Beleaguered in Bothell – 27 February 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 27 February 1807 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet.

The opening stanza of “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie,” which I regard as some of the loveliest language in the history of American poetry.

THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Jeanette Pasin Sloan (American, contemporary)

Below – “Heroic Materialism”; “Sears Tower, Chicago”; “Alignment”


Worth a Thousand Words: An August scene of fruit and flowers in Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire, Wales; photograph by Nigel McCall.

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

Below – “Flying over the City”; “Night’s Reflections”; “Cherry Blossom”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 27 February 1904 – James T. Farrell, an American novelist, short story writer, and poet.

A few quotes from the work of James T. Farrell:

“America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true.”
“He was sad because he had grown up, and because the years passed like a river that no man could stop.”
“He was still where he had always been. Just hoping.”


Art for Winter – Part III of III: Sergey Smirnov (Russian, 1953-2006)

Below – “Geisha in Red”; “Golden Evening”; “Homage to Chagall”

For Your Information: 27 February is International Polar Bear Day.

This Date in Art History: Born 27 February 1863 – Joaquin Sorolla, a Spanish painter.

Below – “Pine Trees”; “Women Walking on the Beach”; “Reflections in a Fountain”; “Oxen at the Beach”; “A Rooftop with Flowers”; “Clothilde at the Beach.”

A Poem for Today

“Today”
by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Below – Fred Steinman: “A Perfect Spring Day”


This Date in Art History: Born 27 February 1901 – Marino Marini, an Italian sculptor.

Below – “Horse and Rider”; “Torso”; “Susanna”; “The Concept of the Rider”; “Harlequin”; “Head of Stravinsky.”


Remembering an Uncommonly Witty Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 27 February 1910 – Peter De Vries, an American journalist, author, and Sage.

Some quotes from the work of Peter De Vries:

“Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection.”
“There are times when parenthood seems nothing more than feeding the hand that bites you.”
“Life is a zoo in a jungle.”
“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
“The idea of a Supreme Being who creates a world in which one creature is designed to eat another in order to subsist, and then pass a law saying, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ is so monstrously, immeasurably, bottomlessly absurd that I am at a loss to understand how mankind has entertained or given it house room all this long.”
“Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of [parenthood] is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”
“My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too.”
“The murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums.”
“Why is the awfulness of families such a popular reason for starting another?”
“Deep down, he’s shallow.”
“Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”
“I believe that man must learn to live without those consolations called religious, which is own intelligence must by now have told him belong to the childhood of the race. Philosophy can really give us nothing permanent to believe either; it is too rich in answers, each canceling out the rest. The quest for Meaning is foredoomed. Human life ‘means’ nothing. But this is not to say that it is not worth living. What does a Debussy Arabesque ‘mean,’ or a rainbow or a rose? A man delights in all of these, knowing himself to be no more–a wisp of music and a haze of dreams dissolving against the sun. Man has only his own two feet to stand on, his own human trinity to see him through: Reason, Courage, and Grace. And the first plus the second equals the third.”
“We all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.”
“A man has to believe in something, and I believe I’ll have another drink.”
“We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.”

American Art – Alfred Skondovitch (1927-2011)

Artist Statement: “I produce my art because I have to, the way other people breathe. I have worked since childhood. In order to express myself I must get the ideas in my head on paper or canvas. My life is my art, just as my family is my life. I feel you are influenced by others in your art and you also influence others—it is this cauldron that makes the artist.
I have spent the last 53 years in Alaska where, regardless of other life events, I have continued to create my art. My roots are in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s and 1950s; in the 1950s I worked and studied in New York where I had the privilege of personal friendships with many artists of this movement.”

Below – “River Landscape”; “Early Snow”; “Landscape Alaska”; “The Cache”; “Patti”; “Miss Aurora.”

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