Sentient in San Francisco – 18 May 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 18 May 1938 – Janet Fish, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Black Bowl and Red Scarf”; “Chili Peppers”; “Orange Pink Green”; “Plastic Boxes”; “Cut Peach, Blue Vase”; “Evian Bottles.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 May 1981 – William Saroyan, an American novelist, playwright, short story writer, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of William Saroyan:

“Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”
“Unless a man has pity he is not truly a man. If a man has not wept at the worlds pain he is only half a man, and there will always be pain in the world, knowing this does not mean that a man shall dispair. A good man will seek to take pain out of things. A foolish man will not even notice it, except in himself, and the poor unfortunate evil man will drive pain deeper into things and spread it about wherever he goes.”
“I have always been a Laugher, disturbing people who are not laughers, upsetting whole audiences at theatres… I laugh, that’s all. I love to laugh. Laugher to me is being alive. I have had rotten times, and I have laughed through them. Even in the midst of the very worst times I have laughed.”
“Remember that every man is a variation of yourself.”
“The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.”
“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.”
“My birthplace was California, but I couldn’t forget Armenia, so what is one’s country? Is it land of the earth, in a specific place? Rivers there? Lakes? The sky there? The way the moon comes up there? And the sun? Is one’s country the trees, the vineyards, the grass, the birds, the rocks, the hills and summer and winter? Is it the animal rhythm of the living there? The huts and houses, the streets of cities, the tables and chairs, and the drinking of tea and talking? Is it the peach ripening in summer heat on the bough? Is it the dead in the earth there?”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 May 1938 – Janet Fish, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Kara”; “Peaches and Strawflowers”; “4 Glasses”; “Nasturtiums and Pink Cups”; “Herb Tea”; “Coffee Cake.”

A Poem for Today

“After Disappointment”
by Mark Jarman

To lie in your child’s bed when she is gone
Is calming as anything I know. To fall
Asleep, her books arranged above your head,
Is to admit that you have never been
So tired, so enchanted by the spell
Of your grown body. To feel small instead
Of blocking out the light, to feel alone,
Not knowing what you should or shouldn’t feel,
Is to find out, no matter what you’ve said
About the cramped escapes and obstacles
You plan and face and have to call the world,
That there remain these places, occupied
By children, yours if lucky, like the girl
Who finds you here and lies down by your side.

Contemporary Portuguese Art – Paulo Vilarinho

Below – “Princess Mary”; “Simonetta”; “Summer”; “Anna”; “Canis Lupus Familiaris”; “Marga.”

This Date in Cultural History: Born 18 May 1904 – Shunryu Suzuki, a Japanese Zen Monk, founder of the first Buddhist monastery outside Asia (Tassajara Zen Mountain Center), founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, and author of “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.”

Some quotes from the work of Shunryu Suzuki:

“As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw.”
“You must be true to your own way until at last you actually come to the point where you see it is necessary to forget all about yourself.”
“Moment after moment everything comes out of nothingness. This is the true joy of life.”
“How much ‘ego’ do you need? Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”
“Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.”
“If you can just appreciate each thing, one by one, then you will have pure gratitude. Even though you observe just one flower, that one flower includes everything.”
“Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.”
“Everything is perfect, but there is a lot of room for improvement.”
“The seed has no idea of being some particular plant, but it has its own form and is in perfect harmony with the ground, with its surroundings … and there is no trouble. This is what we mean by naturalness.”
“Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an enlightened person. There is only enlightened activity.”
“Leave your front door and your back door open.
Allow your thoughts to come and go.
Just don’t serve them tea.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Agata Zychlinska

Below – “Sleeping lady”; “Into My Arms”; “The night”; “Picnic”; “In the middle of nowhere”; “Sitting Lady”; “Playing with fire.”

A Poem for Today

“On A Side Road Near Staunton”
by Stanley Plumly

Some nothing afternoon, no one anywhere,
an early autumn stillness in the air,
the kind of empty day you fill by taking in
the full size of the valley and its layers leading
slowly to the Blue Ridge, the quality of country,
if you stand here long enough, you could stay
for, step into, the way a landscape, even on a wall,
pulls you in, one field at a time, pasture and fall
meadow, high above the harvest, perfect
to the tree line, then spirit clouds and intermittent
sunlit smoky rain riding the tops of the mountains,
though you could walk until it’s dark and not reach those rains—
you could walk the rest of the day into the picture
and not know why, at any given moment, you’re there.

Below – Marisa Jackson: “Blue Ridge Mountain”

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