Fun Mixed Media Art

I love creative art!

My friend at SKETCHUNIVERSE reposted this delightful blog by Kawaii Corner. This particular blog is about creating a mixed media piece. The painting begins with a collage of Japanese language newspaper, tissues, paper napkins and even Christmas wrapping paper!

I think you will enjoy her creations! Go check her out!

 

 

Today some intuitive mixed media painting but not following a class this time. I thought to see how I could integrate what I’ve been learning so far and create independently.
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Today is the Day Part 2

How is your “Today is the Day” going?

Last June, when the sun was high and the breeze was warm and the windchimes twinkled in the trees, I wrote a blog called Today is the Day about making a day to finally do something you’ve put off, forgotten about, or waited to do.

Often Today comes and goes and we haven’t done one thing to better ourselves. Well, it is now 2021, and it’s time to start making Today the Day. Are you ready?

I have made some forward movement towards a few of my Todays. I decided that while I was stuck inside (Covid and winter) I’d start a craft project. And I did. I’ve made dozens of Angel Tears, and have contacted two craft fairs to see if I can get in. It’s a start. I also have come up with an idea for a second novel to follow my book about my “trip” to Paris. I love writing, and have missed the bug biting me every time I turn around, so I’ve started my research.

I also had vowed to clean out my refrigerator big time. And my medicine cabinet. And my dining room buffet. Last weekend and this weekend were the days. The cabinet is shiny clean, I can see the glass shelves in my breakfront, and we are getting a new frig tomorrow, but that is neither here nor there. I made these days THE days.

A lot of the time I’d rather be a vegetable than do anything productive, but fortunately my curiosity and A.D.D. won’t let me sit around for long. 

Sometimes moving forward is awkward. Hard. Slow. It’s easier to put off until tomorrow what can be done today. But it feels so darn good once we start moving forward, doesn’t it?

I believe in encouraging others to move forward, too. I know how they will feel once they get the procrastination monkey off their back. Moving forward allows for new ideas, new chances for discovery and growth. That feels so darn good, too.

Take baby steps if need be. Do one thing today, a second step tomorrow. Keep track of your progress. Show yourself you really can move forward towards what you want. Make a list of what you’d like to accomplish. Don’t make any task too daunting. Just make it doable. 

You will feel so good when you can check something off your list. 

My medicine cabinet hasn’t shined like this since I put it in 15 years ago! Woot Woot!

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, and worked as a successful magazine and ad illustrator.

Mao

 

Warhol’s works span over a range of paintings, silk-screening, photography, film and sculpture.

Marilyn Diptych

 

His works often research the correlation between artistic expression, advertising and celebrity culture that was seen flourishing in the 1960s.

Birth of Venus

 

Most times, the subject of his work changes from symbolic American objects to fiction, to celebrities to traditional concepts. His paintings triggered a turn around in the way art was perceived.

John Lennon

 

Instead of portraits, landscapes, battle scenes or other subjects that experts thought of as “art,”  Warhol took images from advertising, comic books and other bits of popular culture and created the “pop” in Pop art

Flowers

 

He is known for his drawing and repetition, using a single object multiple times in a painting.

Queen Elizabeth II

 

Andy Warhol made art available to the masses so that people could learn to see the beauty of everyday things and understand that everything around them is beautiful in its essence.

Martha Graham, Letter to the World

 

He made art fun.

Banana

As Warhol once said, “The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will.”

Coke Bottles

 

More of Andy Warhol‘s amazing work can be found at https://www.warhol.org/. 

 

 

Make it Homemade!

One positive result of being cooped up inside during this Covid-19 barrage is that most of us are honing our cooking skills. Fewer — if any — restaurant  visits and over-salty and over-fatty fast food stops make cooking from scratch even more appealing.

I don’t have the flair of Gordon Ramsey or the talent of  Joël Robuchon, the French Chef of the Century, but I have been looking through cookbooks and Pinterest a lot more lately. My family and friends are watching a lot more Food Network and Master Chefs these days, which is a whole lot better than the nonsense that passes for television shows these days.

My mother wasn’t a very talented or diverse cook. Back then it was a lot of meat, a can of potatoes, and a can of vegetables. But there were times she “experimented” with recipes, and there were good times around the dinner table.

Raising my two boys, we had our fill of “experimental” meals, too. Some recipes made it through the years, others have been forgotten (to the betterment of mankind). But one thing I always insisted upon was having dinner together.

No matter how much homework there was, how many soccer and baseball games, or how much hanging with friends loomed in the distance, we always made a point of having dinner together. Sharing laughs and complaints and events of the day was essential to keeping our family a family. Dinner time was a time my kids and I could regroup. Refocus. Take a break from work and school and friends and just be ourselves. Even if we didn’t have much to share, we were there. Together.

I miss those times.

Maybe my re-interest in cooking and baking and experimentation during this isolation reconnects me with the days around the kitchen table with family and friends. Memories of my mom making golumpki or me making homemade lasagna for my own kids pop up in my kitchen these days when I’m making chocolate chip cookies or spaghetti and meatballs.

There is no restaurant, no diner, that can match the excitement and affection we put into our own creations. I find cooking real food in real time brings real love to my kitchen. 

And to the world.

Hoping you are adding love to your kitchen and to your world every day, too.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Miki Asai

Japanese photographer Miki Asai is an incredibly talented macro photographer who  explores a miniature world of stones, flowers, water, and insects – mostly within her own garden.She has a knack for shooting the big world of tiny things that can rarely be seen by the naked eye.Her amazing macro photos reflect her magnified worldview, personal passion, and curiosity.It all began when she got her macro lens and started taking beautiful photos in her garden.Asai, who lives on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, is opposed to controlling insects in her macro photography shots.“I learned that when it comes to living things—if you want to achieve the interesting photo look that’s in your head — patience is really the only way,” she said.“You’ve got to use a tripod, an appropriate shutter speed and depth of field, then rely on your own passion and patience.”More of Miki Asai‘s amazing photography can be found at https://500px.com/p/mikichobi?view=photos.

 

READ THESE (gimmicky) GUIDELINES NOW!!

While looking for something else (the story of my life) I came across this blog from Jun 11, 2015. It’s still true, albeit silly. Looking for kitty pictures now….

 

The world is full of gimmicks — full of one-liners and sensational promises for everything from growing hair to making money while staying at home. Just do this. Only $19.95. Follow these 5 rules and 10 guidelines and you’ll be smarter, prettier, richer, and so on.

Well, I want to cash in on that rigmarole, too. Every blogger wants to be popular. Well read. Recommended. Vital to the survival of the planet. Admit it — we don’t care about statistics, yet every time we get a new follower we do the Snoopy Dance.

So in that same (silly) vein, here are tried-and-true rules for you to follow if you want to be a popular, magnetic, P’s and Q’s type of over-the-top blogger.

DO…

*  Write about kittens/cats and puppies/dogs. No one can resist the cuteness of baby animals. Even if they poop in your lap or chew your new pair of shoes, there’s something cute about the whole thing.

*  Pictures. People love pictures. Nature’s a good one: flowers, trees, paths. Can’t beat Mother Nature for a Stress Buster. Makes ya just wanna go out and do the Sound of Music thing, doesn’t it?

*  Use pictures of food. Even if your recipe/story/antidote doesn’t have anything to do with the pic, who can resist an image of ooey gooey caramel or creamy, cheesy lasagna or a bead-sweating glass of whatever? Makes my mouth water just to think about it.

*  Quotes. People love stories that start or end with quotes. Surely Mel Brooks or Clint Eastwood carry the same charisma as Dali Lama or William Shakespeare. Try a “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” kinda lead in. You’ll knock ’em dead.

*  Lists. People can’t resist lists. The top 5 to 10 of anything is enough to hold their attention. Now, no one says these lists have to make sense — no one pays much attention to the rules once they leave your blog anyway. But they certainly are eye-catchers!

* Talk to make-believe characters. People love being entertained. I know of a blogger who talks to cheeseburgers and gargoyles. Why not you? And, who knows? They may be more informative and entertaining than the evening news.

 

Don’t…

*  Go overly long on the length of your blog. I know you want to unburden your soul, explore the possibilities, make new friends, share recipes, etc., etc., etc. But  you and I know that the attention span of most readers is less than that of a gnat. At 600 words you’ve still got an audience. By 800 people are starting to open a second window on their computer. 900 to 1000 words people are throwing a load of laundry in between sentences. Anything on it’s way up to 2000 words might well be voted “Novel of the Year.”

*  Steal — borrow. The Internet is full of ideas. Borrow what you like and make it yours. If you DO borrow directly from someone, give them the credit they’re due. Readers don’t necessarily care if your words sound familiar — they just don’t want to get sued for reading them.

