Archive | September 2015

To Accompany Kerfe today

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My sister Jane wore this necklace every day throughout the 70’s. The expression came from the group Another Mother for Peace (AMP), a grassroots anti-war advocacy group. Sadly it seems nothing has changed; it has accelerated. Still the words are very true. 

Headline Haiku: War Is Not Healthy (for children and other living things)

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memory fails to
stop enduring grief
daily
farewell
face death alone

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Two weeks ago the New York Times published a chart explaining some of the ways civilians have died in the Syrian War.  A little research online shows that in modern warfare it is estimated that 85-90% of all casualties are civilians (June 2014 American Journal of Public Health).  War also wreaks havoc on the environment, leading to more death.

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Some estimates of civilians killed in recent and ongoing conflicts:
Sudan-Darfur  200,000
Iraq  170,000
Syria  200, 000
Congo  60,000
Afghanistan  45,000
Pakistan  35,000
Mexico  50,000
Libya  30,000
Chechnya  100,000
Eritrea-Ethiopia  70,000
Sierra Leone  70,000

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There are not enough tears to encompass all this sorrow.

Collaboration Tuesday – Splinter – Sandburg

The first autumn post in a continuing seasonal series of collaborations with Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry. More to come!

Illustrated Poetry

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One of the best parts (if not the best part!) of blogging for me are the collaborations that have emerged from it – and the ongoing illustrated poetry conversation between myself and Ms. Kerfe Roig is one I cherish a great deal. To my delight, it has become more or less a seasonal occurrence and is now a way I mark their changing. Our fall series begins today! Collage by Kerfe Roig of Method Two Madness (click over there for a visit, you’ll be glad you did), poem by Carl Sandburg, composition by me.

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Yes, I’m Smiling

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The Mets’ win-loss record may be worse than the top 3 teams in the NL Central, but who cares?  Anything can happen in the playoffs.

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I’d also like to note that Curtis Granderson has been a steady presence this season through good times and bad.  He leads the team in hits, OBP, walks, and runs scored, and is in the top ten in the National League in both walks and runs scored.

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And the man knows the correct way to slide home.

The Sukkah

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I helped my next door neighbors decorate the sukkah yesterday. I had some posters done for a store window that we repurposed as decorations. The kids painted on them and on the big acorn we hot glued little acorns as we are surrounded by oaks. The sukkah is a four walled structure with a roof open to the stars. The family will take meals in there for the holiday Sukkos. 

My main helper was Daniel, the middle son. He took this picture of me contemplating the setup.  

 
Here is a close up of the acorns. We really had fun collecting the acorns and hot gluing them on to the big daddy acorn.  

 
A fun day. Happy Sukkos!

Blood Red Moon and Seven Sleepers

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Seven Sleepers

And where are you going to?
Must I remain? The passage
whispers endless questions and my answer
is the same: I’m going for to market; a-going
to the fair; going all a-courting, and O what
have you got there? How come that
blood? And what did you? And my
reply: is this? this true? this
false flood of wishes, and pretty
little horses, the lily white
breast, the one I love
the best, tiny sparrow all a-crying, go
to sleep, hush-a-bye, seven
sleepers, bluest eyes—wake you

up, and up, and off, and where
are you going to? I’m going to the fair,
for my true love he is

–come, arise, seven sleepers, close
your eyes, tell me gentle, tell me
true, and where

are you a-going
to?—if I had knowed, if before: and none
as I so ready to unlock my chamber
door; and the pen-knife, and the rose, and my
sweet babe, and my sweet sweet lost
repose: seven sleepers, and the
briar, rest my weary I would fain my bed
a-lie O I will riddle, I will
reply: seven sleepers, seven
sleepers, seven
sleepers, sev
en sleepers,
seven sleep
ers, seven
sleepers
seven
sleepers, and the refrain:

Must I remain?

First off, shout out to

You may have notice this is quite a bit longer than my usual attempts at verse.  I started writing this poem 40 years ago.  In those days my poetry rambled on.  This was one I always liked, and worked on quite a bit, but never finished.  Every few years I would remember it and revise it.  I found it again earlier this year and vowed to complete and illustrate it sometime in 2015.

“Seven Sleepers” is an alternate title for Child Ballad #7, also known as “Earl Brand”. I love these songs, but the stories get jumbled in my head, and my poem incorporates phrases found in many other Child ballads as well. Pieces of these lyrics also appear in many other traditional English language songs.  The subjects are almost always grisly in some way (plenty of love lost, betrayal, death, and mayhem) which seems appropriate for a Blood Red Moon of any sort.

And lastly, I’d like to dedicate “Seven Sleepers” to the folk music partner of my youth:  Alfie.  She and I spent many hours both listening to and making music.  The songs, and hopes and dreams of that time, still remain.

Simple line portrait

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Kerfe is right that it’s not that easy to do a simple line drawing. I worked on one I had of her from our recent lunch. 

I’ve been drawing for a while today. Here’s another that I had started, actually the flowers at Indus Valley.  

 

Brooklyn Woman

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I tried to sketch my daughter yesterday but she wouldn’t sit still. I like that I’m taking my sketchbook with me now. It helps!

I had a little trouble with the arm. Went over it in white gouache and redrew. 

A Day in Brooklyn

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My daughter and I are sneakerheads so going to the Brooklyn Museum to see “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” was a must. Most if not all the viewers wore sneakers. The show covered the earliest known sneakers and how they became ingrained in the culture. There were lots of videos including tennis matches and old advertisements. A very interesting and fun exhibit. If some of those old sneakers could talk!

It would be difficult to pick out a favorite pair but maybe I’d pick these Giuseppe Zanotti red ones. They probably would have retailed for about a thousand bucks.  

 
The show was a lot of fun and amazing how they amassed all those great sneakers!

Chelsea Part 2

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When I saw these paintings by William Villalongo, I immediately thought of Nina and her explorations into medical art.  An African-American artist based in Brooklyn, he says his goal is to “orchestrate a conversation between history and art”.

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The Sepia Eye Gallery had a number of interesting works, but I was really taken with Neal Oshima, a Japanese-American photographer who has lived in Manila for 40 years.  His photograms of traditional Philippine garments are really stunning.

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This was one gallery where the woman (and they were almost all women) minding the store was both friendly and helpful.

Another photographer featured here was Indian artist Vivan Sundaram.  He has done a lot of work in many media, which often includes social commentary.  A wonderful sense of the absurd shows through in these photos which have been drawn and written on.  I was not surprised to read that he has been influenced by Dada and the Surrealists.

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The Luise Ross Gallery has a wonderful show of works by Leo Rabkin, whose work I was not familiar with, although he is both a well-known artist (president of the American Abstract Artists group in the 1960s and 70s), and also, along with his wife Dorothea, a well-known collector of folk art.  He just died earlier this year.

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He used found objects in his own art, and did many boxes, including this one with nails that also reminded me of Nina and her nail sculpture.

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I also liked this painted collage.

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Tucked in the back of the gallery was some work by Gaileen Aiken, a self-taught artist from Vermont.  I loved these large jointed paper dolls.

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And the sketchbooks were delightful.

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Gregory Hayes, another Brooklyn based artist, is showing pointillistic mandalas at the Nancy Margolis Gallery.

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And at the Joanne Artman Gallery I discovered another interesting artist that is evidently somewhat well-known.  America Martin definitely shows a graffiti influence, and had a lot of paintings of boxers on display.  She claims Henry Moore as a big inspiration, but she really reminds me more of Fernand Leger.

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I looked at lots and lots of other work in other galleries, but this is what I liked best.  It certainly gives me plenty of new ideas.