Beleaguered in Bothell – 29 January 2018

Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard

“The woods are acres of sticks: I could walk to the Gulf of Mexico in a straight line. When the leaves fall, the striptease is over; things stand mute and revealed. Everywhere skies extend, vistas deepen, walls become windows, doors open.”

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Jaline Pol (French, contemporary)

Below – “A Fleur D’Eau”; Untitled Still Life; “Eruption Florales”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 29 January 1860 – Anton Chekhov, a Russian short story writer and playwright.

Some quotes from the work of Anton Chekhov:

“It is time for writers to admit that nothing in this world makes sense. “Only fools and charlatans think they know and understand everything. The stupider they are, the wider they conceive their horizons to be. And if an artist decides to declare that he understands nothing of what he sees – this in itself constitutes a considerable clarity in the realm of thought, and a great step forward.”
“The task of a writer is not to solve the problem but to state the problem correctly.”
“We are accustomed to live in hopes of good weather, a good harvest, a nice love-affair, hopes of becoming rich or getting the office of chief of police, but I’ve never noticed anyone hoping to get wiser. We say to ourselves: it’ll be better under a new tsar, and in two hundred years it’ll still be better, and nobody tries to make this good time come tomorrow. On the whole, life gets more and more complex every day and moves on its own sweet will, and people get more and more stupid, and get isolated from life in ever-increasing numbers.”
“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”
“Life is given only once, and one wants to live it boldly, with full consciousness and beauty.”

Art for Winter – Part II of IV: John Powell (American, contemporary)

Below – “Orchids and Sunlight”; “Mesa Verde”; “Peacock Screen”

Worth a Thousand Words: The Darwaza crater, known locally as the “Door to Hell” or “Gates of Hell,” in Turkmenistan. This photograph taken by Tino Solomon was a National Award Winner.

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Thomas Pradzynski (Polish/French, 1951-2007)

Below – “American Suite of 2”; “Absolut”; “Villa Rimbaud”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 29 January 1933 – Sara Teasdale, an American poet.

“There Will Come Soft Rain”
by Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Barbara Ernst Prey (American, contemporary)

Below – “Friendship I”; “Vinalhaven Victorian”; “After the Rain”

Musings in Winter: James Agee

“We got dressed, and walked downstairs and into the parlor. Everyone was clean in the clean parlor, and waiting for supper, sitting patiently but unrelaxed; with labor past, with hands unbusied, with mind unmolested, they sat very tired waiting for their food and for their few hours of quiet and for their few hours of sleep; and for the next morning, and for the next evening, and for a Sunday, and for another week and Sunday; for autumn and for winter, for spring and for summer; for another year, for another ten; for the slow chemistry of change and age; for the loss of pigments and tissues, of senses and wits, of faculties and perceptions; for the silencing of all clamor and the sealing of all sight; for the final levelling of all desire, of all despair, of all joy, of all tribulations; for the final quelling of all fear and pride and love and disaffection; for the final dissolution of the flesh and of all that flesh must suffer, sickness of soul and body, fast-withering delight and clouded love, unkindness and grief and wrong beyond reckoning; for the final resolution of all the good they had wrought, and all the ill; they sat resting after battle, with quiet hands and unperceiving eyes, without emotion to receive once more the deliberate edge of evening.”

This Date in Art History: Born 29 January 1866 – Julio Peris Brell, a Spanish painter.

Below – “Javea”; “Bodegon”; “Interior de Barraca”; “La Barraca”; “Self-Portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 29 January 1963 – Robert Frost, an American poet.

“Acquainted with the Night”
by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

This Date in Art History: Born 29 January 1858 – Henry Ward Ranger, an American painter.

Below – “Spring Woods”; “The Lone Sentinel”; “Groton Long Point”; “Autumn Woodlands”; “New England Village”; “The Windmill.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 29 January 1927 – Edward Abbey, an American writer, environmentalist, and author of “Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness.”

Some quotes from the work of Edward Abbey:

“The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”
“Freedom begins between the ears.”
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”
“There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.”
“If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies’ territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers.”
“There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
“High technology has done us one great service: It has retaught us the delight of performing simple and primordial tasks – chopping wood, building a fire, drawing water from a spring.”
“Industrial tourism is a threat to the national parks. But the chief victims of the system are the motorized tourists. They are being robbed and robbing themselves. So long as they are unwilling to crawl out of their cars they will not discover the treasures of the national parks and will never escape the stress and turmoil of the urban-suburban complexes which they had hoped, presumably, to leave behind for a while.”
“There are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.”
“Belief? What do I believe in? I believe in sun. In rock. In the dogma of the sun and the doctrine of the rock. I believe in blood, fire, woman, rivers, eagles, storm, drums, flutes, banjos, and broom-tailed horses.”
“This is the most beautiful place on Earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.”

Contemporary American Art – Frederick Prescott

In the words of one writer, “Metal sculptor and artist Frederick Prescott is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important kinetic steel sculpture artists of our time. Prescott has been instrumental in the development of assemblage, or constructions of various pieces, in sculpture. He is widely recognized for his high level of technical proficiency combined with the whimsy of his subjects. Movement and surprise are key elements of a Prescott sculpture. He surprises the viewer by combining weighty and massive materials with light and whimsical subjects. The technical construction creates balance, while the spatial planes lend movement. Frederick Prescott is constantly recreating himself, yet one can find a common thread throughout his work in the combination of a passion for life and a passion for art.”

Below – “Coyote Sunset” (kinetic metal); “Saturday Night at the Movies” (kinetic metal); “Cow Jumped Over the Moon” (kinetic metal); “Hollywood” (kinetic metal); “Wild, Wild West” (kinetic metal); “Rocking Coyote” (kinetic steel).

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