The Mask … err, Masque of Red Death … CPAP Here I Am

Tom Banwell

I got my first CPAP mask and machine two days ago.

This is a picture of what I look like wearing it at night.

Okay, not really. This fine art of Tom Banwell just reminds me of how I felt the last two nights with it on. Gears and tubes and pushing air in and out of my mouth and lungs, drying out every corner of my mouth like the Sahara Desert, just because I stop breathing sometimes at night.

Sleep apnea, they call it.

Sleep apnea causes short pauses in one’s breathing while they’re asleep. Nowadays, it’s become known as one of the most prevalent sleep disorders. About 22 million Americans have sleep apnea.

That’s a pretty big club to be a member of.

Most of us don’t even know we have any breathing issues. We toss and turn and wake up feeling more tired than when we went to bed.

The pauses in breathing caused by sleep apnea can occur 30 times or more per hour.  Normal pauses are around 5 per hour. This can lead to a boatload of conditions, including severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue, high blood pressure (hypertension), risk of recurrent heart attack and stroke, abnormal heartbeats, developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and abnormal results on liver function tests. Not to mention loud snoring that can keep anyone who sleeps near you from getting good rest as well.

Who would have guessed?

So based on being a little stout (overweight), constant sinus drainage, and calling hogs (snoring), I had a sleep apnea test and passed with  flying colors.

Actually, so far all is well and good. I had two decent nights’ sleep and adjusted to my octopus apparatus fairly well, considering. Although last night I must have moved it around on my face too much that it was loud enough to sing the song of my ancestors to my dog.

Somehow my vision of nocturnal beauty is shattered by this proboscis protruding from my face.

Remember the movie Alien? Remember the spider-like creature that attached itself to a crewman’s face, the creature with eight finger-like legs, and a long tail that tightly wraps around the neck?

Okay. Okay. Being a creative writer has its disadvantages as well as advantages. It’s easier to find a special way of describing the mundane, the ordinary, the necessary.

And sleeping well through the night is necessary. If you snore, are restless, overtired, sleepy during the day, talk to your doctor. Take the test. Take the mask.

You’d rather be wearing a breathing mask than the The Masque of the Red Death (thanks, Edgar Allan Poe).

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Brian Froud

 

Brian Froud (born 1947) is an English fantasy illustrator

Froud graduated with Honors from Maidstone College of Art in 1971 with a degree in Graphic Design.

Soon afterwards, he began working in London on various projects ranging from book jackets, magazine covers to advertising as well as illustrating several children books.

Froud soon realized that fairy tales and legends were something which would never get old.In collaboration with his friend and fellow artist Alan Lee, Froud created the 1978 book Faeries, an illustrated compendium of faerie folklore.Upon discovering Froud’s lavish and mysterious drawings in his books, and recognizing his complex and singular artistic vision of the faerie world,  Jim Henson chose him to help him create a unique otherworld feature-film which became known as The Dark Crystal. Soon Froud developed his own magical distinctive style and experimented with three dimensional designs complete with gnomes, goblins, warlocks and dragons.Through Froud’s unique style utilizing acrylics, colored pencil, pastels and ink, he has created some of the most well known fantasy images of the Twenty-first Century.More of Brian Froud‘s amazing workmanship can be found at https://www.ferniebrae.com/brian-froud.

 

One Step Closer to Being Me

 

As quiet as a shadowed whisper, I have added a new page to my Humoring the Goddess blog.

Angel Tears.

Tears of joy shared by angels who bless us with love and magic (still working on that … rolls eyes).

I’ve finally committed full force to my new craft, which  means I am ready to craft, create, and sell my sparkling wares.

It’s all very exciting.

It’s all very frightening.

I have applied for three craft art fairs this summer. Too many? Too few? What am I doing?

I have already been turned down for one fair. That’s the game. I threw the dice and we’ll see what numbers turn up. Is sharing my crafts with others any different than sharing my joy for writing? Or art? Or my family?

I wonder why I’m so hesitant. So afraid. Why should it make a different if someone likes what I’ve made or not? Am I still not me?

This could lead to a whole psychological discussion, one I’m tired of having. Thinking. I’m going to do what I always tell others to do.

I always say — and I truly believe — that life is too short not to make yourself happy. When you make yourself happy you make others happy. The world swirls around us no matter what we do, and if you wait for others to make you feel better about yourself you’ll wait forever. So why not jump into the foray now and then and share what truly makes you feel good?

I have had fun exploring, creating, and sharing my suncatchers. If I come out with nothing more than new experiences, I have been very fortunate indeed.

Take a look at my new page when you have time. Tell me what you think! Have you taken the next step in your creative world? I’d love to hear about it, too!

P.S. If you can come up with a phrase about angels and their tears that would make a prospective buyer go “Wow. I get it!” hold onto it. I will be holding a little contest with a suncatcher as a prize. 

Sounds like an angel gift to me!

 

Short Stories full of wisdom and insight……. Boundless Blessings by Kamal

This was a feel-good blog from February 11th. The simplest things are always the most important. It feels GOOD to share….

 

A FATHER’S ADVICE: Today, my father told me, “Just go for it and give it a try!  You do not have to be a professional to build a successful product.  Be motivated and courageous. Amateurs started Google and Apple.  Professionals built the Titanic.” THE POWER OF UNIQUENESS: Today, I asked my mentor, a very successful […]

Short Stories full of wisdom and insight……. — Boundless Blessings by Kamal

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Maps

Maps show us where we’re going
Where we’ve been
Where others have been
Where others are going
And where we can go
If that is our choice

 

Al-Idrisi’s World Map, 1154

 

Antique Maps of the World, Double Hemisphere Map, George Louis Le Rouge, 1744

 

Ortelius’s Map of the World, 1564

 

Map of the Northern Sky, Albrecht Dürer, 1515

 

Tang Dynasty Telestial Celestial Map, 618-909

 

Mappe Monde, Jean Baptiste Nolin, 1755.

 

War Map of Europe, Daily Mail, 1914

 

Comparative Heights, of the Principal Mountains and Lengths of the Principal Rivers in the World by William Darton and W. R. Gardner, 1823

 

Leo Belgicus, Hondius and Gerritsz, 1630

 

Map of Ancient Rome, 1602

 

Sound and Texture Gratification

I have discovered something new — well, it’s really not new, but it’s taken front row in my realm.  I call it Sound and Texture Gratification.

There is something oddly satisfying about certain combinations of sounds and sights experienced together. There are communities known as “subreddits,” on Reddit such as oddlysatisfying that cater to this strange phenomenon, or apps like RubberBand Cutting where you cut rubber bands off of objects that my grandkids play all the time.

Think about walking on thin ice down a path and hearing and watching it crack beneath your feet. The perfect swirl of frosting on a cupcake. Cutting down a tall stack of thinly layered pancakes or phyllo dough. Textured paintings. Videos of assembly lines punching and folding and smoothly moving along.

You get what I’m saying.

Google “Oddly Satisfying” and you will get the gist of this enjoyable phenomenon.

I don’t know how to explain it. There is something oddly satisfying about certain motions and sounds that are perfectly in sync with your senses. I myself would rather bite through a stack of thin spaghetti strands than chew up one thick piece of pasta. Something about the click-click-click of going through the layers gives me great pleasure. 

It’s not every sound, every vision. It’s not the same satisfaction as looking at the red/pink colors of sunsets or the precision movements of a classical pianist. Those are different satisfactions.

I am talking about the effect of sound and/or texture and/or vision that  become three dimensional. The simultaneous sight and sound of glass shattering.  Perfectly round bubbles rising in a champagne glass. Rows and lines of things that blend perfectly into one another. Liquids that swirl into mesmerizing rainbows or the experience of running your fingers across corrugated cardboard. The sound and visual gratification watching thousands of precisely lined up dominoes falling. 

Our senses are magnificent transmitters. They send us pleasure on many levels all at one time, often overloading our personal processing centers. In a good way, of course.

If you have experienced what I call Sound and Texture Gratification, come along and share! We all love a good textile experience!

