I Forgot — Again

After work this evening I went shopping at Walmart and wound up locking my keys in the car. I had to call my hubby from work 30 miles away and have him come unlock the car.

That in itself doesn’t sound so bad. Everyone forgets something. Locks themselves out of something.

Not me.

To me this is the first sign of dementia. Or Alzheimer’s. Or something just as tragic.

I just know it.

I’m not making fun of those who have it. I have always had this feeling that this will be my path somewhere down the line. No one in my family has it, but my mom passed away at 54 so who knows what her fate would have been.

Locking myself out of my car does not bode well for my wanting to go to Paris for a week by myself, either.

I’m already nervous about the thought of taking a trip like this by myself. I am at the fantasy stage, the imagine-it-all stage. The pre-research stage. My family doesn’t know my desire — even my husband is pre-iffy. So convincing everyone that I can handle life alone in the city of Love for a week by myself is going to be a real hurdle.

I already am a fraidy cat when it comes to strangers and finding my way around new places. The thought of boarding a plane and going to a country where I don’t speak the language nor know the landscape is not just a case of turning left instead of right.

But I’m still up for it. My writing is still up for it.

I’m getting afraid my memory is following way far behind.

What if I lose my hotel key? What if I take the wrong bus and get dumped in a small French village where no one speaks English and I become the town buffoon?

I can just see this feeble old lady wandering around aimlessly saying “Parles-tu Anglais?

I know this is overreaction at the highest level.

But when you’ve been forgetting things lately like locking the bottom lock on the door or locking your keys in the car or wondering where the scratches on your shoulder came from (the cat, probably), traveling by yourself becomes secondary.

The Paris trip thing is the least of my worries. I forget this thing or that thing now, and before I know it I’ll be forgetting to put on underwear. You know what I mean.

Fear is like a multiplication table. At the beginning, the numbers are small. Easy to remember. But as you age, the multiplication table gets bigger and bigger. You try and keep up — you study, you make notes, you talk outloud to yourself. 

Yet you forget one thing and it’s back to the beginning of the multiplication table, with a few more people watching you perform. 

I know I have a long way to go before the mind disappears into that sweet fog of NaNaLand. But every time I slip, every time I mess up, it makes me — and others — take notice.

I’d rather take notice of cafes in Paris that serve a mean Coq au Vin….

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Matt Molloy

Living on the shore of Lake Ontario, just east of Toronto, 29-year-old photographer Matt Molloy has daily encounters with brilliant sunsets and cloudscapes that he’s been photographing for over three years.

One day he began experimenting with time-lapse sequences by taking hundreds of images as the sun set and the clouds moved through the sky.

Molloy had always loved  “star trail” photos. They’re most commonly made from multiple photos of stars shot from a fixed position and later merged into one image. 

Applying this technique to his own photography, Molloy then digitally took and and stacked numerous photos to reveal shifts in color and shape reminiscent of painterly brush strokes that smeared the sky.

There is something about Molloy’s timelapse photography that makes you feel as if you were watching time spread and stop at the same time.

It’s a point of view that is as colorful and transient as life itself.

More of Matt Molloy‘s amazing photography can be found at https://matt-molloy.pixels.com/ and https://www.dpmag.com/how-to/shooting/the-art-of-time-lapse-photography/.

 

 

Painting Is Easy…Not

I was reading posts I follow, and came across  Carsten Wieland’s watercolor paintings. I have highlighted his work here on Humoring the Goddess and on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog before, so you are kind of familiar with his work.

But I have to repost this here this afternoon. If you have three minutes, watch the video of him painting the ship. He makes the creative process look so easy, so simple.

That is what real artists do.

I am speechless. For I know that’s not true.

 

WATERCOLOR ON INGRES PAPER 2

https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/watercolor-on-ingres-paper-2/

 

The Masters of Art Never Go Far

Every day is a new chance to start over. To clean the slate. To move towards what we really want out of life.

But sometimes we don’t want to change. Maybe we like where we are. What we’ve discovered. Maybe we’ve found what we want to be.

That’s good too. As long as you’re somehow, someway, still growing.

I found myself going through some older art galleries, and am amazed at the creativity I’ve found. I love these images, I love the intricacies of their art. So I thought I’d bring a couple to tonight’s gathering to remind you to look through my galleries, or other galleries, and allow yourself to be amazed.

Google “Paris Art Galleries” or “San Francisco Art Galleries”  or “Modern Art Galleries” and just take a look at what’s around you. Take a few minutes and wander through one person’s art. One person’s mind and soul.

Let me know what you find. Let me know how it feels.

 

 

Jose Vergara

 

 

Luke Jerram

 

Bisa Butler

 

 

Elizabeth Berrien

 

Mosaic Art Buildings

 

 

Eric Standley

 

 

Fabergé

 

 

Michael Parkes

 

 

Pysanky Ukrainian Easter Eggs

 

 

Louise Bourgeois

 

 

Minerals

 

 

H.R. Giger

 

 

Liu Bolon

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Anthony Grootelaar

One of the things about Anthony Grootelaar‘s artwork that I immediately was drawn to was his attention to texture.

Texture can come in many forms, including depth, repetitiveness, and colors.

That is why every picture is so very different. So hard to choose which ones to showcase.

Grootelaar is a self-taught artist, well into the generative- and integrity-based decades of his life.

He strives to make art that is both “interesting” and “practical”, interesting as in arresting, and practical in that it can hung on any wall without any other intent than  to be a dynamic and positive element.

His work can be any mix of pen, paper, paint and brush, high definition photography, digital processing,  and ink jet printing,

Grootelaar says, “Art, as I see it, always starts out as a problem I try to move in a aesthetic  direction. Future directions will include large scale works to maximize the impact of color and composition.”Even if the design or color is not to your palate, the combinations shine together, bringing texture and aesthetics for the forefront.

More of Anthony Grootelaar‘s imaginative work on his website, My Monkey Mind. Be sure to look him up and follow his amazing art journey.

You Texted What?!?

Well, now that I’m far enough away from white wind turbines not to be haunted by them, I have been hit by the writing bug again.

Creative artists are a curious bunch. You say you’re not, but of course you are.

Anyway…

I already have too much on my plate, and not a big enough plate to hold it all.

Last week when I was camping with my family I couldn’t sleep. I’m in a tent with my hubby. The wind is howling and so is his snores. Mine will accompany his if I ever get to sleep. So wandering as my mind often does, I get this idea for a story.

I’ve been wanting to write something about my dreams and connecting them to real life for some time now, but never could get a feasible idea going.

Until 1 a.m. in the tent.

No paper, no pencil, no computer to record my thoughts. Great. You know me — I’m afraid I’ll forget tomorrow’s grocery list if I don’t write it down.

So I get this great idea.

Type my idea into a draft into my email from my phone. Sounds simple, right?

Nothing is ever simple for me.

So here I am, under the covers in my dark tent, trying not to wake up hubby who is delightfully snoring away, trying to write down my idea with my two thumbs.

Here are part of my notes. No lie.

She is terrifird. Hm. Dreans start to get weied. Still knonve but dreans like dinner in lasr samari or talk through glllass wall. They funalky meet. In dream workd reality of work does  nt exist. Reakirmty knows intensiry of dream wirld but not vuce versan what to do.

Uh huh. I understand that.

Good thing I’m not in a typing bee, though.

The point is that you can get inspired any time, any where. On walks. At work. In a sleeping bag. Walking to the bus. You can see a color for a design that is so cool in nature you want to reproduce it. You hear a chit of conversation and think it would make a great screenplay. You see a sunset and wonder if you could needlepoint it.

But you have no way of recording these outstanding, blast open ideas.

Or do you?

Do what you have to. Write on toilet paper, take a leaf with you. Write code words in ketchup. Take a picture. Write on your arm with an ink pen. Draft an email.

Just get your thoughts DOWN.

Inspiration will come and go, but you will never have that exact idea or moment again. And who knows — that could be THE ONE.

Hexxv goes on teip, dreans geeet better.

Good thing I speak thumb text…..

 

Freaking Out

Are there things in the world that kinda freak you out? Make you uncomfortable?

I don’t mean things that make you go running in the opposite direction like spiders or the crud that accumulates behind your refrigerator.

I mean things that kinda give you the heebee jeebees and you’re not sure why. Eerie, strange, everyday things that just kinda make you think twice about them.

I feel that way about the new wind turbines.

For those of you unfamiliar with them, they are usually these thin, tall, white windmills standing in the middle of fields for miles with their three blades slowly turning in the breeze. Majestic things, really, that help make energy, usually for the electric company. They are usually white and have three arms, or blades.

There are a couple of fields on my way home from my yearly camping trip that are filled with these slow turning beauties. I’ve been told you either love them or hate them: love them for their architecture and purpose, hate them because they are a sore spot in your back yard.

Well, I don’t know what it is, but seeing them in the close distance kinda freaks me out.You have to see them in person to properly feel the freak. There’s something about their 3D-ish nature that can make you uncomfortable.

