Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an architect and writer whose distinct style helped him became one of the biggest forces in American architecture. 

Taliesin

 

Wright started his own firm and developed a style known as the “Prairie School”, which strove for an “organic architecture” in designs for homes and commercial buildings.

Dana Thomas House

 

These were single-story homes with low, pitched roofs and long rows of casement windows, employing only locally available materials and wood that was always unstained and unpainted, emphasizing its natural beauty.

Fallingwater

 

Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium

 

As a founder of organic architecture, Wright played a key role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century, influencing three generations of architects worldwide through his works.

Unitarian Society Meeting House

 

Wright designed original and innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums, and other structures. He often designed interior elements for these buildings, as well, including furniture and stained glass.

Affleck House

 

Considered one of the most radical architects in history, Wright used revolutionary building technologies and materials and experimented with using the natural landscape as part of his designs.

Lewis Spring House

 

Wright was a great originator and a highly productive architect. He designed some 800 buildings, of which 380 were actually built and a number are still standing.

Nathan G. Moore House

 

You can find out more about Frank Lloyd Wright at https://franklloydwright.org.

I’m Still Standing — And So Are You

I just finished watching the 2019 movie Rocketman about the early days of writer/singer Elton John.

Everybody has heard of Elton John.

But not everybody knows the extent of his talent and his vision. I certainly didn’t.

I could (and still do) boogy around the living room to Crocodile Rock and Love Lies Bleeding in My Hands. I can get sappy with Candle In The Wind and twinkly romantic with Tiny Dancer.

The movie brought home just how many talented artists are out there in this big, wide world. Singers, dancers, lyricists, composers — the list is just as strong as painters, sculptors, and fabric artists. Just as much amazing talent. Just as much amazing dedication. Just as much sparkle as anyone who loves the Arts.

Watching movie Elton John play the piano as a child brought me back to my own childhood piano lessons. I was barely a blink in the eye of the piano world. Not even a full blink.

The real Elton was a child prodigy, teaching himself how to play the piano when he was only four years old. He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London. The rest is history.

I sometimes wonder if we pay as much attention to our children in the arts as much as we pay attention to them in math or economics. Talk always floats around about cutting funding for the Arts — it’s the first program to be cut in grade school and high school when funds run out, and not the first career parents encourage for their kids.

Things are probably a lot looser these days — but they are probably much harder, too. A lot more competition, a lot more talent. With social media and U-Tube and thousands more movies and concerts and recordings made per month than during the 70s, it’s hard to get by on talent alone.

That is why, when I see raw talent, whether young or old, domestic or foreign, I zoom in on it. Feel it. Explore it. Share it. Even if it’s only in passing, I find pleasure in those whose talents are fresh and raw and evolving and turning and growing.

Elton John had growing pains, too. Drugs, alcohol, dealing with his sexuality, his family — all played a role in honing his talent and legacy. Turning pain into perfection often works on many levels.

But we don’t have to always hit bottom before we hit the top — sometimes a developing artist has a fairly stable life.

That’s why, no matter what you have gone through, that part of your life is over. You can learn from it, reflect on it, then let it go. You take the beauty of who you are today, and let that guide you through whatever form of art calls you. 

You may not be as flamboyant and successful as Elton John, but you are every bit as imaginative. You and your art are powerful expressions of your growth and understanding of yourself and the world around you.

 

You know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid….. ~Elton John

 

Fabric Art by Laura Kate

I am always in awe and respect of other artists’ works. So many are so good at what they do — I love sharing their talent.

So for this Tuesday blog I’d like to share the recent creativity of Laura Kate from Daily Fiber and her fiber and fabric work. It’s just amazing.

 

Return to Lake Montgomery

It’s been a while since I shared the turtle in the pond fiber object. As a reminder, it was inspired by a photo taken by Bill on a recent camping trip at Lake Montgomery.

I loved the light, the colors and the texture of this image. I knew right away that I want to create my own version in fabric……….

 

Please click on over to her website and see how creates a great piece of art from this photo! 

https://dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/2020/05/26/return-to-lake-montgomery/

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Molly Hatch

Molly Hatch is an artist designer with a formal education in drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

She received her BFA from the Museum School in Boston, and her MFA from the University of Colorado.

Hatch, an artist-designer, creates everything from fabric patterns, furniture, jewelry, prints, pen to ink drawings and painting.

Her installations have been featured by the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Clayarch Gimhae Museum in Korea, and Philadelphia’s The Clay Studio, among others.

Hatch installed her largest museum commission to date at the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ. Commissioned by Chief Curator Ulysses Dietz, Hatch designed and executed a triptych of almost 600 plates for a wall installation for permanent installation titled Repertoire.

Hatch has a remarkable talent for putting together a myriad of designs with plates of all colors and sizes.

Her ceramic installations, inspired by historical decoration, have been exhibited and collected all over the world and has garnered her a loyal and fervent following.

More of Molly Hatch‘s wonderful designs can be found at https://www.mollyhatchstudio.com and at https://toddmerrillstudio.com/designer/molly-hatch.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Svetlana Bobrova

I think one of my favorite Sunday Evening Art Gallery posts was from back in November, 2014, when I shared images from the artist Svetlana Bobrova. A surrealistic artist from Russia, the figures in her paintings are hauntingly beautiful. I cannot get enough of her and her imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see more of Svetlana Bobrova‘s amazing work at my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog or at the blue link above.

Going Up Nort’

Well, the self-imposed lockdown has been lifted here in Wisconsin, giving 5.822 million of us here in the state a chance to run around free.

You will find two camps here — one who has to make money and wants their economic freedom back; the other still wearing masks and fearful of every passing shopping cart pushed by someone without one.

I am not getting into any discussion of either side. Both have valid points; both are sure they’re doing the right thing. After my brother-in-law’s brush with C19, plus knowing that 459 families are missing someone here in the state because of it, I tend to stay on the conservative side.

That doesn’t mean I’m not taking advantage along with precaution these days.

I don’t hang out at bars or restaurants, I still wear a mask when shopping, I take my temperature every day — all those precautions many of the “older generation” tend to take to squeeze every extra day out of life we can.

I also am going away on vacation for a week. Away from TV, most social media, broadcasters and newscasters and boring B movies I’ve been finding on my Internet service.

Is spending a week four hours north from here any different than spending a week here at home base?

I would like to think so.

The cabin we share with my kids was originally my father-in-law’s home. He has gone to the great hunting grounds in the sky, although you can’t tell me he doesn’t stop by the place now and then to check in on us.

Anyway, “the cabin” (as we and our grandkids call it) is a half block from the Chain of Lakes, gateway to boating and fishing wonders still waiting to be explored.

I myself always have a different reason to go up nort’.

It’s easy to avoid TV news and propoganda and politics and gossip when you have no TV. And we intend to keep it that way. We have video games out the gazoo, a radio that picks up a few local stations, and the internet connection is so bad we have to drive to McDonald’s if we want a real signal.

But it’s quiet. It’s cozy. It’s fresh air and a little portable fireplace in the middle of the front yard and swimming for the dogs (and people if it’s warm enough). It’s family sitting around and talking. Sharing tales of the old days. Of new things coming up. It’s catching up with what’s going on in school and at work and, if we’re lucky, someone’s love life.

It’s playing card games on the kitchen table at night or on a rainy day. It’s taking naps any time you want, as long as you wake up in time for dinner (especially if you are cooking).

It’s finally reading the books you never seem to get around to reading at home. It’s coloring mandalas in a coloring book with colored markers or typing a short story or knitting a sweater.

It’s peace and quiet.

No one to tell you what to do; no politicians on Twitter or mass shootings in everyday places or animals being tortured or people dying of the Coronavirus.

Not that it stops reality from continuing. We are all aware of what’s going on outside our sanctuary. But for a few days we can pretend that we’re just outside of heaven and the world and life is all about US.

Not a bad way to spend time, I’d say…..

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mandalas

A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols with a very different application.

It can be understood in two different ways: externally as a visual representation of the universe, or internally as a guide for several practices that take place in many  traditions, including meditation.

The word mandala comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. Literally mandala means “circle.”

The circle is seen as a magical form, without beginning and end, just as the universe is believed to have no end.

In  religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism, it is used as a map representing deities, or specially in the case of Shintoism, paradises, kami or actual shrines.

