May Offerings – Part XIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Julian Cardinal

Artist Statement: “Loose brush strokes, muted hues, and unique textures help define my paintings as dreamy and airy. I like to work as fast as possible, without rushing. If you wait too long to complete a piece, the initial intention will fade. I choose images that my style works well with. Compositionally, I prefer simple subject matters and lines. I often pick black and white photos that I can add an element of color and depth too. I’ll look through hundreds of pictures, and will usually pick a couple from that list. When I paint nudes and flowers, however, I like to paint live. There is something about setting up a bouquet and painting it that is very rewarding.
I am very inspired by vintage subject matter, especially early 20th century French fashion. Once I gain a sense of the picture’s composition, I then can duplicate the images using different sized canvas, colors, and line patterns. My goal — to combine the vintage style of fashion with contemporary expressionism.”






Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts

“Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.”

14 May 1924 – Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway” is published.

Some quotes from “Mrs. Dalloway”:

“She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.”
“He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink.”
“Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely? All this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely?”
“Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence.”
“Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks—all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.”
“She thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist’s religion of doing good for the sake of goodness.”
“Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall.”

Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig

“When one isn’t dominated by feelings of separateness from what he’s working on, then one can be said to ‘care’ about what he’s doing. That is what caring really is, a feeling of identification with what one’s doing.”

Russian painter Ksenia Lavrova graduated from the prestigious St. Petersburg “Mucha” Academy.







A Poem for Today

“The Round”
By Stanley Kunitz

Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.
A curious gladness shook me.
So I have shut the doors of my house,
so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,
so I am sitting in semi-dark
hunched over my desk
with nothing for a view
to tempt me
but a bloated compost heap,
steamy old stinkpile,
under my window;
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
and still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed…”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

Below – April Gornik: “Fresh Light”

Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“After hearing much from his patients about alleged faith-healing, a Minnesota physician named William Nolen spent a year and a half trying to track down the most striking cases. Was there clear medical evidence that the disease was really present before the ‘cure’? If so, had the disease actually disappeared after the cure, or did we just have the healer’s or the patient’s say-so? He uncovered many cases of fraud, including the first exposure in America of ‘psychic surgery’. But he found not one instance of cure of any serious organic (non-psychogenic) disease. There were no cases where gallstones or rheumatoid arthritis, say, were cured, much less cancer or cardiovascular disease. When a child’s spleen is ruptured, Nolen noted, perform a simple surgical operation and the child is completely better. But take that child to a faith-healer and she’s dead in a day.”

Here is part of the Artist Statement of Dutch painter Helene Terlien (born 1960): “Painting has become an all consuming passion to me, especially when working with oil paints.
People and Animals are a source of inspiration from which a fantasy, when taking shape on the canvas, starts leading its own live. And I, as an artist, am left to follow in its path. People, animals and objects function, alone or together, to tell a story with room for different viewing points.”







A Second Poem for Today

By Siobhan Campbell

Don’t bring haw into the house at night
or in any month with a red fruit in season
or when starlings bank against the light,
don’t bring haw in. Don’t give me reason
to think you have hidden haw about you.
Tucked in secret, may its thorn thwart you.
Plucked in blossom, powdered by your thumb,
I will smell it for the hum of haw is long,
its hold is low and lilting. If you bring
haw in, I will know you want me gone
to the fairies and their jilting. I will know
you want me buried in the deep green field
where god knows what is rotting.


“When we can’t dream any longer, we die.” – Emma Goldman, American anarchist, political activist, author, and orator, who died 14 May 1940.

Some quotes from the work of Emma Goldman:

“The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.”
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
“Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals.”
“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
“If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution.”
“Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.”
“Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.”
“No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time. ”
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution – Revolution is but thought carried into action.
Every effort for progress, for enlightenment, for science, for religious, political, and economic liberty, emanates from the minority,
and not from the mass.”
“The most violent element in society is ignorance.”

A Third Poem for Today

By Connie Wanek

Mittens are drying on the radiator,
boots nearby, one on its side.
Like some monstrous segmented insect
the radiator elongates under the window.

Or it is a beast with many shoulders
domesticated in the Ice Age.
How many years it takes
to move from room to room!

Some cage their radiators
but this is unnecessary
as they have little desire to escape.

