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Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre Paintings by Kat Martin Guitar by Chris Fossek Poetry by Steve Braff “Joi de Vivre” is a collaboration among Santa Barbara fine artist, Kat Martin, Los Olivos performance poet, Steve Braff, Santa Barbara classical guitarist, Chris Fossek, and the hospice patient whose stories inspired the images echoed this evening in music and verse. Our thanks to the Hospice of Santa Barbara for hosting this exhibit.

Dedicated to Hospice Volunteers. Each day - Gift witness.

Les Champs de Noix de Cajou { Cashew Fields } by Steve Braff Terra rosa to ochra fields flow down the burnt sienna hills of rows gone slanting past these parallel groves all grooved down in brown while trees, Cherie, they wait in white. Their posts grave mark la victoire souls fire lit by southern light’s kiss bless cobalt hills, your rich Provence sky’s mirror, my sister, these sapphire blues while le mistral whistles to his wayward whites.

Claire de Lune { Moonlight } by Steve Braff Venez vois ma cherie au claire de la lune up over the rise her elegant pour of platinum lights the crushed shells’ dust turned limestone blocks of white buildings lean. Sea autumn’s brush ocean’s wet wash the blue roads roll past old Roman’s church where pale mass sings while the hotelier stands woolen suit damp grey. Yes and now next door café pitchers glazed red wine full yet to fill my empty glass cut crystal too waits blue candles drip wax moon bare trees leaves few. So adieu ma cherie au claire de la lune last over the rise your elegant pour.

Rue de Chagall { Chagall Street } by Steve Braff No man. See La Rue La Rue is All All about The Blues and those gold block splotch spots a red rust bunched up together like you scratchin at that canvas white with your AARP knife card edge expired yeah all just to show up like some rectilinear fool a headed back street alley black stack a buildings ahead see… Big Mama Thornton why even Duane Allman best Bessie Blind Willie J he bows too Etta the leader right there with Billie forget what Mr. Howlin’ Wolf say cause B.B. guitar plays the King in some Muddy Waters Rift go a wading knee deep All about The Blues La Rue is All See La Rue Oh man.

Nenuphars au Crepuscule { Water Lilies at Dusk } by Steve Braff This landscape lives nowhere past mind’s eye to hand brush paint strokes quick thick in colors not mine. This landscape lives nowhere near a path bordered green yellow flower bright flags pray in colors not mine. This landscape lives nowhere pallet center purple pools gone quick blue fading drown in colors not mine. This landscape lives nowhere see those gold mountains float below slate grey sky wet in colors not mine. Next day. Gone.

Iles Anglo-Normandes { Channel Islands} by Steve Braff Tuesday September the Sixth of Sixteen – Kat note it was then when the rains did part and clouds went mist till just past seven an orange sun drifts way west to paint in his image five islands afloat. Sea south lie on the wide stretch between me and on to where that horizon held fast to blues gone black in thick kelpie beds her aqua shy sky all awash and awaiting. These remnants I share lest lost-now-yes I tell you my stories plain type: How it was as it was those so many years off and gone to Inspiration Point. See you see over there- where golden peaks the Santa Anna winds her way pass these channels birth thermals for gulls to glide then pelicans vee with improbable grace while below the bellow of lions their sea caves deep painted tunnels that pull at the tide. And they lean Torrey Pines like tall bonsai like Za like Zen they sit the big cliffs overlooking twin whales they’re watching me from my perch in the sage shared rock wrens flit about while I witness it all sink down light falls - reds rusted to brown while the waves keep rolling their coasting filled sounds come land to the sand’s shore rest.

Nuite Silencieuse { Silent Night } by Steve Braff Douce nuit, sainte nuit Tout est calme et lumineux Autour a vierge mère de l'enfant Saint infantile si tendre et doux Dors dans une paix céleste Dors dans une paix céleste. Halos bright, coal blue night Town aglow, rapturous sight Winters blue ‘pon windows’ light Steeples tall, gold flags take flight Spirit rest in peace Esprit repos en paix.