*  Talk about the same thing over and over. If you are sharing pain, share it. If you are sharing music, or thoughts on television shows, share it. Then talk about something else. Show your progress. Your research. Your over-vivid imagination. People love getting lost. Let them get lost in your mind.

*  Make sure every sentence counts. You want to reach as many readers as you can with your message, no matter what that message is. Good bloggers are followed, not by the quantity they pump out, but by the quality. A story that makes you think, makes you feel, makes you chuckle, will stay with the reader a lot longer than one that flashes in the night.

And — (wait for it…) Who needs hot flashes in the night anyway?

 

 

Like each forest, I have different ages – a reflection during my birthday

She is 32 and I am 67 and still we think and feel the same way. I will adapt to the new always changing world around me, too. Thank you, Wendy Woods Stories from the Wood Wide Web, and Eliza Ayres.

 

 

Stories from the Wood Wide Web

Today is my 32nd birthday. Since last night I stay on my own in a wooden cabin in the forest, for the following nights, with books, hot drinks and a live performance by squirrels and birds. One of my fairy god mothers (the owner of the cabin) left me cake, trappist beer and a stack of wood to make a cosy fire. After I took a photograph of my coffee and a squirrel, ironically (?) I saw this art on someone’s social media feed and had to laugh:

Today is also -apparently- Blue Monday. After hearing the epic song by New Order 🎶 on the radio, a sport coach is giving advice how to improve your health, because your body is your temple. You should maintain it “to slow down ageing”.

A couple of times, people told me they are confused when I start talking about f.e. where I have…

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Hari & Deepti

Hari & Deepti construct elegant cut paper dioramas inside backlit light boxes.The medium is perfect for depicting the depth of thick forests, pools of water, or subterranean caves inhabited by spirits and fantastic creatures.Hari & Deepti are a husband-wife artist duo based in Mumbai whose collaboration with paper and light started as an experiment in 2010 .They are story tellers who bring their stories to life through their intricate paper cut scenes lit by a gentle backlight.The two have always been drawn towards the imaginative aspect of story telling.Hari & Deepti believe that “Paper is brutal in its simplicity as a medium.“It demands the attention of the artist while it provides the softness they need to mold it in to something beautiful.“It is playful, light, colorless and colorful. It is minimal and intricate. It reflects light, creates depth and illusions in a way that it takes the artist through a journey with limitless possibilities.”

More of Hari & Deepti‘s fantastic light boxes can be found at http://www.harianddeepti.com/.

 

 

Instinct? Or Over-thinking?

How do you know when to listen to your first thought — your instinct — and when to think about things first before you make a decision? How do you know if you are giving a project due consideration or over-thinking everything?

Getting lost in the psychological maze occurs more often than not. And its especially rough when you are working in a creative sphere.

That nasty little devil big mouth sassy bored opinionated faerie often sits upon my shoulder. Yours could be a little angel, a seasoned sprite, a naughty muse, or a shadowed spectre. It doesn’t matter who second-guesses you. They’re always there, hanging around.

Do any of you sell your artwork? Do you sell at art fairs or online or at a gallery? Did you have a lot of paperwork to fill out? Did you wonder if your wares would impress the masses along with friends and neighbors?

Self doubt sucks.

Whether you’re sending something to a publisher, submitting something to a contest, applying for a booth, or being critiqued for a gallery showing, it all tests your confidence, your imagination, and your business sense. 

These are good things, of course — but they do test you.

You can apply the same doubts to applying for a new job, changing your hair color, or starting new classes. Any time there is something you want and/or need to move forward to get it’s stressful. Any time there is something “more” that is within your grasp, it’s stressful.

Any time you have to work towards a goal, it’s stressful.

How many times does someone have to say they like your work before you believe them? How many kudos and pats on the back do you need before you believe in your work, your art?

I come from a history of self doubt. I’m so much better these days, but somewhere in my past I fell down and didn’t get right up. And not getting up for a long time skewered my view of myself and what I could do.

But as I got older I found I wasn’t such a bad flower after all. I fell in love with writing, with my family, and with art. It was all new and glorious and, I tell you, I’ve never looked back.

But preparing to show my recent art wares to the world is stressing me out. That little faerie keeps bugging me, telling me no one will like my work. 

It wouldn’t matter if I were preparing to take a final in college or submit a story to a publisher. If I were putting together a proposal for work or submitting a bid for a house. I’d still think I thought too little or too much.

Don’t let your self-doubt stop you from doing what you need to do to get where you want to go. Let that faerie/angel blabber away, nod and say I hear you, then go with what you believe. With your gut feeling.

Tomorrow is waiting.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Hinke Schreuders

Hinke Schreuders has been making small paintings or drawings on canvas with needle and thread since 2002. She draws on both 1950s advertising images of women and personal photographic material, attached them to linen, then added  embroidery and designs that heightens the beauty  of the photos.Her technique, embroidery, appears to be innocent, but her carefully constructed compositions evoke associations with more sinister undercurrents in a language that is prosaic and poetic at the same time. Ideas such as abstracted bubbles, flowers, and embroidery that resembles old-fashioned brocade drift in and out around the images.Schreuders art showcases real women behind the colors and patterns.With the added dimension of the surface embroidery, both the handiwork and the photo beneath become a new entity.Schreuders says she seeks to “subtly confuse notions of feminine vulnerability and reinforce the position of embroidery as an artistic medium.”

More of Hinke Schreuders‘ wonderful work can be found at http://sudsandsoda.com.

Faerie Paths — Believe

 

Edward Robert Hughes

 

Science seeks to explain everything–but maybe we don’t want everything explained. We don’t want all the magic to go out of life. We want to remain connected to the secret parts of our inner beings, to the ancient mysteries, and to the most distant outposts of the universe. We want to believe. And as long as we do, the fairies will remain.

~ Skye Alexander

 

 

Monday Monday

Bah-da, bah-da-da-da
Bah-da, bah-da-da-da
Bah-da, bah-da-da-da

(do you know the song yet?)

Monday, Monday (bah-da, bah-da-da-da)
So good to me (bah-da, bah-da-da-da)
Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be ..

All the oldies out there knew the song by the first six syllables. Funny how engrained music is into us. Even when we don’t think about it.

Was trying to come up with a topic, a theme, for this cloudy, cold Monday. But if there’s nothing there there’s nothing there.

Then a slip of lyrics passed through my head.

Monday, Monday (bah-da, bah-da-da-da)

I was a freshman in high school when the Mamas and Papas sang this song. I was escaping the horrors of middle school at that time. Those were rough times, especially for a geeky, smelly kid like me.

Not really stepping back, but I do know that even back then music made a difference in my life. The Beatles were my saviors, the Dave Clark Five my happiness. No one could break the bond between me and Paul or me and Dave. My writing started way back then, too. I used to have a notebook with my first love story written in it, but it is long gone. Perhaps it disappeared when it served its purpose.

Music was an escape when I was young. An emotional booster, an answer for self-consciousness and self-doubt. I didn’t think about doing drugs or getting drunk or having sex back then. (Shows you how backwards my freshman year was.)

But Last Train to Clarksville by the the Monkees and Summer In The City by the Lovin’ Spoonful and Five O’Clock World by the Vogues were songs that wrapped around those hard times and cushioned decisions in my life like why I never had a date Saturday nights or if my girlfriends wanted to have a pajama party or should I try out for the school play when I couldn’t sing.

I wonder if kids today have an inkling of that innocence. If they ever have a chance to be kids. If they ever have a choice to not be a part of the violence and discrimination and hatred that swirls around all of us.

I suppose songs like WAP by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion (I wouldn’t look up the words if I were you) reflects the current needs and desires within a high-school education, the need to be free and understood and in control. Maybe innocence in its banal form is not needed anymore. Better to be smart than be exploited.

These days I find myself wandering back to that innocence I probably never really had. I have had enough of death and prejudice and politics to last a lifetime of discovery. Time for a bit of innocence to return to the world.

Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart
How the music can free her whenever it starts?
And it’s magic if the music is groovy
It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie………..

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Diamonds

 

True friends are like diamonds – bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style. ~ Nicole Richie

 

Centenary Diamond

 

 

La Jeune Tulipe Diamond Dog Pet Collar

 

Mercedes Diamond Car

 

Hope Diamond

 

Graff Lesedi La Rona Diamond

Original Lesedi La Rona Diamond

 

 

All Diamond Ring

 

 

Real Diamond Nails

 

The Empress Consort Crown of Russia

 

Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Gary Greenberg

Right before October 14, 2014, I came across Dr. Gary Greenberg and his amazing microphotography. He states, “The miracles of nature are tangible, and they can be seen directly through the microscope. The magnificence of nature lies in its consciousness. When we commune with nature, we become conscious of our connection with the universe.”

