My work is featured in the summer issue of Artful Blogging Magazine. Whole lot of gratitude to Shawna Lemay for the writing prompt. Her blog is always so thought provoking. This beautiful publication, reads more like a book than a magazine and it’s chock full of wonderful inspiration. Happy to be in the company of such talented people. Kind of a dream come true.
speaking of inspiration and dreams
The lovely and amazing Kelly Ishmael turned me on to this gorgeous book – Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai. Photos by Michele M. Waite. All about growing, harvesting and arranging seasonal flowers. Wonderful information and the photos are to die for.
How sweet is this??
Even Mozart was impressed!
Chloe Lemay is an art student at Sheridan College, soon to be majoring in cartoon/animation. She did this adorable image of Mozart and I just love it! He will be appearing at the end of each blog post from now on. You may view more of Chloe’s wonderful, whimsical work HERE. Word is that she will be doing commissions this summer if anyone is interested.
I’ll leave you with these beautiful words found on Calm Things a while back.
I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.
I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.
I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.
I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.
I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.
I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.
My son’s VLOG got me thinking about how we often develop a skill set in one area but end up using it in new and unexpected ways. In life, in work and in our creative endeavors, our experiences are somehow all inter-connected.
My talented friend, Linda Murtha, immediately came to mind as her work is a beautiful marriage of art and photography. She very kindly agreed to share her experience, her thoughts and her amazing art with us here:
I was about 9 years old when my mother came home one afternoon and found me painting a winter scene with white house paint on a red floor tile left over from our basement renovation. I can still see my vision for that painting and I can’t imagine what she was thinking when she took a cloth soaked in Varsol and wiped the tile clean. Afterward, she apologized, saying she didn’t understand what I was doing, but it was a long time before I showed anyone anything I’d created again.
When I was 7 I’d painted a watercolour of tulips in a garden as an Easter gift for my grandmother. I remember not wanting anyone else to see it. Even as a child my sense was that my art was safe with my grandmother but no one else understood my need to create. More than 50 years later, a lifetime since I’d even thought about it, I found that little painting among my mother’s belongings. It wasn’t anything special but my grandmother had kept it her entire life and so had my mother.
In high school I excelled in art and not much more and I begged my parents to allow me to enroll in an art program. They left me in the academic program, and I simply painted on my own through my teens and into my 20’s but I often asked myself, that age old question…What if?
When I married and had three kids in 5 years I put the paints away but sewed and felt that too fed my creative urges. I didn’t turn back to painting for many years. When I did, my own critical voice had grown very loud. I studied for several years with a talented landscape artist who increasingly showed frustration with the faultfinding I heaped on my own work. In a moment of exasperation, she said to me, “If you want a painting to look exactly like a photograph, why not get a camera?” The seed would take a while to germinate, but she had definitely planted it.
For a while I worked on trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) paintings and found great satisfaction in that. I’d proven to myself I could, in fact, make a painting look ‘real’. And then, shortly after this stage of growth, I was gifted with my first camera.
Two images I took on my first roll of film hung on the wall of my husband’s office for years. I felt accomplished, acknowledged, and creatively happy just taking pictures for my own pleasure, much the same way I had once enjoyed painting simply for the experience.
In time though, that same creative bug that had bitten me so many years earlier, started to nibble again. More and more I wanted my photographs to look less and less like photos and more and more like paintings. It was another season of cross-pollination and I was now flying backward.
I experimented with textures and layers, with off-lens photography, Lensbaby and with intentional camera movement, all in an effort to make images look like paintings. And I found great satisfaction in that garden of creativity.
And then most recently, after dabbling just a bit in encaustics over photographs, I found myself longing to paint again, and have been trying some techniques with acrylics and alcohol.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. I still hear that old voice muttering something about none of them being ‘note-worthy’ but now I can laugh and just go back to it and enjoy the process. Who knows what I may learn here that I can take somewhere else. Who knows as we cross-pollinate our experiences, and our attitudes; our criticisms and our praise, what the end results will be?
I’m proud of my work. I’m proud of the journey too. As each chapter unfolds I feel a hunger for the next and the next.
I started this adventure relatively early when I tired of crayons and colouring books and staying in the lines, but I’m thrilled to think the story may never end. There’s always something to learn from those who are also cross-pollinating their love of art with other skills they bring to the garden.
Thank you for bringing so much beauty to the garden, Lynda!
As for Eric’s vlog…I posted it on Facebook where it made for some fascinating conversation. It seems our education and knowledge, skills and life experience never go to waste no matter what plans the universe has for us. It all counts.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it throughout my day…the comment that struck me the most was the last comment to the question in regards to what she thought about pollination…and she says the bees, they are dying. And while the bees aren’t dying from their job of pollinating, they are dying because of the actions of mankind, and well, the inaction as well. I know he was talking more about cross-pollination when it came to our experiences and things we’ve learned and translating that to subsequent jobs and experiences, but I began to think about it more on a humanity level. If and how we decide to cross-pollinate with each other on a personal and general level, means a great deal for our own survival….because in many ways we are the bees.
2017 started out with some changes, some new additions and some happy surprises
Our exhibit at The Bradley Estate turned out wonderfully
Met many talented, inspiring people
Loved the sharing of ideas
(a portion of the exhibit will remain on display until Valentine’s Day)
I was contacted by a magazine editor
my photos and a short article will be published
in their May issue
Will share more details soon.
And last but certainly not least
we adopted this sweet boy
(yes, he is a genius)
All was good
until it wasn’t
and the world began to crumble
you already know the story
so much so, I’ve had to distance myself from social media in order to retain some sense of sanity. I’ve never been comfortable sharing personal issues, religion or politics online, it has mainly been a platform to share photography and friendship.
I don’t live in a bubble. I read, I watch the news shows, I have lengthy discussions with my close friends and family members in the “real world”
And when I’m done with all of that, I go out with my camera. I climb on my raft..
“Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.”
Each day you didn’t enjoy wasn’t yours: You just got through it. Whatever you live Without enjoying, you don’t live. You don’t have to love or drink or smile. The sun’s reflection in a puddle o water Is enough, if it pleases you. Happy those who, placing their delight In slight things, are never deprived Of each day’s natural fortune!
~ Ricardo Reis
visits to local farms (meeting a lovely Facebook contact , blogger and fellow photographer for the first time. She recently wrote the most amazing post to her grandchildren), hiking in the woods, friends around a campfire and lots of comfort food.
the fall color was spotty and slow in arriving, perhaps due to the drought. But now it’s finally starting to pop.
listening to old Joni Mitchellalbums fills me with melancholy and memories. Yes, I said albums…I am of that age.
falling in love with this photographer’s work. I discovered him through a friend. His images are poetry and his book – “Small Things in Silence” is a treasure.
Just received a date for our “John Singer Sargent Styled Shoot” exhibit. January 25th at The Bradley Estate. Perfect time as it will coincide with Sargent’s birthday month and an exhibit of his paintings at The Jewish Museum in NYC. Interesting article here. Will share more details soon.
and lastly, my nightly read –
by Molly Peacock. Full of inspiration. Nice to think that one can blossom late in life.
I hold onto that hope.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. ~ Kafka