Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Forrest Bess

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

Burning Bush

 

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

Matilda

 

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

And All the Things I Have Forgotten

 

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

Dedication to Van Gogh

 

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

Premonition

 

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

I Can See Through Myself

 

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

Untitled

 

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

Seascape With Sun

 

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Midweek — Doug Rowell

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Midweek — Kurt Wenner

https://kurtwenner.com/

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

More at Sunday Evening Art Gallery – Kurt Wenner

More Art for the Stay at Home Crowd

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

So…..

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

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

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

We’ll be set lose soon enough.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Tuesday — Iven Kawi

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ken H. Leung

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

Free Time To Do … What?

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

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

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

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

It feels good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bling a Little Bling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop Yelling at Me

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

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

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

Well, my friends, my cage has been rattled.

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

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

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

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

It makes me hesitant to post anything anymore.

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

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

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

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

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

Stop being a bully.

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Melissa Schmidt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People and the Coronavirus

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

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

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

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

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

Toilet paper.

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

People, people, people. What is going on?

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

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

Deaths in the U.S.:

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

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

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

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

Compare that to:

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

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

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

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

What is happening?

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

We are talking about John Q. Public.

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

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

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

 

Inspiration from Downton Abbey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Wenqin Chen

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Many Succulents — This Made Me Smile Today

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

Happy Friday!

 

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

via So Many Succulents — This Made Me Smile Today

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Gordon Pembridge

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

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

My Old Cat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life’s too short not to cuddle.

Let It Go!

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

It also brought inspiration through my door once again. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But for whom?

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

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

And isn’t that the beauty of being human?

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

What are your creative plans for the week? 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Tytus Brzozowski

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

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

 

 

 

What Are You Working On This Monday?

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

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

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

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

Nothing seems to “click”.

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

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

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

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

Or maybe you will give up rhyming all together. 

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

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Christine Van Sickle

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

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

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

Saturday Pretzel Thoughts

©Pretzel Logic – A Steely Dan Revue

Saturday Evening.

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

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

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

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

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

I wouldn’t know about that.

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

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

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

I hate being distracted all the time.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Silent Voices of the Night

Beautiful imagery in poetry for your Thursday…..

Purplerays

Silent Voices of the Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View original post 81 more words

Retired Is Just a Word

I am having a hard time being retired.

First off, I don’t care for the old-timer word. Retired is for old doctors and ancient teachers. Active, fun, pretzel women (and men) don’t “retire.” We merely switch gears.

It’s funny how certain words stick with us all our lives. Good ones, like awesome and bama-lam. But other words, negative words, follow us all our lives, too. Retired. Old. Fat. Stupid. Words that have no business being in the English language at all.

We are taught to believe what others say. Not to listen to our inner selves, our inner clock. That somehow what someone else thinks is more important than what we think.

Human beings believe in themselves until they are taught not to.

Some outside opinions make sense. Eat three meals a day. Get some exercise. Put on a heavy coat when the temperatures drop. You don’t look well.

And we need to grow. We need to expand our memory, our capacity for learning. We always can use a little more polishing as we turn from child to adult. But while progress is an important part of life, we can move forward without the negative words.

We don’t need to downgrade someone else to make ourselves feel better.

I don’t understand why the world can’t be filled with positive words all the time. Smart. Healthy. Inquisitive. Simpleton notation, I realize. But it sure beats putting a shadow before every step.

Back to the point of this blog. Being retired.

Merriam-Webster defines retired as, “withdrawn from one’s position or occupation: having concluded one’s working or professional career.”

Does one ever stop working? Does anyone ever stop trying to be “professional” in their creativity or social life?  Professional is described as “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession.” 

I conform to the ethical standards of being a granny, a writer, a blogger, a cook, and a dozen other careers every day. I aim for the highest standards in writing when I choose the right word to write, or in manners when I teach my grandbaby to say thank you.

I also work every day. Perhaps not behind a desk or counter, but life IS work.

So don’t call me retired. That’s a word that I’m crossing off my list, along with fat, stupid, mental, lazy, and others I have yet to write down.

Cross those words off your list, too.

Be who you are and appreciate who you are. Strive to improve every day, but understand and appreciate where you are today. 

Use one positive word a day to describe yourself and others. See how it makes you feel.

I see that little smile…..

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sally England

Sally England is a fiber artist living and working in Ojai, California.

During her time in graduate school in 2011 she was inspired to further her work in soft sculpture and explore a new form of macramé (knot-based textile construction) for who we are today.

Her ensuing large-scale modern macramé work using thick cotton rope became a catalyst for the recent revival of the craft, inspiring many to learn or relearn the art of knotting.

According to England, “My art is an exploration of texture, dimension, and scale, in which I use traditional hand techniques such as knotting, basketry, twining, and weaving, to create expressive and fluid forms.”

“Not confining my work to a set outcome, I let the material evolve organically as it will.”

“Through a process of working from muscle memory in a meditative state, I see patterns of time travel and architecture, tapping into ancient skills and archetypal symbols while dwelling in the intimacy of fibers and skin.”

More of Sally England‘s amazing macramé can be found at http://www.sallyengland.com/

What Do You Really Know?

There are always so many thoughts tied to getting older. Besides the obvious ones of usefulness, energy, experience and discovery, are the suppositions of what you would do if you had gone a different way.

I don’t mean the maudlin ones like if you should have done “A” instead of “B”. You’ve chosen what you’ve chosen. Blah blah.

What I enjoy listening to are the career and emotional highs and lows of the next generation. How they’ve changed their world — and ours. How they do what they do. How they know what they know.

A family member is in management, something as far away from my career choices as Tibet. But I love listening to his stories. How he moves up the ladder, how he encourages those that work under him. How he works as a team member yet keeps his individuality.

I love another’s stories about how they work around and through setbacks. Illnesses, family crises, healthcare and paperwork. How they work with others to get them on their feet again. How to work with bureaucracy and the steps to keeping one aspect of one’s life while letting go of another.

These days I am more of an observer than a participant. I can take care of myself and help support those going through changes. But I can’t really guide someone else up the corporate ladder or through the intricacies of Medicaid.

I do love listening to those who can, though.

You probably know more than you admit. More than you think. And there is always someone out there who could use your encouragement. Your stories.

I don’t mean you have to give away free legal advice or pull strings to move someone ahead.

