Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Tohukiro Kawai

Tohukiro Kawai is a Japanese surrealist contemporary artist who’s best known for his regal cat paintings.Unique and whimsical, the paintings of royal cats look both majestic and kingly while at the same time putting a smile on the spectator’s face.By drawing inspiration from the Renaissance style of painterly technique, Kawai delivers a unique visual style full of myths, legends, and fantasies.Kawai wants to work on the fragile bond between story and picture to bring the two into reunion.Since gods and faith are less related to our modern society, Kawai “complements the theme with his own imagination,” the artist’s official page reads.Kawai’s paintings are always illustrations without chapters with classical technique portraying stories of modern lives.

More of Tohukiro Kawai‘s whimsical paintings can be found at http://www5.plala.or.jp/kawaitokuhiro/Top.html.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Crowns

Could it only have been December of 2014 that I introduced the world of Crowns to my friends and followers? One stone on one crown on one head could pay for your house. Two stones would allow you to fly around the world. Let’s go play in the imagination and see what royalty would bring us!

 

Royal Crown of India

 

Queen Mary’s Coronation Crown

 

 

Minor Imperial Crown of Russia

 

 

Crrown of Iran
Crown of Iran

 

 

Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire

 

 

Queen Crown of Bavaria

 

 

Crown of King Martin I of Sicily and Aragon

 

 

Crown of Hallie Selassie

 

 

Tiara of Pope Pius IX

 

 

Crown of Empress Kunigunde

 

 

Kiani Crown of Persia

 

A lot more Imperial Crowns can be found over at the Gallery. Come on over and try a few on!

 

 

Hamilton and Beyond

Last night I watched the play Hamilton on the Disney Channel. I have wanted to see this production since it came out four years ago, but never made it to a theater near me.

There is something about live performances that is nothing like a movie or a video or a string of pictures. It’s something fresh and raw. You share the energy directly with the actors; you don’t have an editor cutting out mistakes or miscues like in the movie world. You are right there with every breath they take. Every tear they hide.

This performance was amazing.

That is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the performance.

Amazing.

What is more amazing is that Lin-Manuel Mandala did it all. The music, the lyrics, the dialogue.

Every now and then you come across someone who is classified as a genius in their special field. Newton. Einstein. Currie. Plato. Aristotle. People who were able to think “out of the box.” So much so that they are the best of the best in their field.

I cannot judge if Lin-Manuel is in the same category as Einstein, but his creativity provided two hours of magic. Rapping, dialogue, story line, music — a magical explosion of creativity.

We are all genuises in our own way. Every time you create some sort of art you are expanding and changing reality to fit your own personal vision. Sometimes, if you are lucky enough, you pop through the ceiling and find a way to share your talent with the world on a massive scale. Lin-Manuel certainly did.

But if you can’t pop through that almost impermeable ceiling,  should you just give up and go back to your day job?

What if your creativity is your day job?

What I have seen, through all my years, all my desires and dreams, is that you just have to keep being you. You have to push yourself, both creatively and socially. You want to get more people to view your work — work on it. Want to move forward on the tract of notoriety? Work on it.

Fame doesn’t just walk in the door and say “let’s go.” It may knock and run, pass your door completely, or say “I’ll be back later.”  You have to work hard no matter what comes your way. Work hard to improve, to diversify, to perfect your craft.

And enjoy what you do every day you do it.

It took Lin-Manuel Mandala seven years to write Hamilton. He worked hard, created hard. He crossed the barrier from creative sprite to genius. Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. But never give up. Give your art all you have.

Einstein will be proud.

 

 

I See You Peeking In …

I have noticed that the number of followers for my blog has been slowly increasing lately, and for that I am soooo grateful. It means so much to me that you are either enjoying my BoHo Chic Old Lady offerings, my newly discovered Faerie Paths, or my love of discovery of unique art.

And I’ve been thinking. I would bet that more than a few of you are artistically inclined. The spectrum of creativity is far and wide. And I’d love to know about it. About YOU.

I’ve gone on about others’ creativity for years. I have made friends with poets, painters, fabric artists,  and potters. I’ve shared their art and websites to encourage my readers to explore further the gifts we all are given.

If you are developing an artistic talent, why not let me know? You don’t have to be first in your field to talk about your creative direction — just someone who loves what they do.

