From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXI

Musings in Winter: Gary Snyder

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”


Art for Winter – Part I of III: Sylvester Phelps Hodgdon (1830-1906)

Below – “Park Street in Winter, Boston”


A Poem for Today

“9773 Comanche Ave.”
By David Trinidad

In color photographs, my childhood house looks
fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim

squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
Whose dream was this confection?
This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?

The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
The Avon Lady treks door to door.

Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
squinting in California sunlight,
striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.

I sit in the backyard (this picture’s black-and-white),
my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
each palm tree and round “granite” house.

Half a century later, I barely recognize it
when I search the address on Google Maps
and, via “Street view,” find myself face to face—

foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted
a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
one of the windows. I can almost see what’s inside.


Art for Winter – Part II of III: Edward Hopper (American, 1882-1967)

Below – “Farm House at Essex”


Musings in Winter: Jean Cocteau

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”


Art for Winter – Part III of III: William S. Horton (American, 1865-1936)

Below – “Sun in the Mountains, Gstaad”


A Second Poem for Today

“At Lumen-Empty Monastery, Visiting the Hermitage of Master Jung, My Departed Friend”
By Meng Hao-jan

The blue-lotus roof standing beside a pond,
White-Horse Creek tumbling through forests,

and my old friend some strange thing now.
A lingering visitor, alone and grief-stricken

after graveside rites among pines, I return,
Looking for your sitting-mat spread on rock.

Bamboo that seems always my own thoughts:
It keeps fluttering here at your thatch hut.


Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“‘One never reaches home,’ she said. ‘But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.’”


British Art – Adam Barsby

In the words of one writer, “Adam Barsby was born in Leicester in 1969. After graduating in Illustration at The Kent Institute of Art and Design with a first class honours degree in 1992, he began his artistic career as a freelance illustrator. At the same time he began working in galleries in and around London. This is where he saw painting and fine art as a vehicle not only to successfully finance himself, but as a means to express his creativity.
Since turning fully professional in 1996, Adam has been awarded a number of accolades which include Best Up and Coming Artist 1999, Best Selling Artist of the Year 2000, and no less than three nominations for Best Published Artist.
For the last two years however, Adam has sought to redefine his style. Figurative work has enabled him to express his ideas about love and our journey through life. Landscapes, Cityscapes and Seascapes are also common themes that help express his love for the world around him.”








A Third Poem for Today

By Naomi Shihab Nye

These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips

These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares

These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out

This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky

This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it

The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world


Musings in Winter: Isaac Asimov

“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.”


German Art – Caroline Caprice de Melo

In the words of critic Elena Rempel, “This name appropriately characterises the essentials of the works of Melo: They come from her deepest inside and offer to the viewer an amount from astonishing and original approaches of situations, people and moods.”







A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Cabbage”
By Ruth Stone

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter’s painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.

Below – Mary James: “The Cabbage”


Musings in Winter: Kahlil Gibran

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”


Taiwanese Art – Hsin Yao Tseng

In the words of one writer, “Hsin-Yao Tseng was born in Taipei Taiwan in 1986. He was born to be an artist. At the age of ten, he began painting in watercolors, as well as other mediums. This activity at such an early age was self-inspired and self-taught. It gave Hsin-Yao insights into the foundation he would need to excel in producing work to the standards he expected.
He received his B.F.A of Fine Art Painting from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2009. The subjects he chooses to explore include landscapes, the figure and still-life using bright color and expressive brush-strokes. The word “explore” is chosen purposely to describe Hsin-Yao’s artistic drive and evolution as a fine artist. He will experiment with technique using his medium to accentuate the intrinsic personality of his subjects and themes. An urban scene will be expressed in a more organic, edgey manner causing him to use his medium in a bit more aggressive and spontaneous fashion, while painting figure requires a more gentle and cautious hand.”








A Fifth Poem for Today

“On the Disadvantages of Central Heating”
By Amy Clampitt

cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod
stove-warmed flatiron slid under
the covers, mornings a damascene-
sealed bizarrerie of fernwork
decades ago now

waking in northwest London, tea
brought up steaming, a Peak Frean
biscuit alongside to be nibbled
as blue gas leaps up singing
decades ago now

damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung
habitat of bronchitis, of long
hot soaks in the bathtub, of nothing
quite drying out till next summer:
delicious to think of

hassocks pulled in close, toasting-
forks held to coal-glow, strong-minded
small boys and big eager sheepdogs
muscling in on bookish profundities
now quite forgotten

the farmhouse long sold, old friends
dead or lost track of, what’s salvaged
is this vivid diminuendo, unfogged
by mere affect, the perishing residue
of pure sensation


Musings in Winter: George Carlin

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ”

Carlin copy

American Art – Part I of II: Charles Hopkinson

In the words of one writer, “A highly successful portrait painter with such elite clients as President Calvin Coolidge and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Charles Hopkinson was acclaimed by Time Magazine in 1948 as “The Dean of U.S. Portraitists.” His success was evident early on when he received his training at some of the most prestigious local and foreign institutions. Born and raised in Cambridge, Hopkinson was a Harvard graduate who went on to study at the Art Students League in New York and at the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1897, he received his first portrait commission to paint the then infant, E. E. Cummings. Later commissions resulted from the interest of his friends and neighbors, as well as from his Harvard connection, including a series of 45 portraits of Harvard presidents. Between the years of 1920 and 1950, Hopkinson went on to complete over 350 commissioned portraits.”

Below – “Harriot Drawing”; “Ladies on the Lawn”; “Colorful Fields”; “Woman with White Scarf”; “View from the Porch, Manchester”; “Huckleberries, Naushon, MA.”







A Sixth Poem for Today

By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.


Musings in Winter: Ptolemy

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.”


American Art – Part Ii of II: Aldro T. Hibbard

In the words of one writer, “Aldro Hibbard, like his namesake, 16th century Italian artist-naturalist Ulysses Aldrovandi, found enough in nature for a lifetime of contemplation and study. Trained at the Boston Museum School, Hibbard carried forth the tenets of traditional academic art into the 20th century. Upon his return to Boston from a whirlwind tour of Europe, Hibbard painted several fine winter landscapes, including Winter Days, which was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts in 1920. He exhibited widely across the U.S. and launched himself in the Boston art world with a one-man exhibition at the Boston Art Club in 1916. Three years later, a show of his winter scenes at the Guild of Boston Artists received glowing reviews.”

Below –  “Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta, Canada”; “Vermont Valley in Winter”; “Windswept Cypress, Carmel, California”; “Winter Waterfall”; “Snowy Landscape”; “Winter Thaw.”







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