A Lament for American in the Age of Trump – 28 September 2018

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” – James Baldwin, an American writer.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 27 September 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 27 September 1961 – Hilda Doolittle, an American poet, novelist, and memoirist.

“The Mysteries Remain”
by Hilda Doolittle

The mysteries remain,
I keep the same
cycle of seed-time
and of sun and rain;
Demeter in the grass,
I multiply,
renew and bless
Bacchus in the vine;
I hold the law,
I keep the mysteries true,
the first of these
to name the living, dead;
I am the wine and bread.
I keep the law,
I hold the mysteries true,
I am the vine,
the branches, you
and you.

Art for Autumn: Merrill Mahaffey (American, contemporary)

Below – “Grand Canyon”; “Rainbow Bridge”; “Bright Angel Cliffs”

For Your Information: 27 September is National Chocolate Milk Day in the United States.

French Art – Leopold Kowalski (1856-1931): Part I of II.

Below – “Autumn on the Shore of the Lake”; “A Game of Diabolo”; “Désir d’été”; “Reflections by the Pond”; “Girl with Flowers in Her Hair”; “Young Lady in a Kimono.”

Remembering a Cultural Anthropologist on the Date of His Birth: Born 27 September 1924 – Ernest Becker, an American anthropologist, writer, author of “The Denial of Death,” and recipient of the Puliter Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Ernest Becker:

“When we are young we are often puzzled by the fact that each person we admire seems to have a different version of what life ought to be, what a good man is, how to live, and so on. If we are especially sensitive it seems more than puzzling, it is disheartening. What most people usually do is to follow one person’s ideas and then another’s depending on who looms largest on one’s horizon at the time. The one with the deepest voice, the strongest appearance, the most authority and success, is usually the one who gets our momentary allegiance; and we try to pattern our ideals after him. But as life goes on we get a perspective on this and all these different versions of truth become a little pathetic. Each person thinks that he has the formula for triumphing over life’s limitations and knows with authority what it means to be a man, and he usually tries to win a following for his particular patent. Today we know that people try so hard to win converts for their point of view because it is more than merely an outlook on life: it is an immortality formula.”
“The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.”
“Yet, at the same time, as the Eastern sages also knew, man is a worm and food for worms. This is the paradox: he is out of nature and hopelessly in it; he is dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping body that once belonged to a fish and still carries the gill-marks to prove it. His body is a material fleshy casing that is alien to him in many ways—the strangest and most repugnant way being that it aches and bleeds and will decay and die. Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order to blindly and dumbly rot and disappear forever. It is a terrifying dilemma to be in and to have to live with. The lower animals are, of course, spared this painful contradiction, as they lack a symbolic identity and the self-consciousness that goes with it. They merely act and move reflexively as they are driven by their instincts. If they pause at all, it is only a physical pause; inside they are anonymous, and even their faces have no name. They live in a world without time, pulsating, as it were, in a state of dumb being. This is what has made it so simple to shoot down whole herds of buffalo or elephants. The animals don’t know that death is happening and continue grazing placidly while others drop alongside them. The knowledge of death is reflective and conceptual, and animals are spared it. They live and they disappear with the same thoughtlessness: a few minutes of fear, a few seconds of anguish, and it is over. But to live a whole lifetime with the fate of death haunting one’s dreams and even the most sun-filled days—that’s something else.”
“Modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awarness, or he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing. As awarness calls for types of heroic dedication that his culture no longer provides for him, society contrives to help him forget. In the mysterious way in which life is given to us in evolution on this planet, it pushes in the direction of its own expansion. We don’t understand it simply because we don’t know the purpose of creation; we only feel life straining in ourselves and see it thrashing others about as they devour each other. Life seeks to expand in an unknown direction for unknown reasons.”
“To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything.”
“We have become victims of our own art. We touch people on the outsides of their bodies, and they us, but we cannot get to their insides and cannot reveal our insides to them. This is one of the great tragedies of our interiority-it is utterly personal and unrevealable. Often we want to say something unusually intimate to a spouse, a parent, a friend, communicate something of how we are really feeling about a sunset, who we really feel we are-only to fall strangely and miserably flat. Once in a great while we succeed, sometimes more with one person, less or never with others. But the occasional break-through only proves the rule. You reach out with a disclosure, fail, and fall back bitterly into yourself.”
“The great boon of repression is that it makes it possible to live decisively in an overwhelmingly miraculous and incomprehensible world, a world so full of beauty, majesty, and terror that if animals perceived it all they would be paralyzed to act. … What would the average man do with a full consciousness of absurdity? He has fashioned his character for the precise purpose of putting it between himself and the facts of life; it is his special tour-de-force that allows him to ignore incongruities, to nourish himself on impossibilities, to thrive on blindness. He accomplishes thereby a peculiarly human victory: the ability to be smug about terror.”

