October Offerings – Part VII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VIII: Cora Ogden

According to one writer, “Cora Ogden is a contemporary realist painter who lives and works in Killingworth. Ogden earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting from the University of South Alabama in 1972, and a master’s in sculpture from the University of New Mexico. She is an elected artist and board member of The Lyme Art Association and was one of the earliest artists contributing her skills and talents to The Arts Center at Killingworth.”
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A Poem for Today

“One Art,”
By Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
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In the words of one critic, Australian sculptor “Charles Robb is a graduate of Victorian College of the Arts, now based in Brisbane. Robb’s work has been seen in numerous group and solo exhibitions.”
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Nobel Laureate: Desmond Tutu

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist, retired Anglican bishop, author of “God Is Not a Christian And Other Provocations,” and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, who was born 7 October 1931.

Some quotes from the work of Desmond Tutu:
“Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering–remembering and not using your right to hit back. It’s a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.”
“My father always used to say, ‘Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.’ Good sense does not always lie with the loudest shouters, nor can we say that a large, unruly crowd is always the best arbiter of what is right.”
“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.”
“We learn from history that we don’t learn from history!”
“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”
“Religion is like a knife: you can either use it to cut bread, or stick in someone’s back.”
“Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.”
“Though wrong gratifies in the moment, good yields its gifts over a lifetime.”
“There is nothing more difficult than waking someone who is only pretending to be asleep.”
“A person is a person through other persons; you can’t be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships.”

American Art – Part II of VIII: Marie Vlasic

Artist Statement: “I have a strange relationship with people. I am at once fascinated and repulsed. Fear and loathing with a joyful embrace. This duality in my at-odds psyche has turned into an obsession, one which I express the only way I know how, and that is to paint. When I render the human form, I am digging into the person, pulling out what and who they are. I want to show their insides, for better or worse. By pushing and pulling the paint, the light and the shadow, I am laying them, and myself, bare on the canvas. It is my attempt to find the humanity, the God-spark, in them, and in me.
There is nothing more beautiful and horrible and lofty and base as a human being, and for me, no other subject worthy of deep exploration. I feel my soul in painting the human form, and so the flesh is always calling me.
Only oil paint will do. I fell in love with the medium, with its soft, sensual feel and rich intensity of color in my first college painting classes. I paint thin, in many successive layers. This time-consuming technique gives my work a luminous quality. Because of the brief, expressive nature of the images I am creating, I work from photographs, many taken myself and some in collaboration with local photographers.
I am often asked which painting is my favorite. The answer, the one I am doing now. The process of watching each work unfold, the moment when the flat canvas begins to breathe, that is the fuel that drives me to keep creating.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: John Mellencamp

“I’m using my art to comment on what I see. You don’t have to agree with it.” – John “Cougar” Mellencamp, American singer-songwriter and musician, who was born 7 October 1951.

Here is one writer describing the background and artistry of sculptor Maria Gamundi: “(She) was born in 1952 in Caracas (Venezuela). She studied at the Prati Institute of NewYork and the Scuola del Libro of Urbino. She lives and works in Versilia, dividing her time between Monteggiori and Pietrasanta. Since 1973 she has held important personal exhibitions in Italy, Europe, the United States and Latin America. Her female nudes exude a sculptural force exalted by her deep knowledge of the materials, as well as an instinctive joie de vivre which well represents her strong Latin American roots.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“The Lamp of Life,”
By Amy Lowell

Always we are following a light,
Always the light recedes; with groping hands
We stretch toward this glory, while the lands
We journey through are hidden from our sight
Dim and mysterious, folded deep in night,
We care not, all our utmost need demands
Is but the light, the light! So still it stands
Surely our own if we exert our might.
Fool! Never can’st thou grasp this fleeting gleam,
Its glowing flame would die if it were caught,
Its value is that it doth always seem
But just a little farther on. Distraught,
But lighted ever onward, we are brought
Upon our way unknowing, in a dream.
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American Art – Part III of VIII: Irving Penn

Died 7 October 2009 – Irving Penn, a photographer known for his fashion photography, still lifes, and portraits.

Below – “Truman Capote”; “Pablo Picasso”; “Simone de Beauvoir”;
“Woman with Roses on Her Arm”; “Antique Shop, Pine Street, Philadelphia”; “Spencer Tracy”; “Four Unggai, New Guinea”; “Black Hat, White Face.”
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“We are all omnibuses in which our ancestors ride, and every now and then one of them sticks his head out and embarrasses us.” – Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, writer, and author of “The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table,” who died 7 October 1894.