Here is a video that is “oddly satisfying” …

 

https://www.instagram.com/metdaan.cakes/

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Utagawa Kunisada

Utagawa Kunisada, (1786-1865) has been called the most prolific of all the painters and printmakers of the ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) movement in 19th-century Japan.Born in Tokyo (then called Edo), Kunisada was the son of a moderately successful poet, who died very early in his life.The young artist began sketching very early and developed not only a passion but a clear skill in the craft which caught the eye of the master of the Utagawa school of ukiyo-e, Utagawa Toyokuni.Kunisada started his career as a pupil of Toyokuni I whose name he adopted in 1844, becoming Toyokuni III. While he changed his names several times, he is commonly referred to as Kunisada or Toyokuni III.Almost from the first day of his activity, and even at the time of his death in 1865, Kunisada was a trendsetter in the art of the Japanese woodblock print.Always at the vanguard of his time, and in tune with the tastes of the public, he continuously developed his style, which was sometimes radically changed, and did not adhere to stylistic constraints set by any of his contemporaries. Kunisada’s prints mostly consisted of kabuki actors, the popular trend of the period, but as he continued to perfect his craft there was a growth in the number, and the experimental nature, of shunga works which Kunisada produced.In addition to actor prints (yakusha-e) and book illustrations (kuchi-e), he produced erotic prints (shunga), pictures of beautiful women (bijin-ga), landscapes and privately commissioned prints (surimono).In his later years, Kunisada had truly perfected his craft. The depth, blends of color, and complex perspectives of his artwork truly set him apart.More of Utagawa Kunisada‘s prints can be found across the Internet, including http://www.kunisada.de/.

 

 

Finish Your Sentence the Right Way

You know — there are days when I would post 2 or 3 or 4 times if I let myself.

There are others’ blogs I’d like to share, new Galleries I’d like to showcase, photos I’d love to show you, topics I’d like to yammer about.

But I can only take me one day at a time.

It’s not like I know a whole lot about anything. I am one of those who dabble in a dozen things at one time and am neither an expert nor a consistent follower in most. But how can one not want to share other’s creativities? 

I get so excited when I see other blogs and the things they’ve created. The thoughts they’ve had. The discoveries they’ve made. And I want to show you what I’ve found.

I’m sure what I see and experience is only the tip of the iceberg out there. But it’s the seeing and experiencing that wears me out.

When I look from the outside in, it all looks quirky and fun and a little bit on the wild side. Who wouldn’t love to have this much enthusiasm for sharing?

But looking out from inside, I’m exhausted.

Like I said in last week’s blog, I’m Too Old To Be This Busy, this “do ten things at one time” makes me tired. Makes my brain tired.

Working 9-5 used to make me tired. Raising my kids made me tired. Now running on creativity makes me tired. I know it’s not some blood disease; I work closely with my doctor to make sure all my meds are in line and appropriate. 

It’s the mental chatter that sometimes drives me nuts.

Write a blog! Find a new unique artist for the Gallery! Create a page for your crafts in case you ever sell them! Figure out PayPal! Take some product pictures! Call your friend to see if she got the job! Make a ledger! Read some blogs!

See what I mean? The list is endless.

I’m not really complaining. As a matter of fact, I’m excited that others are finding their rhythms and doing their thing and being creative while juggling a dozen other tasks too. Like I always say. I LOVE creativity. No matter what you’re creating, editing, fixing, refinishing, making, crocheting, painting, I love that you’re doing something. 

I just need to calm down a little and share things one at a time. Do something and complete something. I can’t leave dangling participles out there looking for something to modify. 

And just what is a dangling participle, you ask? Here’s a few from Thought Co.:

  • Oozing slowly across the floor, Marvin watched the salad dressing.
  • Coming out of the market, the bananas fell on the pavement.
  • She handed out brownies to the children stored in plastic containers
  • I smelled the oysters coming down the stairs for dinner.

If my mind doesn’t slow down soon, I’ll be doing all of the above.

In triplicate.

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Saint Valentine’s Day

 

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

—William Shakespeare

 

Love, Robert Indiana

 

 

Cupid, Michelangelo

 

 

Dragons in Love, Darin Lazarov

 

 

El Beso, Victor Delfín

 

 

Eros, Alfred Gilbert

 

 

First Love, Irakli Tsuladze

 

 

The Kiss, Rodin

 

 

Romeo and Juliet, Milton Hebald

 

 

A Heart Shared by Two, Made Wirata

 

 

I’m Too Old To Be This Busy

I’ve been quite busy lately, helping my kids update and fix up their new house before they move in next month.

I have never been a cleaner by choice. I’ve survived, my kids have survived, yet my house has never been a front runner for Architectural Digest or Better Homes and Gardens.

Because of both retirement and Covid, my house is the cleanest it’s ever been. I have a new refrigerator that I keep meticulously clean, and my clean counters and organized pantry are finally proof of my boredom.