Send me an email at writing.unicorn@gmail.com and tell me about your art. Do you have a website? Do you have pictures of your work? Are you trying to learn a particular skill? Have questions?  You can also answer this post and I can go through it and put something together.

True artists get excited about other artists. Help promote each other. Encourage each other.

Let me share a little bit about you!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Benjamin Sack

Benjamin Sack is an American artist who received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011..Sack’s work explores architecture as a flexible medium capable of expressing the unique space between realism and abstraction; where interpretation and our ability to create meaning is in flux.

Sack draws a majority of his inspiration from art history and classical music.By combining these interests, Sack’s works become symphonies of ink.Skyscrapers, bridges, cupolas, and arches all packed densely together create a city that could hardly be navigated, but when viewed from above result in a sort of chaotic perfection.His work invites the eye to explore drawings of the “big picture,” to gaze into a kaleidoscope of histories and to look further into the elemental world of lines and dots.More of Benjamin Sack‘s intricate work can be found at https://www.bensackart.com.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Wine Glasses

Back in February of 2015 I had a blast creating a Sunday Evening Art Gallery about Wine Glasses. Sometimes it was hard to determine what was a wine glass and what was a goblet and what was a chalice, but, hey — to drink out of these is to take a drink on the wild side!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find a lot more fun wine glasses in the Gallery! Have fun!

A Warm Monday

It is a wonderfully warm-to-hot Monday  here in the Midwest. The butterflies, although fewer in number this year, still come and check out the flowers on my deck, and at night the faerie fireflies tantalize me with hints of their world just beyond my sight.

My sinuses have been rearing their nasty heads lately — I don’t know if it is allergies or sinusitis or just plain old lady sinuses.  But they do make concentrating for any serious amount of time laborious.

It’s the kind of day to sneak in visits to the shaded part of the porch just to enjoy the breeze that tickles your hair and tinkles the windchimes.

If I were a sketcher it might be a perfect time to sketch the black and white butterfly who likes to alight on the white plastic rocker, or the indigo bunting who finds breakfast in the bird feeder.

If I were a painter I would highlight the multi colors of a potted zinnia or the bright pink geraniums that punctuate the lines of the deck, or the different hues of the variety of trees that line the yard.

If I were a potter I would mimic the textures of the leaves and the stones in the driveway and the webbing of the chairs and the beading of the macrame plant hanger in my next creation. My work would reflect the color of the sandy soil, the clay pots, or the weather-worn wood that surrounds my house.

If I were a song writer I would use the staccatos of the birds singing and the notes that accompany their song to create a new and fresh summer melody. I would include the tones of children’s laughter in the distance and the pitch of the dogs’ howls and the sound of the wind blowing through the pine trees.

If I were wood carver I would create wonderful pieces made from fallen trees in the woods. And if I were a creative artist I would combine the rocks from the driveway and the sand from the grandkids’ sandbox and make the most lovely rock gardens and if I were a gardener I would create amazing flower and vegetable gardens that would make the specialty grower jealous.

But I am none of these.

I am merely an average writer who is suffering from sinus pressure and a momentary lapse of inspiration.

Aren’t we all that at one time or another?

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Shirley Quaid

A child of Oklahoma, Shirley Quaid has lived in numerous states as an adult,  but the trail always led back to home, Oklahoma.Her early upbringing on her grandfather’s farm in her formative years had a great influence on her work.Shirley began painting after her children were raised and had her first studio in the back of her husband’s offices in Wewoka, Oklahoma.Her childhood fascination with all things in the 1880’s fueled her eventual concentration on Western Art.She is fascinated with the spirit of living beings, both human and not,  and is happily surprised and delighted when she can reveal their life’s light in her work.Rural Oklahoma called her back in 2016 where she can be found on a daily basis in her studio happily painting images of the people of the American frontier in a representation style.More of Shirley Quaid’s amazing work can be found at https://www.shirleyquaid.com/

 

 

Happy Creativity

I’ve been having the most marvelous time these past few weeks writing my novel.

Now, hopefully we all have times of pleasure pursuing our creative endeavors. Otherwise, why would we bother?

But I had to chuckle. Not long ago I was writing blogs about fearing research (Research Overload) and overthinking and overwhelming (Am I/I Am Overthinking?).

These were, and ARE, legitimate concerns for most of us any time we think about taking on a project larger than ourselves. And we should  be cautious. We should give thought about exactly what we want to accomplish and how we will get there.