But sharing stories of how you worked through things or turned adversity into a positive experience encourages others to take charge of their lives too.

Many of us can’t see the forest for the trees.  All we need is for someone to show us the path. We can find the way around and out ourselves.

I enjoy listening to these people because there is heart with their brains. They know what they want and how to get there. And their stories include the emotional beliefs behind their logic.

I have lots of heart but not as much brains. Not in the pragmatic sense. But I do believe in offering guidance when and where I can.

You can’t take your knowledge with you. So why not share it now?

You will be amazed at those who enjoy listening to you.

Your Special Place

Do you have a place that you can retreat to when the day is done? A place that offers sanctuary, protection, relaxation, regeneration?

I don’t know if it’s an age thing or a winter thing, but every time I come home from a busy day or weekend I can’t wait to get into my pj’s, grab a blanket, and curl up on the corner of my well-worn sofa.

Sometimes I heave a heavy sigh as I snuggle deep into the corner. Sometimes I put the foot rest up and stretch out under the blanket as far as I can stretch. Sometimes I sit in perfect silence. Other times I turn on music or pull out my computer.

When Dorothy says “there’s no place like home,” I know what she means.

Some people claim a favorite rocking chair or a chair on the deck. Some crawl all the way into their bed. Others claim that same sofa but cover themselves in kitty cats or throw pillows or chocolate chip cookies.

But it’s all the same.

Back to safety. To security. To a place where you can let it all hang out. A place where you don’t have to be anyone or do anything, where time ceases to exist. At least for a few minutes.

We all need a safe place to cry, to remember, or to have a drink. Or dinner. A familiar place, a comfortable place. A place to end a stressful day. A special spot where you can sit and write or read or thumb through a magazine.

We all need a place where we can pull our blanket up to our chin or just around our ankles and ignore the rest of the world for a while. A place we can fall asleep or call our friends and talk for an hour or sit and write a blog.

Everyone needs that special place.

Where is yours?

 

 

The Contrast of Life

Good Evening Friends!

An escape for the weekend with family and friends was just the fresh start I needed. But what good is a blog if there’s not a bit of something to talk about? To contemplate?

On one hand….

I had the best time on my escape ski weekend with family and friends. I don’t ski, but I am out there with my kids and grandkids helping them to learn, sitting around the fire drinking wine and talking and telling stories, playing card games, and competing in our annual cooking competition. All in all it’s lots of love and lots of memories and lots of good feelings.

On the other hand…

Last night I watched the movie “A Bridge Too Far” about Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands during World War II. It wasn’t my choice, as I am not a fan of war movies, but my significant other had never seen it and so it went.

On the one hand….

Over the weekend I helped my grandson learn to ski a little, then watched him go tubing for the first time. The look of joy and anticipation and fear all mingled to make him overly adorable and huggable.

On the other hand…

The movie was about the failed attempt of Allied Forces to secure several bridges in the Netherlands to prevent the Germans from overtaking the country.

On the one hand….

My weekend was filled with laughter, love, and a sense of togetherness we have shared at the same event for over 15 years. It was great.

On the other hand….

I had never heard of this failed attempt to secure these bridges until this movie. Not so great.

On the one hand….

It was a weekend of renewal, of camaraderie, and of watching our children and grandchildren grow closer.

On the other hand….

According to Wikipedia, there were approximately 500 Dutch civilian causalities, 11,800-13,200 Second Army and I Airborne Corps casualties, 3,500-3,900 XVIII Airborne Corps casualties, and 15,000-17,200 German casualties from this siege. 30,000+ to 34,800 lives lost in one attempt.

On the other hand….

The biggest conflict we had this weekend is when “bad grandma Claudia” stopped the two-year-old’s chip supply to make her wait until dinner. Said grandchild flopped on the floor and cried.

On the other hand….

Two groups of human beings shot and bombed and maimed each other so that one person could have extreme power over others.

How do you reconcile one with the other?

I know my dad suffered from PSTD from World War II. He never talked about it to us kids, but you could just see in his reminiscences, in his eyes and his nightmares. There are others who to this day can only say they did what they had to do for their country.

In that one attempt alone thirty thousand people lost their lives, their futures.

How can you compare that to reading a book to a grandchild? To feeding each other chips or a heart-felt hug from your grown up kids?

How can you compare the beauty of life to the tragedy of war and death?

I didn’t write this blog to debate the merits of war and peace, nor the cosmic meaning of life and death.

But like tornadoes, how can such terrible situations hit one family and skip over the next two and land on the fourth? How can people follow mindless – or should I say mindFUL – leaders who insist on the annihilation of entire civilizations? Entire nationalities or religions or classes of people?

After all is said and done, how can the inhabitants of Earth not stop the mindless repetitive destruction of civilizations over and over again for the mere thrill of domination?

Ha… look at me. I should have taken a humanities course or something.

I guess that once in a while I feel guilty being so happy when others were never given that chance.

 

 

We Could Have All Been Hillbillies

Tonight I watched a couple episodes of a TV series called The Outsiders. It’s a story about  “a family of outsiders who’ve lived off the land in the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky for as long as anyone can remember.” (per IMDB). It’s about mountain men and mountain women and fighting for the land and each other.

I know it’s made for TV and all, but it gave me a glimpse of yet another group outside of society that make their own rules and laws. Almost as if they live on another planet. In another galaxy.

It makes me realize how sheltered a life I’ve led. Not only are there all kinds of societies and tribes and ways of life so different from my own, but thousands of stories in the history of the world behind me.

We learn about the Civil War in school; we learn about Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar and the World Wars. Which we should.

But what about all the rest of the world and their ways and their styles? What do people outside of modern society do with their time? Their days and nights? What are their beliefs, their rituals?

These “hillbillies” on this show are only a few steps removed from everyday life. They come to town to get supplies, steal things like guns and beer, and get notices from the government to vacate their land.

But what do they do that’s totally different from what we we are familiar with? How do they court and dance and work the land? What do they believe?

The library, the internet, provides all the information you need to take a trip in time to other worlds right here on your own planet.

Explore other cultures, other beliefs, other societies. Read books and articles from people who have either experienced or inherited this lore. Think of the insight they could provide.

Learning about other cultures, other histories, other ways can open your mind in ways you never thought. And that kind of knowledge is powerful.

