January Offerings – Part III: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Diane Eugster

Here are some comments from artist Diane Eugster: “I’m always struggling to bring the quality of all these elements (design, drawing, color, and emotional content) together. When everything interacts as I want it, it’s a great day, when it doesn’t I consider it a challenge to work harder.”
“There is so much to say when painting a human being, the emotions you share with the subject and the design possibilities are endless.”

Born 3 January 1933 – Anne Stevenson, an American-English poet.

“Granny Scarecrow”

Tears flowed at the chapel funeral,
more beside the grave on the hill. Nevertheless,
after the last autumn ploughing,
they crucified her old flowered print housedress
live, on a pole.

Marjorie and Emily, shortcutting to school,
used to pass and wave; mostly Gran would wave back
Two white Sunday gloves
flapped good luck from the crossbar; her head’s plastic sack
would nod, as a rule.

But when winter arrived her ghost thinned.
The dress began to look starved in its field of snowcorn.
One glove blew off and was lost.
The other hung blotchy with mould from the hedgerow, torn
by the wind.

Emily and Marjorie noticed this.
Without saying why, they started to avoid the country way
through the cornfield. Instead they walked
from the farm up the road to the stop where they
caught the bus.

And it caught them. So in time they married.
Marjorie, divorced, rose high in the catering profession.
Emily had children and grandchildren, though,
with the farm sold, none found a cross to fit their clothes when
Emily and Marjorie died.


In the words of one writer, “Antonio Sarbossa is one of the most appreciated and well-known painters in Italy and abroad. In art Antonio looks for something that is beyond our normal vision. It is the rather mysterious side that appears, with all the emotions and the thrills of the soul.
He harmoniously transfers it under a pictorial light, into a world that becomes fabulous, as our eyes discover it; loaded with suggestions; extremely sweet in its chromatic harmony; capricious in its images and in continuous movement, ready to capture us deeply and allow us to dream. He has shown the authentic quality of a painter. It is worth observing his paintings deeply, to taste its suggestive magic.”

Died 3 January 1959 – Edwin Muir, Orcadian poet, novelist, and translator.

“Reading in Wartime”

Boswell by my bed,
Tolstoy on my table;
Thought the world has bled
For four and a half years,
And wives’ and mothers’ tears
Collected would be able
To water a little field
Untouched by anger and blood,
A penitential yield
Somewhere in the world;
Though in each latitude
Armies like forest fall,
The iniquitous and the good
Head over heels hurled,
And confusion over all:
Boswell’s turbulent friend
And his deafening verbal strife,
Ivan Ilych’s death
Tell me more about life,
The meaning and the end
Of our familiar breath,
Both being personal,
Than all the carnage can,
Retrieve the shape of man,
Lost and anonymous,
Tell me wherever I look
That not one soul can die
Of this or any clan
Who is not one of us
And has a personal tie
Perhaps to someone now
Searching an ancient book,
Folk-tale or country song
In many and many a tongue,
To find the original face,
The individual soul,
The eye, the lip, the brow
For ever gone from their place,
And gather an image whole.


Born 3 January 1887 – Auguste Macke, a German expressionist painter.

Below – “The Artist’s Wife in a Blue Hat”; “Rokoko”; “Red House in the Park”; “Lady in a Green Jacket”; “Self-Portrait.”

From the Music Archives: Stephen Stills

“One thing the blues ain’t, is funny.” – Stephen Stills, American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young), who was born 3 January 1945.

Canadian Art – Part I of II: Joe Coffey

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Canadian painter Joe Coffey: “Joe is a self taught artist; he has been called prodigious for his drafting technique. His domestic animals and figurative works evoke strong emotional response through their atmospheric qualities and visual strength. The subjects of the works are silent witnesses to the world and of our own consciousness.”

3 January 1977 – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporate Apple Computer in Cupertino, California.


Canadian Art – Part II of II: Dianna Ponting

Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Dianna Ponting: ”I am drawn to quietly touch what I find abandoned and to ponder the obvious questions, trying wistfully, I suppose, to evoke the sights and sounds that must have surrounded it in its prime. Inevitably all things do turn to dust, but this fact seems a little less melancholy when, after the elements have scrubbed the slate clean, I as an artist, can open up my hand and smile at the small piece I held back.”

3 January 1870 – Construction begins on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York; work on the bridge was completed 24 May 1883.