Some quotes from the work of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.:

“A man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
“What refuge is there for the victim who is oppressed with the feeling that there are a thousand new books he ought to read, while life is only long enough for him to attempt to read a hundred?”
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving – we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”
“The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over his library, ‘The medicines of the soul.’”
“The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.”
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.”
“The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.”
“Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.”
“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts”
“For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.”
“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of an eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.”
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American Art – Part IV of VIII: Chelsey Tyler Wood

According to one writer, “Chelsey Tyler Wood received her B.F.A. from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She participated in exhibitions including Boston Young Contemporaries and The Next Generation III in Boston. Awards received include the Dana Pond Award, Boit Award, Springborn Fellowship, and Montague Travel Grant. She is currently a nominee for the Blanch E. Coleman award and will be a resident at the Contemporary Art Center in New York in the fall of 2011. Chelsea is currently a post-graduate teaching fellow at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston. She continues to work and live in the Boston area.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Ludwig van Beethoven

American Art – Part V of VIII: Daniel F. Gerhartz

In the words of one critic, “Born in 1965 in Kewaskum, Wisconsin, where he now lives with his wife Jennifer, and their young children, Dan’s interest in art emerged as a teenager. Studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois and his voracious appetite for museums and the modern masters such as John Singer Sargent, Alphonse Mucha, Nicolai Fechin, Joaquin Sorolla, Carl von Marr as well as a host of other French and American impressionists have inspired him.
Dan has a particular interest and appreciation for modern Russian art and the sumptuous canvases of the painters Nicolai Fechin, Isaac Levitan and Ilya Repin. As Dan says, their paintings are ‘completely loose yet deliberate and faithful, not at all flashy.’
Indeed, the powerful and evocative beauty of Gerhartz’s paintings is also due in large measure to looseness, honesty and faithfulness of his style. Dan’s paintings embrace a range of subjects, most prominently the female figure in either a pastoral setting or an intimate interior. He is at his best with subjects from everyday life, genre subjects, sacred-idyllic landscapes or figures in quiet repose, meditation or contemplative isolation.”
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American Muse – Part I of II: Edgar Allan Poe

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe, American poet, author, editor, and literary critic, who died 7 October 1849.

American Art – Part VI of VIII: Michele Collier

Artist Statement: “I discovered clay at the age of 18. I learned on a kick-wheel at Sacramento City College in Sacramento, CA under the tutelage of Dr. Beverly Pears. In those days functional work was the gold standard. Hands on clay has been a touchstone for me ever since. Throughout my careers in both commercial and fine art, clay was the one medium I could return to when I needed to restore my focus and sense of self.
After graduating from the Academy of Art College (now, University), I went into the double career of illustration and fine art painting. Like the trick rider who rides two horses roman style, I continued in this way for 15 productive years. During that time my paintings were mainly landscapes., but a need for a more intimate expression led me to figurative works.
In 2000 I moved from the rolling hills of Sonoma County to Oakland, CA and the shift to such an urban setting affected me more deeply than I could have predicted. I felt off balance and unable to paint. Once again, I returned to clay to get my bearings. This time it turned out to be a career change for me. The pots I threw soon sprouted sculptural elements and it wasn’t long before I made the shift to pure sculpture. What had been the figurative subject of my paintings now became the subject of my sculpture. Over the next year or two I learned the skills I needed for my change of medium. I was fortunate to find excellent instructors at this juncture who helped me build on my knowledge of the human form and adapt it to clay. I work with hand rolled slabs because I like the immediacy of what happens when clay is pushed, folded and torn. It keeps my work fresh and it also keeps me humble because at any time the piece could collapse.”
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American Muse – Part II of II: Allen Ginsberg

7 October 1955 – Allen Ginsberg gives his first public reading of his poem “Howl” at the Six Gallery in San Francisco.

Here is how one critic describes the career of Russian painter Natalia Vetrova: “Natalia began exhibiting professionally after graduation in 1995 from the Stroganov Academy of Art, where obtained a degree in Art Criticism and Design. Her longing for inspiration and fresh ideas took her through Asia as a member of a geological expedition. Ultimately, Natalia’s travels led her to the natural beauty of Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1997, where she opened a Studio of Art and Design in which she teaches and works.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“At Melville’s Tomb,”
By Hart Crane

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death’s bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.

Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.

Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides … High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.
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Landscape/seascape, light on the ocean.

Here is part of the Artist Statement of Japanese painter Kozo Izawa (born 1956): “It is tedious for me to provide an explicit synopsis of the story in artworks. I want to keep Japanese vagueness or ambiguity. Therefore, I will create images that might be real or surreal, dawn or evening. If someone asks ‘Which do you want to depict, a smiling face or sad face?,’ I’ll say ‘an ambiguous face different from being woodenly expressionless.’”
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“If you are looking for me
I am beyond nowhere.” – Sohrab Sepehri, Persian poet and painter, who was born 7 October 1928.