Seeing what grains of sand really look like makes that connection that much more real.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More amazing images can be found in my Gallery, or at Sand Grains website.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Waterfalls

 

There is a waterfall in every dream. Cool and crystal clear, it falls gently on the sleeper, cleansing the mind and soothing the soul.
― Virginia Alison

 

Assaranca Waterfall, Ireland

 

Bigar Waterfall, Romania

 

 

Uluru Falls, Australia

 

Blue Water Falls, Mexico

 

Angel Falls, Venezuela

 

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls, Vietnam

 

Selijalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

What Are You Reading These Days?

I am not sure what’s going on around here in my reading world.

I have slowly been accumulating e-books for my iPad/Kindle library. Not a bad thing in and of itself. But when I’ll ever have time to read them all I’ll never know. Although I prefer the feel of a book in my hands, many of these are expensive when purchased outright, so I’ve given in to the e-book versions.

Very few are the quick read romance sorts of books. And forget how-to’s. I don’t think I could get past instruction #3. The one’s I’ve been gathering are the classics. 

The CLASSICS?

Yes — the ones many have heard of and few have read. 

I don’t know if this is a chance to see what grandeur is all about before my generation’s writers become legend. But the scope of my choices are all in the past, all from past masters, and all for free.

I’ve downloaded a lot of H.P. Lovecraft — I love his vernacular. Even if I don’t understand some words. I’ve also been interested in Agatha Christie’s Henri Poirot’s adventures. I’ve thrown in books like the Count of Monte Cristo, The Great God Pan, Tales of Old Japan, and the Great Gatsby.

I feel like a kid in an ice cream shop who doesn’t know what to order so they order one scoop of each. 40 scoops later, I’m sitting looking at the bowl, wondering what the heck.

I do love reading. I’m not what one calls a voracious reader — I don’t spend hours snuggled in a chair with a book. I read at inopportune times — bed time, in the car. My A.D.D. prevents me from absorbing more than 20 or 30 pages at a time. And I have to find time between housework, writing, making Angel Tears, and my grandkids. 

It’s a grand mess, but one I always look forward to jumping into. I think I selected these past works because they seem like time travel to me. Having someone write about shoguns or the Cthulhu or Mansfield Park takes me away to someplace other than here. It allows me to peek into the minds of those who came before me. In some cases, long before me.

I sometimes find myself reading two books at a time, for no singular story has so far been obsessive enough to make me pound through it. But I delight and dismay at all the books I’ve yet to peek into.

Maybe this will guarantee my living another 30 years to read them all.

What sorts of books do you read?  

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Zinovii Tolkatchev

Zinovii Shenderovich Tolkatchev (1903-1977) was born in the town of Shchedrin in Belarus.

In 1928, Tolkatchev studied art in Kiev and in 1929 held an exhibition on the death of Lenin.  In the thirties, he illustrated books, including works by Gorky and Sholem Aleichem, and exhibited the series, “The Shtetl”.

From 1941-1945, he served as an official artist in the Red Army. In the summer of 1944 he was attached to the Soviet forces at the front after the liberation of Majdanek, and afterwards to the forces liberating Auschwitz.

Horrified by what he witnessed, Tolkatchev spent over a month painting scenes from within the newly liberated death camp.These drawings were supposed to depict the moment of liberation from the point of view of the liberator: the excitement and happiness of the prisoners receiving the Red Army soldiers as saviors.

Shocked by the actual sights he witnessed, he often depicted Jesus as an actual camp inmate, wearing a striped uniform marked by every possible defamation sign – the Jewish yellow star, the red triangle of political prisoners, and the individual prison number, the numerical tattoo on his lower arm can also be seen.
His Majdanek paintings became one of the earliest artistic series to publicly document the Nazi death camps.Tolkatchev accompanied the Nazi Crimes Investigation Commission to Auschwitz, arriving within hours of the camp’s liberation by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945.Using only materials immediately available, Tolkatchev made many of his drawings in pencil and on Nazi stationary taken from the commandant’s office.Looking back on his work, Tolkatchev wrote, “I did what I had to do; I couldn’t refrain from doing it. My heart commanded, my conscience demanded.”

More of Zinovii Tolkatchev‘s inspirational work can be found at  https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/art-liberation/tolkatchev.asp.

 

One Step at a Time

Pat Fitzgerald

I look around cautiously … my breathing slow, steady, rhythmic.

I listen … John Wick (of all movies) fighting and umph-ing and ack-ing and uh-king in the background. But that’s all. John Wick is riding a horse through city streets, no less. That’s some feat.

It is the day after New Year’s Day. Celebrated New Year’s Eve with my family, spent yesterday with my brother-in-law, reorienting him to the outside world a little. It was a good day.

I look around again … cautiously.

Has the bad luck from 2020 followed me into this Saturday matinee? Is the boogeyman waiting for me to take a misstep so he/she/it can jump on me with both feet?

I didn’t really have a horrible 2020. I lost two people I loved, which was heartbreaking. I cleaned out a hoarder house and had to give up a totally new start on my retirement plans by giving up a few projects/things I wanted to do.

I did have blessings every day. I have a partner who supports me, a dog who hangs with me, a cat that loves me. I have improved my blog ratings and found dozens of fantastic artists to share with you and cleaned places in my house that haven’t felt the dust rag or seen the light of day in 15 years. My mammogram was negative, as was my Covid test.

So the positives really do outweigh the negatives.

But I’ve also become more spacy in 2020. I have dropped more, forgotten more, cut more fingers and gotten more black and blue marks than in years previous. According to my partner I am forgetting more and understanding less. 

I find myself watching every step going down the steps and making sure 10 times the stove is off and am self-conscious walking across the snow. I get flashes of what it would be like to slip on the stairs and come crashing down a level, to slice my finger off cutting an onion, or slipping in the shower.

I hate suddenly becoming so self-conscious.

Think of all the things we did when we were younger. We all have episodes where we should have wound up in the hospital — or worse. But we played, we took chances, we goofed off and put our lives in fast forward.

I watch 2021 spread slowly across the world and my life and don’t want to live in fast forward any more. 

I find myself taking smaller bites and relishing each, individual one. I have lost some sense of smell, but take one spray of scent every morning. I text friends when I don’t really have much to say, and hang with my grandkids even when they are off playing with each other. 

2020 was a year of nightmares — but not being able to move forward is a nightmare, too.

Let’s make the most of the possibilities of 2021 — just maybe one step at a time.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Nenad Vasic


I am in quite a quandary about sharing art from an artist that may or may not exist.
Sometimes appreciating art and a specific artist leaves you nothing but a name and an image. So it is with artist Nenad Vasic.

All I could find on him was that he is from Kladovo, Serbia. I could find no history, no profile, no personal thoughts on his life or artistic journey.

I don’t even know if his work is personal or the result of some computer generation. But unique art is unique art no matter what, isn’t it?I was drawn to Vasic’s colorful style which I call “modernistic electric painting.”

His offbeat style of separate lines to display buildings, scenery, and portraits is unusual and different. Whether digital art, hand-painted originals, or printmaking, his work puts a fresh modern and futuristic touch on classic scenes.Sometimes to appreciate art you need to let go of the personal and just let the moment of color or shape or texture assault your senses.So, for now, that is how it is with Vasic’s art.More of Nenad Vasic’s unique art can be found at https://nenad-vasic.pixels.com/ and at https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/nenad-vasic.

 

 

New Year’s/2021 Plans?

It’s almost that time again. Ring out the old, ring in the new.

I thought I’d catch you all before the actual EVE and DAY come along, for who knows where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing.

With the pandemic, not much, I’m afraid.

But I was wondering what thoughts and plans you have for the New Year.

I don’t care much about letting go of 2020 — or 2010 or 1999 or any year of the past. Those are done. Gone. Finie. Good or bad, you can’t do anything about them. 

But what about 2021? It’s an open slate. Virginal and ready to be marked up, explored, and turned into something magical.

I myself have slipped out of the writing mode lately, having replaced it with arts and crafts. Making crystal windcatchers. And reading. And audio readings (at the moment I’m into free H.P. Lovecraft readings on HorrorBabble).

So my plans for 2021 is to keep making windcatchers and hope that art fairs make a comeback this summer. I’d like to take a whirl at showing off my wares.

I also think I’m going to change my WordPress plan so that I can offer some of my novels to the public for free. Look. No one is going to publish them, I don’t know if anyone will even like them. So why not offer them to my followers and see what they think?

I don’t make New Years resolutions anymore — haven’t for a while. Too easy to break, too easy to bend them or walk around them.

But I will make a point to spread the magic of creativity out there more. I love the feeling that being creative gives me. It empowers me, it transforms me, it humbles me. 

Everyone should feel so good!

