American Art – Part I of III: Kelly Porter
In the words of one writer, “Kelly Porter is from Dallas, TX. She received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO in 1997, where she studied printmaking and philosophy. Upon receiving a full scholarship, she continued her education at the State University of New York in Buffalo, NY, where she received an MFA in 1999. Kelly Porter’s work has been described by critics as ‘unique, composed and calming, with layered and labor intensive surfaces.’”
From the “Now They Tell Me Department”
“The secret of dealing successfully with a child is not to be its parent.” – Mell Lazarus, American cartoonist born on 3 May 1927.
Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson
“To make this journey, we’ll need imagination but imagination alone is not enough because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine. This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules. Test ideas by experiment and observation. Build on those ideas that pass the test, reject the ones that fail, follow the evidence where ever it leads and question everything. Accept these terms and the cosmos is yours.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Pete Seeger
“In a world of private property, if something isn’t owned by somebody, it’s going to be misused by somebody else.” – Pete Seeger, American folk singer, civil rights activist, peace activist, and environmentalist, who was born on 3 May 1919.
A Poem for Today
By Pat Mora
They think she lives alone
on the edge of town in a two-room house
where she moved when her husband died
at thirty-five of a gunshot wound
in the bed of another woman. The ‘curandera’
and house have aged together to the rhythm
of the desert.
She wakes early, lights candles before
her sacred statues, brews tea of ‘yerbabuena.’
She moves down her porch steps, rubs
cool morning sand into her hands, into her arms.
Like a large black bird, she feeds on
the desert, gathering herbs for her basket.
Her days are slow, days of grinding
dried snake into powder, of crushing
wild bees to mix with white wine.
And the townspeople come, hoping
to be touched by her ointments,
her hands, her prayers, her eyes.
She listens to their stories, and she listens
to the desert, always, to the desert.
By sunset she is tired. The wind
strokes the strands of long gray hair,
the smell of drying plants drifts
into her blood, the sun seeps
into her bones. She dozes
on her back porch. Rocking, rocking.
Fancies in Springtime: Barry Lopez
“I would bow slightly with my hands in my pockets, toward the birds and the evidence of life in their nests–because of their fecundity, unexpected in this remote region, and because the serene arctic light that came down over the land like breath, like breathing.”
British painter Euan Uglow (1932-2000) is best known for his still life and nude paintings.
Below – “Miss Benge”; “North Cyprus: Study for a History Painting”; “Georgia”; “Rock and Sand Hills Overlooking the Sea at Arzila”; “The Blue Towel”; “The Musicians”; “Snake”; “Still Life with Delft Jar.”
Some quotes from the work of Niccolo Machiavelli:
“Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.”
“No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.”
“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”
“The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”
“There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.”
“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
“A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.”
“Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”
“Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.”
“It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.”
“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”
“Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.”
“The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.”
“The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.”
“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.”
“The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.”
“It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”
“We cannot attribute to fortune or virtue that which is achieved without either.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: James Brown
“Sometimes, you like to let the hair do the talking!” – James Brown, American singer, recording artist, and musician, who was born 3 May 1928.
Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig
A Second Poem for Today
By Adam Vines
For Scott Harris
Last summer’s fishing failures dangled from trees:
a Rapala and Jitterbug a stand
of privet paid for, half-ounce jigs with rubber skirts
and jelly worms with wide-gap hooks on ten-pound test
we tithed with overzealous casts at bass.
Then off we’d go (our stringers bare) to find
a yard to cut, a truck to wash, so we could fill
the tackle box we shared again. Today
is 12/12/12, the Mayan end, and I,
a country boy in Brooklyn for the week,
will hail a cab for the first time and think
of cows unnerved by fish we missed
and shouts of “shit” that followed, and dawns to dusks
and always back with you, my childhood friend.
Our girls will never know that pond’s deep hole
a baseball diamond now fills — the city leaders’ bright
idea — or how their fathers sitting in the bleachers
on Saturdays a couple decades later
can almost feel the stinging nettle against
their thighs, the lunker largemouth sweeping the bed
with her tail while plastic lizards jerk and drag
across the third base line, or how when we
untrain our ears to baseballs cracking bats
and bitchy parents, called strikes and alike,
we hear the peepers sounding off in oaks
on down the way, our mothers’ and fathers’ voices
calling us home not too far behind or ahead.
