From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLIX

Canadian Art – Paul Richard James

Artist Statement: “I work on several bodies of work at one time and each body of work is as important as any other. My work is at the same time, both traditional and radical in style and content. I am interested in the bridge between the digital and the organic.”

British Art – Richard Clark

In the words of one writer, “Richard Clark was born 1966 in the village of Crawcrook in the North East. Growing up he was surround by the art of his Grandfather Tom Clark (clockmaker/painter) and father Richard Clark (Commercial and industrial artist/painter). He was apprenticed to his father and works in oils on panel or canvas usually painting direct. His studio is inside and heavenly.”

American Art – Part I of II: Linda Lucas Hardy

In the words of one writer, “Internationally known colored pencil artist, Linda Lucas Hardy was named as one of the 10 Artists to watch in 2008 by Southwest Art Magazine. Her articles and artwork have appeared in The “Artist’s”, “International Artist”, The American Artist “DRAWING”, “Southwest Art”, “American Art Collector” and Northlight Magazines as well as International Artists Publishing, Inc. In 2007 she won the CIPPY Award and the EXXPY Award – the two highest awards given by the Colored Pencil Society of America.  Linda has the distinction of being the only colored pencil artist to have won both awards. She is also the only colored pencil artist to have won the International Artists Magazines Grand Prize Award which she received in 2005.”

Below – “Carmen and Michelle Taking Time”; “Summer Came in a Single Flower”; “Unfettered”; “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”; “When I’m Blue”; “Lost in a Dream.”

American Art – Part II of II: Frederick Hart

Artist Statement:“My work isn’t art for art’s sake, it’s about life. I have no patience with obscure or unintelligible art – I want to be understood.”
In the words of one writer, “Frederick Hart has been described as America’s greatest living representational artist. He has gone completely against the grain of the contemporary art world; substance and beauty are the chief criteria of his work.”

Below – “Ex Nihilo Figure 1”; “Daughters of Odessa”; “Grand Visitation”; “Metamorphosis”; “Songs of Grace”; “Dreamers”; “Three Soldiers”; “Pan Gargoyle”; “Veil of Light”; “Prologue.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Gretchen Rogers (American, 1881-1967)

Below – “Blossoming Elms, Back Bay, Boston”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Charles Roussel (French, 1861-1936)

Below – “Fishermen’s Wives Waiting”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Carol Rowan (American, contemporary)

Below – “Deer Isle, Maine”

A Poem for Today

“Jogging with Oscar”
By Walt McDonald

When I take my dachshund jogging, boys and widows gawk
and stop tossing balls or lopping limbs off shrubs. They call
and point at long, pot-bellied Oscar trotting like a rocker horse,
tongue wagging, dragging on grass when he hops over skateboards,

long muzzle wide as if laughing, eager, sniffing the breeze.
All Oscar needs is a tree like a mailbox, postcards from dogs
he barks at at night, and odd whiffs he can’t place. When he stops
and squats, up runs a neighbor’s collie tall as a horse,

stalking like a swan meeting an eel, muzzle to muzzle in dog talk,
collie tail like a feather fan. Wherever we go, we’re not alone
for an hour, devoted hobblers on the block, the odd couple–
long-legged bony man jogging along, obeying the leash law,

the black, retractable nylon sagging back to Oscar, who never balks
or sasses when I give the dangling leash a shake, but trots to me
desperate for affection, panting like a dog off to see Santa,
willing to jog any block for a voice, a scratch on the back.

I’ve seen that hunger in other dogs. I watched my wife
for forty years brush dogs that didn’t need the love he does.
When my children visit, my oldest grandsons trot with him
to the park, that glossy, auburn sausage tugging and barking,

showing off. The toddlers squat and pat him on his back.
They touch his nose and laugh, and make him lick them on the lips.
Good Oscar never growls, not even if they fall atop him.
He was a gift from them, last Christmas, a dog their pop

could take for walks and talk to. Oscar would have loved my wife,
who spoiled and petted our old dogs for decades, coaxing them up
for tidbits on the couch beside her, offering all the bliss
a dog could wish for, a hand to lick, a lap to lay their heads.

Oh, he’s already spoiled, barks at bluejays on his bowl,
fat and lonely unless I’m home. But how groomed and frisky
he could be if she were here, how calm to see us both
by the fire, rocking, talking, turning out the lights.

For Grandfather, in memory of Grandmother Anna

A Second Poem for Today

“The Iraqi Nights”
By Dunya Mikhail

In Iraq,

after a thousand and one nights,

someone will talk to someone else.

Markets will open

for regular customers.

Small feet will tickle

the giant feet of the Tigris.

Gulls will spread their wings

and no one will fire at them.

Women will walk the streets

without looking back in fear.

Men will give their real names

without putting their lives at risk.

Children will go to school

and come home again.

Chickens in the villages

won’t peck at human flesh

on the grass.

Disputes will take place

without any explosives.

A cloud will pass over cars

heading to work as usual.

A hand will wave

to someone leaving

or returning.

The sunrise will be the same

for those who wake

and those who never will.

And every moment

something ordinary

will happen

under the sun.

A Third Poem for Today

“To Bring the Horse Home”
By Julie Bruck

after Philip Larkin

Is all I’ve wanted past wanting
since I was six and delirious with fever,
an infinitive forged from a night
when giant ladybugs with toothpick
antennae patrolled my wicker nightstand.
Yes, I’ve been with horses since, 
travelled illegally with them in trailers,
known certain landscapes only framed
by alert ears, and with one in particular,
spent whole afternoons with her big jaw
heavy on my shoulder. Still, I hatched
plots to bring a horse to the house, to ride 
to school, to pasture one or even three
in the garden, shaded by that decorative
willow, which could have used a purpose.
But there were city bylaws in two languages,
and over the years, a dog, stray cats,
turtles, and many fish. They lived, they died.
It wasn’t the same. Fast-forward, I brought
the baby home in a molded bucket seat, but she
lacked difference, attuned as I was, checking
her twenty-four-seven. Now that she’s 
grown, I’m reduced to walking city parks
with this corrosive envy of mounted police,
though I’m too old for the ropes test,
wouldn’t know what to do with a gun.
If there’s a second act, let me live
like the racetrack rat in a small room
up the narrow stairs from the stalls,
the horse shifting comfortably below,
browsing and chewing sweet hay.
A single bed with blanket the color
of factory-sweepings will suffice,
each day shaped to the same arc, 
because days can only end when
the lock slides free on the stall’s
Dutch door, and I lead the horse in,
then muscle the corroded bolt shut.
That’s what days are for: I cannot rest
until the horse comes home.

Musings in Winter: Debbie Lee Wesselmann

“Through our maps, we willingly become a part of their boundaries. If our home is included, we feel pride, perhaps familiarity, but always a sense that ‘this is ours’. If it is not, we accept our roles as outsiders, though we may be of the same mind and culture. In this way, maps can be dangerous and powerful tools.”

Musings in Winter: Philip Plait

“If a little kid ever asks you just why the sky is blue, you look him or her right in the eye and say, “It’s because of quantum effects involving Rayleigh scattering combined with a lack of violet photon receptors in our retinae.”

Musings in Winter: Henry Beston

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… They are not our brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life.”

Musings in Winter: John Geddes

“…dark furrow lines grid the snow, punctuated by orange abacus beads of pumpkins – now the crows own the field…”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.”

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