Do It Today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

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

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

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

For everything you do can bring you joy.

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

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

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

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

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

Just take the moment and see what you see.

I know I’m going to.

Pillow fight in the living room!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Susanna Bauer


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Decisions … Decisions

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

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

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

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

Good question.

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

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

Two totally different worlds.

Two totally different emotions.

Or are they?

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

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

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

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

But still….

Where would you like to visit if you could?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Vanessa Davis


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Art Is Everywhere

They say art is a waste of time.

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

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

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

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

 

 

Willard Wigan

 

Ana Teresa Baraboza

 

Riusuke Fukahori

 

 

Dale Chihuly

 

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

 

Pegi Smith

 

Matt Molloy

 

Vanessa Davis

 

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

Art is all around you.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Has To Be Right

I want everything to be right. Perfect.

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

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

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

But I’m going to do it this time.

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

And finish a product to boot.

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

I have that.

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

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

A win/win for everyone, I hope.

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

Boast to me. I can take it.

For I want everything to be right. Perfect.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Anne Vallayer-Coster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take A Break From Yourself

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

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

Yep — nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Johnson Tsang

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

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

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

Between the self and other.

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Friday — Amy Casey

Amy Casey is fascinated by cityscapes.

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

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

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

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

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

Chatting With Spirit Guides

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Proofreed Everything!

I got soooo ticked off the other day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You never know what will pop up.

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

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

But an outside eye can catch things your mind cannot.

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

Now. What did you just read?

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

Neither will your readers.

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

Hope you got a chuckle out of my post.

Thank goodness it was proofread first.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Howie Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMING SOON!

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

I am not published, but I am a writer.

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

But I digress.

COMING SOON!

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

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

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!

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

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

PASS THE WORD ALONG!!

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

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

WRITE AWAY!!

 

 

 

Today I Want to Be a Poet

I’d like to be a poet today.

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

 

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

Scratch…scratch…cross out…

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

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

Bob Dylan, 1962

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

Scratch scratch…cross out…scratch scratch….

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

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

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron,  1813

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

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

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

They  make it seem so easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And keep on going.

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

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

Only then can I start to be a poet.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Luycho

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Towers Are Still in the Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I will never forget that, either.

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

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

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

The skyline that used to be but is no more.

Finding Artists in the Most Unusual Places

I find artists in the most unusual places.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet She never prevents us from flying high.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Betty Woodman

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

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

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

Faerie Paths — Cherry Faeries

 

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

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

 

 

Keeping On Point When You Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The one that grabbed my attention the most was:

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

Mistake: Your writing is a brain dump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And who doesn’t want to keep on learning?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Edward Hopper

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Blog and Friend — Cloutier Art

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

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

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

Here is his art…

 

and here is is websiteCloutier Art.

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

 

The Way Sagittarians Think about Paris

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

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

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

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

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

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

List of positives:

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

List of negatives:

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

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

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

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

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

But I wanted to go to Paris.

And I wanted to write.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned, followers. The journey has just begun.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sam Shendi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Woman (or Man) Is An Island

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

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

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

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

That’s my island.

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

That is her island.

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

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

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

Is a paycheck only a means to an end?

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

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

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

And enjoy that island breeze together.

Magic Moments — Fairyland

 

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

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

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

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

L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Bisa Butler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday Evening Art Wonderings

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

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

.

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

A Dale Chihuly:

And even a Georgia O’Keefe:

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

There was this neat hanging rock display:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ahhh….something else I need to learn….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Nolan Preece

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

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

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

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

He has his own methods and applies them meticulously.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Same Story, Different Versions

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

Well, this evening I am blogging the second style. 

Trying to give you the Cliff Notes version:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Christian Richter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Friday — Ali Mirsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Making Dreams Reality

What are we if not our dreams?

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

It depends on our dreams.

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

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

Well, I have a secret.

I have a pretend planning dream.

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

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

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

Yet I am considering it.

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

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

I am not sure.

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

Why am I even entertaining going?

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

Am I crazy?

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

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

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

Yet I know nothing.

We all know nothing.

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

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

And who knows?

Je peux aller à Paris après tout!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Beccy Ridsdel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do You Know What To Write?

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

Do you ever confuse the two?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — A.Y. Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Faerie Paths — Twilight

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

I love you, Granny…!

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

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

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

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

Which I am starting to resemble.

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

That’s me.

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

And I ask myself — who is this bousha?