So ……..what are your thoughts and plans for 2021? We’d all like to hear!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Stairways to Nowhere

Back on January 18, 2015, I posted a delightful Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Stairways to Nowhere.  It’s amazing how how many strange sets of stairs there are that go nowhere. Here are some of the highlights from the Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find many more delightful staircases over at the Sunday Evening Art Gallery.  See you there!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Michelle Kingdom

 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michelle Kingdom studied drawing and painting in college. As a self-taught embroidery artist, Michelle has been quietly creating figurative narratives in thread for two decades.Her stitched tableaus and landscapes depict individuals caught in the middle of intriguing yet ambiguous situations like something out of a dream, with characters lost in worlds out of their control or in the process of searching for meaning.Decidedly small in scale, the scenes are densely embroidered into compressed compositions.Kingdom has chosen to create small scale works that whisper untold truths,  and embroidery is the medium she felt was the best to share such powerful stories.Her work is inspired from personal mythologies, art history references, and other symbolic and allegorical content.The artist says, “I describe my work as drawing with thread. I think, plan and execute as a draftsman. Most all of my work is filled and dense, but it is still composed of zillions of skinny lines.”More of Michelle Kingdom’s intricate workings can be found at https://michellekingdom.com/ and https://www.instagram.com/michelle.kingdom.

 

 

 

Poetry That Survived Christmas

Norman Rockwell

 

It is the day after Christmas, and the house is a mess
The presents are all gone, along with the stress,
Tinsel and wrapping paper is scattered all upon the floor
And Santa and his elves are still hanging upon the front door.

It is the day after Christmas, and the house is now quiet
No one is shouting or screaming, and no longer is there a riot,
There is no food in the fridge and also none on the kitchen table
No turkey or ham is left, and not even the crumbs from a bagel.

It is the day after Christmas, and all is sleeping late
With no more presents to unwrap, or food to place on the plate,
The Christmas music is turned off, and the Christmas lights are unplugged
Now back unto my couch, I have exhaustedly shrugged

It is the day after Christmas, and it’s finally time to relax
The Christmas tree has been removed along with the trash sacks,
In the fireplace with the logs, wrapping paper and receipts now burns
Then someone wakes up and screams, “let’s not forget the Christmas returns! 

It is the day after Christmas, and I let out a sleepy yawn
Another Christmas had come, and another Christmas has gone,
I am so tired and exhausted from spreading out this Christmas cheer
But, then there will be another day after Christmas, once again next year.

Randy McClave

 

Stop Being Stupid

I have come across these conversations quite a number of times on social media lately.

A lot of times it’s in the pet department. Someone takes a goofy picture of their pet, or dresses them up in silly clothes, and posts it with a funny caption. Maybe it’s not always in the best of taste, but we get it — it’s supposed to be funny/stupid/nonsensical.  Most times we keep on going, sometimes we stop and type “ha ha” and then move on.

Except for that one person that starts it all.

Someone come out of nowhere, saying how cruel the image is, how could people laugh at such postings, that there might be something wrong with the animal and it should reported to the vet.

This negative mini tirade brings out a tit-for-tat. Someone stands up to the misinformed with a nasty retort. Other people jump on the bandwagon, getting carried away and calling each barely-acceptable names, tit-for-tatting until the original poster takes the post down.

Is this a result of being quarantined too long? A result of rampant Covid-19 cases or being laid off and not being able to pay the bills? Is this mind state being fueled by the frustrations and unrest and circus attitude of our current state of politics?

Or is it more of a case of prejudice, animosity, or anger? Is it just an excuse for people to be mean?

Look. We all disagree on all kinds of things. Politics, health, psychology, food. Heck — some people put ketchup on spaghetti and peanut butter on burgers! Is that a reason to run at the mouth the first pissy thing that comes to mind?

My first impression is often geez, how can someone be so stupid? The picture of the dogs pushing their heads against the wall as they’re being scolded or the cat in socks and dress are JOKES. No one has gotten hurt — even the pets. Why does there always have to be a stick in the mud that doesn’t get it?

But those are passing thoughts. Like saying you’re going to knock out the next person who calls you Sweetie. You don’t act on them. You aren’t supposed to use those thoughts as verbal bullets to make fun or bully someone else.

You’re supposed to be better than that.

Maybe the “Be Who You Are” movement has had its day.

I want to tell the parties on both sides to stop using the Internet and Social Media to spew out your frustrations, hatreds, and misfortunes. Stop being a cranker. We all have problems. Trust me. Be nice. Keep your smarmy comments to yourself.

GET A LIFE.

Although I’m sure there’s not much help for ketchup and spaghetti crowd….

 

Lesson #1,329 — Listen to your Gut

A little story, a little lesson, a little glory — isn’t that what life’s all about?

I follow many friends who do remarkable craft/handy work.. Laura Kate at Daily Fiber is always showing her handiwork, including fabric art, quilting, and her discovery of new painting techniques. And Tiffany at Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art is amazing at turning out new and unique watercolor paintings.

There are more. There are many, many of you with creative hands and minds.

But I digress.

Isn’t one of the purposes of a blog is to share knowledge? Experience? Art? Let me share all three this fine day. I will make it as brief as possible.

Title: Listen to your Gut

Scene: Downstairs at Granny’s house. Oldest grandson is outside with Grandpa; five-year-old is playing video games with Granny, almost-three-year-old playing with dolls nearby. Library/Craft Room door open.

J: Come on, Granny! Follow my guy! Pew! Pew!

E: Takes her dolls into the workroom. Granny glances in the door.

(Gut Feeling) I really shouldn’t let her in there without supervision.

(* = thoughts)

*She can’t really mess anything up in there.

“Curing”

 

(Voice over) You really should put your Angel Tears away when they are made.

(Self Voice) I’m waiting for my business cards to come. Then I’ll put them all away at one time.

G to J: Open that chest! Good job!

E: tinkle-tinkle-plunk!

(Gut Feeling) I better see what she’s up to.

J: Go this way, Granny! I got the money!

(Voice over) YOU REALLY SHOULD PUT YOUR ANGEL TEARS AWAY WHEN THEY’RE MADE…

*I guess I’d better go check on her.

So, as you suspect, there are about four 5′ strands of tears on the floor.

E: I help!

Granny goes to pick them up. A few ends are tangled (remember they are on super durable fishing line).

J: Granny — Come ON!

So Granny grabs all four and swings as she walks and puts them down on the board that’s on the table that’s holding two more finished tears.

Later that evening….

Here is where lesson #1,329 comes in.

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

I know it wasn’t anybody’s fault but my own. Too much in a hurry, ignoring the seriousness of the situation, not preventing disaster but creating more of it. Instantly.

I wonder if all crafters go through this humiliation.

I spent three hours trying slowly, gingerly, to untangle the mess. My result:

How many times does your gut — or to choose a more favorable word, intuition — tell you something is wrong? That Bad B is going to come after Accidental A if you don’t do something to change it?

But we lollygag around, dismissing our paranoia, not listening to that strong voice in our head (or strong voice from another) and assume the chips will all fall back into place perfectly.

I have entertained the idea of dissolving solvents for a chance to save some of the gems, but calmer voices said it won’t work. So I’ll at least save the Tears and start all over again.

If I had thought writing was tough, it doesn’t hold a candle to crafts.

Pay attention to that little voice when it screams in your ear. At least look logically at what it’s saying and stop and see if you really need to do something about it.

Maybe then your life won’t turn out to look like this:

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Norman Rockwell

 

Norman Rockwell, (1894 -1978), was an American painter and illustrator best known for his covers for the journal The Saturday Evening Post.

Freedom of Speech

The Runaway

In 1916 he sold his first cover to The Saturday Evening Post, for which in the next 47 years he illustrated a total of 322 magazine covers.

Rosie the Riveter

He is also noted for his 64-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), during which he produced covers for their publication Boys’ Life, calendars, and other illustrations. 

Scout Came to the Rescue

Rockwell’s realistic manner accurately reflected the atmosphere of everyday life.

Freedom from Want

Some critics dismissed him for not having real artistic merit, but Rockwell’s reasons for painting what he did were grounded in the world that was around him.

The Problem We All Live With

“Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn’t the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it,” he once said.

Girl With Black Eye

He shared the same hopes and dreams  when he said, “I paint life as I would like it to be.”

Boy and Girl Gazing at the Moon

More of Normal Rockwell‘s well-loved paintings can be found at https://www.nrm.org/

Missing Or Giving?

This is the season of missing … of giving … and of blessings …

janbeek

This is Vissoie, Switzerland.
Our daughter and son-in-law have a restaurant here.
Isn’t it beautiful?

We missed our visit with them this year. We are not even able to go to California to celebrate Christmas with our son and his family there. I bet we are not alone. Many of you are missing your visits with your family this Christmas, too.