Like turtles they are quite self-contained.
If they seem sad, it is only the same sadness
we all feel, unlovely, growing slowly cold.

Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“My parents died years ago. I was very close to them. I still miss them terribly. I know I always will. I long to believe that their essence, their personalities, what I loved so much about them, are – really and truly – still in existence somewhere. I wouldn’t ask very much, just five or ten minutes a year, say, to tell them about their grandchildren, to catch them up on the latest news, to remind them that I love them. There’s a part of me – no matter how childish it sounds – that wonders how they are. ‘Is everything all right?’ I want to ask. The last words I found myself saying to my father, at the moment of his death, were ‘Take care.’

Sometimes I dream that I’m talking to my parents, and suddenly – still immersed in the dreamwork – I’m seized by the overpowering realization that they didn’t really die, that it’s all been some kind of horrible mistake. Why, here they are, alive and well, my father making wry jokes, my mother earnestly advising me to wear a muffler because the weather is chilly. When I wake up I go through an abbreviated process of mourning all over again. Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death. And it’s not the least bit interested in whether there’s any sober evidence for it.

So I don’t guffaw at the woman who visits her husband’s grave and chats him up every now and then, maybe on the anniversary of his death. It’s not hard to understand. And if I have difficulties with the ontological status of who she’s talking to, that’s all right. That’s not what this is about. This is about humans being human.”

Argentinean painter Mercedes Farina earned a degree in Plastic Arts at Buenos Aires University.





Fancies in Springtime: James Dashner

“He turned to look just in time to see the rain start falling out as if the storm had finally decided to weep with shame for what it had done to them.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

By Jim Harrison

At dawn I heard among bird calls
the billions of marching feet in the churn
and squeak of gravel, even tiny feet
still wet from the mother’s amniotic fluid,
and very old halting feet, the feet
of the very light and very heavy, all marching
but not together, criss-crossing at every angle
with sincere attempts not to touch, not to bump
into each other, walking in the doors of houses
and out the back door forty years later, finally
knowing that time collapses on a single
plateau where they were all their lives,
knowing that time stops when the heart stops
as they walk off the earth into the night air.

Greek artist Katia Varvaki (born 1957) studied painting, hagiography, and sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts.





“The universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.” – Stanley Kunitz, American poet, who died 14 May 2006.

“The Layers”

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
Grand Canyon Grey Levels

American Art – Part II of IV: Kuniyoshi Yasuo

Died 14 May 1953 – Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, an American painter, photographer, and printmaker.

Below – “Dream”; “My Fate Is in Your Hand”; “Woman in Front of a Mirror”; “New England Landscape”; “The Swimmer”; “Girl in Summer






“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.” – Hal Borland, American author and journalist who wrote “outdoor editorials” for “The New York Times” for more than thirty years, who was born on 14 May 1900.

Some quotes from the work of Hal Borland:

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
“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.”
“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.”
“You can’t be suspicious of a tree, accuse a bird or squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.”
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”
“The Earth’s distances invite the eye. And as the eye reaches, so must the mind stretch to meet these new horizons. I challenge anyone to stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see a new expanse not only around him, but in him, too.”
“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.”

Fancies in Springtime: Roman Payne

“It’s not that we have to quit
this life one day, but it’s how
many things we have to quit
all at once: music, laughter,
the physics of falling leaves,
automobiles, holding hands,
the scent of rain, the concept
of subway trains… if only one
could leave this life slowly!”

American Art – Part III of IV: Robert Bechtle

Born 14 May 1932 – Robert Bechtle, an American painter and one of the earliest practitioners of photorealism.










A Fifth Poem for Today

“Against Lawn”
By Grace Bauer

The midnight streetlight illuminating
the white of clover assures me

I am right not to manicure
my patch of grass into a dull

carpet of uniform green, but
to allow whatever will to take over.

Somewhere in that lace lies luck,
though I may never swoop down

to find it. Three, too, is
an auspicious number. And this seeing

a reminder to avoid too much taming
of what, even here, wants to be wild.

Fancies in Springtime: Robert Pirsig

“Drifting is what one does.”