It is fun to wonder where we could have gone if we had taken the left path instead of the right. Climbed down the mountain instead of walked around it. Our lives could have been so different.

We could all have been hillbillies.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

A Fantastic Fellow Blogger Artist

Back on November 16, 2019, Laura Kate had an inspirational moment visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis:

Inspiration, Gestation, Implementation

INSPIRATION: The idea for creating a fiber object based on the Gateway Arch has been rattling around in my brain for some time. It really started way back in 2012, after my husband and I visited the Gateway to the West museum in St. Louis. At that time, he took a series of photographs showing every possible angle of the Arch at ground level. They are rather remarkable, taken as a group………

https://dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/2019/11/16/inspiration-gestation-implementation/

Yesterday, February 3, 2019, she posted her finished quilt.

Gateway Arch: Nine Views

A culmination of six months spent thinking about and working on it, here is the Gateway Arch quilt. I finishing sewing on the binding while watching the Super Bowl (Yay KC Chiefs!) I feel an odd combination of elation, satisfaction and relief. The finished object is largely what I had envisioned………

https://dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/gateway-arch-nine-views/

You have to go take a look at her post, her ideas, her progress, and her finished product. It is amazing. I am always in awe of those who create marvelous artwork.

Laura Kate is one of those. Check out her website and see for yourself.

Daily Fiber
A year of projects featuring fiber materials

dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/

Moments

There are moments when everything in  life becomes crystal clear. Quiet moments, moments of perfect connections; moments of peace and moments of exhilaration.

Not everyone connects with their soul in peace and quiet.  Not everyone can meditate, or go to church, or walk through the woods.

But we all find a way.

Sometimes we find our place in the cosmos reading a story to a child. Or cuddling and snuggling. Sometimes it’s found in sitting quietly and petting a purring cat. Some connect with their inner magic reading poetry or writing it.

I sometimes wonder why we don’t have that cosmic moment more often. Why it’s so hard to hold onto that feeling of total satisfaction, total acceptance, along with the positive anticipation of tomorrow’s dreams.

At this particular moment I am sitting with the computer on my lap, looking out the window at the morning sunshine, listening to a playlist called Book Club on Spotify. Everyone is still sleeping. The shadows created by the trees around the house play with the sunshine on the deck railings, reflecting the breeze that’s come out to play.

This particular moment is perfect. I know and accept who I am. I’m not competing with anyone else for attention, affection, or acknowledgement. The music takes me to dreams beyond the distant clouds, showing me unlimited possibilities.

But I know this moment of clarity won’t last.

Soon everyone will wake and the bubble will pop. Things like laundry and football games and fetching the dog and paying bills will take over my Sunday, pushing me in other directions.

I will miss this moment of clarity.

Perhaps it’s better we get moments like this only now and then. Perhaps if we lived in perfect acceptance and understanding there would be no growth. No more ah-ha moments.

No more cuddling moments.

Find your moments and let them connect to your deepest self. Know that more moments will come, often when you least expect it. Learn to acknowledge them, to grow with them, and to love them. Then learn to let them go.

That’s what being human is all about.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Giovanni Paolo Panini

Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765), a Piacenza-born artist, was a celebrated painter of views of modern and ancient Rome and a prolific architect and draftsman during the eighteenth century.As both painter and teacher, Panini was versatile in his craft and, accordingly, was highly respected for his contribution to the art scene in Italy.

 

Although Panini worked as an architect, designing Cardinal Valenti’s villa and the chapel in Santa Maria della Scala (1728), and produced fireworks, festival apparatuses, and other ephemeral architectural decorations (and painted magnificent records of them), in the last thirty years of his life he specialized in painting the views of Rome that secured his lasting reputation.These were of two main types, vedute prese da i luoghi (carefully and accurately rendered views of actual places) and vedute ideate (imaginary views and combinations of particular buildings and monuments).His views of ancient and modern Rome encompassed practically everything worth noting in the eighteenth-century guidebooks to the Eternal City.

These paintings were not idealized or symbolic representations of Rome’s past and present grandeur, but accurate and objective portrayals of the most famous, most picturesque, or most memorable sights of the city.

More of Giovanni Paolo Panini‘s amazing paintings can be found at museums and websites around the Internet.

Beware of the Personals

I have an interesting tale to share about the state of the world — and of the soul — this evening.

Through the many years I have been online I have made very few new friends — friends in the sense that I share my name and address with. I learned early in the active life of the Internet that people are not always who they seemed. 

Why they weren’t I couldn’t understand. Talk about being a simpleton. I trusted what others shared. You are a 24 year old college student? Okay. You are a lonely man looking for friendship? Sure. You were a mom with two kids? I believe you.

How did I know that behind that 24 year old stammer could be a 50 year old pedophile? How would I know that that lonely man was really a psycho from prison?

None of my tales wound up that drastic. But I was so easily fooled. And then, of course, the Internet matured, and, fortunately, so did I. I ran around alot for a while under an assumed name. But I didn’t like that, because it wasn’t truthful.

And I always found myself wanting to tell the truth.

I started my Humoring the Goddess blog April 18, 2011 under my own name. I didn’t — and still don’t — offer many personal details in my comings and goings here. I pay attention to the stories of crazies trying to pick up young girls and schemers taking advantage of older people. I believe in the goodness of everyone but am smart enough to know that now and then that goodness is buried beneath stacks of evil.

So yesterday I get an email from a fellow blogger, someone whose blog I love and comment on and she on mine. She wanted to send me something in the mail.

Instantly I slammed that gate and locked it, peeking through the steel bars that pretend to protect me. I explained my fears, and she understood. 

Then she told me what she wanted to send me.

It was not the kind of explanation a gorilla would send so they could come over to my house and rob me and take my money and life. It was a little gift that connected instantly with my dreams and thoughts. 

And I thought again about sharing something so dreadfully personal as my address.

I know you have to trust somebody in this world. There are so many good, wonderful somebodies around — you can’t be afraid of all of them. You have to use your common sense, and even your sixth sense, and once in a while take a chance with your truth. 

Today’s generation is probably much more open to meeting up with online connections. They take precautions not even thought of in my time.  Most of those connections pan out, too. I just don’t know if I would have the same luck.

So I took a chance and shared my address. If a gorilla shows up one bright day looking for my unicorn stash it wasn’t as if I didn’t warn myself.  

I will still keep the gate locked, though, and watch the world race around madly through the bars at a safe distance.

