American Art – Part I of V: Jet Martinez
In the words of one writer, “A full-time muralist and painter, Jet Martinez’s work has been featured in the New York Times as well as other well-respected publications and books. Serving as one of the directors of the Clarion Alley Mural Project in San Francisco’s Mission District for over ten years, his murals grace many walls on public streets throughout the United States and the world, and he is soon to create a public piece for San Francisco General Hospital’s new emergency department. In addition, Martinez’s striking, bold and amazing works have been exhibited in prestigious art institution and galleries including Syracuse University, Facebook HQ, MACLA (Museo de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana), Mesa Center for the Arts, SomArts, SF Arts Commission Gallery and many more.”
Musings in Winter: Charles Bukowski
A Poem for Today
By Pauletta Hansel
My mother likes a man who works. She likes
my husband’s muddy knees, grass stains on the cuffs.
She loved my father, though when weekends came
he’d sleep till nine and would not lift
his eyes up from the page to move the feet
she’d vacuum under. On Saturdays my husband
digs the holes for her new roses,
softening the clay with peat and compost.
He changes bulbs she can no longer reach
and understands the inside of her toaster.
My father’s feet would carry him from chair
to bookshelf, back again till Monday came.
My mother likes to tell my husband
sit down in this chair and put your feet up.
Musings in Winter: Pat Conroy
Born 29 February 1920 – Howard Nemerov, an American poet and academic. In the words of one writer, “(Nemerov) was twice Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1988 to 1990. For ‘The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov’ (1977), he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize.”
“The Beautiful Lawn Sprinkler”
What gives it power makes it change its mind
At each extreme, and lean its rising rain
Down low, first one and then the other way;
In which exchange humility and pride
Reverse, forgive, arise, and die again,
Wherefore it holds at both ends of the day
The rainbow in its scattering grains of spray.
Musings in Winter: Joseph Brodsky
American Art – Part II of V: John Wentz
In the words of one writer, “John Wentz was born and raised in the San Francisco the Bay Area. His interest in art began at the age of 6 when he first discovered Batman and Spiderman comic books. After years of copying comics panel by panel he worked in the commercial arts as a muralist, billboard creator and freelance illustrator. After learning to paint by doing airbrushed billboards, John decided to pursue Fine Art and work in oils. Since then, he has had 3 solo exhibitions in San Francisco and numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. His works have appeared in many publications and have won multiple awards. John now paints full time in his studio in Alameda, CA.”
Musings in Winter: Madeleine L’Engle
A Second Poem for Today
By Melissa Balmain
The afternoon we left our first apartment,
we scrubbed it down from ceiling to parquet.
Who knew the place could smell like lemon muffins?
It suddenly seemed nuts to move away.
The morning someone bought our station wagon,
it gleamed with wax and every piston purred.
That car looked like a centerfold in Hot Rod!
Too late, we saw that selling was absurd.
And then there was the freshly tuned piano
we passed along to neighbors with a wince.
We told ourselves we’d find one even better;
instead we’ve missed its timbre ever since.
Musings in Winter: Jarod Kintz
From the American Old West – Pat Garrett
Musings in Winter: Hans Christian Andersen
A Third Poem for Today
By Jill Breckenridge
He’s 1200 pounds of pink pork covered by black
bristles stiff enough to needle and sew with,
Pretty Ricky, all six feet of him spread
out, asleep, no fancy dancer, neither twirler
nor prancer, just eats and sleeps, the biggest
boar at the Fair, oblivious to gawkers, smirkers,
cholesterol, or weight watchers, fat off the hoof,
fat lying flat, good only for breeding and eating,
he won’t even stand to show off all the pork cuts
displayed on the poster behind him: ham, it says,
from the butt, oldest meat of civilized man;
kabobs from the shoulder, roasted on swords
by early Asian nomads; spareribs, sausage,
and bacon from the belly. Pretty Ricky urges
me to swear off pork, but it’s lunchtime and my
stomach wanders off to a foot-long or a brat with
‘kraut. I think twice, three times, waffle back
and forth between meat and a veggie wrap, as,
in front of me, many meals stretch out, dozing.
