American Art – Part I of II: Elena Karavodin
In the words of one writer, “Elena studied Art at Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, CA receiving her B.F.A. with an emphasis in Illustration, Graphic Design and Fine Art.”
“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States (1801-1809), who was born 13 April 1743.
Some quotes from the work of Thomas Jefferson:
“When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.”
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
“And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.”
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”
“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”
“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor – over each other.”
“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”
“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”
“I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us.”
Fancies in Springtime: George Orwell
“Happy the Man”
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine,
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
Fancies in Springtime: Richard Preston
“The coast redwood is a so-called relict species. It is a tiny remnant of a life form that once spread in splendor and power across the face of nature. The redwood has settled down in California to live near the sea, the way many retired people do.”
“A sign is enough to live by,
A shape we make in air;
A long line of time we follow.
Does it lead us anywhere?” – Maxwell Henley Harris, Australian poet, critic, columnist, commentator, publisher, and bookseller, who was born 13 April 1921.
“Bud in Perspex”
The bud in perspex by my bed
Every time I move my head
Turns a deeper shade of red.
The Mogadon that brings me rest
Put me to a nightly test,
Dreams that sort out bad and best,
A nightly mugging of the mind
Extortions of a brutal kind,
Forces unevenly aligned.
A chemical brings to the light
Facts that come alive at night.
Proving I do wrong to right.
Fancies in Springtime: Kelly McGonigal
“There are few things ever dreamed of, smoked or injected that have as addictive an effect on our brains as technology. This is how our devices keep us captive and always coming back for more. The definitive Internet act of our times is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward: we search. And we search. And we search some more, clicking that mouse like – well, like a rat in a cage seeking another ‘hit,’ looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough.”
A Poem for Today
“All It Is”
By Alfred Corn
The flexible arc
described by treetop leaves
when breathing currents ripple
a branch to one,
then the other side.
Or the level, quickened swell
that follows a gust over wetlands
home to a million reeds.
Any terrain you find arises from all
that came before: succeeding
event horizons from earlier eras
brought forward by today’s considered
impetus to lift the way it looks,
out toward whatever senses you are there—
breathed into completion, a sphere,
into all it is.
“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming of themselves like grass.” – Eudora Welty, American writer and recipient of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize (for “The Optimist’s Daughter”), who was born 13 April 1909.
Some quotes from the work of Eudora Welty:
“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.”
“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”
“Greater than scene is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.”
“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”
“Never think you’ve seen the last of anything.”
“The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.”
“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.”
Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson
A Second Poem for Today
By Miller Williams
No matter how she tilts her head to hear
she sees the irritation in their eyes.
She knows how they can read a small rejection,
a little judgment, in every ‘What did you say?’
So now she doesn’t say ‘What?’ or ‘Come again?’
She lets the syllables settle, hoping they form
some sort of shape that she might recognize.
When they don’t, she smiles with everyone else,
and then whoever was talking turns to her
and says, “Break wooden coffee, don’t you know?”
She pulls all she can focus into the face
to know if she ought to nod or shake her head.
In that long space her brain talks to itself.
The person may turn away as an act of mercy,
leaving her there in a room full of understanding
with nothing to cover her, neither sound nor silence.
13 April 1933 – Douglas Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, makes the first flight over Mount Everest.
Fancies in Springtime: May Oliver
“Every Dog’s Story”
I have a bed, my very own.
It’s just my size.
And sometimes I like to sleep alone
with dreams inside my eyes.
But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy
and I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.
But I’m no longer sleepy
and too slowly the hours go by.
So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon
is shining on your face
and I know it will be morning soon.
Here is one critic describing the accomplishments of Scottish painter Catriona Millar: “Catriona is now recognised as one of Scotland’s foremost figurative painters. She has exhibited across the UK and her paintings are collected throughout Europe, the Far East and America. She has won the respect and acclaim of collectors, critics and leading galleries while her stunning works continue to enjoy a special place amongst the contemporary art buying public.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Gerald Fleming
You’re worried, so you wake her
& you talk into the dark:
‘Do you think I have cancer,’ you
say, or ‘Were there worms
in that meat,’ or ‘Do you think
our son is OK,’ and it’s
ceremonial as you feel
the vessel of your worry pass
miraculously from you to her—
‘Gee, the rain sounds so beautiful,
you say—I’m going back to sleep.’
