Sentient in San Francisco – 13 December 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 13 December 1871 – Emily Carr, a Canadian painter and author. At their best, Emily Carr’s paintings exhibit an energy akin to that found in many of Vincent van Gogh’s canvases.

Below – “Blue Sky”; “Above the Trees”; “Heart of the Forest”; “A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth”; “Odds and Ends”; “Pemberton Meadows.”

This Date in Art History: Born 13 December 1871 – Emily Carr, a Canadian painter and author.

Some quotes from the work of Emily Carr:

“The liveness in me just loves to feel the liveness in growing things, in grass and rain and leaves and flowers and sun and feathers and furs and earth and sand and moss.”
“It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.”
“Do not try to do extraordinary things but do ordinary things with intensity.”
“Art being so much greater than ourselves, it will not give up once it has taken hold.”
“You come into the world alone and you go out of the world alone yet it seems to me you are more alone while living than even going and coming.”
“As the woods are the same, the trees standing in their places, the rocks and the earth… they are always different too, as lights and shadows and seasons and moods pass through them.”
“There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wildness.”
“So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born.”
“Look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind…each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth. So artist, you too from the depths of your soul…let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.”

Contemporary French Art – Julien Spianti

Below – “The visitors”; “Ils veillent (they’re watching)“: “Election”; “Preparation”; “Midi”; “Unknown game.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 December 1906 – Lauren van der Post, a South African-English author.
I recommend Laurens van der Post’s “The Heart of the Hunter: Customs and Myths of the African Bushman.” I have read it a few times, the first occasion when I was a young man, and I have always found it to be both edifying and delightful.

Some quotes from the work of Lauren van der Post:

“Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.”
“Man is never alone. Acknowledged or unacknowledged, that which dreams through him is always there to support him from within.”
“Creativity and love come from the same source.”
“The age of leaders has come and gone. You must be your own leader now. You must contain the spirit of our time in your own life and your own nature. You must really explore, as you’ve never explored before, what human nature is like.”
“Organized religion is making Christianity political rather than making politics Christian.”
“Modern man has lost the sense of wonder about the unknown and he treats it as an enemy.”
“The Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert talk about the two ‘hungers’. There is the Great Hunger and there is the Little Hunger. The Little Hunger wants food for the belly; but the Great Hunger, the greatest hunger of all, is the hunger for meaning…
There is ultimately only one thing that makes human beings deeply and profoundly bitter, and that is to have thrust upon them a life without meaning.There is nothing wrong in searching for happiness. But of far more comfort to the soul is something greater than happiness or unhappiness, and that is meaning. Because meaning transfigures all. Once what you are doing has for you meaning, it is irrelevant whether you’re happy or unhappy. You are content – you are not alone in your Spirit – you belong.”
“You cannot take the life of your times further than you have taken yourself.”
“The spirit of man is nomad, his blood bedouin, and love is the aboriginal tracker on the faded desert spoor of his lost self; and so I came to live my life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird.”

Contemporary German Art – Tanja Vetter: Part I of II.

Below – “Meeting”; “Endless”; “Expedition”; “Frozen”; “Waterjump”; “Remembering IV.”


Literary History: Franz Wright (1963-2015) is the son of James Wright, and like his father, he won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. They are the only parent/child pair to have done so in the same category.

“The Face”
by Franz Wright

Is there a single thing in nature
that can approach in mystery
the absolute uniqueness of any human face, first, then
its transformation from childhood to old age—

We are surrounded at every instant
by sights that ought to strike the sane
unbenumbed person tongue-tied, mute
with gratitude and terror. However,

there may be three sane people on earth
at any given time: and if
you got the chance to ask them how they do it,
they would not understand.

I think they might just stare at you
with the embarrassment of pity. Maybe smile
the way you do when children suddenly reveal a secret
preoccupation with their origins, careful not to cause them shame,

on the contrary, to evince the great congratulating pleasure
one feels in the presence of a superior talent and intelligence;
or simply as one smiles to greet a friend who’s waking up,
to prove no harm awaits him, you’ve dealt with and banished all harm.

Below – Franz Wright.

Contemporary German Art – Tanja Vetter: Part II of II.

Below – “Passing Time”; “Isolation”; “The shack”; “Ghost”; “Magical Place”; “End of Time III.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 13 December 1927 – James Wright, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Lying in a Hammock At William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota”

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

Below – Niels Frederik Schlottz-Jensen: “An Afternoon’s Rest”

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