Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!
May we remember to look as closely as we do when we are in foreign lands, and maybe bring a little of the amazing colors back home with us.


mumbai fishing village, low tide

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Iqbal, that great poet, was so right. The moment you recognize what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave. To hell with the Naxals and their guns shipped from China. If you taught every poor boy how to paint, that would be the end of the rich in India."
from The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
"If I could have one super power, I would choose the ability to change the colors of things."
Porter Tierney, age 4

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen

Friday, December 25, 2009


photo taken on way to elephanta in india
"I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth."
Henry Miller

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



"Cast Asea", 20x16"
collection of John Chandler & family, Maryland
"Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, but to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."
Henry Miller

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Joy", 24x14"
from the collection of Wendy & Emily, Washington DC
"This was the year, at five or six, that I learned the meaning of "reverence," which, as I understand it, is the natural attitude to take toward magical, unverifiable, phenomena, the same way that "respect" and "obedience" describe the attitude one takes toward observable physical phenomena, such as gravity or money."
from 'All That' by David Foster Wallace

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mumbai Apartment Building at Night
from the sketchbook December 2, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


from the sketchbook 11.26.09
after first day in mumbai
"inconvenience regretted"
(construction sign on street in mumbai)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things."
Henry Miller

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all."
Jawaharlal Nehru



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Notes to myself on beginning a painting.

1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.

2. The pretty initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued---except as a stimulus for further moves.

3. Do search. But in order to find what is not searched for.

4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.

5. Don't "discover" a subject---of any kind.

6. Somehow don't be bored---but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.

7. Mistakes can't be erased but they move you from your present position.

8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.

9. Tolerate chaos.

10. Be careful only in a perverse way.

from Richard Diebenkorn's notebooks

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"This was what Bertrand Russell called his 'Ten Commandments' as a teacher.

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet opposition, even if it should come from your husband, wife or children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority- for victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinion you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence, as you should, the former implies a deeper argument than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness."

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Boredom is an instrument of social control. Power is the power to impose boredom, to command stasis, to combine this stasis with anguish. The real tedium, deep tedium, is seasoned with terror and with death."
from Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"I don’t acknowledge barriers.
My attitude is kind of punk, in that I don’t respect rules or dogmas. I like mixtures, the challenges they present, and finding new solutions to old questions.
Why must the stage always be horizontal and the dancer vertical?
Why not use movement to subvert space and question gravity? And so I set about investigating ways to do that, in both the horizontal and vertical planes.
Art is not a question of winning and losing. It’s about exploration and experimentation and transformation and discovery, and I take great pleasure in that.”

Deborah Colker in nytimes 10/21/09


Monday, October 26, 2009

“For me, making art is about a sense of agency. I’m most interested in how to construct meaning through images from the fragmentary aspects of our lives. We don’t have to be passive participants in what goes on around us. We can be empowered by actively projecting our own meaning and understanding onto the world."
“The sheet of paper and the projection screen are membranes where the outside world meets my inside world. Art should be a dialogue. I expect my drawings, films and theatrical works to be met halfway by the viewer, who must also invest them with meaning.”
william kentridge- nytimes, 10/23/09

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest."
Hermann Hesse

Friday, October 9, 2009


Intrepid, 6.5 x 4.5'
from sketchbook 10/9/09
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Color is a power which directly influences the soul."
Wassily Kandinsky

Friday, October 2, 2009

"How long had they been? Three hours? More? The distance between then and now was packed full of timeduring which his furious mind had prodded the outsides of a myriad fantasies and (if he were asked he would have said) nothing had happened. Thoughts of madness: Perhaps those moments of micast reality or lost time were the points (during times when nothing happened) when the prodding broke through. The language that happened on other muscles than the tongue was better for grasping these. Things he could not say wobbled in his mouth, and brought back, vividly in the black, how at age four he had sat in teh cellar, putting into his mouth, one after the other, blue, orange, and pink marbles, to see if he could taste the colors."
from Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Want of imagination makes things unreal enough to be destroyed. By imagination I mean knowledge and love. I mean compassion. People of power kill children, the old send the young to die, because they have no imagination. They have power. Can you have power and imagination at the same time? Can you kill people you don’t know and have compassion for them at the same time?"
Wendell Berry

