From the Pacific Northwest – Part LI

Musings in Winter: Robert Michael Pyle

“We look up, if only to see if we’re likely to be rained on. The sky calls attention to itself, whether scored by herons, cranes, or wires; illumined by sunsets, Perseids, or ballparks; broken up by the twigwork of oaks or maples, painted in rainbows, or just primed in the pale gray of my ’52 Ford. If we are truthful, the sky is never neutral.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Warren Sheppard (American, 1858-1937)

Below – “Tranquil Sunrise”; “Venetian Canal and Garden.”

Musings in Winter: Virginia Coyle

“I feel at ease and, in an indefinable way, at home, when dolphins are around. I now know when they are nearby before they appear. I dream after they leave.”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Laurence P. Sisson (American, 1928-2015)

Below – “New England November”

A Poem for Today

“After the Election”
By Sarah Messer

Moonlight slept quiet beneath the grandstand,

like flower petals, like highway snowstorms, like each thought
not of November or battlefields. My moping climbed

the Pegasus inside my chest which sped me to you
in this last century of petrol, with my socialism wanting.

I dropped an ocean in the penny. It was November. It was
lost. My wish slept beneath the Pegasus, quiet

as a petrol station or the monotony of socialism,
as if each lesson was not separate from the thought,

but from the ballot box. Like a snow globe of wanting.
Like wanting thoughts not to be octaves. Not free

of the ocean, but of the battlefield. Like a grandstand
sleeping in moonlight, its flower petal confetti, its metal

steps like ballot boxes, sleeping empty now
beneath a dropped ceiling of balloons.

Art for Winter – Part III of III: George Henry Smillie (American, 1840-1921)

Below – “Cohasset”

Cormac McCarthy is an award-winning American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter.

Some quotes from the work of Cormac McCarthy:

“Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.”
“You fix what you can fix and you let the rest go. If there ain’t nothin to be done about it it aint even a problem. It’s just an aggravation.”
“Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person’s path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning.”
“There is no such joy in the tavern as upon the road thereto.”
“I got what I needed instead of what I wanted and that’s just about the best kind of luck you can have.”
“Probably I dont believe in a lot of things that I used to believe in but that doesnt mean I dont believe in anything.”
“You give up the world line by line. Stoically. And then one day you realize that your courage is farcical. It doesn’t mean anything. You’ve become an accomplice in your own annihilation and there is nothing you can do about it. Everything you do closes a door somewhere ahead of you. And finally there is only one door left.”
“But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse.”
“He saw very clearly how all his life led only to this moment and all after led to nowhere at all. He felt something cold and soulless enter him like another being and he imagined that it smiled malignly and he had no reason to believe that it would ever leave.”
“So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall.”
“It is personal. That’s what an education does. It makes the world personal.”
“I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt.”
“The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day.”
“You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday dont count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I dont know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who’s layin there?”
“I had two dreams about him after he died. I dont remember the first one all that well but it was about meetin him in town somewheres and he give me some money and I think I lost it. But the second one it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin through the mountains of a night. Goin through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin. Never said nothin. He just rode on past and he had this blanket wrapped around him and he had his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. About the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin on ahead and that he was fixin to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.”

Global Citizen Art – Ali Kaikaoss Kamal

Artist Statement: Born in Afghanistan in 1965, I studied in Minsk at the art academy where I did my master of art.
I have lived and worked in Germany since 1991 and consider myself a global citizen, for art has no borders. My experiences in various cultures have allowed me to find my own unmistakable style. I am and have been present at many single and group exhibitions in Germany, Belgium, France, the USA, and Belarus.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Mercy”
By Tyehimba Jess

the war speaks at night
with its lips of shredded children,
with its brow of plastique
and its fighter jet breath,
and then it speaks at daybreak
with the soft slur of money
unfolding leaf upon leaf.
it speaks between the news
programs in the music
of commercials, then sings
in the voices of a national anthem.
it has a dirty coin jingle in its step,
it has a hand of many lost hands,
a palm of missing fingers,
the stump of an arm that it lost
reaching up to heaven, a foot
that digs a trench for its dead.
the war staggers forward,
compelled, inexorable, ticking.
it looks to me
with its one eye of napalm
and one eye of ice,
with its hair of fire
and its nuclear heart,
and yes, it is so human
and so pitiful as it stands there,
waiting for my hand.
it wants to know my answer.
it wants to know how i intend
to show it out of its misery,
and i only want it
to teach me how to kill.

Musings in Winter: Wallace Stegner

“I wonder if ever again Americans can have that experience of returning to a home place so intimately known, profoundly felt, deeply loved, and absolutely submitted to? It is not quite true that you can’t go home again. I have done it, coming back here. But it gets less likely. We have had too many divorces, we have consumed too much transportation, we have lived too shallowly in too many places.”

Filipino Art – Alfred Galura

In the words of one writer, “Filipino artist Alfred Galura creates beautiful watercolor paintings of still lifes, female portraits, panoramic ballpoint pen drawings. All artworks of master watercolorist Alfred Galura show stunning realism. Alfred is a permanent participant of art exhibitions, his works are exhibited in museums and featured in newspapers and magazines.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Zombie Blues Villanelle”
By Tim Seibles

There are days I believe there ain’ nothing to fear
I perk up for green lights, my engine on call
But it could be the zombies are already near

That sleep that we feed every day of the year
What’s up with your friends when they circle the mall?
There are nights when I think I have no one to fear

My Mom watches Oprah to brighten the drear
You can keep your eyes open, see nothing at all
But it might be the zombies are already near

You think life is s’posed to be lived in this gear?
I been askin’ that question till my brain has gone raw
Certain days I believed I had nothing to fear

I have dreams that I’m driving with no way to steer
You can growl like a cello; you can chat like a doll
Don’t it seem like the zombies are already here?

I think fear itself is a whole lot to fear
I have watched CNN till it made my skin crawl
I might be a zombie that’s already here

I been pounding this door but don’ nobody hear
You can drink till you think that you’re seven feet tall
There were midnights I danced without nothin’ to fear

You can fly through your days until time is a smear
Maybe blaze up the bong   or blog out a blog

There’ll be days when it feels like there’s nothing to fear
But you could be a zombie    that’s already here.

Musings in Winter: Richard O’Barry

“There’s an exact moment for leaping into the lives of wild animals. You have to feel their lives first, how they fit the world around them. It’s like the beat of music. Their eyes, the sounds they make, their head, movements, their feet and their whole body, the closeness of things around them – all this and more make up the way they perceive and adjust to their world.”

American Art – Part I of III: Edmond Lewis

In the words of one writer, “Mary Edmonia Lewis (c. July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907) was an American sculptor who worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy. She was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture. She began to gain prominence during the American Civil War; at the end of the 19th century, she remained the only black woman who had participated in and been recognized to any degree by the American artistic mainstream.”

Below – “Minnehaha”; “The Death of Cleopatra”; “Hiawatha”; “Pompeiian Girl”; “Forever Free”; “The Wooing of Hiawatha.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Counting What the Cactus Contains”
By Pattiann Rogers

Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they’ll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.

Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
And sunsplit. Whistle
Of the red-tailed hawk at midnight, rush
Of the leaf-nosed bat, the soft slip
Of fog easing through sand held in tandem.

Counting, the vertigo of its attitudes
Across the evening; in the wood of its latticed bones–
The eye sockets of every saint of thirst;
In the gullet of each night-blooming flower–the crucifix
Of the arid.

In its core, a monastery of cells, a brotherhood
Of electrons, a column of expanding darkness
Where matter migrates and sparks whorl,
And travel has no direction, where distance
Bends backward over itself and the ascension
Of Venus, the stability of Polaris, are crucial.

The cactus, containing
Whatever can be said to be there,
Plus the measurable tremble of its association
With all those who have been counting.

Musings in Winter: Nikki Rowe

“It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but it was deeper than that. A sense of belonging to a place I never knew I wanted but somehow always needed. It was a home that carried a heartbeat.”

American Art – Part II of III: Millard Sheets

In the words of one writer, “Millard Owen Sheets (June 24, 1907 – March 31, 1989) was an American painter and a representative of the California School of Painting, later a teacher and educational director, and architectural designer of more than 50 branch banks in Southern California.”

Below – “Tenement Flats”; “A California Landscape”; “Mendocino Coves”; “Stallions and Date Palms”; “California Coastline” (possibly Elk, California); “Ancient Cottonwood, Albuquerque, New Mexico”; “Road through the mountains.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Election Year”
By Donald Revell

A jet of mere phantom
Is a brook, as the land around
Turns rocky and hollow.
Those airplane sounds
Are the drowning of bicyclists.
Leaping, a bridesmaid leaps.
You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I’d never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.

Musings in Winter: Marcus Aurelius

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

American Art – Part III of III: Rusty Jones

Artist Statement: “I typically do not choose a place to paint, it chooses me. I am struck by the way light is illuminating the landscape or the way shapes and color play off each other. If I like what I see, it causes me to take pause, set up my easel and slap paint to a canvas. Painting outdoors is not a passive or leisurely activity. It usually involves hiking somewhere which means shortness of breath, blisters on the feet, a dry mouth and sweat dripping from the brim of my hat. The actual process of recording a scene on canvas requires technical skill, clear thinking and some guts. The reward is a shady spot along the side of a river or looking out over a valley from the top of a mountain or the quiet that dusk brings at the end of the day. Its the quiet moments, away from everyday life, in the midst of the wondrous landscape that makes painting outdoors worth doing. When my mind is pure and uncluttered from distraction, maybe …just maybe… the paint will flow from my brush in a magical dance of color and shapes. When everything is right, a painting worthy of the effort comes to life. It is the orchestration … the placement of shapes, the mixing of colors and the application of paint that makes painting outdoors the total creative experience.”

Below – “Red Rock Bluff”; “Trading Post”; “Eldorado Snow Day”; “Half Dome in Winter”; “Loch Vale”; “Rolling Fog.”

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