But once we push through all the intimidation, apprehension, and false starts, once we start moving forward on creating our dream work, we find that we can really enjoy the ride.

I found that I didn’t need to fill in the days and nights ahead of time. I didn’t need to have every encounter outlined, every reaction accounted for. That I could follow a general direction and fill it in one research day at a time.

Did I worry myself into an early grave? Hardly. But at the beginning it felt like it. 

At the beginning I couldn’t see how I could possibly create a life-like situation from a non-life situation. How I could be the participant in an adventure I never went on.

Then I started to write.

An introduction. A general feeling. A general direction. I loved to write, so I knew I wouldn’t let my inability to research or function stop me. I researched every place, every reference, every food. I thought about how I would react if I were really to see and do the things my lead character does.

And it became easier.

Your projects will become easier, too. 

Sometimes you do need an exact outline, an exact layout, of whatever it is you wish to create. You can’t willy nilly a landscape painting without wondering about the trees, the houses, the season. Same is true for the design of a mosaic or a mural.

Once you get that general feeling, that general outline, in your head, you can start creating. You can go wild, stay straight, or take a quick left turn, if that’s what your muse tells you to do.

You can break the rules once you know what the rules are.

I still have quite a few things to work out, including the big last night climax. I haven’t a clue yet as to who it is with or what it is or what they will talk about. But I know it will come.

Here’s to each and every one of you having a blast with your creations. Hard work pays off, if only in the heart, often in ways you cannot imagine.

And there is nothing greater than a payoff from the heart.

 

 

Dreams — A Second Time

stock-photo_george-redhawkI was going to write about some weird dreams I’ve been having lately, but when going through my blog topics I came across this one. I’d rather share what other people think about dreams….

October is for Dreams

With the growth of social media, people are throwing out inspirational and tell-tale quotes left and right. So in honor of October, the month of Dreams, I have gathered some wonderful ditties you can post away whenever you are in need of something deep, warm, and mystical to say……..

 

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. ~ Oscar Wilde

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?  ~ John Lennon

It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream. ~ Edgar Alan Poe

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. ~ T.E.  Lawrence

A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~ Victor Hugo

I’ve dreamed a lot. I’m tired now from dreaming but not tired of dreaming. No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake. In dreams I have achieved everything. ~ Fernando Pessoa

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together. ~ Jack Kerouac

The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened. ~ James Arthur Baldwin

All men whilst they are awake are in one common world: but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own. ~ Plutarch

Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy. ~ Sigmund Freud

Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. ~ H.F. Hedge

Dreams are more real than reality itself, they’re closer to the self. ~ Gao Xingjian

In sleep, fantasy takes the form of dreams. But in waking life, too, we continue to dream beneath the threshold of consciousness, especially when under the influence of repressed or other unconscious complexes. ~ Carl Jung

Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you. ~ Marsha Norman

A dream is a microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul. ~ Erich Fromm

Dreams are the most curious asides and soliloquies of the soul. When a man recollects his dream, it is like meeting the ghost of himself. Dreams often surprise us into the strangest self-knowledge…. Dreaming is the truest confessional, and often the sharpest penance. ~ Alexander Smith

The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time.” ~ Haruki Murakami

You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting. ~ J.M. Barrie

I was born to catch dragons in their dens
And pick flowers
To tell tales and laugh away the morning
To drift and dream like a lazy stream
And walk barefoot across sunshine days. ~ James Kavanaugh

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Amy Giacomelli 

Amy Giacomelli started her career in art in 1988 by joining the Entertainment Industry union as a mural artist.Over the years she has painted countless murals and backdrops for studios such as Disney, CBS and Warner Bros., as well as lots of independent shops.Her colorful gallery includes cats, birds, flowers, dogs, landscapes, and other subjects that burst with color and imagination.For Amy, color is at the core of her style.She does a fabulous job of conveying emotion and movement through vibrant shades, well mixed to create bright and beautiful pieces.Often depicting nature, her work draws inspiration from real life, while translating it into more abstract expression..With a background in painting murals, it should be no surprise that Amy enjoys large pieces, sometimes broken up into multi panel works..More of Amy Giacomelli’s work can be found at https://amy-giacomelli.pixels.com/ and https://www.etsy.com/shop/AmyGiacomelli

Faerie Paths — Saturday Morning

 

Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young, the music issued at the lips. There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust-trees were in bloom, and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air. 

 ~Mark Twain

 

 

 

Gif Time!