Do you share your personal personals with others online?

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Kazuhito Takadoi

Artist Kazuhito Takadoi uses natural materials combined with traditional Japanese art supplies like sumi ink and washi paper to make delicate sculptural works that tread between two and three dimensions.

Inspired by the rich woodland surrounding his birthplace of Nagoya, Japan, nature is both Takadoi’s inspiration and the source of him material. There are no added colors: everything is natural, simply dried then woven, stitched, or tied.Takadoi cultivates and then gathers grass, leaves, and twigs from his garden to form the meticulous structures that comprise his dimensional creations.He has also developed the embroidery process to include pure white Japanese book binding threads as a material.

Though these organic findings are secured in place through weaving and stitching, they continue to evolve as they dry and mature, changing in flexibility and color.

More of Kazuhito Takadoi’s marvelous creations can be found at http://www.kazuhitotakadoi.com.

Saturday Stroll Through The Gallery

Snow Snow Snow! Wonderful to look at, fun to ski or toboggan in, yet hell to drive through. Alas, you in the southern part of the country/continent/Earth ball — yours will come. Right now for me it makes for a wonderful meditation background.

I have some great Sunday Evening Art Galleries coming up. If you have favorite artists and styles, be sure to let me know. But here’s a peek at a few up-and-comers:

 

Matthias Jung

 

Alexandra Spyratos

 

Masks

 

I have been behind in adding galleries to my actual gallery, Sunday Evening Art Gallery. Here are a few recent additions:

 

Mary Cassatt   

 

Jeremy May

 

Johnson Tang 

 

No matter if it’s snow or sand, come take a stroll through the Gallery. I hope you enjoy looking at their work as much as I enjoy bringing it to you!

 

 

Make My Day

I just have to tell you that I received a lot of positive comments to my last blog about commenting. Thank you thank you.

It seems we all have the best intentions, but ultimately run out of time to do all the things we want/need to do.

Want/need is relative, of course.

Choice has a lot to do with how we spend every 24 hours. Under the umbrella of choice falls necessities, wishlists, responsibilities, unexpected opportunities, and more.

Life is all about choice. We can always choose not to pay our mortgage or not to go grocery shopping. But the consequences to those choices are brutal.

So let’s go to the less serious choices we make in life. Do we go to the soccer game or stay home and work on the car? Do we call the doctor or stop at the store for cold medicine?

As you can see, writing and commenting on blogs are not high on most priority lists. We/I have more important things to worry about. They fall more under an umbrella called “personal gratifications.”

But those are important too.

Life cannot always be all about physical survival. I mean, it is, but it’s not. It’s also about soul building. Finding time to do the things that give our heart and soul satisfaction.

It’s the little things that make the bigger things easier to handle. And it’s the little things we need to make time for. Even when the world is passing us by, cutting our feet out from under us.

It was harder to cut out pieces of time just for myself when I was younger. I’d like to think that was because there were more responsibilities back then. 

I’ve come to realize there weren’t more responsibilities — just different ones. 

Now I fall under the umbrella of “life’s too short” and I try and get personally involved with satisfying my own heart’s song. I find myself closing that umbrella and letting everything I want to do fall around me like rain, soaking me until I can’t move. Too many pleasurable things to do, too little time.

So take a break today and pick a new book off the shelf and start reading. Start a new quilt or text someone you haven’t seen in a while. Take the long way home and watch the sunset.

Make somebody’s day. Make my day. Make YOUR day.

Put your umbrella away.

Did You Comment Today?

Here in the states it is indeed again Monday. Bright sun, cold temperatures, dogs hanging around me and my sofa in case there’s any stray food to be had.

I spent some time this morning going through blogs I follow (and even a couple that I don’t) reading and commenting and enjoying their written words. And it made me think of our Monday Morning Discussions:

How many blogs do you follow? Do you read everyone you follow? Do you make comments on those you follow? Or is the purpose of your blog more for you to talk than to read?

This is not a scolding or a real survey. It’s just curiosity.

Face it. Almost all of us are here to talk. To share. Whether it’s our poetry, our painting skills, our pottery skills, or our outlook on life, WordPress is the one outlet where we can find like souls to share our passions with.

There are those who just love to read and learn and don’t have websites of their own. But most of WP’s makeup is made of those sharing and wanting to be shared. We have a passion, a gift, a thought, and feel others can benefit from what we have learned.

But do you take time to comment on someone else’s sharing?

Whether or not we agree, understand, or like, we always walk away from another’s blog with an impression. Do you ever share that impression?

Feedback feels good both ways. I know I love interacting with those who take time to share their thoughts. That’s why I try and share something as often as I can when I read other’s offerings.

 I don’t always comment daily on some blogs,such as anthonygrootelaar’s colorful designs blog MYMonkeyMIND,  or purpleraysblog which is full of inspriation, or Ann Koplow’s daily blog-with-lots-of-pictures The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, or Catherine Arcolio’s very inspirational blog Leaf and Twig because they contribute a lot every day and I don’t always catch their latest offerings. But I do try and read and comment on those who share their thoughts and creativity at least once a week.

Their writings make my own writings better.

Even if you consider yourself merely an observer, it helps both you and the blog you’re connected to to share your thoughts or reactions now and then. It helps you sort and articulate, and it makes the creators of other blogs feel that they’re connected to you in ways not always seen by others.

Know that not every blog you follow is going to follow you back. It’s just human nature. If you followed every blog you’ve “liked” a post on you’d be reading 24/7 and not working on your own creativity. I don’t expect everyone who comments on my blogs to follow me. And sometimes I check out those who have shared their thoughts and found their path to be quite different from mine.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t make me feel better about myself.

Comment more. Share more. Even if it’s something short and sweet like “Oh! Nice!” Or “Truth.” 

Be an active part of this world. It will make you feel better, too.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Pierre Sterlé

Pierre Sterlé (1905–1978) was a French jeweler, known as the ‘couturier of jewelry’.

Sterlé may be one of the most important jewelry designers you’ve never heard of.

His lyrical, highly-engineered creations are some of the most distinctive designs of the 20th Century—and some of the most collectible.

But because his business was so exclusive and his clientele so elite, his name isn’t as widely known as some of his contemporaries.

Considered during his lifetime to have been an inspired innovator, he reached his apogee in the 1940’s and 50’s.