Fancies in Springtime: Mark Twain
“I have been scientifically studying the traits and dispositions of the ‘lower animals’ (so-called,) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result profoundly humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that that theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.”
From the Movie Archives: Ron Perlman
“I’ll walk through fire to do what I do because the movie business, when it’s right, is the coolest art form ever invented.” – Ron Perlman, American television, film, and voice actor, who was born 13 April 1950.
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Barbershop Quartet, East Village Grille”
By Sebastian Matthews
Inside the standard lunch hour din they rise, four
seamless voices fused into one, floating somewhere
between a low hum and a vibration, like the sound
of a train rumbling beneath noisy traffic.
The men are hunched around a booth table,
a fire circle of coffee cups and loose fists, leaning in
around the thing they are summoning forth
from inside this suddenly beating four-chambered
heart. I’ve taken Avery out on a whim, ordered quesadillas
and onion rings, a kiddy milk with three straws.
We’re already deep in the meal, extra napkins
and wipes for the grease coating our faces
and hands like mid-summer sweat. And because
we’re happy, lost in the small pleasures of father
and son, at first their voices seem to come from inside
us. ‘Who’s that boy singing?’ Avery asks, unable
to see these men wrapped in their act. I let him
keep looking, rapt. And when no one is paying
attention, I put down my fork and take my boy’s hand,
and together we dive into the song. Or maybe it pours
into us, and we’re the ones brimming with it.
Fancies in Springtime: Derrick Jensen
“Blasphemy is more complicated than the simple act of cursing God. It is an attempt to remove our cultural eyeglasses, or at least grind the lenses to make our focus broader, clearer. There are deep strictures against removing these eyeglasses, for without them our culture would fall apart. Question Christianity, damned heathen. Question capitalism, pinko liberal. Question democracy, ungrateful wretch. Question science, just plain stupid. These epithets—blasphemer, commie, ingrate, stupid—need not be spoken aloud. Their invocation actually implies an incomplete enculturation of the subject. Proper enculturation causes the eyeglasses to be undetectable. People believe they are perceiving the world as it is, without the distorting lens of culture: God (with a capital G) does sit upon a heavenly throne; heaven is located beyond the stars that make up Orion’s belt (and, so I was told, you can just see heavens brilliance if you look closely enough); a collection of humans, each acting selfishly, will bring peace, justice, and affluence to all; the United States is the world’s greatest democracy; humans are the apex of creation.”
“The essence of Orkney’s magic is silence, loneliness and the deep marvelous rhythms of sea and land, darkness and light.” – George Mackay Brown, Scottish poet, author, and dramatist, who died 13 April 1996.
Monday I found a boot –
Rust and salt leather.
I gave it back to the sea, to dance in.
Tuesday a spar of timber worth thirty bob.
It will be a chair, a coffin, a bed.
Wednesday a half can of Swedish spirits.
I tilted my head.
The shore was cold with mermaids and angels.
Thursday I got nothing, seaweed,
A whale bone,
Wet feet and a loud cough.
Friday I held a seaman’s skull,
Sand spilling from it
The way time is told on kirkyard stones.
Saturday a barrel of sodden oranges.
A Spanish ship
Was wrecked last month at The Kame.
Fancies in Springtime: Gavin Maxwell
“There is something deeply awe-inspiring about the sight of any living creatures in incomputable numbers; it stirs, perhaps, some atavistic chord whose note belongs more properly to the distant days when we were a true part of the animal ecology; when the sight of another species in unthinkable hosts brought fears or hopes no longer applicable.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Belgian painter Tony de Wolf (born 1961): “The beauty of his carefully chosen ceramics, glass and fruit reflect a mood of peace and harmony and take the concept of still life painting into another category of art, more appropriate for the 21st century.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Matthew Vetter
At fifty-six, having left my mother,
my father buys a motorcycle.