We’ll miss being with our son, Ty, and having my sister, Sally with us this year.

What are you missing?

Photo by Maximiliano Ignacio Pinilla Alvarado on Pexels.com

Like this sad looking dog, we can sit around and look all mopey.
We can focus on what we’re missing.
Or we can go to Ann Kaplow’s blog this morning,
try focusing on the positive,
and answer her question,
“Can you find something to celebrate in today’s images?”

Ann Koplow
Check out her blog below.

Ann KoplowThe Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Celebrate the…

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Which One Are You?


I have been working on a product I hope to sell at art fairs next season — if there ever IS a next season.

They are called Angel Tears, and they are homemade suncatchers that indeed catch the light. And the breeze. And the snow.

The pictures aren’t very clear, but  you get the drift. 

Heh. The drift.

I am a long way off on mass production and advertising, but looking at pictures of the work in progress, they all suddenly felt familiar — which one of these hanging sparkles was me?

I can definitely see the stages of life in these reflections. I’d like to be the first one. Bright, magical, and sparkling, twirling gently in the sunny breeze.

But then there is the middle view, the one I am a lot of the time. Still sparkling, weighted with the snow of the world, yet managing to brush off most of it while I hang around waiting for something new to happen.

The last image is me more often than not. Disaster seems to hang on me like frozen sparkles, full of snow and ice, formations created by my constantly moving, and trying to do five things at once.

You may feel just like that third image right about now. Tired of the world, a twinkling star covered in dirty snow. But I guarantee things will get better.

Don’t let the world around you snow on your parade. Or craft. Creativity may lay dormant, but it’s always there. Waiting for you to come melt the barriers around it and take it wherever and whenever you want.

Sparkle is always sparkle, after all ….

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Xavier Puente Vilardell

Brussels-based sculptor Xavier Puente Vilardell turns blocks of wood into twisting, curled objects that look more like scrolls of paper or pieces of fabric than lumber.Many of these eye-catching sculptural forms resemble architectural structures and other natural forms shaped by wind, rain, and the sea’s turbulent waves.Vilardell’s series of wood pine sculptures are meticulously carved with unique, elegant features.The artist uses pinewood, a malleable material that enables him to make precise and curved structural forms.To create his sculptures, Vilardell uses traditional cutting tools and crafts each piece by hand.His skill and patience enable him to turn the blocks of wood into sculpted forms that twist in every direction, almost appearing to defy gravity.Vilardell says, “Working with wood requires a deep respect for the living being that is necessary to understand its inner nature and characteristics that give a certain personality.”More of Xavier Puente Vilardell‘s skillful sculptures can be found at https://www.xavipuente.com/.

 

 

Are You Out of Sync this Holiday Season?

Saturday morning. I still feel like I’m sitting in a vacuum.

Still locked in by Covid, still need to do some Christmas shopping, still looking for inspiration for my next blockbuster novel. Or blog post.

There was a little snow out the window yesterday morning. I wasn’t impressed. Our Christmas lights are up, we blasted Christmas music yesterday while we worked around the house, and I even baked cookies. Talked to my kids who were going to visit the other set of grandparents, and all was well. Visited my brother-in-law who is now happily situated (well, almost happily) in an assisted living environment, a much, much better place than this time last year.

And still I’m not impressed.

Is this a seasonal funk? A senior funk? A Covid funk?

What ever happened to the excitement of the season?

We all have had a lot of extra stress this year. Even the things we don’t consider stressful add to the load we carry every day. We just put up with it. Like I put up with my sinus headaches when the weather changes.

But I don’t want to “just put up with it.” I want the stress to go away. I want to sit under a blanket and eat chocolate chip cookies and watch Christmas movies and pet my dog and wait for Santa to arrive.

I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to deal with death and illness and hospital visits and financial problems and unemployment and the fear of Covid every place I look. I don’t want to listen to lies and made up stories and politics and prejudices.

I think 2020 has been a challenge for most of us. If you take out the Covid  and election equations, it’s probably no worse than any other year. Life is full of frustrations and disappointments. It’s just how it goes.

It’s what we do with those disappointments that make us who we are. Who we are going to be. We have to learn to either “just deal with it” or ignore it completely. It’s still all there.

I think that the most important thing to do this season is to vent your frustrations. Get them out of your body and release them to the cosmos. It’s okay to not be in the mood for Christmas cheer. It’s okay to be mmpphh about Christmas stockings and It’s a Wonderful Life and elf on the shelf.

The things we’ve had to face — things we have to face — are hard enough as it is. Forcing Christmas Cheer only puts more fuel on a smouldering fire.

I know I always feel better once I vent. I know I can’t change the flow of the river or the tilt of the Earth’s axis, but I sure can let the sour grapes raise to the surface so I can get rid of them before I get indigestion.

And I also know it doesn’t take much to slide over to the bright side. A favorite Christmas song, a phone call from a grandbaby, a text from a friend — it doesn’t take much to remind me that I am blessed in so many ways that the misfortunes that pass by are just a corner of the puzzle.

Life — in all its glory — is the rest of it.

Now — off to find those chocolate chip cookies —

 

 

The Birthday Raven Unicorn

Eight years ago I wrote this poem for my birthday. I hate acknowledging such advancement of age, but one must do what one must do to survive. So I must write and whisper “sixty eight.”

 

The Raven

The Unicorn

by

Claudia Edgar Allan Anderson

 

Once upon a weeknight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary

Over a many quaint and curious volume of forgotten recorded TV shows

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my patio door.

‘Tis my dogs I muttered, tapping at my patio door.

Only this and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December

And each separate dust bunny made a mess upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow – vainly I had thought to borrow

A DVD from my son’s room, but sorrow – sorry he had misplaced Avatar

Just a DVD and nothing more.

Presently my channel surfing grew boring, hesitating then no longer

Dickens and Rennie dogs, said I, truly your forgiveness I implore

But the fact was I was napping, and so gently you came rapping.

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my patio door.

That I scarcely heard you. Here I slide open the door

Snow piled there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing

The dogs so quietly sleeping, sleeping down the bathroom hall

But the silence was now broken, and the dogs were gently snoring

And the only word there spoken was the whispered words ‘sixty oh.’

Merely this and nothing more.

Open here I flung the patio shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In stepped a stately unicorn of the saintly days of yore.

Not the least chuckle made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;

But with the air of a know-it-all, perched above my breakfront door

Perched upon the dusty wood just atop my breakfront door

Laid down, and smiled, nothing more.

By the silly and irreverent decorum of the smirk that she wore

Though thy horn be sparkly and spirally, thou, I said, art sure no dog.

Smiling and bouncy ancient unicorn wandering from the snow piles

Tell me what thy lady’s name is on the night of the Walking Dead finale!

Quoth the unicorn, ‘sixty, oh!’

The unicorn still beguiling, all my weary bones into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a foot stool in front of unicorn and breakfront and door;

Then upon the polyester sinking, I betook to linking

Fancy unto fancy, remembering all my years of glorious tales

What this full-figured, laughing, ditzy unicorn

Meant in singing ‘sixty, oh!’

Prophet! said I, thing of beauty – prophet still, if real or fancy –

Whether astral traveling or whether sent by Gandalf

Are you telling me age has no meaning?

Quoth the unicorn, ‘sixty, oh!’

And the unicorn, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the dusty wood just atop my breakfront door;

And her eyes have all the seeming of a family whose love is beaming

And the ceiling lamp o’er her streaming throws her shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that now is dancing on the floor

Now is singing ‘sixty, oh!’

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Chris Garofalo

Chris Garofalo grew up in Springfield, Illinois, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana, and has been living in Chicago since 1980. 

Following extensive experience with printmaking and graphic design, Garofalo was introduced to ceramics.The artist creates ceramic sculptures that draw inspiration from plant and animal forms.An avid gardener, Garofalo took quickly to the medium, finding gardening and ceramics very similar, especially in smell (the clay and the dirt) and the condition in which both activities leave her hands.Garofalo’s sculptures blur the distinction between land, sea and air, plant and animal kingdoms.By applying the principle properties of development, and by ignoring genetic, behavioral, environmental, social and mating restrictions, Garofalo creates a re-imagined evolutionary history of forms at once recognizable and unidentifiable.Her work is intricate yet delicate, expressive of earthly forms that could have existed had conditions been different.

More of Chris Garofalo’s amazing ceramics can be found at https://www.chrisgarofalo.com/.

Sweet Dragonfly.

Lovely bright thoughts … love Purplerays!

Purplerays

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Sweet Dragonfly.

You will see me when it’s light,
My colors dazzle and delight.
I’m ancient in the world you live
And if you ask me, I shall give…

The wisdom that is mine, is yours
A set of keys for all the doors
You’ll need to open, one by one
Until your earthly work is done.