Friday, September 25, 2009

"I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you."
from Life of Pi by Yann Martel
"the only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open."
from Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."
Jonathan Safran Foer

Friday, September 18, 2009


"Bliss Flight", from my sketchbook, 9/13/09
" The most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid."
J. D. Salinger

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"...the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid."
from Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
"But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives."
from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness."
from Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"War is an absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political. That a war can be represented as helping a people to 'feel good' about themselves, or their country, is a measure of that failure."
Adrienne Rich

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Our contemporaries are constantly wracked by two warring passions: they feel the need to be led and the desire to remain free. Unable to destroy either of these contrary instincts, they seek to satisfy both at once. They imagine a single, omnipotent, tutelary power, but one that is elected by the citizens. They combine centralization with popular sovereignty. This gives them some respite. They console themselves for being treated as wards by imagining that they have chosen their own protectors. Each individual allows himself to be clapped in chains because that the other end of the chain is held not by a man or a class but by the people themselves.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Love helps us develop an identity secure enough to allow itself to be placed in another's care and protection."
from White Noise by Don DeLillo

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace."
Chuck Palahniuk

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The more you know the less you feel.'
from the song 'City of Blinding Lights' by U2

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Perhaps [transgression] is like a flash of lightning in the night which, from the beginning of time, gives a dense and black intensity to the night it denies, which lights up the night from the inside, from top to bottom, yet owes to the dark the stark clarity of its manifestation, its harrowing and poised singularity."
from Language, Counter Memory, Practice by Michel Foucault

Friday, September 4, 2009

"I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream."
Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"And what have I invested in interpreting disfocus for chaos? This threat: the only lesson is to wait. I crouch in the smoggy terminus. The streets lose edges, the rims of thought flake. What have I set myself to fix in this dirty notebook that is not mine? Does the revelation that, though it cannot be done with words, it might be accomplished in some lingual gap, give me the right, in injury, walking with a woman and her dog in pain? Rather the long doubts: that this labor tears up the mind's moorings; that, though life may be important in the scheme, awareness is an imperfect tool with which to face it. To reflect is to fight away the sheets of silver, the carbonated distractions, the feeling that, somehow, a thumb is pressed on the right eye. This exhaustion melts what binds, releases what flows."
from Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Stay?" Loufer's voice neared that other, upsetting tone. "Well, actually, I've thought about that one a lot. I think it has to do with- I got a theory now- freedom. You know, here- " ahead, something moved- "you're free. No laws to break, or to follow. Do anything you want. Which does funny things to you. Very quickly, surprisingly quickly, you become- " they neared another half-lit lamp; what moved became smoke, lobling from a window sill set with glass teeth like an extinguished jack-o-lantern- "exactly who you are." And Tak was visible again. "If you're ready for that, this is where it's at."
from Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"The progressive world is necessarily divided into two classes - those who take the best of what there is and enjoy it - and those who wish for something better and try to create it. Without these two classes the world would be badly off. They are the very conditions of progress, both the one and the other. Were none who were discontented with what the have, the world would never reach anything better." from the essay 'Cassandra' by Florence Nightingale

Saturday, August 1, 2009

SIGNPOSTS is taking the month of August off.
See you when we return....

Friday, July 31, 2009

"Never regret thy fall,
O Icarus of the fearless flight
For the greatest tragedy of them all
Is never to feel the burning light."
Oscar Wilde

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Covalent Bond, 17x11"
from the collection of Wendy and Emily,
Washington DC
"All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are."
H.L.Mencken

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"I paint to rest from the phenomena of the external world - to pronounce it -- and to make notations of its essences with which to verify the inner eye."
Morris Graves

Monday, July 27, 2009

"To destroy is easier than to create, and that is why so many people are ready to demonstrate against what they reject. But what would they say if one asked them what they wanted instead?"
from Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Our minds, like our bodies, are in continual flux; something is hourly lost, and something acquired.... Do not suffer life to stagnate; it will grow muddy for want of motion: commit yourself again to the current of the world."
Samuel Johnson

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"The public wants work which flatters its illusions."
Gustave Flaubert