Here are these thin white towers that tower over you (pun pun), their giant arms spread wide out on either side like arms, looming over the houses and trees, all three dimensional and moving and all.

Yesterday one was not moving with the wind and its arms were wide open like a monster coming to get you. The tall blade on top had some dirt/debris on it and from a ways away it looked like a face. It stood behind a small white house, looming, leering, really showing the contrast in size with its surroundings.

Now, I’ve played “What If” before. I wrote a blog calledLet “What If” Guide Your Storywhere you ask yourself (or others) things like…What if you were driving home from work one afternoon and in the distance, over the tops of the trees, you see a giant ant ripping off tops of houses? Or … What if you were relaxing one night, watching TV, and you say something to your dog, and he answers you in English?

These were meant to be taken seriously, as answering these questions helps you be creative in your writing.

Well, I was hit with that “What If” scenario yesterday, and it kinda freaked me out. These tall thin turbines looked like alien sentinels waiting for night to move forward and chop us all to pieces with their white blades. Some arms were moving veerrrryyyy slowly around in a circle, like they were building up energy to pull feet from inside the ground and walk around.

Now, there is nothing wrong with windmills. Or wind turbines. They are just machines like bulldozers.

But sometimes when you least expect it they take a life of their own. You see something out of the corner of your eye and are not sure of what you saw, and the emotion that is leftover is creepy. It doesn’t make sense, nor is it supposed to.

Makes for a good short story thought, don’t you think?

Are there things in the world that kinda freak you out?

 

If You Can Do It I Can Do It

Been away for a weekend, loving every minute of it, now needing a vacation from my vacation.

But once reality sets in, when the kids go back to school and the weather starts to change, I start to think about my own dreams and desires and how time flies before you get a start on any of them.

Do you have dreams and desires and goals you have set for yourself that you haven’t quite reached yet? Are you doing anything about them? Are you saying “Mmmyeh…what comes comes…” and half way giving up since you believe they weren’t meant to come true anyway?

Or are you working on those dreams, manifesting your inside outside and really going for the gusto?

A friend of mine in here is a wonderful abstract artist, Anthony Grootelaar (MyMonkey Mind). I’m going to feature him in the Gallery soon. He has so much art created I’m sure he could wallpaper a mansion. I love his colors and his approach and his experiments and his plans. Here I am, telling him he should have art shows and go to art fairs with his wares and all these other extra-curricular things that he probably already has done.

I get pumped up when I see other’s successes.

I know a few other poets through this blog that are marvelous writers. I’m always telling them to publish a book of poetry or offer it on their blog or at book fairs. I’m all for the excitement and sharing of their talent with others.

I know painters, furniture makers, writers. They all are extremely creative and moving forward with their Art.

Yet where am I on my own cosmic sharing scale?

I would like to think that I, too, have a special talent that’s worth sharing beyond my personal computer or now and then on my blog. Yet I cringe when I think about sharing my talent.

For what if it’s not talent?

Why is it so much easier to be enthusiastic about someone else’s work?

There is so much beauty out there — so much creativity. So many new ideas. Forms of expression. Shining stars. I am all for others sharing their souls with the the world. After all, ~I~ am in love with their work — why wouldn’t others be?

But when it comes to our own work, we are our own worse critics.
I’ve been both ways. I’ve thought something was fantastic and it was terrible; I’ve thought something not that great and it was well received.

We will never know the extent of our greatness until we put it out there. And keep it out there.

We have to develop a thicker skin, that’s for sure. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and all. But more than that, we have to be willing to learn. from our creativity. To correct, to erase, admit we made a wrong choice, and start again differently. Better. Smoother.

I have so many plans for my future creative self. Things I want to write, art I want to make. And I want to share it with others. Maybe even sell some of it.

I know I can do it. I just don’t know if I have the patience to see it through.

But you all have taught me something. If you  can do it — I can do it. If you are thinking about it and working on it, I can be thinking and working on it too.

Let’s say together it in Morgan Freeman’s voice!

I think you can do anything you want!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Pegi Smith


Pegi Smith paints in acrylics on canvas from her home studio in the mountains near Ashland, Oregon.

Smith’s art immerses the viewer into her very compelling dream world.

From these dreams, Smith paints abstracts using rich colors to evoke and uplift the viewer.

Smith is a self-taught artist, therefore she uses her paints in an innovative manner exclusive to herself.

Her use of color, which changes with each collection, makes her work perfect for nearly any interior decor scheme.

She aims to summarize her own life perspectives in her paintings and hopes that her work will cause the viewer to immerse and then emerge with the intent of the design.

More of Pegi Smith’s innovative artwork can be found at http://www.pegsmith.com

Do It Today!

Working till noon today, then off we go to the North woods with the grand kids for a couple of days. Grandpa already has plans for the four of us to camp out in the living room and  play games and eat popcorn and watch dumb movies and stay up past 10:00 pm and sleep on whatever couch we find. There is fishing to do, grilled cheese to make, take the dog fetching in the lake — a full schedule before the parents get there.

It’s great life… One that is moving way too fast for me. I’m trying to take life one day at a time, But as you get older, one day feels like 12 hours, Not 24.

I try not to let that part get to me. But it always does.

I day dream a lot of things when I get away from my responsibilities. My day writing job has not turned out like I thought, some family and friends around me are not doing well, and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before a shoe drops on my head.

I have great plans for once I retire which is only a 112 days away. But you know Sagittarians…  we plan big and carry out average and end up small.

I still have the dream of Paris or Ireland. But that dreams on hold until I get this writing thing together. And as I work on starting a proof reading/editor business, my grand kids are starting soccer. One is 4, the other is 9, so that works out to 2 games every Saturday.

These games bring me back to when my own kids played soccer. Was it really so long ago? 10-15 years ago I sat on the sidelines watching the loves of my life run up-and-down the field. No matter what the weather, we were there. There was really no time to write back  then. Life was too busy being a mom.

But I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

Now their kids are starting out running across those same fields and no matter what the weather, there I am, sitting on the sideline, watching the loves of my life run up-and-down the field.

There’s not much time for writing these days either.

So what you must do — what we all must do — is take each day as it comes. Period. Plan if you can, laugh if you can’t.

For everything you do can bring you joy.

Get out of your mindset that it has to be this or that that makes your full heart beat. Do what you need to do, find time to do what you love to do, and hope that everything eventually comes out stuck together in one big happy giant ball.

I probably won’t see you till Sunday night in the gallery. But do me a favor.

Do something fun this weekend. Do something magical this weekend. Just reach out and grab that magic that’s right in front of you and make it yours.

Always drive home down A, B, C, D? Try driving home A, B, K, R, D. Take a view of your world you don’t often see. Always look at that same tree driving somewhere? Stop for a minute an take its picture. Write about it. Paint it. Pretend there’s a swing on it. Connect with it. Always eyeball that ice cream stand in the next town? Stop there! Get some ice cream! Big deal!

Do it alone, do it with someone. Put your face in the sunlight or the wind or the rain and just be there. Let go of self repercussions and self hated or frustrations and just go wherever the moment takes you. Forget about housework, looking for a new job, loosing those extra pounds.

Just take the moment and see what you see.

I know I’m going to.

Pillow fight in the living room!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Susanna Bauer


Susanna Bauer uses the beauty of nature around her to express what is universal and enduring in our world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She works with the everyday, inconspicuous details of our natural surroundings, fallen leaves, tiny branches, often edged with amazing cotton yarn.

Intimate marks add detail to small patches or the complete outline of browned leaves, drawing our attention the natural growth patterns found in their interior.

The artist tries to pay  homage to nature as well as showing the detail and beauty of the world that surrounds us.

“As you can imagine, working with fragile leaves requires a lot of patience and a steady hand, but the focus of my work for me lies on the effect it has on the viewer, on the ideas that flow into the compositions and the thoughts the pieces can evoke,” she noted.

More of Susanna Bauer’s delicate, amazing work can be found at www.susannabauer.com.

Decisions … Decisions

This weekend is my annual pilgrimage to Irishfest, a four-day festival of Irish music, American beer, and Irish hearts.

I love to say that my mother was Irish — which she was — although she was of the Heinz 57 variety. I so identify with their culture, their music, and their cosmic presence that it’s really a part of me, no matter what percentage my mother was.

Irish music is either incredibly happy or incredibly sad. The song “Wild Mountain Thyme” makes me cry every time I hear it, making me think of my mother whom I lost 40 years ago. And my favorite Gaelic band Gaelic Storm makes me clap and sing and dance around the place (hence, I don’t play their music at work).

My husband and I have gotten into semi-discussions lately, though, on why would I want to spend my money going to Paris for a week when I’ve talked about going to Ireland half of my life?

Good question.

Us folks in the states don’t get a chance to go across the sea very often, so when we do, we like to make it a “key destination.” And what better place to spend my hard-earned money than the home of my ancestors?