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

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

Is this what happens when you get old?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kocham Cię babciu…!

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Tuesday — Ding Yi

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look! Look!

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

 

Rich Impressions

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Apple Blossom Breeze — Brenda Davis Harshman

Apple Blossom Breeze

 

Flows — My Monkey Mind

flows

 

Dancing Birds – Make Art – Magic Happens

Dancing Birds

 

Miracle — All of It… — David Kanigan

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

 

Each Leaf In Its Own Time — Leaf and Twig

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

 

What Do You Yearn For? — Jan Beek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Yearn For?

 

Not What I wanted to Hear — Walt Page

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

 

How Do You Get Others to Read Your Blog?

It’s a question all of us bloggers have. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you approach getting more readers of your blog?

Get ‘er Done

Do any of you suffer from morning-energy-itis?

That’s usually when people have the most energy — mentally and physically. Especially if you have a lull in your time/space continuum where you can do nothing but think and daydream (breaks, driving to work, waiting for the dog to do her business).

I have all this mental energy in the morning; all these great ideas of what I want to do (a) when I get home; (b) over the weekend; (c) in the short-term. Stories I want to write, jewelry I want to make, landscaping I want to get done, places I want to visit.

Yet by the time I do the drive home all I want to do is crash on the (a) sofa; (b) front deck; (c) in front of the TV.

All that great planning and fun ideas swirl down the proverbial toilet as I run out of energy, money, and drive.

Now, I’m usually still busy doing things after work or on the weekends. My friend complains I’m never home on weekends because I’m off with my kids/grandkids at soccer games or camping or anything they let me join.

While that’s true, I can’t help but feel guilty about all those other things I could be doing when I do have free time. Things I could be doing but are not doing.

Maybe that’s just the Sagittarian in me.

Us Sag’s often start out big and fizzle out before the project is through. I think we get bored at the end of the project, looking for the excitement and jolt of a new beginning, and have a hard time completing what we started.

They say I’ll have more time when I retire. My list of “wanna-do’s” is already so big I can’t imagine I’ll be able to do half of them — especially if I’m sleeping in every day.

Seeing the beads sitting in the sewing box waiting for clothes to be decorated and jewelry to be made, and the outlines of really cool stories waiting to be written, and wardrobes waiting to be sorted and recycled, and the books I’ve yet to read, I have this eerie feeling I’ll only get a fraction of my wants translated into dones.

How about you?

Do you have more plans than you know what to do with? Do you get them done? Does it bother you that you can’t possibly do everything you daydream of?

Or do you just blow it all off and start all over again with new projects?

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Monday — Mosaic Art Buildings

For one moment, look at the tiles.

The Dome of the Century

 

Forget religion, forget context

 

Just look at the intricate work

Blue Mosque Ceiling

These are examples of Mosaic Tile Art

Moroccan Art

 

It could be Islamic Art, Arabian Art, Persian Art, Moroccan Art

Golden Mosaics in the Dome of the Great Mosque

 

But it is all intricately beautiful

Dome of the Rock

 

All made of pieces of glass fitted together

I just thought you would like to see the beauty of man

in mosaic tile form.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers do many things for us…but hopefully they make us smile.

To all mothers, mothers-to-be, adopted mothers, ex-mothers, and those who spoil and mother children, here are some fun mother phrases and what they really mean…

Happy Mothers Day!

 

 

A face only a mother could love

 

Everybody and their mother

 

Fairy god mother

 

You kiss your mother with that mouth?

 

The Mother Lode

 

‘Yo Mamma

 

Mother Hen

 

Mama’s Boy

 

Mother Nature

 

Queen Mother   

Come On — Let’s Go Dreaming!

I am in one of my magical moods this evening. One of my “anything is possible” states of mind.

Do you get those now and then? 

Those times when who you really are comes through, and it’s amazing?

It’s like when I get in the “zone” when I write. It doesn’t happen all the time…I think I would burn out like a firework if it did. Or reading a book that I just can’t put down. It’s read read read crash.  It’s that adrenaline rush that teases as it blows in and out of my life.

The one thing about my pretzel view of the world is that I’m often in and out of all sorts of adrenaline rushes. The basics never change…writing, cheeseburgers, looking for artists for SEAG. 

