Sentient in Seattle – 5 August 2018

Musings in Summer: Wendell Berry

“Outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread.”

This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1844 – Ilya Repin, a Russian painter and sculptor who was, in the words of one writer, “the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature.”: Part I of II.

Below – “Barge Haulers on the Volga”; “Religious Procession in Kursk Province”; “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV”; “Self Portrait with Natalia Norman”; “Demonstration on October 17, 1905”; “Self Portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 5 August 1934 – Wendell Berry, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, poet, and essayist.

Some quotes from the work of Wendell Berry:

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”
“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”
“For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land.”
“Can we actually suppose that we are wasting, polluting, and making ugly this beautiful land for the sake of patriotism and the love of God? Perhaps some of us would like to think so, but in fact this destruction is taking place because we have allowed ourselves to believe, and to live, a mated pair of economic lies: that nothing has a value that is not assigned to it by the market; and that the economic life of our communities can safely be handed over to the great corporations.”
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
“Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”
“It may be that when we no longer know… which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1844 – Ilya Repin, a Russian painter and sculptor who was, in the words of one writer, “the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature.”: Part II of II.

Below – “Sadko”; “Seeing Off a Recruit”; “Unexpected Visitors”; “On a Raft in a Storm on the Volga”; “What Freedom!”; “Moonlight.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Edward Hopper: “Automat” (1927).

This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 2000 – Tulio Crali, an Italian painter.

Below – “Aeropittura 2”; “Forces of a Curve”; “Aeropittura”; “Night Bombardment”; “Incursione Aerea”; “Self Portrait.”

Musings in Summer: Wendell Berry

“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness. True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.”

This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 1933 – Charles Harold Davis, an American painter: Part I of III.

Below – “May Morning”; “A Quiet Corner”; “Sunset Vista”; “Field of Wheat”; “Deepening Shadows”; “Afternoon in Early Winter.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 5 August 1869 – Conrad Aiken, an American novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, recipient of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and recipient of the National Book Award.

“Twilights, V”
by Conrad Aiken

Now the great wheel of darkness and low clouds
Whirs and whirls in the heavens with dipping rim;
Against the ice-white wall of light in the west
Skeleton trees bow down in a stream of air.
Leaves, black leaves and smoke, are blown on the wind;
Mount upward past my window; swoop again;
In a sharp silence, loudly, loudly falls
The first cold drop, striking a shriveled leaf . . .
Doom and dusk for the earth! Upward I reach
To draw chill curtains and shut out the dark,
Pausing an instant, with uplifted hand,
To watch, between black ruined portals of cloud,
One star,—the tottering portals fall and crush it.
Here are a thousand books! here is the wisdom
Alembicked out of dust, or out of nothing;
Choose now the weightiest word, most golden page,
Most somberly musicked line; hold up these lanterns,—
These paltry lanterns, wisdoms, philosophies,—
Above your eyes, against this wall of darkness;
And you’ll see—what? One hanging strand of cobweb,
A window-sill a half-inch deep in dust . . .
Speak out, old wise-men! Now, if ever, we need you.
Cry loudly, lift shrill voices like magicians
Against this baleful dusk, this wail of rain . . .
But you are nothing! Your pages turn to water
Under my fingers: cold, cold and gleaming,
Arrowy in the darkness, rippling, dripping—
All things are rain . . . Myself, this lighted room,
What are we but a murmurous pool of rain? . . .
The slow arpeggios of it, liquid, sibilant,
Thrill and thrill in the dark. World-deep I lie
Under a sky of rain. Thus lies the sea-shell
Under the rustling twilight of the sea;
No gods remember it, no understanding
Cleaves the long darkness with a sword of light.

This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 1933 – Charles Harold Davis, an American painter: Part II of III.

Below – “A Path Along the River”; “Twilight Mid Winter”; “Change of Wind”; “The Oak”; “All Hallow’s Eve”; “August.”

Musings in Summer: Wendell Berry

“Under the pavement the dirt is dreaming of grass.”

