Sentient in San Francisco – 2 October 2018

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Death: Died 2 October 1987 – Peter Medawar, a British biologist, author of “Pluto’s Republic and recipient of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Some quotes from the work of Peter Medawar:

“The alternative to thinking in evolutionary terms is not to think at all.”
“The human mind treats a new idea the same way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it.”
“I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of the conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not.”
“For a scientist must indeed be freely imaginative and yet skeptical, creative and yet a critic. There is a sense in which he must be free, but another in which his thought must be very precisely regimented; there is poetry in science, but also a lot of bookkeeping.”
“The purpose of scientific enquiry is not to compile an inventory of factual information, nor to build up a totalitarian world picture of natural Laws in which every event that is not compulsory is forbidden. We should think of it rather as a logically articulated structure of justifiable beliefs about nature.”

Art for Autumn – Part I of II: Les Mayers (American, contemporary)

Below – “Rio Grande Gorge”; “Clouds over Santa Fe”; “Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey from The Air”


Remembering a Vocalist on the Date of His Birth: Born 2 October1945 – Don McLean, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Art for Autumn – Part II of II: Barbara McCann (American, 1954-2011)

Below – “Morning Light”; “Santorini Still Life”; “Lavender Fields”

For Your Information: The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.


This Date in Art History: Died 2 October 1953 – John Marin, an American painter.

Below – “River Scene from Weehawken, New Jersey, 1916”; “Hudson River Valley, 1911”; “Sail Boat and Sea, Maine, 1938”;“Cape Split, 1940”; “Autumn Scene, 1918”; ““Off Deer Isle, Maine, 1928.”


Remembering a Vocalist on the Date of His Death: Died 2 October2017 – Tom Petty, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.


This Date in Art History: Born 2 October 1949 – Annie Leibovitz, an American photographer.

Below – “Angelina Jolie”; “Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher”;“June Carter and Johnny Cash, Hiltons, Virginia, 2001”; “John Lennon, New York, 1970”; “The Blues Brothers, Hollywood, California , 1979”; “Bruce Springsteen – New York , 1984.”


Worth a Thousand Words: An impact crater in Elysium Planitia on Mars that is about 3 times the size of Arizona’s Meteor Crater.

Contemporary American Art – William Matthews: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “William Matthews was born in 1949 in New York City.  He grew up in the Bay Area.  His professional career began in Los Angeles, designing album covers for Warner Bros. and Capitol Records.  He lived in Europe from 1975 to 1980.  Upon his return to Colorado, he ran a graphic design studio until 1990 when he dedicated himself full time to painting.”

Below – “Early Snow”; “Industrial Still Life”; “Open Range”; “Lyrical Steel”; “Bobcat Tales”; “Brood Mare.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 2 October 1879 – Wallace Stevens, an American poet and recipient of both the National Book Award for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

“The Snow Man”
by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Contemporary American Art – William Matthews: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “He is most well known for his portrayal of the working cowboys from the great ranches of the American west.  The 1994 published monograph, ‘Cowboys & Images: The Watercolors of William Matthews,’ chronicles a decade of the artist’s work devoted to this subject.  In the fall of 2007, Chronicle Books of San Francisco released a second monograph dedicated to the subject matter entitled, ‘William Matthews: Working the West’.”

Below – “Roping Arrangement”; “Cormorants”; “Fresh Water”; “Mongolian Pony”; “Setting Tiles”; “Phantom.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 1 October 2018

Greeting October

The Marigold is the flower associated with October.

Below – Koloman Moser: “Marigolds.”


Art for October – Du Yuxi: “Dates in October”


Origin

In the words of one writer, “October is the tenth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the sixth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October retained its name (from the Latin ‘ôctō,’ meaning ‘eight’) after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the Romans.”


Art for October – John Everett Millais: “Chill October”


Musings in October: Henry David Thoreau

“October is the month for painted leaves…. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”

Art for October – George Innes: “October”

A Poem for October

“October”
by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Art for October – James Tissot: “October”

Musings in October: Thomas Wolfe

“Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We’ll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure.”


