Category Archives: Inspiration

THREE MONTHS OF READING – JULY THROUGH SEPTEMBER

To say I’m behind is an understatement. I have some catching up to do. In the past three months I read some crime stories, an older classic children’s book, a Russian novel, Science Fiction and my new standby Sherlock for starters!  So – here goes!

FATAL EMBRACE, THE INSIDE STORY OF THE THOMAS CAPANO/ANNE MARIE FAHEY MURDER CASE by Cris Barrish – I originally started this book as part of my quest, to read a book by an author from each state. This was originally my book from an author from Delaware – but about halfway through the book, I decided Delaware deserved better. However, this is an unbelievable true story. Thomas Capano was the former deputy attorney general of Delaware, married with children AND the last person seen with Anne Marie Fahey. Her body was never found, however, his brother admitted to helping bury her at sea. Compano  was convicted and actually sentenced to death. This is a fascinating crime story, actually made into a movie starring Mark Harmon and it inspired an episode of Law and Order!

PLAINSONG by Kent Haruf – I read this as part of my quest, this was my selection for Colorado – you can read about it here! I am currently reading the sequel Eventide.

A MOVEABLE FEAST by Ernest Hemingway – I read this as a reading group selection. It is important to note, this book was published posthumously in 1964, edited from his manuscripts and notes by his fourth wife and widow, Mary Hemingway. It consists of Hemingways personal observations of life in Paris in the 1920’s. It is a quick and enjoyable read.

A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD by Lisa Ann Sandell – this is my selection for my quest for the state of Delaware – I will be blogging separately about this book.

THE MAN IN THE GREY FLANNEL SUIT by Sloan Wilson – This is my selection for my quest for the state of Conneticut – so I will be blogging separately about this book (I’m behind on blogging about my quest!).

A SUMMER PLACE by Sloan Wilson – I enjoyed the book The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit enough to read another book by Sloan Wilson. The 1959 movie starring Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee is but a sliver of the book.  The book focuses on the lives of teenage loves, Ken and Sylvia, who end up marrying other people and meet up years later. The movie focuses on the children of Ken and Sylvia – Molly and Johnny. The book has a lot more depth and texture than the movie. Both the book and movie were considered controversial in the late 50’s, focusing on  divorce, adultery and sexuality.

BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA by Roland Merullo – this is a delightful little book – considered “spiritual fiction”. It follows Otto Ringling, a food book editor living in New York, who travels to his parents home in Bismark SD to liquidate their estate. He reluctantly agrees to take Volya Rinpoche, a Siberian Monk, with him at the urging of his sister. Along the way, they go to a chocolate factory, go bowling, and attend a baseball game at Wrigley field. Otto begins this journey  as a skeptic, but he slowly gains new perspectives on the world and his life with Rinpoche’s company. There have been two sequels, titled Lunch with Buddha and Dinner with Buddha. It was a sweet and somewhat thought provoking book – I plan on reading the sequels,

FIRST LOVE by Ivan Turgenev – Originally published in 1860, it begins with a 16 year old boy falling in love with a 21 one year old neighbor. The girl, Zinaida, has several other suitors, and the boy, Vladimir, gets in line. However, Vladimir eventually discovers the true object of her affection is his own father, and the last two chapters take a tragic turn. This is a wonderful and beautiful written little gem of a novella – and it is free on Kindle.

THE VACATIONERS by Emma Straub – The Post family is spending two weeks in Mallorca to celebrate the 35th wedding anniversary of Franny and Jim. Franny is a food editor, Jim was recently forced to resign as an editor of a New York Magazine because of an affair with a 23 year old intern. Obviously, their marriage is in trouble. Their daughter Sylvia has recently graduated high school with a goal to lose her virginity. Son Bobby arrives from Florida with his much older girlfriend, Carmen. Then there is Charles, Franny’s best friend, and his husband Lawrence. The book is very well reviewed, but I found it kind of exasperating.

BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter – I love books about movies. Beginning in 1962 in Porta Vergogna, a tiny Italian coastal town, you meet Pasqual who’s family owns the only hotel in town.. There is an American tourist who comes annually to work on his novel for two weeks a year.  A beautiful actress, Dee, arrives from Rome, where she has been filming the movie Cleopatra. It jumps around in time, going to modern day Hollywood with a legendary producer as well as a character that is pitching a movie about the Donner Party. Richard Burton makes an appearance. I found this book entertaining – even though it is almost epic in scope, moving around time and also moving around the world.