This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 1933 – Charles Harold Davis, an American painter: Part III of III.

Below – “Call of the West Wind”; “The Old Pasture”; “The Countryside in Autumn”; “By the Shore”; “Under Summer Skies”; “Farm at Sunrise.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 5 August 2018

“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or on college campuses, or places of worship or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.” – Barack Obama.

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Sentient in Seattle – 4 August 2018

“Those Winter Sundays”
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Art for Summer – Part I of II: Vladimir Kush (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Moon Watch”; “Fiery Dance”; “Tide of Time”

Musings in Summer: Vincent van Gogh

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Field of Flowers Near Arles”

Art for Summer – Part II of II: Linda Kyser Smith (American, contemporary)

Below – “Night Song”; “Old Fashioned Girl”; “Cowgirl Enjoys Wine”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 4 August 1958 – Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, an American poet and recipient of the American Book Award.

“A Time”
by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

The problem—
it’s not been written yet, the omens:
the headless owl, the bobcat struck,
the red wolf where she could not be.

None of it done and yet it’s over.

Nothing yet
of night     when she called me closer
asked me to bring her crow painting
to stay straight across from her feet
so she could waken into it,
remember her friend.

Of Old Chief alongside her shoulder
still watching over her
just as the mountain had done
throughout her Alberta childhood.

The Pendleton shroud bearing our braids,
her figure in flaming pyre.

The cards, the notes, the tasks
the things undone,     not done
and she with us        faraway
as this has always been    and ever
will continue.

We meet we leave
we meld and vaporize from whatever
it was that held us human

in this life.

And all the beautiful things
that lead our thoughts and give us reason
remain despite the leaving and
all I know         is what you know

when it is over said and done
it was a time
and there was never enough of it.

This Date in Art History: Died 4 August 1900 – Isaac Levitan, a Russian painter.

Below – “Autumn Day”; “Sunny Day”; “Spring, High Water”; “Birch Forest”; “Silence”; “Water Lilies”; “Lake. Russia 1900” (The last, and unfinished, Levitan painting.)

Worth a Thousand Words: Vestal Peak reflected in a beaver pond in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

This Date in Art History: Died 4 August 1932- Alfred Henry Maurer, an American painter: Part I of III.

Below – “Carousel”; “An Arrangement”; “Landscape of Provence”; “At the Shore”; “The Black Cape”; “The Cafe.”

Remembering an American President of the Date of His Birth: Born 4 August 1961 – Barack Obama, a lawyer, politician, 44th President of the United States, and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Barack Obama:

“Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don’t settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work to change the world.”
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”
“Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.”
“What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world.”
“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.”
“We are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth or status or power or fame, but rather how well we have Loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”

This Date in Art History: Died 4 August 1932- Alfred Henry Maurer, an American painter: Part II of III.

Below – “Cafe Scene”; “Evening at the Club”; “Figures by the Sea”; “Hills”; “In the Garden”; “Jeanne in Interior.”

Musings in Summer: Norman Maclean

“At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.”

Below – Albert Bierstadt: “Sunrise”

This Date in Art History: Died 4 August 1932- Alfred Henry Maurer, an American painter: Part III of III.

Below – “Man at the Door”; “Model with a Japanese Fan”; “Nude Reading”; “The Rendezvous”; “Rockaway Beach with Pier”; “Self Portrait.”

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A Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 4 August 2018

“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” – Barack Obama.

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Sentient in Seattle – 3 August 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 3 August 1867 – Rupert Brooke, an English poet.

“The Soldier”
by Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Below – Brooke’s grave on the Greek island of Skyros – “some corner of a foreign field/That is for ever England.”

Art for Summer: Georgy Kurasov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Venus at a Mirror”; “Sunny Dreams”; “From Every Angle”

For Your Information: 3 August is both National Watermelon Day and National White Wine Day in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Died 3 August 1879 – Joseph Severn, an English painter.