French Art – Leopold Kowalski (1856-1931): Part II of II.

Below – “Sieste à la campagne”; “A Summer Evening”; “Bucolique”; “Dancing Maidens”; “Reading”; “Wild Flowers.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Stout Memorial Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California.

This Date in Art History: Born 27 September 1946 – T. C. Cannon, an American painter and sculptor: Part I of II.

Below – “A Remembered Muse (Tosca)”; “Two Guns Arikara”; “Zero Hero”; “Favorite Wife”; “His Hair Flows Like a River”: “Self-Portrait in the Studio.”

A Poem for Today

“To an Aeolian Harp”
by Sara Teasdale

The winds have grown articulate in thee,
And voiced again the wail of ancient woe
That smote upon the winds of long ago:
The cries of Trojan women as they flee,
The quivering moan of pale Andromache,
Now lifted loud with pain and now brought low.
It is the soul of sorrow that we know,
As in a shell the soul of all the sea.
So sometimes in the compass of a song,
Unknown to him who sings, thro’ lips that live,
The voiceless dead of long-forgotten lands
Proclaim to us their heaviness and wrong
In sweeping sadness of the winds that give
Thy strings no rest from weariless wild hands.

This Date in Art History: Born 27 September 1946 – T. C. Cannon, an American painter and sculptor: Part II of II.

Below – “Osage with van Gogh”; “All the tired Horses in the Sun”; “Washington Landscape with Peace Medal Indian”; “Mama and Papa Have the Going Home Shiprock Blues”; “Waiting for the Bus (Anadarko Princess)”; “Indian Man.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 26 September 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 26 September 1949 – Jane Smiley, an American novelist and recipient of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “A Thousand Acres.”

Some quotes from the work of Jane Smiley:

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
“A child who is protected from all controversial ideas is as vulnerable as a child who is protected from every germ. The infection, when it comes- and it will come- may overwhelm the system, be it the immune system or the belief system.”
“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses”
“I was depressed, but that was a side issue. This was more like closing up shop, or, say, having a big garage sale, where you look at everything you’ve bought in your life, and you remember how much it meant to you, and now you just tag it for a quarter and watch ’em carry it off, and you don’t care. That’s more like how it was.”
“Leaving any bookstore is hard, especially on a day in August, when the street outside burns and glares, and the books inside are cool and crisp to the touch; especially on a day in January, when the wind is blowing, the ice is treacherous, and the books inside seem to gather together in colorful warmth. It’s hard to leave a bookstore any day of the year, though, because a bookstore is one of the few places where all the cantankerous, conflicting, alluring voices of the world co-exist in peace and order and the avid reader is as free as a person can possibly be, because she is free to choose among them.”
“Like most of the educated, I do harbor a fondness for the sins of my ignorant past.”
“You know what getting married is? It’s agreeing to taking this person who right now is at the top of his form, full of hopes and ideas, feeling good, looking good, wildly interested in you because you’re the same way, and sticking by him while he slowly disintegrates. And he does the same for you. You’re his responsibility now and he’s yours. If no one else will take care of him, you will. If everyone else rejects you, he won’t. What do you think love is? Going to bed all the time?”