I imagine him because
it is the son’s sorrowful assignment
to imagine his father: there,
hunched on his mount,
with black boots, with bad teeth,
between shifts at the mill,
ripping furrows in the backroads,
past barn and field and silo,
past creek and rock,
past the brown mare,
sleek in her impertinence,
never slowing until he sees
the bull. He stops, pulls
his bike to the side of the road,
where golden rod and clover grow,
walks up to the fence, admires
its horns, its wet snout snorting and blowing
its breath, its girth, its trampling
of small wild flowers.
From the “What Is This Obsession with Halloween Music? Department”
The American Old West – Part I of II
13 April 1860 – The first Pony Express courier reaches Sacramento.
Below – The Pony Express Stables and Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, the eastern terminus of the route; the B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento, California, western terminus of the Pony Express; Illustrated Map of the Pony Express Route in 1860, by William Henry Jackson.
Fancies in Springtime: Sylvia Dolson
“Connecting with the wilderness allows us to live in the flow of a meaningful, joyful life. Embracing this state of connectedness or oneness with other living beings including animals, as opposed to feeling an ‘otherness’ or ‘separateness’ brings a sense of harmony and enables us to be at peace with oneself and the world.”
“I am not interested in art, I am interested in life. When you are interested in life, more than you are in painting, then your paintings can come to life.” – John “Jack” Chambers, Canadian painter and filmmaker, who died 13 April 1978.
Fancies in Springtime: Hunter S. Thompson
A Sixth Poem for Today
“Corned Beef and Cabbage”
By George Bilgere
I can see her in the kitchen,
Cooking up, for the hundredth time,
A little something from her
Limited Midwestern repertoire.
Cigarette going in the ashtray,
The red wine pulsing in its glass,
A warning light meaning
Everything was simmering
Just below the steel lid
Of her smile, as she boiled
The beef into submission,
Chopped her way
Through the vegetable kingdom
With the broken-handled knife
I use tonight, feeling her
Anger rising from the dark
Chambers of the head
Of cabbage I slice through,
Missing her, wanting
To chew things over
With my mother again.
The American Old West – Part II of II
Born 13 April 1866 – Robert LeRoy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy, an American train robber, bank robber, and leader of the Wild Bunch Gang, the most successful train-robbing gang in American history.
A Seventh Poem for Today
“The Cherry Tree”
By David Wagoner
Out of the nursery and into the garden
where it rooted and survived its first hard winter,
then a few years of freedom while it blossomed,
put out its first tentative branches, withstood
the insects and the poisons for insects,
developed strange ideas about its height
and suffered the pruning of its quirks and clutters,
its self-indulgent thrusts
and the infighting of stems at cross purposes
year after year. Each April it forgot
why it couldn’t do what it had to do,
and always after blossoms, fruit, and leaf-fall,
was shown once more what simply couldn’t happen.
Fancies in Springtime: James Hillman
Back from the Territory – Art: Sherri McDonald
In the words of one writer, “Sherri has worked with many mediums, but her true love is paper. Paper has a unique beauty that brings a wonderful richness to her work, it’s secret is in the fibers. In her landscapes she uses many layers of decorative and hand made papers which she meticulously pieces together, until she sees Alaska come alive in her collages.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
An Eighth Poem for Today
By Cecilia Woloch
Didn’t I stand there once,
white-knuckled, gripping the just-lit taper,
swearing I’d never go back?
And hadn’t you kissed the rain from my mouth?
And weren’t we gentle and awed and afraid,
knowing we’d stepped from the room of desire
into the further room of love?
And wasn’t it sacred, the sweetness
we licked from each other’s hands?
And were we not lovely, then, were we not
as lovely as thunder, and damp grass, and flame?
Fancies in Springtime: Barry Lopez
American Art – Part II of II: Duke Windsor
In the words of one writer, “Windsor is currently an Associate Artist member of the California Art Club, and a former board member with A.R.T.S., A Reason to Survive, which empowers troubled youth through the arts. He is also former Education Chair for the San Diego Museum of Art Artist Guild. Windsor has also served as a member of the Public Arts Selection Committee for the San Diego Regional Airport Authority Art Program. Windsor was the founding Director of Exhibits at the USS Midway Museum, and former Traveling Exhibits Designer at the San Diego Natural History Museum.”