With love and magick, you shall weave
Together all that you believe.
To form a blessed soul connection
And find a path of new direction.

Take my energy deep within
And feel the transformation begin.
On my healing powers, you can rely
For I am you, Sweet Dragonfly!

~ Janet K. Rauch

Art Liza Lambertini
Text & image source: Snowwolfs Woodland Nook https://web.facebook.com/Snowwolfswoodlandnook/

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Burning Philosophical Questions

Every now and then my mind tries to tackle the bigger questions in life. Questions that don’t have exact answers. Some are humorous, some are disturbing. How I get off on these tangents I’ll never know. But did you ever wonder ….

  • The Great Pyramid took about 20 years to build. A study calculated how many men would be needed daily to deliver “340 stones each day” and determined there were likely 1,200 people in the quarry and 2,000 transporting the stones, while others must have cut stones and set them into place. There were also cooks, cleaners, and caretakers for the equipment. Assuming one bowel movement per day, where did all of these people go to the bathroom every day?
  • On a more sobering note, the Battle of Cannae (where Hannibal crushed the Romans) in 216 BC, the battle cost the lives of almost all of the Romans involved – nearly 90,000 — in one day. Even if the numbers are skewered a bit, what did that battlefield look like in the end? What happened to the bodies?
  • Did toddler Jesus throw tantrums and curl up in a ball or scream for 10 minutes when he didn’t get his way? Did he write on Mary’s walls with mud or play fetch with a dog or yell at Joseph “Weave me awone!” ?
  • The world now has an idea of the construction of Stonehenge:  the first phase around 3000 BC was little more than a circular bank and ditch with the main structure built of wood;  the second phase began about 2150 BC and continued for 150 years (when the first of the bluestones were moved into place);  then the early Bronze Age, between 2100 to 1500 BC, which brought the outer circle and trilithons (the ruins we see today). Fine. But how did they lay those humongous lintels (cross stones) across the tops of those pillars?
  • The first person in history whose name we know is Kushim, an accountant from Mesopotamia from around 3200 BC, 33 centuries before Christ, who chiseled his name on a tablet. Who gave him his name? Did they have a name?

And a few still unanswered questions from my Cosmic Questions quest back in February of 2016:

  • It is a fact that the closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. So isn’t a moot point to drive faster, when you actually arrive at your destination later?

and ….

  • If infinity is infinite, and we can see no end to it, how do we know it’s even there?

Whew! I feel so much better that I got all these questions out of my head ….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Rainbow Clouds

A Rainbow Cloud is a meteorological phenomenon known as cloud iridescence. Iridescence like this happens when the clouds are very thin and are made of similar-sized water droplets. What you’re seeing, essentially, is part of a corona — when a rainbow-like halo engulfs the sun or the moon — and the bands and colors change as the cloud evolves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You For Being a Good Person

Funny thing. On the way to somewhere else, some other topic, some other problem …

Something as small as an oncoming car dimming their brights as they approached my car on the road last night made me think that there are still so many good people still around.

With all the political madness, with all the over-the-top Tweets and Facebook responses, there are a lot of cruel, senseless people out there. We see them on the news, read their posts, see them on video channels. One sentence can shake the ground  under your feet. One jeer can stab your heart. One boast can scramble you senses. Make you wonder what is wrong with people.

Then you see someone with really bright lights coming towards you on a dark highway dim them so you can see the road. You see someone knock something off the grocery shelf and the person behind them pick it up. You see the receptionist at the doctor’s office offering to help patients fill out paperwork. People you know and don’t know still go to work in hospitals and clinics, knowing they are putting their health — and life — on the line every single day.

You see people visiting loved ones through glass windows at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Food drive-throughs give away dog cookies for your canine partner in the back seat along with your burger and fries. You see teachers learn a whole new form of education in mere months, just so they can reach out to their students.

People still hold doors for other people. People still pull over to help the accident in front of them. People still call 911 for others.

There is still a lot of goodness in the world.

What has changed is our perception of what is good.

Many of us tend to see goodness as a great, big balloon that shimmers and shines above us. Feeding the poor. Sending stimulus checks to those in need. Rescuing children from slave traffickers. 

These are indeed great acts of goodness. They are above and beyond the call and reach of most people. These people are truly a positive influence in this dark world.

But there are also a hundred different good things that happen that one never really think about. Someone stops at a stop sign. Someone rounds up on their purchase so the extra can go to a charity. People throw a dollar into the Salvation Army bucket every time they pass one. People donate old coats and eyeglasses to charity drives and furniture to Goodwill.

These are good people, too. We are all good people.

Liking a post. Wearing a mask. Turning the TV down. Carrying out food from a local restaurant rather than a chain eatery. Asking how someone’s mother or sister is doing with their illness. Signaling when turning left or right in your car. Saying a prayer for someone.

Don’t underestimate the good in the world. It is these small gestures that make our lives easier. Sweeter. Safer.

I thank you all for all your small gestures.

 

 

Infinity’s Rings

Light and love and just something beautiful… from a fellow writer/blogger …

The Ink Owl

Let me capture infinity unfolding.

A picture that contains twilight and dawn.

So begins each cycle within cycle.

Thought within thought.

Dream within dream.

As age greets youth with loving embrace.

Where green vine traces dried root.

And fresh blossoms highlights dropping petals.

What a round we find ourselves in.

Alway seeing what is around us but not beyond the bend.

Take this time to appreciate our world’s unity.

Moments within moments within time.

Connected and yet running parallel to each other.

Captured in a never ending blink of an eye.

-M.E. InkOwl

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Scott Hagan

Scott Hagan, known as the Barn Artist, specializes in hand-painting larger than life designs on various types of buildings, especially schools and barns. 

Hagan has painted a variety of signage, murals of all types and more across Ohio and 18 other states for the past 23 years.

Located in Jerusalem, Ohio, Hagan’s  career  began when he was hired as part of the Ohio Bicentennial barn painting campaign.

After finishing his last Ohio bicentennial barn in 2002, the Belmont County man kept right on going.

People wanted his freestyle paint jobs — Hagan still uses an old-fashioned brush — on their barns, silos, grain elevators, storefronts and gym floors.

His portfolio has grown to include not only the 88 Bicentennial Barns, but more than 800 additional barns, silos, and other structures across the country.

In 2015, Hagan began painting Ohio History Barns, commissioned by the Ohio History Connection and local historical societies, to present Ohio’s rich heritage of significant people, places, and achievements, and to whet the public’s appetite to learn more.“This is such a lost art or forgotten art,” Hagan says. But not forgotten by everyone.

Hagan is trying to keep an old tradition going — one gallon of paint at a time.

More of Scott Hagan‘s amazing over-sized paintings can be found at http://barnartist.com/.

 

 

Lazily Giving Thanks

Here it is, Saturday night. 

No Black Friday. No nine extra people over for Thanksgiving dinner. No sitting on the sofa after Thanksgiving dinner going through a hundred sales flyers looking for tons of things we don’t need. We did it as a family tradition, and just had fun with it.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was such a miniaturized version I didn’t even recognize it. Football games Thanksgiving Day were postponed because of Covid 19. Stores were closed Thursday, and I read shopping on Friday was down 52%.

My house looks like a bulldozer ran through it, knocking over towers of Hot Wheels and Frozen dolls and Hungry Hungry Hippos with no balls in sight (the grandkids stayed over for two nights).

So here it is, Saturday night. I’m exhausted. Nothing on TV worth a second look. Reading will give me a headache. Just ain’t gettin’ that creative vibe this late at night. Yet I wake up every morning and thank the heavens and the galaxies and the powers that be that I am alive and well and have so many blessings in my life. 

I think this Covid-19 thing has made monsters out of the weak and heroes out of the  reticent. People are not themselves. Or are pretending to be more than themselves. Or are turning into alternative forms of themselves. But they are all affected by the isolation. The loneliness. The fear. And deal with it differently.

It’s one thing to pull away on purpose, cutting the social media ties, and read a book, paint, sit and quilt, or go fishing for as long as you want.

It’s something else when you are forced to do it alone. Day after day. No sharing, no hugs, no conversation, no eye to eye contact.

I have known a few who have been stricken with Covid-19. Two survived, one did not. And I am reminded every day that I awake without a fever or delirium or pain how blessed I am. I can be creative or lazy or loving or depressed and still have a bed to sleep in and food in the frig. 

Not everyone has that luxury.

Or those basics.

I have met a lot of great people through this blog, and I am enjoying all the writing and poetry and quilting and just talking you all are doing. I love how you keep things real. Normal. Funny. Bittersweet. And unpretentious.

Let’s keep it going. 