Art for Autumn – Part I of V: Michael Lynch (American, contemporary)

Below – “Red Willows”; “Early Spring Squall”; “Billy Goat Mountain”

For Your Information: 26 September is both National Pancake Day and National Dumpling Day in the United States.

Art for Autumn – Part II of V: Richard MacDonald (American, contemporary)

Below – “Daybreak” (platinum); “Joie de Vivre” (bronze); “Nightfall” (bronze)

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 26 September 1952 – George Santayana, a Spanish/American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.

Some quotes from the work of George Santayana:

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”
“Sanity is a madness put to good uses.”
“To be interested in the changing seasons is . . . a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
“The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.”
“To be happy you must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world.”
“Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”
“Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.”
“Memory… is an internal rumor.”
“Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.”
“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”

Art for Autumn – Part III of V: Susannah MacDonald (American, contemporary)

Below – “South Beach, Florida”; “Fourth of July in the Harbor”; “Piccadilly Circus”

For Your Information: 26 September is Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) Day in the United States.

Art for Autumn – Part IV of V: Rob Macintosh (South African, contemporary)

Below – “Table Mountain”; “Winter Siesta”; “Elephant Territory”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 26 September 1962 – Mark Haddon, an English novelist and poet.

by Mark Haddon

They stand in parks and graveyards and gardens.
Some of them are taller than department stores,
yet they do not draw attention to themselves.

You will be fitting a heated towel rail one day
and see, through the louvre window,
a shoal of olive-green fish changing direction
in the air that swims above the little gardens.

Or you will wake at your aunt’s cottage,
your sleep broken by a coal train on the empty hill
as the oaks roar in the wind off the channel.

Your kindness to animals, your skill at the clarinet,
these are accidental things.
We lost this game a long way back.
Look at you. You’re reading poetry.
Outside the spring air is thick
with the seeds of their children.

Art for Autumn – Part V of V: Bill Mack (American, contemporary)

Below – “Mystery” (bonded bronze); “Odyssey” (bonded sand); “Millenia Image” (acrylic)

For Your Information: 26 September is National Good Neighbor Day in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Died 26 September 1953 – Xu Beihong, a Chinese painter.

Below – “Portrait of Ms Jenny”; “Galloping Horse”; “Orchids”; “Portrait of a Young Lady”; “Liao Jingwen”; “Portrait of Madam Cheng.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Leopold Kowalski (French, 1856-1931): “Posing with Posies.”

This Date in Art History: Born 26 September 1874 – Lewis Hine, an American photographer and social activist.

Below – “Climbing into the Promised Land – Ellis Island” (circa 1908); “Child laborers in glasswork, Indiana” (1908); “Little Lottie, a regular oyster shucker in Alabama Canning Co.” (1911); “Power house mechanic working on steam pump” (1920); “Baseball team composed mostly of child laborers from a glassmaking factory. Indiana” (1908); “Adolescent Girl, a Spinner, in a Carolina Cotton Mill” (1908).

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 26 September 1888 – T. S. Eliot, an English poet, playwright, essayist, literary and social critic, and recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
by T. S. Eliot

’S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.’

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

This Date in Art History: Born 26 September 1957 – Michael Dweck, an American photographer.

Below – “Mermaid 105”; “Mermaid 117”; “Dave and Pam in Their Caddy”; “Jessica and Kurt”; “Flag”; “Frenchy.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 26 September 2018

“Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.” ― George Santayana, Spanish/American philosopher.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 25 September 2018

Musings in Autumn: Joseph Campbell

“Art is the clothing of a revelation.”

Below – Childe Hassam: “Improvisation.”