“The popular culture says . . . Do what you do, your life is predestined, like the installment plan on your house. There’s not much you can do about it. Make your payments, live it, get sick, die, don’t make any trouble. It is the Master Charge of destiny. Try to get your high credit rating.” – Jerzy Kosinski, Polish-born American novelist and author of “The Painted Bird,” “Steps” (for which he won the National Book Award), and “Being There” (which was made into an award-winning film starring Peter Sellers), who died 3 May 1991.
Some quotes from Jerzy Kosinski:
“The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”
“Going around under an umbrella interferes with one’s looking up at the sky.”
“And really the purpose of art – for me, fiction – is to alert, to indicate to stop, to say: Make certain that when you rush through you will not miss the moment which you might have had, or might still have.”
“Banks introduced the installment plan. The disappearance of cash and the coming of the credit card changed the shape of life in the United States.”
“I can create countries just as I can create the actions of my characters. That is why a lot of travel seems to me a waste of time.”
“I do not gather things; I prefer to rent them rather than to possess them.”
“In London, the weather would affect me negatively. I react strongly to light. If it is cloudy and raining, there are clouds and rain in my soul.”
“It is possible to stand around with a cocktail in one’s hand and talk with everyone, which means with no one.”
“Persons who have been homeless carry within them a certain philosophy of life which makes them apprehensive about ownership.”
“I look back into past history, the stored experiences or products of the imagination. I look no further forward than the evening.”
“I write for a certain sphere of readers in the United States who on average watch seven and a half hours of multichannel television per day.”
“It is not sex by itself that interests me, but its particular role in American consciousness, and in my own life.”
“Take a look at the books other people have in their homes.”
“The things I write are for those who are willing to accept a new relationship between the reader and the author.”
“There are many types of participation. One can observe so intensely that one becomes part of the action, but without being an active participant.”
“Travel gives me the opportunity to walk through the sectors of cities where one can clearly see the passage of time.”
Fancies in Springtime: Henry Bellamann
In the words of one writer, “Paul Haggith’s is inspired by the abstract configuration of figures in the sea on a summer’s day, perhaps this is the vision of a surfer. Another favourite subject is the humble fibro home of yesteryear. These works evoke fond memories of family holidays at the beach.
Haggith has accomplished many murals in Australia and internationally. In 2007 he was short-listed for the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape painting.”
A Third Poem for Today
By John Haines
I seemed always standing
before a door
to which I had no key,
although I knew it hid behind it
a gift for me.
From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: Narciso Yepes
Died 3 May 1997 – Narciso Yepes, a Spanish classical guitarist.
Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan
“Some men are alive simply because it is against the law to kill them.” – Edgar Watson Howe, American novelist, newspaper and magazine editor, and columnist noted for the sharp wit in his editorials, who was born 3 May 1853.
Some quotes from Edgar Watson Howe:
“The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.”
“The worst feeling in the world is the homesickness that comes over a man occasionally when he is at home.”
“To be an ideal guest, stay at home.”
“Instead of loving your enemies – treat your friends a little better.”
“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.”
“One of the surprising things in this world is the respect a worthless man has for himself.”
“If you don’t learn to laugh at troubles, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you grow old.”
“The most destructive criticism is indifference.”
“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.”
“A thief believes everybody steals.”
“A young man is a theory; an old man is a fact.”
“Half the time men think they are talking business, they are wasting time.”
“Many people would be more truthful were it not for their uncontrollable desire to talk.”
“The average man’s judgment is so poor, he runs a risk every time he uses it.”
“When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have.”
“Every successful person I have heard of has done the best he could with the conditions as he found them, and not waited until next year for better.”
“If your faith is opposed to experience, to human learning and investigation, it is not worth the breath used in giving it expression.”
“No woman ever falls in love with a man unless she has a better opinion of him than he deserves.”
“Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist.”
“The way out of trouble is never as simple as the way in.”
“A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.”
“A woman is as old as she looks before breakfast.”
“Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.”
“Common sense is compelled to make its way without the enthusiasm of anyone.”
“Everyone suffers wrongs for which there is no remedy.”
“Families with babies and families without babies are sorry for each other.”