I mean, I’ve always been clean — I’ve just always been messy. Disheveled. Sidetracked. At the end of the night before I go to bed I retrace my steps of the day and take 20 minutes putting everything back where it came from.

I so envy my daughter-in-law. She is clean, organized, and keeps up after three kiddos, a husband, and a dog. I’m always getting organizing ideas from her, including bins, shelves, and lists. 

I’m lucky if I can sort yesterday’s pj’s from last week’s.

Every time I come home from her house I am inspired to put more away, get rid of more clutter, and organize the rest so that I can find what I want when I want. 

But I believe it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

I still have a tendency to go three directions at one time, start projects I don’t finish, and extend my energy way past my 68-year-old limit. I want to do ten things at one time, including art projects, writing a new novel, sewing beads on my t-shirts, finishing the two books I started reading, and watching a 52-part Chinese TV series with English subtitles.

One thing is pretty darned clear.

I will have to live until I’m at least 95.

I can’t see getting everything done and organized before then.

 

Expanded Galleries

For those of you who enjoy my Sunday Evening Art Gallery entries, I have added quite a number of beautiful images in many artists’ galleries. The depth of these artists (and many more) is  just amazing.

 

Waterfalls

 

Alan Wolfson

 

Chad Knight

 

Rita Faes

 

Ronnie Hughes

 

Sally England

 

Unusual Buildings

 

Come stroll through the Galleries any time! 

 

The Art Fair Across the Street

This is the downer part of being a creative sprite.

My application for my first Starving Artist Art Fair was turned down. 

The woman I was in contact with was very nice, very supportive. The jury preferred that every piece of my artwork — Angel Tears — should be hand made. 

I get that. I knew that. I know all of the hard work that goes into making something from scratch. That’s where the blood, sweat, and tears come from.

I chose to use a combination of purchased items and assemble them to my own specifications. The entire process is mine, just not the physical pieces.

The woman who sent me my rejection email suggested I try the smaller, local art fair across the street from their bigger one. Same day, almost same place.

Probably the best suggestion I’ve had all year. And I’m going to do it.

I would imagine many of you out there go through the same amount of angst, pride, doubt, and excitement about every piece you create. 

Why am I doing this? Making this? Making this particular style of this? Is it any good? Who would want to buy this? Can the purchasing public see this flaw or this wrong flash of color or this odd texture or this slipped stitch?

Your first rejection. Your first return. Your first complaint. They didn’t like it. They hated it. They hate my work.

I went through this same angst, pride, doubt, and excitement with every piece I wrote, too. My fear of never being published, never being read, never being understood. I write and delete and edit and throw out chapters and stanzas and stare at my computer screen and watch kitty videos.

Why do I put myself through this? This up and down, heart-and-gut-wrenching doubt about my beloved product?

I am happy to say that I ignore most of those wasted emotions lately. I plan on sharing now rather than hope for tomorrow.  I believe my writing is that good. And now my crafts.

Do you believe you are creative?

Do you enjoy what you do?

Do you like your end result?

Are you willing to work at getting your art out there?

I am excited about trying a smaller venue. Face it. I’ve never offered my art before to the public. Ever. Not my writing, not my crafts. 

I’ve never offered my dreams before, either.

I love the feeling creativity gives me. It lifts me. It’s therapy after a crazy day or a depressed night. I enjoy working on something that started as a thought in my mind and evolved into something tangible. 

Don’t let a road block in one direction stop you from turning and going a different way. There are dozens of ways to get your work out there. It doesn’t have to be a sales route. It can be work shared with friends and family, shared online, on a blog, or in your own online publication. You can enter half a dozen art fairs, craft fairs, or start your own art fair or a neighborhood art fair.

If you love what you do, don’t give up.

I’m not!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Richard Savoie

Richard Savoie is a Quebec painter born in Moncton New Brunswick.

Savoie comes from a family of artists, including an uncle who is part of Canada’s National Gallery.

Savoie is known for his beautiful oil paintings of winter landscapes and urban environments.

The subjects of his paintings become part of the mystery as they slowly walk further into the distance with their back turned on the narrator.

Many of his works specializes in frosty winters bursting with light, even if depicted in the middle of the night.

Savoie astonishes with an impeccable visual memory, a skill with which he paints and, in turn, places the viewer at the exact place and time as experienced by the artist himself.