Friday, July 24, 2009



Enskied, 17x11"
from the collection of Greg,
Annapolis MD

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"In no part of the Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the wisdom of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department...War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will which is to direct it. In war the public treasures are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. ...It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions and most dangerous waeknesses of the human breast; ambition avarice, vanity, the honorable or venial love of fame, all are in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace."
James Madison
"The case for individual freedom rests chiefly on the recognition of the inevitable and universal ignorance of all of us concerning a great many of the factors on which the achievement of our ends and welfare depend. It is because every individual knows so little and, in particular, because we rarely know which of us knows best that we trust the independent and competitive efforts of many to induce the emergence of what we shall want when we see it. Humiliating to human pride as it may be, we must recognize that the advance and even the preservation of civilization are dependent upon a maximum of opportunity for accidents to happen."
Friedrich Hayek

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"One writes because one has been touched by the yearning for and the despair of ever touching the Other."
from The Unemployed Fortune Teller by Charles Simic

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes."
Andre Gide

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interviewer:
"Why do you think you want to keep these records- all the shirt boards, the notes, and the files? Do you imagine other people reading them or are they just for you?

Gay Talese:
"I haven't given it much thought. I just don't want to throw them away. It's become an obsession with me now. I don't want to give the impression that I have an inflated sense of myself because I do not. But I do think that I am a chronicler. I want to report on what I have seen and heard and people I've known, and what I've done, because I think it's connected to history. I'm interested in leaving my mark. I keep records to testify to the fact that I'm alive."

Interviewer:
"Like the ZT.S.Eliot line, "These fragments I have shorn against my ruins"?

Talese:
"You bring intellectual bearing upon my banality."

from an interview by Katie Riaphe in The Paris Review vol.189

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"...I have come to think that life is a far more limited thing than those in the midst of its maelstorm realize. That light shines into the act of life for only the briefest moment-perhaps only a matter of seconds. Once it is gone and failed to grasp its offered revelation, there is no second chance. One may have to live the rest of one's life in hopeless depth of loneliness and remorse. In that twilight world, one can no longer look forward to anything. All that such a person holds in his hands is the withered corpse of what should have been."
from The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"On a wild night he went through the dark of the apple orchards downriver while a storm swept in and lightning marked him out with his empty sack. The trees reared like horses all about him in the wind and the fruit fell hard on the ground like the disordered clop of hooves.
Suttree stood among the screaming leaves and called the lightning down. It cracked and boomed about and he pointed out the darkened heart within him and asked for light. If there be any art in the weathers of this earth. Or char these bones to coal. If you can, if you can. A blackened rag in the rain.
He sat with his back to a tree and watched the storm move on over the city. Am I a monster, are there monsters in me?"
from Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

Friday, July 17, 2009


In a Field of Clover, 17x11"
from the collection of Greg,
Annapolis, MD
"The virtue of sacrifice is everything and must always exist in necessary moments. Without it, we would not be able to produce good art nor anything else of value in life."
Juan Gris in a letter to Leonce Rosenberg

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it."
Frank Herbert

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us."
J.G. Ballard

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

'Mr. Kiefer sees a vengeful God and "the world as completely wrongly constructed," he said. But beauty can emerge: "If you try to do something you cannot do, it brings you farther, it brings you to something else, even if you fail."'...

'There are days when he paints and hates his work. "It's horrible," he said. "You're desperate, but the next day it becomes, sometimes, beautiful. Because I didn't see what was inside. Desperation is a material for artists."'

from 7/8/09 Steven Erlanger piece in N.Y.Times about Anselm Kiefer nad the new Paris Opera stage sets and costumes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed--and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!"
Arthur Rimbaud

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.

I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience."
from The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Your memories become fantasies if they are not shared,
and your life in all its triviality becomes a legend."
from The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon

Friday, July 10, 2009


Alley Sunset, 17 x 11"
from the collection of Donna & Steve,
Baltimore, MD
"Whoever separates his life from thought will not last. Whoever wishes to just wander along without thinking will meet his own death before he reaches his desired destination. By taking a step Paul had left the road, and his body followed along easily. The view that the eyes slowly take in tries to seduce him into the unknown. Another step....No hand to point the way. To remain in the unknown would be a good way to simply be. No need to own anything, no need for a grave."
from The Journey by H.G. Adler

