From the Pacific Northwest – Part LX

Musings in Winter: Bella DePaulo

“Home, to many of the people I interviewed, is a good, comfortable feeling about the place where they live, and a sense that their place is going to be theirs for a while….Home is any place, any experience that feeds his soul in some positive way.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Lee Alban (American, contemporary)

Below – “Chiffon”

A Poem for Today

“Small Talk”
By Eleanor Lerman

It is a mild day in the suburbs
Windy, a little gray. If there is
sunlight, it enters through the
kitchen window and spreads
itself, thin as a napkin, beside
the coffee cup, pie on a plate

What am I describing?
I am describing a dream
in which nobody has died

These are our mothers:
your mother and mine
It is an empty day; everyone
else is gone. Our mothers
are sitting in red chairs
that look like metal hearts
and they are smoking
Your mother is wearing
sandals and a skirt. My
mother is thinking about
dinner. The bread, the meat

Later, there will be
no reason to remember
this, so remember it
now: a safe day. Time
passes into dim history.

And we are their babies
sleeping in the folds of
the wind. Whatever our
chances, these are the
women. Such small talk
before life begins

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Tony Bass (American, contemporary)

Below – “Something”

Musings in Winter: Bill Nye

“People love dogs. This is, I hope, the least surprising sentence you will read in this book. I myself have had long discussions with my dog friends, and by that I mean my friends who are dogs.”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Gene Brown (American, contemporary)

Below – “Chili Field”

A Second Poem for Today

“I Know You Think I’ve Forgotten”
By Jane Hirshfield

but today
in rain

without coat     without hat

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Vasily Shulzhenko

In the words of one writer, “It is impossible to feel indifferent toward the work of artist Vasily Shulzhenko. He is either loved or hated, praised for understanding the Russian soul or accused of hating it. The Russia his paintings depict is harsh, uncensored and grotesque beyond compare, complete with alcohol, debauchery, and stagnation.”

Below – “Ambulance”; “Fallen”; “Riding the Centaur”; “Public Toilet.”

Musings in Winter: Chloe Thurlow

“There is a moment after riding when you stop and listen. What you hear is your heartbeat in perfect rhythm with the beat of your horse’s heart. It is a moment of pure magic.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Arush Votsmush

In the words of one writer, “Under the pseudonym Arush Votsmush hides Alexander Shumtsov, a talented artist from Sevastopol.”
Artists Statement: “The word ‘conflict’ refers to that moment when you see something surprising, and it forces your inner wheels turn in the right direction. A good conflict is exciting, it gives you goose bumps. And you can get goose bumps from anything: cold water, a holiday, something that suddenly brings you back to your childhood, when a feeling first surprised you and took hold of you… I never try to prove anything to anyone with my work. What I do, above all, is enjoy myself. It’s the ‘clean’ high of creativity. Or a clean life, without drugs. Just miracles.”

Below – “Good Company”; “I Go to Sleep; the World Goes to Work”; “The Eighth Day, Resurrection”; “Olive Ground.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Suburban”
By Michael Blumenthal

Conformity caught here, nobody catches it,
Lawns groomed in prose, with hardly a stutter.
Lloyd hits the ball, and Lorraine fetches it.

Mom hangs the laundry, Fred, Jr., watches it,
Shirts in the clichéd air, all aflutter.
Conformity caught here, nobody catches it.

A dog drops a bone, another dog snatches it.
I dreamed of this life once, Now I shudder
As Lloyd hits the ball and Lorraine fetches it.

A doldrum of leaky roofs, a roofer who patches it,
Lloyd prowls the streets, still clutching his putter.
Conformity caught here, nobody catches it.

The tediumed rake, the retiree who matches it,
The fall air gone dead with the pure drone of motors
While Lloyd hits the ball, and Lorraine just fetches it.

The door is ajar, then somebody latches it.
Through the hissing of barbecues poets mutter
Of conformity caught here, where nobody catches it.
Lloyd hits the ball. And damned Lorraine fetches it.

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Life is brief and to have to spend every day of it doing what somebody else wants you to do is not the way to live it.”

American Art – Part I of II: Dix Baines

In the words of one writer, “Once known best for his close-up paintings of fish, avid fly fisherman, Dix Baines, paints a range of subjects in his expressive, light-infused style. Characterized by his bold brushwork and dramatic use of light and color, his paintings depict landscapes, villages, adobe buildings, fishing scenes and the river environment as a whole.
Baines was born in 1961 in Denver, Colorado and from childhood expressed a love and talent for drawing. After high school, he attended Brigham Young University where he enrolled in painting classes. Having shown impressive skill for realism, Baines was encouraged by his professor to enter the Interior Design Department. He graduated from BYU expert at producing quick, accurate, beautiful design drafts. Over the following 10 years Baines developed an accomplished career as an architectural interior designer in Denver. However, his devotion to the fine arts went unsatisfied during much of this time. He enrolled in the Art Students League of Denver where he studied with Quang Ho and Kim English.
In 1996, he submitted his first work to the Arts for the Parks competition, an oil painting of a cutthroat trout. Baines was awarded a seven thousand dollar prize and the piece became part of the Yellowstone National Park’s permanent collection. Encouraged by this recognition and the support of his wife, Kathlyn, Dix decided to leave his career and paint full time. He set up a studio in his home in 1997 and since then has received much recognition.”

Below – “Colorado Morning”; “Green River Light”; “Sangre Sunrise”; “Snow Canyon Light”; “Song of the Gunnison”; “Western Water.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Carmel Point”
By Robinson Jeffers

The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses—
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads—
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.—As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

Musings in Winter: Jeannette Walls

“Those shining stars, he liked to point out, were one of the special treats for people like us who lived out in the wilderness. Rich city folks, he’d say, lived in fancy apartments, but their air was so polluted they couldn’t even see the stars. We’d have to be out of our minds to want to trade places with any of them.”

American Art – Part II of II: John Pototschnik

In the words of one writer, “John Pototschnik (Poe-toe-sh-nick) was born in St. Ives, Cornwall, England but grew up in Wichita, Kansas. He received his art training at Wichita State University in advertising design, followed by instruction in illustration and design at Art Center College in Los Angeles. Most recently he has studied human anatomy at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Connecticut.”

Below – “Road to Somewhere”; “Monterey Bay”; “New England Morning”; “House in the Woods”; “Colorado Valley” Plein Air Study; “Remnants of ’57”; “Heartland of America”; “Evening on the Beach.”

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