Archive for December, 2016

Art Symbolizes 35 Years of Life!

December 31, 2016


This little sculpture is 5″ high. It was a model for a large ceramic waterfall piece I wanted to make in 1986 but never got around to doing.

The flat stones I spontaneously added in December, 2016 for a gift for my friend and Japanese teacher, Yukako Fujita.

In 1981, artist Yukio Ozaki was commissioned by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to design the entrance way to Maui Memorial Medical Center. It consisted of 26 separate and uniquely carved mahogany wooden panels of the word for life: “ii-no-chi.”


I loved the idea of carving the word into clay – making something like prayer pebbles – to celebrate “Life.”

2012 World in a Grain of Sand

December 30, 2016


I can tell you it’s a curse as well as a blessing growing up in Manhattan.

One gets used to the whole world being condensed to one small island – all the world’s glories reduced to a grain of sand. One sees a painting at the Met, depicting a William Blake poem, believes it and develops a passion to look for the world in a grain of sand – to look for transformations of persons, places and things. The star at the opera house, the statue in the art museum become the norm.

The meat and potatoes – the ordinary life that produces sustenance for most of the world is an exception to the rule.

I’m sure this reasoning led me to travel to Tokyo after college as an English teacher and to stay for three years. The Japanese are masters at creating the world in a grain of sand. Japan is an island country, as is Manhattan – in and of itself.

I remember reading in translation “Kokoro” a book by classical Japanese writer Natsume Soseki about a Professor who, above all else, was determined not to lead an ordinary life. It resonated with me because I had no ordinary goal of dating, marrying, having a family. My goal actually was simple enough – though I wasn’t able to articulate it as such – it seems I just wanted to learn as much as possible about life, every moment of every day – an exhausting undertaking – totally unrealistic.

Now in my seventies, I seem to have achieved a fair measure of my goal – having a large house cluttered with things from places I have lived and people I have met.

Acquiring money has never been a goal so consequently, I don’t have any. But I do have treasures of inestimable wealth.

During my lifetime I hae collected people of inestimable wealth – to me anyway, personally: opera stars, artists –  not too many ordinary people – to me anyway – because I’ve not been taught the definition of “ordinary.”

Recently I have been given the extraordinary opportunity to volunteer at a day care center to supplement the efforts of three teachers in the infant/toddler room where twelve babies spend most of their waking hours. These are not ordinary babies. There’s that word again. Every one of them is extraordinary and my every moment of every day with them is spent watching, interacting, absorbing the personalities, the progressions of their lives ranging from three to sixteen months old.

I don’t have to do the ordinary tasks of cooking, changing diapers and all; the parents and teachers do that. So here I am again drawn to an extraordinary life of observing the world in a grain of sand – so precious.

This passion for life includes going to a continuing care retirement center (CCRC) every week visiting friends at the other end of life’s spectrum. There is still so much to learn. My ninety-nine year old Japanese-American friend there teaches me Japanese and together we watch old Toshiro Mifune/Akira Kurosawa samurai movies.

Today a gift arrived in the mail from Yukio Ozaki, a longtime Japanese potter friend in Hawaiii. It was a ceramic piece he had made.

Here’s a photograph which doesn’t do it justice but still perhaps you can get an idea of the sun, the moon, the earth and its galaxies in the brilliant blues, interspersed with vibrations of deep browns and blacks, shot through with white sky, a crackling, glassy shine moving to ocean rhythms, the islands of Manhattan and Japan, so extraordinary a bowl, representing the world in a grain of sand.

New Foster Child in House!

December 29, 2016


Well, it’s me again, writing on my Lady’s blog. I can’t take this new foster child! You understand that this is a metaphor, right?  You, the readers, only understand metaphors, so I’m trying to speak your language. This 6 month old male (that’s 3&1/2 in human years) is disrupting the household. He chases us all – even the canines are intimidated.

There are two more of my kind outside that my Lady wants to get fixed – so there will be no more babies – which is good. But this newcomer has had absolutely no parenting – so he has no control.

How can he survive in a home filled with disciplined beings and art?

Granted, my lineage is nothing to brag about, but this bastard child knows no bounds.

Stay tuned!kimg1015-1


Metropolitan Museum of Art End of Season Clearance Catalog

December 28, 2016

kimg1062-2paul-klee-topThe Metropolitan Museum of Art End of Season Clearance Catalog arrived today.

I’m so glad my budget doesn’t even allow for a reduced $7.48 set of Mary Cassatt note cards, no less a $97.50 18th Century Parisian 5&3/8″ ball point pen of gold overlay and lacquer. The latter would appeal to D.D.T. (Disastrous Donald Trump).

But I must say that Paul Klee’s “Deep Pathos” (circa 1915) inspired vibrant top would tempt me if I had a budget even close to DDT.

It is freeing to be so poor.

