25 June 2017 – Beleaguered in Bothell: Part IV

Musings in Summer: George Alexiou

“Nothing that happens to you was meant to be. The only thing about you that was meant to be is you. Blaze your own trail.”

Art for Summer – Part I of VI: Matt Brackett (American, contemporary)

Below – “When the Wind Is Blowing in the East”

Musings in Summer: H.L. Mencken

“When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men.”

Art for Summer – Part II of VI: Robert Birmelin (American, contemporary)

Below – “Steps – Woman in White”

Musings in Summer: Marcel Proust

“Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, whether it is called Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance.”

Below – Rembrandt: “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer”; Vermeer: “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.”

Art for Summer – Part III of VI: Luigi Fumagalli (Italian, contemporary)

Below – Untitled Japanese Woman

A Poem for Today

“Bless Their Hearts”
By Richard Newman

At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say
whatever you want about them and it’s OK.
‘My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,’ 
she said. ‘He rents storage space for his kids’ 
toys—they’re only one and three years old!’ 
I said, ‘my father, bless his heart, has turned 
into a sentimental old fool. He gets 
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting 
on our voice mail.’ Before our Steakburgers came
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart,
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts
of the entire anthropology department.
We bestowed blessings on many a heart
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart.
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts.
In a week it would be Thanksgiving,
and we would each sit with our respective
families, counting our blessings and blessing
the hearts of family members as only family
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.

Art for Summer – Part IV of VI: Ralph Gagnon (American, 1919-1996)

Below – “Nude Blonde”

Musings in Summer: Loren Eiseley

“The need is not really for more brains, the need is now for a gentler, a more tolerant people than those who won for us against the ice, the tiger and the bear. The hand that hefted the ax, out of some old blind allegiance to the past fondles the machine gun as lovingly. It is a habit man will have to break to survive, but the roots go very deep.”

Art for Summer – Part V of VI: Dana Clancy (American, contemporary)

Below – “Winter Weight”

Musings in Summer: Peter Singer

“To protest about bullfighting in Spain, the eating of dogs in South Korea, or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada while continuing to eat eggs from hens who have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves who have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, and the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbors not to sell their houses to blacks.”

Below – A veal farm.

Art for Summer – Part VI of VI: Christopher Gallego (American, contemporary)

Below – “Kitchen Radiator” (drawing, charcoal and graphite on paper)

A Second Poem for Today

By David Black

A ‘sleeper’, they used to call it—
four passes with the giant round saw
and you had a crosstie, 7 inches by 9 of white oak—
at two hundred pounds nearly twice my weight
and ready to break finger or toe—

like coffin lids, those leftover slabs,
their new-sawn faces turning gold and brown
as my own in the hot Virginia sun,
drying toward the winter and the woodsaw

and on the day of that chore
I turned over a good, thick one
looking for the balance point

and roused a three-foot copperhead,
gold and brown like the wood,
disdaining the shoe it muscled across,

each rib distinct as a needle stitching leather,
heavy on my foot as a crosstie.

Contemporary Russian Art – Igor Galanin

In the words of one writer, “Igor Galanin began as an artist in Soviet Russia by illustrating children’s books and designing sets for the Moscow ballet theater. His desire for a career as an artist in the Western tradition took him and his young family to Rome, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1972. Upon arriving that same year in the United States, he had shows in some small and lovely places for example, an exhibit at the Red Barn Gallery on Fisher’s Island. His surreal style combines pop images from the paintings of Richard Lindner and the Cubist work of Max Ernst and Marc Chagall.”

Below – “Vermont Bears”; “Night II – Tiger”; “Bottom of the Sea”; “Her Knee”; “Everyone Left Forever”; “Parrot in Flight.”

Musings in Summer: Pat Conroy

People give me looks of pity and ask me why I want to wallow in my disconnection from a very connected world. It is simple. The world seems way too connected to me now. It seems to be ruining the lives of teenagers and bringing out the bestial cruelty in those who can hide their vileness under the mask of some idiotic pseudonym. I like to sit alone and think about things. Solitude is as precious as coin silver and it takes labor to attain it.”

American Art – Richard Sheehan (1953-2006)

In the words of one writer, “‘It’s not the quaint or pretty that interests me; it’s the dramatic interplay of masses, the change of scale from something huge to something tiny,’ Richard Sheehan once said. His urban landscapes investigate the architectonic structures of roadways, underpasses, and the grittier side of city structures. Working outdoors year-round, Sheehan transformed the Boston neighborhoods where he grew up and returned to after graduate school. Although his paintings are reflections of his deeply felt connection with a particular place, Sheehan’s work communicates, with broad brushstrokes and vivid colors, a visual language that goes beyond the specific.”

Below – Untitled; “Johnson, Vermont, USA”; “Fourth of July, ’86, USA”; “Collins Street”; “Blackstone, November ’92”; Untitled (Land); “Grey House.”

Musings in Summer: Annie Dillard

“These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present.”

Contemporary American Art – Malcolm Furlow

In the words of one writer, “You recognize his hallmarks: electrifying colors, vibrant portraiture, and masterfully constructed scenes borne from both introspection and retrospect Malcolm Furlow’s prolific body of work continues to earn critical acclaim around the world. Overwhelmingly considered a living legend, the master painter remains a significant figure in the fabric of the American Southwest. Malcolm Furlow’s paintings command principal placement in exhibitions, philanthropist campaigns, and private collections around the world.”

Below – “Wolf Pack”; “Firewatch Bears Up a Tree”; “Oglala Shaman”; “Johnny Ringo”; “Century Man”; “Warrior at the Table.”

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