Sentient in San Francisco – 12 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 12 August 1940 – Nikolai Triik, an Estonian painter and illustrator.

Below – “View of a Small Town”; “Finnish Landscape”; “Old Garden”; “From the Window (Tallinn)”; “Self-portrait.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Born 12 August 1867 – Edith Hamilton, an American writer, classicist, educator, and author of “The Greek Way” and “Mythology.”

Some quotes from the work of Edith Hamilton:

“To rejoice in life, to find the world beautiful … was a mark of the Greek spirit.”
“It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought – that is to be educated.”
“The power of good is shown not by triumphantly conquering evil, but by continuing to resist evil while facing certain defeat.”
“When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
“A people’s literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them. The writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can.”
“It was a Roman who said it was sweet to die for one’s country. The Greeks never said it was sweet to die for anything. They had no vital lies.”
“In every civilization, life grows easier. Men grow lazier in consequence. We have a picture of what happened to the individual Greek. (I cannot look at history, or at any human action, except as I look at the individual.) The Greeks had good food, good witty talk, pleasant dinner parties; and they were content. When the individual man had reached that condition in Athens, when the thought not of giving to the state but of what the state could give to him, Athens’ freedom was doomed.”
“It is not hard work that is dreary; it is superficial work.”
“Uncertainty is the prerequisite to gaining knowledge and frequently the result as well.”
“Old ideas are continually being slain by new facts. There is nothing stable in the conclusions of the mind, and it is impossible that there ever should be unless we hold that the universe is made to the measure of the human mind, an assumption for which nothing in the past gives any warrant.”
“The temper of mind that sees tragedy in life has not for its opposite the temper that sees joy. The opposite pole to the tragic view of life is the sordid view.”
“Our word ‘idiot’ comes from the Greek name for the man who took no share in public matters.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Christina Constantinova

Below – “Coral Reefs”; “Rainbow Bay”; “Secrets Of The Deep Sea”; “Festival”; “White & Black.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 12 August 1827 – William Blake, an English poet, painter, and printmaker.

“Ah! Sun-flower”
by William Blake

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

Below – William Blake’s illustration for “Ah! Sunflower”


Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Olha Stepanian

Below (photographs) – “Moon birth”; “The Queen of Chess”; “New Moon”; “Men”; “shadow”; “Embrace.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 12 August 1925 – Donald Justice, an American poet: Part I of II.

“On the Death of Friends in Childhood”
by Donald Justice

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.


Contemporary American Art – Topher Straus

Below – “Zion National Park (Utah, USA)”; “Black Canyon (Colorado, USA)”; “Denali National Park (Alaska, USA)”; “Rocky Mountain National Park”; “Yosemite National Park”; “Grand Canyon National Park.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 12 August 1925 – Donald Justice, an American poet: Part II of II.

“Here in Katmandu”
by Donald Justice

We have climbed the mountain.
There’s nothing more to do.
It is terrible to come down
To the valley
Where, amidst many flowers,
One thinks of snow,

As formerly, amidst snow,
Climbing the mountain,
One thought of flowers,
Tremulous, ruddy with dew,
In the valley.
One caught their scent coming down.

It is difficult to adjust, once down,
To the absence of snow.
Clear days, from the valley,
One looks up at the mountain.
What else is there to do?
Prayer wheels, flowers!

Let the flowers
Fade, the prayer wheels run down.
What have they to do
With us who have stood atop the snow
Atop the mountain,
Flags seen from the valley?

It might be possible to live in the valley,
To bury oneself among flowers,
If one could forget the mountain,
How, never once looking down,
Stiff, blinded with snow,
One knew what to do.

Meanwhile it is not easy here in Katmandu,
Especially when to the valley
That wind which means snow
Elsewhere, but here means flowers,
Comes down,
As soon it must, from the mountain.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 11 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 11 August 2002 – Galen Rowell, an American wilderness photographer and photojournalist.

Below – “Potala Palace Rainbow”; “Winter sunset, Gates of the Valley, Yosemite National Park (California”; “Split rock and cloud, Eastern Sierra (California, 1976)”; “Frosted Cottonwoods, Owens Valley, Eastern Sierra, (2001)”; “Horsemen beneath giant sand dune, Pamir Range (China, 1980)”; “Summer dawn beneath Mount Humphreys, Eastern Sierra (California, 2001).”


This Date in Literary History: Died 11 August 2018 – V. S. Naipul, a Trinidadian-British writer, author of “In a Free State,” and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of V. S. Naipul:

“One isn’t born one’s self. One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people’s ideas – and you have to work through it all.”
“The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.”
“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.”
“After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.”
“Home is, I suppose just a child’s idea. A house at night, and a lamp in the house. A place to feel safe.”
“The melancholy thing about the world is that it is full of stupid people; and the world is run for the benefit of the stupid and common.”
“People come and go all the time; the world has always been in movement.”

Contemporary American Art – Jacquie Gouveia

Below – “Sunset on the Marsh II”; “Oranges fro Francoise”; “Vermont’s Calling”; “The Sunshine Sisters”; “Daytrippers”;“Words of an Innocent Moon.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Born 11 August 1833 – Robert G. Ingersoll, who was, in the words of one writer, “an American writer and orator during the Golden Age of Free Thought, who campaigned in defense of agnosticism.” In fact, he was nicknamed “The Great Agnostic.”
Ingersoll is a member of an American intellectual tradition that can be traced as far back as Thomas Paine.