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Before all else, the Minotaur was the agent of his own appetite. But sometimes, in philosophical moods, he would think of himself as a messenger bearing this ultimate truth: You were created to be destroyed. That was it. Simple."
from Ziggurat by Stephen O'Connor

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"It was dark, and the candle burning in the carriage generated more shadows than light."
from When Nietzsche Wept by Irving Yolom

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"The color of the truth is gray."
Andre Gide

Monday, July 6, 2009

"But on bright summer days, in particular, so evenly disposed a luster lay over the whole of Barmouth Bay that the separate surfaces of sand and water, sea and land, earth and sky could no longer be distinguished. All forms and colors were dissolved in a pearl-gray haze; there were no contrasts, no shading anymore, only flowing transitions with the light throbbing through them, a single blur from which only the most fleeting of visions emerged, and strangely- I remember this well- it was the very evanescence of those visions that gave me, at the time, something like a sense of eternity."
from Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"The modern artist is working with space and time and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating."
Jackson Pollock

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Crow's Nest, 17x11"
"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision."
Salvador Dali

Friday, July 3, 2009

"An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an original is motivated by necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human."
Man Ray

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"I want what we all want," said Carl. "To move certain parts of the interior of myself into the exterior world, to see if they can be embraced."
from You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Not a breath, not a sound—except at intervals the muffled crackling of stones that the cold was reducing to sand—disturbed the solitude and silence surrounding Janine. After a moment, however, it seemed to her that the sky above her was moving in a sort of slow gyration. In the vast reaches of the dry, cold night, thousands of stars were constantly appearing, and their sparkling icicles, loosened at once, began to slip gradually towards the horizon. Janine could not tear herself away from contemplating those drifting flares. She was turning with them, and the apparently stationary progress little by little identified her with the core of her being, where cold and desire were now vying with each other. Before her the stars were falling one by one and being snuffed out among the stones of the desert, and each time Janine opened a little more to the night. Breathing deeply, she forgot the cold, the dead weight of others, the craziness or stuffiness of life, the long anguish of living and dying. After so many years of mad, aimless fleeing from fear, she had come to a stop at last. At the same time, she seemed to recover her roots and the sap again rose in her body, which had ceased trembling. Her whole belly pressed against the parapet as she strained towards the moving sky; she was merely waiting for her fluttering heart to calm down and establish silence within her. The last stars of the constellations dropped their clusters a little lower on the desert horizon and became still. Then, with unbearable gentleness, the water of night began to fill Janine, drowned the cold, rose gradually from the hidden core of her being and overflowed in wave after wave, rising up even to her mouth full of moans. The next moment, the whole sky stretched out over her, fallen on her back on the cold earth."
Albert Camus

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Filled with rapture, his soul yearned for freedom, space, vastness. Over him the heavenly dome, full of quiet, shining stars, hung boundlessly. From the zenith to the horizon the still-dim Milky Way stretched its double strand. Night, fresh and quiet, almost unstirring, enveloped the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the church gleamed in the sapphire sky. The luxuriant autumn asleep till morning. The silence of the earth seemed to merge with the silence of the heavens and the mystery of the earth touched the mystery of the stars.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Monday, June 29, 2009


Flourish, 17x11"
from the collection of Summer & Matt,
Baltimore, MD
"Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone."
Czeslaw Milosz

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of shore for a very long time."
Andre Gide

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"He did all this with great concentration in order to keep his thoughts at bay, in order to let them in only one at a time, having first asked them what they contained, because you can't be too careful with thoughts, some present themselves to us with a cloying air of false innocence and then, when it's too late, reveal their true wicked selves."
Jose Saramago

Friday, June 26, 2009

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic."
Abigail Adams

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Stones in the road? I save every single one, one day I´ll build a castle"
Fernando Pessoa

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"We work in the dark— we do what we can— we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
Henry James

Monday, June 22, 2009

"not only does the universe have its own laws, all of them indifferent to the contradictory dreams and desires of humanity, and in the formulation of which we contribute not one iota, apart, that is, from the words by which we clumsily name them, but everything seems to indicate that it uses these laws for aims and objectives that transcend and always will transcend our understanding."
Jose Saramago