“O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.” – From “To Brooklyn Bridge,” by Hart Crane

Here is one writer describing some of the accomplishments of Polish painter Agnieszka Szyfter: “Agnieszka Szyfter is an European contemporary artist who has exhibited widely and has been shown alongside Picasso, Dali, Miro, Matisse and Chagall at the William Bennett Gallery in Soho, Manhattan (2007-2008).
In 2008 her paintings were exhibited at the Art & Design Gallery – and were awarded the Chinese Minister of Culture distinction at the Beijing International Art Exposition. In the same year she was invited to join the Emotionalist School founded in the USA by the sculptor – professor Lubomir Tomaszewski.”


“I would climb up against shadow,
Leaving the lost past behind me;
I would move up through the darkness,
Breasting each crag till it pass.” – From “Ascent of Monadnock,” by John Gould Fletcher, the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize (1939), who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on 3 January 1886.

“Along The Highway, Rogers To Fayetteville”

Here did we travel on to clouds,
High pinnacles of eternal hope,
And rainstorms, too, that slashed the earth,
We, chasing fourteen changeful springs;
You still had guided me aright,
To heart’s full happiness. I had seen
The earth we traveled grow a home: –
A place to dream in and to know
Love of our kind, who, winter nights,
Know earth’s cold charity, numbing bone.

My dear, whatever halts us now
Is not reality but a ghost
From the grey past. Within our hands
We hold reality. It is ours.
And driving towards it we can find
Pinnacles of the eternal cloud,
And rainstorms slaking sunny earth,
And joys we never dreamed to know.


American Art – Part II of IV: Laura James

In the words of one writer, “Born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, Laura James is a self-taught painter of Antiguan heritage. Working as a professional artist and illustrator for almost twenty years, Ms. James is best known for her illustrations in the Book of the Gospels lectionary published in 2000 by LTP on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church.
Laura James is also an award-winning artist of secular works. She paints women, families, and scenes of everyday life; blending intricate patterns, text, vibrant colors and sometimes-surreal imagery into what she calls ‘art for the people.’”

© Laura James
© Laura James
© Laura James
© Laura James

A Poem for Today

“Winter Love.”
By Linda Gregg

I would like to decorate this silence,
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain. The glass chimes I hung
over the register ring a little
when the heat goes on.
I waited too long to drink my tea.
It was not hot. It was only warm.

American Art – Part III of IV: Larking Goldsmith Mead, Jr.

Born 3 January 1835 – Larkin Goldsmith Mead, Jr., an American sculptor working in a Neoclassical style.

Below (left to right) – “America”; “Mississippi – The Father of Waters”; “Ethan Allen”; “Venezia.”

3 January 1959 – Alaska is officially proclaimed a state.

A Second Poem for Today

“The Curtain,”
By Hayden Carruth

Just over the horizon a great machine of death is roaring and rearing.
We can hear it always. Earthquake, starvation, the ever-renewing sump of corpse-flesh.
But in this valley the snow falls silently all day, and out our window
We see the curtain of it shifting and folding, hiding us away in our little house,
We see earth smoothened and beautified, made like a fantasy, the snow-clad trees
So graceful. In our new bed, which is big enough to seem like the north pasture almost
With our two cats, Cooker and Smudgins, lying undisturbed in the southeastern and southwestern corners,
We lie loving and warm, looking out from time to time. “Snowbound,” we say. We speak of the poet
Who lived with his young housekeeper long ago in the mountains of the western province, the kingdom
Of cruelty, where heads fell like wilted flowers and snow fell for many months
Across the pass and drifted deep in the vale. In our kitchen the maple-fire murmurs
In our stove. We eat cheese and new-made bread and jumbo Spanish olives
Which have been steeped in our special brine of jalapeños and garlic and dill and thyme.
We have a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac that makes us smile and sigh.
For a while we close the immense index of images that is our lives—for instance,
The child on the Mescalero reservation in New Mexico sitting naked in 1966 outside his family’s hut,
Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course we see the child every day,
We hold out our hands, we touch him shyly, we make offerings to his implacability.
No, the index cannot close. And how shall we survive? We don’t and cannot and will never
Know. Beyond the horizon a great unceasing noise is undeniable. The machine,
Like an immense clanking vibrating shuddering unnameable contraption as big as a house, as big as the whole town,
May break through and lurch into our valley at any moment, at any moment.
Cheers, baby. Here’s to us. See how the curtain of snow wavers and then falls back.

American Art – Part IV of IV: Ron Monsma

In the words of one writer, “Ron Monsma has been painting and teaching for over 20 years. Since exhibiting at the Chicago Art Institute’s prestigious 51st Drawing Competition, Ron has continued his career with numerous awards and solo exhibitions at galleries in Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati and is represented in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe.”

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