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Posts Tagged ‘art’

Happy New Year 2018!

Purple me

This is me yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, smiling through an outdoors temperature of five degrees below zero, Fahrenheit!

Wishing you a very healthy, loving, peaceful and happy new year.

In keeping my tradition of themes (instead of resolutions or goals with too many rules) for the new year, I am revisiting my topics from last year. Except I gave them teeth and put them on steroids for 2018.

Live in a spirit of love and peace.

Personally… Love more. And show that love. How? I can bake bread and break bread with others, to interact in a warm and comfortable environment. Beyond my circle of friends and family, I will try to be open-minded, understanding and supportive of people whose circumstances are different than my own. And not forget people who are out of my sightlines. (Hello, Puerto Rico!)

Politically… Create peace and wellness. We need to make huge changes in the USA this year. For me that means finding new, progressive candidates to support, joining with like-minded forces, participating in everything available, from caucuses in February to mid-year conventions to an election in November. And I’ll keep doing what I did last year: donating to causes I believe in and sending opinionated emails to my senators and congressional representative.

Eat Healthier

Less sugar, more vegetables. Enough said. Just do it!

Write My Novel

I wanted to finish and publish it in 2017. That didn’t happen, for a good reason. I keep going to classes and workshops – which totally rev me up, I love them – and now I keep revising my manuscript. I’m convinced I’m writing a better book! So, I’ll keep learning and keep writing.

Have more fun and adventure

I’ll keep on doing fun and adventurous things as long as I live.

In previous years I’ve had themes that still carry through to my current life. For example, the theme of Vincent Van Gogh will always be with me. (Did you see the film Loving Vincent? Awesome!) I like to find and create recipes that become part of my cooking repertoire, and I still love swans!

On a final note, Faith Salie offered this take on resolutions inspired by art on the CBS Sunday Morning show. It inspired me! Check it out. And, please, share your comments about the new year. I would love to hear them.

 

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Thatched Cottages at Cordeville, 1890

Thatched Cottages at Cordeville, 1890

One hundred and thirty years ago today, Vincent Van Gogh spent his thirtieth birthday re-reading Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables. How do I know this? It is one of the many, many details about the artist revealed in a comprehensive and compelling book, Van Gogh: The Life, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, which I am currently reading. Its revelations and insights are a must for those who want a better understanding of the artist.

Vincent Van Gogh has been my favorite artist since I was a child. I don’t remember when he came into my consciousness; perhaps it was the first time I saw and was awed by Starry Night. As evidence that both home and school play a part in imparting the appreciation of art in a child, I remember poring over a Time-Life book, The World of Van Gogh 1853-1890, that my mother bought our family when I was a teenager (Thanks, Mom!) As a high school student, I painted a copy of Van Gogh’s Thatched Cottages at Cordeville, 1890, for an assignment. It was a study in shades of green and blue with an abundance of Vincent’s trademark brushstrokes. Imagine my pleasure when, as an adult, I came upon the original in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

I celebrate Vincent’s birthday today on behalf of myself, and all whose lives were made infinitely richer because he lived and created the kind of art that lives forever in our hearts.

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This morning I got out of bed and looked out the window with the delight and wonder of a child.
Snowscape 2013
An overnight snowfall covered all surfaces in a fluffy pure white blanket. Snow gathered in smooth clusters on the outstretched limbs of pine trees and delicately coated every twig of the deciduous trees, creating a lacy pattern. It mounded up in little domes on top of the outdoor grill and birdfeeder. The world outdoors at my home, surrounded by nature, away from traffic and snowplows, was perfectly peaceful and beautiful.

I am a Minnesota snow-lover from the tips of my heavy winter boots to the top of the fur-trimmed hood on my parka. Even the fact that it is now March and spring is within sight doesn’t stop my swoon at the sight of a falling mist of white crystals.

My love of snow has also been revealed in the artwork I have been creating lately. Above is an example of a recent snowscape I painted in watercolor. I posted a couple more paintings on my Artwork Page.

Later today I’ll do some shoveling. The snow won’t last long this time of year, but right now I keep looking out the window and smiling.