Italian Art – Roberto Lupetti (1918-1997)

In the words of one writer, “Roberto Lupetti was a classically trained artist. Born in Milan, Italy, Lupetti was raised in an environment that nurtured creativity. At the age of fourteen he was accepted to attend Brera Liceo Artistico, one of the most prestigious art academies in Italy. Once involved in the strict curriculum, Lupetti learned the many disciplines established by the Renaissance Painters, examining and then putting into practice their laws of art.”

Below – “Rebirth of the Renaissance”; “Still Life with Lute”; “Toymaker’s Son”; Untitled (Still Life with Horn); “Girl Portrait”; Untitled (Standing Nude).

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 25 September 1933 – Ring Lardner, an American journalist and short story writer best known for his satirical works. In the words of one writer, “His contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all professed strong admiration for his writing.”

Some quotes from the work of Ring Lardner:

“He looked at me as if I was a side dish he hadn’t ordered.”
“The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong – but that’s the way to bet.”
“I’ve known what it is to be hungry, but I always went right to a restaurant.”
“They gave each other a smile with a future in it.”
“How can you write if you can’t cry?”
“‘Shut up,’ he explained.”

Contemporary Argentine Art – Aldo Luongo: Part I of III.

In the words of one writer, “Argentine and California Impressionist, Aldo Luongo’s paintings embody a sense of fluidity and intensity, the results of a true artist engaged in a passionate process of creation.”

Below – “Story by the Light”; “Two Unbrellas”; “Ocean Girl”; “Sunset Room”; “Golden Coast”; “My Soft Purple Dream.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 25 September 1923 – Robert Laxalt, a Basque-American writer.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Laxalt:

“All of us together were of a generation born of old country people who spoke English with an accent and prayed in another language, who drank red wine and cooked their food in the old country way, and peeled apples and pears after dinner.”
“He had left home one day, yesterday, and come home today, and the change was too much for him to bear. And this was why he could not go home all at once.”
“Here, where we had done the most of our growing up, the old family home had been a fortress against the world. This is something that the children of immigrants all know.”
“Because we were born of old country people in a new land, and, right or wrong, we had not felt equal to those around us, and had had to do a little more than they in everything we did.”
“I reached out and touched him on the arm and said uncertainly, ‘They want us to come back.’
Without turning, he shook his head and cried shakenly, ‘I can’t go back. It ain’t my country any more. I’ve lived too much in America ever to go back.’ And then, angrily, ‘Don’t you know that?
…Then I saw a cragged face that that land had filled with hope and torn with pain, had changed from young to old, and in the end had claimed. And then, I did know it.”

Contemporary Argentine Art – Aldo Luongo: Part II of III.

In the words of one writer, “Whether he is portraying a romantic enclave, a frenzied sporting event, or a richly textured landscape, central to all of Luongo’s paintings is the balance between memory and hope, sorrow and humor, freedom and control. These dynamics are clearly seen in Aldo Luongo’s figurative works, especially those portraying the ‘Hawk,’ his archetypal character spun from the memory of his father and Luongo’s discovery of his future self.”

Below – “Destiny”; “Watercolors in Laguna Beach (The Hawk)”; “Hawk”; “Another Saturday Evening”; “Sunbeams at Midday”; “La Bella Durmiente.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of Her Death: Died 25 September 2011 – Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental political activist and recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Wangari Maathai:

“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come.”
“Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.”
“I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”
“In trying to explain this linkage, I was inspired by a traditional African tool that has three legs and a basin to sit on. To me the three legs represent three critical pillars of just and stable societies. The first leg stands for democratic space, where rights are respected, whether they are human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, or environmental rights. The second represents sustainable and equitable management and resources. And the third stands for cultures of peace that are deliberately cultivated within communities and nations. The basin, or seat, represents society and its prospects for development. Unless all three legs are in place, supporting the seat, no society can thrive. Neither can its citizens develop their skills and creativity. When one leg is missing, the seat is unstable; when two legs are missing, it is impossible to keep any state alive; and when no legs are available, the state is as good as a failed state. No development can take place in such a state either. Instead, conflict ensues.”
“Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.”
“A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us that in order to aspire we need to be grounded and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance. It is a reminder to all of us who have had success that we cannot forget where we came from. It signifies that no matter how powerful we become in government or how many awards we receive, our power and strength and our ability to reach our goals depend on the people, those whose work remain unseen, who are the soil out of which we grow, the shoulders on which we stand”
“Throughout my life, I have never stopped to strategize about my next steps. I often just keep walking along, through whichever door opens. I have been on a journey and this journey has never stopped. When the journey is acknowledged and sustained by those I work with, they are a source of inspiration, energy and encouragement. They are the reasons I kept walking, and will keep walking, as long as my knees hold out.”
“We all share one planet and are one humanity; there is no escaping this reality.”

Contemporary Argentine Art – Aldo Luongo: Part III of III.

In the words of one writer, “The most enduring single image in the paintings of Aldo Luongo is that of “The Hawk.” The Hawk is a character who has evolved throughout Luongo’s career, and is his single most meaningful symbol.”

Below – “Memories of the 50’s”; “My Favorite Shirt”; “Pacific Morning”; “Forest at Dusk”; “Girl on a Bicycle”; “Amber Light.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 25 September 1953 – Ron Rash, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, and poet.

“The Bridge”
by Ron Rash

Barbed wire snags like briars when
fence posts rot in goldenrod,
the cows are gone, the cowpath
a thinning along the creek
to follow upstream until
water narrows, gray planks lean
over the flow like a book
open but left unfinished,
like this bridge was when the man
who started it took to his
death-bed, watched from there a son
drive the last nails, drive the truck
across so he might die less
burdened that night. The farmhouse
is razed now, the barn and shed
bare quilts of ground. All that’s left
some fallen-down four by fours,
a few rusty nails, this bridge
the quick or the dead can’t cross.

Below – Maria Arnaudova: “Wooden Bridge.”

American Art – Stephen Lyman (1957-2013)

In the words of one writer, “Born in 1957 in Idaho, wildlife artist Stephen Lyman was an explorer who specialized in painting the most elusive moments in nature. His inspiring work was inspired, in turn, by the writing and teachings of famous naturalist John Muir. ‘Muir wrote, “Climb the mountains, and get their good tidings,”’ Lyman said. “I know exactly what he meant.”’

Below – “Evening Light”; “High Trail at Sunset”; “Early Winter in the Mountains”; “Moonfire”; “Beneath the Oaks”; “Cathedral Snow.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Walter Crane (English, 1845-1915): “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (1865); John William Waterhouse (English, 1849-1917): “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (1893).

Contemporary American Art – John Lurie

In the words of one writer, “John Lurie emerged onto the art scene in the spring of 2004, when he had his first painting exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery. Since then Lurie’s work has been exhibited in esteemed galleries throughout the world. His solo museum exhibits include P.S.1. Contemporary Arts Center in New York, Musee Des Beaux-Arts De Montreal, the Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg and the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, who gave their entire museum to the presentation of Lurie’s work. Both the Wadsorth Athenaeum in Connecticut and The Museum of Modern Art in New York have acquired his work for their permanent collections. “

Below – “It’s deeper than you think”; “Portrait of a Cow”; “Wolf by day, Wolf by night”; “After she left, he would stand out in the yard at night and quietly say her name”; “Men going to work over flowers”; “Bison”; “The Sky Is Falling, I am Learning to Live With It” (Note: Anthony Boudain bought this painting days before he died.).

A Poem for Today

“I Thought of You”
by Sara Teasdale

I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea —
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.

