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With 2017 in the works, I’m starting some new things, though I’m not making resolutions, because they usually are pointless. I am setting intentions and acting on exciting changes. It has been a lovely, protracted holiday season, and I will miss it – it’s my favorite time of year. Here’s a sunset towards the end of our strange last year, to usher the old out and the new in. I hope you feel hope and positive change (yes, I did that) for the coming months. And of course, as always love and joy.

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Littleton, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I’ve always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect.” — Jennifer L. Armentrout

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling like a lovely married couple
Dogs in shop windows
My surrogate daughter
That Kelsea returns from Ireland tomorrow (though not to me)
Two workouts today

 

The magic of Christmas in the fading Canadian light. I’m finally warming up to the holidays. The Santa Hat has made its first appearance. MKL and I got to take a wonderful narrow gauge train ride through Santa’s Magic Forest with an adorable three-year old. Kelsea is home. We’re going to the Nutcracker on Friday. The girls are decorating the tree on Saturday. While other aspects of the world are spinning out of their orbits, I feel a modicum of peace.

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Vancouver, Canada.

Quote of the day: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

Daily gratitudes:
The smiles the Santa Hat generates
Protein
Office parties
Hitchcock movies
Warm blankets

Last week, I went to surprise my daughter for her 20th birthday. It worked out splendidly, she was completely surprised, her friends were wonderful, and I think a good time was had by all. One of our adventures was a trip to Vancouver. I hadn’t been there in 40 years, and it certainly doesn’t look anything like I remember. We had limited time, so we explored the Gastown District, which must be one of the oldest parts of town. This completely modern building retained a touch of times past. I’ll share more images from my trip in the coming days.

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Vancouver, British Columbia.

Quote of the day: “Canada is not the party. It’s the apartment above the party.” — Craig Ferguson

Daily gratitudes:
That Kelsea comes home in four days
MKL’s hugs
Smiles with mothers at the grocery store
Christmas lights
Cleaning out drawers

 

I live in a small town that has its origins in mining. That said, gentrification is taking over and the boundaries of neighboring towns are rapidly blurring with more houses, more people, and more development. This week though, our little town felt little again. We have a strong, vibrant, long-standing Hispanic community here, and earlier this week, one of the little mercados had racist graffiti spray painted on it, and the ice cream/sandwich/wine shop down the street had a rock thrown their window.

And we all hated it.

Tonight, many in our community patronized the Eats and Sweets shop, offering to help, and showing support, and then a whole crowd walked a few doors down to the Las Montanas Market to share the love and again, offer to help in any way possible, and reinforce the importance of this family, the business they run, and the community which they enrich.

We are a community in the truest sense of the word. And our art, which is everywhere in town, reflects our spirit of love and unity.

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Community Holistic Health Center, Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily gratitudes:
Kindnesses
Smiles that reach eyes
My handsome husband
A beautiful day
A win at work

 

 

 

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours..” — Henry David Thoreau

Daily gratitudes:
Warm milk
Warm coats
Warm kitties
Warm hands of my love
Warm beds

Sticking with the theme of moving through and forward, this image was one of many windows — and windows always mean openings — and much light that we basked in last February. I love the yellow in this one. It was my Mother’s favorite color.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “She wished she had a little yellow house of her own, with a flower box full of real flowers and herbs – pansies and rosemary – and a sweet lover who would swing dance with her in the evenings and cook pasta and read poetry aloud.” — Francesca Lia Block   (I have the sweet lover, we just need the house.)

Daily gratitudes:
That the Cubs won the World Series after 108 years – my dad would be so proud
Still feeling better
Casting my vote
A quick talk with Kelsea
My soup

 

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Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is good people who make good places.” — Anna Sewall

Daily gratitudes:
Dr. Angie, an excellent vet
A healthy Mr. Man
Counting down to the election being over
A lovely day
Missing MKL

 

Yes, I do mean encroaching. Encroaching on the richness of summer and the bright days that stretch into soft, long evenings with nine o’clock sunsets. It was a shock today to leave Job #2 at 8:15 and have it be dark. Over the weekend, we did get into the mountains for a quick overnight in Cripple Creek with an interesting side dish of a ghost hunt at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum, which I’ll share more about once I’ve gotten my thoughts in order and it’s not so late in the evening.

Here’s a simple, rather abstract image that feels to me like it captures the essence of fall. (Kudos to anyone who can discern what this image is and how it was taken.) Let’s hope we have a gentle fall into winter here in Colorado.

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Buena Vista, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” — Stephen King

Daily gratitudes:
The woman pushing her two yorkies in a double stroller
The split of political views in the office
Easing of the spiritual stress
MKL
Being more organized

I don’t talk a lot about being an empath. Partly because it’s a complicated thing. It’s also a pretty private thing. And these days, it has entered into popular culture enough that it can be easily dismissed by those who don’t share this quasi-gift, and easily adopted by those who are struggling to belong, to attach a cool label to themselves, or to understand their own feelings. I don’t diminish those people and their needs, but I do not know if their experience is the same as my own….though that could be said of everyone.