“Bodhi”

It was just a moment,
and all the gates wide-open,
no trace of the warden.

No leaf and no twig, in the horizon,
Nil was left but the garden, the garden!

The birds stood silent,
then the stillness of the sight gone lost–
behind the misty song of darkness–
rehearsed over and over–
in silence!
The sphere spread–
all along the mass of disparate points,
where the ewes wandered amidst the wolves.

And the image of the sound poured down its pale paint.
The mirage of the call glided on the waves, frail and faint,
As if the canvass, and the boards, and the curtains–
all at once were rolled, cracked and pulled!
I was there, where we all dwelled–
when we all left.

And at the end,
Beauty, alone, stayed.
Then, every river was a sea.
There, every one coming to be–
was laid asleep in Bodhi.

Below – “Landscape with Houses”; “Trees with Figure”; “Still Life with Leaves”; “Self-Portrait.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

French Art – Part I of II: Alexandre Mijatovic

Here is how one critic describes the work of Alexandre Mijatovic: “Mijatovic’s sculptures epitomize the positive and optimistic expression of that human condition whose seriousness presses so heavily on us everyday.”
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“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” – Fannie Lou Hamer, American voting rights activist and civil rights leader, who was born 6 October 1917.

Two quotes from the work of Fannie Lou Hamer:

“With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, cause that’s what really happens.”
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

French Art – Part II of II: Nella Buscot

Here is one critic describing the artistry of French sculptor Nella Buscot: “The terracota sculptures are polished or given a patina with pigments. The earth stays her prefered material because of its living nature.”
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From the American History Archives: Joe Hill

Born 7 October 1879 – Joe Hill (born Joel Emmanuel Hagglund), Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In the words of one historian, “His most famous songs include ‘The Preacher and the Slave’ (also known as ‘There’ll be Pie in the Sky By-and-By’), ‘The Tramp,’ ‘There is Power in a Union,’ ‘The Rebel Girl”, and ‘Casey Jones—the Union Scab,’ which express the harsh but combative life of itinerant workers, and call for workers to organize their efforts to improve conditions for working people.”

In the words of one critic, Filippino painter Jose “Kimsoy” Yap, Jr. (born 1944) “graduated from the Cebu Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and then studied painting at the National Academy of Design School of Fine Arts in New York.”
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American Memorials, Part I of II: Vietnam Veterans Memorial

“If you don’t learn history accurately, how can you learn?” – Maya Ying Lin, American architect, sculptor, and designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, who was born on 5 October 1959.

Below – Maya Ying Lin; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Lee Teeter: “Vietnam Memorial.”
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British Art – Part I of II: Dod Procter

In the words of one art historian, “Dod Procter (born Doris Shaw, 1892 – 1972) was a Cornish artist, and wife of artist Ernest Procter. Dod Procter studied at Newlyn under Stanhope Forbes and at the Académie Colarossi, Paris.
From around 1922, Procter painted a series of simplified, monumental images of young women of her acquaintance. They were typified by the volume of the figures, brought out by her use of light and shadow.”
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American Memorials, Part II of II: Japanese-American Memorial

“Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.” – President Ronald W. Reagan, upon signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and one of the inscriptions on the National Japanese-American Memorial.
In the words of one historian, Them memorial “commemorates Japanese-American war involvement, veterans, and patriotism during World War II, as well as those held in Japanese American internment camps. The memorial consists of two Japanese cranes caught in barbed wire on top of a tall pedestal made of green Vermont marble.”
According to the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation the memorial “is symbolic not only of the Japanese-American experience, but of the extrication of anyone from deeply painful and restrictive circumstances. It reminds us of the battles we’ve fought to overcome our ignorance and prejudice and the meaning of an integrated culture, once pained and torn, now healed and unified. Finally, the monument presents the Japanese-American experience as a symbol for all peoples.”

Below – Japanese-American sculptor Nina Akamu, who created the monument; the Japanese-American Memorial.
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British Art – Part II of II: Richard Whincop

Artist Statement: “’A work of art encapsulates human experience from the time it was created. Seen in the flesh it can have an immediacy that stirs something in us, as though a frozen moment from a time perhaps very different to our own has come unexpectedly to life. As an artist with a background in Art History, I have spent many hours in Art Museums, and find the people who visit them and the places themselves just as interesting as the works of art they house. An Art Museum brings together works of art from very different times and places, and is visited by an extraordinarily diverse range of people. This can make for some interesting combinations. 

As they wander through the environment of an art museum, with its grandiose architecture and dramatic lighting, spectators can inadvertently become part of an almost theatrical scene, where the works of art imply an unspoken a commentary or even become players in a dramatic tableau. A person can stand in front of a painting that seems like the doorway into another world; a sculpted figure can seem to yearn for the life that those who view it take for granted. The boundary between art and reality can seem to break down, with artworks seeming to interact with gallery visitors, and both appearing to be equally alive.