But other nirvanas blow in and out like Wisconsin weather. One day I love yogurt, two weeks later, ick. I was on a kick for a while of a homemade snack mix of sesame mix and chocolate Chex mix and pecans. That lasted two big containers full. The container has been empty and put away for weeks. Now I’m into raspberry sherbet, but I haven’t bought any in over a week, so who knows.

My interest in airy fairy always stays the same, though, even though my choice of airy fairy changes with that same wind. 

Now I’m into dreaming. I want to do more. 

Everyone dreams, but most just don’t remember them. It has to do with waking at certain times and slipping back into REM sleep and a whole bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo I’m not interested in.

What I am interested in these days is remembering those crazy mind trips.

Watching yourself in a dream. Controlling your dream. Making choices in your dream. Knowing you’re dreaming and following wherever it goes.

It sounds so simple, yet any idea of “control” is as far away as Pluto. I mean, how do you control the madness of your mind at so-called rest?

I know dreams are supposed to be reflections of what’s in your head during the day. A way of working out problems and situations and romances and your deepest fears. Blah blah blah. I don’t care about figuring out anything.

I just want to be able to remember and record these dream trips I have so I can look back at them and wonder “where did that come from? Man, that was fun!”

Something I read said that creative people tend to have more lucid dreaming. Are an active part of their own dreams. Of course, the line between creativity and madness is a thin one. I suppose that’s what drove Van Gogh to paint Starry Night and cut off his ear in the same lifetime. 

You are all creative people out there. I keep encouraging you to come forward, but you are timid. I see. I understand. Do you have wild dreams? Do you enjoy them? Like them? Are frightened by them?

I took a book out of the library earlier this evening on dreaming. If my attention span lasts on this I’ll let you know what I learn. My creative urges, as they are, will most likely take me in another direction somewhere down the road, but let’s have fun while we’re here!

 

A Stroll Through the Gallery

I was trying to do something “creative” last evening (rather than watch reruns of the Closer), but didn’t feel the burn, so to speak. So I went wandering back through my Sunday Evening Art Gallery, and was reminded of so many cool artists I’ve covered through the years.

So, as you can already anticipate, here are some unique people and their unique ideas and not-so-unique-but normal links to catch more of their work.

Remember these?  Come to http://www.sundayeveningartgallery.com any time!

 

Ramon Bruin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latchezar Boyadjiev    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stairway to Nowhere

 

 

Aquariums

 

 

Jennifer Maestre

 

 

Dale Chihuly

 

 

Harps

 

 

Wolf Kahn

 

 

Vladimir Rumyantsev

 

Hope to see you over there!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Gerald Nailor

Gerald Nailor (1917–1952), Navajo artist, was born in 1917 in Pinedale, New Mexico.From the time of his marriage to a Picuris Indian woman until his death in 1952, he lived in Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico.

His formal art study was obtained in two years at the U. S. Indian School in Santa Fe; a year of study under the Swedish muralist Olaf Nordemark.While the greater part of his work stemmed from his vivid imagination and knowledge of Navajo myth, his interest in design and color of wildlife is also a notable source of picture material.He was an extraordinary artist whose cross the boundaries of nationalities.He perfected the facile, decorative manner for which he was early noted.

Gerald Nailor‘s work can be found across the Internet.

 

 

Craft Me This …


I have to say one thing about a creative person — when they get in their “supplies” element, they are like a kid on sugar with a kicker of Mountain Dew. 

People ask us why we like to sit and sew beads on clothes or make little earrings or crochet row after row after row of rows or write boring scenery descriptions or woodwork a cigar box or coffee table. After all, it all seems so boring!

I wonder if these people have truly ever seen creativity let loose in a craft or other specialty store.

I just spent the day with two of my best friends hitting stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and even Good Will. Talk about kids in a candy shop!

I myself am the novice of the group. I write, and also sew bling onto my t-shirts and other inanimate clothing. My other friends are marvelous crafters. One is big BIG into scrap-booking with an occasional crocheted blanket thrown in; the other sews jackets and crochets scarves and other things. One love LOVES paper and trim and little signs you past onto pages and patterned paper for special occasion pages. The other loves every color of yarn there is, along with long, lingering tippy finger tip touching of bolts and bolts of materials with quilts and little jackets in mind for her granddaughter. 

Me? I get brain freeze in the beads aisle. 

The point is, it’s easy to see why creative people love their craft. When in their element, when surrounded by people who understand why they stand in front of a rack of crystals-on-a-string for 10 minutes wondering what they could sew those onto, creative people leave this universe and enter an alternate reality.