Musings in Winter: G.K. Chesterton
“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
American Art – Part III of V: Josh Lawyer
In the words of one writer, “A bay area native, this freelance artist is self-taught, with a background in street art. Joshua draws a lot of his inspiration from his street art. He paints people juxtaposed to a grey industrial background, to symbolize the great bright beauty you see in this gray cement world, if you just look hard enough. His subjects are mainly females trying to tell a story through small phrases and images found in the background, the shape of their bodies, the things being done to them, and the look on their faces. Joshua works in a wide variety of mediums from acrylic paint and pencil, to wheat paste and aerosol. He usually works on found wood and makes them look as if they were new frames, an almost Cinderella story for discarded wood.”
Musings in Winter: Steve Maraboli
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Nonin Chowaney
out of work
free to wander
like han shan’s
in my journal
back against oak
remembering old friends
from long ago
laughing and chattering
with some old coot
he met in the woods
forgetting to go home
with the village children
out buying wine
the workaday world
grey squirrels skitter
on an oakstudded knoll
a dirt road
sun flashing in puddles
gnarled oak limbs twist
into a cool blue sky
last year’s leaves
golden in the sun
Musings in Winter: Henry Miller
American Art – Part IV of V: Kelly Nicolaisen
In the words of one writer, “The photographs of Kelly Nicolaisen speak of her penchant for precise composition and extraordinary sense of color. On a higher plain than traditional photography, the painterly qualities present in her work, balanced by an apparent confidence within her creative process, are just a few reasons why she was chosen to be the sole photographer to conduct collaborations with fourteen artists, widely known as painters, but moreover for their consistent progression and iconic styles throughout the Bay Area, nation and internationally.”
Musings in Winter: D.H. Lawrence
“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
“In the Dark”
By Penny Harter
At bedtime, my grandson’s breath
rasps in and out of fragile lungs.
Holding the nebulizer mask
over his nose and mouth,
I rock him on my lap and hum
a lullaby to comfort him.
The nebulizer hisses as steroids
stream into his struggling chest,
and suddenly he also starts to hum,
his infant voice rising and falling
on the same few notes—some hymn
he must have learned while in the womb
or carried here from where he was before—
a kind of plainsong, holy and hypnotic
in the dark.
Musings in Winter: Mark Jenkins
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
“Father and Daughter”
By Amanda Strand
The wedding ring I took off myself,
his wife wasn’t up to it.
I brought the nurse into the room
in case he jumped or anything.
“Can we turn his head?
He looks so uncomfortable.”
She looked straight at me,
patiently waiting for it to sink in.
The snow fell.
His truck in the barn,
his boots by the door,
It took a long time for the taxi to come.
“Where to?” he said.
“My father just died,” I said.
As if it were a destination.
Back from the Territory – Art: The work of artist Marvin E. Oliver
Artist Statement: “My works are formulated by merging the spirit of past traditions with those of the present… to create new horizons for the future.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Below – “Salish Glass Basket” (blown, water-cut fused glass); “Journey” (cast bronze); “Flying Raven” (cast bronze); “Eagle Bearing Wealth” (carved and painted fir, etched copper); “Journey’s End” (serigraph); “Spirit of the Past”; “Salish Clam Basket, Bear Grass” (blown, waterjet cut fused glass).
American Art – Part V of V: NoMe Edonna
In the words of one writer, “NoMe Edonna is a self-taught artist born in California and residing in San Francisco since 1999. Known for his smooth-sided biomorphs that combine the organic and the mechanical, his work is an obscure interpretation of contemporary urban life. In recent years, it has become increasingly focused on social, political, and environmental concerns as well as inquiries of science, technology, and study of ancient civilizations. Skilled in both abstract and realist forms of painting, Nome did not study art in school but currently teaches it.”