 In paintings, the picture frame marks the symbolic boundary between everyday reality and the imaginary pictorial realm. In a painting of a painting, that boundary can be violated; and when that happens our senses can begin to get confused about what is real and what isn’t. Breaking the unwritten rule that separates art and reality can result in images that disturb our sense of normality: they look real but simply do not make sense. This can make us question some of the conventions governing the way that art is presented and viewed, and reconsider our most basic assumptions about its limitations in space and time.

 Art has an extraordinary capacity to stimulate the human imagination; and looked at with fresh eyes, traditional art forms can take on a striking contemporary relevance, and present us with new and exciting creative possibilities. Yet some contemporary artists isolate themselves from this rich artistic legacy, without which their work would not have existed in the first place. The pursuit of originality at all costs and the thirst for sensationalism has led to the belief that traditional art forms are outmoded and lack a contemporary edge. Yet there is no reason why traditional forms cannot be used in a contemporary way; bringing together old and new can have interesting results.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“After Long Busyness,”
By Robert Bly


I start out for a walk at last after weeks at the desk.

Moon gone plowing underfoot no stars; not a trace of light!

Suppose a horse were galloping toward me in this open field?

Every day I did not spend in solitude was wasted.
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Chinese Art – Part I of II: Xie Hengxing

In the words of one writer, “Xie Hengxing was born in 1959. (His) memorable portraits of Tibetans have won him international acclaim. The splendidly dressed figures are portrayed in vibrant colours and meticulously rendered details. A perfectionist, Xie Hengxing normally spends at least a few months on each of his large-scale paintings, and hence completes no more than four to five works a year.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“In Answer,”
By Wang Wei

In these quiet years growing calmer,
Lacking knowledge of the world’s affairs,
I stop worrying how things will turn out.
My quiet mind makes no subtle plans.
Returning to the woods I love
A pine-tree breeze rustles in my robes.
Mountain moonlight fills the lute’s bowl,
Shows up what learning I have left.
If you ask what makes us rich or poor
Hear the Fisherman’s voice float to shore.

Below – “Wind and Snow in the Fir Pines,” by Li Shan
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Chinese Art – Part II of II: Nen Wang

According to one writer, “Nen Wang was born in Jiangxi, in 1955. He graduated from the Fine Art College, Anhui Normal University. He is now a member of the Chinese Artists Association.
His works have been shown at exhibitions at home and abroad and some collected by the National Museum and overseas collectors.”
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Philip Glass

Mexican Art – Part I of II: Hector Herrera

In the words of one writer, “Born in Mexico City, (painter) Hector Herrera earned a Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts from the National School of Fine Arts, Autonomous National University of Mexico (1998) and received a scholarship to participate in an abroad studies program in the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. He has been the recipient of several awards, distinctions, and grants.”
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Mexican Art – Part II of II: Carlos Oviedo

Mexican artist Carlos Oviedo (born 1970) took painting lessons when he was a child, then studied graphic design at the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla. He is regarded as one of the New World masters of realism in figurative art.
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“To a Meadowlark,”
By Jim Harrison

For M.L. Smoker

Up on the Ft. Peck Reservation
(Assiniboine and Sioux)
just as I passed two white crosses
in the ditch I hit a fledgling meadowlark,
the slightest thunk against the car’s grille.
A mean minded God
in a mean minded machine, offering
another ghost to the void to join the two
white crosses stabbing upward in the insufferable
air. Wherever we go we do harm, forgiving
ourselves as wheels do cement for wearing
each other out. We set this house
on fire forgetting that we live within.

Driving south of Wolf Point down by Missouri
M.L. Smoker is camped with her Indians,
tipis in a circle, eating buffalo meat for breakfast,
reminding themselves what life may have been.
She says that in the evenings the wild horses
from the terra incognita to the south come
to the river to drink and just stand there
watching the Indians dance. I leave quickly,
still feeling like a bullsnake whipping through
the grass looking for something to kill.
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American Art – Part VII of VIII: Laura Krifka

Laura Krifka earned a BFA from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Border of a Dream: XXIX,”
By Antonio Machado

Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.
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American Art – Part VIII of VIII: Eric Thompson

This quote from Elbert Hubbard hangs in the studio of American painter Eric Thompson: “Little minds are interested in the extraordinary; great minds in the commonplace.”
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Eric Thompson: “Seeing profound beauty in simplicity, Eric Thompson seeks to evoke deep emotion from the viewer. Eric believes ‘a painting needs to remind someone of something in their life that they have forgotten.’ Summoning that recollection is what Eric’s paintings do. They invoke, as Eric observes, ‘a beautiful, haunting memory.’”
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Eric G. Thompson

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