2010poster300-2010and11But on the other hand, if I had some DDT money, it would be great to be able to design and sell a top inspired by a Camden Students at Peace Doing Art Poster (circa 2010).


In Thanksgiving for Karen Avenick

December 27, 2016

  kimg0994-2karens-xmas-tree In Thanksgiving for Karen Avenick

Karen and I love life. My dear friend said to me:”Nobody cares.”

Oh no Karen, it’s the opposite, everyone cares, they just don’t know how to…

We all face times in our lives when this thought pops up, Karen, but just remember and know how much YOU care!

We’ve talked about it. We’ve sung songs about it. We love life and have lived life. Yesterday, sitting outside in the spring afternoon…

…the hundred foot, hundred year old trees around Collingswood Manor…”Gorgeous” you said. You are gorgeous, Karen, my dear.

People file in and out of your room hurrying to the task at hand, you smile and it makes them feel better…

You say “thank you” or “no thank you,” when they ask a question. They want to help but don’t know how.

Let’s look to the music we love and sing it: South Pacific, The King and I, Finean’s Rainbow…Finean’s Rainbow!?!

Oh, why did I say that? Remember that Bum’s Song… “When I’m not near the girl I love, I love the girl I’m near…”

Let’s change the word “girl” to boy or another person, place or thing: When I am not near the creature I love, I love the thing I’m near…

So many persons, places, things, around us Karen. Aren’t we promiscuous! They all love us back in one way or another when you think about it.

But it’s sometimes hard to see. Let’s keep our eyes and hearts open. Let’s “keep the faith,” as they say.

Thank you for your wisdom, Karen, for saying just the right thing in response to just the right situation.

I want to hear more of your thoughts, Karen. Forgive me for not taking the time to listen. I’m too busy with “loving the thing I’m near!”

Barbara Pfeiffer, 2015

B.J. Swartz – Librarian – Art Aware Website Manager

December 21, 2016




The First Art Aware Calendar on the Art Aware Website,thanks to B.J.

I first met B.J. at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Library in the 1990s. Without her I would be computer illiterate. It’s not that she took my hand and gave me lessons. She just inspired me to learn on my own. She adopted my Art Aware non-profit organization onto her own website in 1999 and shortly afterwards gifted me with my  website – – and managed it.

In 2006, I officially became a Senior Citizen and rather than dropping me and treating me like a child (many youngsters do that to oldies), she continued our relationship and the management of the website with an eleventh Newsletter. Now it’s ten years later, I’m ten years older and she still manages the website and inspires Art Aware’s Blog –

Many computer-articulate whizzes, like B.J., do not promote the confidence of pedestrian Seniors like myself on the Internet. She is different. Perhaps that is because, as she says on her own website, she is a librarian, philosopher, poet and well on the way to becoming a Senior herself. Check it out –!

I Admit I’m A Little Nuts

December 13, 2016


The animals I live with teach me about the world.

Their interpersonal relationships are not so different from humans. They vie for attention, establish hierarchies, discriminate between ages, sexes and species, are jealous of each other and put up with each other. Most important, they all love me. But my six-year-old pit bull doesn’t love me as much as she does her twelve-year-old shitsu brother and twelve-month-old Great Dane brother.

They feed my ego as “savior,” since they’re all rescues. They come from a long heritage of my 30 years in Camden, N.J.

I  am never lonely. I never feel afraid. It isn’t in their cat or dog natures to harm anyone. I’ve never even heard the dogs growl. However, they’ve never been tested by anyone trying to harm me. But if an assailant came around I don’t think my dogs would be kind.

A little black, mixed breed dog, Patsi, helped my mother, at age three, recover from the death of her mother from brain cancer in 1915.

And my dogs and cats help me survive the craziness of our world in 2016, one hundred years later!

Lady I Live With Is A Little Nuts

December 13, 2016


The last time I wrote a blog for the woman I live with was on August 10, 2014.

She doesn’t know I sneak onto her computer and write when I’m upset about something.

It’s a zoo in her house with four dog housemates and three cats. Recently she added another feline to the family – a six-month old black male.

It was sheer persistence that got him admitted. It’s cold outside and he wanted in. He actually pushed his way in despite being greeted at the door by two canines.

My lady quickly ushered him upstairs into a room of his own.  This was five days ago and he has been meowing every since – as if he owned the place.

I am the oldest in this family. In order to keep my authority, I will ignore him and maintain my dignity.

This lady I live with is a little nuts. We don’t need another animal in the residence. And how pushy will this boy get as he gets older.

God help us!


Donald Trump, A Nobody in Modacius

December 6, 2016

Donald Trump, a Nobody in Modacius

In Modacius Donald Trump is a nobody because there are so many people who know more than he does about reality. We are a small city of people who know about hardship. We are multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-denominational, multi-income, multi-everything that DT is multi-not.