HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DOUGAL TUKTEN NERALICH
American Art – Part I of V: Alice Chittenden
In the words of one writer, “Alice Brown Chittenden was born in Brockport, N.Y. on October 14th, 1859. She is considered one of the most important still life painters during her lifetime. Her genre was florals; however, she did paint landscapes and missions. Chittenden came to San Francisco as a child. Her father, a prosperous miner, encouraged her art studies. Beginning a long affiliation with the School of Design, she studied there in 1877 under Virgil Williams and then taught at that school for 43 years. Her marriage to Charles Overton in 1886 was short-lived, and after their divorce she never remarried. Over the years she made several trips to New York, France, and Italy to exhibit and study. Chittenden was active as a teacher and painter in San Francisco until her death there on October 13th, 1944. A prolific painter, she painted 350 varieties of California’s wildflowers, a few portraits, and many landscapes.”
Below – “Violets”; “Profusion of Pansies”; “Daffodils”; “Baby Blue Eyes.”
A Poem for Today
By Rafael Campo
Says fifty-four-year-old obese Hispanic
female — I wonder if they mean the one
with long black braids, Peruvian, who sells
tamales at the farmers’ market, tells
me I’m too thin, I better eat; or is
she the Dominican with too much rouge
and almond eyes at the dry cleaner’s who
must have been so beautiful in her youth;
or maybe she’s the Cuban lady drunk
on grief who I’ve seen half-asleep, alone
as if that bench were only hers, the park
her home at last; or else the Mexican
who hoards the littered papers she collects
and says they are her “documents”; if not,
it could be that Colombian drug addict
whose Spanish, even when she’s high, is perfect;
or maybe it’s the one who never says
exactly where she’s from, but who reminds
me of my grandmother, poor but refined,
lace handkerchief balled up in her plump hand,
who died too young from a condition that
some doctor, nose in her chart, overlooked.
Mexican Art – Part I of II: Raphael Rodriguez
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Charlie Parker
“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” – Charlie Parker, American jazz saxophonist and composer, who died 12 March 1955.
Musings in Winter: D. Simone
“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
Mexican Art – Part II of II: Carlos Cortes
Some quotes from Andrew Young:
“In a world where change is inevitable and continuous, the need to achieve that change without violence is essential for survival.”
“President Jimmy Carter was a citizen soldier. Ironically, he was considered weak because he didn’t kill anybody and he didn’t get anyone killed.”
“It is a blessing to die for a cause, because you can so easily die for nothing.”
“Civil rights leaders are involved in helping poor people. That’s what I’ve been doing all my life.”
“I tried. But not everybody thought so.”
“If you’re a preacher, you talk for a living, so even if you don’t make sense, you learn to make nonsense eloquently.”
“Look at those they call unfortunate and at a closer view, you’ll find many of them are unwise.”
“On the soft bed of luxury many kingdoms have expired.”
“To find people who don’t want anything is rare.”
“Tomorrow is the day when idlers work, and fools reform, and mortal men lay hold on heaven.”
“Wishing, of all strategies, is the worst.”
American Art – Part II of V: Emil Carlsen
In the words of one writer, “Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1853, Carlsen was an architectural student at the Danish Academy before immigrating to Chicago in 1872. After a six-month sojourn in Paris, he returned to Chicago and taught at the newly formed Art Institute of Chicago. Carlsen returned to Paris during 1884-86 and began specializing in still lifes. In 1887, at the request of Mary Curtis Richardson, he moved to San Francisco to succeed the late Virgil Williams as director of the School of Design. He shared a studio on Montgomery Street with Arthur Matthews, a close friend whom he had met in Paris, and also taught at the local Art Students League. He was an active member of the Bohemian Club during his four years in San Francisco. However, his time in California was not particularly successful due to limited sales and exhibition opportunities. Returning to New York in 1891 penniless, he taught regularly at the National Academy of Design and by 1896 had gained financial success and recognition. In 1906 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Design. He also painted vaporous, delicate marines, but it was his still lifes which made him one of America’s most famous painters of copper kettles, gleaming bottles, fish, and game. Carlsen died in New York City in 1932.”