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At the “Writing in the Garden” workshop. I’m the gray-haired lady with my back to the camera.
Photograph is courtesy of Blue Cottage Agency.

It is inspiring to spend time with people who are fulfilling their passions for creative expression. I am fortunate to be experiencing more than my share of art immersion this week.

I am still pumped from spending yesterday at the 3rd Annual Writing in the Garden Workshop in Minnesota. It was attended by writers of various interests and genres.  Some are working on a project – others are published authors.  Everybody was friendly and eager to learn.

The workshop was led by writer and teacher, Angela Foster and historical fiction author Candace Simar.  Check out Candace’s recently published book, Blooming Prairie, Book Four of the Abercrombie Trail Series. 

On Monday this week I joined some other members of the Kanabec County Art Association at a weekly get-together, where we work on our art projects or just enjoy each others’ company.  I have found that artists are generally sociable and knowledgeable because they are interested in so many different subjects.        

Are you realizing your dreams for creativity and personal expression? It is not difficult or expensive to seek out camaraderie and educational opportunities with like-minded creative people.  If you need a pick-me-up find a class, workshop or organization that appeals to your interests and check it out.

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Cheers and a standing ovation for people who share their passion for dance, music, and theater by putting on a live show for us!  Yesterday I was delighted to be in the audience of an entertaining performance called Reflections on the Danube “from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.”

Ethnic Dance Theatre, a Minneapolis-based dance troupe that has been creating great experiences for performers and audiences since 1974, brought us along on a journey through the countries of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. It presented the history and culture of these countries in song, dance, and swirling colorful costumes of embroidered aprons, vests, ribbons, and jaunty caps.

 The show tickets were my gift for my husband (happy birthday, Honey!)  Our friend, Kathryn-Sonja (pictured with me in the lobby after the performance) is one of the dancers.  We love to see the skill and exuberance she brings to the performance.

During the show I was fortunate enough to be seated by a young girl who was bubbling over with excitement as she whispered to me that her mom was one of the singers.  She joyfully sang along under her breath to the songs she had heard her mother practicing at home.  I asked the girl if she was a singer too, and she told me she performed in the children’s choir at a St. Lucia festival in December.  Here comes the next generation of performing artists!

One of the best things about live shows is the interaction between the performers and the audience.  We are in it together!  I encourage those who are interested in the performing arts to indulge their passion—learn it, do it!  The rest of us?  We can support the arts by enjoying a show and cheering on the performers!

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Developing my Artistic Style

A few months ago I began keeping an (almost) daily journal – in part to help me develop my creative aspirations. (I was influenced by Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path the Higher Creativity – see my Resources page).  One of the statements I regularly write in my journal – as an affirmation – is, “I believe if I do the quantity, the quality will come and my personal style will develop.”  

By taking a watercolor painting class at White Bear Center for the Arts, I am beginning to see how my style is unique to me.  This painting is my version of the original created by our instructor Lisa Fertig, which she demonstrated painting in class a couple of weeks ago.  Like the water lily picture I posted a couple of days ago, one element of my version is a very bold use of color.  I am still learning how to finesse the color and work with the attributes of watercolor paint! 

I am satisfied with the strong sense of color in my paintings, though.  When I took a watercolor workshop instructed by Jeanne Carbonetti last May, I was wowed by her use of color.  I felt my eyes were open to the possibility that I could move into a more expressionistic style in my own painting.  I am learning that I still have a lot more to learn, but I am moving in that direction!  See “My Artwork” page on this site for my original paintings.

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Watercolor Painting Class

I’m at home – inside looking out at fluffy white snow – the perfect way to spend a January day.  I am enjoying this opportunity to work on my own projects and develop my artistic interests. 

On Monday evenings, I take a watercolor class at White Bear Center for the Arts.  Here is my version of this week’s class project: a painting of a water lily. Our instructor Lisa Fertig creates the original painting, demonstrating how to do it in segments for the class. When she gets to each stopping point, we paint it on our own paper.  I am amazed that although everybody in the class sees the same original, each of us creates our own version which is very different from the others. All are beautiful in their own way!

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