Contemporary American Art – Rhett Lynch

In the words of one writer, “An Indian artist living in the North Valley of Albuquerque, Rhett Lynch is an artist who creates mixed-media paintings that have meaning to his native culture. Some of his works he describes as ‘meditative mantras’ in a series called Prayers for Healing. Each has a base of gold foil, which is covered with acrylic layers and strips of fabric with sacred substances including tobacco and sage. Lynch was raised in Lubbock, Texas and before settling in New Mexico lived in New York City, Arizona and California as well as Texas.”

Below – “The Arrival of the Star People”; “The Last Time I Dreamt in Color”; “Chief Red Dog”; “Contemplating Gravity”;“Woman in the Heat of the Night”; “Woman Becoming a Mermaid.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 25 September 2018

“The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.” ― Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate.

Below – Donald Trump signs an executive order to roll back the clean water rule.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 24 September 2018

Musings in Autumn: Vincent van Gogh

“Find things beautiful as much as you can; most people find too little beautiful.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “The Mulberry Tree in Autumn”

Art for Autumn: Bruno Luna (Mexican, contemporary)

Below (all bronze) – “Harpist”; “Crap Table”; “Roulette”

Remembering a Writer and Artist on the Date of His Death: Born 23 September 1991 – Theodore Seuss “Ted” Geisel, an American author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, and artist who was best known for writing more than 60 children’s books under the name “Dr. Seuss.”
A personal note: The Grinch is one of my heroes (before his misguided conversion to goodness, of course; I always read “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” in reverse order, because I love a happy ending.).

Some quotes from the work of Dr. Seuss:

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
“They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!”
“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
“Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 September 1899 – William Dobell, an Australian painter.

Below – “Consuelita”; “The Student”; “Night of the Pigs”; “Maid at a Window”; “The Thatchers No. 2”; “New Guinea Natives.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Kenroku-en (Six Attributes Garden), Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.

This Date in Art History: Born 24 September 1962 – Ilgvars Zalans, a Latvian painter.

Below – “Spring”; “Summer”; “Autumn”; “Winter”; “Rainy Day”; “Northflower – Blue.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 23 September 1896 – F. Scott Fitzgerald, an American novelist and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”
“To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.”
“And in the end, we were all just humans…Drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.”
“Suddenly she realized that what she was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had not been but what would never be.”
“The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want.”
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the ‘impossible,’ come true.”
“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
“Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes – a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”
“I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

This Date in Art History: Died 24 September 2012 – Bruno Bobak, a Polish-Canadian painter.

Below – “Chrysanthemum in Teapot”; “Landscape #2”; “Nashwaak River”; “Spring Breakup”; “Fall Colours”; “Nude.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 24 September 1944 – Eavan Boland, an Irish poet.

“The Lost Land”
by Eavan Boland

I have two daughters.

They are all I ever wanted from the earth.

Or almost all.

I also wanted one piece of ground:

One city trapped by hills. One urban river.
An island in its element.

So I could say ‘mine. My own.’
And mean it.

Now they are grown up and far away

and memory itself
has become an emigrant,
wandering in a place
where love dissembles itself as landscape:

Where the hills
are the colours of a child’s eyes,
where my children are distances, horizons:

At night,
on the edge of sleep,

I can see the shore of Dublin Bay.
Its rocky sweep and its granite pier.

Is this, I say
how they must have seen it,
backing out on the mailboat at twilight,

shadows falling
on everything they had to leave?
And would love forever?
And then

I imagine myself
at the landward rail of that boat
searching for the last sight of a hand.

I see myself
on the underworld side of that water,
the darkness coming in fast, saying
all the names I know for a lost land:

‘Ireland’. ‘Absence’. ‘Daughter’.

Below – The shore of Dublin Bay.

This Date in Art History: Born 24 September 1947 – Stephen Mueller, an American painter.

