American Art – Part I of V: Hiro Yokose
In the words of one writer, “Born in Nagasaki, Japan in 1959, Yokose lives and works in the heart of Manhattan, NYC. Yokose combines oil and beeswax to create landscapes that appear simultaneously abstract and narrative. Because of the artist’s unique technique of painting, the surfaces of his work have a sensuous and tactile appearance where depth is both an illusion and a reality.”
Musings in Winter: Marcus Aurelius
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” – George Washington, first President and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who was born 22 February 1732.
Some quotes from the work of George Washington:
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
“It is better to be alone than in bad company.”
“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation. ”
“In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”
“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”
“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”
“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
“Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession. ”
“Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.”
“The turning points of lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved.”
Musings in Winter: C. Joybell C.
“There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.”
A Poem for Today
By Averill Curdy
The cheap dropped ceiling
jumped like a pot-lid boiling
when our upstairs neighbor
chased his girl that winter.
Falling out of
summer’s skimpy tops
she’d want our phone. Her plush lips
creased. Not exactly blonde,
but ‘luteous,’ we thought,
pleased the right word
was there for that shade
of slightly slutty mermaid.
Wincing, we’d hear him punch
along the floor on crutch-
es, a giant
bat trying to mince
a mayfly. Sex and Violence
you called them; Blondie with
Dagwood on crystal meth,
I’d tell our friends
over dinners stewed
in noise. Even his truck cowed.
Black, smoked glass, outsized wheels
flaunted like chrome knuckles
we shrank from, ducked,
afraid we’d find her
later, knocking at our door.
Some nights we waited through
like captured prey. To you
I’d turn in bed,
saying the furtive
words against your back, ‘I love’
… You’d stroke my hair, or hip,
all our years the same flip
crack, ‘I do, too.’
Musings in Winter: Mark A. Cooper
American Art – Part II of V: Giselle Gautreau
In the words of one writer, “Drawn to the mysterious qualities of shadow and enchanted by the ethereal traits of air, Giselle Gautreau seeks to preserve the fleeting moments of an ephemeral natural world. She works with multiple layers of oil or encaustic paints, using translucent glazing to achieve depth and luminosity. Gautreau draws inspiration from her immediate surroundings, preferring to capture fragments of her own experience in the landscape. Frequent themes include fog, sky, water, tidal marshes, trees, birds, bees, and passages of light and color. Recently, the wind-swept fires near her Santa Cruz studio have found their way into her paintings as she documents how these events impact the colors of the sky and the refraction of the light.”
Musings in Winter: H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” – Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher and author of “The World as Will and Representation,” who was born 22 February 1788.
Some quotes from the work of Arthur Schopenhauer:
“The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”
“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”
“If anyone spends almost the whole day in reading…he gradually loses the capacity for thinking…This is the case with many learned persons; they have read themselves stupid.”
“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”
“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”
“Life without pain has no meaning.”
“We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.”
“Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”
“Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, ‘Lighthouses,’ as the poet said, ‘erected in the sea of time.’ They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind, Books are humanity in print.”
“A sense of humor is the only divine quality of man”
“It would be better if there were nothing. Since there is more pain than pleasure on earth, every satisfaction is only transitory, creating new desires and new distresses, and the agony of the devoured animal is always far greater than the pleasure of the devourer”
“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think. ”
“Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability.”
A Second Poem for Today
“Why, In the Restaurant, Our Bodies Were Humming”
By Susan R. Williamson
Not for the usual reasons, but for those too:
counterpoint of pheromone, ritual frictions,
the near imperceptible brush of your finger
against mine as the bread was passed from
one to the other at the table, and then,
all I could see were centerpiece flowers,
petals and fronds swirling in a candlelight blur.
I couldn’t even flinch when a sparkle of lemon
squeezed over a plate reached my wrist,
its fragrance of sunlight suggesting other fruit,
things that swim, blue-green mists of a wave
as it limns hard sand—or sun-baked skin.
You can’t ask me to blame the menu, or
the vintage wine. I always leave that choice
to you, trust it will be an exquisite pairing.
Don’t say it’s because of the thousands of words
we’ve used, written down alone, whispered
to ourselves—to each other, under the wide
light-pricked night, more often, an ebony canopy
of dark melodies stretched out between us.