I realized the other day that I haven’t shared any gifs lately… gifs for you to enjoy, for you to download, or for you to ask “how do they DO that??” Sometimes I use them for blogs — other times I just sit and watch them move.

Although there are millions of gifs all over the Internet, I thought I’d share a few that I found truly unique. A hot June day is the perfect time to share the mesmerizing and delightful world of Graphics Interchange Formats  — gifs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find more fun gifs on my past posts:

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

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Alexandra Spyratos

Alexandra Spyratos was born in Kenya where she lives most of her life surrounded by the exotic beauty and wilderness of Africa.Influenced by her colorful background, translating the heat and the exotic beauty of the African wildlife to canvas has become Spyratos’ passion and spiritual goal.This prolific artist has become known for her bold and individual style.Her paintings are rich and textured with oxidized patterned gold and copper leaf, recreating the physicality and textures of the wild that inspires her.Her medium sees a diverse direction evolving into the elegance and glamour of gold, silver and copper leaf combines with the fluorescence.The combination is dynamic and adds a fresh and energetic dimension to her art, aptly termed as “Bohemian Chic”.Alexandra’s artistic presentation of the elephant, ostrich, buffalo, giraffe and predominantly the regal zebra, swirls about and leaps to her palette in representational form.It is this deep inspiration from the heart of Africa that has emerged in Alexandra’s painting of the wildlife and has evolved into a style that straddles all genre and is uniquely her own.More of Alexandra Spyratos can be found at www.facebook.com/alexandraartart/.

 

 

 

 

Get ‘er Goin’!

I thank you for visiting me and the Goddess this week while I was on vacation with my family up  nort’. Again. It is just a wonderful reprise to the daily grind of politics, viruses, hoarder houses, and such.

Even though these weekends are stressful as far as running around with three kids and three dogs, they are fulfilling. At least until my energy runs out. What these getaways also do is refocus my being to things that really matter in life.

But then you come home, kids go one way, you another. And there you are. Vibrating on the sofa, re-circling, refocusing, recharging and open like a toddler.

And you think — what now?

Who wants to go back to washing and folding laundry and doing dishes and mowing the lawn and sitting at a desk answering phones all day?

Who needs it?

If I have learned anything from this C19 nightmare is that most of us need it in one form or another. Kids need to get out of the house and go to school and see friends and stress over math assignments. Moms and dads need to get out of the house and go back to the office and deal with know-it-alls and office gossip and sales goals. Even retired grannies need to get out of the house and join community organizations that help people in one way or another and meet friends for coffee and get back to quilting or writing or whatever they do.

Sitting in the house day after day with nothing but the TV and radio is not good for the creative spirit.

I have written some of my best stories based on people I’ve worked with, places I’ve driven, conversations I’ve either overheard or had myself. The green trees and grass and wild fields around my house are beautiful, but after a while they lose their stimulation ability.

We need to be curious outside our parentheses. We can’t hide from the world and get settled in and do nothing. The world will keep changing but you will not. And one day visitors won’t be able to distinguish you from the beige flowered couch you sit upon.

After a while without people and places and things you find yourself with nothing to talk about. Grandkids can only tell you so many times about the fish that got away or how many hot dogs they ate one day. You can only talk about the old days so much before you finally become boring.

Without outside connections, without outside interactions, you really can turn into a slug. Even if you’re surrounded by grandkids and dogs.

If they aren’t stimulated by something new, neither will you be. If you can’t get out there and bring new and interesting things into their world they will turn out to be 8am-8pm internet slugs…. and so will you.

So, as much as I loved my time away, I am very happy to be back in my up and down world of the mind. I have projects to finish, projects to plan, projects to give up. And it’s only Monday!

Get on up and out today!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Girl Grey Beauty

Canadian makeup artist Andrea Reed has been busy transforming her lips into colorful and spectacular works of art and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Going by the online name of Girl Grey Beauty, Reed has earned herself more than 100,000 followers on Instagram for her lip transformations than can range from Tartan patterns to classical artworks.

Andrea’s feed, which has 900 photos of her lips covered in complex images, were all drawn (and designed) by her, using liquid lipsticks, liquid eyeliners, and a ton of skinny brushes.

“I like to use tiny painting brushes from the art store to create each look,” Andrea shares.