Below – “Posthumous Portrait of Shelley Writing ‘Prometheus Unbound’”; “John Keats”; “Maidens spied on by shepherd”; “A couple by a wall in a vineyard”; “Ophelia”; “The Vintage.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 3 August 1943 – Steven Millhauser, an American novelist, short story writer, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Steven Millhauser:

“After all, we were young. We were fourteen and fifteen, scornful of childhood, remote from the world of stern and ludicrous adults. We were bored, we were restless, we longed to be seized by any whim or passion and follow it to the farthest reaches of our natures. We wanted to live – to die – to burst into flame – to be transformed into angels or explosions. Only the mundane offended us, as if we secretly feared it was our destiny . By late afternoon our muscles ached, our eyelids grew heavy with obscure desires. And so we dreamed and did nothing, for what was there to do, played ping-pong and went to the beach, loafed in backyards, slept late into the morning – and always we craved adventures so extreme we could never imagine them. In the long dusks of summer we walked the suburban streets through scents of maple and cut grass, waiting for something to happen.”
“So imagine a fire going — wood snapping the way it does when it’s a little green — the wind rattling the windows behind the curtains — and one of those Chopin melodies that feel like sorrow and ecstasy all mixed together pouring from the keys — and you have my idea of happiness. Or just reading, reading and lamplight, the sound of pages turning.
And so you dare to be happy.
You do that thing.
You dare.”
“That afternoon he told me that the difference between human beings and animals was that human beings were able to dream while awake. He said the purpose of books was to permit us to exercise that faculty. Art, he said, was a controlled madness… He said books weren’t made of themes, which you could write essays about, but of images that inserted themselves into your brain and replaced what you were seeing with your eyes.”
“I expected no miracles; I wasn’t young enough for dreams; I knew in my bones that I couldn’t escape my troubles by changing the view from my window.”
“We are happy to be here, where the sky has always seemed a little bluer, the leaves a little greener, than in other towns we know.”
“I thought of myself, in those days, as someone in disguise—beneath the obedient son, beneath the straight-A student, the agreeable well-brought-up boy with his friends and his ping-pong and his semiofficial girlfriend, there was another being, restless, elusive, mocking, disruptive, imperious, and this shadowy underself had nothing to do with that other one who laughed with his friends and went to school dances and spent summer afternoons at the beach.”
“I saw that I was in danger of becoming ordinary, and I understood that from now on I would have to be vigilant.”

This Date in Art History: Died 3 August 2004 – Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer.

Below – “China. Beijing, December 1948. The Forbidden City”; “India. Delhi, Birla House. 1948. Gandhi dictates a message, just before breaking his fast.”; “Soviet Union. Moscow, 1954”; “Spain. Madrid, 1933”; “US writer William Faulkner at home.”; “France. Paris. Ile de la Cité. Square of the Vert Galant and Pont-Neuf. 1951.”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Death: Died 3 August 2006 – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist, dramatist, historian, and recipient of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn:

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”
“Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.”
“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”
“The sole substitute for an experience we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature.”
“A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”
“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”
“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

Contemporary Japanese Art – Muramasa Kudo

In the words of one writer, “Muramasa Kudo, believes that life is art. Kudo was trained as a youth in calligraphy, and learned from a Master who became his first Zen teacher. This training encouraged his creativity, and taught him skills and discipline. His spiritual beliefs influence his art with delicacy, refinement, and elegance. Strong, goddess-like women who dwell in natural settings inspire many of Kudo’s paintings. He is a master of the line drawing. His style incorporates traditional Japanese methods with classical, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco elements. There is total control of form and balance, color and imagery in all of Kudo’s art.”

Below – “Cherry Blossoms”; “Lilies in Stream”; “Top of the World”; “Water Goddess”; “Surf”; “Sitting Lady.”

Worth a Thousand Words: Soviet Venera probe image of the surface of Venus.

This Date in Art History: Died 3 August 1894 – George Inness, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “In the Berkshires”; “The Lackawanna Valley”; “Lake Albano”; “The Storm”; “Two Sisters in the Garden”; “Sunset over the Sea.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 3 August 1924 – Joseph Conrad, a Polish-born British novelist.