Back from the Territory – Art: Katie Sevigny (Part II)

In the words of one writer, “Katie moved to Haines, Alaska in 1994 as a young adult in search of a better life. She met her husband, Craig, in 1997. Katie and Craig moved to Anchorage in 2000 and married in 2002. Katie gave birth to their first son, Cooper, in 2003 and second son, Rowan, in 2005. Katie and Craig started to see the freedom of having two sons off to school and then they decided to throw themselves back into the trenches and gave birth to their third son, Satchel, in 2011!!
Katie has two great loves, her family and Art. One brings her joy and the other sanity! Between her three sons and a busy schedule, Katie tries to live her dream of being a successful artist.”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Blue Moose”; “Blue Trees”; “Capture”; “Blue Octopus”; “Circle Tree”; “Circle Tree at Night”; “Dandelions.”







Fancies in Springtime: William Kittrredge

“So I examine my beliefs, if they were beliefs – they felt more like dreams. What a peculiar thing, examining beliefs. There is no methodology. Beliefs are like air; they are not justifiable; they are the medium we live in.
What do you believe? I question myself. You don’t need reasons, I tell myself, and I discover (I think I discover; maybe this is a story I invented in the act of that attempt at discovering) that what I believe is simpleminded and positive and that it derives from memories of childhood and nature. Way back then I understood that the apparent world resonates with all the meaning there is ever going to be.”

A Sixth Poem for Today

“On A Moonstruck Gravel Road”
By Rodney Torreson

The sheep-killing dogs saunter home,
wool scraps in their teeth.

From the den of the moon
ancestral wolves
howl their approval.

The farm boys, asleep in their beds,
live the same wildness under their lids;
every morning they come back
through the whites of their eyes
to do their chores, their hands pausing
to pet the dog, to press
its ears back, over the skull,
to quiet that other world.

Fancies in Springtime: Alan Watts

“Although the rhythm of the waves beats a kind of time, it is not clock or calendar time. It has no urgency. It happens to be timeless time. I know that I am listening to a rhythm which has been just the same for millions of years, and it takes me out of a world of relentlessly ticking clocks. Clocks for some reason or other always seem to be marching, and, as with armies, marching is never to anything but doom. But in the motion of waves there is no marching rhythm. It harmonizes with our very breathing. It does not count our days. Its pulse is not in the stingy spirit of measuring, of marking out how much still remains. It is the breathing of eternity, like the God Brahma of Indian mythology inhaling and exhaling, manifesting and dissolving the worlds, forever. As a mere conception this might sound appallingly monotonous, until you come to listen to the breaking and washing of waves.”

American Art – Part IV of IV: Nicholas Evans-Cato

Artist Statement: “My subjects are genuine locations. They all have names, and many have familiar and private associations. But my attraction to a particular street or building often comes, in part, from a suspicion that it is also, in a sense, nameless. I nurture enduring relationships with a terrain. But for me, a particular motif resonates when it seems eligible for a larger catalog of spatial forms. My paintings are less portraits of Brooklyn than pages in an expansive, borderless inventory of space and light. Their index-like titles and typically symmetrical or balanced compositions intend to hint at something of the monumental, appropriate to a classifying program.

It is neither the landscape’s planning nor its architecture which conjures the shapes I paint. Rather, it is its observation; it is how a place appears that forms a distinct typology. At street level, tight, box-like canyons of space offer motifs best captured in a square format, while aerial, panoramic views from a rooftop invite me to explode them in a wider canvas. When looking around to frame a wider view, the optical distortions of curvilinear perspective weave parallel lines into trajectories mirroring the dome of the sky. And on a clear day, the path of the sun traces analogous curves across it. Only turning achieves a panoramic view, and sky and street are themselves revealed as events. At times, glare, fog, rain and snow are also deliberately organizing factors in my choice of standpoint. I wait for and design with all of them.

Land maps posit an objective viewpoint. But star maps are simply precise drawings made from Earth’s orbit. The Constellations are mnemonic tools which gather together otherwise unrelated stars for the purpose of giving recognizable shapes to an empirical measure of time. Likewise, framing architectural geometries inside four corners requires witnessing. In the dark an apple is not green. Time and light render the American vernacular something fragile, less an anchor than an apparition. I am sustained by its silence, and its modesty.”

Below – “Dragon”; “Minefield”; “Axis”; “Snow”; “Rise/Tilt”; untitled.






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