From the Pacific Northwest – Part LIX

Musings in Winter: Mara Dabrishus

“If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that horses do listen to you. They may not have a clue what you’re saying, but they know the tone in which you say it. I’ll sing to horses so hooked on their own nerves they’re ready to climb into the sky, and sometimes it’s one of the only things that keep them on the ground.”

Below – Frederic Remington: “Cowpuncher’s Lullaby” (In the permanent collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.)

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Kuan Tao-sheng (Chinese, 1262-1319)

Below – “Bamboo and Stone”

Musings in Winter: Bryn Greenwood

“Mr. Arsenikos said if you knew the constellations you would never get lost. You could always find your way home.”

Art for Winter – Part II of IV: Andrew Winter (American, 1892-1958)

Below – “Pulpit Rock, Monhegan”; “Picnic at Marshall Point Light.”

A Poem for Today

“The Falling Star”
By Sara Teasdale

I saw a star slide down the sky,
Blinding the north as it went by,
Too burning and too quick to hold,
Too lovely to be bought or sold,
Good only to make wishes on
And then forever to be gone.

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Mabel May Woodward (American, 1877-1945)

Below – “Ogunquit Bathers”; “Trellis and Lane.”

Musings in Winter: Chloe Thurlow

“When you take care of your horse, your horse takes care of you. You can say that about no other creature on the planet.”

Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Jamie Wyeth (American, contemporary)

Below – “Yolk and the Wicker Chair”

Musings in Winter: David Almond

“It was great to see the owls,” I said.
She smiled.
“Yes. They’re wild things, of course. Killers, savages. They’re wonderful.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Buddha with a Cell Phone”
By David Romtvedt

The dark sky opens and it starts to rain. I go outside
to stand in the stream, the longed-for gift of water
where it hasn’t rained for so long. I shout and dance
with the dog, who puts his ears back and licks my nose.
When we come back in, he shakes and I do too,
a few drops flying off my hair. I notice the Buddha
sitting on my desk. He’s a rubber Buddha
in a yellow robe. If you squeeze him he squeaks.
He’s got a radiant smile on his face, his eyebrows
happy half-moons over his eyes. As I stare at him
my wife walks by and with a cheery Buddha-like glint says,
“It’s raining.” In his right hand the Buddha’s got a cappuccino
and in his left a cell phone pressed to his ear.
His lips are closed so I know he’s listening, not talking.
One more thing—I pick up a little kaleidoscope
lying next to the Buddha and lift it to my eye to look outside.
I thought it would make the raindrops glitter
through the autumn-dry corn but instead what I see
looks like the ceiling of a great cathedral.
I whirl around and am presented with the image
of a thousand rubber Buddhas, each one
a drop of rain, falling, ready to hit the ground.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Nikolai Blokin

In the words of one writer, “This contemporary Russian artist, centuries from now, will no doubt rank among the world’s great painters. Nikolai Blokhin is known above all as a portrait painter, although he also paints landscapes, still lifes, and genre paintings. But it is in his portraits that his talent is most strikingly apparent.”

Below – “The Gypsy”; “Profile”; “Anna”; “Anya.”

Musings in Winter: Mark Spragg

“I am fond of the sound of horses in the night. The lifting of feet. Stamping. The clicking of their iron shoes against rock. They mouth one another’s withers and rear and squeal and whirl and shuffle and cough and stand and snort. There is the combined rumblings of each individual gut. They sound larger than they are. The air tastes of horses, ripples as though come alive with their good-hearted strength and stamina.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Starlight”
By William Meredith

Going abruptly into a starry night
It is ignorance we blink from, dark, unhoused;
There is a gaze of animal delight
Before the human vision. Then, aroused
To nebulous danger, we may look for easy stars,
Orion and the Dipper; but they are not ours,

These learned fields. Dark and ignorant,
Unable to see here what our forebears saw,
We keep some fear of random firmament
Vestigial in us. And we think, Ah,
If I had lived then, when these stories were made up, I
Could have found more likely pictures in haphazard sky.

But this is not so. Indeed, we have proved fools
When it comes to myths and images. A few
Old bestiaries, pantheons and tools
Translated to the heavens years ago—
Scales and hunter, goat and horologe—are all
That save us when, time and again, our systems fall.

And what would we do, given a fresh sky
And our dearth of image? Our fears, our few beliefs
Do not have shapes. They are like that astral way
We have called milky, vague stars and star-reefs
That were shapeless even to the fecund eye of myth—
Surely these are no forms to start a zodiac with.

