgrowing its deterministic corset and finding its “super-reality” at a higher level. I believe my textual ‘Painting as performance representation’ opens the door towards understanding this.”

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Musings in the New Year: Craig D. Lounsbrough

“We desire an exciting future, but the demand for familiar and comfortable tempers our steps to the point that often our steps are little more than stepping in place.”

Hiking Buckskin Pass

A Fourth Poem for Today

“First Sight”
By Philip Larkin

Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.

As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth’s immeasurable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.

Welsh Ewe and lambs in snow storm

Musings in Winter: John Burroughs

“Summer is more wooing and seductive, more versatile and human, appeals to the affections and the sentiments, and fosters inquiry and the art impulse. Winter is of a more heroic cast, and addresses the intellect. The severe studies and disciplines come easier in winter. One imposes larger tasks upon himself, and is less tolerant of his own weaknesses…The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread.”

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Australian Art – David Wells

Artist Statement: “I believe that a living person is more interesting then any artwork ever made; therefore, everyone is a masterpiece waiting to be painted.”

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Musings in Winter: Dick Allen

“It was snowing as if you could hear wolves howling.”

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American Art – Ron Monsma

In the words of one writer, “Ron Monsma has been painting and teaching for over 20 years. Since exhibiting at the Chicago Art Institute’s prestigious 51st Drawing Competition, Ron has continued his career with numerous awards and solo exhibitions at galleries in Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati and is represented in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe.”

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