If that sounds impossibly time-consuming, Andrea assures that it most definitely is.“The application alone takes around one-to-two hours, depending on the difficulty and detail level of the lip art,” she says, adding that the entire process (from conception to retouching and editing) can take up to six hours.Her work is whimsical and spectacular. A bit of fun with a lot of talent.

More of Andrea Reed’s amazing beauty work can be found at https://www.instagram.com/girlgreybeauty/ and https://www.facebook.com/girlgreybeauty/.

The Morning Fog

http://www.brendajwiley.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the day
To dream
To sit in the middle
of the grey sky
And watch the mist
swirl by.
Take the day
And embrace
the nothingness.
No rules.
No goals.
True inspiration
A glass that’s never full.
The fog rolls in
At its own pace
Not asking, not caring
What rules are broken
What direction
It should take
Sleepy distraction
The soul whispers
Today is the day
Words to a forgotten story
A glimmer of days passed
And future hopes
Subtle strings coax
Music from the soul
And just for the moment
You are there.
In the future
And the past.

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Big Heads

MlmI’m certain we all know of people who have “big heads” — those who think they know more than they really do. But I had fun back in December 2014 sharing with you artists’ versions of the big head. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Giant Heads can be found in the Gallery at https://wp.me/p5LGaO-3E. 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mark Messersmith

 

Mark Messersmith (1955-)  was born in Kansas City, Missouri lives and works in Tallahassee, Florida where he teaches at Florida State University.

The artist extends beyond the frame of his central images surveying man’s ruin. He also includes a small frieze of vignettes at the bottom and sculptural adornments at the frame’s edge.

His work explores themes of spirit and struggle within the modern world’s natural environments.

Messersmith likes to focus on the habitats of Florida’s animals in the way they live and react to one another.

In his words, “My work is really about our relationship to all other living creatures at this precarious moment, a place midway between hope and despair.”

His works reflect plants and animals, which are still able to survive,  often in small isolated natural habitats, and the effects of their inevitable forced migration, dislocation, or isolation.

His works build on stories (either real or conjectured), along with observations and concerns for the creatures that move within the shrinking environs they inhabit.

More of Mark Messersmith‘s inspirational work can be found at https://markmessersmith.com.

 

Knee-Jerk Response

Today was a step into the Twilight Zone. Between being spacey from pain meds for my dental work yesterday to trying to finish up cleaning a house in another city to driving to the DNV to find it closed two days in a row, I have been feeling quite disjointed.

Then today happened.

Walking into the police department (where the DNV was), a van was honking at me. I ignored it and went inside. Closed. Came back outside and the van was pulled into the parking lot across the street. I pulled my car out of the parking spot and noticed the man from that van heading towards me.

There was nobody else around. This middle-aged, balding man with a mask was walking towards my car. 

I, in my infinite wisdom, thought, “Oh no. Here comes a terrorist coming to kill me.”

“Did you honk at me?” I asked. Flight or fight. Flight or fight. I am too chicken to fight, too self-conscious to drive away. The man came up to my car. My window was wide open (I have no A/C in this car.)

“Can you help me please? I cannot find this place,” he said in a heavy foreign accent. More terrorist feed, like tempting a kid with candy before snatching them up and disappearing. 

I put my car into park. He held out his phone to me. On it was a picture of a business card of a financial

something-or-other. The address was one I wasn’t familiar with. I should have said sorry, no, and took off.

But instead I said, “I’m from a different town. But let me check my GPS on my phone and see where this is.” So I did just that. 

Turns out he was just on the wrong side of Main Street. “It’s over next to the library,” I offered. 

“You know where that is?” he asked. I nodded. “Then will you take me there? Please?”

So now what do I do? What do you think I did?

“Sure,” I said.

This man thanked me and blessed me and blessed my family. He wished me long life and blessings. He followed my car down the street, across Main Street, and, turning in from of the library, I pulled over, pointing him to the building across the street. He thanked me and blessed me and blessed my family again. I blessed him too.

And I felt like such a heel.

I hate that knee-jerk reaction when someone different than you talks/looks/approaches you. It’s a generational thing, to be sure. From our parents to us, racial discrimination and judgment is real. We don’t necessarily feel that prejudice, but somewhere in our past we’ve been exposed to it and our automatic flight or fight instinct turns on. And the news and social media and events of the past few days hasn’t helped.

I was ashamed I was afraid of this man. Yes, people do get murdered or attacked in small towns everywhere. But the actual percentage of it being you is so small that the odds of someone attacking you in particular are practically nill. 

