Sentient in San Francisco – 6 December 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 6 December 1841 – Frederic Bazille, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “View of the Village”; “The Pink Dress”; “The Little Gardener”; “The Family Reunion”; “Flowers”; “Young Woman with Peonies.”

This Date in Literary/Spiritual History: Born 6 December1875 – Evelyn Underhill, an English writer, pacifist, and author of “Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness.”

Some quotes from the work of Evelyn Underhill:

“We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do… forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in , the fundamental verb, to Be.”
“Love is creative. It does not flow along the easy paths, spending itself in the attractive. It cuts new channels, goes where it is needed.”
“My growth depends on my walls coming down.”
“After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.”
“In mysticism that love of truth which we saw as the beginning of all philosophy leaves the merely intellectual sphere, and takes on the assured aspect of a personal passion. Where the philosopher guesses and argues, the mystic lives and looks; and speaks, consequently, the disconcerting language of first-hand experience, not the neat dialectic of the schools. Hence whilst the Absolute of the metaphysicians remains a diagram —impersonal and unattainable—the Absolute of the mystics is lovable, attainable, alive.”
“Deliberately seek opportunities for kindness, sympathy, and patience.”
“Mysticism is the art of union with Reality.”
“For the most part, of course, the presence of the great spiritual universe surrounding us is no more noticed by us than the pressure of air on our bodies, or the action of light. Our field of attention is not wide enough for that; our spiritual senses are not sufficiently alert. Most people work so hard at developing their correspondence with the visible world, that their power of correspondence with the invisible is left in a rudimentary state.”
“It seems so much easier in these days to live morally than to live beautifully. Lots of us manage to exist for years without ever sinning against society, but we sin against loveliness every hour of the day.”
“For lack of attention a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day.”

This Date in Art History: Born 6 December 1841 – Frederic Bazille, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Therese Reading in the Park at Meric”; “Young Woman with Lowered Eyes”; “Quarry”; “Self Portrait”; “Mauresque”; “Reclining Nude.”

A Poem for Today

“My Father Teaches Me to Dream”
by Jan Beatty

You want to know what work is?
I’ll tell you what work is:
Work is work.
You get up. You get on the bus.
You don’t look from side to side.
You keep your eyes straight ahead.
That way nobody bothers you—see?
You get off the bus. You work all day.
You get back on the bus at night. Same thing.
You go to sleep. You get up.
You do the same thing again.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
There’s no handouts in this life.
All this other stuff you’re looking for—
it ain’t there.
Work is work.

This Date in Art History: Born 6 December1890 – Rudolf Schlichter, a German painter and illustrator.

Below – “Cat Sleeping”; “Speedy Stehend”; “Wild West Saloon”; “Berglandschaft”; “Three Women”; “Zollstation.”

A Poem for Today

“Planting a Dogwood”
by Roy Scheele

Tree, we take leave of you; you’re on your own.
Put down your taproot with its probing hairs
that sluice the darkness and create unseen
the tree that mirrors you below the ground.
For when we plant a tree, two trees take root:
the one that lifts its leaves into the air,
and the inverted one that cleaves the soil
to find the runnel’s sweet, dull silver trace
and spreads not up but down, each drop a leaf
in the eternal blackness of that sky.
The leaves you show uncurl like tiny fists
and bear small button blossoms, greenish white,
that quicken you. Now put your roots down deep;
draw light from shadow, break in on earth’s sleep.

Contemporary British Art – Abi Whitlock

Below – “Born of the Sun”; “Acionna”; “The Shallows”; “Luminescence”; “Blowing Bubbles.”

A Poem for Today

“August Morning”
by Albert Garcia

It’s ripe, the melon
by our sink. Yellow,
bee-bitten, soft, it perfumes
the house too sweetly.
At five I wake, the air
mournful in its quiet.
My wife’s eyes swim calmly
under their lids, her mouth and jaw
relaxed, different.
What is happening in the silence
of this house? Curtains
hang heavily from their rods.
Ficus leaves tremble
at my footsteps. Yet
the colors outside are perfect–
orange geranium, blue lobelia.
I wander from room to room
like a man in a museum:
wife, children, books, flowers,
melon. Such still air. Soon
the mid-morning breeze will float in
like tepid water, then hot.
How do I start this day,
I who am unsure
of how my life has happened
or how to proceed
amid this warm and steady sweetness?

Below – Irina Gordejeva: “Melon on Table”

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