Some quotes from the work of Robert G. Ingersoll:

“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”
“It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon the book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do.”
“Do you not know that every religion in the world has declared every other religion a fraud? Yes, we all know it. That is the time all religions tell the truth – each of the other.”
“The myth of hell represents all the meanness, all the revenge, all the selfishness, all the cruelty, all the hatred, all the infamy of which the heart of man is capable.”
“Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery.”
“When I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust.
“We rise by lifting others.”
“I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.”
“Superstition is, always has been, and forever will be, the foe of progress, the enemy of education and the assassin of freedom.”
“The Emperor Constantine, who lifted Christianity into power, murdered his wife Fausta, and his eldest son Crispus, the same year that he convened the Council of Nice to decide whether Jesus Christ was a man or the Son of God. The council decided that Christ was consubstantial with the father. This was in the year 325. We are thus indebted to a wife-murderer for settling the vexed question of the divinity of the Savior.”
“If nobody has too much, everybody will have enough.In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.”
“Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science.”
“Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.”
“All I have to say is, Love one another – that is the height of all philosophy. It is beyond all religions. It is the secret of joy – the fountain of Perpetual Youth – the only rainbow on life’s dark cloud.”
“This, in my judgment, is the highest philosophy: First, do not regret having lost yesterday; second, do not fear that you will lose tomorrow; third, enjoy today.”

Contemporary American Art – Liz Mares

Below – “A Conversation Between Two”; “CTA Squared”; “Jersey City, NJ”; “Downtown East Chicago”; “Behind the Cermak Center.”

This Date in Entertainment History: Died 11 August 1994 – Peter Cushing, an English actor best known for his roles in the Hammer Productions horror films of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
I saw Peter Cushing in “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas” in a small theater in Totowa, New Jersey when I was twelve years old. In addition to frightening me, viewing it fueled my determination both to learn about Tibet and to someday trek in the Himalayas. As we all know, the sources of our dreams and accomplishments can sometimes be decidedly odd. By the way, I own a DVD copy of “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas,” and I watch it at least once every year. I certainly suggest that you watch it, my friends – if you dare.

Contemporary South Korean Art – Wooing Son

Below – “In the enchanted garden: deer girl 6”; “Carnival”; “Hide-and-seek 3”; “In The Enchanted Garden: Name”; “To the Neverland 1”; “Enchanted forest.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 11 August 1937 – Edith Wharton, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, author of “The Age of Innocence,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Edith Wharton:

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
“One can remain alive … if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”
“I believe I know the only cure, which is to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity—to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.”
“But I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.”
“An education is like a crumbling building that needs constant upkeep with repairs and additions.”
“The other producer of old age is habit: the deathly process of doing the same thing in the same way at the same hour day after day, first from carelessness, then from inclination, at last from cowardice or inertia. Luckily the inconsequent life is not the only alternative; for caprice is as ruinous as routine. Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.”
“Life is always either; a tight -rope or a feather-bed . — Give me the tightrope.”
“Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors?”
“Silence may be as variously shaded as speech.”
“How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be American before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, and having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries?”
“I am secretly afraid of animals…. I think it is because of the usness in their eyes, with the underlying not-usness which belies it, and is so tragic a reminder of the lost age when we human beings branched off and left them: left them to eternal inarticulateness and slavery. Why? their eyes seem to ask us.”
“One of the great things about travel is you find out how many good, kind people there are.”
“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”

Contemporary International Artist – Kirstin McCoy

Below – “Lavender Field”; “Beach, Wild Atlantic Way”; “Nocturne”; “Coastal Colours”; “Autumn Colours”; “Wildflower Landscape.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 11 August 1897 – Louise Bogan, an American poet and critic.

“Knowledge”
by Louise Bogan

Now that I know
That passion warms little
Of flesh in the mold,
And treasure is brittle,

I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground,
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 10 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 10 August 1848 – William Harnett, an Irish-American painter known for his trompe-l’œil still lifes of ordinary objects.

Below – “Job Lot Cheap”; “The Last Summer Rose”; “Still Life”; “The Old Violin”; “Still Life with Three Castles Tobacco”; “Attention, Company!”

Musings in Summer: Roman Payne

“Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil.”

Below – Tina Lavoie: “Summer Rush Falling Flowers”


This Date in Art History: Born 10 August 1941 – Susan Dorothea White, an Australian painter.

Below – “The First Supper”; “Mum’s Centenarian Sunset”; “Recovery after Brain Surgery”; “Self-Portrait with Children”; “The Seven Deadly Sins of Modern Times”; “Freudian Early Morning.”

A Poem for Today

“Language Lessons”
by Alexandra Teague

The carpet in the kindergarten room
was alphabet blocks; all of us fidgeting
on bright, primary letters. On the shelf
sat that week’s inflatable sound. The th
was shaped like a tooth. We sang
about brushing up and down, practiced
exhaling while touching our tongues
to our teeth. Next week, a puffy U
like an upside-down umbrella; the rest
of the alphabet deflated. Some days,
we saw parents through the windows
to the hallway sky. ‘Look, a fat lady,’
a boy beside me giggled. Until then
I’d only known my mother as beautiful.

Below – August Jules Bouvier: “Mother with Little Girl – Hand Shadow”


Contemporary British Art – Ewa Podles

Below – “Medusa No 1”; “All About Red”; “Bellabe”; “Medusa No 3”; “Memories From The Past Life”; “Medusa No 2.”