His work with precious stones and metal – often inspired by nature – still commands strong interest at auction.

 His well-crafted jewelry often used motifs from nature; birds, flowers, leaves and feathers.

 Coupled with personal tragedy which plagued him throughout the 1960’s, he ultimately was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1976 and liquidate his stock.

Most of the stock was acquired by Chaumet, who retained Sterlé as a ‘technical consultant’ until his death in 1978.

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Friday — Wendy Mould

Wendy Mould studied at both Ipswich and Norwich Art Schools, specializing in sculpture, along with painting and illustration.

In turn, this has led to a number of related projects including both writing and illustrating the children’s book ‘Ants in my Pants’.More recently, Wendy has been working upon an ongoing series of oil on canvas paintings that draw their inspiration from some of her favorite pieces of music.Furthermore, they have also been chosen to represent a musical year, the months and seasons.The suite of twelve works will include interpretations of ‘The Rite of Spring’ (Stravinsky), ‘The Snow Maiden’ (Tchaikovsky) and ‘The Lark Ascending’ (Vaughn Williams).

Each work has a touch of magic in it, hidden in the beauty of the painting itself.

More of Wendy Mould‘s works can be found at http://www.thereddotgallery.com/Artists/wendy-mould/.

Music is what feelings sound like ~Author Unknown

One of my favorite evening past times is listening to music while writing on the computer. Whether it’s editing a book, writing a story, cleaning up my SEAG gallery, looking for pictures, or just hanging on Facebook, music is the muse that takes me off this sofa and wandering through the nighttime skies.

As I look back at my computer writing life, I see different sound tracks guiding my thoughts and emotions as I continually refine my craft. In writing my first 3 novels I listened to a lot of mystical, smooth jazz (recently called ‘study music’ on Spotify).  My art gallery music is definitely Beegie Adair on Spotify, a female pianist who is marvelous — she plays all the old Gershwin, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, cocktail lounge tunes.

When I work on research or actually write on my current book, I put on French Café  music. It eases me into the pretend world of Paris, connecting me with spirits of its past and future.

I have house cleaning music, H.P. Lovecraft or Edgar Alan Poe reading music,  historical fiction reading music, exercise music (don’t hear that too often, unfortunately), and drawing music. I find music enhances every task I undertake, every dream I explore.

I occasionally fall for British Invasion oldies if I want to travel back to my youth, or polkas when I think of my dad. I try not to go back in time too often, of course, as no one wants to be melancholy all the time.

I’m not saying I listen to music 24/7. Often silence accompanies my creativity too, or a nonsensical movie in the background.

But just sitting and listening to the ending of a Tchaikovsky ballet or Edith Piaf singing “La Vie en rose” does something to the soul. Something that mere words cannot accomplish. 

Do you have music that accompanies the different parts your life? Come on and share a theme or title or two. See if we all can connect.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Duro Olowu

Duro Olowu is a Nigerian-born, London-based fashion designer. He is best known for his innovative combinations of patterns and textiles that draw inspiration from his international background.He grew up living in both Nigeria and London and spent summers in Geneva, immersing him in multiple cultures.From an early age, his enthusiasm for fashion was inspired by the unexpected mix of fabrics, textures and draping techniques of the clothing worn by the women that surrounded him.He is best known for his innovative combinations of patterns and textiles that draw inspiration from his international background.

His first collection in 2006 was an instant hit with fashion editors and buyers worldwide and an international sell out in its worldwide stockists at the time.Alluring silhouettes, sharp tailoring, original prints juxtaposed with luxurious vintage fabrics in “off beat” yet harmonious combinations are Olowu’s signature.His colors are bright, mismatched, yet coordinated, reflecting the brightness of life and of being a woman.Olowu says, “My idea [was] to create a beautiful feast for the eyes reminiscent of a warm and joyful season filled with international treasures and signature fabrics.”

More of Duro Olowu’s designs can be found at https://duroolowu.com.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

I usually make a point not to talk about personal things in my blog. I want this  to be a place that supports what you all are feeling or struggling to feel. Occasionally I throw in life-event info (like cancer or termination), but I try to keep it fun and magical.

Lately, though, I have been struggling with a family matter that makes me want to scream out to the world, “take CARE of yourself, damnit!” 

It’s a topic that is a sensitive one, for some people will say, “you don’t know what it’s like to be chronically depressed/diabetic/incapacitated”. True enough. But I also know people who are/have been depressed/diabetic/incapacitated and have taken good care of themselves despite  their setback.

I have a family member who stayed in one state while my family (and others)  moved to others throughout the years. He/she insisted on staying alone in the home where they grew up.

I understand that.

But this same family member does not take care of themself, and I am in the process of cleaning out a second hoarder, mouse-infested house. After a stint in the hospital he/she is now in a nursing home, with hopes of getting better and eventually moving up by us.

I understand that, too.

I also understand that I’m 67 years old, too old to be a babysitter for someone who is 58. I am recently retired, working on my own health issues, and living on a reduced budget.

What I don’t understand is  — how does someone get in such a depressing, messy, confused state over and over again? 

Do we fall over the fence and keep tumbling down the hill until we hit rock bottom? Do we even know we are tumbling? Or hitting bottom? 

People who are alone with their miseries tend to not believe half of what is happening to them. It’s peripheral vision, and it happens to all of us. Have a trait that someone complains about? A house condition that is always questioned? Don’t think about it. Tell yourself it’s not as bad as everyone around you says it is. And cut them off if they don’t stop nagging you.

This is why I believe everyone should have a support system. And not be afraid to use that support system. 

God/Zeus/the creator did not create man to be the do-all, be-all being we strive to become. We all need help. I look back in my life and see spots where someone took time to pick me up and help me turn my life around. And it worked. 

Sometimes all we need is a little help. A little support. Sometimes it’s family and friends, other times we rely on the system. Unfortunately, most come up short to the real problem.

Loneliness.

This family member insisted he/she was busy, doing fine, going out with friends, visiting the library.  We are 100 miles north from them, so we  got together on birthdays and holidays and the occasional fishing trip. Others contacted  by phone, kept in touch. This family member showed no interest in living closer to those who kept asking them. 

I can do it myself. I don’t need anyone. Or anyone’s help.

He/she wound up in the hospital with a diabetes level of almost 1,000 (normal is 100). He/she had salmonella and has wounds from passing out and laying on the bathroom floor for two days before anyone found them.