And it’s more important to help than to run. At least it is to me. I can’t be afraid of the whole world my whole life. What will be is what will be. 

I am glad I helped the man find his building. I am glad he blessed me and my family. I blessed him and his family, too.

I wish the rest of the world could learn a lesson from this.

Today Is The Day

How many times have you said, “Today is the day”?

Not like in “today is the day I catch a plane to Paris” or “today is the day I see the dentist.”

It’s more like “today is the day I’m going to change” or “today is the day I am going to exercise” or “today is the day I’m going to tackle my insomnia.”

I think more times than we care to admit.

Today I’m going to write. Today I’m going to eat healthier. Today I’m going to take a walk with the dog. Today … Today … Today.

And Today comes and goes and we haven’t done one thing to better ourselves.

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe we’re too busy. Maybe our attention is focused elsewhere. Maybe we are a little more depressed or tired or confused and don’t have the energy to pull off our Today.

I know I’ve said that phrase more times than I can remember. I can’t remember what I was changing, but Today was always going to be THE DAY.

I would sometimes get half-way through the promised land and get distracted. Or up and quit and say who cares. I would give up or plain forget about my life changing vow.

Maybe that’s just being human.

Maybe it’s more than that.

Once again I have started today with good intentions. I’m not conquering the world: I’m not climbing Mt. Everest or working at a hospital saving lives or driving to Chicago to stop the rioting.

I’m merely starting my journey today, one step at a time.

I need to regulate my sleeping. I need to stop drinking caffeine after noon or, better yet, not take it in at all. I need to make a point of walking more, even if it’s around the yard a couple of times. I need to stop shoveling in carbs every time I’m hungry.

You see — your journey isn’t really all that hard. Don’t try and change the world; don’t try and change you. Not all at once.

Hold the words “Today is the day” as if they were sacred whispers. Don’t make your goals bigger than you can handle in one day.

After all, today is only one day.

But it can always be THE day…..

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Frank Lloyd Wright

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

Taliesin

 

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

Dana Thomas House

 

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

Fallingwater

 

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

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium

 

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

Unitarian Society Meeting House

 

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

Affleck House

 

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

Lewis Spring House

 

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

Nathan G. Moore House

 

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

I’m Still Standing — And So Are You

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

Everybody has heard of Elton John.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Fabric Art by Laura Kate

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

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

 

Return to Lake Montgomery

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

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

 

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Molly Hatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Svetlana Bobrova

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Going Up Nort’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would like to think so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s peace and quiet.

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

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

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mandalas

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

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

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

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

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

The word mandala conjures up steady breathing and concentration patterns.

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

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

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

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Aquariums

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Ah-Ha vs. Good Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

You Can’t Go Wrong With the Arts

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

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

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

Has that ever happened to you? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any of them.

Let me know what projects you have finally undertaken …. 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ramon Todo

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

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

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

 

Blue — A Poem

 

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

 

©Claudia 2020

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Jade

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch What You Say

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

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

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

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

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

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

This world makes me sad, sometimes.

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

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

But we can’t break down now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re all we’ve got.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — James Michalopoulos

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Creative and Share!

Grandkids Get Creative

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

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

 

https://dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/

 

https://friendlyfairytales.com/

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

 

https://ivors20.wordpress.com/

There must be a number of silent masks around

Yesterday an old mask flew away at the speed of sound

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

 

https://gwenniesgardenworld.wordpress.com/

 

https://chaoticshapes.com/

 

https://anthonygrootelaar.blog/

 

https://rakupottery.ca/

 

https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/

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

 

https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/

 

https://thelonelyauthorblog.com/

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

 

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Keep Your Glitter!

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

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

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

That’s not right.

I feel so blasé about everything. Except my stress. 

THAT I can’t seem to control. 

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

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

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

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

So you still have to go through it. 

You HAVE to find ways to go through it.

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

You have to do that, too.

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

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

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

But you will be living with yourself.

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

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

Even if we all don’t like glitter.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Charles Vickery

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Louise Bourgeois

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Diana Al-Hadid

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dreaming

Vladimir Rumyantsev

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like when I was working.

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

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

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

Choice.

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

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

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

 

 

Am I/I Am Overthinking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Gary Greenburg

www.sandgrains.com.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out more at Sunday Evening Art Gallery.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Rice Patty Art

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

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

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

Behavior During the Pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you seen anything interesting these days?