Musings in Summer: E. B. White

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”

Below – Qin Tianzhu: “Cricket on Bowl”

Contemporary American Art – Katie Darby Slater

Below – “The Blue Page”; “Yellow and Blue Towel”; “Newport”; “Iris Garden (After Hiroshima)”; “Sunset in Oranmore”; “Best Part Too“: “July Night”; “Cottage by the Sea.”

A Poem for Today

“I Was Always Leaving”
by Jean Nordhaus

I was always leaving, I was
about to get up and go, I was
on my way, not sure where.
Somewhere else. Not here.
Nothing here was good enough.

It would be better there, where I
was going. Not sure how or why.
The dome I cowered under
would be raised, and I would be released
into my true life. I would meet there

the ones I was destined to meet.
They would make an opening for me
among the flutes and boulders,
and I would be taken up. That this
might be a form of death

did not occur to me. I only know
that something held me back,
a doubt, a debt, a face I could not
leave behind. When the door
fell open, I did not go through.

Below – Nicolas Astrup: “By the Open Door”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 9 August 2019

Contemporary Italian Art – Tino Vacca

Below (photographs) – “The Car”; “Black Horse #5”; “Mr. Ting”; “Smoke”; “Landscape.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 9 August 1978 – James Gould Cozzens, an American novelist, short story writer, author of “By Love Possessed” and “Guard of Honor,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of James Gould Cozzens:

“In the present, every day is a miracle.”
“A cynic is just a man who found out when he was about ten that there wasn’t any Santa Claus, and he’s still upset. Yes, there’ll be more war ; and soon, I don’t doubt. There always has been. There’ll be deaths and disappointments and failures. When they come, you meet them.”
“When you can, always advise people to do what you see they really want to do. Doing what they want to do, they may succeed; doing what they don’t want to do, they won’t.”
“The innocent supposition, entertained by most people, that even if they are not brilliant, they are not dumb, is correct only in a very relative sense.”
“Be virtuous and you’ll be happy. Nonsense. Be happy and you’ll begin to be virtuous.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Zoey Zoric

Below – “Are you Here…?”; “The Fixer”; “Repose 2”; “Crow Call”; “Z Mending”; “Bye.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 9 August 1922 – Philip Larkin, an English poet and novelist.

“Money”
by Philip Larkin

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:
They certainly don’t keep it upstairs.
By now they’ve a second house and car and wife:
Clearly money has something to do with life

—In fact, they’ve a lot in common, if you enquire:
You can’t put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
Won’t in the end buy you more than a shave.

I listen to money singing. It’s like looking down
From long french windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.


Contemporary Israeli Art – Orit Fuchs

Below – “Vivid 34”; “Scene 56”; “Vivid 29”; “Vivid 42”; “Kate Moss”; “Scene 1.”


Musings in August: Kent Nerburn

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.”

Below – Frank Wilson: “Beach Dog Walk”


Contemporary Hungarian Art – Bela Doharszky

Below – “Sunrise in Alps”; “Tree in the early morning”; “Woman’s Eye”; “Cosmic rays pervade the Esquiline Venus”; “Clouds I.”

A Poem for Today

“Sustenance”
by Ronald Wallace

Australia. Phillip Island. The Tasman Sea.
Dusk. The craggy coastline at low tide in fog.
Two thousand tourists milling in the stands
as one by one, and then in groups, the fairy penguins
mass up on the sand like so much sea wrack and
debris. And then, as on command, the improbable
parade begins: all day they’ve been out fishing
for their chicks, and now, somehow, they find them
squawking in their burrows in the dunes, one by one,
two by two, such comical solemnity, as wobbling by
they catch our eager eyes until we’re squawking, too,
in English, French, and Japanese, Yiddish and Swahili,
like some happy wedding party brought to tears
by whatever in the ceremony repairs the rifts
between us. The rain stops. The fog lifts. Stars.
And we go home, less hungry, satisfied, to friends
and family, regurgitating all we’ve heard and seen.

Below – Fairy penguins on Philip Island, Australia.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 8 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 8 August 1902 – James Tissot, a French painter and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “on the Thames”; “October”; “The Ball”; “Seaside”; “Chrysanthemums”; “self portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 8 August 1965 – Shirley Jackson, an award-winning American writer and author of “The Lottery” and “The Haunting of Hill House.”

Some quotes from the work of Shirley Jackson:

“I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.”
“The sight of one’s own heart is degrading; people are not meant to look inward – that’s why they’ve been given bodies, to hide their souls.”
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?”
“No, the menace of the supernatural is that it attacks where modern minds are weakest, where we have abandoned our protective armor of superstition and have no substitute defense.”
“Now, I have nothing against the public school system as it is presently organized, once you allow the humor of its basic assumption about how it is possible to teach things to children.”
“It has long been my belief that in times of great stress, such as a 4-day vacation, the thin veneer of family wears off almost at once, and we are revealed in our true personalities.”
“I delight in what I fear.”


This Date in Art History: Died 8 August 1902 – James Tissot, a French painter and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “Young Lady in a Boat”; “Lilacs”; “Holiday”; “The Garden Bench”; “Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects”; “A Woman of Ambition.”