Some quotes from the work of Joseph Conrad:

“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.”
“No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence–that which makes its truth, its meaning–its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream–alone.”
“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”
“I don’t like work–no man does–but I like what is in the work–the chance to find yourself. Your own reality–for yourself not for others–what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”
“Let them think what they liked, but I didn’t mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank — but that’s not the same thing.”
“It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.”
“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.”
“Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of inextinguishable regrets.”
“You know I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appals me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies – which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world – what I want to forget.”
“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”
“We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness”
“The horror! The horror!”

This Date in Art History: Died 3 August 1894 – George Inness, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Pool in the Woods”; “Sunrise”; “Early Morning, Tarpon Springs”; “Edge of the Forest”; “Moonrise”; “The Home of the Heron.”

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Lament for America in the Age of Trump – 3 August 2018

“It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Laureate.

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Sentient in Seattle – 2 August 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 2 August 1972 – Helen Hoyt, an American poet and author.

“The Root”
by Helen Hoyt

Love faded in my heart—
I thought it was dead.
Now new flowers start,
Fresh leaves outspread.
Why do these flowers upstart
And again the leaves spread?
Oh, when will it be dead—
This root that tears my heart!

Art for Summer – Part I of II: Martin Kreloff (American, contemporary)

Below – “Koi Who Swam Through David Hockney’s Pool to the Land of Matisse”; “John Wayne”; “Lana Turner”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 1 August 1924 – James Baldwin, an American novelist, poet, and critic.

Some quotes from the work of James Baldwin:

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
“It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
“You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back.”
“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”

Art for Summer – Part II of II: Geeth Kudaligamage (American, contemporary)

Below – “The Journey”; “Guardian, His Horse and Sthupa”; “Dilemma of the Mule”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 2 August 1867 – Ernest Dowson, an English poet, novelist, and short story writer.

“Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae”
by Ernest Dawson

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I awoke and found the dawn was gray:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

Below – Jasmine Susan: “Wine Glass and Red Rose in Colored Pencil”

This Date in Art History: Born 2 August 1880 – Arthur Dove, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “.04 Percemt”; “After the Storm, Silver and Green (Vault Sky)”; “Arrangement”; “At the End of the Pond”; “Barn Interior.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A beach in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

This Date in Art History: Born 2 August 1880 – Arthur Dove, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Below the Flood Gates”; “Cat”; “Chinese Music”; “Cow”; “Dancing Willows”; “Electric Peach Orchard.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 2 August 1988 – Raymond Carver, an American poet and short story writer.

by Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

It comes on
And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

Contemporary American Art – Mark Kostabi: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Born in 1960, Mark Kostabi has lived, worked and made waves in New York since 1982. His numerous exhibitions, outspoken artistic and business philosophy, along with his arresting painting style, have led to widespread critical attention and placed him in the limelight of public interest.”

Below – “Neighborhood Watch”; “Give Leaves a Chance”; “Riddle of Night and Day”; “Langour of Love”; “Stretching Towards the Eternal City”; “Channeling the Infinite.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 2 August 1955 – Wallace Stevens, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”
by Wallace Stevens

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

Below – Henri Rousseau: “Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)”

Contemporary American Art – Mark Kostabi: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “Kostabi’s work is widely seen as controversial, this is also the way the artist himself likes to be known. Mark Kostabi is the mastermind, creator and director of his personal art industry, all resting on a broad base of appeal and support for his artwork and style. Mark Kostabi’s techniques have earned him an amazing reputation, the status of an international multimedia celebrity.”

Below – “Multiple Transparencies”; “Regardless We Need Each Other”: “Golden Kiss”; “Serene Deja Vu”; “Multiple Lasso”; “Tangled Positions of Reason.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 2 August 1980 – Norman Maclean, an American short story writer, essayist, author of “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories,” and recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Some quotes from the work of Norman Maclean:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”
“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”
“When I was young, a teacher had forbidden me to say ‘more perfect’ because she said if a thing is perfect it can’t be more so. But by now I had seen enough of life to have regained my confidence in it.”
“Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect”
“Unless we are willing to escape into sentimentality or fantasy, often the best we can do with catastrophes, even our own, is to find out exactly what happened and restore some of the missing parts.”
“As I get considerably beyond the biblical allotment of three score years and ten, I feel with increasing intensity that I can express my gratitude for still being around on the oxygen-side of the earth’s crust only by not standing pat on what I have hitherto known and loved. While oxygen lasts, there are still new things to love, especially if compassion is a form of love.”