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."
Carl Gustav Jung

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
Bertrand Russell

Friday, June 19, 2009


Phoenix, 21x16"
collection of Cliff Ransom, Baltimore
"The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds
Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day;
But on the ground, among the hooting crowds,
He cannot walk, his wings are in the way."
from Les Fleurs Du Mal by Charles Baudelaire

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves."
from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Bacon's paintings objectify the subjective ordeal of perishing bodies that harbor immortal longings."
Peter Schjeldahl on Francis Bacon's paintings

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"So maybe she was up in the room trying to discover what her new self was, for when you get in love you are made all over again. The person who loves you has picked you out of the great mass of uncreated clay which is humanity to make something out of, and the poor lumpish clay which is you wants to find out what it has been made into. But at the same time, you, in the act of loving somebody, become real, cease to be part of the continuum of the uncreated clay and get the breath of life in you and rise up. So you create yourself by creating another person, who, however, has also created you, picked up the you-chunk of clay out of the mass. So there are two you's, the one you yourself create by loving and the one the beloved creates by loving you. The farther those two you's are apart the more the world grinds and grudges on its axis. But if you loved and were loved perfectly then there wouldn't be any difference between the two you's or any distance between them. They would coincide perfectly, there would be a perfect focus, as when a stereoscope gets the twin images on the card into perfect alignment."
from All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect, and greet each other."
Rilke

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Conditioned to ecstasy, the poet is like a gorgeous unknown bird mired in the ashes of thought. If he succeeds in freeing himself, it is to make a sacrificial flight to the sun. His dreams of a regenerate world are but the reverberations of his own fevered pulse beats. He imagines the world will follow him, but in the blue he finds himself alone. Alone but surrounded by his creations; sustained, therefore, to meet the supreme sacrifice. The impossible has been achieved; the duologue of author with Author is consummated. And now forever through the ages the song expands, warming all hearts, penetrating all minds. At the periphery the world is dying away; at the center it glows like a live coal. In the great solar heart of the universe the golden birds are gathered in unison. There it is forever dawn, forever peace, harmony and communion. Man does not look to the sun in vain; he demands light and warmth not for the corpse which he will one day discard but for his inner being. His greatest desire is to burn with ecstasy, to commerge his little flame with the central fire of the universe. If he accords the angels wings so that they may come to him with messages of peace, harmony and radiance from worlds beyond, it is only to nourish his own dreams of flight, to sustain his own belief that he will one day reach beyond himself, and on wings of gold. One creation matches another; in essence they are all alike. The brotherhood of man consists not in thinking alike, nor in acting alike, but in aspiring to praise creation. The song of creation springs from the ruins of earthly endeavor. The outer man dies away in order to reveal the golden bird which is winging its way toward divinity."
from The Time of the Asssasins: A Study of Rimbaud by Henry Miller

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"In the morning they came up out of the ravine and took to the road again. He'd carved the boy a flute from a piece of raodside cane and he took it from his coat and gave it to him. the boy took it wordlessly. After a while he fell back and after a while the man could hear him playing. A formless music for the age to come. Or perhaps the last music on earth called up from out of the ashes of its ruin. The man turned and looked back at him. He was lost in concentration. The man thought he seemed some sad and solitary changeling child announcing the arrival of a traveling spectacle in shire and village who does not know that behind him the players have all been carried off by wolves."
from The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Friday, June 12, 2009


Resolute Profusion, 17x11"
from the collection of Jolie
"At first she talked. The third full day, rasping, Deary told both Lou and Pete about rocks. She was passing on a last-minute legacy. It took two hours on and off, and it was this: Frames of film comprise every rock in the world. (Have you got that?) If you slice a rock thin enough, and splice the slices serially as frames, you have a documentary film. The film displays the long history of the world from that rock's views. Together the world's rocks hold a visual record of all time. You splice the frames and store them in reels by continents and by some rough stabs at their more or less infinite subdivisions of regions and times. It all badly needed film editors...
-At any stage after splicing, one need only run the films through the projectors to see it, any of it, eventually all of it, the world from anywhere and all angles in all its times. At least up to a random cutoff point when someone wild with curiosity- called a halt and began slicing again. During and after the big work, ever-new rock would record films of the ongoing life of their sites: people showing up on the planet, and moving over it."

