From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXXIX

Musings in Winter: Vincent van Gogh

“I never get tired of the blue sky.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Wheat Field Under a Clouded Sky”

A Poem for Today

“The Living Beauty”
By William Butler Yeats

I’ll say and maybe dream I have drawn content—
Seeing that time has frozen up the blood,
The wick of youth being burned and the oil spent—
From beauty that is cast out of a mould
In bronze, or that in dazzling marble appears,
Appears, but when we have gone is gone again,
Being more indifferent to our solitude
Than ‘twere an apparition. O heart, we are old,
The living beauty is for younger men,
We cannot pay its tribute of wild tears.

Below – Iseult Gonne, who is believed to have inspired “The Living Beauty.” Iseult was the daughter of Maude Gonne, the original muse of William Butler Yeats.

Art for Winter – Part I of II: John C. Miles (American, 1837-1911)

Below – “Atlantic Salmon”

Musings in Winter: Anne Sexton

“I am younger each year at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving; then I am in love again and very young and I believe everything.”

Art for Winter – Part II of II: Roger Medearis (American, 1920-2001)

Below – “Rio Chama, near Taos, New Mexico”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“The road has its own reasons and no two travelers will have the same understanding of those reasons. If indeed they come to an understanding of them at all.”

A Second Poem for Today

“The Wings of Daylight”
By W.S. Merwin

Brightness appears showing us everything
it reveals the splendors it calls everything
but shows it to each of us alone
and only once and only to look at
not to touch or hold in our shadows
what we see is never what we touch
what we take turns out to be something else
what we see that one time departs untouched
while other shadows gather around us
the world’s shadows mingle with our own
we had forgotten them but they know us
they remember us as we always were
they were at home here before the first came
everything will leave us except the shadows
but the shadows carry the whole story
at first daybreak they open their long wings

Australian Art – Andrew Baines

Andrew Baines was a successful commercial artist before he became a full-time painter.

Musings in Winter: Oksana Rus

“Meet me there, where the sea meets the sky.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Wedding”
By Ari Banias

People, far too many people here—
drinking, leaning on the furniture,
congratulating my father
on his new life. Here’s
his young wife, young enough
to be my older sister.
She—if you can’t tell
the whole truth—is nice.
But he slams his glass
onto the table, yells
more now than ever. Unless
I remember wrong. I know
I was afraid. Of him. And so.
I know I played alone
with dolls and that
we roughhoused, hard,
like brothers. What is a father
is a question like what
is home, or love. In the middle of the room
guests on the arms of the awful floral sofa
Mom wouldn’t get up from
when she heard. In the grey bathrobe
for a week, horrid splotches
of pink and purple flowers with green
for stems. Or leaves. I can’t
look at it. There’s something hot
behind my eyes another glass of wine
should take care of.
There are people I should say hello to.

Musings in Winter: Rabindranath Tagore

“Where roads are made I lose my way. In the wide water, in the blue sky there is no line of a track. The pathway is hidden by the birds’ wings, by the star-fires, by the flowers of the wayfaring seasons. And I ask my heart if its blood carries the wisdom of the unseen way.”

Serbian Art – Zdravko Mandic

In the words of one writer, “Mandic is a classical artist, living and working in Zrenjanin, with more than 100 solo and 500 group exhibitions in the former Yugoslavia and abroad, winning numerous awards. Well established for his river landscapes in watercolour and oil, Mandic paints hazy river scenes, with human figures disappearing in the mist, often being referred to by critics as the ‘mist magician’.”

Musings in Winter: Lauren Oliver

“‘You can’t go home again’ ─ isn’t necessarily that places change but people do. So nothing ever looks the same.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Room Is as We Left It”
By Marion Strobel

The room is as we left it
But mellowed to a heightened
Dignity.
The chairs
Have summer coverings
Of cobwebs,
The teakwood lamps are there,
And still the bed sags
To the center,
And the table throws
Its weight of shadow
On the spread . . . .
. . . Folly to have left the room unused:
You did not merit such a nicety . . . .

