From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXXVIII

Musings in Winter: Donna Tartt

“Even now I remember those pictures, like pictures in a storybook one loved as a child. Radiant meadows, mountains vaporous in the trembling distance; leaves ankle-deep on a gusty autumn road; bonfires and fog in the valleys; cellos, dark window-panes, snow.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Dodge MacKnight (American, 1860-1950)

Below – “Jigging for Squid”

Musings in Winter: George Gaylord Simpson

“From horses we may learn not only about the horse itself but also about animals in general, indeed about ourselves and about life as a whole.”

A Poem for Today

“The Black Bass”
By David Dodd Lee

My hand became my father’s hand
that day,
for a second or two, as I lifted the fish, and I could feel his loneliness,
my father’s, like mine,

a horse in a stall spooked by guttering candles,
the popping and black smoke, the quivering flanks.

And if a horse, in its loneliness, couldn’t manage
to speak, what difference did it make?
What could he say? Tell a flickering candle Burn true?

Then I thought of my mother, standing in a field with flames
in her hair. She was surrounded by deer, statues
in a circle around her.

Musings in Winter: Virginia Woolf

“Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Joseph McGurl (American, contemporary)

Below – “Cruising on the Coast”

Musings in Winter: Beth Garrod

“The majority of boys think the highest form of creativity is weeing a pattern into snow.”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Brian Porter (Canadian, contemporary)

Below – “Owl”

Musings in Winter: Dylan Thomas

“It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats.”

Chilean Art – Claudia Olivos

Artist Statement: “I am an artist who is perpetually engaged in the creation of a seemingly ethereal novel….: my life lived among others with the help of H/She who created me in love while simultaneously condemning me by imbedding within me the soul of an artist (as Jung stated: ‘the artist is a blessing unto others-a curse unto himself’).
In a continuous labyrinth of all pictorial, ephemeral and permanent, I am oft distracted, cogitating on what my role as an artist is in society, so that it may more than purely inform as an aesthetic activity…but also act as a viable venue through which I, among others may be enabled to easier attain depths of vision, strength and understanding.
My own work is rooted, not only in my Latin American upbringing, but in the collection of Russian fairy tales my grandmother kept in her house in Santiago, Chile. As a teenager, it was a logical shift when I became interested in Kafka’s stories, which in college led me to discover the Surrealists. Later, I found that I had an affinity with the fact found within Magic Realism: that ancient beliefs and spirits can coexist with modern ones.
Through my work, I hope to capture the development of life, the experience of being.
To portray the tonal effects and subtle contrasts of color that help constitute the promontory, recesses and folds of the labyrinth of the mind, the genesis of the eternal. To find content which is not only valid, but valuable: which can stand on political, personal and moral ground—non calibrated extensions of emotion, discovery, explorations of the psyche, expressions of a magic-real or surreal sensibility, a mysterious spirituality devoid of legalistic religion—all woven together.
To work forevermore intrigued by questions which hold mysteries lying within a multiplicity of answers, and to allow myself never to forget that I understand the necessity in life, to touch the earth.”

Musings in Winter: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Gospel”
By Philip Levine

The new grass rising in the hills,
the cows loitering in the morning chill,
a dozen or more old browns hidden
in the shadows of the cottonwoods
beside the streambed. I go higher
to where the road gives up and there’s
only a faint path strewn with lupine
between the mountain oaks. I don’t
ask myself what I’m looking for.
I didn’t come for answers
to a place like this, I came to walk
on the earth, still cold, still silent.
Still ungiving, I’ve said to myself,
although it greets me with last year’s
dead thistles and this year’s
hard spines, early blooming
wild onions, the curling remains
of spider’s cloth. What did I bring
to the dance? In my back pocket
a crushed letter from a woman
I’ve never met bearing bad news
I can do nothing about. So I wander
these woods half sightless while
a west wind picks up in the trees
clustered above. The pines make
a music like no other, rising and
falling like a distant surf at night
that calms the darkness before
first light. “Soughing” we call it, from
Old English, no less. How weightless
words are when nothing will do.