It’s not due to the emanations of the same
luminaries we see, from opposite directions,
presiding over the miles. Say instead, it is because
we were once, long ago, mysteriously tuned together,
taut strings bowed by silver moonlight—that we
played a rare music left behind in Eden
before anyone had the slightest idea
of what it was possible to lose.
Musings in Winter: Hunter S. Thompson
From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Elvis
22 February 1956 – “Heartbreak Hotel” becomes the first of Elvis Presley’s songs to make the Billboard Top 10 list.
Musings in Winter: Terry Pratchett
“There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.
The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who’s been pinching my beer?
And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carelessly knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass) or who had no glass at all, because he was at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman’s eye. ”
Musings in Winter: Robert W. Chambers
“Under the tossing ocean the voice of the waters was in my ears—a low, sweet voice, intimate, mysterious. Through singing foam and broad, green, glassy depths, by whispering sandy channels atrail with sea-weed, and on, on, out into the vague, cool sea, I sped, rising to the top, sinking, gliding. Then at last I flung myself out of water, hands raised, and the clamor of the gulls filled my ears.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of III: The Beatles
22 February 1963 – The Beatles incorporate Northern Songs, their music publishing company.
Five years later:
Musings in Winter: Steve Maraboli
From the Music Archives – Part III of III: John Creach
Died 22 February 1994 – “Papa” John Creach, an American blues violinist who played for Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship, Jefferson Starship – The Next Generation, and Steve Taylor.
Musings in Winter: Terence McKenna
“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no,’ we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being maufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”
A Third Poem for Today
“Pelicans in December”
By J. Allyn Rosser
One can’t help admiring
their rickety grace
and old-world feathers
like seasoned boardwalk planks.
They pass in silent pairs,
as if a long time ago
they had wearied of calling out.
The wind tips them, their
ungainly, light-brown weight,
into a prehistoric wobble,
wings’-end fingers stretching
from fingerless gloves,
necks slightly tucked and stiff,
peering forward and down,
like old couples arm in arm
on icy sidewalks, careful,
careful, mildly surprised
by how difficult it has become
to stay dignified and keep moving
even after the yelping gulls have gone;
American Art – Part III of V: David DeFelice
In the words of one writer, “Each painting spawns from a reference image or photograph, which acts as the catalyst for the artist’s process. DeFelice layers thin washes of oil paint followed by thick brush strokes, while intuitively subtracting from the surface with scratches and scrapes. Recognizable shapes of figure, landscape or object are integrated with these abstract swaths until his compositions achieve balance and echo the energy generated by his process.
DeFelice received his bachelor of fine arts from Concordia University in Irvine, California. In 2010 he earned an M.F.A. from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The artist continues to live and work in San Francisco.”
Musings in Winter: Ernest Hemingway
“The old man knew he was going far out and he left the smell of the land behind and rowed out into the clean early morning smell of the ocean.”
“It is not true that life is one damn thing after another, it is the same damn thing over and over.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet, playwright, and the recipient of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, who was born 22 February 1892.
“Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare”
Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.
O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.
Musings in Winter: Ruskin Bond
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of British painter Russ Mills (born 1971): “His current work is a clash of styles from classical to pop surrealism, focusing predominantly on the human form, though also abstracting elements from nature and the animal kingdom. Covering subjects such as superficiality and isolation progressing into more socio-political expressions.”
Musings in Winter: John Steinbeck
“It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
From the American History Archives: “Empress of China”
22 February 1784 – The first United States ship to trade with China – “Empress of China” – sails from New York Harbor. It returned to New York from China on 11 May 1785.
Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac
“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Ed Ochester
Musings in Winter: John Butcher
In the words of one writer, Bulgarian Ignat Ignatov (born 1978)“ is a young artist with exemplary talent. His interpretation of the spirit of fine art saturates his paintings with a unique expressive richness. Although each new subject seems to dictate the style and approach, his paintings are always alive with color, light, texture, atmosphere, energy and emotion.”
