Sentient in San Francisco – 1 January 2020

Happy New Year!

Below – Utagawa Hiroshige: “Sunrise on New Year’s Day at Susaki”

Art for New Year’s Day – Lauren Edmond: “New Year’s Day”


Musings on New Year’s Day: Neil Gaiman

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Art for New Year’s Day – Oksana Reznik: “Winter Story”

This Date in Art History: Born 1 January 1864 – Qi Baishi, a Chinese painter.

Below – “Painting of a cicada .“

Art for New Year’s Day – Theophilus Tetteh: “1st January”

Musings on New Year’s Day: Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Below – Richard E. Miller: “A Gray Day”

Art for New Year’s Day – Childe Hassam: “A New Year’s Nocturne”

A Poem for New Year’s Day

“1 January 1965”
by Joseph Brodsky
translated by George L. Kline

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
Above your head no star will flame.
One weary sound will be the same—
the hoarse roar of the gale.
The shadows fall from your tired eyes
as your lone bedside candle dies,
for here the calendar breeds nights
till stores of candles fail.

What prompts this melancholy key?
A long familiar melody.
It sounds again. So let it be.
Let it sound from this night.
Let it sound in my hour of  death—
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for that which sometimes makes us lift
our gaze to the far sky.

You glare in silence at the wall.
Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
It’s clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it’s too late for miracles.
—But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven’s light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift.

Art for New Year’s Day – Sasha Gorben: “New Year’s Fog” (photograph)

This Date in Art History: Born 1 December 1864 – Alfred Stieglitz, an American photographer.

Below – “Portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe.”

Art for New Year’s Day – Winslow Homer: “Waiting for Calls on New Year’s Day.”

Musings on New Year’s Day: Rainer Maria Rilke

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”

Art for New Year’s Day – Katsukawa Shuncho: “New Year’s Day in the Yoshiwara”

This Date in Art History: Died 1 January 1978 – Carle Hessay, a German-born Canadian painter.

Below – “Forgotten Logging Camp”; “Mystical Scene”; “Magenta Fire”; “Cathedral Grove”; “Break of Day”; “The Dark Riders.”

Art for New Year’s Day – Kiran Bableshwar: “Sunrise On New Year”

A Poem for New Year’s Day

“After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa”
by Robert Hass


New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

Below – Issa’s portrait drawn by Muramatsu Shunpo (1772-1858).

Art for New Year’s Day – Medana Gabbard: “Happy New Year”

Musings on New Year’s Day: Bill Vaughan

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

Art for New Year’s Day: Frederic Remington – “A New Year on the Cimarron”

A Poem for New Year’s Day

“New Year’s Day”
by Kim Addonizio

The rain this morning falls
on the last of the snow

and will wash it away. I can smell
the grass again, and the torn leaves

being eased down into the mud.
The few loves I’ve been allowed

to keep are still sleeping
on the West Coast. Here in Virginia

I walk across the fields with only
a few young cows for company.

Big-boned and shy,
they are like girls I remember

from junior high, who never
spoke, who kept their heads

lowered and their arms crossed against
their new breasts. Those girls

are nearly forty now. Like me,
they must sometimes stand

at a window late at night, looking out
on a silent backyard, at one

rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls
of other people’s houses.

They must lie down some afternoons
and cry hard for whoever used

to make them happiest,
and wonder how their lives

have carried them
this far without ever once

explaining anything. I don’t know
why I’m walking out here

with my coat darkening
and my boots sinking in, coming up

with a mild sucking sound
I like to hear. I don’t care

where those girls are now.
Whatever they’ve made of it

they can have. Today I want
to resolve nothing.

I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold

blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.

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