The word mandala conjures up steady breathing and concentration patterns.

The circle is seen as a magical form, without beginning and end, just as the universe is believed to have no end.

. The mandala can also be filled with all kinds of patterns: geometric figures, Buddhist saints, flowers, designs, nature, and more.

Mandalas can be found in stained glass windows, floor paintings, paintings, carved pieces, books, scarves, clothing — any place you can focus on while mediating, praying, thinking, or dreaming.

Next time your heart or mind is racing, find a mandala that calls you,  take time to look at it’s beauty, and calm yourself.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Aquariums

Nothing soothes the savage beast (or is it the savage breast) like water. Like gentle things swimming around in water. Back on Nov 23, 2014, I showcased a variety of Aquariums. Such a cool way to keep fish! Here is a flashback with a few more added…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More wonderful unique aquariums at https://wp.me/p5LGaO-2E. 

 

 

Ah-Ha vs. Good Grief

I am usually happy with who I am. From a writer and painter to a bleeding heart animal lover to unicorn collector, I’ve finally become comfortable with myself.

That is, until I take the backwards road to find an answer to something.

I’ve often said I am of the “pretzel logic” variety — I get to the same place everyone else does, but it takes me longer, for I take side roads, open closed doors, and often get stuck in the mud or in a sandstorm.

I have developed a patience for this lifestyle, but at times I frustrate myself to death. Like “Why didn’t I think of finding that information the easy way?”

Today was a great example of this. I wasted an hour trying to find the original publisher of a book I wanted to credit in a novel I’m writing. Instead of looking in the Library of Congress, a catchall for any book you want to research, I went to this website and that website and read a dozen articles that never once said the publisher was Brace and Company.

That’s in the same category as “Why doesn’t this thing turn on?” when all I had to do was find the hidden switch, or “Why did I drive five miles out of my way when I could have cut over on Highway D?”

Why do I waste so much time going the pretzel way?

Some have attributed this half-conscious sabotage on moving before thinking. Or speaking before thinking. Or acting before thinking. But, being 67, I have slowed down. Thought things out. Reasoned and Researched.

It’s not only my age. I’ve been pretzelling for 40 years or more. Probably even when I  was a teenager. My sons are really good at what they do and how they speak and how they react. So I know it’s not genetic.

But there are times when, by the time I get there, the answer is so obvious I am embarrassed to have shown up at all. That the answer is so obvious my grandkids could have answered it while I was still fooling around.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being this way. Obviously we finish what we’ve started/where we’re going/what we want to do. It just takes us sooooo much longer to get there.

Do you ever feel that way? That you “take the long way home” like Supertramp sings, even if you’re looking for the shortcut way?

I can’t really “hurry up” any more. I mean, I can find more efficient and direct ways to do things, but time is not something I can control. I also can take on fewer tasks in general, which I’m trying to do, with limited success. 

If you find a way to straighten your pretzelly path without taking away from who you are, let me know.

Until then, I will just hope that my “ah-ha!” moments catch up with my “good grief” moments.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker.

An innovative and prolific master, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.Rembrandt’s works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, and biblical and mythological themes.Rembrandt’s portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits, and scenes from the Bible are regarded as his greatest creative triumphs.Rembrandt’s foremost contribution in the history of printmaking was his transformation of the etching process from a relatively new reproductive technique into a true art form.He was also an avid art collector and dealer. Rembrandt lived beyond his means, buying art, prints, and rarities, which probably helped his bankruptcy in 1656, by selling most of his paintings and large collection of antiquities which included Old Master paintings and drawings, busts of the Roman Emperors, suits of Japanese armor, and collections of natural history and minerals.Unfortunately, the end of his life was far from the famous painter he would become.Rembrandt died in 1669 in Amsterdam and was buried as a poor man in an unknown grave in the Westerkerk. After twenty years, his remains were taken away and destroyed, as was customary with the remains of poor people at the time.

More of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s amazing life and art can be found at http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandt.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Numen / For Use

Back in November 2014 I came across a group of artists that did amazing things with tape. Yes, clear package tape. Going back to their website, I was pleased to see they have expanded their repertoire, filling their site with more — tape art. Take a look at their marvelous work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More unusual art — tape and more — at http://www.numen.eu/.

You Can’t Go Wrong With the Arts

Since we all can’t be out dancing in the street or go to the movies or even hang at the pub with our friends, what are you all doing to keep busy and out of trouble?

I am hoping you have either found a hobby/art/creative outlet for your cooped up creativity, or are working on the outlet you already have.

I remember hesitating and angsting and worrying about researching and writing my next novel. It was too overwhelming. Too confusing. My real life and pretend life were getting too mixed up.

Has that ever happened to you? 

You decide to step out of your comfort zone and try something bigger, better, more challenging, only to be knocked back by the logistics of the whole thing?

I was ready to give up. After all — who can buck the tide? Climb the mountain? Swim the ocean?

Well, after I calmed down, I found out that ~I~ could buck the tide, etc., etc. 

All it took was taking a step back, then moving forward one step at a time. I’m still doing a lot of research before each chapter — I want it to sound right, feel right. 

And most importantly, I wanted to have fun with it.

You may get to a point where you can’t control where your story goes, what you really want your painting to look like. You might get frustrated at not being able to find exactly the right shape or color or material to make your work move forward. 

And you do get to that point where you want to chuck it all in the garbage. After all, it’s easier to do something you know. Something you feel comfortable with.

I am living proof to not give up. To not listen to that little demon on your shoulder that tells you what you want just doesn’t exist.

The arts are a little easier to maneuver through than, say, swimming the ocean. It’s more creative, more forgiving, more expansive, more liberal. And you don’t have to risk life or death to make a point.

I hope that during this lock down quarantine period of your life you are taking care of what matters most in this world. You. Your creativity. Your mind.

Still tossing possibilities around? Stop tossing and start choosing. Make a poster or outfit or put together an art show or start a blog. Try learning that new piano piece or building that jewelry box — stop thinking about it and just do it. Don’t let fear intimidate you. 

Remember — you can’t go wrong with the Arts.

Any of them.

Let me know what projects you have finally undertaken …. 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ramon Todo

Born in Tokyo, Dusseldorf-based artist Ramon Todo creates beautiful textural juxtapositions using layers of glass in unexpected places.Starting with various stones, volcanic rock, fragments of the Berlin wall, and even books, Todo inserts perfectly cut glass fragments that seem to slice through the objects.This results in segments of translucence where you would least expect it.His small sculptures of rocks and books embedded with polished layers of glass, seamlessly introduce disparate materials into a single object.This creates an unusual intention, as if these objects have always existed this way.

The random pieces of obsidian, fossils, volcanic basalt, and old books are suddenly redefined.Todo’s stay in Dusseldorf over ten years brought him Western culture, and generated an original yet universal aesthetic which appeal to broad range of people.

More of Ramon Todo‘s remarkable artwork can be found at http://www.thephotophore.com/ramon-todo/ and http://artfrontgallery.com/en/artists/Todo.html.

 

Blue — A Poem

 

Blue
Not really royal
Or cadet or sea
More of a misty dust
No real color at all
Uncertainty on the horizon
Beneath our feet
Always dancing
Just out of sight
In her shadowed dress
Blue
Not really royal
Or cadet or sea
More of a misty dress
No real fabric at all
Gauzy and transparent
Just enough to
Brush your heart
And make you ask why
Blue
Not really royal
Or cadet or sea
More of misty feeling
No real depth at all
Incoherent and transparent
Just enough to
Turn your mind
Away from your thoughts.
Blue
Not really royal
Or cadet or sea
More of a misty dust
No real sense at all.
A touch of reality
An eternity of dreams
Fills your soul
With cerulean hints of hope

 

©Claudia 2020

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Jade

Jade is the name shared by two distinctly different minerals – Nephrite, a calcium magnesium silicate, and Jadeite, a sodium aluminum silicate.

Though they have different compositions, hardness, density, and crystal structures, both are exceptionally tough stones, similar in appearance, and equally valuable in metaphysical properties.

Both occur in the beautiful olive shades we’ve come to recognize as jade green, but have some distinctions.

Nephrite generally occurs in creamy white, mid- to deep olive green, brown and black. It has a smooth surface polish with a waxy sheen and is more commonly found.