Yet when I think of going to Paris for a week, I get a different emotion running through me. Instead of looking off the Cliffs of Moher and connecting to my heritage and soul, I think about sitting in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower, sipping wine, eating a croissant, and writing about my journey.

Two totally different worlds.

Two totally different emotions.

Or are they?

I’ve had this tugging in my heart to go on my own adventure for a long time, now. Bringing someone to France with me who isn’t into what I want to do would be more of a burden than an escape, as I’d be worrying if they were bored or hungry or brooding.

Touring Ireland is something I’d do with my partner. We’d explore and tour and have a beer together at a local pub. I doubt if he would want to sit in the plaza of the Louvre for three hours while I nosh and write my book.

And who would want to spend time walking across a historic bridge inspecting every gargoyle and plaque or sitting in an old library or sitting at a cafe during the late evening? How boring to those who don’t walk the same path as you do.

At this point I’m not sure if I’ll ever go across the sea to see anything new and historical and exciting.  Technically there should be enough history and excitement right here where I live. If I need the music, I’ll go to Irishfest. If I need a croissant, I’ll go to the bakery.

But still….

Where would you like to visit if you could?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Vanessa Davis


Vanessa Davis is known for her elaborate, theatrical, detailed and highly creative makeup designs and looks she creates on herself and others. The self-described “makeup and mixed media face-artist”  is known for her skull-inspired designs that exceed every day and trendy skeletal face paint.

Davis creatively and continuously finds ways to create her unique looks. Colorful koi fish, a rising phoenix, a butterfly’s wing, and even a sleek, neon hologram are just some of the many ways the artist has brought nature and color into her skull motif.

So, why the skull? For Davis, the decision was a personal one.

“I am fascinated how skulls are portrayed in fashion, art and tattoo art. I noticed that the successful makeup accounts specialized in either a particular style or subject, so I chose skulls, which also works, as my heritage is Mexican and English.”

Vanessa transitioned to a full time designer and influencer on social media and has partnered and collaborated with brands such as 20 Century Fox, Disney, Warner, MAC, Makeup Forever, and others.

More of Vanessa Davis‘ amazing makeup can be found on https://www.facebook.com/skulltress/ and her Instagram account. 

 

Art Is Everywhere

They say art is a waste of time.

That young minds and old should be focused on more important things like finance and politics and how to earn a living.

Well, art is a miracle of the mind, heart, and soul, too.

I’ve been finding a lot of new and unique artists to share in future Sunday Evening Art Gallery blogs. And with each piece of art comes an overwhelming sense of self. Of accomplishment. Of caring and sharing.

Here are a few of the artist I’ve already featured. Take a look at the thought, the fine detail, the foresight these people had in just creating something:

 

 

Willard Wigan

 

Ana Teresa Baraboza

 

Riusuke Fukahori

 

 

Dale Chihuly

 

Here is a sampling of some of the artists to come:

 

Pegi Smith

 

Matt Molloy

 

Vanessa Davis

 

Just think for a moment all the work that went into each creation. All the thought, emotion, and precise movements it took to get their art just right..

Art is all around you.

If ever in doubt, just open your eyes. Here are a few views of art made by a more “cosmic” artist … be sure to take in this sort of art when you can …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Has To Be Right

I want everything to be right. Perfect.

I’m not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination. Sagittarians are pretty scattered to begin with, and I take the swirly path a lot further than most.

But I want my blogs on Writing Your First Book to work for both the reader and the writer. For us both to get something out of it. Especially because these days my FB account is flooded with people who have the “free” answer to your writing dreams. And I know I can do better.

Sometimes I wish I had grown up more confident. More self-assured. You know what I mean. I’ve had enough moxy to make it through 66 years of ups and downs, including writing. Yet  I don’t always have the push to “go for it”, because my worksheet is incomplete.

But I’m going to do it this time.

I’ll be retired by January, and that is when my career with change. No more writing (or more like not writing) things I’m not interested in, and lots more of what I do like. I can get a job as a freelance writer or freelance proofreader.

And finish a product to boot.

My consulting friends say there is such a thing as 10,000 hours of experience that counts just as much as a college degree.

I have that.

If they need 10,000 hours of heart, I have that, too.

So it is with blushing regret that I have put my tutoring skills on the back burner until the New Year. By then I will have a whole curriculum of tips and advice that I can share. I will have advice to give away for free and books and information to sell.

A win/win for everyone, I hope.

In the meantime, let’s learn more about unique artists, about getting older, writing mistakes to avoid, and writing successes to boast about.

Boast to me. I can take it.

For I want everything to be right. Perfect.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Anne Vallayer-Coster

Anne Vallayer-Coster has been called the second-greatest French still-life painter of the 18th century after Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.

Vallayer-Coster was born into an artistic family; her mother painted miniatures and her father was a master goldsmith. 

Her father’s elevated status and aristocratic patronage may have helped the young Vallayer-Coster overcome some of the restraints that hindered many women artists.

She achieved fame and recognition very early in her career, being admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1770, at the age of twenty-six.

In 1780 she was named Painter to Queen Marie Antoinette. She continued painting a broad range of subjects and themes including animals, trompe-l’oeil bas reliefs, miniatures, and full-sized portraits, which mirrored the opulence of French aristocracy before the Revolution.

In addition to still life, she painted portraits and genre paintings, but because of the restrictions placed on women at the time her success at figure painting was limited.

Vallayer-Coster’s life was determinedly private, dignified and hard-working. She survived the bloodshed of the French Revolution, but the fall of the French monarchy, who were her primary patrons, caused her reputation to decline.

Due to her close association with Marie Antoinette, her career suffered during the French Revolution. She continued exhibiting at the Salon, however, until the year before her death.

Anne Vallayer-Coster‘s marvelous paintings can be found at museums and galleries and on the Internet.

Take A Break From Yourself

I’ve been keeping under the radar lately, nursing sinuses, body aches, and job pressures. I’ve been entertaining starting my own copywriting and editing business, wondering what to get two grandkids for their birthdays who have everything (a donation to a kid’s charity seems likely), and just mentally blowing out.

So yesterday I took the day off from work and did nothing.

Yep — nothing.

Now many of you know the guilt that creeps up whenever we are home for a whole day and night and don’t do something — dishes, vacuum, even writing. I have a few more new artists to research, my first book I HAVE to finish editing, and nothing new on the writing horizon, as I am shopping around for ideas.

Well, yesterday was the first day in a long time where I didn’t feel guilty about sleeping in, napping, watching TV, and sleeping some more. (That messed up my night’s rest, but that’s another story.)

Why do we feel guilty when we do something for ourselves that involves nothing?

It’s like every moment counts and you shouldn’t let your life pass you by without attempting to do something positive every day.

Alas, most of us believe that taking care of ourselves by not thinking or performing is not positive.

When the world was silent around me, and I hung up my guilt in the closet, my mind became silent as well. I didn’t angst over news stories or bombings or nut cases or deadlines. I didn’t feel overwhelmed about anything.

It shouldn’t take a sinus headache from hell to make me take a day off and just take care of ME. I really liked doing nothing. Feeling nothing. Thinking about nothing. If only for the day.

Do you find yourself pushing yourself to the limit all the time? Or do you take a day now and then to just do nothing?

You owe it to yourself to take a break from yourself.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Johnson Tsang

Sculptor Johnson Tsang pushes realism’s boundaries in his sculptures of faces that are stretched and opened up in surreal ways.

The Hong Kong-based artist’s work features surreal contortions that squish, wring, melt, and stretch.

His creativeness suggests an exploration of the limited space between the conscious and subconscious.

Between the self and other.

Tsang uses plain, unglazed clay, letting go of such typical details such as hair and skin color to focus the viewer’s attention on the expressions of his imagined subjects.

Although Tsang grew up poor and worked both in the trades and as a policeman, he says he has always been in love with art.

“The clay seemed so friendly to me, it listened to every single word in my mind and did exactly I was expecting. Every touch was so soothing. I feel like I was touching human skin.”

More of Johnson Tsang‘s wonderfully imaginative art can be found across the Internet including Instagram and Red Seas Gallery.    

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Friday — Amy Casey

Amy Casey is fascinated by cityscapes.

Her paintings of growing cities reflect her love of the urban landscape and with the ongoing resilience and growth of civilization.

Her cityscapes hum and sing with ribbons of roads and highways energetically wrapped around growing heaps of buildings.

Her artwork showcases her curiosity of how much time and work it takes for a society to function and grow in spite of all the problems of natural and man made disasters.

Casey has exhibited her work regionally and nationally with solo shows in Cleveland, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Provincetown and Los Angeles.

More of Amy Casey‘s  creative cityscapes can be found at https://www.amycaseypainting.com/

Chatting With Spirit Guides

I have a few spirit guides I call on now and then for advice.

Usually it’s for writing. Sometimes it’s to talk out ideas about travel or how to gather information or how to process something artsy.

