Sentient in Seattle – 30 May 2018

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Death: Died 30 May 1960 – Boris Pasternak, a Russian poet, novelist, translator, and recipient of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Boris Pasternak:

“I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn’t of much value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.”
“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
“Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.”
“The great majority of us are required to live a constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected by it if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what bring brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity.”
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.”
“Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.”


Art for Spring – Part I of II: Carrie Graber (American, contemporary)

Below – “Warm Rain”; “Our Companions”; “A Late Dinner”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 30 May 1903 – Countee Cullen, an American poet, novelist, children’s writer, and playwright.

“The Wise”
by Countee Cullen

Dead men are wisest, for they know
How far the roots of flowers go,
How long a seed must rot to grow.

Dead men alone bear frost and rain
On throbless heart and heatless brain,
And feel no stir of joy or pain.

Dead men alone are satiate;
They sleep and dream and have no weight,
To curb their rest, of love or hate.

Strange, men should flee their company,
Or think me strange who long to be
Wrapped in their cool immunity.


Art for Spring – Part II of II: Mark Gray (Australian, contemporary)

Below (all photographs) – “Awaken”; “Astral Light”; “Gibson’s Beach Sunrise”

Worth a Thousand Words: Mount Etna, Catania, Sicily.


This Date in Art History: Born 30 May 1928 – Pro Hart, an Australian painter.

Below – “The Homestead”; “The Opening of the Opera House”; “The Picnic”; Untitled; “Spring Flowers”; “Country Race Meeting.”

Remembering an Influential Writer and Thinker on the Date of His Death: Died 30 May 1778 – Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet), a French writer, philosopher, historian, and author of “Candide.”

Some quotes from the work of Voltaire:

“If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.”
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
“The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.”
“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”
“Beware of the words ‘internal security,’ for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor.”
“The mirror is a worthless invention. The only way to truly see yourself is in the reflection of someone else’s eyes.”
“The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.”
“Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool.”
“Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.”
“Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.”
“Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.”
“What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he’s certain he’ll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?”
“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”
“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”
“I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.”

American Art – R. C. Gorman (1931-2005): Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Rudolph Carl Gorman was a Native American artist of the Navajo Nation.”

Below – “Naranja”; “Calabasas” (ceramic vase); “Night Watch”; “Moon Flower”; “Hopi”; “Gossips.”

Musings in Spring: Sei Shonagon

“In winter the early mornings [are the most beautiful]. It is beautiful indeed when snow has fallen during the night, but splendid too when the ground is white with frost; or even when there is no snow or frost, but it is simply very cold and the attendants hurry from room to room stirring up the fires and bringing charcoal, how well this fits the season’s mood! But as noon approaches and the cold wears off, no one bothers to keep the braziers alight, and soon nothing remains but piles of white ashes.”


American Art – R. C. Gorman (1931-2005): Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “Referred to as ‘the Picasso of American Indian artists’ by ‘The New York Times’, his paintings are primarily of Native American women and characterized by fluid forms and vibrant colors, though he also worked in sculpture, ceramics, and stone lithography.”

Below – “Secrets”; “Joke State II” (ceramic vase); “Pueblo”; “Beauty Way”; “Aurora”; “Modesta.”

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