A Second Poem for Today
By D. Nurske
We brought that newborn home from Maimonides
and showed her nine blue glittering streets.
Would she like the semis with hoods of snow?
The precinct? Bohack’s? A lit diner?
Her eyes were huge and her gaze tilted
like milk in a pan, toward shadow.
Would she like the tenement, three dim flights,
her crib that smelled of Lemon Pledge?
We slept beside her in our long coats,
rigid with fatigue in the unmade bed.
Her breath woke us with its slight catch.
Would she approve of gray winter dawn?
We showed her daylight in our cupped hands.
Then the high clocks began booming
in this city and the next, we counted for her,
but just the strokes, not the laggards
or the tinny echoes, and we taught her
how to wait, how to watch, how to be held,
in that icy room, until our own alarm chimed.
Here is one writer describing the artistry of South African painter Mustafa Maluka (born 1976): “(He) cites various art historical and cultural sources in his work. His interests range from design and fashion to art history, cultural analysis, philosophy and psychology. Maluka’s working method is the process of selecting and assembling portraits. He collects images of faces that have a particular look, that project a particular energy and pride. He liberates the images from their original context and recreates them in a new form on canvas with many layers of paint.”
Mustafa Maluka lives and works in Finland.
A Third Poem for Today
“Old Men Pitching Horseshoes”
By X. J. Kennedy
Back in a yard where ringers groove a ditch,
These four in shirtsleeves congregate to pitch
Dirt-burnished iron. With appraising eye,
One sizes up a peg, hoists and lets fly—
A clang resounds as though a smith had struck
Fire from a forge. His first blow, out of luck,
Rattles in circles. Hitching up his face,
He swings, and weight once more inhabits space,
Tumbles as gently as a new-laid egg.
Extended iron arms surround their peg
Like one come home to greet a long-lost brother.
Shouts from one outpost. Mutters from the other.
Now changing sides, each withered pitcher moves
As his considered dignity behooves
Down the worn path of earth where August flies
And sheaves of air in warm distortions rise,
To stand ground, fling, kick dust with all the force
Of shoes still hammered to a living horse.
Musings in Winter: Madeleine L’Engle
Here is the Artist Statement of Chinese painter Lin Wang: “Because of being trained from an early age and years of formal training in traditional oil-painting, highly detailed academic realism exerts a tremendous influence on my work. Surrealism has also affected me in my use of misplaced objects and in the idea of doing fairly realistic situations that are confounded by odd relationships and strangely connected elements.
I am more a universal artist, open to different themes, forms, and techniques and always striving toward progress in painting without restricting myself to the confines of a specialist output. I insist that the subject matter of every painting has its own manner of expression. An artists’ style shouldn’t overshadow the artwork’s subject matter. My painting style matches the various emotions I have about different assignments.
I would like to think that making art is separate from my life, but I give full attention and total involvement to each of them.”
Musings in Winter: Jules Renard
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: James Taylor
“I would advise you to keep your overhead down; avoid a major drug habit; play every day.” – James Taylor, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and five-time Grammy Award winner, who was born 12 March 1948.
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Bruce Snider
I wake to leafless vines and muddy fields,
patches of standing water. His pocketknife
waits in my dresser drawer, still able to gut fish.
I pick up his green shirt, put it on for the fourth day
in a row. Outside, the rusty nail he hammered
catches me, leaves its stain on everything.
The temperature drops, the whole shore
filling with him: his dented chew can, waders,
the cattails kinked, bowing their distress.
At the pier, I use his old pliers to ready the line:
fatheads, darters, a blood worm jig. Today, the lake’s
one truth is hardness. When the trout bite,
Musings in Winter: Alden Nowlan
“Growing up is never straight forward.