I had a younger male slave dude from ancient Greece for my first novel. For the second and third in the series I’ve been consulting with a rather large, carefree woman from France. I’ve also mused with an Italian Renaissance gentleman when working with erotica, (someone I haven’t seen in quite some time, I confess), a dime novel writer from the ’30s for a shorter novel, and a Chinese philosopher who nudges me to watch Chinese and Japanese movies about ancient warriors with English subtitles to get ideas of other worlds, other cultures.

Sometimes we have great conversations driving home from work or walking around the back yard. When I get stuck on how to approach a certain time period or way of thinking,  they’re there to bounce ideas off of.

Sometimes they’re off helping someone else and tell me they’ll be right there. As if spirit guides aren’t omnipotent.

They are spirits from the past, from past generations, past dynasties, past worlds. Important people and simple people. You would think the airwaves would be jammed with spirit guides filling every possible frequency, trying to communicate with willing human beings. But as I have discovered, this world and other worlds are not jammed at all. You call, they’re there, often with fresh ideas and lots of idle chatter.

Of course, common sense tells us when I’m talking to spirit guides I’m really talking to myself. Making up another personality to converse with. Perhaps that’s where split personalities or multiple personalities come from.

But I’m content to name my “common sense” side with a personality that I can learn from. Someone who “gets” me. Someone to help me through rough transition passages and quirky personalities that are not my own.

Putting a personality to a spirit guide helps me get through the rough patches of my writing life. They tell me things I already know but don’t always know I know. And when they really want me to figure something out they have me do research.

I don’t have anyone to really bounce writing problems off of. Sure, I have friends and family whom I can dump on for personal stuff, but no one that gets how important my work is to me. Writing may seem like a solitary experience, and to most it is. But when I get stuck, when I wonder why someone did what they did, they are there to give me an answer. To make sense of what I’m confused about. And it does help.

Too bad they don’t have an answer for the madness of the world today, too.

 

 

Proofreed Everything!

I got soooo ticked off the other day.

I want to finish proofing/editing my first book so I can:

  • make it into an e-book
  • try a publisher
  • sell it through my website
  • throw it in the garbage

So I’m going through it ONE LAST TIME, and I keep coming across all these  ; ‘s  and and and overusing first names in conversation.

And THIS is one reason why you shouldn’t be the only editor of your publication.

I will cover this in my series “How To Write That Book”, but being as ticked off as I am I need to share this life lesson NOW.

You can be as meticulous as you can be; you can read and reread and spell check and go through each sentence 10,000 times and you will still miss something that an outsider would see.

This has happened to me throughout my writing career. That’s why I don’t hit “send” or “publish” right away.

You never know what will pop up.

Most of us cannot afford an editor to look over our book/magazine article/term paper. If you CAN spend a few bucks on any part of your writing, this is where to spend it.

If you just can’t, and still want/need/should look professional, have someone else read your paper for grammar, punctuation, and repetitiveness. They don’t have to get into the “flow” of the story (although that helps, too).

But an outside eye can catch things your mind cannot.

To prove my point, this came through on my Facebook feed yesterday:

Now. What did you just read?

Maybe you read it right the first time. Most likely you did not.

Neither will your readers.

If you edit your own pages, no matter what they are, either read them out loud, take note of punctuation, sentence structure, think of how people speak. We write faster than we think — we also read faster than we think.

Hope you got a chuckle out of my post.

Thank goodness it was proofread first.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Howie Green

Howie Green is a renowned painter whose artistic works are characterized with bright combination of colors.

He uses a variety of geometric shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, among others, in creating his artistic works.

Green has a unique artist’s eye for the colorful fun that springs out of our popular culture.

He is a multi-talented artist who’s also involved in creating murals and pop art as well as being actively involved in the implementation of diverse public art projects.

His work is the inspiration for today’s adult coloring books, doodle art — anything that brings love and light and color into the world.

The creation of the Jazz Fish and working with Peter Max began a very fertile period for Howie during which he produce hundreds of paintings centering around the Jazz Fish and Mamboland, the fanciful world he inhabits.

Howie Green‘s work can be found all over the Internet, including at http://howiegreen.com.

The “How To Write Your First Book” Series Is Coming!

COMING SOON!

I’ve been asked now and then for advice on how to write a book. How to get started, how to know what to write about, how to edit.

I am not published, but I am a writer.

In my 9 to 5 job, I’m also a proofreader. Catching the slips of others makes me triple conscious of my own writing faux pas.

But I digress.

COMING SOON!

So I have decided to write a series of blogs giving my humble opinion, along with tried-and-true recipes for getting that first book written, or finding inspiration to get that  second one started.

You can choose to pass over these blogs for a week — but you might pick up a tip or two for your own creative outlet.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!

This five-day blog series will start Monday, August 12th. And at the end of the series I will have my blogs all in one pdf that you can download at any time that will also include helpful links for further research. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at dreamregret@yahoo.com.

I hope to share my experience as a writer, proofreader, editor, and lover of the written word. To help you find that spark of inspiration that gets you finally moving forward.

PASS THE WORD ALONG!!

It’s free, it’s fun, it’s things you never thought of before. And with so many wonderful followers, I hope there’s someone out there I can help.

I think that’s enough self-promotion for one blog. Come along and have some fun … and learn to

WRITE AWAY!!

 

 

 

Today I Want to Be a Poet

I’d like to be a poet today.

I’d like to put my angst, my wonder, my emotions in a small, precise package.

 

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you.

Scratch…scratch…cross out…

No, that’s not exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve heard Bob Dylan is a poet — won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Bob Dylan, 1962

That’s pretty heavy. It rhymes, but I don’t think I could sound as lyrical.

Scratch scratch…cross out…scratch scratch….

Maybe I should write something in the vein of Percy and Byron:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron,  1813

Dear me…how could I ever match that tenor? That creative creation?

Scratch…scratch…cross out….scratch…scratch…cross out….

My Internet friends Ivor, Walt, Dwight, Brenda, Ana, Maxima, and others seem to have a knack for putting emotions with words. Some are more like half thoughts magically strung together; other offer haikus, sonnets, couplets, and other forms I have to look up to know.

They  make it seem so easy.

My very good friend Jane from my Writer’s Association aches and pains over the shortest of poems. She writes, lets it sit, revises, thinks about it. I am amazed there is so much to five or ten lines. But they always sound like music to my ears.

For writing poetry is so much more than writing five or ten lines.

I used to think writing poetry was a breeze. Just find a topic, shorten some sentences, throw in some imagery, and you’re set.

It’s also like thinking you are born a basketball player like Michael Jordan or an artist like Vincent van Gogh — that anyone create a masterpiece.

There is a lot of banter around these days saying “Just Be You.” You already are an artist/poet/soccer player. Just dig deep and connect and “be” that person.

Got news for you. No famous basketball player or artist or singer just woke up one day and had gobs of talent. Talent may lay dormant in your genes, but you have to work at it to get it out. Michael J. didn’t even make his varsity high school basketball team on his first try.  VanGogh only sold one painting in his lifetime.

Yes, Mozart was a prodigy at 7. Picasso made his first oil painting when he was 9 years old. There are always exceptions to the rule. But the rule normally is: you are indeed what you want to be. You have the heart, you have the goal — just do it.

But practice first. Whether it’s basketball or writing, don’t expect a hole-in-one your first time out. You have to learn first. Practice first. Fail first.

And keep on going.

So later this evening I will try writing a real poem. Then I will let it sit. Then I will change a word or two and look at it again.

Then I will get some ice cream, watch NYPD Blue, edit my novel, check Facebook, take a nap, then get back around to look at it again. Make it a part of who else I am.

Only then can I start to be a poet.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Luycho

Luycho Inc., a Korean company, is revolutionizing the design and manufacture of cups and saucers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The company offers ‘a new world on mirrors’ and uses various applied technologies in the cup and saucer designing.

The end result is a mirror cup with a design that is realistically refleted on the saucer it’s kept on, in the same proportions as a real curved mirror would reflect.

Most of the cup designs include endangered animals with the aim to make the user aware of their plight.

This technique of accurate reflection has been perfected by Cho Yul, a Korean professor, who has mastered the science of reflection, refraction and shadow for over three decades.

His son, Cho Sang Ha, realized the potential of his father’s expertise and convinced him to evolve a new product concept for designing his cup and saucer merchandise.

More of Luycho Inc.’s creations can be found at https://luycho.en.ecplaza.net/ or https://www.notagshop.com/luycho.

The Towers Are Still in the Background

A strange thought hit me this evening as I was watching a few episodes of NYPD Blue from 1995……kids who start college this year were not alive when the Twin Towers were destroyed. 

I see the Towers in the background of various movies and TV shows, and every time I see them standing tall and proud, stars in the New York background, I feel that pang of pain. In my mind’s eye I still see that airplane headed to the side of the building, knowing what happens in just a few more seconds.