“Fishing seems to be the favorite form of loafing.”
“It is hard to convince a high-school student that he will encounter a lot of problems more difficult than those of algebra and geometry.”
“Many a man is saved from being a thief by finding everything locked up.”
“Marriage is a good deal like a circus: there is not as much in it as is represented in the advertising.”
“No man would listen to you talk if he didn’t know it was his turn next.”
“People are always neglecting something they can do in trying to do something they can’t do.”
“The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can’t get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.”
“The only way to amuse some people is to slip and fall on an icy pavement.”
“There is always a type of man who says he loves his fellow men, and expects to make a living at it.”
“When a man is trying to sell you something, don’t imagine that he is polite all the time.”
“When men are not regretting that life is so short, they are doing something to kill time.”
“You needn’t love your enemy, but if you refrain from telling lies about him, you are doing well enough.”
“There is nothing so well known as that we should not expect something for nothing – but we all do and call it Hope.”
Spanish Art – Part I of III: Francisco Goya
3 May 1808 – In a brutal retaliation for a 2 May 1808 rebellion by Spanish citizens, French soldiers serving under Napoleon execute hundreds of people in and around Madrid.
Fancies in Springtime: James Anderson
“This was the desert, everything all at once, whether it was needed or not. What survived had learned to save, live carefully, and keep a low profile, even appear to be dead for long periods. Perseverance and patience.”
From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Frankie Valli
“You can take the guy out of the neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the guy.” – Frankie Valli, American singer and member of The Four Seasons, who was born 3 May 1934.
Fancies in Springtime: Beverly Nichols
“Long experience has taught me that people who do not like geraniums have something morally unsound about them. Sooner or later you will find them out; you will discover that they drink, or steal books, or speak sharply to cats. Never trust a man or a woman who is not passionately devoted to geraniums.”
3 May 1915 – Canadian physician and soldier Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae writes “In Flanders Fields,” one of the most famous poems composed during World War I. In the words of one historian, “He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. ‘In Flanders Fields’ was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine ‘Punch.’”
“In Flanders Fields”
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Spanish Art – Part II of III: Jose Gonzalez Collado
“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.” – May Sarton, American poet, novelist, and memoirist, who was born 3 May 1912.
“Death and the Turtle”
I watched the turtle dwindle day by day,
Get more remote, lie limp upon my hand;
When offered food he turned his head away;
The emerald shell grew soft. Quite near the end
Those withdrawn paws stretched out to grasp
His long head in a poignant dying gesture.
It was so strangely like a human clasp,
My heart cracked for the brother creature.
I buried him, wrapped in a lettuce leaf,
The vivid eye sunk inward, a dull stone.
So this was it, the universal grief:
Each bears his own end knit up in the bone.
Where are the dead? we ask, as we hurtle
Toward the dark, part of this strange creation,
One with each limpet, leaf, and smallest turtle—
Cry out for life, cry out in desperation!
Who will remember you when I have gone,
My darling ones, or who remember me?
Only in our wild hearts the dead live on.
Yet these frail engines bound to mystery
Break the harsh turn of all creation’s wheel,
for we remember China, Greece, and Rome,
Our mothers and our fathers, and we steal
From death itself its rich store, and bring it home.
Spanish Art – Part III of III: Kike Meana
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Spanish painter Kike Meana: “The work of Meana happens for three different lines, the first ones are Figures that consist basically of portraits and oils of different personalities, playing very much with the eroticism in his works; and Urban Scenery, where they put out different sceneries of the city that seem realistic in his linens.
On the other hand, the third line is that of Automatons. This series is simply spectacular and it consists of a series where ‘the personages appear like robots, prisoners of a system, be already in his moments of free time as in the beach, of buys or in his routine work.’
And for whom they appreciate this series, it will not be for anything complex to assimilate these words with what it is possible to see there. Even if we begin to observe the world that surrounds us, we will realize that we realize all our actions as if we were ‘programmed’ for it, without devoting ourselves to enjoy a second the life.”
Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig
“So green this summer and so fresh. There are white and gold daisies among the grass in front of an old wire fence, a meadow with some cows and far in the distance a low rising of the land with something golden on it. Hard to know what it is. No need to know.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“For Weeks After the Funeral”
By Andrea Hollander Budy
The house felt like the opera,
the audience in their seats, hushed, ready,
but the cast not yet arrived.
