Musings in Winter: Sinclair Lewis
“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”
A Poem for Today
“Heaven for Stanley”
By Mark Doty
For his birthday, I gave Stanley a hyacinth bean,
an annual, so he wouldn’t have to wait for the flowers.
He said, Mark, I have just the place for it!
as if he’d spent ninety-eight years
anticipating the arrival of this particular vine.
I thought poetry a brace against time,
the hours held up for study in a voice’s cool saline,
but his allegiance is not to permanent forms.
His garden’s all furious change,
budding and rot and then the coming up again;
why prefer any single part of the round?
I don’t know that he’d change a word of it;
I think he could be forever pleased
to participate in motion. Something opens.
He writes it down. Heaven steadies
and concentrates near the lavender. He’s already there.
Art for Winter – Part I of III: Dwight T. Blaney (American,1865-1944)
Below – “Glimpse of Otter Cliffs”
Musings in Winter: Japanese Proverb
“One kind word can warm three winter months. ”
Art for Winter – Part II of III: Anna Mary Richards Brewster (American, 1870-1952)
Below – “Knotting”
Musings in Winter: Seth MacFarlane
“People in America, they’re getting dumber, they’re getting less able to analyze something and think critically, and pick apart the underlying elements. And more and more ready to make a snap judgment regarding something at face value, which is too bad.”
A Second Poem for Today
“How I Am”
By Jason Shinder
When I talk to my friends I pretend I am standing on the wings
of a flying plane. I cannot be trusted to tell them how I am.
Or if I am falling to earth weighing less
than a dozen roses. Sometimes I dream they have broken up
with their lovers and are carrying food to my house.
When I open the mailbox I hear their voices
like the long upward-winding curve of a train whistle
passing through the tall grasses and ferns
after the train has passed. I never get ahead of their shadows.
I embrace them in front of moving cars. I keep them away
from my miseries because to say I am miserable is to say I am like them.
Art for Winter – Part III of III: John Nieto (American, contemporary)
Below – “Coyote With Red Moon”
A Third Poem for Today
“On Gifts for Grace”
By Bernadette Mayer
I saw a great teapot
I wanted to get you this stupendous
100% cotton royal blue and black checked shirt,
There was a red and black striped one too
Then I saw these boots at a place called Chuckles
They laced up to about two inches above your ankles
All leather and in red, black or purple
It was hard to have no money today
I won’t even speak about the possible flowers and kinds of lingerie
All linen and silk with not-yet-perfumed laces
Brilliant enough for any of the Graces
Full of luxury, grace notes, prosperousness and charm
But I can only praise you with this poem—
Its being is the same as the meaning of your name
Musings in Winter: Richard Adams
“Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it.”
Vietnamese Art: Vu Tuan
Vu Tuan is a graduate of Hanoi Fine Arts University.
A Fourth Poem for Today
By William Carlos Williams
years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.
Musings in Winter: Charles Baudelaire
“I love to watch the fine mist of the night come on,
The windows and the stars illumined, one by one,
The rivers of dark smoke pour upward lazily,
And the moon rise and turn them silver. I shall see
The springs, the summers, and the autumns slowly pass;
And when old Winter puts his blank face to the glass,
I shall close all my shutters, pull the curtains tight,
And build me stately palaces by candlelight.”
Belgian Art – Hanneke Beaumont
In the words of one writer, “Hanneke Beaumont (born 1947 Maastricht, the Netherlands) is a Dutch-born sculptor.
She studied dentistry in the United States, but moved back to Europe, to Belgium, where she still lives today. Beaumont started her artistic studies in 1977 at the Académie de Braine l’Alleud, then at La Cambre and in Anderlecht; she received her first solo exhibition in 1983.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Gail Mazur
In the warming house, children lace their skates,
bending, choked, over their thick jackets.
A Franklin stove keeps the place so cozy
it’s hard to imagine why anyone would leave,
clumping across the frozen beach to the river.
December’s always the same at Ware’s Cove,
the first sheer ice, black, then white
and deep until the city sends trucks of men
with wooden barriers to put up the boys’
hockey rink. An hour of skating after school,
of trying wobbly figure-8’s, an hour
of distances moved backwards without falling,
then—twilight, the warming house steamy
with girls pulling on boots, their chafed legs
aching. Outside, the hockey players keep
playing, slamming the round black puck
until it’s dark, until supper. At night,
a shy girl comes to the cove with her father.
Although there isn’t music, they glide
arm in arm onto the blurred surface together,
braced like dancers. She thinks she’ll never
be so happy, for who else will find her graceful,
find her perfect, skate with her
in circles outside the emptied rink forever?
Musings in Winter: Thomm Quackenbush
“American culture enforces such rigid gender roles for male friendships that they are gay unless they materially resemble a beer commercial.”
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Helena Pravda
Artist Statement: “My work attempts to capture the individuality and imperfections of a subject and to emphasize the deeper psychological meaning relating to alternately the human subconscious and the dream state.
My background in psychology and the arts, in concert with knowledge and intuition, allows me to create a physical interpretation of the emotions and feelings that a work’s subject invokes within me. I strive to excel in deeply detailed observation and examination of people, and to distill that observation into an awakening of thoughts and emotions in my audience. My use of numerous techniques, styles, and mediums stems from an effort to not only increase my versatility as an artist, but to tailor the work to best express the nature of my subjects.
Art not only expresses the emotions of the artist, it transforms the artist’s emotions.”