A ragged ache of light
Sifts through the dust:
Blotches
A grotesque of the present
Upon the patterns of the past . . .
My hands are bruised by surfaces
I do not see,
My fingers falter up and down
A tracery of years,
I sense the echo of a voice
I do not hear,
I am not sure the breath I hold
Is mine.

Musings in Winter: Danielle Raine

“The cruel irony of housework:
people only notice when you don’t do it.”

South African Art – Floris van Zyl

Artist Statement: “I decide how I can use these to promote the feeling I want to achieve. I have a general idea of the ‘feeling’ of the painting before I begin. I find the appropriate references and the correct way to paint it, so that there is nothing Inessential or unrelated to the topic in the process. It is difficult to describe, but I like to be direct and to the point with the subject.
Much of my work is expressive so there is always something new for the viewer to notice and discover, even after long inspection. My work is an ongoing process of self challenge and evolution, I don’t like to get stuck on a recipe. I want to give people the opportunity to enjoy and interpret my work largely for themselves.”

Musings in Winter: Christopher Isherwood

“Waking up begins with saying am and now. That which has awoken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognized I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it has expected to find itself: what’s called at home.”

Danish Art – Louise Camille Fenne

In the words of one writer, “Louise Camille Fenne was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1972. Louise studied drawing in Aix-en-Provence, France and at the Glyptothek, Copenhagen, before enrolling at The Florence Academy of Art in 1995. She was intrigued by the possibility of studying traditional painting and drawing techniques. There she studied cast and figure drawing until 1997 when she moved to Amsterdam, Holland, and later Lucca, Italy, with painter, Charles Weed, from whom she learnt the basic painting techniques necessary for exploring this medium further on her own. Since 1999 she has shared a studio with Weed in Svendborg, Denmark. She paints mainly portraits, still lifes and interiors.”

Musings in Winter: Mitch Albom

“I think what you notice most when you haven’t been home in a while is how much the trees have grown around your memories.”

American Art – Part I of II: Rich Booth

Artist Statement: “I make paintings. When I make a painting I strive to create an interesting object. It must have it’s own source of light. The surface must compel you to take a closer look. Every square inch should stand on its own. And whether it’s a figure, a landscape, a piece of fruit or a dog on a hill, it should make you want to know more. I studied painting at Boston University’s School of Fine Arts where I earned my Bachelors degree.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Found Poem”
By Howard Nemerov

after information received in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 v 86

The population center of the USA
Has shifted to Potosi, in Missouri.

The calculation employed by authorities
In arriving at this dislocation assumes

That the country is a geometric plane,
Perfectly flat, and that every citizen,

Including those in Alaska and Hawaii
And the District of Columbia, weighs the same;

So that, given these simple presuppositions,
The entire bulk and spread of all the people

Should theoretically balance on the point
Of a needle under Potosi in Missouri

Where no one is residing nowadays
But the watchman over an abandoned mine

Whence the company got the lead out and left.
“It gets pretty lonely here,” he says, “at night.”

Below – Lead mine in Potosi, Missouri, circa 1866.

Musings in Winter: Yoshida Kenko

“One morning after a beautiful fall of snow, I had reason to write a letter to an acquaintance, but I omitted to make any mention of the snow. I was delighted when she responded, ‘Do you expect me to pay any attention to the words of someone so perverse that he fails to enquire how I find this snowy landscape? What deplorable insensitivity!’”

American Art – Part II of II: Andrew Ek

Artist Statement: “I am a painter completely devoted to my work. I am primarily a self-taught artist and began drawing early on. In the beginning, dinosaurs and anthropomorphic creatures were my favorite subjects. In my teens, I became interested in special effects, frequently making Super-8 horror films, which eventually led to my enrollment in the Industrial Design Technology program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. At school, I was introduced to a myriad of artistic disciplines and ultimately became obsessed with developing and nurturing my fascination with realistic figurative oil painting. Utilizing my immediate surroundings and friends as fodder for imagery, while incorporating strong emotional undercurrents, my work has culminated into a nexus of finely wrought, phantasmagorical sequences. My aim is to envelop the viewer into an unfolding narrative in a vivid cinematic context, similar to a movie still.”

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