I’m not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for us. I’m sharing this story to ask you to check up on those you know, even if they insist everything is okay. Go have coffee at their house or invite yourself for lunch. You don’t have to hang you with them every week, but get involved in their lives.

It will save both of you a lot of guilt and bad feelings and shoulda/coulda moments for the rest of your lives. I know I wouldn’t be living in a swirl of angst if both sides had worked together more.

And don’t be afraid to accept help. Or ask for help. If the shoe were on the other foot, you know you’d help in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. Those who care about you feel the same way.

No one has to go through this crazy mess called life alone.

 

 

Better a witty fool than a foolish wit — Shakespeare

The Lauging Jester, painter Unknown

Sometimes I don’t mind being fooled.

Mother nature has a great way of pulling my leg. Sitting on the sofa, looking out the window, it’s bright and sunny outside. The birds are visiting the feeder, the wind is gently blowing the naked tree branches — it looks so inviting. So I go put a hoodie and some jeans on and go outside, only to be frozen to death because it’s only 30 degrees outside.

Or my cat meowing that she’s starving, walking around the house, meowing pitifully in the furthest of places. I look at the clock; perhaps I did forget to feed her at our pre-arranged time. Feeling guilty, I get up from writing to give her dinner, only to find half the bowl still there, merely a center circle having been eaten in the past few hours.

Those kinds of getting fooled I can handle.

What really bothers me is being fooled by professionals, like those in advertising or politics or human relations.

“Oh sure! We have exactly what you need!” or “We definitely can find you the perfect job!” or “Buy this and your life will be so much easier!”

You would think most people in the world would have a head’s up on sheisters pitching their goods around the globe.  Old people are perfect targets for the by the bait and switch tactic, although the rest of the age line is are perfect targets, too.

 If something is too good to be true, it’s not true. Plain and simple. What are the other sayings? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take a chance on bettering our future. A gadget that makes cooking or prep work or walking across the room easier is often worth the investment. But what about tactics that make bigger promises, like instant weight loss, double your investment, or a cure for whatever ails you? 

Is this something we all need to experience to get? Or can we learn from other’s mistakes? Should we try and stop others making those same mistakes?

Of course I want to live longer. Feel better. Invest wiser. Everyone does. But I don’t believe that this pill or that treatment or running to church every time you get a new ache or pain is going to miraculously make you better.

The only one who can make you better is YOU.

Read. Research. Talk to people. Know there are no shortcuts in life and live it accordingly. If you want to take a chance, know full well that you are taking a chance. Don’t risk everything on promises that once you do this or buy that that all will be better. 

Don’t be the fool’s fool.

Just yesterday my hubby fed the dogs a little early then left for work. I came home a little later and they did the I’m-starving doggie dance for me. I looked at the clock and wondered. Fool me once? Should this be a shame on you or me thing? 

Until I could get to the truth I — we — compromised. I gave them a few extra dog cookies. They got exactly what they wanted.

Shame on me.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Nolan Preece

A photographer for over forty years, Nolan Preece has devoted his career to understanding and mastering the challenging techniques of early photography by creating chemigrams.Preece been working with these chemically derived images since 1981.A 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.Experimentation with chemistry and photographic paper to produce various visual effects and themes describes the direction of this work. 
These photographs are a combination of cameraless photography and the manipulation of photographic materials by using them as painting media.
The printmaking aspect is the resistance he puts on the paper. He uses  chemistry to create the final product.

It is also important to state that this method of working often produces several levels of meanings brought together to create a sense of connection which is intuitive, unconscious and abstract. The images are more accurately felt than observed.

More of Nolan Preece’s amazing work can be found at http://www.nolanpreece.com/

 

 

Could You Live in the NOW?

Are you done wishing everyone a Happy New Year yet? Are your Christmas decorations still up? Or are you finished with that part of the season and planning for Spring that is 59 days away?

Seems us humans have a hard time living in the “now”. Even though that’s the phrase of the millennium, it’s really hard to live right now. And now. And now. And now. Which is now the past. 

So here is my Philosophy 101 question for the New Year. 

If you were totally isolated from others, would time flow differently for you?

I know our ancestors had to deal with no watches, no cell phones, no TVs to check morning, noon, and night. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about us modernists.

Say you lived 30 miles, 50 miles from town (you can drive to Sams Club once a month if you want for supplies, but no other luxuries.) No computers, no radios. No movies. All that isolation stuff. You live comfortably, but without technology. (No guilt trips about not being with your grandkids and all — that’s a different game.)

My QUESTION is… how long could us modernites live in the “now”? No hanging out with friends, no phone. You can write letters but that’s about all.

All you would hear would be the songs of the birds and the wind blowing through the trees morning, noon, and night. Thunderstorms and windstorms and coyotes in the distance moving across the plains. The longer you lived with nature, the more in-tune you would be with the sounds around you. 

But that’s all you’d hear.

Knowing your lifestyle of today, how long would you be able to stay away from civilization? How long would the songs of the birds or the chatter of squirrels be entertainment? How long would you be able to live in the NOW?  A month? A year? 10 years? Would the NOW turn into one long blur?

I love these philosophical questions that have no exceptions. There are no “but what if I talk to the store clerk once a month? Is that isolation?” Or “what if the neighbor stops by?” Isolation is isolation.

For me, I think if I were forced to let go of technology, I could fairly adjust. Notice I italicized forced and fairly. Could I live with the sounds of nature 24/7? I live a lot with them these days, but let’s be truthful — only when I sit outside or go for a walk. I always have music or the TV going on for sound when I’m alone. But I have the option to connect with friends and the nonsense of the outside world.

Would my my adult-onset A.D.D. handle the eternal nature-only sounds of dawn, midday, and dusk? Would my senses become sharper the longer I stayed away from technology?

For me, I guess I’d eventually get used to silence day in and day out. I’d probably sing a lot more in the beginning, but I wonder if even that would fade away the more I got used to the silence. 

I’d definitely need to have a cat or two to hold conversations with, though…(if you knew how yakky my cat was you’d know what I mean…)

How about you?

 

 

Research Overload

  • I think I am suffering from research overload. I fear my ambitions have been to high, too broad, too much for one simpleton to take.

If I could have an anxiety attack based on a book not yet written, I would be having one now. Have I taken on too much already? Is my ambition way too big for my size 6W shoes?

