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

American Art – Part I of III: Andrea Peyton

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Andrea Peyton: “Combining a love of nature and art, Andrea Peyton has spent her life studying nature and painting wild and still life subjects in realistically correct, yet artistically designed works. Andrea Peyton’s work has been featured in ‘Wildlife Art News Magazine.’ She was recently juried into the prestigious Lee Yawkey Woodson Art Museum show, ‘Birds in Art.’ Other honors and experience include awards in national and international juried exhibitions, book cover illustrations.”

“All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is the only law of life, just as you breathe to live.” – Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk, chief disciple of Ramakrishna, a key figure in bringing Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, and author of “Karma Yoga,” who was born 12 January 1863.

In the words of one historian, Vivekananda “is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech which began, ‘Sisters and brothers of America …,’ in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.”

Some quotes from the work of Swami Vivekananda:

“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
“In a day, when you don’t come across any problems – you can be sure that you are travelling in a wrong path.”
“The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”
“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.”
“All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do any thing and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you.”
“They alone live, who live for others.”
“Anything that makes you weak – physically, intellectually and spiritually – reject it as poison.”
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far. ”
“Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes.”
“Comfort is no test of truth. Truth is often far from being comfortable.”
“We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate.
The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled
catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have
their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of
the wind?……. We make our own destiny.”
“Learn Everything that is Good from Others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others.”
“Was there ever a more horrible blasphemy than the statement that all the knowledge of God is confined to this or that book? How dare men call God infinite, and yet try to compress Him within the covers of a little book!”
“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.”
“We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in the future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.”


French Art – Part I of II: Jean Beraud

Born 12 January 1849 – Jean Beraud, a French artist noted for his paintings of Parisian life during the Belle Epoque.

Below – “The Billiard Party”; “The Letter”: “Symphony in Red and Gold”; “Café Gioppe”; “At the Bistro”; “Self-Portrait.”


Parents and Children – Part I of V: Robert Hayden

“Those Winter Sundays”

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?

French Art – Part II of II: Nathalie Picoulet

In the words of one writer, French artist Nathalie Picoulet (born 1968) “studied at The University of Plastic Arts and pursued additional education in drawing at L’Ecole Superieur of Design in Amiens.”


Parents and Children – Part II of V: Judith Kroll

“Your Clothes”

Of course they are empty shells, without hope of animation.
Of course they are artifacts.

Even if my sister and I should wear some,
or if we give others away,

they will always be your clothes without you,
as we will always be your daughters without you.

Artist Meewha Kim lives and works in Taejon, South Korea.

Parents and Children – Part III of V: Li-Young Lee

“The Gift”

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.

Chinese artist Ma Jing Hu (born 1974) is a professional painter and a 2000 graduate of Nanjing Art Institute.

Parents and Children – Part IV of V: Jean Nordhaus

“A Dandelion for My Mother”

How I loved those spiky suns,
rooted stubborn as childhood
in the grass, tough as the farmer’s
big-headed children—the mats
of yellow hair, the bowl-cut fringe.
How sturdy they were and how
slowly they turned themselves
into galaxies, domes of ghost stars
barely visible by day, pale
cerebrums clinging to life
on tough green stems. Like you.
Like you, in the end. If you were here,
I’d pluck this trembling globe to show
how beautiful a thing can be
a breath will tear away.

Spanish painter Luis Serrano (born 1976) lives and works in Asturius.

Parents and Children – Part V of V: Robert Louis Stevenson

“To Any Reader”

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

Below – “Child in the Rose Garden,” by Berthe Morisot.

Here is one writer describing the artistry of Ilia Zaitseff: “Born in St. Petersburg in 1961, Ilia immigrated to Canada in 1997 and settled in Montreal. He painted still lifes and landscapes until 2001 when he started producing paintings inspired by art from the Middle Ages and the Northern Renaissance. This change in genre coincided with his being selected by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to exhibit three of his paintings. Zaitseff was 24 when he graduated from the State Naval University of St. Petersburg. He studied mechanical engineering graphic design, majoring in naval construction. He nevertheless soon chose to indulge his love of art and at 28 he became a guide-interpreter at the prestigious Hermitage Museum.”

A Poem for Today

By Paul Violi

In Breughel’s great picture “Canal Street,”
restaurant customers order roast swan
instead of chicken, hurled salad
instead of tossed salad, while shoppers
spill through a maze of stalled trucks
and scurry around the sidewalk stalls
jammed with countless nameless things
that housewives sidestep
to surround a Japanese man
in a broad-brim hat and painted silk tie
as he demonstrates how one gadget
can cut food 50 different ways
and though they don’t understand a word
he says, they stand transfixed by his spiel
amid the fumes and noise and loud fruit vendors
dropping casual perfections of sun and rain
into bags and sacks against a backdrop
of silver towers and sea and fields
vibrant with excess that giddy farmers hail
by tossing animals, large animals,
into the air to be carried away
on the winds of exuberance
to the four corners of the globe
where the romping gods
bear so many attributes
they’re a bundle of incongruities
and no one takes them seriously
not even their beaming angels
who parachute drunkenly down to the shore
distracting the dogs let loose on cormorants
that ate so much they can’t fly
but not the boys in the rowboat
who have caught a blowfish,
tickled its belly until it’s about to burst
like a balloon before dropping it overboard
to watch it blow itself backward to kingdom come,
nor the other children who have stopped
clamoring over the stranded whale’s back
to swim out underwater, under the swans,
grab them by the legs and yank them down
in a slow fury of bubbles and light
and then sell them to the market
near the restaurant in the foreground
of Breughel’s great picture “Canal Street.”

Below – “Village Street with Canal,” by Jan Breughel the Elder.



“I ride over my beautiful ranch. Between my legs is a beautiful horse.
The air is wine. The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. Across Sonoma Mountain, wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smolders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive.” – Jack London, American writer, journalist, wine lover, social activist, and author of “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang,” who was born 12 January 1876.

Some quotes from the work of Jack London:

“I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.”
“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”
“And how have I lived? Frankly and openly, though crudely. I have not been afraid of life. I have not shrunk from it. I have taken it for what it was at its own valuation. And I have not been ashamed of it. Just as it was, it was mine.”
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”
“To be able to forget means sanity.”
“Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel.”
“But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called — called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”
“As one grows weaker one is less susceptible to suffering. There is less hurt because there is less to hurt.”
“Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living!…Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well, now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it…and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!”
“A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of laughter more terrible than any sadness-a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild.”
“But I am I. And I won’t subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind.”


American Art – Part II of III: John Singer Sargent

“Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a friend.” – John Singer Sargent, American artist considered the leading portrait painter of his generation, who was born 12 January 1856.

Below (left to right) – “Portrait of Madame X”; “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood”; “A Dinner Table at Night”; “Morning Walk”; “Muddy Alligators”; “Theodore Roosevelt”; “Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife.”

A Second Poem for Today

“All Trains Are Going Local,”
By Timothy Liu

Slowing down your body enough to feel.

Thought you were at a standstill
but you were only slowing down enough

to feel the pain. There are worse things

than running to catch the train, twisting
your ankle, the afternoon fucked.

Running to get to or away from?

the stranger who helps you up
wants to know, you who are so used to

anything scribbled on a prescription blank.

Just want the pain to go away, you say,
surprised to find yourself

reaching for someone else’s hand.

American Art – Part III of III: Sergio Lopez

In the words of one writer, “North Bay Area based Fine Artist Sergio Lopez (born 1983) specializes in Plein air and innovative figure paintings, oil Landscapes and Contemporary Nude Figures, gouache paintings and charcoal drawings.

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