Each work reveals another fragment of the universe in a tapestry of light and color that allows viewers to savor the finesse of his fresh and spontaneous approach.

Richard Savoie‘s work can be found in major galleries throughout Canada and is also part of some of the country’s most important collections.

You can also find his work at https://balcondart.com/en/savoie-richard/.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Maki-e

Maki-e (蒔絵, literally: sprinkled picture) is Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder as a decoration using a makizutsu or a kebo brush.

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

The oldest Maki-e in existence now is the ornamentation on the sheath of the Kara-tachi sword with gilded silver fittings and inlay in Togidashi technique held by Shōsōin in Nara, Japan.

Kara-tachi Sword (replica)

Maki-e objects were initially designed as household items for court nobles; they soon gained more popularity and were adopted by royal families and military leaders as a symbol of power.

Kōami Shinzaburō

To create different colours and textures, maki-e artists use a variety of metal powders including gold, silver, copper, brass, lead, aluminum, platinum, and pewter, as well as their alloys.

British Museum
Edo Period

Maki-e can be left to dry, as is maki-hanashi, or relacquered and polished (togidashi maki-e).

Ida Senshū

 It is frequently decorated with reed-style pictures (ashide-e) or combined with inlays of other metals or mother-of-pearl (raden). 

Laquered Karabitsu
Late Edo

Hiramaki-e has a low-relief design, and takamaki-e has a high-relief design.

Bamboo tubes and soft brushes of various sizes are used for laying powders and drawing fine lines.

Igarashi Dôho

As it requires highly skilled craftsmanship to produce a maki-e painting, young artists usually go through many years of training to develop the skills and to ultimately become maki-e masters.

Namiki

Maki-e artwork can be found all across the Internet.  

Creativity is Multi-Dimensional

There is something about artists that is unlike most of the population.

We all do the same things — eat, sleep, love, laugh, cry. We all juggle ten things at once, including kids, jobs, cooking, insomnia, and more.

But artists are often so diversified when it comes to creativity. We mostly stick to what we know — or do best — but then after a while we get an itch to try something new. Different. Easy or difficult, it doesn’t matter. We just want to try one more thing.

Bloggers I follow such as Laura Kate at Daily Fiber and Eva Mout at Ursus Art not only shine in their respective fields, but have expanded to include photography, miniatures, painting, knitting, quilting, and a dozen more worlds. I myself have drifted away from writing the Great American Novel #7 to making sparkling crafts to hang in the sunshine.

The point of all of this is to assure you that it’s alright if you put your heart’s desire and life’s work aside for a while to try something new.

Maybe it’s being hibernated by Covid-19 or a stinging winter or temperatures so hot you want to melt that makes you squirmy in your seat. Makes you want to do something new. Something different. Something quirky or something conservative.

It doesn’t matter. You don’t need permission to try a hand at something different.

In the coming weeks I am going to highlight some of the artists I’ve already showcased to share another side of their creativity. To be honest, sometimes I’d find a painting or sculpture or quilt that I just adored, only to go to their website and find a whole array of different projects, styles, and explorations. How do you decide which to show off to your followers?

How do you decide which of your own talents to showcase?

Let all sides of you shine. Show off your work on your website, on Facebook, email your co-workers or have a show off party where everyone brings something new they’ve tried! 

Life is here. Life is Now.

And we all are creative. In every sense of the word. Even if your creation is not up to “professional” par, try it anyway! Show it off! Go for It!

You have heard of “Nailed It!” , haven’t you?

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis,  an Abstract Expressionist painter and teacher, was born in 1909 in Harlem to Caribbean immigrant parents.

Too Much Aspiration

 

As an artist, Lewis diverged from his native Harlem community of artists in choosing abstraction over representation as his mode of expression.

Jazz Club

 

Lewis studied with sculptor Augusta Savage from 1933 to 1935, at which time he also took art courses at Columbia University.

Baule Mask

 

Those years brought about fruitful encounters with many artists and writers. Lewis joined the 306 group, a salon of artists and writers who met in Harlem and aimed to promote and support the careers of emerging African American artists.

Girl With Yellow Hat

 

In 1935, with members of the 306 group, he became a founding member of the Harlem Artists Guild.

Street Music

 

Lewis moved away from creating social  realism works in the early 1940s because he found the style was not effective to counter racism.

