Sentient in San Francisco – 29 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 29 March 2015 – William Delafield Cook, an Australian painter known for his starkly realistic landscapes: Part I of II.

Below – “Earthwork 1”; “Farm”; “Dam 1”; “Earthwork 2”; “Haystack”; “Dam 8.”

Sharing the Wisdom of One of My Favorite Writers: May Sarton, American poet, novelist, and memoirist. I recommend Sarton’s “Collected Poems,” “Journal of a Solitude,” and “At Eighty-Two.”

Some quotes from the work of May Sarton:

“What frightens me about America today is that in the large majority there is no active sense of the value of the individual: few citizens feel that they are the Republic, responsible for what happens. And when the individual in a democracy ceases to feel his importance, then there is grave danger that he will give over his freedom, if not to a Fascist State, then to the advertising men or Publicity Agents or to the newspaper he happens to read.”
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
“Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers.”
“I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep…. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”
“I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.”
“I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.”
“One thing is certain, and I have always known it – the joys of my life have nothing to do with age. They do not change. Flowers, the morning and evening light, music, poetry, silence, the goldfinches darting about.”
“It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it – and I do and always have – then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.”
“In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing–the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.”
“When I am alone the flowers are really seen; I can pay attention to them. They are felt as presences. Without them I would die…they change before my eyes. They live and die in a few days; they keep me closely in touch with the process, with growth, and also with dying. I am floated on their moments.”
“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.”
“Read between the lines. Then meet me in the silence if you can.”
“Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places.”


This Date in Art History: Died 29 March 2015 – William Delafield Cook, an Australian painter known for his starkly realistic landscapes: Part II of II.

Below – “Klan River near Eden”; “Dam 6”; “Tree”; “Promontory”; “Garden”; “A Waterfall (Strath Creek).”

A Poem for Today

“Classic Toy”
by Mary M. Brown

The plastic army men are always green.

They’re caught in awkward poses,
one arm outstretched as if to fire,
legs parted and forever stuck on a swiggle
of support, as rigid and green as the boots.

This one has impressions of pockets,
a belt, a collar, a grip on tiny binoculars
intended to enlarge, no doubt, some
tiny enemy.

In back, attached to the belt is a canteen
or a grenade (it’s hard to tell). The helmet
is pulled down low, so as to hide the eyes.

If I point the arm, the gun, toward me,
I see that this soldier is very thin.

It’s almost unreal, how thin he is.

Contemporary British Art – Miss Aniela: Part I of II.

In the words of one writer, “Mixing fine-art and fashion photography, Miss Aniela creates a fine balance of contemporary creativity. Her work centres on a fusion of traditional imagery and digitally enhanced motifs, interweaving in a surreal composition. Miss Aniela’s Surreal Fashion collection is where beauty meets absurdity and couture meets chaos, in a series of fine-art/fashion-fused photographic tapestries.”

Below – “Ode to Shalott”;  “The Fisherman’s Daughter”; “Ragged Rococco”; “Poster & Plumage”; “Risen Rose.”

Sharing the Wisdom of One of My Favorite Writers: Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist, philosopher, and natural science writer. I recommend Eiseley’s “The Immense Journey” and “The Unexpected Universe.” Both books changed the way I understand and experience the world.

Some quotes from the work of Loren Eiseley:

“Once in a lifetime, perhaps, one escapes the actual confines of the flesh. Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort.”
“We are rag dolls made out of many ages and skins, changelings who have slept in wood nests, and hissed in the uncouth guise of waddling amphibians. We have played such roles for infinitely longer ages than we have been human. Our identity is a dream. We are process, not reality.”
“If it should turn out that we have mishandled our own lives as several civilizations before us have done, it seems a pity that we should involve the violet and the tree frog in our departure.”
“The need is not really for more brains, the need is now for a gentler, a more tolerant people than those who won for us against the ice, the tiger and the bear. The hand that hefted the ax, out of some old blind allegiance to the past fondles the machine gun as lovingly. It is a habit man will have to break to survive, but the roots go very deep.”
“Though men in the mass forget the origins of their need, they still bring wolfhounds into city apartments, where dog and man both sit brooding in wistful discomfort. The magic that gleams an instant between Argos and Odysseus is both the recognition of diversity and the need for affection across the illusions of form. It is nature’s cry to homeless, far-wandering, insatiable man: ‘Do not forget your brethren, nor the green wood from which you sprang. To do so is to invite disaster.’”
“The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know.”
“Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.”
“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a time in the wilderness.”
“Perhaps a creature of so much ingenuity and deep memory is almost bound to grow alienated from his world, his fellows, and the objects around him. He suffers from a nostalgia for which there is no remedy upon earth except as it is to be found in the enlightenment of the spirit–some ability to have a perceptive rather than an exploitive relationship with his fellow creatures.”
“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, ‘It makes a difference for this one.’ I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”
“One does not meet oneself until one catches the reflection from an eye other than human.”
“Each one of us is a statistical impossibility around which hover a million other lives that were never destined to be born.”
“It has been asserted that we are destined to know the dark beyond the stars before we comprehend the nature of our own journey.”
“We are one of many appearances of the thing called Life; we are not its perfect image, for it has no perfect image except Life, and life is multitudinous and emergent in the stream of time.”


Contemporary British Art – Miss Aniela: Part II of II.

In the words of one writer, “Mixing fine-art and fashion photography, Miss Aniela creates a fine balance of contemporary creativity. Her work centres on a fusion of traditional imagery and digitally enhanced motifs, interweaving in a surreal composition. Miss Aniela’s Surreal Fashion collection is where beauty meets absurdity and couture meets chaos, in a series of fine-art/fashion-fused photographic tapestries.”

Below – “Swan Lake”; “White Witch Awakening”; “State of Grace”; “Castaway”; “Away with the Canaries”; “Coalshed Face”; “Storm Door.”

A Poem for Today

“A Garden’s End”
by Gabriel Welsch

Forsythia, scaled and bud-bangled,
I pruned to a thatch of leaves
for the curb, by the squirrel-gnawed
corn, silk strewn, kernels tooth carved
and husks shorn over the ground
pocked with paw prints.

The borers mashed the squash vine,
the drought tugged the roots of sage,
catmint languished by the sidewalk,
tools grew flowers of rust.

That winter we left our hope
beneath the snow, loved through the last
of the onions, watched the late leeks freeze
to crystal, bent like sedges, their shadows
on the snow. That winter we left
our hope beneath the snow.

Below – Paul Gauguin: “Garden under Snow”

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