A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett – as a child, I loved the movie that starred Shirley Temple. The story line is basically the same, Sara arrives from India to London to go to Miss Minchin’s school, enjoying a life of privilege. All of this changes for her in a classic riches to rags story. Her father is killed and she becomes a beggar and a servant. But Sara is kind and becomes inspirational. The movie ads an entire plot line that doesn’t appear in the book. Surprisingly, Frances Hodgson Burnett also wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Secret Garden!

A STUDY IN SCARLET by Arthur Conan Doyle – I think I need a monthly does of Sherlock these days. This is considered the first Sherlock/Watson pairing. The best part is also when Sherlock begins his deductions to Watson’s amazement, who proclaims “You are wonderful, Holmes!” – you know what? I agree!

THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir – the story about this being published is almost as interesting as the book itself. I really loved the book and can’t wait to see the movie!

THE GIRL WHO SAVED THE KING OF SWEDEN by Jonas Jonasson – this should be a Wes Anderson film. Nombeko is born in 1961 in Soweto. She becomes imprisoned and ends up as a housecleaner for an incompetent engineer in a research facility working on nuclear bombs. There is an extra bomb and Nombeko excapes to Sweden (along with the bomb) where she meets the twins Holger One and Holger Two, whose father wanted to take down the King of Sweden. The Mossad gets involed, as well as Jimmy Carter and other dignitaries from the time. I could go on about the story, but it sounds crazy when trying to recount it!  Even so,  enjoyed this, but if you want to read only books that are realistic, this isn’t for you. If you like crazy, fantastic stories that somehow make sense, enjoy!

Any suggestions?

 

 

MUSINGS ON EXPLORING AND EXPERIMENTING CREATIVELY

C4wardMarch200

 

I have committed to 15 days of blogging with C4 – an organization in Atlanta that – according to their vision statement – helps Atlanta artists learn to make a living from art. This is a great way to connect with other like minded artists receiving a prompt a day.  

What is my purpose here on this earth and why do I exist?  To quote Emerson, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Living a life well lived is finding your true voice and your gift – and the purpose is giving it back to the Universe.

Why do I create? I have to. I am a learner.  I am an observer. I am an experimenter – I’ll try anything once (within the law of course). Observations lead to dreams, which leads to explorations and to the path only I can see.  The path I will forge, not a path I can follow.  “The things that make me different are the things that make me me.” A.A. Milne

Yes, I believe it is a better life lived when you sometimes fail by being original than succeeding by copying others. 

“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart” Vincent Van Gogh,  Maybe a more simplified version of this for a t-shirt saying, maybe just SEEKING and EXPLORING, PASSIONATELY.

 

 

MY SACRED SPACES

As part of the 15 Day BLOGATHON with C4 Atlanta, I thought I’d just repost a blog I wrote earlier in the year, as I’m a day late:

I have spent some time this year being quiet and listening for my muse. To help her communicate with me, I spent some time and made myself a sacred space in our guest room.  I thought I’d share some pictures of this, as well as my big sacred space, my studio!

P1200085_1372This little space makes me happy.  The little plate was a gift brought from Israel. I have several fortunes laid out on it. I love my little pen holder that is a can of the Campbell’s tomato soup that Target had for awhile to commemorate Andy Warhol. The table covering belonged to my mother-in-law.

Now – for some pictures of my studio.  P1200079_1366

One of the advantages of being married to an artist is he understands what I need.  He made me the 4×8 foot table, complete with a shelf underneath.  I keep all my paint there, easy to get to and close by.  The chairs on the left came from a drug store going out of business – they are the little chairs that are in virtually ever pharmacy it seems.  The large book case was made out of wooden shipping crates and contains primarily collage material.  The flat files on the end came from a gallery that was liquidating.  The door leads to this:

P1200080_1367

My own little patio that I use for drying. In the spring, I plan on “prettying” it up a little.

P1200083_1370I also want to invest in a “drying” bench!!!!

One nice feature that was added was railing, as well as a metal strip that works with magnets. This is great for hanging things up to decide what to do next.

P1200078_1365

I had a sink installed right outside my studio next to the heater – that has saved me so much time!

P1200084_1371Here is another view of the studio

P2090044P1250043_1436P1250044_1437

I slipped in these pictures of my grandniece Lexi and grandnephew Breyden enjoying an afternoon down there.

Oh – the one thing I forgot to photograph – my collection of gunpowder – yes – I use gunpowder in paintings.

There are things I want to do at some point – but overall I think it is great to have such a great functioning space in my house!