from The Maytrees by Annie Dillard- this passage reminded me of my friend Matthew Kern's paintings, see them at www.matthewkern.com


Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them."
Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word.'"
Stan Brakhage

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"The thought is not something that observes an inner event, but, rather it is this inner event itself. We do not reflect on something, but, rather, something thinks itself in us. "
Robert Musil

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Art and morality are, with certain provisos…one. Their essence is the same. The essence of both of them is love. Love is the perception of individuals. Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality."
Iris Murdoch

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter."
Albert Einstein

Saturday, June 6, 2009

"The people in the world, and the objects in it, and the world as a whole, are not absolute things, but on the contrary, are the phenomena of perception... If we were all alike: if we were millions of people saying do, re, mi, in unison, One poet would be enough... But we are not alone, and everything needs expounding all the time because, as people live and die, each one perceiving life and death for himself, and mostly by and in himself, there develops a curiosity about the perceptions of others. This is what makes it possible to go on saying new things about old things."
Wallace Stevens

Friday, June 5, 2009


Beginnings, 17x11"
"The Idols of Tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe or race of men. For it is a false assertion that the sense of man is the measure of things. On the contrary, all perceptions as well of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. And the human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it."
from Novum Organum by Francis Bacon

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Our imagination flies- we are its shadow on the earth."
Vladimir Nabokov

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it."
Anais Nin

Monday, June 1, 2009

"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it truly is: infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."
from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
Albert Einstein

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Minds are very hard things to open, and the best way to open the mind is through the heart. Our minds were not designed by evolution to discover the truth; they were designed to play social games.”
Jonathan Haidt

Friday, May 29, 2009

"...one of the brain's functions could be to be sensitive to more and more subtle levels of being; the brain could then function more as an antenna to pick up such levels rather that as something that would be only the 'initiator' of action. As long as the brain is following only its own internal goals, then it will be occupied; and that's necessary in certain contexts. But if we consider that it's also necessary to reach or contact the unlimited, then there must be silence - a lack of occupation."
from On Dialogue by David Bohm

Thursday, May 28, 2009


from sketchbook, May 21, 2009
"...I became aware of the world's tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in the speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wnid, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but the shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed upon us and unappreciated."
Vladimir Nabokov

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Memory really matters...only if it binds together the imprint of the past and the project of the future, if it enables us to act without forgetting what we wanted to do, to become without ceasing to be, and to be without ceasing to become."
Italo Calvino

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first."
Immanuel Kant

Monday, May 25, 2009

"We are created by being destroyed."
Franz Wright

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it."
Hannah Arendt

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present."
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Nothing great in the world was accomplished without passion."
Georg Wilhelm Friederich Hegel

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Portal, 17x11"
from the collection of Hathaway,
Baltimore, MD
"Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.
Seneca

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."
Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have known since long.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Monday, May 18, 2009

"A Klee painting named 'Angelus Novus' shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
Walter Benjamin

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Religion is a story that the left brain tells the right brain."
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

Friday, May 15, 2009

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."
Richard Dawkins

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Alley Skies, 17x11"
from the collection of Molly,
Baltimore, MD
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

'As a woman she's of the view that you don't bring children into the world to have them shot."
from Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Darkness is
Not seeing my hand
Fear is
Seeing it
And not trusting it

from The Secret Life of Lingerie by Iman Ibrahim

Monday, May 11, 2009

Self doubt is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget."
Arundhati Roy

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"“Writer’s block! It doesn’t exist. You just long for ideas to go away so you have an idea of peace.”
Colm Toibin

Friday, May 8, 2009

"We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the 'ideas' with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience."
Joan Didion

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Shimmerscape, 17x11"
now in the collection of
Simone Campbell Scott and Tom Scott

"The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others."
Carl Gustav Jung

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"The continuous narrative of existence is a lie. There is no continuous narrative, there are lit-up moments, and the rest is dark."
Jeanette Winterson

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Most new discoveries are suddenly seen things that were always there.
Suzanne K. Langer

Monday, May 4, 2009

"No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand and laid alongside another thread and is held and supported by a hundred others"
Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"A writer who keeps a personal diary uses it to record what he knows. In his poems or stories he sets down what he doesn't know."
Adam Zagajewski

Saturday, May 2, 2009

ELEMENTARY COSMOGONY

How to the invisible
I hired myself to learn
Whatever trade it might
Consent to teach me.