Contemporary American Art – Sue Krzyston (American, contemporary)

In the words of one writer, “The artist Sue Krzyston is surrounded in her home and studio by the Indian artifacts she collects and paints, Sue Krzyston believes these objects represent the ‘soul’ of the people who create them. She says, ‘I strive to capture that soul on canvas. I want to make the artifacts come alive in my still life paintings.’”

Below – “Chilies and Clay”; “Patterns of Artistry”; “Hopi Olla”; “From the Soul”; “Proud Heritage”; “Sharing the Beauty.”

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A Lament for American in the Age of Trump – 2 August 2018

“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.” ― James Baldwin, American writer.

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Sentient in Seattle – 1 August 2018

Greeting August

One of the flowers associated with August is the poppy.

Below – Karen Margulis: “Field of Red Poppies”

Art for August – Justin Beckett: “Howe Sound Light”


In 8 BCE, the month Sextilis was renamed in honor of Emperor Augustus.

Below – “Augustus of Prima Porta” (marble)

Art for August – Fournier: “Apple Tree in August”

Musings in August: Sylvia Plath

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

Below – Magdalena Morey: “Summer Rain 2”

Art for August – Andrey Soldatenko: “August”

For Your Information: 1 August is National Milkshake Day in the United States.

Art for August – Harry Stooshinoff: “Fallow, Late August”

A Poem for August

“The Pond”
by Mary Oliver

August of another summer, and once again
I am drinking the sun
and the lilies again are spread across the water.
I know now what they want is to touch each other.
I have not been here for many years
during which time I kept living my life.
Like the heron, who can only croak, who wishes he
could sing,
I wish I could sing.
A little thanks from every throat would be appropriate.
This is how it has been, and this is how it is:
All my life I have been able to feel happiness,
except whatever was not happiness,
which I also remember.
Each of us wears a shadow.
But just now it is summer again
and I am watching the lilies bow to each other,
then slide on the wind and the tug of desire,
close, close to one another,
Soon now, I’ll turn and start for home.
And who knows, maybe I’ll be singing.”

Below – Olha Darchuk: “Pond Lilies”

Art for August – Rex Brandt: “August at South Beach”

Musings in August: Rick Bragg

“The children start school now in August. They say it has to do with air-conditioning, but I know sadism when I see it.”

Art for August – Carol Engles: “August Flowers”

This Date in Art History: Born 1 August 1865 – Isobel Lilian Gloag, an English painter.

Below – “A Legend of Florence”; “A Bunch of Flowers”; “Scene from Love’s Labors Lost”; “Four corners to my bed”; “The Kiss of the Enchantress”; “The Magic Mantle.”

Art for August – Brenda J. Clark: “Fishtown in August”

Musings in August: Steven Wright

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

Art for August – Dan Godfrey: “Acequia in August”

This Date in Art History: Born 1 August 1910 – James Henry Govier, an English painter and illustrator.

Below – “Landscape near Brill”; “Hoxne Post Mill”; “Hoxne”; “A Young Girl Playing Her Piano”; “Putting on the Slipper.”

Art for August – George A. Weymouth: “August”

Musings in August: Crestless Wave

“August is a gentle reminder for not doing a single thing from your new year resolution for seven months and not doing it for next five.”

Art for August – Carolyn Lord Spring: “An August Garden”

A Poem for August

by Mary Oliver

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

Art for August – Manuel Sosa: “Red Partridge in August”

Musings in August: Henry David Thoreau

“In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs.”