And, you know — I could still order three, get three free at Bath and Body Works online — Super Sunday and all — that’s kinda Black Friday-ish —

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Most people who blog will write a Thanksgiving blog thanking the universe for the abundance and blessings they have.

I am one of those blog people.

But I will keep it short and sweet — gotta get baking —

 

 

Thank you for following

For sharing

And caring

For reading and breathing and 

waking up every morning

knowing you have another chance

to be creative

to be loving

to be nice

to make a difference

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Now — back to making that apple strudel —

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Hadieh Shafie

Hadieh Shafie, a Tehran born artist based in Brooklyn and Baltimore, constructs intricate designs with low-relief paper sculpture.

Many of her works are comprise of tightly coiled strips of brightly colored paper bearing calligraphy, arranged in patterns.Shafie described them as “part sculpture, part drawing, part artist’s book.”In works comprised of paper scrolls, Shafie creates individual strips of paper that are marked with the word “eshghe,” both hand-written and printed in Farsi.

While the most direct translation of “eshghe” to English is “love,” its expressive power is “passion.” Shafie chose this word because it encompasses her longing and search for acceptance and understanding.

Writing by hand on strips of paper, Shafie repeats what is printed, filling in gaps to emphasize a particular, existing form.

As Shafie rolls the paper, the colors on the edges of the strips align, creating bands of alternating hue that stand along side one another, while at once, seeming to merge into new color formations which are often delightful surprises.

During the repetitive process of adding paper strips to create individual scrolls, text and symbols are hidden within these concentric rings of material as the scroll grows outward.

The results are mesmerizing, detailed, colorful representations of Shafie’s passions.

More of Hadieh Shafie’s inspirational and amazing art can be found at https://www.hadiehshafie.com/.

 

 

Let’s Get Giffy!

I thought about writing about the craziness that’s creeping onto Facebook posts from people who have been locked in by Covid19  for too long today, but I thought — why whine about things you can do nothing about when you can share some wonderful gifs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a little more gif in your life? Here’s links to my other gift fests:

 

Gif Time!

Went Gif Shopping Today!

Been Gif’n Again

Gif A Roonie

Gif Today – Gif Tomorrow

Give-A-Gif Thursday!

Thursday Evening on the Veranda (with a sweater) – gifs

 

Have fun!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Tom Banwell

The beauty of art is in the making– the time and dedication put into each unique creation. That is what makes the work of Tom Banwell so fascinating.

Banwell is a leather worker, steampunk artist, and mask maker who creates handcrafted leather plague doctor masks, costumes, and accessories.Largely self-taught, Banwell was innovative in the way he learned to imitate bronze, marble and wood using resin.In 2008, he hit his stride in the discovery of leather mask-making, his passion and business to this day. He incorporates resin with his leatherwork, which adds to the richness of his masks.A plague doctor (Italian: medico della peste) was a special medical physician who treated those who had the plague. They were specifically hired by towns that had many victims in times of plague epidemics.In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some doctors wore beak-like masks which were filled with aromatic items to protect them from putrid air, which (according to the miasmatic theory of disease) was seen as the cause of infection. 

Thus the influence for Banwell’s steampunk-tinged hand-made masks and other works.More of Tom Banwell‘s extraordinary work can be found at http://tombanwell.com/ and https://www.etsy.com/shop/tombanwell/.

 

 

Creativity — Again and Again

John Lemke

I know that word is my catch phrase lately, and that lately has extended for the past few years in all kinds of directions.

I never went to college; I was one of those work-right-after-graduation kinda gals. I never took formal art classes of any sort, but I’ve always been in love with creativity.

Being “stuck” in our homes because of this Covid madness, I am finding more and more people are striking out on creative endeavors of their own. If for a commercial end or a play end, people are connecting with that fourth dimension and having the best time hanging out there.

I’ve mentioned before that I have quite a few creatives in my life; one best friend crochets these amazing blankets and jackets; one creates scrapbooks that are museum quality; one has taken to making impressively creative signs to hang around the house or patio. One friend from long ago makes quilts to die for, and another burns the most amazing animal scenes into wood.

Online, everywhere I turn I am finding people talking about their crafts. Even if it’s only in passing. I follow a potter, a quilter, and a number of painters, poets, and writers. Some of those I follow take gorgeous photographs. It’s everything and anything.

It’s so much fun, isn’t it?

Just when I think I’m burned out of ideas and inspiration, I come across someone who has done something wonderful and it gets me going again.

Creative people don’t need to be crafters, either. Some are redecorating their homes, including murals, colors, and textures. Some create garden scapes every spring. Some are refinishing furniture or restoring old cars.

It’s all in the movement.

It’s all about allowing yourself to have fun. Not judging your quality or quantity or expertise.

It’s all about finding that sparkle that’s buried deep inside you and letting it tickle you.

I myself have created what I am going to call Angel Tears, mobiles of a single fishing line made with mirrors and colored crystals. The Angel Tear is the big crystal teardrop that weights the mobile.

Who knows where this will lead. An art fair, an online business — or merely Christmas presents for family and friends.

If you have an inkling about doing something creative, stop thinking about it. Just do it. Don’t judge, unless it’s with your technique that will only improve with practice. Don’t worry who will like it, buy it, talk about it, or throw it away.

That’s not the purpose of art. Of ART.

Let’s have fun this Covid season! What have you got to lose?

Tell me — what is your side creativity project?

 

 

There is divinity in the clouds …. Lailah Gifty

I thought about making today’s post a Sunday Evening Art Gallery, as it is all about art. The art of the sky. Mother Earth’s cloud formations are so amazing there often are no words. Nature is indeed a gift for all to enjoy. So come and see her in all her glory. It’s much more than a Gallery today.

Where possible I have added the photographer’s moniker.

 

Arcus clouds, Wellington, New Zealand — PhillipC

 

 

Asperatus formation, Canterbury, New Zealand — wittap

 

 

Cloud Mothership

 

 

Cloud Phenomenon over Moscow

 

 

HDR Mammatus, NYC — MMooney

 

 

Lenticular cloud at sunset in Puerto-Natales — stiffupperlip

 

 

Island with Cloud Hat

 

 

Wave clouds, Tadrart region, Algeria –Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Thunderstorm cloud and mammatus effect — Alan Dyer

 

 

Roll cloud, Punta del Este, Uruguay — Jeff McNeill

 

 

Kelvin-Helmholtz instability effect — Amy Christie Hunter

 

Help — Still Relevant

Heard this song/these lyrics today as I was folding laundry. Usually hits of the past don’t stick to me, but these did. Maybe it’s the times. Maybe its the atmosphere. Maybe its the truth.

 

When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

 

Monday Again?

Here it is — it’s Monday again.

The typical drag-your-derriere out of bed, increase your coffee intake, turn-the-sound-down-on-the-news kinda morning.

Now you would think that, since being retired for a year, I’d be over that kind of gut-kick reaction to just another day of the week.

I’m not.

Maybe my first reaction is a form of habit. After all, I worked for fifty years, all on the day shift, always having to get up at 6 a.m. five days a week. I don’t think you can just “turn off” that kind of Pavlov’s dog reaction.

Maybe it’s because there’s always something that needs to be done. No matter your country, state, town, marital status, or pant’s size, there’s always something you need to do on a Monday morning. Laundry. Call the plumber. Send your kids off to school. Go to a doctor’s appointment.

There’s always something waiting for you Monday Morning.

I do admit that days here tend to blur into one another. I find myself asking myself (or others) what day it is. Isn’t today Tuesday? Don’t we have to drop something off at the post office today? Did we talk to the kids about Saturday yesterday? Or three days ago?

I think with being home every day with the fear of Covid 19 striking you or those you love tends to blur your thoughts and memories after a while. I never thought I was going to be a jet setter once I retired, but there were things I was going to finally be able to do.

UhHuh. Not yet. No way. Sit down.

I think we all take a major sigh Monday mornings because it gives us a sense of routine. Of beginning again. Even if we don’t do the things we used to do, it gets us in the mind set that there are daily responsibilities we need to take care of every day.

Acknowledging Monday makes retirees blend in better with those who still have to work five days a week. Gets us into a  fixed rhythm like doing homework five days a week. Gives us a sense of routine. Of setting goals and finishing them all within a specific time frame.

For most of us, weekends are still the time we set aside to do things we don’t normally do during the “work” week. Vacation. Visit family. Mow the lawn. Change the oil in the car. Stay up late. Go to the Farmer’s Market.

We need to keep our special time special. We can’t allow one day to melt into the next into the next. It gets too easy to let go and have life become one melted puddle day after day, week after week. No differentiation to remind us that we are always growing, always learning, and always making order out of chaos every single day.