How the invisible
Came out for a walk
On a certain evening
Casting the shadow of a man

How I followed behind
Dragging my body
Which is my toolbox,
Which is my music box,

For a long apprenticeship
That has as its last
And seventh rule:
The submission to chance.

Charles Simic

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Small disconnected facts, if you take note of them, have a way of becoming connected."
from The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy

Thursday, April 30, 2009



photos taken in cemeteries in Berlin and Baltimore

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."
Albert Camus

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk. The anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers. What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and its perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other."
from 'The Hours' by Michael Cunningham

Monday, April 27, 2009

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."
Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This weekend I suggest you get your significant other, sit on a couch or a picnic blanket and read aloud Annie Dillard's short story, 'Living like Weasels' to be found here, http://www.sheftman.com/ewrt1a/dillard/weasel.html, or in your copy of her 'Teaching a Stone to Talk'.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"He got up and walked out to the road. The black shape of it running from dark to dark. Then the distant low rumble. Not thunder. You could feel it under your feet. A sound without cognate and so without description. Something imponderable shifting out there in the dark. The earth itself contracting with the cold. It did not come again. What time of year? What age the child? He walked out into the road and stood. The silence. The salitter drying from the earth. The mudstained shapes of flooded cities burned to the waterline. At a crossroads a ground set with dolmen stones where the spoken bones of oracles lay moldering. No sound but the wind. What will you say? A living man spoke these lines? He sharpened a quill with his small pen knife to scribe these things in sloe or lampblack? At some reckonable and entabled moment? He is coming to steal my eyes. To seal my mouth with dirt."
from 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Aerie, 17x11"
now in the collection of
Barbara and Jimmy Walton,
Martinez, GA
"Time that withers you will wither me. We will fall like ripe fruit and roll down the grass together. Dear friend, let me lie beside you watching the clouds until the earth covers us and we are gone."
from Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Anais Nin

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it."
Harry Nilsson

Monday, April 20, 2009

"A choir of seedlings arching their necks out of rotted tree stumps, sucking life out of earth."
from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Sometimes I see something so moving I know I’m not supposed to linger. See it and leave. If you stay too long, you wear out the wordless shock. Love it and trust it and leave."
from Underworld by Don DeLillo

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it."
from Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."
Victor Hugo

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Bower, 17x11"
"This is what jazz is: jazz is freedom. I don't think you always have to play in time. But there's two different ways of playing. There's a way of playing where you can play with no time. Or, you can have a fixed time and play against it. That's what I feel is heaven - being able to be that free, spiritual, musical."
Sonny Rollins

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"What you risk reveals what you value."
from Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Art doesn't listen to excuses."
from BIRTHPLACE Moving into Nearness by William S. Wilson

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is 'man' in a higher sense- he is 'collective man'- one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind."
Carl Gustav Jung

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"He seems to have understood painting as a collaborative process between the artist's hand and the beholder's eye, in which the former laid down suggestive elements and the imaginative observer assembles them in his mind to make a coherent subject. Sometimes he would help the process along, Sometimes not. But he was much taken by the indeterminacy of the exercise, by forms that escaped resolution. The sobriety of the hard edge became, one has to think, a sign of conceptual banality, a weakness in the mind's eye."
Simon Schama on J.M.W. Turner

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"What I want of my art I can eventually find. The work must go beyond this. It is my main concern to go beyond what I know and what I can know."
Eva Hesse

Friday, April 10, 2009

"My writing is not so much about what I know as about what we don't know. And what is unknowable."
William Bronk

Abeyancy: Hanging vs. Floating
11x17"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Maybe madness is the excess of possibility...and writing is about reducing possibility to one idea, one book, one sentence, one word. Madness is a form of self-expression. It is the opposite of creativity. You cannot make anything that can be separated from yourself if you are mad...my language was my protection, my guarantee against madness and when there was no one to listen my language vanished along with my reader."
from Hallucinating Foucault by Patricia Duncker

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

UTTERANCE

Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence

W.S. Merwin

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention."
from The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought by Marilynne Robinson