Jadeite may be a white-gray green, leafy green, blue or blue-green, emerald green, lavender, pink, red, orange, greenish-black or black. It is hard and lustrous, rarer than Nephrite, and usually more expensive.

Translucent, emerald green Jadeite, colored by traces of chromium, is called Imperial Jade and is the rarest and most valuable.Jade is said to bless whatever it touches, serving mankind across the globe for nearly 6,000 years.It is the ultimate “Dream Stone,” revered in ancient cultures, as well as today, to access the spiritual world, gain insight into ritualistic knowledge, encourage creativity, and dream-solve. It is the stone of calm in the midst of storm. Its action balances nerves and soothes cardiac rhythm. No matter what its metaphysical properties, it is an eternal, beautiful stone.

Watch What You Say

Earlier today I wrote a blog which, after thinking about it for a while, deleted.

I have that instant temper thing; it rarely comes out, but when it does, I want to tell the person — or the world — what I think. I take a lot of baloney from the world, most of which I try to ignore. Let it roll off my proverbial back. Mostly because I can’t do anything about ignorance and ignorant people.

But I’m seeing so many people these days making blanket statements about people and situations that they know nothing about. Hearsay. Second hand information. Guess work. And what they are saying is hurtful.

We all make guesses about everyday things. We’re not there in the front row — guesses are often all we have. Even when we have all the facts.

It’s hard staying optimistic during these trying times. It’s hard staying in a good mood. We do our best, even though the world is falling apart around us. 

Sometimes I think the answer is staying away from the media. Social media, print media, broadcast media. For every positive story about people doing their best to help each other out, there are other stories of people being nasty to each other just because they don’t see eye-to-eye.

This world makes me sad, sometimes.

We all have the best intentions, but sometimes, in a crisis like what we’re all going through, those intentions get mashed up with our fears and insecurities until we don’t even recognize ourselves.

I know I hate being cooped up inside. I hate wearing masks. I hate not seeing my family. I hate that some of my friends are unemployed because of this virus. I hate that my friend’s kids won’t have a graduation party or can’t try out for the soccer team because there is no soccer team.

But we can’t break down now.

We can’t start being mean and selfish just because we can.

I know I’ve written about this before. Usually I spout and move on. That’s what you have to do these days. We’re not world leaders; we’re not doctors or lawyers or policy makers. We are regular people with regular fears and loves and dreams.

But I seem to find I’m having a harder time moving on these days.

Maybe it’s being on lock down. Maybe it’s too much Internet and not enough painting or writing or needle-pointing. Maybe it’s too much focus on a virus that may or may not get me.

I know someone who had C-19 and recovered. That should give me hope. It’s almost summer. That should give me hope, too.

Think before you post. Before you speak. Before you call. If not for the other person, for yourself. Turn off, delete, block. Don’t let others control your reactions by their actions. Find your golden rule and stick to it. Be nice to each other.

We’re all we’ve got.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — James Michalopoulos

Painter and sculptor James Michalopoulos was born in 1951 in Pennsylvania. Michalopoulos received a BA from Bowdoin College. After managing the Boston Food Co-op for two years, he began to sketch. He has never stopped making art.

In 1981 he was drawn to New Orleans as the last bastion of hippie bohemian culture in America.He began sketching artists and musicians, houses and street corners.Fascinated with the duality of beauty and decay, the architecture of the city became his muse.Capturing the spirit and the essence of his subject in layer upon layer of thick impasto paint, a portrait of the city appeared, brimming with color and energy.In the early 1990’s Michalopoulos operated a studio out of Lausanne, Switzerland, and exhibited both there and in Geneva, London and Berlin. Today he divides his time between New Orleans and Burgundy.The French countryside, with its Roman era stone buildings and verdant fields, has become a large focus of his work, but there is nothing better than New Orleans.

More of James Michalopoulos‘  wonderful art can be found at https://www.michalopoulos.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Creative and Share!

Grandkids Get Creative

Today — Every day — is for sharing. Sometimes I’m not up to it, other days I’m buzzing around like a bee with pollen. Today is a pollen day.

I’d like to share some of my blogger friends’ finished artwork. I enjoy following them, and I really appreciate their efforts to bring beauty into the world. I know I might miss some, but that share is for another day. Take a look — follow the links — and enjoy their work for yourself.

 

https://dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/

 

https://friendlyfairytales.com/

Seeing the same four walls
in this endless
pandemic confinement,
but imagining far fields……………

 

https://ivors20.wordpress.com/

There must be a number of silent masks around

Yesterday an old mask flew away at the speed of sound

From behind, the real pieces of what we perceive……………

 

https://gwenniesgardenworld.wordpress.com/

 

https://chaoticshapes.com/

 

https://anthonygrootelaar.blog/

 

https://rakupottery.ca/

 

https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/

the flowers’ shadows
write their own poem
on the book’s pages

 

https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/

 

https://thelonelyauthorblog.com/

i will love you
in the silence of your reflection
in the echoes of your pain………………………….

 

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/

Painting // passing time
Waiting for Summer release
Ready for a hug

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Stilettos/High Heels

My Sunday Evening Art Gallery is not only for unique artists and their work — it’s also a show-off gallery of odd, beautiful, and unusual collectibles that fit into one topic.  My first fun Gallery was Stilettos back in  November of 2014. Try these on for size!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More stilettos at https://wp.me/p5LGaO-2H.

Keep Your Glitter!

How are you all doing this fine stay-at-home day? 

One thing I am discovering on my quarantine vacation is that now that I have the time to finally do all of the things I’ve wanted to do in 40 years I don’t feel like doing anything.

That includes TV marathons, long walks in the woods, cleaning and rearranging closets and drawers and rooms (for the 4th time), writing, crafting — even eating.

That’s not right.

I feel so blasé about everything. Except my stress. 

THAT I can’t seem to control. 

Between my brother-in-law in ICU for C-19 and the article I just read about rehab after ICU and my cat in the midst of dying and driving 200 miles round trip to clean twice a week, I’d say there’s just a little to be stressed about.

I’m sure your caseload is just as stressful. If not more so.

It seems to cluster and peak when you can least do anything about it. 

I guess it’s called going through $hit. We all have to do it, deal with it, move through it and past it. Standing still, running backwards, or beating your head against the proverbial wall does not make it go away. 

So you still have to go through it. 

You HAVE to find ways to go through it.

After writing this piece, I’m going downstairs and sponge painting my bedroom that I’m turning into a library. I will be making a forward motion in my stand-still world. I can take my time, pretend I’m Picasso, and leave the stress behind for an hour or two.

You have to do that, too.

Even though your energy level may have changed in this lock-down phase of life, you can’t let blasé-ism get you down.

Even if you have to listen to Benny Goodman or Ozzie or Justin Bieber, you’ve got to find your beat and jiggle it. Wiggle it. Paint it or dig-in-the-garden it or calligraphy it. 

You won’t be living under the blanket of C-19 forever.

But you will be living with yourself.

You’ve got to vent it somehow. Scream it or whine it or cry it or babble it. It doesn’t matter how you get it out — just GET IT OUT.

Make your  going through $hit colorful and sparkly. Like a rainbow or glitter or fluorescent painting. Make your statement loud and clear. Work it out! Get through it! We’re all in this together. And we’ll all get through this together.

Even if we all don’t like glitter.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Charles Vickery

 

Charles Vickery (1913-1998) was an American painter born in Hinsdale, Illinois.

He is best known for his naturalistic depictions of historic ships in the open ocean and crashing waves in all types of weather and times of day.Vickery studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Fine Arts.Recognized as the “finest seascape artist of our time” by the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Vickery was known for his dramatic paintings of the sea.Vickery brought a new meaning to the term “marine art” as he submerged himself in the study of the constant interplay of nature — the sun, sky, wind and water all working together.He deeply loved the ocean, saying, “All the colors of water come from the sky because every color of the sky is reflected in that water. And the sky has all the colors of the rainbow in it.”

In his lifetime, Vickery saw his works grace the walls of galleries, embassies and private residences.

More of Charles Vickery‘s masterpieces can be found at https://www.vickeryart.com.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois  has done a number of different art styles in her lifetime — her monumental abstract and often biomorphic works deal with the relationships of men and women.