Below – Untitled; “Saint Cicada”; “Owen”; Untitled; “Manitou”; “Take That Back (Black #282).”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 24 September 2018

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 23 September 2018: Autumn Equinox

Greeting Autumn 2018

Below – John Everett Millais: “Autumn Leaves”

Art for Autumn – Claude Monet: “Autumn on the Seine at Argenteuil”

Musings in Autumn: Edwin Way Teale

“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”

Art for Autumn – Vincent van Gogh: “Autumn Landscape with Four Trees”

A Poem for Autumn

“To Autumn”
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Below – William Stott of Oldham: ”Autumn”

Art for Autumn – Georgia O’Keeffe: “Autumn Leaves, Lake George”

Musings in Autumn: Nathaniel Hawthorne

“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Landscape with Trees”

Art for Autumn – Gustav Klimt: “Birch Forest”

Musings in Autumn: John Burroughs

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”

Below – Olga Koval: “Autumn Song”

Art for Autumn – Edward Hopper: “October on Cape Cod”

A Poem for Autumn

by John Clare

The thistledown’s flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

Below – David Hockney: “Woldgate Woods”

Art for Autumn – Henri Rousseau: “Eiffel Tower at Sunset”

Musings in Autumn: John Donne

“No spring nor summer’s beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one Autumnal face.”

Below – Balathasar Denner: “Portrait of an old woman”

Art for Autumn – Paul Gauguin: “Landscape in Arles near the Alyscamps”

Music for Autumn

Art for Autumn – Egon Schiele: “Four Trees”

A Poem for Autumn

by T. E.. Hulme

A touch of cold in the Autumn night –
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

Art for Autumn – Jean-Francois Millet: “Haystacks Autumn”

Musings in Autumn: Albert Camus

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Below – Wassily Kandinsky: “Autumn in Murnau”

Art for Autumn – Katsushika Hokusai: “Peasants in Autumn”

A Song for Autumn

Art for Autumn – Byam Shaw: “Now is Pilgrim Fair Autumn’s Charge”

A Poem for Autumn”

“November Night”
by Adelaide Crapsey

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.

Art for Autumn – James Tissot: “October”

Musings in Autumn: George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

Below – Frank Dicksee: “The Sensitive Plant”

Art for Autumn – John William Godward: “Autumn”

Musings in Autumn:: e e cummings

“A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long.”

Below – J O. Huppler: “Waiting for Snow”

Art for Autumn – Marie Spartali Stillman: “Autumn”

A Poem for Autumn

“Autumn Song”
by W. H. Auden

Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse’s flowers will not last,
Nurses to their graves are gone,
But the prams go rolling on.

Whispering neighbours left and right
Daunt us from our true delight,
Able hands are forced to freeze
Derelict on lonely knees.

Close behind us on our track,
Dead in hundreds cry Alack,
Arms raised stiffly to reprove
In false attitudes of love.

Scrawny through a plundered wood,
Trolls run scolding for their food,
Owl and nightingale are dumb,
And the angel will not come.

Clear, unscaleable, ahead
Rise the Mountains of Instead,
From whose cold cascading streams
None may drink except in dreams.

Below – Simeon Solomon: “Love in Autumn”

Art for Autumn – Childe Hassam: “Autumn Boulevard, Paris”

Musings in Autumn: Faith Baldwin

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”

Below – Pierre Bonnard: “Autumn View”

Art for Autumn – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Venus Verticordia”

A Poem for Autumn”

“Tell Me Not Here, It Needs Not Saying”
By A.E. Housman

Tell me not here, it needs not saying,
What tune the enchantress plays
In aftermaths of soft September
Or under blanching mays,
For she and I were long acquainted
And I knew all her ways.
On russet floors, by waters idle,
The pine lets fall its cone;
The cuckoo shouts all day at nothing
In leafy dells alone;
And traveller’s joy beguiles in autumn
Hearts that have lost their own.
On acres of the seeded grasses
The changing burnish heaves;
Or marshalled under moons of harvest
Stand still all night the sheaves;
Or beeches strip in storms for winter
And stain the wind with leaves.
Possess, as I possessed a season,
The countries I resign,
Where over elmy plains the highway
Would mount the hills and shine,
And full of shade the pillared forest
Would murmur and be mine.
For nature, heartless, witless nature,
Will neither care nor know
What stranger’s feet may find the meadow
And trespass there and go,
Nor ask amid the dews of morning
If they are mine or no.