I don’t know anyone who died during that disaster. I don’t know any first responders, rescuers, rescue dogs, or families who lost a loved one. I don’t know anyone from Flight 93, nor anyone from the Pentagon. 

But I remember where I was when I heard the news.

Today isn’t an anniversary or anything; it’s merely a panning of the 1995 New York skyline I never paid attention to the first time around. And now I can’t help but pay attention every time I see it.

It’s just another haunting moment and memory in my life. Something those under 19 will never remember. Never experience. And maybe that’s a good thing. 

Of course, I was never a part World War II either. I watched ‘The Sands of Iwo Jima’ the other day. The movie was spliced with film from the actual landing. And watching the real troops pile off the boats and onto the exploding shoreline was painful, too. My dad was headed towards that island when the first line landed.  And it effected him in ways I will never know. Never understand.

And I will never forget that, either.

There are so many of us that are affected by things we never directly experienced. Someone who knows someone who knows someone. And we will forever be affected by that.

Never forget the pain that got us here. Don’t focus on it, obsess on it, don’t let it consume you. Living is for today. For now. For the friends and family you have around you this moment.

But never forget, either. Because sooner or later you’ll see it on TV or in a movie somewhere.

The skyline that used to be but is no more.

Finding Artists in the Most Unusual Places

I find artists in the most unusual places.

Some, I admit, are just my favorites. The classics. Degas. Cartier. M.C. Escher.

Others I have found watching TV and movies. Pollock. Paris at Night. Ron Ben-Israel. Face Off.

Some are from blogs I follow. Carsten Wieland. Rita Faes. Craig Haupt. Dawn Whitehand.

Some I have found in other’s blogs. Mézesmanna — Judit Czinkné Poór. Svetlana Bobrova. Tal Peleg.

Some have been recommended to me. Wolf Kahn. Dale Chihuly. Luke Jerram. Georgia O’ Keeffe.

Some I’ve found at local art fairs.  Don Esser  Natalya Sots. John Lemke.

And some I go searching for. Mirrors. Stilettos. Hair. Ice Sculptures. Aquariums. Water Drops.

But every unique art or artist I come across are amazing in their own way.

Some are famous; some are local. Some are friends. But they all have broken through the barriers of fear and competition and put their work, their soul, out there.

Note I said “broken through” … not “conquered.”

I don’t think any artist totally gets passed their fear of rejection. No one will like my writing. My quilt. My painting.

Yes, they follow their muse, their inspiration, their dreams. They are the best they can be. Yet they are always wondering. Questioning. Checking and double checking. Improving what, to our average eye, does not need improvement.

Let their inspiration be your inspiration. Let whatever creative outlet you have set you free. Go for it. Let it go.

Know you won’t fly away to another universe, for we are all tethered to Mother Earth in the most affectionate of ways.

Yet She never prevents us from flying high.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Betty Woodman

Betty Woodman (1930-2018) is internationally recognized as one of the most important ceramic artists working today.
Through her inventive use of color and form and her expert blend of a wide range of influences, Woodman created exuberant and captivating ceramic sculptures.

A leading ceramist whose inventive forms and painterly use of color won her international renown, Woodman began her career making simple functional pottery.During the Pattern and Decoration movement in the ’70s, her career gained the momentum it has had ever since.

Collaborating with important figures in the Pattern and Decoration movement, she began producing colorful, witty — and nonfunctional — vessels decorated with scenes from the Italian Renaissance or slathered with landscape clouds. 
Woodman’s most famous works include her Pillow Pitchers, in which she crafted a vessel out of a bulbous shape pinched at both ends like a pillow. 
Betty Woodman‘s works can be found across the Internet and at such refined places as the Smithsonian and the Frank Lloyd Wright Gallery.

Faerie Paths — Cherry Faeries

 

When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry, Take a cherry
Mine are sounder, Mine are rounder
Mine are sweeter, For the eater
When the dews fall.  And you’ll be fairies all.

~Robert Graves, “Cherry-Time,” Fairies and Fusiliers, 1918

 

 

Keeping On Point When You Blog

Even though I’m not much of a writer on the day-job side of my life, I do try and keep up with advice, thoughts, and suggestions from professionals across the board.

Today I received a newsletter from Hubspot, a great newsletter geared towards the marketing/blogging worlds. They published an article called 13 Blogging Mistakes Most Beginners Make.

Now I’m not new at blogging — heck — I’ve been doing it for years. Ha.

But the article made me really think about how I have been writing blogs, how they have changed through the years, and wishing I knew then what I knew now. So I thought I’d share their basic suggestions.

The main article had 13 faux paux’s for beginners, although us “seasoned veterans” could use a look too:

  1. Create blog posts that serve your larger company goals.
  2. Write like you talk.
  3. Show your personality; don’t tell it.
  4. Make your point again and again.
  5. Start with a very specific working title.
  6. Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.
  7. Use data and research to back up the claims you make in your posts.
  8. When drawing from others’ ideas, cite them.
  9. Take 30 minutes to edit your post.
  10. At a certain point, just publish it.
  11. Blog consistently with the help of an editorial calendar.
  12. Focus on the long-term benefits of organic traffic.
  13. Add a subscription CTA to your blog and set up an email newsletter.

Now, granted, these tips are for those writing blogs for their companies. But the tips are golden for us social bloggers as well.

The one that grabbed my attention the most was:

  1. Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.

Mistake: Your writing is a brain dump.

Sometimes when I get a great idea I’m excited about, it’s really tempting to just sit down and let it flow out of me. But what I get is usually a sub-par blog post.

Why? The stream-of-consciousness style of writing isn’t really a good style for blog posts. Most people are going to scan your blog posts, not read them, so it needs to be organized really well for that to happen.

I look back on my beginning blogs and that point is soooo me. Thinking I have something of value to share, but doing nothing more than “let it flow” until the blog was more of a sharing of the moment’s emotions than helping someone else through their journey.

That is all good and well if you are writing for a philosophy class, but if you want your readers to really get something out of your writing, you need to narrow it down to something specific.

We all want people to read our blogs, to get something out of them. Otherwise they will just check you off the inquiry list and move onto the next person. 

I’m not saying you need to write an instruction manual. But even poets need to reread, rewrite, and reconsider — have they put what they wanted to get across down succinctly enough? Are people really getting where you’re coming from? Art, poetry, and sometimes even plain writing is always in one’s point of view.  That’s okay.

But when you are blogging emotions, you need to have an outcome. A finishing point. A reason for the emote in the first place. Using your blog as a brain dump, as Hubspot says, isn’t really a good style for blog posts. Most people are going to scan your blog posts, not read them, so it needs to be organized really well for them to take their time and digest what you’re saying. Organized so it clicks with the reader and they come back to see what else you have to say.

If you want a little writer’s boost (and who doesn’t?). check out Hubspot or other professional marketing or writing newsletters. If you glean ONE point from an article, you’ve learned something.

And who doesn’t want to keep on learning?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is widely acknowledged as one of the most important realist painters of twentieth-century America.

His vision of reality reflected his own temperament in the empty landscapes and city neighborhoods and single figures he chose to paint.

Hopper’s work demonstrates that realism is not merely a literal or photographic copying of what we see, but up to the artist’s interpretation.

His intense yet intimate interpretations of American life, shown in darkness or bright light, are minimal dramas threaded with maximum power.Hopper had a remarkable ability to invest the most ordinary scene — whether at a roadside gas pump, a nondescript diner or a bleak hotel room — with intense mystery, creating narratives that no viewer can ever quite unravel.

He was able to tap into the loneliness of the human condition through his art, something we all can identify with.

More of Edward Hopper‘s amazing work can be found at https://www.edwardhopper.net/. 

New Blog and Friend — Cloutier Art

  1. This evening I am going through my Reader and reading all the blogs I have missed in the past few weeks. And I am having a wonderful time. I have made a number of friends both reading and responding to others in this vast world of online.

I have just read a background from a new friend of mine, Francois Cloutier, who has this new and wonderful art website called Cloutier Art.

He says, “I have been creating uninterruptedly for more than 40 years without showing much to anyone, I still own almost everything I ever created in a span of four decades….” His blog is new, although his creativity is ageless.

Here is his art…

 

and here is is websiteCloutier Art.

Do drop by when you get a chance and take a look at his art, read his thoughts, and welcome him into this blogging world!

 

The Way Sagittarians Think about Paris

Last month I wrote a blog called Making Dreams Reality, about a pipe dream I have/had about spending a week in Paris next year at a writer’s workshop. You know that daydream — slightly-older-than-middle-aged woman who is fairly ditzy hops on a plane to Paris, hoping to find inspiration, writing, and croissants while she gazes romantically at the Eiffel Tower or parks her derriere on the Seine River with a glass of wine and a notebook.

It sounds so good. Until you stop to think about it.