Musings in Winter: Jack London
“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.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Anthony Holdsworth
In the words of one writer, “Anthony Holdsworth was born in England in 1945. He was introduced to oil painting in high school by the New England painter, Loring Coleman. Holdsworth embarked on a painting career while working as Head of Outdoor Restoration for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy after the flood of 1966. He continued his studies at the Bournemouth College of Art in England where he studied with master draftsman Samuel Rabin and color theorist Jon Fish and at the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied with Julius Hatofsky, Bruce McGaw and Fred Martin. He has shown with major galleries in Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles.”
Below – These works are from a series of paintings of neighborhoods in San Francisco: “Potrero Hill Community Garden”; “Café Trieste”; “Jazz Musicians on Divisadero”; “Carnaval Time in the Mission”; “Ocean Beach.”
Musings in Winter: Moonshine Noire
“The ocean cradles the bloodied moon in its aquatic arms like a mother holds her crying babe.”
By Dorianne Laux
Sometimes, when we’re on a long drive,
and we’ve talked enough and listened
to enough music and stopped twice,
once to eat, once to see the view,
we fall into this rhythm of silence.
It swings back and forth between us
like a rope over a lake.
Maybe it’s what we don’t say
that saves us.
“I grew up in those years when the Old West was passing and the New West was emerging. It was a time when we still heard echoes and already saw shadows, on moonlit nights when the coyotes yapped on the hilltops, and on hot summer afternoons when mirages shimmered, dust devils spun across the flats, and towering cumulus clouds sailed like galleons across the vast blueness of the sky. Echoes of remembrance of what men once did there, and visions of what they would do together.” – Hal Borland, American writer, journalist, and author of “outdoor editorials” for “The New York Times” from 1941 to 1978, who died 22 February 1978.
Anyone driving along Interstate 70 in Colorado will pass Flagler (about 120 miles east of Denver), an old railroad town which displays a roadside sign advertising that it is the “Boyhood Home Of Author Hal Borland.” If you have the heart for it, pull off the highway and drive through Flagler in order to experience the poignant character of a place that history has left far behind.
Some quotes from the work of Hal Borland:
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”
“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”
“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.”
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
“A snowdrift is a beautiful thing-if it doesn’t lie across the path you have to shovel or block the road that leads to your destination.”
“A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart.”
“Here and there one sees the blush of wild rose haws or the warmth of orange fruit on the bittersweet, and back in the woods is the occasional twinkle of partridgeberries. But they are the gem stones, the rare decorations which make the grays, the browns and the greens seem even more quiet, more completely at rest.”
“You can’t be suspicious of a tree, accuse a bird or squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.”
“I grew up in those years when the Old West was passing and the New West was emerging. It was a time when we still heard echoes and already saw shadows, on moonlit nights when the coyotes yapped on the hilltops, and on hot summer afternoons when mirages shimmered, dust devils spun across the flats, and towering cumulus clouds sailed like galleons across the vast blueness of the sky. Echoes of remembrance of what men once did there, and visions of what they would do together.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
“Comings and Goings”
By Glenna Luschei
when a university student
she might leave her desk
and a chair, a bookcase outside her cave
with a sign, “Take me.”
And who could resist
heat radiating over furniture
like a mirage? You hoist
an old Victrola into your pickup
and ratchet up a new song.
You start that life in the West,
invent a past, and when that tune
winds down, it’s okay to put out,
Musings in Winter: Peter Matthiessen
“I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life-this isn’t what I know, but how I feel- these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon- the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the upper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky.”
Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Glenna Gannon
Artist Statement: “I was born and raised in Alaska. I am deeply rooted and connected to this land. I continue to nurture my connection through backcountry hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and boating, as well as living a partial subsistence lifestyle. In doing so, I meet many of Alaska’s residents. Few things excite the imagination like the presence of wild animals. Here in Alaska we are exceptionally lucky in that they live not just near us, but among us. I create art as a way to re-explore my own interpretations of the landscape and its inhabitants. I am interested in how these species are integrated into their environments and the seasonal changes they are so intimately tied to. My art is not always inspired directly from a specific place or event, but rather from dreamed experiences of places I have been. For me this is sometimes a better and more lucid way to interpret my feelings or impressions from a certain location or experience. In my art I am trying to discover what makes a particular place or moment unique and special to me and to then convey some aspect of that visually for others.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Musings in Winter: Sarah Dessen
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
American Art – Part V of V: Cathleen Clarke
Cathleen Clark earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the Art University of San Francisco.