 

 

 

HOW TO EXPLORE – MARCH BLOG CIRCLE

inspiration

Outdoor Mural in Atlanta

 

This is part of a blogging circle consisting of women around the globe blogging today with the common theme of “how to”.

“In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.”
― John Archibald Wheeler

It was a perfect day to explore.  When I took a walk in a different neighborhood, below is what I found.

Mural Art in Atlanta

Mural Art in Atlanta

Free Library in Atlanta

Free Library in Atlanta

 

Kirkwood Mural

Kirkwood Mural

I have driven by this mural hundreds of times.  I had never gotten out of my car and really looked at it.  Called Native Waters, this mural is 343 feet long.  The left side of the river shows rivers flowing to the Gulf of Mexico (the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola). On the right are the rivers flowing from Atlanta to the Atlantic Ocean (the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Altamaha).  The center of the mural represents the communities of Lake Claire, Candler Park, Edgewood and Kirkwood, the nearby communities on the Eastern Subcontinental Divide (which runs east and west)- which is the site of the mural.

I never would have known this had I not gotten out of my car and walked under a railroad trestle.

This rabbit is found repeatedly in Atlanta on railroad trestles

This rabbit is found repeatedly in Atlanta on railroad trestles

Living Walls, Atlanta Georgia

Living Walls, Atlanta Georgia

 

 

Close up of mural in Atlanta

Close up of mural in Atlanta

Close up of Atlanta mural

Close up of Atlanta mural

What did I learn?  There is so much to see and so much to experience so close to home! And, don’t laugh, but it is important to keep a camera with you to record anything you might find when you either choose to travel a different route or choose to get out and walk in a different neighborhood.

What is close to you that you have been wanting to explore?

This is part of a blog circle, so click here to read my friend Amy Riddle’s blog about her time to blossom! (more…)

A VERY PRODUCTIVE WEEKEND

I have felt a little blocked lately.  Maybe it is because my studio looked lik this!

Before

Before

So, I rolled up my sleeves and went to work on it.  When I was finished, it looked like this:

After

After

So, the inspiration came!  After a day in my studio, I had accomplished the following.

A day's Work

A day’s Work

I worked on 4 large paintings, two are almost complete, and six small pieces. All in all, a Good Day!  After this, I took a brisk walk and I found this on the side of the road – a nice weather beaten newspaper that will perfect for a collage someday.

collage material

collage material

What did you accomplish this weekend that you are proud of? By the way, when I finished working in my studio, I cleaned it up to start again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRATITUDE – THE FLYING BLOG CIRCLE

Every month a group of women from around the world have banded together to post a blog with the same theme.  This month’s them is Gratitude.   Here is my contribution – and when you are finished with this – head on over to Jennifer Vitale’s post here.

Gratitude

At this time of the year, we all spend time giving thanks. Like everybody else, I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my health. To me, gratitude is making a conscious decision not to focus on what is missing from my life, but focusing on what I have.

 

One of the things I’m most grateful for is the self realization that I’m an artist. But, how did that happen? It was a journey, and when I started on it, I didn’t know where it would take me.

I admit, I was always a little different, I’ve always marched to a different drum.  I dressed a little differently, I thought a little differently, I’d like to say my head was in the clouds, but it really was always in a book.

I was always drawn to the creative people, not realizing I was one myself. Then one day I saw a book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  Well, this got my attention as I’m left-handed, and therefore a little right brained. So, my journey began, and it continues today.

But, I knew I was an artist when I started seeing things differently. I see faces in the negative spaces of foliage, or in the plastic window of the jeep in front of me.  I see people dancing in the clouds.  I began observing, really looking at the world around me.

 I see a mother playing with her baby in Canada.

I see so many things in Russia.

 

I see colors.

So, while I’m grateful for so many things, I am grateful that my journey has allowed me to see with the eye of an artist.

In reading about gratitude, I have joined The Gratitude Challenge, and signed the pledge.

Now – head over to Jennifer Vitale’s post here.

 

 

I DID IT!!!! BLOGTOBERFEST 2012

Blogtoberfest 2012

I did it – I posted a blog every day in the month of October, missing only one day – and I bought a car that weekend.

I am not going to lie – I’m glad it is over.  But, I did learn a few things.

1.  I need to take more photos. I did purchase a Smartphone during October, and that helped. But, I need more photos to illustrate my blog by making it more personal.

2. Sticking to a plan helps. Having a series – The A to Z’s of Art really helped keep me on track.

3. There are other things to write about other than my art and what I’m doing.  I researched artists.  And I learned some things that surprised me (see Q for Quills- I had no idea!).