My favorite works of hers will always be the giant spiders. They are truly Magnificent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Diana Al-Hadid

Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1981, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Al-Hadid’s sculptures, hanging works, and works on paper are built up with layers of material and history.

Her rich, formal allusions cross cultures and disciplines, drawing inspiration, not only from the history of distance civilizations, but also from histories of the materials themselves.Her work borrows from a variety of sources ranging from Old Master paintings to the innovative works of the Islamic Golden Age.

Described by Al-Hadid as “somewhere between fresco and tapestry,” her unique process is entirely additive.Holes and gaps form not from puncture, but through controlled dripping, methodically reinforced such that the image dictates the structure.

These works have been made as hanging objects, architectural interventions, and most recently as outdoor installation.

More of Diana Al-Hadid‘s incredible work can be found at http://www.dianaalhadid.com/.

Dreaming

Vladimir Rumyantsev

This is my first spring being “retired.” I’ve been teased with a few warm days, but today it’s slipped back into cold and sleety and snowy, as spring always does, here in the Midwest.

These days I notice that there are quite a few things that have changed since my work days. 

I dream a lot more about work. Not my last job, particularly, but I’m always “at work.” Sometimes I’m being reprimanded for, I don’t know — misbehaving, I suppose. In other dreams I’m quite successful, pulling off a stunning career at 67. 

I often hear that our most private desires come out in our dreams.

I also hear that our biggest fears come out in our dreams.

I think what’s most frustrating with this quarantined retirement is that I’m not getting a chance to make a final stand, so-to-speak. To join clubs or groups I’ve always thought about but never got around to being a part of. To take classes at the nearby university just for fun. To make new friends that are my age who are going through what all of us go through at one time or another.

And with the weather misbehaving at the moment, I can’t even get outside and putz around making gardens like I promised myself I would. 

That will all come, I know. I talk to family and friends on a regular basis, keep in touch on Facebook. I keep in motion, I keep busy. If you don’t use it you lose it, and all that.

The biggest difference between quarantine and retirement is that I am lonely in quarantine. I mean I have a great relationship with my hubby. But outside of him. I’m not a big social person to begin with, but I realize how much we all need human contact to continue to grow. Everyone doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it’s nice sometimes to exchange pleasantries in person.

Like when I was working.

I might not have been best friends with my co-workers, but we shared parts of our lives with each other. We brought a different point of view, a different life, into the conversation. We shared ideas, places to visit, birthday parties and new craft projects and all sorts of stuff that stimulated my curiosity. We gossiped and complained about work and it was all quite entertaining.

What I miss is the choice of exposure these days. The choice of meeting for coffee or sitting on my deck by myself. The choice of working together for a common cause or striking it out on my own. The choice of asking how someone’s grandma was or minding my own business. The choice of hanging with my grandkids here or at their house.

Maybe that’s the big difference between retirement and quarantine.

Choice.

Working all my life just to have this new avenue of choice open up to me, and finding the gate is still locked. 

I know that sooner or later the gate will open and opportunity will greet me on the other side. But things will have changed. The world will have changed. And my retirement will be different than what I thought it would be.

But at least it will be. Better later than not at all. 

 

 

Am I/I Am Overthinking

Sometimes I wonder just what kind of writer I am. I make myself laugh. In weird ways.

I’ve been writing all my life. I’ve written mostly fiction, although there have been a few non-fictions along the way. I have no problem inventing people, places, and situations in the fictional world. Even fiction in a non-fiction real world don’t hold me back.

Except this stupid novel I’m still trying to get off the ground.

I have actually started writing, having done a lot of basic research, and using everything from Google Maps to traveler’s websites to be as accurate as possible.

The story is fiction. About a non-fiction person. Me. Going on a vacation. Fiction. To a real place — Paris. Non-fiction. Visiting romantic restaurants and museums that really exist. Non-fiction. Running into manifestations of people who have passed on. Fiction.

In the past I have written about not being able to kill off people in my novels. I dunno — it’s just not me. Fine. Now I have to write a fiction book about things that never really happened as though they really did happen. But I want them to sound real.

Somewhere I’ve gotten lost between fiction and non-fiction.

I have no problem making things up if my work is considered fiction. The sky’s the limit. Right?

But when I really want to be as truthful as can be, I feel like I’m fibbing if I don’t exactly explain what this museum looks like or that restaurant feels like.

Why can’t I just pretend and be done with it?

Does it really matter in the story if Rue Saint-Guillaume actually intersects with Rue Perronet? I mean, I have one story about a woman being transported from Earth to a different part of the galaxy, for Pete’s Sake! Why does it matter if my character goes to a real live close restaurant or happens to walk a block or two to a place that, on a map, is three miles away?

I think I’ve got to get back to the basics of fiction vs non-fiction. That one is one and the other is another and you are either/or. That unless it’s 100% true it’s fiction. And no one cares.

As long as it’s readable and enjoyable, no one is going to care. After all, that’s how ~I~ read books. How do I know if the Barrymore Theater on Broadway is on 47th Street or 45th Street? Do I care, when the heroine is kidnapped by a Phantom of the Opera wannabe?

I know I overthink everything. I think many of you do, too. Not on purpose — it’s just that you want whatever you’re working on to be as perfect and “right” as it can be. Are you cheating on your stitching? Are you calling your work one thing when it technically should be something else?

Let it go. I have to just stop thinking and start writing. And you have to do the same thing. Stop overthinking everything. As long as you finish what you started, no one will know — or care.

And even if YOU do care, don’t. Don’t they say the best non-fiction is usually fiction anyhow?

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Gary Greenburg

www.sandgrains.com.

Way back on October 14, 2014, I highlighted the microscope photography of Dr. Gary Greenburg. His website, Sandgrains, has fascinating explanations of something we take for granted every day — sand. You must stop by his website and read the explanations yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out more at Sunday Evening Art Gallery.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Rice Patty Art

Rice Paddy Art, called as “Tanbo Art” in Japanese,  is a work of art in which gigantic pictures are drawn on the rice field as canvas by mixing different colors of rice plants instead of paint.

Its detailed description and high artistic quality bring a large number of tourists every year.Rice paddy art began in 1993 when purple and yellow rice plants were used to make a picture of Mt. Iwaki along with letters on rice paddies.This curious art style, started in a village called Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture drew in so many people, the topic spread all across Japan, Korea and Taiwan.The main purpose behind the creation was to take advantage of the tradition of manual work in rice cultivation to give people an opportunity to learn more about rice farming and agriculture.The massive pictures are elaborately designed using perspective drawing methods to make them look their best when seen from the observation platform.

These days there are over 100 locations doing rice paddy art. 

Behavior During the Pandemic

This Coronavirus thing just keeps getting scarier and scarier. There is no doubt that it has affected all of us in some way or another.

But within all the bad energy floating around there has to be some pockets of fresh air and bling. So here are a few of the things that I ~personally~ have noticed.

More positive posts on social media.  While there are plenty of warnings still being passed around on Facebook, Twitter, and others, there has been more funny videos, pictures, and statements to lighten up our load. Dreams of dancing once the epidemic is over, cats getting tired of their humans being around all the time, and dogs exhausted from taking 10 walks a day, all put a smile on those of us quarantined at home.

More inventive socialization.  People in Italy singing to each other from their balconies. Apartment complexes flashing their lights at different times for the emergency workers getting off shift. People standing in their driveways and waving to passers-by. Anything to get out of the house and reconnected to the world around us.

More men watching interesting TV shows. There is no football. No soccer. No basketball. No baseball. What is a healthy male supposed to watch on Sunday afternoons?  I walked into the living room the other day and my husband pointed to the TV, saying, “Look at that recipe! And see how she cut that zucchini? We could make that!” I’ve heard other tales of men binging  on Downton Abbey and Gordon Ramsay, too. 

Kids being bored. What child doesn’t love staying home from school? Except when sick, hooky is a rite of passage for every boy and girl. By now, though, half the kids are sick of their brothers and sisters, TV shows, and doing schoolwork at the kitchen table. Plus somehow, amazingly, mom’s art projects suddenly look lame compared with their art teacher’s ideas. 

