From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXVIII

Musings in Winter: Jack Canfield

“A dog is one of the few remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Konstantin Kazantsev (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Lanberghini Murcielago yellow crash”

Musings in Winter: Amy Leach

“Living in a galaxy is like living in a neighborhood where the house down the street might have burned down four thousand years ago but you wouldn’t know it for another three thousand years.”

A Poem for Today

“Providence”
By Natasha Trethewey

What’s left is footage: the hours before
Camille, 1969—hurricane
parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
fronds blown back,

a woman’s hair. Then after:
the vacant lots,
boats washed ashore, a swamp

where graves had been. I recall

how we huddled all night in our small house,
moving between rooms,
emptying pots filled with rain.

The next day, our house—
on its cinderblocks—seemed to float

in the flooded yard: no foundation

beneath us, nothing I could see
tying us to the land.
In the water, our reflection
trembled,
disappeared
when I bent to touch it.

Below – The aftermath of Hurricane Camille.

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Galina Khailu (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Merry Go Round”

Musings in Winter: Phillip Wollen

“When animals do something noble we say they are behaving ‘like humans’. When humans do something disgusting we say they are behaving ‘like animals’. Clumsy use of the English language perpetuates the myth that animals are inferior and disposable beings.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Study in Orange and White”
By Billy Collins

I knew that James Whistler was part of the Paris scene,
but I was still surprised when I found the painting
of his mother at the Musée d’Orsay
among all the colored dots and mobile brushstrokes
of the French Impressionists.

And I was surprised to notice
after a few minutes of benign staring,
how that woman, stark in profile
and fixed forever in her chair,
began to resemble my own ancient mother
who was now fixed forever in the stars, the air, the earth.

You can understand why he titled the painting
“Arrangement in Gray and Black”
instead of what everyone naturally calls it,
but afterward, as I walked along the river bank,
I imagined how it might have broken
the woman’s heart to be demoted from mother
to a mere composition, a study in colorlessness.

As the summer couples leaned into each other
along the quay and the wide, low-slung boats
full of spectators slid up and down the Seine
between the carved stone bridges
and their watery reflections,
I thought: how ridiculous, how off-base.

It would be like Botticelli calling “The Birth of Venus”
“Composition in Blue, Ochre, Green, and Pink,”
or the other way around
like Rothko titling one of his sandwiches of color
“Fishing Boats Leaving Falmouth Harbor at Dawn.”

Or, as I scanned the menu at the cafe
where I now had come to rest,
it would be like painting something laughable,
like a chef turning on a spit
over a blazing fire in front of an audience of ducks
and calling it “Study in Orange and White.”

But by that time, a waiter had appeared
with my glass of Pernod and a clear pitcher of water,
and I sat there thinking of nothing
but the women and men passing by–
mothers and sons walking their small fragile dogs–
and about myself,
a kind of composition in blue and khaki,
and, now that I had poured
some water into the glass, milky-green.

Below – James Whistler: “Arrangement in Gray and Black”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Jonathan Hardesty (American, contemporary)

Below – “Nectarines”

Musings in Winter: Robinson Jeffers

“This wild swan of a world is no hunter’s game.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Beasts Bounding Through Time”
By Charles Bukowski

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller
the impossibility
Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato
Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun
Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops
the impossibility
Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench
Chatterton drinking rat poison
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
Nietzsche gone totally mad
the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us
impossibly.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Stanislav Kazimov

In the words of one writer, “Stanislav Kazimov was born in Leningrad in 1979. In 2001 he graduated in Fine Arts from St. Petersburg State Pedagogical University. In 2001 he won the III International Contest miniature prints – Norfolk (USA). In 2008 he received a special prize at the Competition of Young Artists of Russia ‘Classical print D.A. Rovinsky in Moscow. In 2006 he was awarded a state grant from the Ministry of Culture.
Since 2001 Kazimov is a member of the Saint Petersburg Union of Artists of Russia and of the International Association of Art Critics (AIS).”

Below – “Birds”; “Kittens”; “Metamorphoses”; “Clouds of Cloudless Childhood.”

Musings in Winter: Ellen Meloy

“For bighorns, topography is memory, enhanced by acute vision. They can anticipate the land’s every contour–when to leap, where to climb, when to turn, which footholds will support their muscular bodies. To survive, this is what the band would have to do: make this perfect match of flesh to earth.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Sergey Kiselev

The paintings of Sergey Kiselev (born 1968) have won numerous awards. He is a member of the Union of Artists of Russia.

Below – “Gothic”; “Coffee Mill”; “Mountain View”; “Surfaces 02.03.16”; “Northern Darkness #6”; “Suggestive Images 05.02.16.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Toward early morning he woke, sat up quickly and looked about him. It was still dark and the fire had long since died, still dark and quiet with that silence that seems to be of itself listening, an astral quiet where planets collide soundlessly, beyond the auricular dimension altogether. He listened. Above the black ranks of trees the mid-summer sky arched cloudless and coldly starred. He lay back and stared at it and after a while he slept.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Long Distance”
By William Stafford

Sometimes when you watch the fire
ashes glow and gray
the way the sun turned cold on spires
in winter in the town back home
so far away.

Sometimes on the telephone
the one you hear goes far
and ghostly voices whisper in.
You think they are from other wires.
You think they are.

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Doug Hyde

In the words of one writer, “For the last two decades, Hyde has been a recognized leader among Native American artists, and his reputation has been increasing. From images evoked by Indian lore to those reflecting the modern Native American, his work exudes emotion, strength, and beauty and resonates with influences from his Native American heritage.”

Below – “Moon Girl” (bronze); “Honor Song” (bronze); “Last Doll” (bronze); “People of the Red Tail Hawk” (bronze); “Spring and Autumn” (bronze); “Traditional or Contemporary Design?” (pink Portuguese marble).

Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard

“An anchorite’s hermitage is called an anchor-hold; some anchor-holds were simple sheds clamped to the side of a church like a barnacle to a rock. I think of this house clamped to the side of Tinker Creek as an anchor-hold. It holds me at anchor to the rock bottom of the creek itself and keeps me steadied in the current, as a sea anchor does, facing the stream of light pouring down. It’s a good place to live; there’s a lot to think about. The creeks are an active mystery, fresh every minute. Theirs is the mystery of the continuous creation and all that providence implies: the uncertainty of vision, the horror of the fixed, the dissolution of the present, the intricacy of beauty, the pressure of fecundity, the elusiveness of the free, and the flawed nature of perfection. The mountains are a passive mystery, the oldest of them all. Theirs is the simple mystery of creation from nothing, of matter itself, anything at all, the given. Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Chad Haspels

In the words of one writer, “Nationally known sculptor, Chad Haspels’ award winning artistic background began at a young age and lead to a Fine Arts degree from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT in 2000. His introduction to sculpture came through working in bronze, stone, and metal. Chad began sculpting in wood in 1998 and in 1999 worked an apprenticeship under Internationally renowned Master Woodsculptor James Acheampong in Kumasi, Ghana. Sculpting full time since 2002, Chad has produced many high profile works throughout the U.S. and has recieved multiple awards for his work.”

Below – “Emergence” (wood); “This Moment” (wood – Ponderosa Pine); “Refuge” (wood – Douglas Fir); “American Bison” (wood – Douglas Fir); “Edge of Tomorrow” (wood – Douglas Fir); “Bison Mini II” (wood – Boxelder).

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