Art for October – Franklin Carmichael: “October Gold”


A Song for October


Art for October – Fremont Ellis: “Blue October Weather”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 1 October1985 – E. B. White, an American author, essayist, journalist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of E. B.White:

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”
“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.”
“The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.”
“I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively, instead of skeptically and dictatorially.”
“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”

Art for October – William Merritt Chase: “October”

Musings in October: Joy Fielding

“October was always the least dependable of months…full of ghosts and shadows.”

Below – Paul Cunning: “Ghostly Forest.”

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

For Your Information: 1 October is World Vegetarian Day.

Art for October – Claude Monet: “The Studio Boat”

A Poem for October

“The Love for October”
by W. S. Merwin

A child looking at ruins grows younger
but cold
and wants to wake to a new name
I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows
and the wren laughs in the early shade now
come again shining glance in your good time
naked air late morning
my love is for lightness
of touch foot feather
the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
in the sun

Below – Olga Shvartsur: “Rose Hips.”

Art for October – Vincent van Gogh:”Wheat Field in Rain”

Musings in October: Nova Schubert Bair

“October’s poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter.”

Below – Graham Gercken: “Autumn Poplars.”

Art for October – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Pandora”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 1 October 1946 – Tim O’Brien, an American novelist, short story writer, author of “The Things They Carried” and “Going After Cacciato,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Tim O’Brien:

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.”
“The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.”
“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”
“War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.”
“And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war. It’s about sunlight. It’s about the special way that dawn spreads out on a river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do. It’s about love and memory. It’s about sorrow. It’s about sisters who never write back and people who never listen.”
“I survived, but it’s not a happy ending.”

Art for October – Frank Cadogan Cowper: “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”


Musings in October: Hal Borland

“October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.’

Art for October – Frank Dicksee: “Ophelia”


A Poem for October

“October”
by Elinor Morton Wylie

Beauty has a tarnished dress,
And a patchwork cloak of cloth
Dipped deep in mournfulness,
Striped like a moth.

Wet grass where it trails
Dyes it green along the hem;
She has seven silver veils
With cracked bells on them.

She is tired of all these–
Grey gauze, translucent lawn;
The broad cloak of Herakles.
Is tangled flame and fawn.

Water and light are wearing thin:
She has drawn above her head
The warm enormous lion skin
Rough red and gold.

Below – Chelsea Davine: “Fallen Golden Leaves”

Art for October – Greg Cartmell: “Last October Moon”

Musings in October: Elizabeth George Speare

“After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with mellow warmth…The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch. The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet. Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her…In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.”

Art for October – John Whetten Ehninger: “October”

A Poem for October

“A Letter in October”
by Ted Kooser

Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,

then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,

startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned

the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.


Art for October – Childe Hassam: “October Haze, Manhattan”


Musings in October: Rainbow Rowell

“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”


Art for October – Winslow Homer: “An October Day”

A Poem for October

“The Wild Swans at Coole”
by William Butler Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Art for October – John Singer Sargent: “A Dinner Table at Night”


Musings in October: Thomas Wolfe

“All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.”


Art for October – John William Waterhouse: “Windswept”


Welcome, Wonderful October

Below – Andrew Wyeth: “Autumn Cornfield”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 30 September 2018

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Death: Died 30 September 1990 – Patrick White, an Australian novelist, poet, short story writer, playwright, and recipient of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Patrick White:

“If I have not lost my mind I can sometimes hear it preparing to defect.”
“She would have liked to sit upon a rock and listen to words, not of any man, but detached, mysterious, poetic words that she alone would interpret through some sense inherited from sleep.”
“She had begun to read in the beginning as a protection from the frightening and unpleasant things. She continued because, apart from the story, literature brought with it a kind of gentility for which she craved.”
“They walked on rather aimlessly. He hoped she wouldn’t notice he was touched, because he wouldn’t have known how to explain why. Here lay the great discrepancy between aesthetic truth and sleazy reality.”
“I would like to believe in the myth that we grow wiser with age. In a sense my disbelief is wisdom. Those of a middle generation, if charitable or sentimental, subscribe to the wisdom myth, while the callous see us as dispensable objects, like broken furniture or dead flowers. For the young we scarcely exist unless we are unavoidable members of the same family, farting, slobbering, perpetually mislaying teeth and bifocals.”

Art for Autumn – Part I of III: Emanuel Mattini (Iranian, contemporary)

Below – “Orchestration XIII”; “Symphony V”; Untitled

For Your Information: 30 September is National Hot Mulled Cider Day in the United States.

