Truth and Beauty … and social realism

This is from the most recent newsletter sent from the Executive Director of Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Stefano Catalani.  He recently met with painter Max Ginsburg in New York.

“At 86, Ginsburg, who was raised in the ebullient milieu of the New York Jewish Left of the 1920s and 1930s, is a living monument to social realism. Mind you, I am not referring to the hollow social realism of the Soviet experience—mere propaganda in service of ideology. I am talking about the empathetic gaze, painting as act of resistance and revelation, and the agency of art for change. For nearly 50 years, Ginsburg’s realist paintings have explored the human experience, captured the beauty of everyday life, and offered warmhearted and passionate commentary on class, gender, and race.”

“In the artist’s words: “With regard to these themes, I have been inspired by Old Masters such as Caravaggio, Goya, Kollwitz, and Picasso. I choose to paint realistically because I believe realism is truth and truth is beauty. I derive an aesthetic pleasure in skillfully done realistic drawings and paintings. I believe that realism can communicate ideas strongly and it is this communication that is extremely important to me.” “

Shoreline Arts Festival 2018

Thanks to Shoreline Arts Festival, June 23rd and 24th!  This year 25% of my profits from the Shoreline Arts Festival will be donated to ROOTS Young Adult Shelter in the University District.  It was a good two days and inspiring to meet other artists, see longtime friends and all the folks who appreciate art.


A special call-out to two fabulous festival neighbors:

Angelica Sta. Teresa – see:   She’ll be at the Renegade Craft Fair July 21st and 22nd in Magnuson Park. Angelica creates exquisite hand-dyed scarves, leggings, and tops.

Brian from Fairview Lake Studio. See: for a list of upcoming shows and festivals. Beautiful, useable ceramic pieces.



At the end of the year – kindness

“Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”


And a shout-out for Naomi Shihab Nye’s most recent book, Voices in the Air, and to whose birds can be seen with the poetry.  See: