From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXX

Musings in Winter: Mary Oliver

“But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him.
The other dog—the one that all its life walks leashed and obedient down the sidewalk—is what a chair is to a tree. It is a possession only, the ornament of a human life. Such dogs can remind us of nothing large or noble or mysterious or lost. They cannot make us sweeter or more kind.
Only unleashed dogs can do that. They are a kind of poetry themselves when they are devoted not only to us but to the wet night, to the moon and the rabbit-smell in the grass and their own bodies leaping forward.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Leonid Borisov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Triangle on Medians”

A Poem for Today

“blessing the boats”
By Lucille Clifton

(at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Anton Borodaev (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Welcome to L.A.”

Musings in Winter: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“If you ask people where they’re from, they will typically say the name of the city where they were born, or perhaps the place on Earth’s surface where they spent their formative years. Nothing wrong with that. But an astrochemically richer answer might be, ‘I hail from the explosive jetsam of a multitude of high-mass stars that died more than 5 billion years ago.’”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Ekaterina Borodavchenko (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Sacred Grove”

A Second Poem for Today

“Advent”
By Heather Derr-Smith

Birds pulse above the blood-black line of horizon.
I walk out through the sliding glass door into the backyard,

hoarfrost on the fallen leaves like thrush on a baby’s tongue.

Over the chain-link fence, three bald eagles fight for their kill
on the train tracks. My brother writes a postcard

from someplace near Bagram, fog veiling and unveiling
the Hindu Kush. In a dream he lifts his arm to cover his eyes

and I kiss the top-stitch scars along his mended wound.

In the middle of the night, a child screams awake.
But it’s only the engine of the refrigerator, faintly.

The neighbor is a mystery, a stranger to us. He lives alone,
blinds shut at all times. I suspect what we all suspect.

Sometimes I stand in the dark of my window, facing the dark of his.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Dina Bogusonova

In the words of one writer, “During 1990s Dina was heavily involved in the design of exhibitions and festivals for children in the city Philharmonic Hall, Opera and Ballet Theatre, as well as the Palace of Sports in Samara.
In 1993 she graduated from the Samara Art College Design Department. Dina’s main focus in her artistic practice is to free art from the canvas, and to create a world around her full of beauty and light.”

Below – “Spring Water I”; “Wind”; “Maiden Diaries Polina”; “Sky Transformation”; “Light”; “Birds.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Recession”
By Sydney Lea

A grotesquerie for so long we all ignored it:
The mammoth plastic Santa lighting up
On the Quik-Stop’s roof, presiding over pumps
That gleamed and gushed in the tarmac lot below it.

Out back, with pumps of their own, the muttering diesels.
And we, for the most part ordinary folks,
Took all for granted: the idling semis’ smoke,
The fuel that streamed into our tanks, above all

Our livelihoods. We stepped indoors to talk
With friends, shared coffee, read the local paper,
Heavy with news of hard times now. We shiver.
Our afternoons are gone. At five o’clock

—Once we gave the matter little thought—
Our Santa Claus no longer flares with light.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Olga Bueva

In the words of one writer, “The work of Olga Bueva has a feminine, joyful quality about it. These nine still-life canvases depict the quotidian life of domestic apartment dwelling in today’s Russia. The works of everyday objects such as cups and teapots atop a table have a horizon-like quality. A slice of yellow cake has a charming calming simplicity. The work as a whole has an ethereal fleeting energy that lingers like music floating in a room.”

Below – “Cat”; “Cup I”; “Morning”; “Pie”; “Disappearance”; “Plate.”

Musings in Winter: Julie Barton

“In New York, I would walk down shadowy sidewalks dreaming of the openness of central Ohio, yearning for roads flanked by fields, for their freedom and isolation. These roads cradled me. I realized this now. I’d been trying to hate Ohio, because it was so hard to be at home. But the land had actually always been there for me all along. As a child, the moon had lit my room on sad nights. I’d wandered cornfields and puttered around at Lehman’s Pond. Those were some of my best childhood memories.”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Soon Y. Warren

In the words of one writer, “Soon Y. Warren is a full time artist and teacher. She has an Associate degree in commercial art from Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia. Soon Y. had several exhibitions and earned numerous awards. Soon Y. is a signature member of National Watercolor Society (NWS), Southern Watercolor Artist (SW), Texas Watercolor Society, Purple Sage Brush (TWS), Alabama Watercolor Society (WSA), and Society of Watercolor Artist (SWA).”

Below – “Koi with Ducks”; “Baby’s Breath Shower”; “Tangerine and Block”; “In the Glass”; “Koi”; “Waterford and Roses.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Orfeo”
By Jack Spicer

Sharp as an arrow Orpheus
Points his music downward.
Hell is there
At the bottom of the seacliff.
Heal
Nothing by this music.
Eurydice
Is a frigate bird or a rock or some seaweed.
Hail nothing
The infernal
Is a slippering wetness out at the horizon.
Hell is this:
The lack of anything but the eternal to look at
The expansiveness of salt
The lack of any bed but one’s
Music to sleep in.

Below – Michael Putz-Richard: “Orpheus and Eurydice”

Musings in Winter: A.P. Sweet

“Out here,
the open night is my church,
the trees are my congregation,
the stars are my angels and
the moon is the only god that I know.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: James Curtis

In the words of one writer, “Based on the precept of applied expressionism on landscapes of fluid form, James excels in his ability to translate inspiration into an original piece of poetry from which he extracts and transfers its essence onto a sheet or body of glass. The artist takes thematic intangibles, such as love and loss, soul and sacrifice, and literally breathes them into life. By coaxing patterns and palettes, contours and curvatures, James guides his glass to shift shapes and mimic movements.
James was born in Songtan, South Korea in 1963. He speaks three languages and uses his multi-cultural heritage and experiences to explore and express through his art what he observes as the ‘4 tenets of existence – mind, body, heart and soul.’”

Below – “Chocolate and Cream”; “Crouching Starfish”; “Enter the Ethereal”; “Pueblo Sky Orange & Black Scalloped Bowl”; “Venetian Vase Blue”; “Coiled Flower Large.”

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