Street Scene

 

Abstraction proved an important means to both artistic freedom and personal discovery, a strategy to distance himself from racial artistic language, as well as the stereotypes of his time.

Cantata

 

Lewis said he struggled to express social conflict in his art, but in his later years, focused on the inherently aesthetic. “The goal of the artist must be aesthetic development,” he told art historian Kellie Jones, “and in a universal sense, to make in his own way some contribution to culture.”

March on Washington

 

In his last 20 years, Lewis created and developed his very own unique blending of abstraction and figuration. His rhythmic lines and shapes now hinted at figures moving through his layers of colors. 

Green Mist

 

More of Norman Lewis‘s timely artwork can be found at https://www.wikiart.org/en/norman-lewis and  http://www.artnet.com/artists/norman-lewis/.

 

 

Atmospheric Art is an Art

Creating dark, atmospheric art is not as easy as one would think. It’s more than black backgrounds and scary faces. It takes thought, planning, and the right mixtures of a blend of greys, blues and blacks.

This is something Eva Mout at Ursus Art does well.

Eva does marvelous portraits and photography, but there is something about her shadowed art that calls you in and makes you ask questions of the dark. Here is one of her most recent paintings and blogs, Spirited Off:

 

 

There are many more delights on her website, Ursus Art. You really should take some time and wander through her rich variety of creativity.

 

 

Amazed by Card Makers!

In taking some time to go through my Reader and actually READ other posts, I came across another amazing artist and her work. 

My friend Candice has a blog she calls This Made Me Smile Today, and she notes that lately she has been “dabbling in card making.”

Here is an example of her work:

 

 

I suggest you go take a look at her blog entry Card Crafting and see all of her amazing artwork for yourself. You will have an enjoyable time!

 

Bright Colorful Paintings Make Me Smile

Tiffany Arp-Daleo has spent over 20 years painting, and has probably spent more time than that in being an art lover. I just love her bright, colorful work. At Tiffany Arp-Daleo Art, she is always experimenting with new colors, new paints — so much fun! 

Her latest blog, Create and Inspire, talks about creating cards using mostly watercolor and alcohol ink, a little acrylic, and paper cut-outs. Here is her current project:

 

How could not love those colors?

Take some time and wander through Tiffany’s blogsite. Her work is bright, inviting, and full of life.

 

 

Oohhhh… the Pleasure of Sharing

 

Boundless Blessings by Kamal is a blog filled with Spirituality & Beautiful Musings. Always full of life and affirmations, I really enjoy her fresh outlook on life. Do go and give the blog a read. Here is one of her most recent blogs: 
Flowers in the Wind…….. 
Image result for images of flowers in the wind

I see fresh little Flowers

Dancing in the wind

Merging in petals ecstasy

Unfolding as tulips, cherries, daffodils,

Sunflowers, roses or lavenders

Wrapped in corals, reds or pinks

Unharmed in wooded greens

A coat of rainbow’s hymn

Wind blowing them upon my skin

And sunshine reflected in my hair

Little dewdrops falling daintily

I find delight in their scented smells

Gazing at the falling flowers

I long to see a flower pure

And wish to reach the sky azure

Every moment is a priceless joy

With my sling bag in tow

I love to run wild with the whistling wind

Among the healing greens that I call home

And with my spirits full of excitement

I walk with the flowers in the wind………………

 

Fun Mixed Media Art

I love creative art!

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

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

 

 

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

Today is the Day Part 2

How is your “Today is the Day” going?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Andy Warhol

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

Mao

 

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

Marilyn Diptych

 

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

Birth of Venus

 

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

John Lennon

 

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

Flowers

 

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

Queen Elizabeth II

 

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

Martha Graham, Letter to the World

 

He made art fun.

Banana

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

Coke Bottles

 

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

 

 

Make it Homemade!

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

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

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

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

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

I miss those times.

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

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

And to the world.

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Miki Asai

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

 

READ THESE (gimmicky) GUIDELINES NOW!!

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

 

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

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

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

DO…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Don’t…

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

Stories from the Wood Wide Web

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

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

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

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Hari & Deepti

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

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

 

 

Instinct? Or Over-thinking?

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

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

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

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

Self doubt sucks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow is waiting.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Hinke Schreuders

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

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

Faerie Paths — Believe

 

Edward Robert Hughes

 

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

~ Skye Alexander

 

 

Monday Monday

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

(do you know the song yet?)