Date in Literary History: Born 8 August 1896 – Marjorie Rawlings, an American writer, author of “The Yearling,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Marjorie Rawlings:

“We cannot live without the Earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in a man’s heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men.”
“Who owns Cross Creek? The red-birds, I think, more than I, for they will have their nests even in the face of delinquent mortgages..It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.”
“No man should have proprietary rights over land who does not use that land wisely and lovingly.”
“Food imaginatively and lovingly prepared, and eaten in good company, warms the being with something more than the mere intake of calories. I cannot conceive of cooking for friends or family, under reasonable conditions, as being a chore.”
“Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them. The earth was dancing with the cranes, and the low sun, and the wind and sky.”
“Men had reached into the scrub and along its boundaries, had snatched what they could get and had gone away, uneasy in that vast indifferent peace; for a man was nothing, crawling ant-like among the myrtle bushes under the pines. Now they were gone, it was as though they had never been. The silence of the scrub was primordial. The wood-thrush crying across it might have been the first bird in the world-or the last.”
“I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”

This Date in Art History: Died 8 August 2013 – Fernando Castro Pacheco, a Mexican painter, engraver, and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “Perfil de mujer”; Untitled; “Reposo”; Untitled; Untitled; “Joven con ave.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 August 1884 – Sara Teasdale, an American writer and poet: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Sara Teasdale:

“I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.”
“O beauty, are you not enough; why am I crying after love.”
“It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.”
“I am not yours, nor lost in you, not lost, although I long to be. Lost as a candle lit at noon, lost as a snowflake in the sea. You love me, and I find you still a spirit beautiful and bright, yet I am I, who long to be lost as a light is lost in light.”
“Beauty, more than bitterness, makes the heart break.”
“The leaves fall patiently
Nothing remembers or grieves
The river takes to the sea
The yellow drift of leaves.”


This Date in Art History: Died 8 August 2013 – Fernando Castro Pacheco, a Mexican painter, engraver, and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “Mujer Sentada”; “Pensativa”; “Nostalgia”; “Mujer yucateca”; “Tenderness”; “Dos mujeres.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 August 1884 – Sara Teasdale, an American writer and poet: Part II of II.

“Barter”
by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 7 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 7 August 1867 – Emil Nolde, a German-Danish painter and printmaker.

Below – “Flower Garden”; “Sunrise at the sea”; “Sunflowers”; “Autumn Sea VII”; “Candle Dancers”; “Child and Large Bird.”

This Dare in Literary History: Died 7 August 1941 – Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian author, poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Rabindranath Tagore:

“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.”
“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“Let us unite, not in spite of our differences, but through them. For differences can never be wiped away, and life would be so much the poorer without them. Let all human races keep their own personalities, and yet come together, not in a uniformity that is dead, but in a unity that is living.”
“We cross infinity with every step; we meet eternity in every second.”

Contemporary British Art – Richard Heeps

Below (photographs) – “Nicelys Cafe, Mono Lake, California”;“Buick in the Dust, Hemsby, Norfolk”; “Bonanza Cafe, Lone Pine, California”; “Buick in the Dust III”; “Buick in the Dust II.”

This Date in Cinematic History: Died 7 August 1957 – Oliver Hardy, an American singer, actor, and a member of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy.

Laurel and Hardy are arguably the greatest comedy team in movie history, and they were successful in making the transition from silent films to “talkies.” As an example from the former genre, I recommend “Big Business,” and as an example of the latter, I recommend “The Music Box,” which won the first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1932 and was subsequently selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”


Contemporary Spanish Art – Oscar Alvarez: Part I of II.

Below – “Vaquero 55”; “Ballet dancers”; “18 – Beach”; “C – 9”; “16 – Beach”; “LM – 18.”


A Poem for Today

“Green-Striped Melons”
by Jane Hirshfield

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun.

Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

Contemporary Spanish Art – Oscar Alvarez: Part II of II.

Below – “LM – 20”; “C – 41”; “LM – 27”; “C – 42”; “S – Red dream 1”; “C – 40.”

A Poem for Today

“My Mother’s Pillow”
by Cecilia Woloch

My mother sleeps with the Bible open on her pillow;
she reads herself to sleep and wakens startled.
She listens for her heart: each breath is shallow.

For years her hands were quick with thread and needle.
She used to sew all night when we were little;
now she sleeps with the Bible on her pillow

and believes that Jesus understands her sorrow:
her children grown, their father frail and brittle;
she stitches in her heart, her breathing shallow.

Once she ‘even slept fast,’ rushed tomorrow,
mornings full of sunlight, sons and daughters.
Now she sleeps alone with the Bible on her pillow

and wakes alone and feels the house is hollow,
though my father in his blue room stirs and mutters;
she listens to him breathe: each breath is shallow.

I flutter down the darkened hallway, shadow
between their dreams, my mother and my father,
asleep in rooms I pass, my breathing shallow.
I leave the Bible open on her pillow.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 6 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 6 August 1928 – Andy Warhol, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Campbell’s Soup I”; “Superman”; “Marilyn – Sunday B. Morning”; “Kimiko”; “General Custer”; “Eight Elvises.”


This Date in Intellectual History: Died 6 August 2012 – Robert Hughes, an Australian-born American art critic, cultural critic, and author of “The Fatal Shore,” “The Shock of the New,” and “Culture of Complaint.”