This week has been an eye-opening one for me with regard to this component of myself. Being an empath is something different from being empathetic or highly sensitive, or even empathic. I’ve been led to the realization that it is not something I can ignore at times of global collective distress – or anniversaries like September 11. It took the universe dropping a heavy veil over my body and spirit for me to see that this gift, this calling, this ability to wend my way between worlds and realms, is something precious and needed. I am a path through the veil for silent acknowledgement and connection for those beyond. Being a channel, a vessel, is part of the reason for my being here, on this earth, at this time. And the divinely given art of dancing across levels of existence is something I need – and want – to practice.

I judge my own words through the eyes of others. So, to head you off at the pass, I’m not high or crazy or a hippie. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a cousin, an aunt, a homeowner, a writer, and I work three jobs to put my daughter through college without (fingers crossed) student loans. I’m the picture of responsibility. I pay my bills on time. I don’t wear make-up, except eyeliner as my work disguise. I don’t color and style my hair. I like jeans and yoga pants and dressing up and thrift stores. I like tuna salad sandwiches (warm, with cheddar, mustard, and hot peppers), rib-eye steaks, and butter pecan ice cream. I like Appalachian music and opera. I love flowers and mountains and especially the sea. I love to travel. I help tourists in Denver when they look lost, and like to smile at strangers, especially, these days, women in hijabs, because when they see the smile in my eyes, their eyes smile back and I can tell they feel welcome and trusted and a little bit safer. I’m not stunning, I’m not unusual. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos, because my mother drilled into me at an early age that there’s no sense in poking holes in yourself for the sake of fashion (and she was right) and the only thing I would ever like to have indelibly inked on my skin are the latitude and longitude of my favorite places on earth, perhaps as anklets or bracelets, but not now. Maybe someday, when I’m older.

If you were to see me walking from Union Station to my office in the morning, you probably wouldn’t give me a second glance. But at a glance, I can feel so much about you, and you’ll never know that. I can sometimes turn it off, but not this week. This week there were so many souls who wanted their energy and their words resurrected into the consciousness of now for just a few moments, and needed me to be a silent channel for them. And so, while it took me a few days to figure it out, I did. And we are all, for now, somewhat soothed.

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Some beautiful beach, some beautiful where between worlds.

Quote of the day: “People underestimate the stars and the connectedness they bring between spirit and matter. More often than not, when lost, we seek solitude in staring into the darkness hoping something speaks back to us, usually through a feeling, a thought or a rare occurrence of a shooting star.” — Nikki Rowe

Daily gratitudes:
That my cricket has moved to the kitchen
A clean bedroom
That MKL loves me regardless
Truck stop coffee
That Kelsea called me from the grocery store, asking about spices for what I have taught her to be her “signature dish” to cook

I sometimes think that all works of art are born somehow of fire. Words burn in a writer’s brain, unforgiving until they can spill upon page. Motion burns from the core of a dancer’s muscles. Paintings are licks of flame risen from a spirit through a brush to a canvas. Even in photography, there is a burning peaceful need to capture what is seen by one set of eyes into something that can be seen by others, a sharing of the embers of the photographer’s vision. The center of the earth that we walk on each day is made of fire, and it passes through layers of rock and soil and the skin of the soles of our feet to the center of the souls of our being, and must be expressed somehow.

In this sculpture studio, we found the purest expression of the creative fire, molten iron casually poured by men protected from its destructive power, men looking like creatures from the center of the earth themselves, men who controlled the flow of creativity, channeling it into molds and frames, containing it, shaping it, melding with it, as it fashioned itself through the sculptors hands into art, cold to the touch but still retaining that fire within. As we all do.

It reminded me that art can be dirty and primal and beautiful, full of heat and passion and practicality all at the same time, blending hotly and gently to create an artist’s ever-imperfect vision, for imperfection is the nature of art as viewed by the artist, and what makes them strive to improve always, trying to touch that fiery core with their bare hands, capture it, rejoice in it, and share it.

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Shidoni, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I used to know a sculptor… He always said that if you looked hard enough, you could see where each person carried his soul in his body. It sounds crazy, but when you saw his sculptures, it made sense. I think the same is true with those we love… Our bodies carry our memories of them, in our muscles, in our skin, in our bones. My children are right here.” She pointed to the inside curve of her elbow. “Where I held them when they were babies. Even if there comes a time when I don’t know who they are anymore. I believe I will feel them here.” — Erica Bauermeister

Daily gratitudes:
Brief flashes of clarity
Some time with Kelsea
Realizing creative necessities
Water
Beach time soon come

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