Art for August – Anna Rose Bain: “August Sunrise”

This Date in Art History: Born 1 August 1914 – Jack Delano, an American photographer.

Below – “Chicago Union Station, 1943”; “Roundhouse wipers at lunch, Clinton, Iowa, 1943”; “Chicago Railyards, 1942”; “Malaria poster in a small hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1941”; “Pledging Allegiance to the Flag in a School in Puerto Rico, 1946”; “Chicago Railroad Yard.”

Art for August – August Macke: “Tree in Cornfield”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 1 August 1963 – Theodore Roethke, an American poet, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, and two-time recipient of the National Book Award.

“Night Journey”
by Theodore Roethke

Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night
To see the land I love.

Art for August – Vasyl Khodakivskyi: “Hot August”

Musings in August: Elizabeth Enright

“Did you know that a bee dies after he stings you? And that there’s a star called Aldebaran? And that around the tenth of August, any year, you can look up in the sky at night and see dozens and dozens of shooting stars?”

Below – The Perseid Meteor Shower, which will peak in 2018 on August 11 and 12.

Art for August – Duane Dorshimer: “August Tobacco With Barn”

A Poem for August

“California Hills in August”
by Dana Gioia

I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.

An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.

One who would hurry over the clinging
thistle, foxtail, golden poppy,
knowing everything was just a weed,
unable to conceive that these trees
and sparse brown bushes were alive.

And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion,
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.

And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain ?
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.

Art for August – Bogdan Vynarchyk: “August Peace”

Remembering a Writer on the date of His Birth: Born 1 August 1819 – Herman Melville, an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and author of “Moby Dick.”

Some quotes from the work of Hermann Melville:

“Call me Ishmael.”
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
“No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.”
“Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.”
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”

Art for August – Emile Claus: “The End of August”

Musings in August: Tove Jansson

“Every year, the bright Scandinavian summer nights fade without anyone’s noticing. One evening in August you have an errand outdoors, and all of a sudden it’s pitch-black. It is still summer, but the summer is no longer alive.”

Art for August – Adam Noonan: “Ontario August II”

This Date in At History: Died 1 August 1938 – Edmund C. Tarbell, an American painter.

Below – “In the Orchard”; “Lady with a Corsage”; “Mother and Child in a Boat”; “The Sisters”; “Reverie”; “Preparing for the Matinee.”

Art for August – Brent Heighton: “August Wind”

Musings in August: Sam Keen

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

Below – Gustave Courbet: “Le Reve (The Hammock)”

Art for August – Edward Hopper: “August in the City”

A Poem for August

by Elizabeth Maua Taylor

August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.

Below – Charlene Fuhrman-Schulz: “Hazy Lazy Sunset”

Art for August – Peter Bruegel The Elder: “The Corn Harvest (August)”

Musings in August: Sarah Orne Jewett

“This was one of those perfect New England days in late summer where the spirit of autumn takes a first stealing flight, like a spy, through the ripening country-side, and, with feigned sympathy for those who droop with August heat, puts her cool cloak of bracing air about leaf and flower and human shoulders.”

Below – Milton Avery: “Lakeside Trees”

Art for August – Judith Bridgland: “August Flowers at Rinagree”

Welcome, Wonderful August

Below – William Godward: “Summer Flowers”

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Sentient in Seattle – 31 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 31 July 2000 – William Keepers Maxwell, Jr., an American editor, novelist, short story writer, essayist, children’s author, memoirist, recipient of both the National Book Award and the Mark Twain Award.

Two quotes from the work of William Keepers Maxwell, Jr.:
“What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory–meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion–is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.”“It seemed like a mistake. And mistakes ought to be rectified, only this one couldn’t be. Between the way things used to be and the way they were now was a void that couldn’t be crossed. I had to find an explanation other than the real one, which was that we were no more immune to misfortune than anybody else, and the idea that kept recurring to me…was that I had inadvertently walked through a door that I shouldn’t have gone through and couldn’t get back to the place I hadn’t meant to leave. Actually, it was other way round: I hadn’t gone anywhere and nothing was changed, so far as the roof over our heads was concerned, it was just that she was in the cemetery.”

