From the Pacific Northwest- Part XVI

Musings in Autumn: Cindy Ross

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking. You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”


Below – From the 17th Annual American Impressionist National Juried Exhibition that is being held this year at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington: Melanie Thompson, “Desert Showers.”

A Poem for Today

from “The Uses of the Body”
By Deborah Landau

Before you have kids,
you get a dog.
Then when you get a baby,
you wait for the dog to die.
When the dog dies,
it’s a relief.
When your babies aren’t babies,
you want a dog again.
The uses of the body,
you see where they end.
But we are only in the middle,
only mid-way.
The organs growing older in their plush pockets
ticking toward the wearing out.
We are here and soon won’t be
(despite the cozy bed stuffed dog pillows books clock).
The boy with his socks on and pajamas.
A series of accidental collisions.
Pressure in the chest. Everyone breathing
for now, in and out, all night.
These sad things, they have to be.
I go into the kitchen thinking to sweeten myself.
Boiled eggs won’t do a thing.
Oysters. Lysol. Peanut butter. Gin.
Big babyface, getting fed.
I am twenty. I am thirty. I am forty years old.
A friend said ‘Listen,
you have to try to calm down.’


American Art – Chiura Obata

Chiura Obata (1885-1975) was a highly-regarded Japanese-American artist.

Below – “Dana Creek in Yosemite Park”; “Death’s Grave Pass and Tenaya Peak, Yosemite Park”; “El Capitan, Yosemite Valley”; “The Evening Moon”; “Setting Sun”; “Full Moon”; “Silent Moonlight” (In the words of one writer, this depiction of “Tanforan Relocation center shows Obata’s experience at the internment camp in haunting watercolor.”).








Musings in Autumn: Rebecca Solnit

“I love going out of my way, beyond what I know, and finding my way back a few extra miles, by another trail, with a compass that argues with the map…nights alone in motels in remote western towns where I know no one and no one I know knows where I am, nights with strange paintings and floral spreads and cable television that furnish a reprieve from my own biography, when in Benjamin’s terms, I have lost myself though I know where I am. Moments when I say to myself as feet or car clear a crest or round a bend, I have never seen this place before. Times when some architectural detail on vista that has escaped me these many years says to me that I never did know where I was, even when I was home.”


Below – From the 17th Annual American Impressionist National Juried Exhibition that is being held this year at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington: Aaron Schuerr, “The Layers of Capital Reef.”


A Second Poem for Today

“My Skeleton”
By Jane Hirshfield

My skeleton,
you who once ached
with your own growing larger

are now,
each year
imperceptibly smaller,
absorbed by your own

When I danced,
you danced.
When you broke,

And so it was lying down,
climbing the tiring stairs.
Your jaws. My bread.

Someday you,
what is left of you,
will be flensed of this marriage.

Angular wristbone’s arthritis,
cracked harp of ribcage,
blunt of heel,
opened bowl of the skull,
twin platters of pelvis—
each of you will leave me behind,
at last serene.

What did I know of your days,
your nights,
I who held you all my life
inside my hands
and thought they were empty?

You who held me all my life
inside your hands
as a new mother holds
her own unblanketed child,
not thinking at all.


Canadian Art – Dominik J Modlinski – Part I

In the words of one writer, “Dominik Modlinski immigrated to Canada at the age of 16, at which point he studied painting and drawing at the Ontario College of Art. While studying landscape painting, he was naturally drawn to the wilderness of Northern Ontario. In the summer of 1993, he moved to Algoma to paint at the Algoma School of Landscape Arts. This location provided unlimited access to the wilderness and a greater understanding of the Group of Seven’s involvement with the land.”

Below – “Fire Land”; “Lakina River Flats”; “Voice of the Tundra”; “Last Yellow”; “Blue Spirit”; “Nahanni Range”; “Yellow Diamond.”








A Third Poem for Today

“The Journey”
By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.


Canadian Art – Dominik J Modlinski – Part II

In the words of one writer, “Dominik Modlinski’s numerous wilderness expeditions have encompassed his physical experience of the land and sense of adventure, which in turn has inspired his work. He has done several trips across the Rockies. Artistically, the majestic mountains of Kluane National Park are as much of an inspiration to Dominik as the landscape of Algoma and Lake Superior country.”

Below – “Coastal Blues”; “Northern Fire”; “Fall in Nahanni Range”; “Summer Heat”; “Alpine Tundra (Quebec)”; “Above Mantuska Glacier (Alaska)”; “Autumn Journey (Yukon).”








Musings in Autumn: 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.”


Canadian Art – Dominik J Modlinski – Part III

Artist Statement: “Living and painting on location for several days is in my view mandatory for creating a successful studio work. Working on it from photographs cannot be a very successful undertaking. It’s just a reproduction. When you live and work right on the spot, when you’re experiencing the weather changes, the animals that travel (lots of times it’s a grizzly that travels right beside… in front of my easel), you really learn to feel the land, that particular mountain, that particular river or forest. So later on in my studio, it’s like being in a library. I’m able to pull the senses, the smell of the location and remember how it felt and I’m able to apply that into the brushstroke. The brushstroke is a representation of how an artist feels at that given moment. It is one of the most difficult challenges: to be able to recreate that feeling that you have when you are in the field later on in the studio work.”

Below – “Moon Lake (Alaska)”; “Fields of Kluane”; “Colorado Tundra”; “Alpine Heights”; “Colorado Dream”; “Overlooking Kluane Lake – Yukon”; “Veil of Light.”








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