Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Postcards - individual views

Clearer views of the 8 designs in the newly-offered set of glossy postcards, A2 size.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Word of the Week - 25

Word of the Week:  REIMAGINE

Today I declare that imagination is our top and truly kick-ass superpower.  As with other endowments, it may be used for good or ill.  Today I declare it is no longer appropriate to employ imagination to  enlarge or inflate fear or worry, to use it as the magnifying glass that sharpens a focus on our suspected defects, to bend it to our will for the purpose of keeping us frail or tepid or less-than.  We, as Werner Herzog reminded in a recent interview, are able to give success our own definition and we certainly are here to save the world by whatever means possible.  This will involve stealth, humor, beauty, love and patience.

Without being vast and brilliant, saving the world, even a section no larger than a collar button, would be impossible.   Therefore, we must reimagine, redefine what we believe about ourselves and how we fit into this world that needs us at our truest.   Recently I found a quote by writer Paulo Coelho, “Don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do.” As the loudest voice of disapproval is usually the one in our own heads, that is the first one to ignore.  Sing louder than it shouts.  Make faces and do a silly dance.  Righteous mediocrity can't stand any of that.  And, above all else, throw your arms around every lumpy, battle-scarred, making-it-up-as-you-go-along inch of your brilliant being and squeeze until you can hardly breathe.  Don't let go.  I'm not saying this will be easy.  It may seem impossible, but, as Coelho also said, "Impossible is just an opinion."

In our reimagining, let's imagine this:  that most of what we've been told is wrong or, even more likely, was lies intended to keep us quiet, submissive, to stop us from being troublemakers and siphon our unmistakable coolness out of the tank, leaving us stuck and dispirited.
Empowering words from Lisa Congdon.
I realized this week, in visiting some top-drawer work from artist Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova on women who have changed the way we see the world, that it is, at this late date, unlikely that I will be (a) famous or (b) brilliant on the BIG screen.  That does not mean I am not or cannot be brilliant.  The stars come in all sizes.  Brilliant, and successful, by my definition.  Some days all that requires is being alive, reasonably awake and aware that none of us is ordinary, unless we choose to be.  Imagine something brighter, something better, something that makes your heart happy, not lurching along with grim foreboding.  No one has ever known what will come tomorrow.  I imagine it, and we, will be magnificent.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Five ways to think about sky

Tony Fitzpatrick tells of his artist-in-residence time in Montana and shares a story about the sky.
Find the story here.
"Yves Saint Laurent’s muse Loulou de la Falaise’s wedding was possibly the most magical ever. Wearing a blue outfit with stars, Loulou told friends she wanted to look like a summer's night sky in Marrakech."
From Rick Stevens Studio,
Fred Cuming, RA | Cloudscape Camber #art #inspiration
Pastel & pencil on paper
2014, by Claire Beynon
Maynard Dixon, Mojave Desert, 1923, oil on board

Monday, August 18, 2014

Word of the Week - 24

All art today from Domenica More Gordon.
Word of the Week:  COMMUNION

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small 

This week my Facebook feed was alive with animal videos and I watched them all.  As I am allergic to cats and dogs, I don't have extensive first-hand experience of communion with other creatures.  Being, at least, a reasonably observant human I understand the depth of such love, of such relationships.  In the recent past, too many friends have lost beloved companions.  Grief is grief.  It is not exclusive to a particular species.

I wondered, briefly, about my sudden affinity for watching cats, dogs, penguins and unidentified small birds being remarkable.  I realized their presence gave comfort.  That their presence was virtual made a connection to them no less real.  A dog splashing water on beached fish, attempting to revive them, astonished me.  A cat luxuriating in a lengthy massage, paws, chin, ears, head, torso, made me grateful there was such an attuned and caring friend.
More about Domenica's felted dogs, and more, here.
Being human and being a grown-up carry similar responsibilities.  The guy driving the car has made a covenant with fellow creatures to be sober, attentive, safe, as wise as possible, compassionate, trustworthy, and to alert someone if these conditions can't be met.  We know it doesn't always play out as this ideal.  Watching and absorbing the significance of interaction with our furred and winged fellows, observing their unambiguous responses, the result of their communion, elevated my consciousness, informed me, softened and humbled me.  I am still digesting what I saw, what the videos were teaching me, why this seems to be a lesson needed NOW.  Today the answers are still arriving at their pace, not mine.