Art for Autumn – Part II of III: Marko Mavrovich (Croatian, contemporary)

Below – “Visiting Renoir”; “I’m Lost Without You, Poppy”; “Thoughts of Our Last Voyage”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 30 September 1924 – Truman Capote, an American novelist, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter.

Some quotes from the work of Truman Capote:

“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”
“It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes.”
“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”
“It’s a scientific fact that if you stay in California you lose one point of your IQ every year.”
“But my dear, so few things are fulfilled: what are most lives but a series of incomplete episodes.”
“Home is where you feel at home. I’m still looking.”


“Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”
Art for Autumn – Part III of III: Ruth Mayer (American, contemporary)

Below – “Artist’s Garden”; “Waterfall”; “Vegas”

Worth a Thousand Words: Mary Cassatt. (American, 1844-1926): “Young Woman in Green, Outdoors in the Sun.”

This Date in Art History: Died 30 September 1973 – Peter Pitseolak, a Canadian Inuit photographer, sculptor, and artist.

Below – “Bird” (whale bone); “Dance of the Bird Spirit”; “The world wildlife fund collection of the art of the Eskimos”; “Bird”; “Hunter with musk ox and two seals” (stone); “Night Owl.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 30 September 1927 – W. S. Merwin, an American poet and translator.

“For the Anniversary of My Death”
by W. S. Merwin

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what


American Art – Paul Maxwell (1925-2015)

In the words of one writer, “He is a well known sculptor, painter, creator of functional art forms and conceptual art, and is also a printmaker. Maxwell is the inventor of a printmaking process which now makes possible (for all artists of the world) the use of an expanded and enriched printing medium.”

Below – “Sailboats at Sunset”; “Vista”; Untitled Birds; “See Through”; “Fence/Red Bar/Red Raddle“; “North Site.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 29 September 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 29 September 1973 – W. H. Auden, an English-American poet, playwright, and critic.

“Musee des Beaux Arts”
by W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Below – Pieter Brueghel the Elder: “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”

Art for Autumn: Leo Matiz (Columbian, 1917-1998)

Below (all photographs) – “Frida Kahlo XI” (1945); “Palm Hats”; “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera IX” (1945)


For Your Information: 29 September is International Coffee Day in the United States.

French Art – Pierre Matisse (French, 1920-1989)

In the words of one writer, “Pierre was born to artist parents in Paris on February 1st, 1928. His father, Jean Matisse, was a sculptor, his mother, Louise Milhau, was a painter, sculptor and ceramist. He grew up immersed in the world of art, being the grandson of Henri Matisse. Pierre’s childhood involved the artistic life of Paris and the French Riviera. The Matisse family often moved, ‘entourage’ from one location to another, in France and Spain during his early years. He had the opportunity to meet and spend time among some of the most famous artists of this century, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Aristide Maillol, Jean Effel, Salvador Dali, Pierre Bonnard, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, Maurice De Vlaminck and Auguste Lumière.”

Below – “Overture”; “L’Escalier D’Amour”; “Three Graces”; “Flowers for Her”; “Love in the Air”; “The Proposal.”


A Poem for Today

“Sudden Light”
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turn’d so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?

Below – Three paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti featuring women he loved: “Regina Cordium” (Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall: model, muse, and wife; this painting is a marriage portrait of Siddall; her untimely death makes her the most likely candidate for being the subject of “Sudden Light”);“Lady Lilith” (Fanny Cornforth: model, muse, and mistress); “Prosperpine” (Jane Morris: model, muse, and mistress).

Chilean Art – Roberto Sebastian Matta (1911-2005)

In the words of one writer, “He studied architecture at the Universidad Catolica in Santiago. In 1933 Matta traveled to Paris and worked for two years as a draftsman in the Paris studio of famed architect Le Corbusier. While visiting his aunt in Madrid, he met Federico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Neruda. Neruda introduced Matta to Salvador Dali and Andre Breton. Impressed by Matta’s drawings, Breton invited him to join the Surrealist group in 1937. Influenced by his association with the Surrealists and by Marcel Duchamp’s theories of movement and process, Matta began to explore the realm of the subconscious and to develop an imagery of cosmic creation and destruction.”