French Art – Part I of II: Louis Tresseras

In the words of one writer, “Louis Treserras claims to be a self taught painter. For 30 years he has been painting young and mysterious nude female models. His rigorous approach to artistic composition would almost compare to a science, like mathematics. His style remains however poetic an intimist, with a very distinct and soft range of colors. A contemporary artist with a highly classical technique, characteristic of the uncompromising self-taught artist.”

Musings in Winter: Alicia Steinbach

“I suspected, however, that I wasn’t homesick for anything I would find at home when I returned. The longing was for what I wouldn’t find: the past and all the people and places there were lost to me.”

Below – Faruk Koksai: “Longing for the Past”

A Third Poem for Today

“79”
By Joachim du Bella

I do not write of love: I am no lover.
I do not write of beauty: I have no woman.
I do not write of gentleness but the human
rudeness I see. And my pleasures are all over,
so I do not try to write of pleasure, but only
misery. Favors? No, I am on my own.
I do not write of riches: I have none.
Or of life at court, when I’m far from it and lonely.

I do not write of health, for I’m often ill.
I cannot write of France from a Roman hill.
Or honor? I see so little of that about.
I cannot write of friendship but only pretence.
I will not write of virtue, here in its absence.
Or knowledge or faith, in ignorance and doubt.

Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac

“The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don’t care, it still belongs to me.’”

French Art – Part II of II: Berit Hildre

Artist Statement: “My girls are like flowers, frail daisies in a trough valley; wonderfully fresh and beautiful, a daisy.”

Musings in Winter: Yoshida Kenko

“It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“the suicide kid”
By Charles Bukowski

I went to the worst of bars
hoping to get
killed.
but all I could do was to
get drunk
again.
worse, the bar patrons even
ended up
liking me.
there I was trying to get
pushed over the dark
edge
and I ended up with
free drinks
while somewhere else
some poor
son-of-a-bitch was in a hospital
bed,
tubes sticking out all over
him
as he fought like hell
to live.
nobody would help me
die as
the drinks kept
coming,
as the next day
waited for me
with its steel clamps,
its stinking
anonymity,
its incogitant
attitude.
death doesn’t always
come running
when you call
it,
not even if you
call it
from a shining
castle
or from an ocean liner
or from the best bar
on earth (or the
worst).
such impertinence
only makes the gods
hesitate and
delay.
ask me: I’m
72.

Musings in Winter: Danzy Senna

“It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.”

Russian Art – Dmitry Lisichenko

In the words of one writer, “Dmitry Lisichenko was born into a musical family in Moscow in 1976.
He attended the Moscow Art Lyceum, and later the Moscow State Academic Art Institute (known as the Surikov Art Institute), where he came under the influence of the distinguished professors Eugeny Maximov and Ivan Lubennikov.
After graduating, Dmitry worked as a restorer repairing the famous murals of Moscow Cathedral. This gave the artist a unique opportunity to develop his own skills as a painter.
Dmitry Lisichenko is noted for his atmospheric compositions with their meditative and often enigmatic women.
All the work is oil on canvas.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Alone for a Week”
By Jane Kenyon

I washed a load of clothes
and hung them out to dry.
Then I went up to town
and busied myself all day.
The sleeve of your best shirt
rose ceremonious
when I drove in; our night-
clothes twined and untwined in
a little gust of wind.

For me it was getting late;
for you, where you were, not.
The harvest moon was full
but sparse clouds made its light
not quite reliable.
The bed on your side seemed
as wide and flat as Kansas;
your pillow plump, cool,
and allegorical. . . .

Musings in Winter: Virginia Alison

“Gazing out from the mountains, the clouds are whiter, the sky is bluer, the air seeping into your lungs is as clear as the water roaring down from the snow, melting on the high peaks. A place where heaven is a little closer.”

American Art – Charles Williams

In the words of one writer, “Charles Williams is a professional contemporary realist painter from Georgetown, South Carolina and a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art. From utilizing oils for the basis of landscapes, each painting captures his reflection of human emotions in response to and in sync with the natural environment.”

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