More people are downloading and reading books. And I don’t mean just the latest sensations. More people are publishing e-books and more people are desperate for escapism. I imagine the numbers of classics downloaded these past weeks has increased as well. Heck — I downloaded “Anna Karenina ” by Leo Tolstoy the other day. I’d seen the movie with Vivian Leigh, and was curious to see how a man wrote about female infidelity in 1878.

More kindness and religious posts. Whether we are praying/thanking God or spreading hearts and kindness, people are putting a positive spin on what is hurting us. People are leaving painted stone hearts at fire stations and hospital doors, passing on thank yous in the most imaginative ways.

Less people are posting, though. Although there are a number of people I follow who haven’t posted in quite some time, I am noticing the chatty ones are slowing down as well. I suppose it’s hard to be witty and clever and say something significant when there is death and illness popping up all over the place. I know ~I~ have slipped into more art gallery posts and less chit chat.

Houses are cleaner than they’ve ever been. I am no exception to this observation. I have cleaned drawers and closets and hidden spaces I never knew existed since I’ve been home. I’ve set out plastic chairs and empty planters on my deck like I was going to be in House Beautiful. I have put my videos in alphabetical order and gone through toy boxes and recycled items that should have been recycled out years ago. It’s amazing what I and my friends have accomplished these past few weeks.

I am not making fun of the pandemic; I am merely reflecting how people are coping with it. It will run its course sooner or later, and we can all go back to being screaming-at-the-TV-football fans or getting that haircut we desperately need.

But we can smile, too. That’s something no one can take away from us.

Have you seen anything interesting these days?

Is This Retirement?

From the outside, being newly retired and being under lockdown for the Coronavirus are the same thing.

In both, you get to sleep in. I’ve kept up with my cleaning, I’m cooking more homemade and sometimes fancy meals, go for walks with my dog, stay up late, binge on TV shows and movie series, and continue to search for my circadian rhythm.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? It was all I wanted when I was putting in full days behind the computer.

But under the surface they feel different. They are different.

And it all comes down to one’s interpretation of personal freedom.

I have a lot of that under lockdown. My husband has to still go to work at night, so I’m alone 3-4 evenings a week, so that has turned into my personal time. Writing, wandering, reading, lower-energy things for evening time. I take naps, text and call friends, research books, and binge on the Ming Dynasty if I want.

But I don’t feel free.

Retirement meant going out and meet friends for coffee whenever I wanted. It meant getting a little more active in my community, joining groups like the local Art Alliance and going to a meeting or two. Being retired meant running to the store for bling supplies mid-task or stopping by my grandkids house Saturday mornings for a playtime or two. It meant taking off for a couple of days and visiting a new place or a week off at the cabin.

Now I’m not free to do any of those things. 

Believe me, my staying at home mode is more me than the governor’s decree. I’m a little older, a little slower, and have had my share of medical scares. I am not going to jeopardize my future with my kids and friends and my blogging friends by hanging where the virus may be lurking. 

I want this virus to go away. I want my friends and family and even people I don’t know to stay healthy and not be affected by it. I don’t want to accidentally spread it nor accidentally get it.

Bur I want chocolate shakes with friends and evenings with music to be on my schedule, not some virus’s. I want to be that retired person who has ten times more things to do than when I worked in the world. I want to pop into the store to buy something fresh for dinner and throw parties for my family and volunteer at the local art gallery and take off for Las Vegas for the weekend if I want.

I want to be retired the old-fashioned way.

Not this way.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Forrest Bess

Forrest Clemenger Bess (1911–1977) was an American painter and fisherman.

Burning Bush

 

He is known for his abstract, symbol-laden paintings based on what he called “visions.”

Matilda

 

Bess made his own frames and worked mostly with dark, brooding pigments, which he sometimes mixed with sand or varnish for texture. 

And All the Things I Have Forgotten

 

Throughout his life as an artist, Bess developed a complex visual vocabulary to accompany his obsessive devotion to beliefs and theories that separated him from society around him. 

Dedication to Van Gogh

 

Bess believed his visions and the resulting paintings came to represent a pictorial language that had universal significance.

Premonition

 

He also he believed his imagery formed a blueprint for an ideal human state, with the potential to relieve mankind of suffering and death.

I Can See Through Myself

 

He is now regarded as a unique visionary, an artist who cannot be grouped with any one school but who belongs to his own vivid, personal vision.

Untitled

 

Bess was formally diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic late in his life. As an alcoholic and increasingly disturbed, he experienced frequent hallucinations, visions that often translated into art.

Seascape With Sun

 

More of Forrest Bess‘s visionary art can be found at http://www.forrestbess.org.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Midweek — Doug Rowell

Doug Rowell is a sculptor and woodcarver.He has carved such impressive pieces as the coffee table from the TV show “Sons of Anarchy” and a solid body, non-electric banjo for Steve Martin.More importantly, Rowell  is internationally known for his custom electric guitar bodies.He carves each guitar one at a time, and each is one of a kind.His commitment to detail and individuality for each client is evident in every piece.The engraving is a truly remarkable work of art so much so that most of his customers choose to hang them on their walls rather than play them.More of Doug Roswell‘s amazing carvings can be found at carverdoug.com.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Kurt Wenner

https://kurtwenner.com/

 

Kurt Wenner was my first Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog back in August, 2014. His amazing ability to create 3-D art on sidewalks and pavement got me hooked into the world of amazing, unique art.

His art gallery has expanded since then. Be sure to check him out! You will be amazed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

More at Sunday Evening Art Gallery – Kurt Wenner

More Art for the Stay at Home Crowd

I am home bound (like most of you), and see no exit for the foreseeable future (except to grocery shop). The world is stressing all of us out, and I myself can do nothing about it except to stay inside and away from the virus.

So…..

I have decided to post a few more Sunday Evening Gallery artists during the next few weeks. We need more beauty, more creativity in our lives. We can’t do much about what’s going around except stay in and stay away, so why not fill your world with unique and beautiful art?

On days I don’t introduce someone new I will repost some of my early Gallery artists so you can revisit their unique beauty.

Stay in, stay safe, and dream of green fields and fresh air.

We’ll be set lose soon enough.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Tuesday — Iven Kawi

Jakarta, Indonesia-based pastry chef Iven Kawi says she made her first honest attempt at baking in December of 2013 when she made a batch of Christmas cookies for her daughter’s school. 

Kawi now runs a bakery shop out of her home in Lippo Karawaci called Iven Oven where she creates elaborately decorated baked goods.Among her specialties are cakes adorned with terrarium environments where buttercream frosting is sculpted into an abundance of cacti and flower petals atop beds of crumbly sand or dirt.Much like her flower cakes, Kawi’s succulent-inspired sweets feature flora sculpted with frosting made from powdered sugar, butter, and food coloring.Once her desired consistency and colors are achieved, she uses a piping technique to create realistic leaves, spines, and needles.

Like real-life cacti and other water storing plants, each buttercream figure is unique in color, size, and shape.When grouped together in the bunch-like arrangements characteristic of Kawi’s aesthetic, the buttercream succulents bloom into verdant gardens and transform into cake-topping terrariums.

More of Iven Kawi‘s amazing cakes can be found at http://ivenoven.blogspot.com and https://mymodernmet.com/ivenoven-succulent-cakes.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ken H. Leung

Born on May 14, 1933, in Canton, China, Ken H. Leung moved to Hong Kong in 1949 to become involved in the city’s vital young artistic community.

Largely self-taught, his first oil paintings went on display in a Hong Kong gallery in 1960.

Within a year, Leung’s fishing villages and coastal community scenes were a sensation in art circles, and the leading art gallery of Hong Kong started to represent his art.

Over the years, H. Leung exhibited his oil paintings across several countries, and he received numerous honors and distinctions along the way.

His choice of colors is bold, his strokes smooth, bringing his love of his home country through in every painting.


Today, H. Leung is recognized as one of the premiere neo-impressionism artists. 

Leung is a master of the enchanted landscape, dreamy moods, and magic reflections of light and color.

More of Ken H. Leung‘s incredible landscape paintings can be found at http://leungstudio.com/.

 

Free Time To Do … What?

Depending on what country you live in, most of us are on (voluntary) shut down. So what are you doing with your free time?

Our last few days have been filled with — cleaning. Yes. What time to start spring cleaning than on the first day of spring. Because I’ve been going through a stuffed-house situation in another state, I am now tending to get rid of too much in my own abode. 