Musings in Winter: John Burroughs
“If the October days were a cordial like the sub-acids of fruit, these are a tonic like the wine of iron. Drink deep or be careful how you taste this December vintage. The first sip may chill, but a full draught warms and invigorates.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Yannick Bouchard
Artist Statement: “I was born in December 1982, in Chicoutimi (Québec, Canada). I obtained my baccalaureate in visual arts at the Laval University of Québec City in 2005.
Art has always been a passion to me. As a kid, drawing was the favourite activity of mine and already back then I knew I wanted to be an artist. I was interested in comics at a younger age, but it’s only in college that painting became my main interest. My inspiration first came with the acquaintance of surrealist painters. I discovered then a world of peculiar images with obscure meanings, exploring figuratively abstract concepts through their own strange and personal vision of life, pursuing the mysteries of subconscious and dreams, bringing a different view on perception, reality, human mind and desires.
I am not claiming myself as a ‘surrealist artist’, but my art is undeniably marked by their influence. I was also very impressed by some notable fantasy artists, as well as erotic artists; the way they depict beauty and sensuality, and how they bring grandiose imaginary worlds to life.
Overall, my paintings are more or less a mixture of all those types; surrealism, fantasy, erotic, with a touch of symbolism and even sometimes macabre. But most of all, my paintings are images resulting of my inner thoughts and feelings; they are the expression of my love for the human body, the inspiring curves of femininity, as well as the superphysical side of the human mind, the mystical and the magical, or just very simple little things, like textures, colors and nature. They are not intellectual pieces. They don’t depict sophisticated and complicated opinions and cryptic theories. Their essence is to stimulate the imagination and guide viewers where only they want to go.
Mostly, I paint for myself; I paint what I want, I paint what I like, what moves me, what I feel and what I am.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
By Mary Oliver
Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.
I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –
it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried
over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out
my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,
whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.
Musings in Winter: Tove Jansson
“There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.”
American Art – Part I of II: Joseph Rodefer DeCamp (1858-1923)
In the words of one writer, “Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Joseph Rodefer DeCamp studied briefly at the McMicken School of Design before traveling abroad and enrolling at the Royal Academy in Munich in 1878. He quickly became part of the close-knit circle of American students working under Frank Duveneck in the Bavarian village of Polling and traveled with Duveneck to Venice and Florence to study old master paintings. DeCamp returned to the Ohio area in 1883 and took teaching positions at art academies in Cleveland, but by 1884, he had settled in Boston where he became an influential teacher, beginning at Wellesley College from 1884 to 1886. He also taught at the School of Drawing and Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts from 1885 to 1889, the Cowles School of Art beginning around 1890 and the Massachusetts Normal Art School from 1903 to 1923.”
Below – “The Kreutzer Sonata (The Violinist II)”; “Portrait of Edith, the Artist’s Wife”; “Portrait of a Young Lady”; “The Listener (Woman at the Theatre)”; “Our Nanny.”
A Seventh Poem for Today
By Linda Bierds
Mt. Rainier National Park
We are standing on the access road to Paradise.
Seven miles from the gates. We are standing on the centerline, the moon on our faces, the mountain at our backs. Were it less than full, we might see,
in its northwest sector, the Land of Snow
and the Ocean of Storms. Because it is full, we can see, just over our shoulders, how the Ramparts climb up toward the glaciers. We might see near the Sea
of Showers, the dark-floored crater of Plato.
How the glaciers, just over our shoulders— Pyramid, Kautz, Nisqually—shine. How the spreading bedrock shines. As if we are starting again,
we have placed—there—on the moon’s widening shadow
Kepler, Copernicus, Archimedes, Aristoteles.
And opened a Sea of Fertility. A Sea of Nectar.
As if we imagine a harvest.
No sound it seems, on the slopes, in the firs.
Nothing hoots. Nothing calves. Although through Nisqually’s steep moraine, rocks must be shifting, grasses cinching their eternal grip.
Look, in the blackness, how the moon’s rim glows,
like a ring from an ancient astrolabe.
We are standing in the roadway. There is nothing
on our faces but the glow of refracted dust.
At our backs, the mountain is shifting, aligning itself with the passing hours. First ice. Then stone.
Then the ice-green grasses. We are standing on the centerline aligning ourselves with the earth.
We are standing on the access road as if we imagine
an eternal grip. Look—they are rotating on, now.
Already a pale crescent spreads
past the Known Sea and the Muir Snowfields—
as if we are starting…—past the Trail of Shadows, the ice-green grasses,
the seas of nectar, the craters of rest,
the gardens of nothing but passing hours.
Musings in Winter: Mignon McLaughlin
“Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.”
American Art – Part II of II: Mark Hiles
Artist Statement: “I am always searching for subject matter that gives a view into the beauty of nature, this beauty can be displayed in landscapes, but also in the figurative expressions of the human form and natural beauty of fruits,vegetables and flowers. As I travel and explore, certain factors spark my creative process. Color, composition and the effects of light are a few of these factors, as well as the subject matter. I also strive to give a little different perspective in the places and things I see. I hope that someone that views my painting will find an unique and original insight into the landscapes, figures and still life I paint. My challenge is to invite the viewer into my creative process and hopefully get a taste of the excitement and enjoyment I get in creating the artwork.
I also recognize the importance of artists as recording history in time. The artwork we create show what a person or place was like in this particular time. As things in life and nature constantly change, the artist is there to record that moment in time as it may never be the same ever again.”