From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXIX

Musings in Winter: Buck Brannaman

“You can’t look forward and backward at the same time…so I choose to look forward.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Vladimir Ovchinnikov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “The Garden of Forgotten Things”

Musings in Winter: Ken Craft

“In the dog days, when Altair and Deneb
set toward western waters, Vega
flaring in their starry wake, the choir
of peepers and crickets melds liquid
to languid; the first maple leaves ripen
and curl to red fists; pine needles spread
gold scripture across the water;
nuthatch feet circle tree trunks–
gentle scriveners
scribing the dawn of dying days.”

Below – Altair (lower left), Deneb (center, top), and Vega (upper right) – the “Summer Triangle.”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Igor Baranov (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Minotaur”

A Poem for Today

“Good Hours”
By Robert Frost

I had for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.
And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.
I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.
Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Anatoly Basin (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Two”

Musings in Winter: Pramoedya Ananta Toer

“Animals are not supposed to have the power to reason and therefore don’t care whether there is life after death. But imagine animals trying to cheer themselves up in the same way that our own ancestors did when faced with death, by believing that there is life after death. How would they resolve the problem that in the afterlife they might once more be eaten by man?”

Below – Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Contemporary French Art – Gerard Valtier

In the words of one writer, “Seething with colors, sparkling, blazing, molten gold: the whole mystery of Gerard Valtier’s painting lies in the working of this colorful living chemistry, where the thickening cover of the glaze catches the reflections of the light, which progressively becomes incandescent. The contrasting blue and yellow, basically naturalistic colors – characteristic of the impressionist palette – create a feeling of bedazzlement which send out their own light, directly imitating the natural effects of light itself. Thus, the property of the color, the interaction of colors as well as their power to create some light, definitely are the basis of Valtier’s work.”

Below – “La Cascade Aux Lumières”; “Au Bord de Leau Vive”; “Parasols Au Viel D’Or”; “Impression Venitenne”; “Douceur D’Un Beau Dimanche”;

Musings in Winter: Christie Purifoy

“Homecoming is a single word, and we use it to describe a single event. But true homecoming requires more time. It seems to be a process rather than a moment. Perhaps we come home the way the earth comes home to the sun. It could be that homecoming is always a return and our understanding of home deepens with each encounter.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Anastasia Bazanova

In the words of one writer, “In 1978, Anastasia Bazanova was born into a family of artists in the ancient Russian town of Kaluga.
Bazanova’s art calling did not awaken in early childhood so her parents had to insist that she study fine arts. Later in life the artist expressed deep gratitude to her parents for helping her to realize where her future lay. As a result Bazanova studied at the renowned St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts where she focused her efforts primarily in the graphics department, under the guidance of Professor Pakhomov.
Bazanova’s artistic interest lies in nudes and landscapes. The way in which Bazanova executes her subject matter shows exactly how she underwent her classical training. On paper, Bazanova’s artistic world is an idealistic one in complete peace and where quiet reigns. Warm sunlight illuminates a landscape or a statutory nude and the female characters within her works are usually depicted as flawless, resembling the women of Greek mythologies.
Bazanova often returns to her pieces to become fully absorbed in altering fine details while ensuring that the composition remains in absolute harmony.”

Below – “Morning”; “Cafe Holiday”; “Hills”; “Night”; “Night II.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Arthur Sze

Faucets drip, and the night plunges to minus
     fifteen degrees. Today you stared at a map
of Africa on a school wall and shook your head
     at “Yugoslavia” written along the Adriatic
coast near the top—how many times
     are lines drawn and redrawn, and to what end?

This ebony bead yours, that amber one
     another’s. A coelacanth swims in the depths
off Mozambique and eludes a net; a crystal
     layer forms behind your retinas. Today
you saw the long plastic sheet in the furrow
     blown, like a shroud, around elm branches.

A V-shaped aquatic grass cutter leans
     against the porch, and you ponder how things
get to where they are. A young writer
     from Milwaukee who yearned to travel calls—
he’s hiked the Himalayas and frets
     at what to do: in Nepal, during civil strife,

he and an Israeli backpacker smoked
     and yakked all night in the emptied hotel;
now that the snow is dissolving off Everest,
     bodies of climbers and trash are exposed.
A glowing eel in the darkness—anguish.
     He clacks the beads, ‘how to live, where to go.’

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Egor Bogachev

In the words of one writer, “Egor Bogachev is a St. Petersburg based graphic artist, engraver, painter and graphic designer. In 2003, he graduated from Saint Petersburg State Academy of Art and Industry with a specialization in graphic art. In 2000, he began working as engraver in the Bogachev Art Studio under Anatoly Bogachev, renowned gunsmith-artist and founder of the modern school of a handcraft cold steel. Bogachev Art Studio is the winner of numerous foreign and domestic arts and crafts exhibitions. Bogachev Art Studio’s works are in museums and private collections in Russia, USA, Brazil, Venezuela, United Kingdom, France, UAE. In 2003, Egor Bogachev stared to work as a graphic designer; in 2007-2011 he was an artistic director of the Russian Blade company. In 2008, he started working in oil painting. He lives and works in St. Petersburg.”

