The park was a mess after a night of Spring storms with muddy puddles and tree litter covering the walkways and raindrops still falling from the tree canopy. I was tired, and my brain was also littered with unfinished projects, worries, and the seeds of potential ideas. The world was gray and gloomy. Then I turned a corner and was startled by the sight of the fallen pink and white azalea blossoms in piles of petals on the pavement brightening the world with their unexpected beauty.
"I can’t draw." I can’t tell you how many times I've heard this excuse. First, everyone can draw. You just don't think you drawwell
- whatever that means. Second, feeling like you can't is all the more reason to try! Isn't that what we teach our kids? Set an example for them.
The problem is that most beginning artists are hung up on realism and accurate reproductions of objects, landscapes, and people. Realism is only one style of art. If I wanted to look at a cup, I could get one out of my cupboard.
“If I can’t have magic, I’ll take the improbable.” – Arianne
I was in kindergarten I rode the bus to school. One morning my mom announced
there was no need to wait for the bus; she was walking me the short half mile
to school. I was thrilled to have her all to myself. As we walked,
she pointed out the smooth white pebbles among the gray gravel and debris along
the side of the road. “These,” she said, “are lucky stones. If you gather
them up and keep them in your pocket you will have good luck through the day”.
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world." George Bernard Shaw
"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." —William Morris
A friend of mine spent several years at sea with the Merchant Marine as a young man. This was back when parents sent sensitive boys away from home to “make men of them”. I’m sure it was a rough time for him – stripped away from all he knew and forced to spend months out at sea in difficult conditions.
“Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's
party!'” Robin Williams
“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never
make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important
decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will
pass. The spring will come.” Robert H. Schuller
he weather has been pretty crummy lately, for want of a
better word. We’re pretty spoiled for
sunshine here in North Carolina, so several consecutive overcast days leave me
feeling a little gray inside.
“Every child is an artist, the problem is
staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso.
“According to an IBM
survey of 1,500 CEOs, creativity is now considered to be the most valuable
trait for managers." -parents.com
My mom taught me that art could be made out of
anything. She didn’t have the money for
supplies, but she did have imagination and ingenuity. She wallpapered her bedroom with black and
white pages from the New Yorker magazine, turned a chicken coop into a
playhouse, and sewed a 6 foot teddy bear using discarded clothing for fabric and
stuffing from garage sale pillows.
"I have never been lost, but I will admit to
being confused for several weeks." Daniel Boone
"I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because
the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for
the artist". Billy Joel
I grew up in a small
town in Ohio – a picturesque postcard kind of place with historic buildings
lining Main Street and a waterfall running under the bridge. The local paper reported on criminal activity
involving the theft of Halloween pumpkins and the bitter controversy over the
architectural plans for the new post office.
"One of the best ways to see tree flowers is to climb one of the tallest trees and to get into close, tingling touch with them, and then look broad." John Muir
"With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look" - for dizzier heights.
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
― Carl Sagan
Have you had one of those moments where you are witness to a scene of such beauty, a moment of such striking clarity and significance, that you want to capture it to revisit for a lifetime?
Once I was on a ranch in Colorado miles from the nearest town in early winter for cross country skiing.
"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh
"It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent." Vincent Van Gogh
Do you love the loose style, the bright colors, the vibrance and movement of Vincent Van Gogh's Impressionist style paintings? Are you interested in replicating the style on your own? I'd like to share a few tips to help you to translate the passion, urgency, and emotionally charged composition of a Van Gogh floral into your own style on your own personal canvas.
“When we look up, it widens our horizons. we see what a little speck we are in the universe, so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously, but in the sky, there are no boundaries. No differences of caste or religion or race.”
― Julia Gregson, East of the Sun
"Rows and flows of angel hair, And ice cream castles in the air, And feather canyons everywhere. I've looked at clouds that way."- Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now
When my son was young, we spent a lot of time looking up at the sky.
"Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall."
- Ray Bradbury
"We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen."
A couple of weeks ago, I started out on what was meant to be a very reasonable ten mile trail run in the North Carolina mountains with five other running friends. There were a few factors I didn't take into consideration. First, our event organizer, an Army veteran, had a reputation for memorable "adventure runs".
I recently took a hike through the Linville Gorge Wilderness in an area that had recently experienced a forest fire. The fact that hundreds of acres burned leaving a charred landscape may have kept away those seeking natural beauty, but to my surprise, the devastation of the fire cleared the way for wildflowers to bloom in the areas now open to the sun. The path was bordered by purple irises, dwarf crested iris, pink trillium, hepatica, larkspur, lady slipper orchids. The backdrop of burned debris made them all the more stunning.
We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.
-- Grace Lee Boggs
This Sunday, April 9, I'm inviting you to come to theDowntown
Cary Food & Flea
to grab a circle of plain, white paper and draw or paint whatever design comes into your mind. The circles will then be added to my large
"Of course, coloring within the lines compared to, say, painting a blank canvas is mostly simple decision-making — choosing which color goes best where, with relatively little skill involved. Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for coordinating thousands of decisions each day, from which socks we should wear to life-altering relationship and career choices. As an unconscious response to this so-called daily “decision fatigue,” making a series of small, inconsequential decisions (teal or mahogany for this squiggly line?
"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
JOHN HEYWOOD, Proverbs
"I find luck, because I'm always looking for it."
I found the four leaf clover in the picture this past Saturday as I was walking my dog along a busy four lane road.
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
"The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains." - Anon
Valentine's Day seems like an appropriate time to remind you of two things, people cannot read your mind no matter how well they know you, and you should never take the important people in your life for granted. Valentine's Day gives you the perfect reason to express your feelings. Forget running to the greeting card aisle at the corner drug store to search through cards filled with generic sentiment.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
When I was in Vegas last month I saw a Cirque de Soleil show and watched as acrobats soared through the air over my head on trapezes.