Beleaguered in Bothell – 22 February 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 22 February 1788 – Arthur Schopenhauer, a German philosopher and author.

Some quotes from the work of Arthur Schopenhauer:

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”
“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”
“We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.”
“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.”
“It would be better if there were nothing. Since there is more pain than pleasure on earth, every satisfaction is only transitory, creating new desires and new distresses, and the agony of the devoured animal is always far greater than the pleasure of the devourer.”
“What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.”
“A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man.”

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Lillian Shao (Chinese, contemporary)

Below – “Autumn Moon”; “Midnight at Palace Court”; “Chrysanthemum Song”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 22 February 1939 – Antonio Machado, a Spanish poet.

[“Traveler your footprints”]
by Antonio Machado

Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.

Art for Winter – Part II of IV: Calman Shemi (Argentinian, contemporary)

Below – “Still Life in Blue”; “Reflection of Trees in a Lake”; “Spring Field”

For Your Information: 22 February is National Margarita Day in the United States.

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Charles Sherman (American, contemporary)

Below -“Serenity” (bronze); “Siren Song”; “Reflections of Infinity” (ceramic)

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 22 February 1892 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American poet, playwright, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

“Dirge Without Music”
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.

Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Felix Sherman (Russian/American, contemporary)

Below – “Flying”; “Venus and Amur”; “Red Shoe”

Worth a Thousand Words: An endangered medicinal plant growing wild in the mountains of Yunnan in China. Artist Yi Fan won an award for this photograph.

This Date in Art History: Died 22 February 1987 – Andy Warhol, an American painter and photographer.

Below (from the Endangered Species Portfolio) – “Orangutan”; “Bald Eagle”; “Grevy’s Zebra”; “Pine Barrens Tree Frog”; “Giant Panda”; “Siberian Tiger.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 22 February 1925 – Gerald Stern, an American poet and recipient of the National Book Award for Poetry.

“This Is It”
by Gerald Stern

It is my emotions that early me through Lambertville, New Jersey,
sheer feeling—and an obscure detour—that brings me to a coffee shop
called “This Is It” and a small New Jersey clapboard
with a charming fake sign announcing it to be
the first condemned building in the United States
and an old obese collie sitting on the cement steps
of the front porch begging forgiveness with his red eyes.
I talk to the coughing lady for five minutes,
admire her sign, her antique flag, her dog,
and share her grief over the loss of the house next door,
boarded up forever, tied up in estates,
surrounded by grass, doomed to an early fire.

Everyone is into my myth! The whole countryside
is studying weeds, collecting sadness, dreaming
of odd connections and no place more than Lambertville
will do for ghosts to go through your body
or people to live out their lives with a blurred vision.
The old woman is still talking. She tells me
about her youth, she tells me about her mother’s ganglia
and how the doctor slammed a heavy Bible down
on her watery wrist, scattering spoons and bread crumbs
and turning over little tin containers
of alyssum and snapdragon. She tells me about the
curved green glass that is gone forever. She tells me
about her dog and its monotonous existence.

Ah, but for sadness there are very few towns like Lambertville.
It drips with grief, it almost sags from the weight.
I know Frackville, Pa., and Sandusky, Ohio,
and I know coal chutes, empty stores and rusty rivers
but Lambertville is special, it is a wooden stage set,
a dream-ridden carcass where people live out serious lives
with other people’s secrets, trying to touch with their hands
and eat with their cold forks, and open houses with their keys;
and sometimes, on a damp Sunday, they leave the papers on the front porch
to walk down York Street or Buttonwood Street
past abandoned factories and wooden garages,
past the cannon with balls and the new band shell,
past the downtown churches and the antique shops,
and even across the metal plates on the Delaware River
to stinking New Hope, where all their deep longing
is reduced to an hour and a half of greedy buying.

I crawl across the street to have my coffee at the low counter,
to listen to the noise of the saws drifting through the open window
and to study the strange spirit of this tar paper café
stuck on a residential street three or four blocks
from Main and Bridge where except for the sudden windfall
of the looping detour it would be relegated forever
to the quiet company of three or four close friends
and the unexpected attention of a bored crossing guard
or exhausted meter man or truck driver.
I listen to the plans of the three teen-age businessmen
about to make their fortune in this rotting shack
and walk—periodically—past the stainless steel sink
to take my piss in the misplaced men’s room.
I watch the bright happy girls organize their futures
over and around the silent muscular boys
and I wait, like a peaceful man, hours on end,
for the truck out back to start, for the collie to die,
for the flies to come, for the summer to bring its reckoning.

American Art – Millard Sheets (1987-1989)

In the words of one writer, “By the early 1930s, he was well on his way to national recognition as a prominent American artist. He was exhibiting works in Paris, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Baltimore and many other cities throughout the United States. At home in Los Angeles, he was recognized as the leading figure and driving force behind the California Style watercolor movement. Between 1935 and 1941, the recognition, awards, and his output of high quality art increased. He was mentioned in numerous issues of Art Digest, had a color reproduction in the book Eyes on America, and in 1935 at age twenty-eight, he was the subject of a book published in Los Angeles. Sales of art enabled him to travel to Europe, Central America and Hawaii, where he painted on location. Although his watercolor painting techniques during this period varied from very tight to very loose, his personal style always came through. During World War II, he was an artist-correspondent for Life magazine and the United States Air Force in India and Burma. Many of his works from this period document the scenes of famine, war and death that he witnessed. This experience also affected his post war art for a number of years. Many of his works from the 1940s, painted in California and Mexico, reflect these mood shifts, especially when he used dark tonal values and depressing subject matter. After the 1950s, his style changed again, this time featuring brighter colors and often times depicting subjects from his travels around the world.”

Below – “San Dimas Train Station”; “Old Village”; “Mexican Flower Sellers”; “Girl with calabash of fruit”; “Moua Puta Across Drake Bay”; “Barking Rock, Gualala.”

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