Like you, I’ve kept way too much for way too long. Clothes that don’t fit, nic-nacs that don’t fit my current way of life, baby toys for grandkids who are not babies anymore. 

Now with this new state of mind, I’m able to let go of things that will never fit, blend, mix, or make it to the junk drawer. 

It feels good.

I’ve been saying I want to take advantage of my time home to get more creative. Writing, of course, is my top priority. But it’s not flowing as I had hoped, so on to the next project. I’ve got an idea (and supplies) for wind sparklers (I don’t know what to call them yet), so I should be starting this craft in a day or two.

I’ve finished reading an e-book I’ve been hitting for a few weeks, and am all ready for the next one. I also have a dozen hard covers waiting to be read (or reread, as the case may be), so I am certain to be hitting them during the coming days.  

I’m learning to cook again. I’ve always known how to put hot dogs and beans together, but since my husband and I have more time together, I’ve decided to try things like Parmesan Lemon Chicken and Lasagna Roll Ups.

My dog is not used to me being home and inside day after day too. So needless to say, there are more fetchy days, more treats, and more pets. 

I have also started binge watching series I never would have time to watch. You know me — Chinese/Japanese/Korean period pieces with English subtitles are always high on my list. (Ever watch The Ming Dynasty? That’s where i am now.) Downton Abbey and The Sopranos are also good candidates.

Of course, I’ve watched more stupid movies than I usually do. I’m not a B movie watcher by trade, but there has been time to slip in a dumb zombie or punk love movie now and then. I know — many of you will say you’d rather turn the TV off and sit in silence than waste time on junk. Agreed. But with a glass of wine and the Internet on my lap, you may be able to stay inside and away from the virus and have a laugh or two, too.

There is a lot of scary information crossing the airwaves these days. I myself have never seen such a pandemic during my lifetime. And you can only keep up with so much information. Every one says it won’t happen to them. I certainly hope this virus doesn’t introduce itself to any of my readers, that’s for sure. 

But you never know. So be smart. Stay inside and away from group play for a while. Find a way to improve your own living quarters, and expand your own mind. Explore worlds you haven’t had time to explore before.

What are you doing these days? Share Share Share! Give us some ideas!

Bling a Little Bling

Well, now that we are all on “lockdown” for a few weeks, how are you planning on taking advantage of this extra “me” time?

Besides the obvious writing, which is slow in coming, I’m working on my Boho.

I have referred to this shabby-chic style quite a few times in the past. The last reference I can find is from 2014, Old Lady BoHo, where I was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks.

Of course, that was six years ago. Plenty of time to get the wardrobe going, eh?

Here it is March 2020 and I can finally say I’m on my way.

Why does it take some of us longer than others to change? What are we waiting for?

We spend so much time “talking” about change in whatever form is necessary, but it takes us so dang long to get off the ground. We are going to change job fields. We are going to spend a little extra money and finally make that recipe we’ve held onto for five years. We are finally going to stop by that new pub that opened six years ago.

I myself have done plenty of talking through the years. Some goals I’ve met; others I’m still working on.

Still working on. Like Still working on losing weight. Or working on getting published. Some things never really move forward, even though we pretend they do.

But working on my wardrobe is at least one thing in my life that’s moving forward. I’m having fun reinventing myself. Just like I’m having fun writing. Or planning a garden.

I think it’s not so much what you do, but that you do it. It’s important to find a past time that is enjoyable and productive. I have one friend who is taking cooking lessons. Another who just took up quilting. Another who has slipped (temporarily I imagine) from poetry to painting.

Creative people are always reinventing themselves. Adapting and finding new ways to express themselves.

I myself am having fun bringing bling and fringe and beads into the world. My past is more a spread of gray and black, a conservative spread that came from my parents. Now I want to sparkle when I walk, When I talk. When I write. I have been uncomfortable with all three most of my life. And I’m tired of feeling second rate in everything I do.

Now those things can only come from within. I know that. Bling and fringe will not make me more confident or smarter. Only my heart can do that.

But if my sparkle can make someone else smile, if my bling reflects the sparkle of the world around me, why not push away that conservative shell and give it a try?

You should try giving yourself a change, too. Just learning from the beginning or pursuing something you’ve always thought about changes your whole perspective about life. And yourself.

And who couldn’t use a little extra bling in their life?

Stop Yelling at Me

Well, the madness about the Coronavirus is taking over like a runaway train, smashing down gates, panicking everyone, along with  showing many people’s true colors.

It has also has spotlighted one of my (many) character flaws… Im getting hurt way too easily. What a baby.

You would think a chick in her mid-late-60s would have her $hit together enough to not let the panic of the pandemic rattle her cage.

Well, my friends, my cage has been rattled.

One thing I’ve noticed is that people are getting very opinionated and vocal about this pandemic. I am reading responses (this happens to be on Facebook) from people that are bordering on nasty. And like a runaway train, it keeps on going. Faster and faster.

Schools are already closed in my state, along with churches, restaurants, and activities of any sort. Now the discussion/debate is whether we should be “social distancing.” If we should stay away from public gathering places like restaurants in order to not get/spread this virus. I gave my simpleton response to someone’s FB question and was dutifully pounced on for it.

Look. I am old(er). My family and friends are either getting up here or past me. I have young kids and younger grandkids. We are all concerned. We are all in various stages of understanding something like this, and are doing our best.

But there are increasing numbers of people who are losing patience. People who are yelling and scolding online to people they don’t even know. Even people who make jokes to get through the darkness are being sent to the woodshed. The big bravado provided from behind a computer screen makes people pull that “what’s the matter with you?” card.

It makes me hesitant to post anything anymore.

 I understand the reasoning behind ultra caution. What I don’t understand is the bullying.

Look, people. I’ve survived cancer, family members dying,  car rollovers, and surgeries. I will survive the coronavirus, too, without stocking up for Armageddon.

Everybody gets it. This is a bad time for healthcare. World War II and Vietnam and the Holocaust were bad times for healthcare, too. But we survived.

There is no need to get naughty and nasty about sharing your opinions. These are your fellow human beings you’re talking to. I don’t want us to become a world isolated from itself because some still don’t “get it.”  We need to share ideas and opinions so we can learn. So we can grow.

Stop yelling at me. Or my friends. Or at people I don’t know.

Stop being a bully.

This, too, shall pass. But the hurt feelings won’t.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Melissa Schmidt

Lamp worker and designer Melissa Schmidt works out of her 120 year+ studio  in St.Louis, Missouri.

Inspired by her antique blown glass buttons, her work is whimsical and unexpected as the buttons she found two decades ago.

Her glass mastery is mostly self taught, having experimented with years of refining techniques.

Schmidt’s work is at once tactile, visual and auditory as movement creates delight for the wearer and observer.

She uses borosilicate glass material with frit, glass powder, grinding, sewing, and 35 mm slide film, as well as foils and precious metals.

Schmidt’s creativity is a delight to the eye, a unique sparkle in the world of jewelry.

More of Melissa Schmidt‘s amazing glass work can be found at http://www.melissaschmidtstudio.com/.

People and the Coronavirus

Wednesday or Thursday evening has become my grocery shopping night. I’m either on my way back from cleaning the Chicago house or spending some time with the grandkids, so why not stop on my way home and save a trip tomorrow?

So hubby and I stopped in a big superstore in Waukesha, a fairly big and bubbling city in Wisconsin.

The above picture was the scene for the check out line. It ended at the far wall of the superstore, in the last frozen food aisle. See where the arrow is pointing? That is the beginning of the check out turnstyles.

People kept falling in line behind the last one in line. And on and on. We wandered to the front of the store where there were way shorter lines and got out in a jiffy.

But everyone was buying water and disinfectant. And toilet paper.

Toilet paper.

Standing in line for over an hour just for toilet paper. Limit 2.

People, people, people. What is going on?

I understand using caution with the coronavirus. People are popping up with this infection all over the place. In the U.S., everything from March Madness basketball games to local choral concerts to music concerts to Little League Championship Baseball Tournaments have been cancelled. Universities are closing immediately until further notice. (My niece is one who is being sent home today).

