Beleaguered in Bothell – 10 February 2018

Musings in Winter: Kate Chopin

“The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.”

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Vladimir Ryklin (Russian/American contemporary)

Below – “Gargoyle’s Dream”; “Tribute to Aubrey Beardsley”; “On a Backyard”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 10 February 1890 – Boris Pasternak, a Russian poet, novelist, translator, author of “Doctor Zhivago, and recipient of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Boris Pasternak:

“I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn’t of much value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.”
“About dreams. It is usually taken for granted that you dream of something that has made a particularly strong impression on you during the day, but it seems to me it´s just the contrary. Often it´s something you paid no attention to at the time — a vague thought that you didn´t bother to think out to the end, words spoken without feeling and which passed unnoticed — these are the things that return at night, clothed in flesh and blood, and they become the subjects of dreams, as if to make up for having been ignored during waking hours.”
“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
“It´s a good thing when a man is different from your image of him. Is shows he isn´t a type. If he were, it would be the end of him as a man. But if you can´t place him in a category, it means that at least a part of him is what a human being ought to be. He has risen above himself, he has a grain of immortality.”
“And remember: you must never, under any circumstances, despair. To hope and to act, these are our duties in misfortune.”
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it. ”
“Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.”


Art for Winter – Part II of IV: Alireza Sadaghdar (Iranian, contemporary)

Below – “Thistles in the Snow”; “Journey to the Mountain”; “Dear Uncle’s Pergola”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 10 February 1956 – Leonora Speyer, an American poet, violinist, and recipient of the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

“A Note From the Pipes”
by Leonora Speyer

Pan, blow your pipes and I will be
Your fern, your pool, your dream, your tree!

I heard you play, caught your swift eye,
“A pretty melody!” called I,
“Hail, Pan!” And sought to pass you by.

Now blow your pipes and I will sing
To your sure lips’ accompanying!

Wild God, who lifted me from earth,
Who taught me freedom, wisdom, mirth,
Immortalized my body’s worth, —

Blow, blow your pipes! And from afar
I’ll come — I’ll be your bird, your star,
Your wood, your nymph, your kiss, your rhyme,
And all your godlike summer-time!

Below – John Singer Sargent: “Lady Speyer”

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Victor Salmones (Mexican, 1937-1989)

Below – “Woman in the Wind” (bronze); “Dreamer” (bronze); “Secret” (bronze)


Remembering an Adventurer on the Date of His Birth: Born 10 February 1929 – Lou Whittaker, an American mountaineer, travel guide, and co-founder of Rainier Mountaineering.

I am making this post partly for personal reasons. In May of 1977, with the sponsorship of Ozark Mountain Sports, I climbed Mount Rainier as a member of an expedition led by Lou Whittaker.


Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Tito Salomoni (Italian, 1928-1989)

Below – “New Show”; “Catch a Star”; “Toy Boat”


Worth a Thousand Words: Mount Rainier at dawn.


Contemporary Iranian Art – Sabzi

In the words of one writer, “Born in Ahwaz, Iran, Sabzi started painting at the age of twelve and was encouraged in his early progression as an artist by his parents and inspiring teachers. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Jundi Shapur. The best part of agriculture was the purity of its primal spaces, he says, explaining his early sensitivity to artistic concepts. Sabzi’s early works were primarily realistic, exploring the historical and cultural themes of his homeland. His departure from Iran during the Khomeini regime brought him to Germany and then the United States. This exile provided him the opportunity to explore new artistic influences, and he began to work in abstract and figurative styles. Sabzi’s subjects are almost always women, beautiful, graceful, taciturn and melancholy; they reflect love, mystery and solitude. Sabzis’ women are Madonnas, modern goddesses and martyred saints whose elongated forms suggest instability and internal conflict. According to Sabzi, their anonymous faces make them into religious icons that transcend and defy the demands of reality, reflecting warmth, charm, happiness, and his undisputed love and admiration for women.”

Below – “Sweet Memories”; “Enchanted Forest”; “Hot Moon”; “Constellation of Desire”; “Manifesto of Romance”; “Summer Evening.”


A Poem for Today

“Reading ‘Moby Dick” at 30,000 Feet”
by Tony Hoagland

At this height, Kansas
is just a concept,
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn

no larger than the foldout section
of my neighbor’s travel magazine.
At this stage of the journey

I would estimate the distance
between myself and my own feelings
is roughly the same as the mileage

from Seattle to New York,
so I can lean back into the upholstered interval
between Muzak and lunch,

a little bored, a little old and strange.
I remember, as a dreamy
backyard kind of kid,

tilting up my head to watch
those planes engrave the sky
in lines so steady and so straight

they implied the enormous concentration
of good men,
but now my eyes flicker

from the in-flight movie
to the stewardess’s pantyline,
then back into my book,

where men throw harpoons at something
much bigger and probably
better than themselves,

wanting to kill it,
wanting to see great clouds of blood erupt
to prove that they exist.

Imagine being born and growing up,
rushing through the world for sixty years
at unimaginable speeds.

Imagine a century like a room so large,
a corridor so long
you could travel for a lifetime

and never find the door,
until you had forgotten
that such a thing as doors exist.

Better to be on board the Pequod,
with a mad one-legged captain
living for revenge.

Better to feel the salt wind
spitting in your face,
to hold your sharpened weapon high,

to see the glisten
of the beast beneath the waves.
What a relief it would be

to hear someone in the crew
cry out like a gull,
Oh Captain, Captain!
Where are we going now?

Below – Leroy Neiman: “Red Sky Moby Dick”


This Date in Art History: Born 10 February 1969 – Joe Mangrum, an American painter and sculptor best known for his large-scale, hand-poured colored sand paintings.

Below – “Asynchronous Syntropy” (sand); “Union Sq August 12th 2010” (sand); “Wind” (sand); “Hive Mind” (sand and acrylic on carpet); Untitled (wood panel with colored sand applied to surface with acrylic); Untitled (colored sand and acrylic on carved wood panel).

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