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

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

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

Then a slip of lyrics passed through my head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Diamonds

 

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

 

Centenary Diamond

 

 

La Jeune Tulipe Diamond Dog Pet Collar

 

Mercedes Diamond Car

 

Hope Diamond

 

Graff Lesedi La Rona Diamond

Original Lesedi La Rona Diamond

 

 

All Diamond Ring

 

 

Real Diamond Nails

 

The Empress Consort Crown of Russia

 

Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Gary Greenberg

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Waterfalls

 

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

 

Assaranca Waterfall, Ireland

 

Bigar Waterfall, Romania

 

 

Uluru Falls, Australia

 

Blue Water Falls, Mexico

 

Angel Falls, Venezuela

 

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls, Vietnam

 

Selijalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

What Are You Reading These Days?

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

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

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

The CLASSICS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What sorts of books do you read?  

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Zinovii Tolkatchev

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

One Step at a Time

Pat Fitzgerald

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

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

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

I look around again … cautiously.

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

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

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

So the positives really do outweigh the negatives.

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

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

I hate suddenly becoming so self-conscious.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Nenad Vasic


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

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

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

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

 

 

New Year’s/2021 Plans?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone should feel so good!

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (flashback) — Stairways to Nowhere

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Michelle Kingdom

 

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

 

 

 

Poetry That Survived Christmas

Norman Rockwell

 

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

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

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

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

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

Randy McClave

 

Stop Being Stupid

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

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

Except for that one person that starts it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re supposed to be better than that.

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

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

GET A LIFE.

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

 

Lesson #1,329 — Listen to your Gut

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

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

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

But I digress.

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

Title: Listen to your Gut

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

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

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

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

(* = thoughts)

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

“Curing”

 

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

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

G to J: Open that chest! Good job!

E: tinkle-tinkle-plunk!

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

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

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

*I guess I’d better go check on her.

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

E: I help!

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

J: Granny — Come ON!

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

Later that evening….

Here is where lesson #1,329 comes in.

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

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

I wonder if all crafters go through this humiliation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Norman Rockwell

 

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

Freedom of Speech

The Runaway

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

Rosie the Riveter

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

Scout Came to the Rescue

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

Freedom from Want

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

The Problem We All Live With

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

Girl With Black Eye

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

Boy and Girl Gazing at the Moon

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

Missing Or Giving?

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

janbeek

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

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

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

What are you missing?

Photo by Maximiliano Ignacio Pinilla Alvarado on Pexels.com

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

Ann Koplow
Check out her blog below.

Ann KoplowThe Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Celebrate the…

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Which One Are You?


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

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

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

Heh. The drift.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sparkle is always sparkle, after all ….

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Xavier Puente Vilardell

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

 

 

Are You Out of Sync this Holiday Season?

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

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

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

And still I’m not impressed.

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

What ever happened to the excitement of the season?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now — off to find those chocolate chip cookies —

 

 

The Birthday Raven Unicorn

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

 

The Raven

The Unicorn

by

Claudia Edgar Allan Anderson

 

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

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

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

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

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

Only this and nothing more.

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

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

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

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

Just a DVD and nothing more.

Presently my channel surfing grew boring, hesitating then no longer

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

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

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

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

Snow piled there, and nothing more.

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

The dogs so quietly sleeping, sleeping down the bathroom hall

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

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

Merely this and nothing more.

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

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

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

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

Perched upon the dusty wood just atop my breakfront door

Laid down, and smiled, nothing more.

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

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

Smiling and bouncy ancient unicorn wandering from the snow piles

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

Quoth the unicorn, ‘sixty, oh!’

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

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

Then upon the polyester sinking, I betook to linking

Fancy unto fancy, remembering all my years of glorious tales

What this full-figured, laughing, ditzy unicorn

Meant in singing ‘sixty, oh!’

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

Whether astral traveling or whether sent by Gandalf

Are you telling me age has no meaning?

Quoth the unicorn, ‘sixty, oh!’

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

On the dusty wood just atop my breakfront door;

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

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

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

Now is singing ‘sixty, oh!’

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Chris Garofalo

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

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

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

Sweet Dragonfly.

Lovely bright thoughts … love Purplerays!

Purplerays

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Sweet Dragonfly.

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

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

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

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

~ Janet K. Rauch

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

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Burning Philosophical Questions

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

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

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

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

and ….

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

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