Cases in the U.S: (updated on March 13 at 9:30 .a.m., WebMD)

Deaths in the U.S.:

Washington state: 31. Twenty-two are associated with the Life Care Center skilled nursing facility in King County, Washington
Florida: 2. One is a previously known patient in Santa Rosa County who had recently been on an international trip The other is a person in their 70s who tested positive in Lee County, also after an international trip.California: 4. One was in an elderly person from Placer County who had recently gone on a Princess cruise to Mexico. The other is a woman in her 60s from Santa Clara County. The third was in a woman in her 90s who lived in assisted living. The fourth was in a woman in her 60s who had traveled overseas. She died in Los Angeles County but is not a resident there.

New Jersey: 1. The state’s first death is in a man in his 60s from Bergen County.

Georgia: 1. The state’s first death is in a man in his 60s with underlying conditions.

South Dakota: 1. A man in his 60s from Pennington County. Gov. Kristi Noem said he had underlying health conditions.

Compare that to:

So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000.    (Health, 2020).

I am not downplaying the seriousness of any virus. Not at all. I’m old and am at risk just like everyone else.

But PLEASE. Standing in line for an hour just in case you are kept in your house for a week or two? Stocking up on water — like your faucet won’t work?

I was amazed, appalled, astounded, astonished, alarmed, and basically just freaked out by how many people were stockpiling. Each one looked at the forever-line and just fell in behind them.

What is happening?

It’s as easy to catch the flu as it is to catch the coronavirus. And just as easy to prevent it. We’re not talking about those who are weakened by another condition, just to be taken by the flu or the virus. We are not talking about those with weak immune systems.

We are talking about John Q. Public.

Wash your hands. All the time. Sanitize the air if you must. Stay away from large crowds if you must. Even if you get the virus, the chances are ENORMOUSLY RARE that will you die from it. You probably will get hit by a car before expiring from the virus.

All I’m saying — I think many of us are saying — is just use COMMON SENSE and we will all get through this.

Now excuse me while  I sanitize my insides with a little Moscato Wine….

 

Inspiration from Downton Abbey

In my later years I have become a big fan of Downton Abbey.

For those of you not familiar with the PBS series that ran from 2010 through 2015, Downton Abbey is a chronicle of the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants in the early 1900s.

You would think a television series about snotty but loving rich people and crabby but loving servants would be boring, to say the least. But I’ve watched this series twice already, and am enthralled by the people and their morals and choices during that time period. It is well acted and easy to be pulled into their mini dramas.

The Vox website calls Downton Abbey “… maudlin, sentimental, and overwrought.” That may be true, but my point is not the “right” or “wrong” of the serie’s intentions.

I love a book or movie that can actually bring you into another time, another world. A storyline that makes you reflect on what you believe today compared to what they believed “back then.”

I often bristled at their morals, their choices, their personalities. The series hits upon everyone’s weak spot. This person is such a beast, this one is such a simpleton. This one is hiding an out-of-wedlock child, this one can’t read.

But I found that I don’t have to agree with their way of life to enjoy their way of life. A true storyteller brings you into their world with little effort on your part. Their effort, on the other hand, is often amazing. They research the time period, the language, the location, and the morals of the time. They research the gossip of the time, the belief systems, and even the weather.

Downton Abbey has made me rethink some of the things I have written in the past. Or perhaps has made me question my presentation of the times my characters landed in. Not that anything I have written is wrong — it just makes me want to be as accurate and accepting of the times as the stories deserve.

I have seen movies where modern lingo is meshed into ancient Rome and Egypt. I have read books where modern morals take the place of puritan values just so the lovers can meet — and  love. And although the end result is still entertaining, it’s not reflective of the beauty of times other than ours.

I am smart enough to know that there was indeed — and still is, to some extent — a large divide between the upper class and the working/lower class. That not all rich people are as accommodating as the Crawleys. That not everyone who was a cook or lady’s maid enjoyed their position in life. But it is a glimpse of the prejudice and morals of the early 20th century.

I will be done with the second round of D.A. soon. I have learned a lot from the Crawleys and their life from 1912 through 1925. And I look forward to the next series that will give me ideas from their era. I will listen to the thoughts and emotions of those who lived all those years ago, and try to hone my characters closer to the truth.

Are there any shows, books, or movies that have influenced your creativity?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Wenqin Chen

Wenqin Chen studied at the Art & Design School of Fuzhou University 1995-1999.

 Since 2000’s, Chen has used Chinese calligraphy, sculpture and installation to explore the relationship between life, art and their diversity.

The being of life, the wonder of the human experience, and tensions in our living environment are intrinsic to and evident in his work.

As a source of inspiration and research, Chen studied extensively the human body, various scientific journals and statements, real life examples, and countless images.Working in mostly stainless steel, Chen’s sculpting is a process of comprehending and elaborating on the vastness of life.

“Everything has life, life is everywhere,” is the truth he consistently explores in his work.He  has successfully combined his art and pursuit of academia with ancient Chinese culture and contemporary western art.

More of Wenqin Chen‘s work can be found at http://wenqinchen.com/.

So Many Succulents — This Made Me Smile Today

I love succulents — even though I have a rough/impossible time growing them. My friend Candice has a way with them, though — at least through the art of photography. Take a look!

Happy Friday!

 

What floral conservatory would be complete without a variety of succulents? The Regina Conservatory didn’t disappoint with cactii and succulents from the teeny, tiny… to those that threatened to break through the glass ceiling. From the fuzzy, to the spiky… And those you wouldn’t want to back into by accident! Then there were those that […]

via So Many Succulents — This Made Me Smile Today

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Gordon Pembridge

Gordon Pembridge was born in Kenya, and as a young boy was lucky enough to experience the wilds of Africa.

Along with many an adventure in the bush, Pembridge developed a passion for natural history.He completed his education at boarding school in Wanganui, New Zealand, then attended art school, taking various courses in design.Pembridge now works for himself and is involved in graphic design, 3-D design, fine art, illustration, photography, digital imaging, and wood turning.Having moved to New Zealand, Pembridge has grown to love the New Zealand bush for its unique flora and fauna.He started wood turning in 2004, developing a series of thin turned pieces with a pierced fern as a signature piece.In these pieces Pembridge explores the boundaries of wood turning on the lathe and then hand carving of intricate designs into the timber.More of Gordon Pembridge‘s masterful art can be found at www.gordonpembridge.com.

My Old Cat

Most of us at one time or another have owned and loved a pet.

Whether it’s a fluffy puppy, fat cat, or skinny weenie dog, we all have fallen in love with their big eyes, sassy attitude, and faithful friendship.

At the end, we take care of them as best we can. Circumstances are different, but we try and hold their paws as long as we can. They are our confidants, our companions, and our entertainment. And we are theirs.

Currently we have four four-legged friends sharing our house: the lab (formerly my son’s, too big and wild back then for the babies); the crestepoo (my brother-in-law’s dog while he is convalescing), fat cat (my gray  10-year-old from the shelter), and my 12+/14+ year old tuxedo (who hand-picked my husband at the same shelter).

My tuxedo has been teetering on the edge of the rainbow bridge for a while now. He has lost a lot of weight in the last six months, and has trouble breathing. He’s got asthma, and often doesn’t have an appetite. He has rallied in the past few months as I’ve changed his food and added meds to his daily intake.

What makes me feel good in this sea of potential sadness is seeing him lay next to one dog or another throughout the day. Our pets have never been close buddies, so to see him curled up inside the legs of our big lab at night or side-by-side with the little dog makes me happy we have more than one pet.

My lap can’t always be available, and he’s not always comfortable stretched out on my lap for an extended period of time. He sneaks a cuddle next to me when I’m sitting still, but he has found comfort in the company of an opposite species, too. They may not “hang” together, but they know they are all part of the same family.

We all can learn something from my old tomcat. You don’t have to be exactly the same to care about each other. That we can feel solace with others of different ages and life styles. A hug is a hug. Pets are pets. It doesn’t make a difference where they come from. What matters is that we get them AND give them. Often if possible.

We don’t know how long we have on this Earth. If we can make someone else’s life easier, we should. Take the time to reach out. To talk to someone in pain, in confusion, someone old or someone young.

Be the old cat that curls into the body of the young dog. Or the fat cat that sleeps smashed up against someone’s back every night. Don’t let your differences make you miss out on the best feelings you’ll ever have.

Life’s too short not to cuddle.