Art for Autumn – Thomas Atkinson Grimshaw; “Autumn”

Musings in Autumn: John Bailey

“Falling leaves hide the path so quietly.”

Art for Autumn – Sophie Gengembre Anderson: “Autumn”

Welcome, Wonderful Autumn

Below – Walter Crane: “The West Wind”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 22 September 2018

Musings at the End of Summer: Dodie Smith

“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”

Below – Diana Tripp: “Summer Mist”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Felix Mas: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “He was born in Barcelona and trained at the “Artes y Oficios” and later at the “Escuela Superior de San Jorge”. Felix Mas artistic education was further developed by extensive travelling in Europe and the United States, before returning to his home town, Barcelona to work as an illustrator and designer.”

Below – “Sirena”; “Spring”; “Winter”; “Suenos II”; “Caballito de Mar”; “Leda.”

A Poem for the End of Summer 2018

“Farewell to Summer”
by George Arnold

Summer is fading; the broad leaves that grew
So freshly green, when June was young, are falling;
And, all the whisper-haunted forest through,
The restless birds in saddened tones are calling,
From rustling hazel copse and tangled dell,
“Farewell, sweet Summer,
Fragrant, fruity Summer,
Sweet, farewell!”

Upon the windy hills, in many a field,
The honey-bees hum slow, above the clover,
Gleaning the latest sweets its blooms may yield,
And, knowing that their harvest-time is over,
Sing, half a lullaby and half a knell,
“Farewell, sweet Summer,
Honey-laden Summer,
Sweet, farewell!”

The little brook that babbles mid the ferns,
O’er twisted roots and sandy shallows playing,
Seems fain to linger in its eddied turns,
And with a plaintive, purling voice is saying
(Sadder and sweeter than my song can tell),
“Farewell, sweet Summer,
Warm and dreamy Summer,
Sweet, farewell!”

The fitful breeze sweeps down the winding lane
With gold and crimson leaves before it flying;
Its gusty laughter has no sound of pain,
But in the lulls it sinks to gentle sighing,
And mourns the Summer’s early broken spell,—
“Farewell, sweet Summer,
Rosy, blooming Summer,
Sweet, farewell!”

So bird and bee and brook and breeze make moan,
With melancholy song their loss complaining.
I too must join them, as I walk alone
Among the sights and sounds of Summer’s waning.…
I too have loved the season passing well.…
So, farewell, Summer,
Fair but faded Summer,
Sweet, farewell!

Below – Edward Mareca: “Farewell Summer”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Felix Mas: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “Mas continued exhibiting in Spain until 1974 when following a visit to Venezuela on the occasion of his first one-man show, he decided to settle in Caracas where he lived for six years. During this period he took advantage of his proximity to North America to further his career and ultimately became represented by several galleries throughout the United States and his work was regularly exhibited at highly respected art events and fairs in New York, Los Angels and Chicago.”

Below – “Jewel Egypt III”; “Harmony”; Untitled Reclining Nude; “La Dama De Las Mariposas”; “Musa”; “Four Seasons.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Jonny Andvik: “End of Summer”

This Date in Art History: Born 22 September 1909 – John Engstead, an American photographer.

Below – “Lauren Bacall”; “Marlon Brando”; “Marlene Dietrich”; “Judy Garland”; “Joan Crawford.”

Musings at the End of Summer: Lao Tzu

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Below – Gill Bustamante: “A New Beginning”

This Date in Art History: Born 22 September 1891 – Alma Thomas, an American painter.

Below – “Still Life with Bottles”; “Sign of Spring”; “Apollo 12 Splash Down”; “Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers”; “End of Autumn”; Untitled.

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