Some quotes from the work of Robert Hughes:

“The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.”
“What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and making whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in ten seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures. In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media.”
“We have entered a period of intolerance which combines, as it sometimes does in America, with a sugary taste for euphemism. This conjunction fosters events that go beyond the wildest dream of satire- if satire existed in America anymore; perhaps the reason for its weakness is that reality has superseded it.”
“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt; perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
“Far from affording artists continuous inspiration, mass-media sources for art have become a dead end. They have combined with the abstractness of institutional art teaching to produce a fine-arts culture given over to information and not experience. This faithfully echoes the drain of concreteness from modern existence- the reign of mere unassimilated data instead of events that gain meaning by being absorbed into the fabric of imaginative life.”
“Landscape is to American painting what sex and psychoanalysis are to the American novel.”
“In art there is no progress, only fluctuations of intensity.”
“When the war (WWI) finally ended it was necessary for both sides to maintain, indeed even to inflate, the myth of sacrifice so that the whole affair would not be seen for what it was: a meaningless waste of millions of lives. Logically, if the flower of youth had been cut down in Flanders, the survivors were not the flower: the dead were superior to the traumatized living. In this way, the virtual destruction of a generation further increased the distance between the old and the young, between the official and the unofficial.”


This Date in Art History: Born 6 August 1928 – Andy Warhol, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below (from the Endangered Species Portfolio) – “Grey’s Zebra”; “Black Rhinoceros”; “Orangutan”; “African Elephant”; “Pine Barrens Tree Frog”; “Siberian Tiger.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Born 6 August 1916 – Richard Hofstadter, an American historian, public intellectual, author of “The Age of Reform,” “Paranoid Style in American Politics,” and “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Richard Hofstadter:

“A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.”
“It is ironic that the United States should have been founded by intellectuals, for throughout most of our political history, the intellectual has been for the most part either an outsider, a servant or a scapegoat.”
“If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it is having an excess of commitment to some special and constricting idea.”
“We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”
“One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged.”
“There has always been in our national experience a type of mind which elevates hatred to a kind of creed; for this mind, group hatreds take a place in politics similar to the class struggle in some other modern societies.”
“A university is not a service station. Neither is it a political society, nor a meeting place for political societies. With all its limitations and failures, and they are invariably many, it is the best and most benign side of our society insofar as that society aims to cherish the human mind.”
“In using the terms play and playfulness, I do not intend to suggest any lack of seriousness; quite the contrary. Anyone who has watched children, or adults, at play will recognize that there is no contradiction between play and seriousness, and that some forms of play induce a measure of grave concentration not so readily called forth by work.”

Contemporary American Art – Adam Collier Noel

In the words of one writer, “Through his education Adam Collier Noel worked to combine diverse materials and techniques with various photographic processes. The subject matter incorporated into the artwork is often appropriated from his extensive collection of one-of-a-kind antique daguerreotypes and mid-century snapshots. Each photograph in his acquisition is chosen because of its ability to simultaneously mirror intimate and universal facets of the human experience.”

Below – “Blueprint of Humanity XY “; “Finding Balance – yoga-handstand-beach-guy”; “Ineffable – warhol-inspired-pastel-pop-art”; “Shadow of My Former Shadow Diptych”;“Endless Blue.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 6 August 1809 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a British poet and Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland from 19 November 1850 to 6 October 1892.

“Ulysses”
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Below – R. A. Clarkson: “Illustration for Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’”


Contemporary Serbian Art – Ivana Zivic: Part I of II.

Below – “Music”; “Water Lilies”; “Leila”; “Spring”; “Shine II.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 6 August 1920 – John Graves, an American writer and author of “Goodbye to a River.”

Some quotes from the work of John Graves:

“Most autumns, the water is low from the long dry summer, and you have to get out from time to time and wade, leading or dragging your boat through trickling shallows from one pool to the long channel-twisted pool below, hanging up occasionally on shuddering bars of quicksand, making six or eight miles in a day’s lazy work, but if you go to the river at all, you tend not to mind. You are not in a hurry there; you learned long since not to be.”
“I would be annoyed if I were any more in tune with modern sensibilities. I was shaped differently. The world in which I grew up was Texan and Southern, and it had many, many failings. I think I’ve gotten rid of most of the bad things in myself from that earlier age, but I don’t adjust to the way things are progressing now.”
“Neither a land nor a people ever starts over clean. Country is compact of all its past disasters and strokes of luck–of flood and drouth, of the caprices of glaciers and sea winds, of misuse and disuse and greed and ignorance and wisdom–and though you may doze away the cedar and coax back the bluestem and mesquite grass and side-oats grama, you’re not going to manhandle it into anything entirely new. It’s limited by what it has been, by what’s happened to it. And a people, until that time when it’s uprooted and scattered and so mixed with other peoples that it has in fact perished, is much the same in this as land. It inherits.”
“Of all the passers-through, the species that means most to me, even more than geese and cranes, is the upland plover, the drab plump grassland bird that used to remind my gentle hunting uncle of the way things once had been, as it still reminds me. It flies from the far Northern prairies to the pampas of Argentina and then back again in spring, a miracle of navigation and a tremendous journey for six or eight ounces of flesh and feathers and entrails and hollow bones, fueled with bug meat. I see them sometimes in our pastures, standing still or dashing after prey in the grass, but mainly I know their presence through the mournful yet eager quavering whistles they cast down from the night sky in passing, and it makes me think of what the whistling must have been like when the American plains were virgin and their plover came through in millions. To grow up among tradition-minded people leads one often into backward yearnings and regrets, unprofitable feelings of which I was granted my share in youth-not having been born in time to get killed fighting Yankees, for one, or not having ridden up the cattle trails. But the only such regret that has strongly endured is not to have known the land when when it was whole and sprawling and rich and fresh, and the plover that whet one’s edge every spring and every fall. In recent decades it has become customary- and right, I guess, and easy enough with hindsight- to damn the ancestral frame of mind that ravaged the world so fully and so soon. What I myself seem to damn mainly, though, is just not having seen it. Without any virtuous hindsight, I would likely have helped in the ravaging as did even most of those who loved it best. But God, to have viewed it entire, the soul and guts of what we had and gone forever now, except in books and such poignant remnants as small swift birds that journey to and from the distant Argentine and call at night in the sky.”
“If a man couldn’t escape what he came from, we would most of us still be peasants in Old World hovels. But, if, having escaped or not, he wants in some way to know himself, define himself, and tries to do it without taking into account the thing he came from, he is writing without any ink in his pen. The provincial who cultivates only his roots is in peril, potato-like, of becoming more root than plant. The man who cuts his roots away and denies that they were ever connected with him withers into half a man.”
“Sunshine and warm water seem to me to have full meaning only when they come after winter’s bite; green is not so green if it doesn’t follow the months of brown and gray. And the scheduled inevitable death of green carries its own exhilaration; in that change is the promise of all the rebirths to come, and the deaths, too. … Without the year’s changes, for me, there is little morality.”
“In terms of the outdoors, I and the others like me weren’t badly cheated as such cheatings go nowadays, but we were cheated nevertheless. We learned quite a lot, but not enough. Instead of learning to move into country, as I think underneath we wanted, we learned mostly how to move onto it in the old crass Anglo-Saxon way, in search of edible or sometimes just mortal quarry.”
“The rain thickened; then slacked, then came down again in floods; the night crackled and roared with change and iron cold. Drunk with coziness, the pup wallowed beside me and groaned, and I remember wondering, before I slept, a little more about the relationship of storms to man … If, being animal, we ring like guitar strings to nature’s furies, what hope can there be for our ultimate, planned peacefulness?”
“Canoes, too, are unobtrusive; they don’t storm the natural world or ride over it, but drift in upon it as a part of its own silence. As you either care about what the land is or not, so do you like or dislike quiet things–sailboats, or rainy green mornings in foreign places, or a grazing herd, or the ruins of old monasteries in the mountains. . . . Chances for being quiet nowadays are limited.”


Contemporary Serbian Art – Ivana Zivic: Part II of II.

Below – “Shine”; “Underwater”; “Dive, Vintage”; “Red Bather.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 August 2018 – Anya Silver, an American poet.

“Just Red”
by Anya Silver

I stand in Walgreens while my mother sleeps.
The store is fluorescent and almost empty.
My father is ailing in a nursing home,
my friend is dying in the hospital.
What I want tonight is lipstick.
As pure a red as I can find—no coral
undertones, no rust or fawn. Just red.
Ignoring the salespeople, I untwist tubes
and scrawl each color on my wrist,
till the blue veins beneath my skin
disappear behind smeared bars. I select one.
Back in my mother’s apartment, silence.
I limn my lips back out of my wan face.
There they are again: smacky and wanting.

Below – Kume Bryant: “Red Lipstick”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 5 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1844 – Ilya Repin, a Russian painter.

Below – “Neapolitan Woman”; “Sadko”; “The Blonde Woman”; “What Freedom!”; “They Did Not Expect Him”; “Self-portrait with Natalia Nordman.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 5 August 1934 – Wendell Berry, and award-winnings American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Wendell Berry:

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”
“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”
“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
“It may be that when we no longer know… which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
“We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what’s the right thing to do? What does this earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?”
“You can’t know where life will take you, but you can commit to a direction.”
“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
“Outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread.”
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
“In this state of total consumerism-which is to say a state of helpless dependence on things and services and ideas and motives that we have forgotten how to provide ourselves-all meaningful contact between ourselves and the earth is broken. We do not understand the earth in terms either of what it offers us or of what it requires of us, and I think it is the rule that people inevitably destroy what they do not understand.”
“We clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us; we enter the little circle of each other’s arms, and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance, and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except in fragments.”
“No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality.”
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
“It is certain, I think, that the best government is the one that governs the least. But there is a much-neglected corollary: the best citizen is the one who least needs governing.”
“When I rise up, let me rise up joyful like a bird. When I fall, let me fall without regret like a leaf.”
“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness. True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.”
“Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1877 – Tom Thomson, a Canadian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Jack Pine”; “Black Spruce and Maple, Fall”; “Northern Lake, Winter”; “Old Lumber Dam, Algonquin Park, Spring”; “Evening, Fall”; “Cottage on a Rocky Shore, Summer.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 5 August 1934 – Wendell Berry, and award-winnings American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer: Part II of II.

“The Peace of Wild Things”
by Wendell Berry

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Below – Dan Gottsegen: “Where the Wood Drake Rest XV”

This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1877 – Tom Thomson, a Canadian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Canoe Lake, Spring”; “Smoke Lake, Summer”; “Fire-Swept Hills”; “Autumn Foliage”; “Spring ice”; “In the Northland, Winter.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 5 August 1916 – Peter Viereck, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Again, Again!”
by Peter Viereck

Who here’s afraid to gawk at lilacs?
Who won’t stand up and praise the moon?
Who doubts that skies still ache for skylarks
And waves are lace upon the dune?
But flowering grave-dust, flowerlike snow-dust,
But tinkling dew, but fun of hay,
But soothing buzz and scent of sawdust
Have all been seen, been said – we say.