Kat Martin Martin’s art provides an artistic reflection of a life suffused with nature, what she has deemed as her own “visual journal.” Martin attended high school in Waterville, Maine and fell in love with the landscape, people and way of life during her 35 years in the state. “In my struggle to survive, a mixed media artist evolved using whatever materials were available to express my emotions,” Martin said. “More than art, this was a vehicle to capture memories. These moments of creative meditation became a place of solace that welcomed me daily.” Two years ago, Martin and her husband moved to Santa Barbara with the hope that a warmer climate would ease her personal health issues. Shortly after the move, her health began to recover and her gratitude led her to volunteer for HSB. “My first patient was a woman my age with ALS,” Martin said. “She was bedridden and only able to communicate via text to talk. My weekly visits began a unique relationship sharing stories and our experiences of being mothers. She was French and when I shared my paintings with her we decided to give them all French titles.” Along with improving her health, Santa Barbara has also influenced Martin’s art. Her palette knife paint strokes became broader and full of joy. “It was almost as if I was appreciating life through a different lens,” she said. “I truly was experiencing Joie de Vivre -- The joy of living.”

Steve Braff Steve is drawn to performance poetry- recitations shared live with his audience absent the barriers of podium and page. “If my poems are working there is this engaging rift of image and word, rhythm and rhyme. A play of word music that connects. More a resonance in the heart, less a scratching of the head. You hear it. You get it. You smile.” Steve regularly performs at venues on the California Central Coast including the Karpeles Manuscript Museum’s “Poetry Zone”, The Squire Foundation’s “Parlor”, and SBCAST poetry events- all in Santa Barbara, the “CORE Poetry Group” in Orcutt, and on the “Poetry Super Highway Live” on-line radio program out of Van Nuys. His poetry has been published in “Tea House”, the “Muryoko Journal of Shin Buddhism”, the “Muscogee Nation News”, and “Cholla Needles Magazine”. Steve’s first book, “Forty Days”, inspired by images of the Joshua Tree National Park, is slated for publication by Cholla Needles Press this spring, and he anticipates release later this year of “Exodus Remix”- a poetic retell of the Second Book of Moses. Steve is co-founder of the Santa Ynez Valley Poetry Workgroup and is Poetry Chair of the Santa Ynez Valley Arts Association sponsoring a monthly poetry reading series for the valley.

Chris Fossek Chris Fossek has performed as a soloist and in ensembles in such venues as the Olympic Stadium of Rome, the RedCat Theater at Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, and the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, and he is a TopTen Billboard charting recording artist and composer. He holds a Master’s degree in guitar performance from the California Institute of the Arts, where he was greatly inspired by his mentor, world-renowned guitarist, improvisor, and composer, Miroslav Tadic. Born in Santa Barbara, California, and raised studying classical piano music, Chris Fossek has also lived for years in Italy, where he studied classical music at the University of Bologna. He has lived in Spain and Germany, and has traveled extensively throughout the “Greater Mediterranean” in such countries as Portugal, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, and Lebanon. His compositions are a blend of classical music, flamenco, eastern European folk music, and rock n’ roll!


Since 1974 Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. has been providing compassionate care and support to those impacted with serious illness and the bereaved in our community. We are the second oldest hospice program in the United States, and we continue to build today on our distinguished history. As a nonprofit, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. depends largely on the generosity of the community to support its professional staff and services and enable us to create the innovative programs that speak to the needs of our friends, families and neighbors. The simplest way to help Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. is to make a financial donation. Donations can be made in person, by mail, or on our website

Profile for Steve Braff

Joie de Vivre  

I wrote this exhibit catalog during the winter of 2017 for a gallery opening at the Hospice of Santa Barbara featuring the work of local art...

Joie de Vivre  

I wrote this exhibit catalog during the winter of 2017 for a gallery opening at the Hospice of Santa Barbara featuring the work of local art...