The seminar runs about $3250, not including hotel, air fare, taxis, and croissants. Add about another $700 for airfare, $1500-2,000 for hotel, $50 for at least one Paris attraction,  $100 for dinners and $50 for croissants, and you’re talking a boatload of bills.

On the plus side of all that bankruptcy, I was fine with that. Chance of a lifetime and all that.

Then I went to the website of the workshop and got a rundown of the writer workshop schedule. After breakfast at 10:30am-11:00am, there are intros, couple of hours on character development, couple hours of perspective, couple hours of writing, couple hours of working lunches, lots of sharing time, and that’s it. You get to bond with fellow writers and learn from professionals. You get some atmosphere, a lot of help, and solid interacting time.

So I made of list of “is it really worth pursing?” things….

List of positives:

  • Paris. Period.
  • Inspiration begets better writing.
  • Side trip to Versailles
  • Leaving hubby behind
  • Self discovery
  • Croissants

List of negatives:

  • Cost
  • Leaving hubby behind
  • Don’t speak French.
  • Self discovery is a life-long process; no instant fixes
  • French wine doesn’t go with chocolate croissants

Now understand that all of this — all of this — is just preliminary babble, baloney, and bubbles. It’s all in the inkling stage.

But creative people are ingenious people. We always are left of center, out of the box, making things up, wandering and wondering. Our borders are transparent, dotted lines that are always moving.

And it’s within those transparent borders new ideas spring up.

So I started thinking in a different direction. I could go to anywhere I wanted for a writer’s getaway — San Francisco, Cocoa Beach — anywhere. I could go to a BnB, Holiday Inn, to my cabin up north.

But I wanted to go to Paris.

And I wanted to write.

So my mind and body started researching hotels and airfares. I’m in the process of researching local libraries, cafes, and spots along the Seine. I’m looking for views of the Eiffel Tower, le petit cafés, and bookstores.

I could always use advice through the workshop on how to develop a character, determine place and perspective, and all.

But what I need to do, want to do, is write.

Not just an hour here and a half hour there — I need a solid 4-5 hours a day for a few days in a row. I need to develop my outline into a story.. Real chapters, real people.

If the situation were right, I could take along an escort husband companion so I wouldn’t get lost walking around the block; someone who can do something else for four hours a day while we hang out in a local library or next to the river while I write. Someone who can “oohh” and “aahh”, both at my writing and at the Eiffel Tower at night.

And I think I can do it all for not much more than the writing seminar alone.

Do I have the self discipline? The fortitude? The drive to section off my days and nights in Paris? Will I learn enough on my own? Can I do enough prep work, enough research, to really let my writing take a turn for the better?

Can I really say “no” to a second…or even a third.. croissant?

Like I said at the beginning, this is only a pipe dream at the moment. Wishful thinking. Daydreaming.

Stay tuned, followers. The journey has just begun.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sam Shendi

Sam Shendi is an Egyptian-born British sculptor. He uses contemporary industrial material, steel, stainless steel, aluminium and fiberglass to create his figurative work.

Shendi believes that his works whittle down the human figure to its simplest form, enabling the exploration of the idea of the human form as a vessel.

His colors enhance his sculptures, bringing an extra layer to his abstract forms.

By reducing the human body to a container or minimal shape, his creations become centered on an emotion or an expression.While he appreciates the abstract form, his interest is in the human andpsychological dimensions he adds to his sculptures.

Describing himself as a figurative sculptor it is important to Shendi that the work, however minimalistic, still has an impact on the viewer visually and emotionally.

His work is colorful, inventive, and something that makes the observer stop and just….look.

More of Sam Shendi’s bright modern art can be found at http://samshendi.co.uk/.

No Woman (or Man) Is An Island

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.   ~John Donne

Contrary to (my) popular belief, my opinion is not the only one on the planet. My way of thinking on a particular subject is not the only way to think about a subject.

As many of you may remember (who wants to?), I wrote a blog a while back about my work title changing to “writer”, and that I was going to do my best to write company blogs and emails and whatever scraps were tossed my way.

Well, months later, and I’m not writing much at all. My company is going through a “transition” (always a great phrase when you don’t know what’s going on), and I often feel that because I’m older I’m being slowly but surely shown the proverbial door. It is a baby boomer point of view.

That’s my island.

Yesterday I read a blog from Blue Settia about the Generation Gap in the Workplace. It is a piece on the problems in the workplace from someone on the other side of the work cycle — someone 40 years younger than me. And she is going through the madness from a millennial point of view.

That is her island.

And it made me realize that corporate America (and other countries) still has a hard time bridging the age gap when it comes to making their employees feel important. Like their contributions matter. And that it’s not just my generation who is feeling the pressure of acceptance and getting along.

I realize a big company cannot cater to the egos of a hundred, a thousand, employees. Everyone has their own needs, their own insecurities, their own drives. And a company’s main thrust has always been, and will always be, making money first.

But when good, hard working people want to contribute, and their ambitions are not heard, what is the point?

Is a paycheck only a means to an end?

The point of today’s blog is to show that you are NOT an island unto yourself. That, unknown to you, there are others going through the frustrations and missed opportunities of becoming more than you are today. The business world is my commuter island today; for others it’s motherhood, their health, finding a job.

Whenever you think the world has passed you by, talk to someone else who is younger, older, or more seasoned. Talk to a stay-at-home mother, a friend who barely makes it living check to check, or someone who is management.

Listen to what each has to say. Really listen. Island hop. You may be surprised how many islands are really connected to yours.

And enjoy that island breeze together.

Magic Moments — Fairyland

 

There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way.

One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day.

Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles.

The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.

L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Bisa Butler

Artist Bisa Butler draws from an array of vibrant patterned fabrics to create portraits of everyday people.

She avoids representational colors, favoring layered jewel-toned hues to form the skin of her Black subjects, and often groups figures together into strong silhouettes.

“I have always been drawn to portraits,” Butler explains in a statement on her gallery’s website.

“I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture.”

“This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story.”

Butler studied fine art at Howard University. In a video interview by BRIC TV, the artist explains that she began using fabric in her paintings in college, and then converted to quilting as a way to continue her dedicated art practice while protecting her young daughter from toxic materials and fumes.

Her quilts are full of motion, heritage, tradition, and beauty. They represent a merging of artistic excellence and quilting magic.

Bisa Butler‘s amazing quilting can be found at https://www.instagram.com/bisabutler/ and at at sights and galleries around the Internet.

Saturday Evening Art Wonderings

Happy Saturday Eve! A discussion, a wondering, a confusion for a Saturday evening (with pictures!)

Yesterday I went to a wonderful art festival on the Milwaukee lakefront:  The Lakefront Festival of the Arts. Part of the ticket price was entry to the Milwaukee Art Museum:

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So hubby and I spend a good deal of time walking through the museum. They had art from every era. There was this 1800-something bounty hanging  my husband enjoyed:

A Dale Chihuly:

And even a Georgia O’Keefe:

We wandered through the contemporary section, and I found myself having a little harder time understanding what I was looking at.

There was this neat hanging rock display:

And a modernish painting I kind of got a vibe from:But then I came across two paintings that I just didn’t get. They both had their own wall, so there were no distractions. And my favorite question mark:

And I wonder — why are these last two considered art?

I know I know…beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. The artist is making some sort of a statement. Or non-statement. I did not retain the artists’ names, but I am sure they are impressive in their own right. After all, they have a spot on a wall in one of the most popular art museums around.

So this Saturday evening, I was wondering if you could help me out. Maybe you are an artist that paints similar paintings. Maybe your friend or relative is an artist that really “gets” modern, contemporary art.

Maybe I am just out of my league. But I know I ask what thousands of others often ask. Why is this considered art? I love paintings. Not just the Masters, but I am enjoying the modern approach as well. But what talent is there is painting a canvas all one color? What am I missing?

It’s not that I don’t appreciate an avant garde approach to art. But walking through the art festival, I saw plenty of other works that would have made much more sense up on a museum wall. 

If you have an answer I’d sure like to hear it. 

Ahhh….something else I need to learn….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Nolan Preece

Nolan Preece was born in 1947 in Vernal, Utah. His parents encouraged his early interest in art, and he was helping his father in the home darkroom at age five.

A photographer for over forty years, Preece has devoted his work to understanding and mastering the challenging techniques of early photography, but also promoting new processes such as the chemogram, an experimental process he discovered in the late nineteen-seventies using cliche-verre (print on glass.). 

Preece drips chemical solvents onto glass that has been coated with smoke. To convert this glass matrix or negative into a lasting paper print, it is enlarged onto fiber based paper. This process must be completed in the darkroom.

The chemigram combines the physics of painting (varnish, wax, oil) and the chemistry of photography (photosensitive emulsion, developer, fixer); without the use of a camera, an enlarger, and in full light.

He has his own methods and applies them meticulously.

Over the past thirty years, the artist has continued to create images of surprising complexity and beauty, exploring new methods including the use of digital technology.

Preece’s work evokes a speculative, poetic feeling unlike other forms of painting.

