Sentient in San Francisco – 24 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 24 March 1862 – Frank Weston Benson, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Summer”; “Interior”; “Herons and Lilies”; “Portrait of My Wife”; “Moonlight on the Waters”; “Red and Gold.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 24 March 1905 – Jules Verne, a French novelist, poet, and playwright.

Some quotes from the work of Jules Verne:

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”
“Travel enables us to enrich our lives with new experiences, to enjoy and to be educated, to learn respect for foreign cultures, to establish friendships, and above all to contribute to international cooperation and peace throughout the world.”
“Well, I feel that we should always put a little art into what we do. It’s better that way.”
“It seems wisest to assume the worst from the beginning…and let anything better come as a surprise.”
“Reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them.”
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 March 1862 – Frank Weston Benson, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Interior”; “The Grey Room”; “Summer”; “Lily Pond”; “River Landscape”; “Scotters Over Water.”

A Poem for Today

“Removing the Dross”
by Thomas R. Moore

After snowstorms my father
shoveled the driveway where it lay
open to a sweep of wind across

a neighbor’s field, where the snow
drifted half way down to the paved
road, before snow-blowers, before

pick-ups cruised the streets with
THE BOSS lettered on red plows.
He heated the flat shovel

in the woodstove till the blade
steamed, like Vulcan at his furnace
removing the dross, then rubbed

a hissing candle on the steel
so the snow would slide unchecked
as he made each toss. He marked

blocks with the waxed blade, lifted
and tossed, lifted and tossed again,
squaring off against the snow.

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Winter (The Vicarage Garden Under Snow)”

This Date in Art History: Died 24 March 1887 – Ivan Kramskoi, a Russian painter.

Below – “The Mermaids”; “Leo Tolstoy”; “Portrait of a woman reading”; “Moonlight night”; “Portrait of an Unknown Woman”; “Maria Feodorovna.”

Remembering a Great Performer on the Date of His Birth: Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz), an American illusionist, stunt performer, escape artist, actor, and debunker of paranormal claims.

Some quotes from the work of Harry Houdini:

“Never try to fool children, they expect nothing, and therefore see everything.”
“Keep up your enthusiasm! There is nothing more contagious than exuberant enthusiasm.”
“A magician is only an actor – an actor pretending to be a magician.”
“Look at this life – all mystery and magic.”
“I am not an irretrievable skeptic. I am not hopelessly prejudiced. I am perfectly willing to believe, and my mind is wide open; but I have, as yet, to be convinced. I am perfectly willing, but the evidence must be sane and conclusive.”
“Anyone who believes in magic is a fool.”
“The greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin.”

Contemporary Greek Art – Fei Alexeli: Part I of II.

Below – “Casa Del Sol”; “Lac Rose”; “Sunbathing On The Highway”;
“girls on 452b”; “66 On The Moon”; “The Sky Is Pink.”

Musings in Spring: Pablo Neruda

“Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. These are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?”

Below – Pierre-Auguste Renoir: “Dance in the Country”

Contemporary Greek Art – Fei Alexeli: Part II of II.

Below – “Almost There”; “Best Ride of your Life”; “The Fool”; “Forbidden Planet”; “Closer to Sun”; “Red Lips and Palm Trees.”

A Poem for Today

“Holiday Concert”
by Maryann Corbett

Forgive us. We have dragged them into the night
in taffeta dresses, in stiff collars and ties,
with the wind damp, the sleet raking their cheeks,

to school lunchrooms fitted with makeshift stages
where we will sit under bad fluorescent lighting
on folding chairs, and they will sing and play.

We will watch the first grader with little cymbals,
bending her knees, hunched in concentration
while neighbors snicker at her ardent face.

Forgive us. We will hear the seventh-grade boy
as his voice finally loses its innocence
forever, at the unbearable solo moment

and know that now, for years, he will wince at the thought
of singing, yet will ache to sing, in silence,
silence even to the generation to come

with its night, its sleet, its hideous lunchroom chairs.

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