Art for Summer – Part I of II: Ludimila Kondakova (Russian/American, contemporary)

Below – “Le Consulat”; “Stairway”; “Room with a View”

For Your Information: 31 July is National Raspberry Cake in the United States.

Art for Summer – Part II of II: Anatole Krasnyansky (Ukrainian/American, contemporary)

Below – “Misguided”; “Accordion III”; “Merry Toast”

Remembering a Composer on the Date of His Death: Died 31 July 1886 – Franz Liszt, a Hungarian composer, pianist, and conductor.

This Date in Art History: Died 31 July 1693 – Willem Kalf, a Dutch still life painter.

Below – “Still Life with Holbein Bowl, Nautilus Cup, Glass Goblet, and Fruit”; “Still Life”; “Still Life”; “Still Life with Silver Bowl, Glasses, and Fruit”; “Still Life with Ginger Pot and Porcelain Bowl”; “Still Life with Chinese Porcelain Pieces and Glassware.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A Hubble telescope photograph of the Crab Nebula.

This Date in Art History: Born 31 July 1860: Mary Vaux Walcott, an American painter of wildflowers known as “The Audubon of Botany.”

Below – “Arrowleaf Balsamroot”; “Hibiscus moscheutos”; “Harebell”; “Avalanche Lily”; “Desert Mariposa”; “Bottle Gentian.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 31 July 2012 – Gore Vidal, an American writer and public intellectual.

Some quotes from the work of Gore Vidal:

“The unfed mind devours itself.”
“How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.”
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”
“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”
“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”
“Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy’ is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society…. To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.”
“[Professor] Frank recalled my idle remark some years ago: ‘Never pass up the opportunity to have sex or appear on television.’ Advice I would never give today in the age of AIDS and its television equivalent Fox News.”
“Monotheism is easily the greatest disaster to befall the human race.”
“We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing.”
“The American press exists for one purpose only, and that is to convince Americans that they are living in the greatest and most envied country in the history of the world. The Press tells the American people how awful every other country is and how wonderful the United States is and how evil communism is and how happy they should be to have freedom to buy seven different sorts of detergent.”
“I have always regarded as a stroke of good fortune that I was not born or brought up in a small American town; they may be the backbone of the nation, but they are also the backbone of ignorance, bigotry, and boredom, all in vast quantities.”
“I’m not sentimental about anything. Life flows by, and you flow with it or you don’t. Move on and move out.”

American Art – Emil Kosa Jr.

In the words of one writer, “Emil Kosa Jr. was born in Paris in 1903 and moved to the U.S. at the age of 4. A highly trained early California artist, Kosa studied fine art in Prague, Paris and at the Los Angeles area schools including the Otis and Chouinard Institutes, ultimately teaching at the latter.”

Below – “There Was a Song in My Heart”; “Shacks by the Road”; “Acton”; “By a Stream”; “Winter Sun”; “Nude Female Standing.”

A Poem for Today

“Sappho I”

by Sara Teasdale

Impassioned singer of the happy time.
When all the world was waking into morn,
And dew still glistened on the tangled thorn,
And lingered on the branches of the lime —
Oh peerless singer of the golden rhyme,
Happy wert thou to live ere doubt was born —
Before the joy of life was half out-worn,
And nymphs and satyrs vanished from your clime.
Then maidens bearing parsley in their hands
Wound thro’ the groves to where the goddess stands,
And mariners might sail for unknown lands
Past sea-clasped islands veiled in mystery —
And Venus still was shining from the sea,
And Ceres had not lost Persephone.

Below – Francis Coates Jones: “Sappho”

American Art – Herb Kornfeld

In the words of one writer, “An American School painter whose prolific career spanned eight decades, Kornfeld (1915 – 2001) helped forge a new style referred to by art critics as ‘California Modernism’.”

Below – “View From Atop”; “Bait Boat With Punts Along Shore”; “Found Objects”; “The Drop Forge”; “The Wooden Derrick”; “Boat.”

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