Preece has said that the essential qualities of this experience include a sense of translucency, stilled movement, vastness within the intimate, and a quietude that contains within it a spectrum of unsettled emotions. 

Nolan Preece‘s amazing chemical art can be found at http://www.nolanpreece.com/. 

 

 

 

 

Same Story, Different Versions

The other day I did my best to explain my thoughts on the different ways to write a blog (How Do You Know What To Write?): journal, ask a question, or sharing a life experience. 

Well, this evening I am blogging the second style. 

Trying to give you the Cliff Notes version:

I finally finished the third book in my series. None are published; I haven’t even shared them with friends yet. First two books are written in second person/female, story about  a middle-aged woman crashing her car and winding up in 1880 and 1895 respectively. The voice is casual; she is quirky, sometimes overly emotional, a bit insecure, and does a lot of self-analysis. (typical woman, eh?) But she is a heroine.

I decided to write the third book as the same story as the second book but from the man’s point of view. It is written second person/male. He is more cerebral, more black and white, a brooder and emotional and a hard worker. The sentences in this book run long, helter skelter, like human thoughts often do.

I tried a literary approach to this version — I wouldn’t exactly call it “literary fiction”  because I’m not sure how to write it, although I know it when I read it. It is the same story from two different points of view.

My question to you readers and writers — do I try and make all the books sound similar? If I ever got a chance to “sell” the series, shouldn’t they all sound like each other?

I know the more you read your own stuff, the more it all sounds the same. But I set out to on purpose make them sound and feel different. I don’t know if I accomplished that, but I wonder now if I should add more to the woman’s version.

Every one of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books sound the same. Only the story and the people change. Or rather the same people change and evolve (or die). That’s what people love about the series. 

I can’t tell if all of my books sound the same or if they really do feel different, men vs. women sort of thing. 

But that’s not my question to you. My question is:  is is okay to make the third book sound different than the first two, even if it’s telling basically the same story?

I know this isn’t a big deal, and it’s hard to give advice if you haven’t read the books. But you do know what you like to read; you do know what you like to write. 

Do you like everything in a series to sound the same?

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Christian Richter

There is something about Christian Richter‘s photography that is hauntingly beautiful.

The photographer developed a certain fondness for derelict buildings, some of which could have been listed and preserved as cultural heritage sites, but which had fallen into irreversible disrepair. He photographs places that have been by the world, by man, by the people who created them in the first place.

ichter tells that when he was young he fell in love with aRbandoned buildings.

After he got a camera as a present, he started photographing the beauty there. He mostly photographs empty buildings with great staircases or interiors.

The locations were as diverse as factory shop floors, chapels or theaters, and what they all had in common was that you entered them at your own peril.

Fascinatingly deserted. We are drawn to this beautiful emptiness is that we can envision what their world was like when they were new.

Christian Richter does not have a particular website, but you can find his work at christianrichter, and at Bored Panda. 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Friday — Ali Mirsky

Since early 2000, Ali Mirsky’s work has involved the creation of contemporary mosaics, including mirrors.

Mosaic art offers Mirsky the ability to take something that is whole or complete, such as a sheet of stained glass, and deconstruct the materials to create a body of work that is both new and beautiful.

Working in mosaic, she is very drawn to the limitless palate and textures found in various forms of tesserae (a small block of stone, tile, glass, or other material used in the construction of a mosaic.)

Within her designs, she creates organic forms and movement by hand cutting all of her materials and constructing the mosaic in a way where the individual pieces are placed at various angles.

Mirsky’s artwork is often created spontaneously, allowing the mosaic to transpire freely with the addition of each piece she glues down.

The versatility that mosaic offers is a crucial factor that affords her the ability to span the gap between functional and non-functional as well as both interior and exterior works of art.

More of Ali Mirsky’s art can be found at http://alimirskymosaics.com/

 

Making Dreams Reality

What are we if not our dreams?

Are we any less because our dreams did not come true?

It depends on our dreams.

If we dreamed that one day we would be out of a particular situation and finally be happy and free, and never made it out of that dream, that is one type of disappointment. For as the ‘now’ generation says (and I wholeheartedly agree), all we have is NOW. Make that dream happen today or tomorrow, don’t wait until forever gets here.

But if we dream that one day we will buy a Ferrari or travel to some foreign land, and never buy that car or visit that place, that is another sort of dream. That is the dream of merely having fun stepping out and running around, rather than running away. This sort of dream is safer because, even if we don’t get that car or visit that world, we had a great time pretend planning it.

Well, I have a secret.

I have a pretend planning dream.

Well, lots of them, but this one has overwhelmed me for the past six months. A dream that, if I decide to take this gigantic step, will change my life. Kinda.

I want to go to a writing workshop in Paris next year.

Now. I have no money. I am still working. I have bills and a mortgage and a hubby and grandkids to think about. I am one step away from flighty, have to write everything down or I forget it, am 15 pounds overweight, over 65, and a hundred other legit reasons to wonder why I’m even considering it.

Yet I am considering it.

The biggest hurdle has been overcome — sorta. Hubby said go for it. I don’t think he thinks I’m serious. I could take money out of my 401K plan. After all, if I leave it all to my kids all they’ll do is spend it anyway.

So why does a 66-year-old scardy cat woman think Paris is the only place I can write?

I am not sure.

I know Paris is not the stuff of movies. There is no Midnight In Paris car to whisk me away to meet Hemingway or Picasso. There is no Eat Pray Love or Under the Tuscan Sun ending that will change my life, for I’m happily married and in love with my family. There are pickpockets and tourist traps and muggings like in any big city.

Why am I even entertaining going?

Maybe it’s because there are few challenges left in my life besides illness and death. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been afraid to do something all by myself, and figure there’s no time like the present to try it. Maybe it’s because I’ve got a wonderful imagination and believe I’ll overcome my apprehensions and actually enjoy exploring a world where I don’t speak the language (except for the American-sponsored writing workshop).

Am I crazy?

Perhaps I’ve always been a bit crazy. Who else would write novels about time travel and being taken to another part of the galaxy for adventure?

It’s easy to dream these things from the comfort of my livingroom sofa.

It’s quite something else to think that one day I might be dropped off at the airport and board an airplane and travel half way across the world to learn something I already know.

Yet I know nothing.

We all know nothing.

I don’t know if I will be brave enough come open registration season to really go through with it. But I’m having a ball planning and researching and picking out clothes to wear and what souvenirs I will bring back.

We all need to dream something that is just out of our comfort zone. Something just out of reach. It’s exciting and eye-opening and makes you re-examine your own hangups and fears.

And who knows?

Je peux aller à Paris après tout!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Beccy Ridsdel

With layers of porcelain surgically peeled back like skin, UK artist Beccy Ridsdel reveals the colorful internal workings of ceramic dishes.

The artist refers to the pieces as “dissections in progress” and displayed earlier iterations alongside actual surgical implements to further heighten their anatomical nature.

Ridsdel’s art suggests each porcelain cup or plate has an internal biology of floral decorations that can be explored by removing bits of exterior.

This work forms part of an exploration of the differences between art and craft, and ceramics’ relationship to them.

She is trying to demonstrate to the world that behind every white façade is hidden a flowery reality, an eternal spring that is ready to impress us with its colors. 

 Explaining her thought process, Ridsdel said: “These installations take the form of an observation of a surgical experiment in progress. The ‘surgeon’ is dissecting the craft object to see what is within.”

   More of Becky Ridsdel‘s work can be found at http://www.beccyridsdel.co.uk/.

How Do You Know What To Write?

I have to be careful this sounds like a helpful post and not a journal entry.

Do you ever confuse the two?

I have read blogs that read like journals, rambling thoughts, working out problems, hypotheses, assumptions about the world that have no beginning nor end. They are just … for better or worse .. venting.

Then there are those blogs that pose a question, a hypothesis, that seek an answer. What do you think? Have you ever done that? How do you do that? That’s more looking for direction in your own wonderings.

There also are blogs that share unique experiences, connecting to those who wonder if they are the only ones who think this, feel this, experience this. I call these affirmation blogs. They don’t always offer answers, but the assure the reader they are not alone in the things they go through.

The first example is usually the weakest style. You want to share your angst, your amazement, your purging and affirmations. There is nothing more to gain from rambling thoughts than just an acknowledgement that someone has read your thoughts. After all, there is no cosmic space to really allow for an answer or an additional ramble.

The second can be more popular, especially if you have followers who love to write back. As you all can tell, there are more readers than there are commenters, so one can never take feedback from their suppositions (cosmic or real) too seriously. A hundred people may shake their heads “yes I hear what you’re asking but I don’t have an answer for you.” Only one will write that response.

The hardest to write, and the most rewarding for all around feedback and expansion, is the third example. Sharing meaningful experiences that others can identify with. People need little encouragement to share their experiences back, but it has to be the right encouragement. You have to learn how to write in an inviting way so that people feel comfortable writing back.