And if I said anything
to try to appease the anxious air, my words
would hang alone like the single chandelier
waiting to dim the auditorium, but still
too huge, too prominent, too bright, its light
announcing only itself, bringing more
Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson
“After 7 or 8 billion years of such enrichment, an undistinguished star (the Sun) was born in an undistinguished region (the Orion arm) of an undistinguished galaxy (the Milky Way) in an undistinguished part of the universe (the outskirts of the Virgo supercluster). The gas cloud from which the Sun formed contained a sufficient supply of heavy elements to spawn a few planets, thousands of asteroids, and billions of comets.”
Born 3 May 1859 – Andy Adams, an American writer and author of “The Log of a Cowboy: A Narrative of the Old Trail Days” (1903), in which he chronicles his five-month, 2,400-mile journey from the Gulf of Mexico to Montana in the company of several cowboys and 3,500 cattle. In the words of one critic, “Although the book is fiction, it is firmly based on Adams’s own experiences on the trail, and it is considered by many to be the best account of cowboy life in literature. Adams was disgusted by the unrealistic cowboy fiction being published in his day; ‘The Log of a Cowboy’ was his response. It is still in print, and even modern reviewers consider it a compelling classic.”
American Art – Part II of III: Casey Baugh
Here is one critic discussing the artistry of painter Casey Baugh (born 1984): “Baugh believes that good art ‘requires a distinct idea and a thorough knowledge of the language [of art] by which to communicate it. A good artist always has something to say, but truly great artists have obtained the ability to say it through experience and sheer determination.’ It is with this mind-set that Baugh is doing work comparable to artists three times his age and has continued to conduct workshops, offer demonstrations, and give lectures in order to teach aspiring artists how to effectively communicate their interpretation of the beauty of creation and life through art.”
Fancies in Springtime: Barry Lopez
“There are no crows in the desert. What appear to be crows are ravens. You must examine the crow, however, before you can understand the raven. To forget the crow completely, as some have tried to do, would be like trying to understand the one who stayed without talking to the one who left. It is important to make note of who has left the desert.”
Born 3 May 1861 – Emmett Dalton, an American outlaw, train robber, and member of the Dalton gang. In the words of one historian, “Part of the ill-fated Dalton raid on two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas, he survived despite receiving 23 gunshot wounds. After serving 14 years in prison for the crime, Dalton capitalized on his notoriety to author books and become an actor in Hollywood.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Somebody Else’s Baby”
By Mary Jo Salter
From now on they always are, for years now
they always have been, but from now on you know
they are, they always will be,
from now on when they cry and you say
wryly to their mother, ‘better you than me,’
you’d better mean it, you’d better
Fancies in Springtime: Edward Abbey
“Within minutes my 115-mile walk through the desert hills becomes a thing apart, a disjunct reality on the far side of a bottomless abyss, immediately beyond physical recollection.
But it’s all still there in my heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure—they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days to come, like a treasure found and then, voluntarily, surrendered. Returned to the mountains with my blessing. It leaves a golden glowing on the mind.”
Back from the Territory – Art: Nathalie Parenteau (Part I)
In the words of one writer, “When asked how her images take form, Northern artist Nathalie Parenteau promptly replies: ‘They take shape on their own. I just scratch the canvas with the paint brush and there they are.’ Or so it seems.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan
“Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their whole lives in the course of a single day. From the point of view of a mayfly, human beings are stolid, boring, almost entirely immovable, offering hardly a hint that they ever do anything. From the point of view of a star, a human being is a tiny flash, one of billions of brief lives flickering tenuously on the surface of a strangely cold, anomalously solid, exotically remote sphere of silicate and iron.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig
“A finely tempered nature longs to escape from his noisy cramped surroundings into the silence of the high mountains where the eye ranges freely through the still pure air and fondly traces out the restful contours apparently built for eternity.”
American Art – Part III of III: Ruth Shively
Artist Statement: “As a painter, I am exploring vulnerability and the idea that we are all universally connected through vulnerability. In my artistic exploration, I’ve learned I can express myself through my paintings, to confront my fears and take risks that I normally wouldn’t explore.”