I am the one who tells you to dream big. To take chances. To write what you want to write. Yet I find my thoughts, my task, overwhelming. And I’ve barely started.

Writing about visiting a place you’ve never been and probably never will be takes more discipline than making up a world. When you make up a place where elves live or Merry ‘ol England in the 15th century your mind can play with what it wants.

But when you want to visit a real place in real time, it’s not as easy. You must be accurate, you must be realistic, even if your intention for a story is fiction.

Plus it is so easy to be led astray by a thousand places you wish to visit.  Do you base your character’s visit on where you would like to go? Or where destiny takes them? Do you go big? Do you go small? Do you have encounters in gardens or museums? Libraries or churches? If your character (in my case, me) wants to visit the haunts of famous people, which restaurant do you visit? Which cabaret? Which art museum?

Do you search the Internet and find articles like The ten Paris streets you just have to walk down or  A Walk Around Paris? Or do you just pick a starting place and figure out where you’re going from there?

I am so easily influenced by Paris. Any foreign place, really. Places I’ve never been, places I’ve dreamed of, places where my dreams start and end. I ask myself where do I really want to go, what do I really want to see? What do I want my book’s character to learn from her adventure?

On top of that, I find it hard to separate what I as a 67-year-old woman who will never visit Paris would want to see versus the 67-year-old woman I’m sending there through my book. A thousand answers come to mind. I can’t seem to sort through all of them.

This is the problem of a pretzelly mind. A creative mind touched with a bit of A.D.D. and old age.

Maybe I would be better off writing a simple love story that takes place in my own back yard or some make-believe town. That way I don’t have to guess what the streets look like; what the people sound like, what the local bakery or bistro smells like.

I’m not giving up yet, though. While I cannot say I love a challenge, it’s too early in the game to give up. For I know the payoff with be a big one. The biggest challenge of my writing career.

Tell me — do you go through any  madness like this before you start a new project? Do you fight to keep a hold of your crazy dream, or do you merely divert your energy to finding another project?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Barcodes

Barcodes are an everyday item in our lives. Insignificant little vertical lines corresponding to numbers 0-9 in a particular order dictate whether you are purchasing a dozen eggs or a color TV. Boring little barcodes. Simple little barcodes.

But the world of art touches us all. Don’t settle for simple — go for the bling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Note of your Promises

The rush between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day makes fools of us all.
~Claudia the Unicorn

 

This is the first time I’ve used my own wit as a quote. Witless, I say …

But it’s true. Starting with Christmas Eve and ending New Year’s Day, it seems we shove a month’s worth of emotions into one week. The sadness, the renewal, the promises of New Year’s resolutions and the resolve of keeping in touch with Christmas acquaintances.

Come February (or even the middle of January) we have forgotten the promises we made to ourselves when our emotions were high and out of control. We don’t mean to forget — it’s just that life gets in the way.

But is life a life of it’s own? Or do we make what we do every day more important than what we do in the long term?

I see a lot of pretzel logic coming through. I know what I want to say but the meaning gets side tracked all the time.

Are the promises of days gone by any more important than the promises we make today? Should we even make promises/vows/resolutions at all?

Promises/vows/resolutions usually come from guilt. We didn’t visit this person or that person as much as we wanted and now that person has moved on. We try on a pair of pants we wore last year or three years ago and they barely move up our legs, so we promise to lose 15 pounds. 

These promises made through the emotional music of the “holidays” barely ever stick. We are truly remorse, sorry, honest as we hear strains of Merry Christmas Darling by Karen Carpenter or read affirmations on Facebook or Instagram promising truth and commitment and new beginnings in the new year.

But none of those promises or affirmations will stick past your emotional moments if you don’t believe in them. If you don’t do something more than say the words. 

And that’s the hard thing — making emotional promises a reality. For we all really truly do feel those things at the moment. We really do want to lose weight or take the trip we promised ourselves years ago.  It’s just the application of those vows that’s hard to work into our every day busy life.

So my suggestion is: Make those promises/vows/resolutions with a full heart and soul, letting the moment stand out in your mind. But be aware of what you are promising yourself, and take the next step and work through those promises one at a time.

You don’t have to call everyone you’ve ever left behind. Start with one person you haven’t talked to that you really miss. If talking on the phone bothers you, start with an email. Friend them on Facebook. Start small. Start with one at a time. One. You really want those old pants to fit? Lose one pound at a time. One. Cut out dessert of soda or walk around the block once. Just once.

Start paying off your emotions one transaction at a time. That way your heart and soul will be able to mesh the promise with your actual outcome. Your promise will become clearer as time goes on, separating the over-the-top emotional impossibilities from what you can really accomplish.

See? That pretzel logic finally made its way back to center!

Now … where were we going?

Faerie Paths — Frost

 

Frost grows on the window glass,
forming whorl patterns of lovely translucent geometry.
Breathe on the glass, and you give frost more ammunition.
Now it can build castles and cities
and whole ice continents with your breath’s vapor.
In a few blinks you can almost see the winter fairies moving in . . .
But first, you hear the crackle of their wings.

― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

 

 

The Art of Christmas

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
~ Calvin Coolidge

 

Adoration of the Magi, Sandro Botticelli

 

Be Home for Christmas, Thomas Kinkade

 

Christmas Card, Salvador Dali

 

Adoration of the Magi, Albrecht Dürer

 

Merry Christmas Grandma, Norman Rockwell

 

Snow Scene at Aargenteuil, Claude Monet

 

Christmas Card, Andy Warhol

 

Christmas Morning, Thomas Falcon-Marshall

 

We Three Kings, James Christiansen

 

Adoration of the Magi, Peter Paul Rubens

 

Charlie Brown Christmas, Charles Schultz

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Rob Mulholland

Rob Mulholland is a sculptor and environmental artist based in the United Kingdom who exhibits throughout the U.K and world-wide.Mullholland explores the complex relationship between humans and the natural world.Utilizing a wide variety of forms and materials, his sculpture installations interact with their surroundings.He incorporates mirrored surfaces in his sculptures to reflect the given environment and alter the viewers perception of the space.The reflection is purposely distorted inviting the viewer to question their individual relationship with their surroundings.As leaves change colors and fall, clouds and storms pass by, daylight waxes and wanes, and people walk by, these stationary figures shimmer and change, creating a reflection of the mood around them.They can be eerie, ghostly, magical, and whimsical by turns.More of Rob Mulholland‘s remarkable visions can be found at http://robmulholland.org/.