We balance our reading time between all three types of bloggers/writers. But those who really enjoy writing enjoy writing back. It’s just hard, sometimes, to respond to someone whose prose is wandering aimlessly through the countryside.  It’s easier to pick a subject, a particular thought, a particular experience, and to focus your blog on that one (general) thing.

You will get more feedback, which is really why we all blog, and less nodding and moving along.

I haven’t quite mastered this technique yet, but I’m working on it. I see many of you are, too. You are leaving me space to respond to your thoughts, which encourages me to pass your thoughts along to others.

And really, isn’t working together and moving forward together what blogging is all about?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — A.Y. Jackson

Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson  (1882 – 1974) was a Canadian painter and a founding member of the Group of Seven, Canadian artists who promoted the excellence of Canadian art and landscapes.

In addition to his work with the Group of Seven, his long career included serving as a war artist during World War I (1917–19) and teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts.

Jackson made a significant contribution to the development of art in Canada, and was successful in bringing together the artists of Montreal and Toronto.

Alone, or paired with other Group members, Jackson traveled extensively through the back country of Ontario with sketch box in hand, particularly Algonquin Park and Northern Lake Superior.

Jackson’s exposure to Impressionism fostered techniques for capturing the fleeting effects of light that he would later apply to the Canadian landscape.

His art nouveau style highlighted the Canadian countryside, showing visions of a land many had thought barren and boring.

His easy style, featuring rolling rhythms and rich, full color, exerted a strong influence on Canadian landscape painting.

A.Y. Jackson‘s artwork can be found in galleries all across the Internet.

 

Faerie Paths — Twilight

Twilight time to dream a while
In veils of deepening gloom
As fantasy strides over colorful skies
Before disappearing from view
In twilight time dream with me a while
A nightingale plays a dark mellow phrase
Of notes that are rich and so true
An aerial display by the firefly brigade
Dancing to tunes no one knew
In twilight time dream with me a while
In twilight time dream with me a while
Building castles in the air
Whistling to the wind
As nature bows down her head
See what tomorrow brings
Twilight time
~Moody Blues

I love you, Granny…!

Well, it finally has hit me. I run from it, deny it, hide from it. But it still showed up. Looking in the mirror over the weekend, I realized….I was turning into a busia.

Busia (pronounced boo-sha), or the correct Babcia (pronounced babp-CHAH), is Polish for grandmother. I prefer to say and spell it as Bousha, but I might as well be spelling it g-r-a-n-d-m-o-t-h-e-r, for that is gentler on the ego than my biggest fear.

Now, you say, you are already a grandmother.  Yes yes — and I love it. Love Love Love it.

But a Bousha makes me think of the little old granny in a babushka and peasant dress digging in the fields and smoking unfiltered homemade cigarettes. The word makes me think of a tough ‘ol chick, weathered and wrinkled and fat.

Which I am starting to resemble.

Now, I know there are grannies that look like fast sports cars (think of Goldie Hawn or Jessica Lange). There are also those who are a little more seasoned but still not half bad at their age (think Hillary Clinton). Then there are those who have filled out and shortened down and wrinkled up and hair that’s turned a boring shade of gray (think of Ma Fratelli in the Goonies).

That’s me.

I’ve tried to avoid mirrors my whole life; it’s not been a horrific sight, but not one I want to look at all the time. But the other night, standing oh-too-close to the bathroom mirror, I saw it all. The pudge, the ruddy skin, the circles under my eyes that never go away, my receding upper lip, my full grey hair that drains all color from my face….I saw it all.

And I ask myself — who is this bousha?

I know I know…my grandkids love me, I love them, live is beautiful, yada yada yada. But somehow, as the song says, “but somehow we missed out, on the pot of gold..” (Styx, Sail Away), and the beauty pot part never really stopped by my house for me to grab and hold onto.

Now fading into the longest third of my life, I see skin I cannot change, eye lashes I cannot replace, and waists that can endure only stretch waistbands.

Is this what happens when you get old?

I’m trying to embrace all this “older and wiser like a fine wine” nonsense. But as my patience runs out more often these days, I don’t feel like doing all the pretending I did when I was younger. The makeup, the fashion sense, the bling and the body and the bounce.

The funny thing is that I never really had that back then, either.

But then, as most of us tend to do, we stop complaining and think. 

I never knew either of my grandmothers…I wish I had. My kids never knew my mom and barely remember my hubby’s mom…I wish they had. They all were boushas of one sort or the other; some were Polish (where the word came from), one was Irish, all were great women. Loving women. Kind women. Their looks never mattered…their love did.

I want to make it long enough where my grandkids never forget me. Long enough so they can tell tales of their “granny” who was a fun bousha and whom they loved to the moon and back.

They don’t really care about my ruddy skin or extra tire around my middle. So why should I?

Better to be true to who and what I am and have them love me for it than to pretend to be something I’ve never been and have then disappointed.

Kocham Cię babciu…!

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Tuesday — Ding Yi

 

Ding Yi (1962-) has been making abstract paintings using crosses and grids since the late 1980s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ding is one of China’s foremost Abstract painters, his art characterized by an acute attention to detail, with systematic repetition of forms and layering.

 

 

 

 

The cross, whether a + or an x with thematic variation, is a motif that the artist has declared a formal mark without meaning, in order to emphasize his rationalist approach to painting.

 

 

 

The context of Ding’s work has always been the incredibly fast-paced development of the industrial urban environment in post-socialist China, and the work, whether predominantly black, painted on tartan, or elaborated in intense fluorescent colors, all bear the title Appearance of Crosses with a date.

 

 

 

Ding is one of China’s foremost Abstract painters, his art characterized by an acute attention to detail, with systematic repetition of forms and layering.

 

 

 

 

Ding’s practice encompasses painting, sculpture, spatial installation and architecture.I thought it amazing how much intricate work went into each painting that I have inserted a close up of the work.

 

 

 

More of Ding Yi ‘s work can be found at the Shanghai Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look! Look!

Today I am really overwhelmed with beautiful, fun, magical posts. Color! Poetry! Philosophy! You don’t have to follow them (although you will be glad you did), but go take a peek and see if you don’t come out with a smile on your face!

 

Rich Impressions

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/rich-impressions/

 

Each day…..is a little life…..Purplerays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://purplerays.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/each-day-is-a-little-life/

 

Apple Blossom Breeze — Brenda Davis Harshman

Apple Blossom Breeze

 

Flows — My Monkey Mind

flows

 

Dancing Birds – Make Art – Magic Happens

Dancing Birds

 

Miracle — All of It… — David Kanigan

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/28060549/posts/48754

 

Each Leaf In Its Own Time — Leaf and Twig

https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/each-leaf-in-its-own-time/

 

What Do You Yearn For? — Jan Beek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Yearn For?

 

Not What I wanted to Hear — Walt Page

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/127080456/posts/4554

 

How Do You Get Others to Read Your Blog?

It’s a question all of us bloggers have. 

We have a point we want to get across. A message. An adventure. We want to share our wisdom, our mistakes, our discoveries. But sharing these “important” milestones in our lives does not always increase our readership. As I’ve said before, the average blog reader only has X amount of hours/minutes/seconds to read what you have to say. 

How do you get them to read YOU instead of/along with others around you?

As you know, I also write a blog at work. At first it was for announcing new publications and nothing else. I took it over three years ago and have been working on it ever since. It was/is a business blog, and I always put that spin on that in my writing. Always tried to keep it sounding a bit formal.

Today I had a talk with my boss, someone who is experienced, articulate, and has his finger on the pulse of the proverbial social media world. And he told me it was time for the company — me — to change the sound of our blog.  That today’s reader wants conversation. Wants to be part of the conversation. Not dictated by it.

Now, it’s funny. I’ve made my personal blog casual and friendly. I have always treated my readers as friends. But I always thought work was supposed to be different. That it was supposed to be slightly conservative and formal, friendly yet polished. It was “the company” giving advice, not the writer.

But the world has changed. Successful companies listen to their customers and followers. They understand they don’t have all the answers, but want to give you what answers they do have. And often what they offer is just what you are looking for. 

So how does this advice help us every day bloggers? How does it help us get more readers, more followers, more friends?

I think the most important thing to remember is that it’s the tone of the conversation that matters, both in person and on the Internet. You still have to have a professional approach to proper grammar, sentence structure, and a beginning, a middle, and an end to your story. You need to make a point.

But you also should be having a conversation with your readers. Make them feel comfortable about what you write. Even if they don’t agree with your point of view, an inclusive conversation makes them want to read to the end.

I am looking forward to being more “casual” at work in my approach to connecting with readers and customers. I want them to know I care, the company cares. There will be no sales tags at the end of each blog; only information that can hopefully make their life easier.

That’s the approach I’ve already taken here. And thought I don’t have a lot of followers, every day brings a surprise, a smile, and a chance to make a new friend. 

How do you approach getting more readers of your blog?