BANALITY, our saint, our silly;
The sun’s your adverb, named “Again”;
You wake us with it willy-nilly
And westward wait to tuck us in.
We, nurse, are flouted when we flout you,
Even to shock you is cliche.
O inescapable and dowdy!
O gold uniqueness every day!

Who’s new enough, most now, most youngest
Enough to eye you most again?
Who’ll love the rose that love wore longest,
Yet say it fresher than brief rain?
I’ll see. I’ll say. I’ll find the word.
All earth must lilt, then, willy-nilly
And vibrate one rich triple-chord
of August, wine, and waterlily.

Below – Edvard Munch: “The Sun”


This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 1933 – Charles Harold Davis, an American painter.

Below – “Summer Clouds”; “Winter Twilight”; “A Clearing”; “Farm Meadows”; “Morning Light.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 5 August 1889 – Conrad Aiken, an American novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, recipient of the National Book Award, Recipient of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Conrad Aiken:

“You know, without my telling you, how sometimes a word or name eludes you, and you seek it through running ghosts of shadow — leaping at it, lying in wait for it to spring upon it, spreading faint snares for it of sense or sound: until, of a sudden, as if in a phantom forest, you hear it, see it flash among the branches, and scarcely knowing how, suddenly have it.”
“I ascend from darkness
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where;
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.”
“My heart has become as hard as a city street, the horses trample upon it, it sings like iron, all day long and all night long they beat, they ring like the hooves of time.”
“Separate we come, and separate we go, And this be it known, is all that we know.”
“The wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams, the eternal asker of answers, stands in the street, and lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.”
“All lovely things will have an ending, all lovely things will fade and die; and youth, that’s now so bravely spending, Will beg a penny by and by.”
“I’ve tried it long ago, with hashish and peyote. Fascinating, yes, but no good, no. This, as we find in alcohol, is an escape from awareness, a cheat, a momentary substitution, and in the end a destruction of it.”
“We are the ghosts of the singing furies.”
“Forward into the untrodden! Courage, old man, and hold on to your umbrella!”

This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1920 – George Tooker, an American painter.

Below – “Un Ballo in Maschera”; “The Waiting Room”; “Window”; “Fountain”; “Woman with a Sprig of Laurel”; “Odalisque.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 5 August 1889 – Conrad Aiken, an American novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, recipient of the National Book Award, Recipient of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part II of II.

“Music I Heard”
by Conrad Aiken

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart that you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always,
—They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

Below – John Stoa: “A Quiet Interlude”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 4 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 4 August 1932 – Alfred Henry Maurer, an American painter.

Below – “Arrangement”; “Carousel”; “Four Sisters”; “La Dame En Blanc”; “Portrait of a Woman”; “Landscape.”


Musings in Summer: Andre Gide

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.”

Contemporary British Art – Joel Redman

Below (photographs) – “Gas Station”; Untitled Death Valley; “French Shrimpers 3”; “Skate Park.”

A Poem for Today

“First Grade”
by Ron Koertge

Until then, every forest
had wolves in it, we thought
it would be fun to wear snowshoes
all the time, and we could talk to water.

So who is this woman with the gray
breath calling out names and pointing
to the little desks we will occupy
for the rest of our lives?


Contemporary American Art – Catherine Skinner

Below – “Home XII”; “Teelun I”; “Burmese Stupa”; “Totems I”; “Kitsu I.”

Musings in Summer: Khalil Gibran

“We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.”

Contemporary British Art – Tom Greenwood

Below – “Grandmother and Grandson”; “Huts on the Hillside near Lenggries”; “Avon Gorge into the Sun”; “River Avon near Swineford.”

A Poem for Today

“Cautionary Tale”
by Mark Vinz

Beyond the field of grazing, gazing cows
the great bull has a pasture to himself,
monumental, black flanks barely twitching
from the swarming flies. Only a few strands of
wire separate us—how could I forget
my childhood terror, the grownups warning
that the old bull near my uncle’s farm
would love to chase me, stomp me, gore me
if I ever got too close. And so I
skirted acres just to keep my distance,
peeking through the leaves to see if he still
was watching me, waiting for some foolish move—
those fierce red eyes, the thunder in the ground—
or maybe that was simply nightmares. It’s
getting hard to tell, as years themselves keep
gaining ground relentlessly, their hot breath
on my back, and not a fence in sight.

Below – Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven (Belgian, 1799-1881): “A Bull Leaping a Fence”

Oil painting on canvas, A Bull leaping a Fence by Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven (Warneton 1799 – Brussels 1881), signed and dated, near bottom right: Eugene Verboeckhoven ft. 1849. A brown and white bull leaps a fallen tree trunk, tail and head in the air, against a cloudy sky with yellow glow in it

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Sentient in San Francisco – 3 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 3 August 1961 – Hilda Rix Nicholas, an Australian painter.

