Beleaguered in Bothell – 23 January 2018

Musings in Winter: Clarence Tillenius

“I believe that there is in the universe an underlying rhythm, a stream of life common to all ages; that the work of an artist who could tap into that rhythm would be timeless, it would be understood in any age, since man himself is bound by, and responds to, the same rhythm as the animals.
When that rhythm calls me to a universe other than this one; I ask each of you, who wish to remember me, to look at my paintings or my dioramas. As long as my work is appreciated by the generations that follow, my work will have tapped into that rhythm and will be timeless; even though I have now crossed that great Divide.”

Below – Clarence Tillenius (1913-2012): “Big Horn Rams on the Divide”

Art for Winter – Ken Payne (American, contemporary)

Below – “Wolf Society” (bronze); “Night Shadows” (bronze); “Calling His Brothers From the Distant Past” (bronze)

For Your Information: 23 January is National Pie Day in the United States.


This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1913 – Jean-Michel Atlan, a French painter.

Below – “Orient”; Untitled; “Composition”; “Bird”; Untitled.

Remembering a Scholar on the Date of His Death: Died 23 January 1991 – Northrop Frye, a Canadian literary critic and literary theorist.

Some quotes from the work of Northrop Frye:

“The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.”
“Literature as a whole is not an aggregate of exhibits with red and blue ribbons attached to them, like a cat-show, but the range of articulate human imagination as it extends from the height of imaginative heaven to the depth of imaginative hell.”
“The fact that creative powers come from an area of the mind that seems to be independent of the conscious will, and often emerge with a good deal of emotional disturbance in their wake, provides the chief analogy between prophecy and the arts…Some people pursue wholeness and integration, others get smashed up, and fragments are rescued from the smash of an intensity that the wholeness and integration people do not reach.”
“Literature speaks the language of the imagination, and the study of literature is supposed to train and improve the imagination.”
“The kind of problem that literature raises is not the kind that you ever ‘solve’. Whether my answers are any good or not, they represent a fair amount of thinking about the questions.”
“We must reject that most dismal and fatuous notion that education is a preparation for life.”
“Advertising – a judicious mixture of flattery and threats.
“We are always in the place of beginning; there is no advance in infinity.”
“Even the human heart is slightly left of centre.”
“This story of loss and regaining of identity is, I think, the framework of all literature.”
“The simple point is that literature belongs to the world man constructs, not to the world he sees; to his home, not his environment.”

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1938 – Georg Baselitz, a German painter.

Below – “Head”; “Sleeping Dog”; “Twice Down the Stairs”; Untitled; “Rebel.”

Musings in Winter: Camille Paglia

“Everything is melting in nature. We think we see objects, but our eyes are slow and partial. Nature is blooming and withering in long puffy respirations, rising and falling in oceanic wave-motion. A mind that opened itself fully to nature without sentimental preconception would be glutted by nature’s coarse materialism, its relentless superfluity. An apple tree laden with fruit: how peaceful, how picturesque. But remove the rosy filter of humanism from our gaze and look again. See nature spuming and frothing, its mad spermatic bubbles endlessly spilling out and smashing in that inhuman round of waste, rot, and carnage. From the jammed glassy cells of sea roe to the feathery spores poured into the air from bursting green pods, nature is a festering hornet’s nest of aggression and overkill. This is the chthonian black magic with which we are infected as sexual beings; this is the daemonic identity that Christianity so inadequately defines as original sin and thinks it can cleanse us of. Procreative woman is the most troublesome obstacle to Christianity’s claim to catholicity, testified by its wishful doctrines of Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth. The procreativeness of chthonian nature is an obstacle to all of western metaphysics and to each man in his quest for identity against his mother. Nature is the seething excess of being.”


This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1927 – Fred Williams, an Australian painter.

Below – “Landscape with rock”; “Fallen tree”; “Trees on Hillside”; “Dancer”; “My garden”; “Hillock.”


Worth a Thousand Words: The joy and beauty of sparklers.


This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1922 – Rene Beeh, an Alsatian painter and draughtsman.

Below – “A Dog”; “An Arab”; “Ursula”; “Legionaire”l “Self-portrait with a turban.”

Musings in Winter: Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

“Spring is beautiful, and summer is perfect for vacations, but autumn brings a longing to get away from the unreal things of life, out into the forest at night with a campfire and the rustling leaves.”


This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1947 – Pierre Bonnard, a French painter.

Below – “The Dining Room in the Country”; “Cats on the Railing”; “Woman Washing Her Feet”; “At the Circus”; “Woman in a Checkered Dress”; “The Red Garter.”

A Poem for Today

“Body”
by May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift
how will I hide?


This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1989 – Salvador Dali, a Spanish (Catalan) Surrealist painter and sculptor.

Below – “Persistence of Memory”; “Alice in Wonderland”; “Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening”; “Gaia in the Window”; “Bacchanale”; “Tuna Fishing.”


Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“It was that glorious hour, with the daylight still glowing everywhere, but the moon already gleaming and the first bats dipping in the green, shimmering air. On the edge of the woods stood dissolving in the last light, bright chestnut trunks against black shadows. A yellow cottage softly radiated the daylight it had absorbed, glowing gently like a topaz. The small paths pink and violet, led through meadows, vineyards and woods. The western sky hung golden and green above the velvet blue mountains. Oh, to be able to work now, in the last enchanted quarter hour of ripe summer’s day which would never come again!”

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1922 – Leon Golub, an American painter.

Below – “Interrogation”; “Horsing Around”; “Mercs”; “Horsing Around IV”; “Like Yeah”; “Trust Me.”

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