Today is Monday. I’ve already had a slice of cheesecake for breakfast, thrown in a load of laundry, brushed the cat, and made a to-do list for the week. I may not be punching a time clock like days of old, but I feel that I still fit in the rhythm of the day and of the week. That I fit in with the buzzing world around me. At least for four more days.

Can’t wait till Saturday!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Hans Holbein the Younger

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) was a German painter, draftsman, and designer, renowned for the precise rendering of his drawings and the compelling realism of his portraits, particularly those recording the court of King Henry VIII of England.

Henry VIII

Holbein the Younger was one of the most celebrated portraitists of the sixteenth century.

Jean De Dinteville and Georges de Selves

At an early age he won commissions to paint portraits of prominent merchants in Basel, and in later years he attracted powerful patrons in England, including Sir Thomas More.

Sir Thomas More

He also produced religious art, satire, and Reformation propaganda, and he made a significant contribution to the history of book design.

Anne of Cleves

Holbein’s art has sometimes been called realist, since he drew and painted with a rare precision.

Edward, Prince of Wales

He was never content with outward appearance, however; he embedded layers of symbolism, allusion, and paradox in his art, to the lasting fascination of scholars.

Jane Seymour

His portraits were renowned in their time for their likeness, and it is through his eyes that many famous figures of his day are pictured today.

Henry VIII

More of Hans Holbein the Younger‘s portraits can be found at https://www.hans-holbein.org/

Listen to the Wind Once in a While

Well, a little too much surfing, a little too many nameless movies in the background, a little too much tightening of my blogs, and poof! Internet slowdown! I can’t get enough speed to watch my Chinese movies with English subtitles; can’t post on my blog, nor go to a Zoom conference without turning on my phone’s hot spot.

How did we survive before today?

How did we make it without the Internet? Without a thousand movies to choose from to watch at any given moment; or without playing nonsensical games online where you can stab and slash and overtake others to your heart’s delight?

I blame the Pandemic.

Of course, these days I blame the Pandemic for everything —  my weight gain, my non-existent social life, my writing lull, my lack of motivation. One can only sit and watch the bluejay eating out of the front deck feeder for so long before you want to get out there and snack yourself.

The Internet is a curious thing. I have made friends in Australia, Spain, and Tennessee. I have found amazing artists that I never knew existed. I have walked through the streets of Paris and down some backroads in cities I’ve never heard of through Google Maps. I have learned about pottery and quilting and growing flowers from wonderful people I follow online.

Yet I have wasted countless hours sifting through images, reading celebrity gossip, and watching terrible movies that never should have been made. All that boredom had caused me to go past my high speed Internet throttle, slowing everything down to a crawl. 

Life is not a crawl — it’s a sprint! Get it all done in one day! In one hour! Don’t waste your time, for one day you will turn around and you will have no more of it!

Without the Internet as my best buddy I had to go back to reading hard-covered books and hand-making wind sparklers. I had to watch some of the DVDs that have been gathering dust downstairs and take the dog for a fetchie walk at least twice a day. I’ve had to clean my house a little more thoroughly and actually talk to people in real time.

How dare my zest for life and creativity turn me in an entirely new direction?

Actually is is good to get away from the ease and madness of electronics. To go for a walk in the wind or pull some weeds or feel the pages of a real book. It’s good to use the silence around you as background music once in a while. To bypass the jibber jabber of mindless TV personalities and formula movies that are the same no matter what the title.

My new monthly Internet allotment arrived this morning. Writing this blog was priority number one. Why?

Habit.

But I’m still sitting in silence, listening to the wind blow around the windchimes outside, watching the clouds roll in, thinking about making some more Angel Tears.

The Internet and it’s boredom isn’t calling so strongly today. And I like that.

I like being my own person again.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (on Monday) — Jamie Moreno

How do select a truly unique jeweler/artist to showcase? There are as many jewelry designs as there are stars in the sky.

Jamie Moreno was born in 1943  in Madrid, Spain.

Not only is he a renowned jeweler, but a regal horse breeder of the Pure Spanish Race, “El Caballo de Pura Raza Espanola.” Designer of signature jewelry, Moreno has created numerous jewels, many of them published in International and Contemporary Jewelry Yearbooks and in different specialized journals.

Moreno displays his jewelry in various Spanish jeweler shops in Madrid, Marbella, Asturias and Castellón,  and in other  art galleries in Madrid.

In order to execute pieces of high jewelry he uses gold, silver, gems and semiprecious stones acquired in the most prestigious international gem fairs globally.His jewelry is modern, yet holds the tradition of centuries of fine jewelry craftmanship in Spain.

With his stunning ideas and beautiful, colorful exhibition of color in his pieces this designer honors some of his Spanish heritage.

More of Jamie Moreno‘s unique and signature jewelry can be found at www.jaimemoreno.com.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Don Esser

Since I have crossed my Internet usage limit until Tuesday, I thought I would repost this one from 5 years ago today!

 

I have often found that letting the artist explain his craft is the most rewarding explanation of all.

riding-the-wave

So it is with Don Esser: Blacksmith, Metal Artist, and Sculptor.

odin-with-winged-helmet

Since 1976, using hammer and anvil, I’ve been pounding, twisting, and shaping hot metal.

chi-scroll

As a self-taught artist, my approach to life and art has always had an element of fearlessness to it. From childhood on, art has always been a natural, joyful part of my life.

rooster-with-glass-heart

There is a fluid lightness to my work partly because I’m enjoying making it and partly because, after so many years, I have learned the language of my materials.

balancing-act

I try to capture the essence in as few lines as possible, with a sense of fluidity and grace that can be achieved working in the forge.

vortex

It is a little like stealing fire from the gods and my goal is to put a bit of that sense of wonder into each piece I make.

arrow-to-the-sky
That playful quality in my work also means that most of my pieces are one of a kind. 

Breaking the Tape

People often ask, “How long does it take you to make it?”

journey-of-life

My answer is, “36 years of practice, 50-plus years of training, and a lifelong desire to make art.”

atomic-rock

More of Don Esser’s remarkable work can be found at Steel Wool Studio (http://steelwoolstudio.com/don-esser.htm).

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Tom Hussey

Sometimes we need photography to create a complex interplay between reality and illusion. Welcome to Tom Hussey’s world.

Tom Hussey is an American photographer specializing in commercial advertising and lifestyle photography.

His “Reflections” campaign was based on a portfolio shoot to illustrate the concept of thinking of yourself as younger than you are.The idea struck him after meeting Gardner, a WWII veteran who was turning 80. He told Hussey he just didn’t feel it was possible he could be 80 years old.Since he himself was getting older, he realized he was thinking the same thing, and imagined it must be a very universal feeling.So Hussey photographed Gardner staring into his bathroom mirror and seeing himself as a 25-year-old man.Most notable about Hussey is that he allows himself the freedom to continue the random exploration of all things visual.The results connect all of us with our younger selves.More of Tom Hussey‘s wide world of photography can be found at https://tomhussey.com/. 

 

 

The Passing of Indian Summer

I love Indian Summers.

For those who live in a perpetual warm climate year round, an Indian Summer is a  period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere during September to November.

It’s a beautiful time.

The days are warm and often sunny, the nights chilly and clear. The air seems to sparkle with highlights that still linger from hot summer days. 

Of course, here in the Midwest, the trees shine in glory with their pageant of the year, turning colors of gold and bronze and red and a warm, soft orange. They remind us that nothing lasts forever … beauty, vitality, all are in a moment’s glory. That as much as we wish it to be otherwise, life turns and twists and goes on.

Today is the madness of the election for the president of the United Sstates. Never in my 67 years have I seen such chaos, hatred, and ignorance from both sides. If there is a true heart that beats for the wellfare of the people, it is well hidden under layers of misunderstanding, frustration, and sensationalism.

Perhaps it is in the folds of warm November days and cold November nights we can find solace, one way or another.

The U.S. Sun wrote an article shares the origin of the phrase “Indian Summer”:

It’s claimed the term was first coined by the Native Americans, and it was used there in the late 18th century. The first reported use of the word was recorded in Letters from an American Farmer in 1778 by American soldier turned farmer J. H. St. John de Crèvecoeur.

“Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer,” he wrote.

 The world has been observing this second warming of the land ever since the pilgrims settled in America; since Europe started building castles, since the Chinese started building dynasties. It may skip a year or two; it may be hot as sin one day and snow the next. 

Nature is wonderful in its beauty and ebb and flow.

The waves of politics will always ebb and flow, too. All we can do is hold on, seize the day, and continue doing what we were brought onto this Earth for.

Continue to live — to live and love and walk with the sun on our faces and the breeze in our hair. To find the good in each other and nurture that feeling so it flows as easily as fall to winter or day to night.

Let the good moments surround you and become a part of you.

Like Indian Summers.