Below – “Untitled 7”; “Russian Monroe”; “Night”; “Factory”; “Boris and Gleb.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Road Warriors”
By Charles Wright

My traveling clothes light up the noon.
I’ve been on my way for a long time
                                                            back to the past,
That irreconcilable city.
Everyone wants to join me, it seems, and I let them.
Roadside flowers drive me to distraction,
Hover like lapus lazuli, there, just out of reach.

Narrow road, wide road, all of us on it, unhappy,
Unsettled, seven yards short of immortality
And a yard short of ‘not long to live’.
Better to sit down in the tall grass
                                                        and watch the clouds,
To lift our faces up to the sky,
Considering—for most of us—our lives have been a constant mistake.

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“In the spring or warmer weather when the snow thaws in the woods the tracks of winter reappear on slender pedestals and the snow reveals in palimpsest old buried wanderings, struggles, scenes of death. Tales of winter brought to light again like time turned back upon itself.”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Paul Walden

Artist Statement: “I was once concerned with the relationship between forms–squares, spheres, straight lines–and sought to take forms to their simplest essence which has evolved to my current work. At the same time, I was concerned with the free expression of the intuitive process and the development of a technique that would create spontaneous patterns of color. This achieved two ends: One, even if I repeated a pattern that interested me, the painting would be drastically different each time due to the spontaneity of the elements used in its creation. Two, the subliminal patterns that emerged created a perfect field of ‘apparent chaos’ upon which I could place simplified structures. This achieved the balance between spontaneity and the notion of composition that I sought.
I use the phrase ‘apparent chaos,’ because spontaneity–when viewed in a limited sense–only appears chaotic. However, spontaneity has its own intrinsic sense of order due to the subconscious elements of the human mind that created it. It is my belief that the human mind cannot escape order and structure even when involved in spontaneous activities. The repetition of the painting process and the layering techniques I have developed are the tools that allow the intuitive perceptions of an underlying order to emerge.
Added to this approach is a continued concern for color and the internal aesthetics of color choice which must play, of course, with the application of light in order to achieve the emotional depth wanted. I view one of my paintings as successful when there is a balance and harmony between all these elements, thus giving the painting a luminous quality.”

Below – “Winter’s End”; “Crucible Series”; “Ancient Tau”; “Riding the Dragon”; “Through the Looking Glass”; “Stainedglass 1.”

Musings in Winter: Madeline L’Engle

“One time, when I was little more than a baby, I was taken to visit my grandmother, who was living in a cottage on a nearly uninhabited stretch of beach in northern Florida. All I remember of this visit is being picked up from my crib in what seemed the middle of the night and carried from my bedroom and out of doors, where I had my first look at the stars. It must have been an unusually clear and beautiful night for someone to have said, ‘Let’s wake the baby and show her the stars.’ The night sky, the constant rolling of the breakers against the shore, the stupendous light of the stars, all made an indelible impression on me. I was intuitively aware not only of a beauty I had never seen before but also that the world was far greater than the protected limits of the small child’s world which was all I had known thus far. I had a total, if not very conscious, moment of revelation: I saw creation bursting the bounds of daily restriction, and stretching out from dimension to dimension, beyond any human comprehension.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: Carole Cooke

In the words of one writer, “Cooke began her professional career in the film industry, working first as a producer and later finding her niche in the more creative role of Art Director.
During this period, she also began to explore her potential as a fine artist. Fired by relentless determination and a dedication to research, Cooke studied the work of European Masters, the Early California Impressionists and the Taos Masters, internalizing their expertise as a means to finding her own artistic voice.
This commitment to achieving excellence in her own creative efforts was rewarded when her work was accepted in the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach in 1997. Soon after, she became an Artist Member of the California Art Club and a Signature Member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. Despite these achievements, Cooke became disenchanted with the growing urban sprawl in her native California, a reality that motivated her move to Pagosa Springs, Colorado in 2001.
Aware that as an artist she is often privileged to explore locations the average person will never visit, Cooke has committed herself to painting images that allow her viewers to share the excitement and joy she finds in the pristine beauty of nature. Cooke’s hope is that beyond bringing lasting enjoyment, these images will also encourage her viewers to join in efforts to preserve these vanishing treasures.”

Below – “Chamisa”; “Hunter Lake”; “Mid-Summer Day’s Dream”; “Into the Shadows”; “Summer Storm”; “Skyline”; “Shore Break”; “Up on the Timberline.”

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