There is no such thing as too much love, the real deal and not some poseur.  Love without guile, expectations, conditions and limits, how and where do we find that.  Surprisingly - or not - Facebook for all its drawbacks may have offered a clue.
Animals and art, does it get any better?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thoughts of the summer dance transfix Billington's Cove inhabitants - part 2

Bite-size grilled cheese sandwiches.

Cake bites.
The bite-size buffet worked before, Gloria knew, but not a serve-yourself free-for-all.  There would need to be servers,  sharp-eyed servers, and a way for guests to feel abundance and not lack as they carried their treat-filled plates to a table beneath the strings of fairy lights.  She talked to all the other restaurant owners and volunteer chefs in town, a menu was set, commitments made, watches synchronized.  She scanned the tearoom to see which of her most reliable helpers was already present, which would need to be called.  After a quick inventory of supplies on hand, she started the first batch of cookies.

She was of two minds about how she wished she could spend the day.  What a luxury to be a girl again, all dreamy and a'swirl in tulle and silk, trying on gowns, party dresses, nearly hypnotized by anticipation and her youthful image in the dressing table mirror.  Truth was, she was as enamored of preparing her treats as she had once been of, as she called it, sashaying about, fussing with her hair, writing some boy's name over and over in a notebook, wishing for things she couldn't actually name but felt she would recognize  when they arrived.

Work was a tonic, a cure-all, even when no actual ailment was present.  She was not moonstruck, not adolescent and definitely not confused.  No, she amended.  She WAS moonstruck and with good reason.  It was rare in what she knew of the world to be so aware of another's essential self as she was of Robert's, without having been told.  Gloria believed we possess aspects that never lie to us, that simply receive what is true and allow it to flow freely, a stream returned to life with the first snow melt.  Though this was a new experience, she could trust it.  She wondered if she ought to rethink trusting the townsfolk not to serve themselves too generously at a buffet.  The answer to that was not yet clear.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thoughts of the summer dance transfix Billington's Cove inhabitants, part 1

Painting by Andy Smith.
From time to time throughout his life Robert wished he'd been born a poet.  He knew enough of the process to realize he could, upon occasion, corral a poetic expression of what he intuited wordlessly.  As much as he hoped this could be one of those moments, he knew he was on his own, no muse in his pocket.  To feel the sun on his face, the way it warmed a building's chilled facade, would be enough of a gift for today.  That the sun's lemony tang would ultimately seep through him, to his feet and the parts of his brain where music and besottedness resided, made him so giddy he worried he might topple to the side of the road in a fit of giggles.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Word of the Week - 23

All art today by Francoise de Felice.
Word of the Week:  CHIMERICAL

As my art for the past 20 years has been primarily involved with designing rubber stamps, there have been, of necessity, lines around everything I do.  Recently my thoughts, and heart, have shifted to a more chimerical presentation.  I have a deep hunger for what is more flowing, more created of smoke, of vapor, of what may be at least partly imagined, of dreams.  As I fall asleep, I imagine paintings as yet non-existent, yet distinct enough to be seen by the mind's eye.

The art of Francoise de Felice, which I found just a few weeks ago, is the manifestation of what seemed too ethereal to become solid matter.  That her images are women, the women we may be in our own memories or dreams, the embodiment of the numinous with which we seek enduring connection, draws me even more fully into this world, a world I know though I cannot say from where, or when.
In the process of maturing or evolving or being prodded into consciousness I feel we are asked to fall in love with ourselves as we never have.  The scenes, the groupings which de Felice brings to full, robust, soft and not-quite-solid life give me the sense of seeing a self that is at once idealized and yet authentic.  Her women are dimensional in a way that seems to have little to do with day-to-day experiences of hacked passwords, overdue medical procedures, ants in the kitchen, as though they have found the secret to existing outside the limitations of time, space and what is expected of the rest of us.  They inspire me about my work, they make me feel illuminated from within rather than standing in some external spotlight whose glare is just too harsh.  If I am one of them, I am not just shadows, lines, creases and age.  I am timeless, I am beauty, I am depth and I am not too late for anything that matters.  Though they, in their softness, may seem chimerical, they are the reality in which I choose to believe, the world I prefer to inhabit.  Perhaps some illusions are actually life affirming.  I believe these are.