There are moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you realize that there are certain memories that you’ll never get back, and certain people that are going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that there’s nothing you can do except watch them.”
American Art – Part III of V: David Shevlino
Some quotes from the work of Philip Guedalla:
“The detective story is the normal recreation of noble minds.”
“Autobiography is an unrivalled vehicle for telling the truth about other people.”
“People who jump to conclusions rarely alight on them.”
“Biography is a very definite region bounded on the north by history, on the south by fiction, on the east by obituary, and on the west by tedium.”
“Greatness is so often a courteous synonym for great success.”
Musings in Winter: Alain de Botton
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Lisel Mueller
What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.
We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,
and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.
Musings in Winter: Isaac Asimov
“Congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you — and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
“Dog in Bed”
By Joyce Sidman
Nose tucked under tail,
you are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.
If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.
O, that languid, movie-star drape!
I can never resist it.
Digging my fingers into your fur,
How do you dream?
What do you adore?
Why should your black silk ears
feel like happiness?
Musings in Winter: Joseph Conrad
American Art – Part IV of V: Jon Redmond
Musings in Winter: Brian Andreas
Some quotes from the work of Jack Kerouac:
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
“A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”
“Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.”
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”
“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.”
“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.”
“I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”
“My witness is the empty sky.”
“I have lots of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is all right forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended. There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be glad about. I know this from staring at mountains months on end. They never show any expression, they are like empty space. Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away? Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space, which is the one universal essence of mind, the vast awakenerhood, empty and awake, will never crumble away because it was never born.”
“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
“What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?”
“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.”
Musings in Winter: Samantha Sotto
Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Carmel Anderson
Artist Statement: “The essence of my paintings and sculptures is the wisdom found in the deep, rich, and often complex souls of women. As I navigate a new phase of life, I reflect often on the subject of women and wisdom. While studying what it means to be a wise woman, I see that wise people choose to face life’s challenges directly, and consequently emerge stronger and wiser. Observing women as they love, share, learn, and forgive, while living contentedly and fearlessly, is the power behind my work.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Musings in Winter: Henry Van Dyke
A Seventh Poem for Today
“The Pull Toy”
By A. E. Stallings
You squeezed its leash in your fist,
It followed where you led:
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
Nodding its wooden head.
Wagging a tail on a spring,
Its wheels gearing lackety-clack,
Dogging your heels the length of the house,
Though you seldom glanced back.
It didn’t mind being dragged
When it toppled on its side
Scraping its coat of primary colors:
Love has no pride.
But now that you run and climb
And leap, it has no hope
Of keeping up, so it sits, hunched
At the end of its short rope
Musings in Winter: Lucy Maud Montgomery
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”
American Art – Part V of V: Cyrus Cuneo
In the words of one writer, “An illustrator and painter, Cyrus Cuneo was born in San Francisco, California in 1879. He studied locally at the Mark Hopkins Institute and in Paris with James Whistler and Girardot. A fine athlete, he and his brother Rinaldo were prominent as boxers at the Olympic Club. As a young man he was offered Charles Dana Gibson’s position on Collier’s Weekly. An expatriate Italian American, Cyrus Cuneo spent much of his career in England, from where he served as an artist-illustrator of the American West for the London Illustrated News. It was written that he became “an Englishman by preference and adoption.” In London, he was a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and from 1905 to 1912, exhibited at the Royal Academy. He paid for his art training in Paris with James Whistler by boxing professionally. In 1908 on assignment with the Illustrated News, he made an extensive trip back to California and through Canada, where he was a special guest of personnel representing the Canadian Pacific Railroad. From this trip, he did a series of railroad oil paintings, which were destroyed during World War I in Liverpool. During his employment at the Illustrated News, Cuneo was commissioned by the British government to paint a panorama of King Edward’s coronation pageant. While at a farewell party in London, a society girl’s fingernail scratched him and he died of blood poisoning on July 23, 1916.”