Illusions: What IS Reality?

Theres an artcle going around the intrnet that pointz outthat wrds don’t have two be speled corectly n order too be understud. With txtng and instant masssaging, much ov the world bekoms en illusion.

Bad grammar and sloppy typing aside, there is something to be said about illusions. They make us think — they make us reason. Best of all illusions get the synapses in our brains firing. According to Medical News Today, a sharp mind and strong memory depend on the vitality of our brain’s network of interconnecting neurons, and especially on junctions between these neurons called synapses. Synapses are the points of communication between one neuron and a neighboring neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell. When synapses encounter illusions, there are happy flashes for all. Kind of like friends in the neighborhood keeping the gossip going.

Here are a couple of examples that can drive you nuts:

Cafe wall illusion

Café wall illusion – Despite what your eyes are telling you, the lines are parallel. It is due to the high contrast in the two different “bricks.” Our brains tend to “spread” dark zones into light zones, a function known as irradiation. This “movement” is what causes a false warping effect.

 

Blivet illusion – a blivet is an undecipherable figure, an optical illusion and an impossible object. It appears to have three cylindrical prongs at one end which then mysteriously transform into two rectangular prongs at the other end.

 

Bezold effect – a color seems different due to its adjacent colors. The red is the same color on both sides of the picture.

 

Ebbinghaus

Ebbinghaus illusion – an illusion related to relative size perception. Both center circles are the same size.

 

Hermann Grid

Hermann Grid illusion – ghost-like grey dots appear in the middle of the black squares on a white background. They really are not part of the image.

 

Necker cube –a simple wire-frame drawing of a cube with no visual cues as to its orientation, so it can be interpreted to have either the lower-left or the upper-right square as its front side.

 

Peripheral drift illusion – Occurs because of the slight differences in time it takes to process different luminances (how intense the light is from a particular area). This picture is not moving nor wavy.

 

 Ponzo illusion – This illusion  takes advantage of the human brain’s use of background to judge an object’s size. The lines are the same size.

 

Watercolor illusion – A dark chromatic color outlines a figure flanked in the brighter chromatic color. The brighter color spreads into all the enclosed area, thus the use of the phrase “melting colors,” as you see the color fill up the enclosed shape. The center is the same color as the outside.

 

Fraser spiral illusion – Run your finger around one spin. Despite what your eyes tell you, the spiral is actually a series of concentric circles. The background pattern makes the picture so confusing that your brain just fills in information that isn’t really there.

 

Floating leaves – the “leaves” appear to move around in waves as you look at the image. If you stop and stare at the image, you should get the leaves to stay still. The illusion of movement comes from the heavy contrast in the colors.

 

I’m sure there are dozens of other examples of our brain outrunning the truth. While this could lead to hours worth of debate, discussion, and speculation, just know not to always believe what you see. 

Life sometimes is an illusion.  And sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Faerie Paths — Look

Fingal’s Cave, Scotland

 

The Road Less Traveled

When does Imagination turn into Magic?
Who lives across the water
Down that path
In those woods
Who lives under that tree
Beyond that field
Among those clouds
The whispers of the Otherworld
Ask that question all the time
Their existence
Turns Magic into Imagination
Their world lies
right beneath our feet
just out of sight
All we need to do
is look … and feel

~Claudia~

Revel in the Arts

Svenja Jödicke

I have said many times before that inspiration is everywhere around us…. that all we need to do is OPEN OUR EYES.

This evening I was trying to catch up on reading individual blogs I follow and came across two that really made me proud of the creativeness around me. 

Laura Kate is the energy behind Daily Fiber, a blog about projects featuring fiber material. Not only is this woman into creating beautiful quilts, including designing her own, but she crochets, paints, and sews. What made her stand out in my mind was one of her opening blog: I’m taking a break from knitting and painting to do a little sewing. 

I love it.

To  me, she is a person who hears the song of creativity and follows it gladly. Her spirit is most likely drawn in ten directions at one time, yet wisely she listens to one song at a time while she keeps an ear open for the other melodies.

The Textile Ranger has devoted two blogs to her make-believe mall called TextileTopia and TextileTopia Part Two, filled with real-life artists and websites for readers to click through and enjoy. Her creativity is electric — it makes you want to quilt and sew and make small pieces of artwork and huge murals and garden and stitch and — you get my drift.

I am so turned on by others who are turned on by the Arts. Whether it’s a single pursuit or a confusing cornucopia of ideas and methods that have no direction, letting that creative Muse of yours out into the world does something wonderful to and for your soul.

I’ve been in a rut lately, taking care of some stressful family business, along with the darkness of winter and the adjustment to retirement. I know the best way out of the blues is to play with the rainbow of light and imagination and let my mind (and talent) go where it will.

I’ve got some great ideas for the new year such as making Angel Tears (a hanging cord that sparkles in the breeze), along with photographing some beautiful, falling down barns in my countryside. I hope I can share my adventures with you.

In the meantime, don’t fight the spirit that longs to be set free. Go with it! What have you got to lose?

Tell me about YOUR future creative plans!

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Jacob Lawrence

The most widely acclaimed African American artist of this century, and one of only several whose works are included in standard survey books on American art, Jacob Armstead Lawrence has enjoyed a successful career for more than fifty years.Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1917. The son of Southern migrants, he moved with his mother and sister to Harlem in 1930 at age 13.Lawrence’s paintings portray the lives and struggles of African Americans, and have found wide audiences due to their abstract, colorful style and universality of subject matter.He create paintings drawn from the African American experience as well as historical and contemporary themes, such as war, religion, and civil rights.

In 1940, he received a grant from the Rosenwald Foundation to create a 60-panel epic, The Migration of the Negro (now known as The Migration Series).

The panels portray the migration of over a million African Americans from the South to industrial cities in the North between 1910 and 1940. 

He was credited with developing a unique aesthetic known as Dynamic Cubism, which would be attributed, not to European influences, but to “hard, bright, brittle” Harlem.

More of Jacob Lawrence‘s artwork can be found around the Internet including MOMA Lawrence and  Artnet Lawrence.

Faerie Paths — Believe

 

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

~ Skye Alexander