4. Keep a journal – catch those ideas as they fly by!

5.  If I do it again, I will highlight fellow artists – which takes a little pre-planning!

So – I spent a day with every letter, and I participated in a Blog Circle where 12 women around the globe wrote about Courage.   Here are some of the links to past blogs here.

Courage in Art

A IS FOR ACRYLIC PAINT  through Z IS FOR ZIGGY, MY STUDIO ASSISTANT.

Posts in between are:

B is for David Bryne

C is for Creativity

D is for Dream

E is for Encaustic

F is for Fear

G is for Giclee

H is for Hue

I is for Inspiration

J is for Joel – Epiphany in the Dark

K is for Anselm Keifer

L is for Louvre

M is for My Studio

N is for Negative Space

O is for Georgia O’Keefe

P is for Photographing your Artwork

Q is for Quill Pen

R is for Rembrandt

S is for Surrealism

T is for Theft

U is for the Lady and the Unicorn

V is for the View from My Deck

W is for Warhol

X is for the Portrait of Lady X

Y is for Yellow

 

 

V FOR THE VIEW FROM MY DECK, THE A TO Z’S OF ART

It is fall in Atlanta. You know – the time of year when the air is crisp and it feels good to just kick back and relax and reflect. Enjoy the view from my deck – yes, there are woods behind us!

Artist Trading Cards drying before being shipped to San Francisco

bonsai trees

Redwood bonsai tree

I think I lost my lounge chair. My assistant Ziggy

CREATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY – WEEK OF 10/24

Wow! the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I finally broke down and got a SmartPhone.  AND I committed myself to my first car payment in 21 years!  Yes, I bought a car!!!

2012 Toyota Camry

This isn’t MY CAR, but it does look very similar (and it is too dark outside to take a decent picture!)

I have joined an International Creative Accountability group online which began with fellow students from Flying Lessons, a class we took together.   Here is what I want to accomplish during the upcoming week:

  1. Because I am participating in Blogtoberfest, which is a commitment to post a blog every day in October, I want to continue this. I have only missed one day so far, and I am up to the letter “S” in the series “The A to Z’s or Art.

2.   ART-O-MAT

converted cigarette machine selling original works of art

I was accepted in this program, which refurbishes vintage cigarette machines and fills them with original pieces of art. They require 50 completed pieces of art to go in one of the machines. I have completed 40 of them, and I plan to complete the remaining 10.

Art-O-Mat

I will edit these a little, and finish the remaining 10.  Then I have to label them, sign them and wrap them in cellophane.

3.  I will pick a minimum of 10 pieces I have at home to list on Etsy and make sure they have all been photographed.

4. Work on the patterns and collage to start organizing the Coolage Parties I previously blogged about.

5. Learn more about my phone (and how to get photographs off of it!) and my car

Do you have any goals for this week?   What are they?

 

 

 

COURAGE IN ART

 

City Emerging
©Vickie Martin

“The effort to see things without distortion takes something like courage and this courage is essential to the artist, who has to look at everything as though he saw it for the first time.” Henri Matisse

I am taking a break today from the  The A to Z’s of Art series I have been working on. Today I am writing about courage, along with 12 other courageous women from around the globe. At the bottom of the page, there will be a link so you can continue the blog circle!

Courage comes in many forms.  For an artist, it is the courage to continue to break out of creative ruts.  It is the courage to leave  comfort zones and trying something new.

For many, it is simply the courage to be an artist and following their heart. 

“Courage is the resistance to fear, the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” Mark Twain

The definition is having the mental or moral strength to venture, presevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. 

I found this phrase – Illegtimi non carborundum (click on to learn it’s history – I’d never heard it either). In short – “don’t let the bastards grind you down”!  I love that – I’m going to make a sign to put it in my studio.  ILLEGTIMI NON CARBORUNDUM!

During a difficult period in my life, I had a counselor tell me “have a love affair with yourself”.  That was, and still is, the best piece of advice I ever received. We all need to have the courage to be our own hero.  Be your own champion!  Have the COURAGE to believe in yourself!

By being your own champion, other are more likely to look at you with respect.  Then make realistic goals for both your art career and your personal life.  Pursue those goals with passion and most of all with COURAGE.   As Lady MacBeth said “We will not fail”.

And, have the courage to embrace your failures. Use that COURAGE to learn , and continue onward!!!!

Now, keep moving around the globe and the circle.  Check out the blog that Jennifer Vitale in Philadelphia wrote today titled “She Gives Me Courage”.