In that alternate world they are Master Creators. They can make anything any time, any where, and it will be so magnificent even the angels will squint and say “holy moley!” Time has no meaning in a creative person’s alternate world; when you’re lost writing that perfect passage of love and passion or pensive thought, there is no time sheet. Love takes as long as it takes to write. No more, no less. 

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started surrounding myself with creative people. Not because I’ve changed friends — but because I’ve found out the people I’ve been around for a good chunk of my life are pretty creative on the side. I know painters, quilters, writers, lure makers, poets, wood carvers, fishermen, wood workers, sign makers, dog trainers, and more. Every one loves their craft. Every one of them strive to be better than they were yesterday. And aren’t we all like that in a way?

So some time when you’re bored, ask your neighbor or friend or co-worker what their creative craft is. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And if you’re lucky, one day you will be wandering up and down the craft store aisle when a sticker or pearl bead or a piece of wood catches your eye.  Then we will be wandering through the store looking for you, calling out your name.

Holey Moley!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Wednesday — Ana Teresa Barboza

Ana Teresa Barboza creates colorful embroidery art that depicts natural forms found in plant life and landscapes.

Barboza has been drawn to creating full landscapes with yarn and thread, embroidering large tapestries with rivers, valleys, and waves that spill out from the wall and rest on the floor. 

Born in Lima, Perú in 1980,  Barboza lives and works in her native city.  

Her use of manual crafts became the means to convey a meditative and powerful observation with the environment and her relationship with reality. 

Barboza’s work pushes the boundaries of embroidery by incorporating different disciplines, such as illustration and photography.

 

More of Ana Teresa Barboza’s amazing tapestries can be found at http://anateresabarboza.blogspot.com.

 

Babble by You

giphyI’ve been writing a lot of posts lately that I haven’t posted. I wonder what’s up with that.

Do you just think and write and post all in one grand, sweeping motion? Or do you think and research and write and rewrite and let it sit for a day or two before pushing that little blue button?

I used to be of the first variety. I thought my experiences as a middle-aged woman might be humorous and of help to those going through, well, middle age, and that I had to post right as I thought. But lately my experiences are more like complaints that have no beginning and no end, and I have a lot of second thoughts. And third ones too.

I just looked last night and found I have about a dozen blogs in various stages of creation. And looking back at them I think…how boring. Been there, done that.

Maybe that’s why art has such a fascination for me now. A world I’ve barely explored until recently.

I”m finding that true with blogs I follow these days, too.  I’m not worldly wise, but most blogs I come across have aspirations that have already come and gone in my life. Goals I’ve already set and either met or missed. Some blogs I’ve come across are more like journals, recording random thoughts and suppositions as the writer comes to grip with some cosmic searching. I did that 20 years ago with my own journaling.

So why am I so dissatisfied with my personal quips in here these days? Am I just getting old? Have I heard it all, seen it all?

On the cosmic scale I’m still a toddler. There’s so much I don’t understand. So much to learn. To explore. But on the emotional level I’m a crone. Felt that, broke that, lived through that. And I find no need to re-experience it all. I need new worlds to write about. Read about. Both inner and outer spaces.

Plus I don’t think I’m as witty as I once thought. As fluent of a writer as I once was. I still write like mad at home, but those are fantasy stories that don’t mind a bit of embellishment. In this blog I find I’m more truthful, and the truth is often boring.

That’s why I love following you. Exploring new blogs and commenting on as many as time allows. I think I need to read about places, both inner and outer, I’ve never been before. I’m going to visit those who have just started following me and those who have been around for years. See what you’re all about.

And anyway….I’d rather babble by you than by me….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917)  never reconciled himself to the label of “Impressionist,” preferring to call himself a “Realist” or “Independent.”

Nevertheless, he was one of the organizers of the first impressionist exhibition in 1874, and remained influential in the group, but his own work was deliberate and controlled, painted in the studio from sketches, notes, and memory.

Like the Impressionists, Degas sought to capture fleeting moments in the flow of modern life, yet he showed little interest in painting plein-air landscapes, favoring scenes in theaters and cafés illuminated by artificial light, which he used to clarify the contours of his figures, adhering to his academic training.

He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers.

His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.

Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, Degas’ involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists.

Degas summed it us thus: “A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”

More of Edgar Degas‘ magnificent art can be found around the Internet.