Below – “Fog Gog Magog”; Hours of the Day Series, 8 A.M.”; “Hours of the Day Series, 8 P.M.”; “Hours of the Day Series, 10 P.M.”; “New View”; “Eld of the World.”


Worth a Thousand Words: Earth as seen from Mars. A little left of center in the image, Earth is the brightest point of light in the Martian night sky.

This Date in Art History: Died 29 September 2014 – Luis Nishizawa, a Mexican artist known for his landscape work which often shows both Japanese and Mexican influence.

Below – “Paisaje, Iztaccihuatl”; “Atardecer”; “Valle del Tepozteco”; Untitled Landscape; “Landscape”; “Iztaccihuatl.”


A Poem for Today

“Barter”
by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Below – Sangita Patil: “Woman on the Beach”


American Art – Syd Solomon (1917-2004)

In the words of one writer, “Syd Solomon (July 12, 1917 – January 28, 2004) was an American abstract artist. He spent most of his time in his homes in both East Hampton, NY and Sarasota, Florida which influenced many of his paintings. His works have been featured at The Guggenheim, The Whitney, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Wadsworth Athenaeum and several others.”

Below – “Cloudcall”; “Meeting”; “Coasturn”; “Islandscape”; “Yellowrote”; “Summer Spell.”

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A Lament for American in the Age of Trump – 29 September 2018

“One phrase stuck in Fainy’s mind, and he repeated it to himself after he had gone to bed that night: It is time for all honest men to band together to resist the ravages of greedy privilege.” – John Dos Passos, an American writer.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 28 September 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 28 September1970 – John Dos Passos, an American novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright.

Some quotes from the work of John Dos Passos:

“I never see the dawn that I don’t say to myself perhaps.”
“Self respect. self reliance. self control.”
“While there is a lower class I am of it, while there is a criminal class I am of it, while there is a soul in prison I am not free.”
“All right, we are two nations.”
“So many Americans felt that their neighbor had no right to know more than they did.”
“The rich were getting richer, the poor were getting poorer, small farmers were being squeezed out, workingmen were working twelve hours a day for a bare living; profits were for the rich, the law was for the rich, the cops were for the rich.”

Art for Autumn – Part I of II: Andre Masson (French, 1896-1967)

Below – “Soleil”; “Leda”; “Femmes aux Masques”


For Your Information: 28 September is “National Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children” in the United States. For obvious reasons, I intend to boycott this observance.

Below – A painting of a man, probably a father, dining alone. I deem him happy.

Art for Autumn – Part II of II: Sydney Mather (Australian, contemporary)

Below – “Mist over the Murray”; “Children in a Country Path”; “Summer Day”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 28 September 1993 – Peter De Vries, an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit.

Some quotes from the work of Peter De Vries:

“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.”
“Life is a zoo in a jungle.”
“A hundred years ago Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter was given an A for adultery; today she would rate no better than a C-plus.”
“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.”
“Everybody hates me because I’m so universally liked.”
“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”
“Murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums.”
“I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.”
“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”

This Date in Art History: Died 28 September 1899 – Giovanni Segantini, an Austrian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Midday in the Alps”; “Alpine Landscape”; “Bagpipers of Brianza”; “The Two Mothers”; “The Punishment of Lust”; “Self-Portrait.”


Worth a Thousand Words: Arthur Hughes (English, 1832-1915): “The Long Engagement.”

This Date in Art History: Died 28 September 1899 – Giovanni Segantini, an Austrian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Return from the Woods”; “Alpine Triptych: Life”; “Alpine Triptych: Nature”; “Alpine Triptych: Death”; “Love at the Fountain of Life”; “Vanitas.”

A Poem for Today

“Good Hours”
by Robert Frost

I had for my winter evening walk-
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.

And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.

I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.

Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.


American Art – Clara Weaver Parrish (1861-1925)

In the words of one writer, “Clara Weaver Parrish was an American artist from Alabama. Although she produced a large amount of work in a wide array of media, she is best known for her paintings and stained glass window designs.”

Below – “The Red Lily”; “The Romance of the Rose”; “Out of the Darkness”; “The Letter”; “Isolde”; “Portrait of a Young African American Woman in a Green Headscarf.”

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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.

“Trees”
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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