Trip to the Bookstore

With some time to spare between classes yesterday, I stopped at a bookstore that I had once visited many years ago, Schroeder’s Books & Music on Greenfield Avenue in West Allis. I had once found a book here that was very rare and hard to find, which was discarded as “used.” The owner of this shop owns the landmark “Renaissance Books” in downtown Milwaukee, and this store is typically a warehouse of old books, magazines and records. I had no idea what I was in for.

As I entered, I nearly tripped over a woman who was sitting at a the base of a pile of books, the path into the store was very narrow, and random paperback books were strewn about haphazardly at the foot of each book stack which each sat in front of the packed and laden shelves. The woman, I immediately took for being homeless, wore a badly placed dark wig, through which her gray hair jutted in sprouts and fits. She had on at least three shirts and two weathered fanny packs, long skirt(s), and old shoes. I said hello and threaded my way into the store, thinking that things would open up once inside.

Read More

The Place Beyond Fatigue.

The place beyond fatigue.

I dream of a rose the color of eyelids
on a soft lambswool bed amidst a fragrant
cedar forest, damp earth and twinkling leaves
playing with the sun. I feel the warmth on my cheek.

Here drink this it will help you sleep.

I sleep. I must, for I wake each morning
but the way of it never changes.
Get up exhausted,
fall asleep working
get up stiff-necked and ache in knees
go to bed to lie awake for hours
four hours
of wishing for blue-black stillness
or the right memory for once.

You should get some sleep man, you look like hell.

I find myself wondering if I’ve made too many holes in the walls
will the owner mind, will the rent go up again, or the hangings fall
and lay strewn about the floor.
I worry about the bags under my eyes.
I can only ever make poor first impressions
the efforts are taxing and go to waste.

© 2012 Anthony Sell – All Rights Reserved

Read More

Truth, Beauty and the Meaning of Art


“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” – That is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
– Keats, Ode to a Grecian Urn



I thought I’d put together some arguments on the nature and meaning of beauty to the human experience. I hope you’ll spend some time with these presentations and consider their implications.

Read More

A Sense of Place

I think about this presentation every time I travel to a new location to paint. I think Plein Air painters are uniquely qualified to speak about this topic, as we are among the very few who spend so much time immersed in careful scrutiny, and the very nature of what we do documents the changes in our environment. I have painted dozens of places that are no longer what they were, due to weather, road construction or urban sprawl.

Read More



Blankly we stare, nightly
at glowing screens
scrolling text and convenient images
frankly waiting
patiently, impatient and full of unspeakable suffrage,
the intolerable numbness of our time
is relieved by floods of pithy quotations and
bitter comments
these glowing eyes see into the lives of others
more interesting and satisfied
on the other side.
We are separated by panes of glass and miles of wires.

© 2005 Anthony Sell

Read More

Milwaukee Art Museum – China Exhibit

China Exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum - and stupid policies.

I was told today, in a rather contrite manner, by a suit-wearing rent-a-cop with a plainly smug expression, that there was no photography in the main exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Have I mentioned before that I am a devout Libertarian? It would be an understatement to say that I have a problem with authority, especially stupid authority. So, let me share with you some photography:

Last month I decided that to see the Milwaukee Art Museum’s China Exhibits which were being discussed on public radio. After doing some research I learned that the Art Museum has free admission on the first Thursday of every month. I thought that would be a great opportunity. It was a mistake.

Read More