To keep the sky free of luxurious shapes
Is an occupation for most of us, the mind
Free of luxurious thoughts. If we choose to escape,
What venial constellations will unwind
Around a point of light, and then cannot be found
Another night or by another man or from other ground.

As for me, I would find faces there,
Or perhaps one face I have long taken for guide;
Far-fetched, maybe, like Cygnus, but as fair,
And a constellation anyone could read
Once it was pointed out; an enlightenment of night,
The way the pronoun ‘you’ will turn dark verses bright.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Dmitri Annenkov

In the words of one writer, “Looking at the hyperrealist still lifes of this Russian artist makes you want to reach out your hand and touch, or take right from the canvas, whatever they depict. They are just that real and alive. The artist Dmitri Annenkov lives in Moscow and works in various genres. He is remarkably talented in all of them.”

Below – “Rain in the Tavern, Norway”; “Motion”; “Little Igor’s Summer”; “Autumn.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“By early evening all the sky to the north had darkened and the spare terrain they trod had turned a neuter gray as far as the eye could see. They grouped in the road at the top of a rise and looked back. The storm front towered above them and the wind was cool on their sweating faces. They slumped bleary-eyed in their saddles and looked at one another. Shrouded in the black thunderheads the distant lightning glowed mutely like welding seen through foundry smoke. As if repairs were under way at some flawed place in the iron dark of the world.”

American Art – Part I of III: Charles H. Woodbury

In the words of one writer, “A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, Charles H. Woodbury (1864-1940) showed an aptitude for the arts at an early age and joined the Lynn Beach Painters when only sixteen.  Although a junior member of the group in terms of age, Woodbury was in many ways its leader, having exhibited the first Lynn Beach painting at the Boston Art Club in 1882.  He had already become the youngest elected member of the club when only seventeen, and Woodbury continued to have further success exhibiting and teaching throughout his career, even becoming a full National Academician in 1907.”

Below – “Spindrift”; “Bathing Pool, Green Girl, Narrow Cove, Ogunquit”; “Windswept Seas”; “Three Hills – Winter”; “Mid-ocean Swells.”

Musings in Winter: Source Unknown

“Horses exist so that we can run away faster.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Screech Owl”
By Ted Kooser

All night each reedy whinny
From a bird no bigger than a heart
Flies out of a tall black pine
And, in a breath, is taken away
By the stars. Yet, with small hope
From the center of darkness
It calls out again and again.

American Art – Part II: Carol Alleman: Part I of II

In the words of one writer, “In late 2001, Carol Alleman expanded her artistic visions in clay to include the lost wax casting in bronze. Embracing the alchemistic nature of this ageless material and highly crafted process, she created her first bronze vessel, Miracles. Thus began the mystical and organic Tree of Life and Nature VesselSeries. This transition mirrored, to her, the longevity and ever changing character of nature as the bronze material holds inherent longevity and the patinas are ever, if softly, changing. Her signature, museum-quality work encompasses highly evolved, intricate patinas within the ancient vessel form. The infinity of the circular form, while open to receive and pour forth is a powerful essence for her. Companion Writings accompany each bronze – sharing the inspiration of each piece as she received it and typically includes a poem. She hopes and expects each piece to continue to speak to its caretaker, with a Voice that changes within each new season of their life. The companion writings are an integral part of the piece – a marriage in spirit. Combining the written word with her growing forest of bronze vessels, Carol additionally inspires audiences through her presentations and poetry readings. She is a Gardener of the Soul.”

Below – “Aries Maple”; “Gratitude”; “In Vino Veritas”; “Mighty Oak”; “Raven”; “Seeds of Harmony.”

Musings in Winter: Veronika Jensen

“Even the most
beautiful
of the stars
are taken
for granted
night after
night.”

American Art – Part III: Carol Alleman: Part II of II

In the words of one writer, “Born in rural Pennsylvania, Carol Alleman obtained her degree in Art Education from the Pennsylvania State University (PA/USA) and continued graduate studies at the Lancaster Theological Seminary (PA/USA). Most recently, she has completed studies with various contemporary artists at the Scottsdale Artist School, Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an elected Signature Member of American Women Artists, a member of Allied Artists of America and a member of Artists for Conservation. She has completed numerous commissions, exhibits widely across North America including various museums and has earned awards in many juried shows, while appreciating an international collector base.”

Below – “Serenity”; “Transitions II”; “Trillium”; “Twilight Stars”; “Seasons”; “Ruby Promises.”

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