Below – (Standing Figure); “Purple and Blue (Portrait of Elsie Rix)”; “Monaro Landscape”; “Spring Afternoon, Knockalong”; “Through the Gum Trees, Toongabbie”; “Picardy Girl.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 3 August 2008 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist, short story writer, historian, author of “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and “The Gulag Archipelago,”and recipient of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
“It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”
“Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask; by whom has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?”
“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”
“Human rights are a fine thing, but how can we make ourselves sure that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of others. A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity. If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in…A stable society is achieved not by balancing opposing forces but by conscious self-limitation: by the principle that we are always duty-bound to defer to the sense of moral justice.”
“If you want to change the world, who do you begin with, yourself or others? I believe if we begin with ourselves and do the things that we need to do and become the best person we can be, we have a much better chance of changing the world for the better.”
“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”

This Date in Art History: Died 3 August 2004 – Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer.

Below – “Avenue Des Champs-Elysees, Paris, France, 1968”; Untitled, 1957; “San Francisco, 1946”; “Wedding, Paris, 1951”; “Orgosolo, Sardinia, 1962”; “Nice, 1951.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 3 August 1964 – Flannery O’Connor, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Flannery O’Connor:

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
“You have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.”
“[To] know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around. The first product of self-knowledge is humility.”
“I come from a family where the only emotion respectable to show is irritation. In some this tendency produces hives, in others literature, in me both.”
“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”
“Anyone who survives a southern childhood has enough material to last a lifetime.”
“The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.”
“I love a lot of people, understand none of them.”
“You shall know the truth, and it will make you odd.”
“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell them to read the story. The meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning.”
“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”
“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”
“Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.”

Contemporary British Aft – Peter Crook

Below – “Cafe with Pink Chairs”; “Yellow Escalator”; “Petrol Station”; “Red House.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 3 August 1954 – Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette), a French writer and author of “Gigi.”

Some quotes from the work of Colette:

“I love my past, I love my present. I am not ashamed of what I have had, and I am not sad because I no longer have it.”
“It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.”
“Time spent with a cat is never wasted.”
“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.
“The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.”
“I went to collect the few personal belongings which…I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.”
“By an image we hold on to our lost treasures, but it is the wrenching loss that forms the image, composes, binds the bouquet.”
“There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.”
“I am indebted to the cat for a particular kind of honorable deceit, for a greater control over myself, for a characteristic aversion to brutal sounds, and for the need to keep silent for long periods of time.”
“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.”
“There are no ordinary cats.”
“Chance, my master and my friend, will, I feel sure, deign once again to send me the spirits of his unruly kingdom. All my trust is now in him- and in myself. But above all in him, for when I go under he always fishes me out, seizing and shaking me like a life-saving dog whose teeth tear my skin a little every time. So now, whenever I despair, I no longer expect my end, but some bit of luck, some commonplace little miracle which, like a glittering link, will mend again the necklace of my days.”
“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”
“You must not pity me because my sixtieth year finds me still astonished. To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.”

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”

Contemporary German Art – Julia Abele

Below – “Southwark Bridge (London SE1)”; “Helter Skelter”; “Fleur”; “Paris (Rex at Dusk)”; “London Whitechapel (The White Hart)”; “Steve’s B&B, Lambeth, London ( Four Windows, Three Doors).”


This Date in Literary History: Born 3 August 1943 – Steven Millhauser, an American novelist, short story writer, author of “Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Steven Millhauser:

“In the long dusks of summer we walked the suburban streets through scents of maple and cut grass, waiting for something to happen.”
“Stories, like conjuring tricks, are invented because history is inadequate for our dreams.”
“And again it snowed, and again the sun came out. In the mornings on the way to the station Franklin counted the new snowmen that had sprung up mysteriously overnight or the old ones that had been stricken with disease and lay cracked apart-a head here, a broken body and three lumps of coal there-and one day he looked up from a piece of snow-colored rice paper and knew he was done. It was as simple as that: you bent over your work night after night, and one day you were done. Snow still lay in dirty streaks on the ground but clusters of yellow-green flowers hung from the sugar maples.”
“All words are masks and the lovelier they are, the more they are meant to conceal.”
“That afternoon he told me that the difference between human beings and animals was that human beings were able to dream while awake. He said the purpose of books was to permit us to exercise that faculty. Art, he said, was a controlled madness… He said books weren’t made of themes, which you could write essays about, but of images that inserted themselves into your brain and replaced what you were seeing with your eyes.”
“His ambition was to insert his dreams into the world, and if they were the wrong dreams, then he would dream them in solitude.”
“So imagine a fire going — wood snapping the way it does when it’s a little green — the wind rattling the windows behind the curtains — and one of those Chopin melodies that feel like sorrow and ecstasy all mixed together pouring from the keys — and you have my idea of happiness. Or just reading, reading and lamplight, the sound of pages turning. And so you dare to be happy. You do that thing. You dare.”

Contemporary British Art – Marc Atkins

Below (photographs) – “Aimless 105p”; “Aimless5791”; “Aimless5883”; “Mikolow1058”; “Aimless5775pc.”


A Poem for Today

“Helping My Daughter Move into Her First Apartment”
by Sue Ellen Thompson

This is all I am to her now:
a pair of legs in running shoes,

two arms strung with braided wire.
She heaves a carton sagging with CDs

at me and I accept it gladly, lifting
with my legs, not bending over,

raising each foot high enough
to clear the step. Fortunate to be

of any use to her at all,
I wrestle, stooped and single-handed,

with her mattress in the stairwell,
saying nothing as it pins me,

sweating, to the wall. Vacuum cleaner,
spiny cactus, five-pound sacks

of rice and lentils slumped
against my heart: up one flight

of stairs and then another,
down again with nothing in my arms.

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