Let It Go!

I just finished an extended, magical, mad weekend babysitting my three grandkids. It was heaven. It was crazy. It was the movie Frozen twice a day for three days. It was donuts and string cheese and playing video games and cuddling. My livingroom looks like a bomb was dropped in it, and it will take me a few days to recover from early mornings and Hot Wheels. I loved it.

It also brought inspiration through my door once again. 

The warmer temperatures are knocking at the door, the sun is making an attempt to shine a little more often, and I even feel a semi-warm breeze now and then.

I’m ready to write. I’m ready to go to Paris. 

I’ve got the whining out of my system, along with the cold weather blues, the stale doggie air, the messy house I’m cleaning. I’m ready to take it all in stride and spend my off moments walking through the Trocadero Gardens or past the Varsovie Fountain. 

I realize once again that my creativeness doesn’t have to make sense. As long as it transports someone from their everyday life to something new and exciting, the sights they see along the way are just that. Sights. 

Human beings are blessed with the gift of imagination. We are blessed with all kinds of “what if’s”. What if I walk an extra block in this direction today? What if I paint these trees pink? What if I add baby bells to this scarf? What if I write a story about wolves?

We are all allowed to doubt ourselves. Nobody said our thought processes were perfect. But we should know ourselves. When we can take that chance and when we should be careful.

I cannot write a straight visit-Paris-and-fall-in-love story. I love reading them, but that’s not me. But I can write a story about a woman who sits in a French garden and has a chat with Edith Piaf in 2020. I can write a poem about faeries leaving footprints in the morning dew-covered grass.

Our imagination is endless. We cannot be afraid of it. We know what is right and wrong, possible and impossible. And between those barriers is a world of practicality and improbability. 

But for whom?

Your own creativity has taken you in directions you’ve never thought possible. You have honed your talent, expanded your horizons, and improved from the day you thought of putting paintbrush to canvas. 

And the more doors you open, the longer the hallway and the more doors appear. Each doorway takes you to a different room, a different thought.

And isn’t that the beauty of being human?

I mean, if I can sing “Let It Go” from Frozen (complete with hand and arm movements) a couple of times a day with a two-year-old, anything is possible.

What are your creative plans for the week? 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Tytus Brzozowski

Tytus Brzozowski graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology.He also studied and worked in Finland where he was searching for severe Nordic art and design.Brzozowski presents the city of his dreams – full of decorative buildings, narrow streets and soaring towers.

Using the elements of architecture and landscape that are characteristic for Warsaw, he creates new worlds that, despite its fairy character, are still local.He looks for stratifications of history, collates buildings from different places and times.In the paintings of Brzozowski one can find intriguing, surreal elements, hidden threads and events.More of Titus Brzozowki‘s work can be found at http://t-b.pl/.

 

 

 

What Are You Working On This Monday?

Okay. It’s Monday. Weekend over. Playtime suspended until you get home from work. Unless home IS work. And even if you’re retired, you’ve got things to do. Places to go. Responsibilities to carry out.

I believe keeping busy with mundane, practical, necessary tasks is important, even if you are retired. You still need to feel that need to “escape” the drudgery, even if that drudgery is filling the dishwasher or fixing a broken table. 

My work days are broken up into chunks. A chunk of computer checks and coffee, a chunk of folding laundry and cooking meals, a chunk of working outside. It beats sitting behind a desk, of course, but I often wonder how I got anything done when I worked 9-5. (Hint: I didn’t.)

This morning I tried to get back into writing. I still am holding on to this Senior-Goes-To-Paris-And-Sees-Hemingway kind of thing, and failing miserably. There is just too much research to do. I change my story line every other day. My locations every day. 

Nothing seems to “click”.

Do you have days and weeks where you find you’re trying to push that car-sized boulder up the hill? Do you have ideas for a creative endeavor that sound really cool on paper but are just overwhelming in one way or another?

I suppose that’s why I blog. To vent, to speculate. To take a break from the reality of getting my writing $hit together and do something that’s actually easy for me.

I used to sail into writing books and short stories and poetry. That was when I didn’t have time to spare. Now that the time gap has widened, I’m having a hard time settling down. I can’t tell if I have too much creativity waiting to explode or not enough that’s worth the effort.

Maybe it’s the “senior” version of the Monday Blues. You’re feeling good, the day is starting out good, but you wonder when your energy burst will come. So you busy yourself with little projects hoping your subconscious will work out that glitch in your graphic design or help you figure out the right shape for your sculpture or help you find a word that rhymes with “justice.”  

Or maybe you will give up rhyming all together. 

So as I go to make myself a sandwich and change the music station to something more “poppy”, tell me — what are you working on today?

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Christine Van Sickle

Christine Van Sickle‘s creative journey started in the early 1990’s. In 1994 she had her first art piece published in the Green Bay Press Gazette, and from then on she was hooked.Van Sickle has always loved the creative process, and later in life it became a much needed escape from the daily stresses of life.Van Sickle’s work includes realism and surrealism pieces. They are often nature inspired,  and  usually start as a normal landscape or animal.She has worked with ink, watercolor, and other mediums, but prefers acrylic on canvas.The artist makes a point to listen and watch other artists. She also encourages others to pick up a brush and try it themselves.

More of Christine Van Sickle‘s artwork can be found at www.cvansicklestudios.com, or her Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/cvansicklestudios/. 

Send inquiries (custom, original art, or print requests) to cvansickle16@gmail.com.

Saturday Pretzel Thoughts

©Pretzel Logic – A Steely Dan Revue

Saturday Evening.

What are you up to? Going out dancing? To dinner? Going to try and catch a movie? Going over to your kid’s house?

Every other Saturday my husband works, so every other Saturday it’s a party on my computer.

Of course, I am online every day. I’m doing my best to organize, clarify, research, and other noble gestures that should make my future on the computer smoother and more simplified. 

Telling a pretzel logic person to become streamlined is like trying to change the flow of the river.

A friend of mine recently asked what a pretzel logic person — or pretzel person — is. She researched it online and found a lot of references to sex and sexual positions. 

I wouldn’t know about that.

As I explained to my friend,  a pretzel logic person gets to the same place a linear person does, but takes a lot of side roads and mountains and side trips to get there.

Sometimes I think I take the long way just to go to the bathroom.

I do lose patience with myself at times, especially when I’m on track to do something specific. But every room I walk through provides a half dozen distractions that need my attention as much as my final destination.

I hate being distracted all the time.

But then again, I know that’s who I am so I am never surprised if I start cleaning out my jewelry box and wind up making split pea soup. 

Hats off to you that are fairly logical. I married a logical man. He takes care of the important things. Paying bills, driving, saving money. He is an alpha male in a world of alpha males, and does his best to keep me going in the right direction. I am thankful for that.

But when he is gone three or four evenings a week, I feel like a teenager who has the house to themselves while the parents are out for the night. I do the things he thinks are …. different … like switching between slasher movies and Chinese movies with English subtitles, looking for artists for the Gallery, putting tags on posts I posted with out them, peeking at Downton Abbey, making pea soup at the same time as blueberry bread, texting family, petting the cat, eating orange sherbet from the container — you know. Normal pretzelly things.

Thank you for following my blog where it may take you. Thanks for sharing my Art Gallery artists — they are all so marvelous in their own way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and writing YOUR way on your blog. 

The world is richer for all of us — pretzel and straight alike.

 

Silent Voices of the Night

Beautiful imagery in poetry for your Thursday…..

Purplerays

Silent Voices of the Night

When the shades of evening gather,
And night’s curtain’s dropping low,
And the stars they dot the heavens
With their candles, all aglow;—

Then to me there come the voices
On each cool and fragrant breeze,
Stealing in from every quarter,
Creeping through among the trees.

And these voices, ever silent,
Scarcely heard, their steps so light;
Yet, to me are ever welcome;
Silent voices of the night.

When within the noisy city,
With its surging, busy crowd,
The voices keep a-calling,
And they seem to call so loud.

I can hear them pleading, coaxing,
And to me they call so plain,
And they have the self-same message,
“Yes, we want you back again.”

Voices of my little camp-fire,
Voices of the woods and hills,
Voices from the snow-capped mountains,
Voices from the crystal-rills;

And I ever hear them calling,
‘Till I feel like taking…

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