Posted in Art, Creative Nonfiction, Illness/life-threatening illness

Illness ~ My Pencils Cured Me ~

Dear Writers and Readers,

Some thoughts from the lighter side of life, from my world of pencils.

Have you ever thought … No, you must have: “That how valuable pencils are?” The pencil point these days has become a flat surfaced button. Well for me the long slim sleek colorful object is a golden piece of eight, a priceless possession.

Ever since awareness of being alive touched my mind soul and spirit I found out that my closest friends and companions were materials for writing, coloring and drawing. Pencils of all kinds, not often new, but reduced in size, chewed a bit at the end. They would be small color pencils mostly because the larger ones were expensive. Another awareness!! Pencils made in USA which somehow always reflected yellow color and had a deep red eraser at the other end. Faber Castell HB 2 Drawing pencil … and then came Deer….Oh Dear , Oh Dear, Korean multi-colored, transparent! AH! What a thrill to see the lead inside. What is it that writes? What is it that creates those lovely patterns? What is it that traces the mystic mazes on the empty spaces?

And then….

Pencils in front of me
Pencils beside me
Pencils to the left of me
Pencils to the right of me
A pencil in my hand, all the time a diary within reach
I think I dream I talk I speak I write and I love to Teach;

Once illness made me still, I could not move my body I was so weak, but I could hold a pencil, and I had strength enough to slide it across the page while I was glued to the bed. I found out that a pencil would take less energy to write and what was written could be changed.

When there was no one near me, there was my pencil. It gave me security. It gave me courage. It kept my mind alive. I thought with it. I spoke to it and it spoke to me. It gave me ideas. It made me move on in time. As the days passed, my illness slowly faded away. The pencil under my pillow said, “I will be well,” and see now how I am? A little bit is used at a time and then refreshed, turned, twisted, forced and sharpened and shaped, ready to begin work again.

Slowly I play my part and fade away.  As I grow little I am then put away in a box I am now small and thin. I look around and I see at least four pencil containers. They are two each on my two writing tables. Yes! Two! The third table is for the computer. They all housing my pencils, which are braving the world with me.

So keep . . . 

  • more than one pencil container … preferably mugs since they look nice and have attractive pictures designs and quotes on them;
  • your pencils sharpened as a ready pencil saves time and ideas;
  • mixed color pencils in one container for inspiration and encourage;
  • pencils with erasers to help you focus your mind:  and
  • light and dark pencils to give variety of style and development of variegated thoughts.

My stories are many, as many as my pencils, I have a Teacher pencil and a Dreamworks LLC Aardman pencil. Have you ever heard of that one?

I am well now and have begun my travels from the USA to UK. That reminds me of the precious pencil from the UK, from the land of Robin Hood of Nottingham. I can see the green cap with the feather on it. Lovely! The other from England is shaped like a STOP sign at the end and is red and white in color, a reminder of Conservative Traditions, Rules and Regulations. It is a good sign. It keeps us disciplined.

So the journey continues, and I sing as I write, ‘My heart will go on, My pencil will go on…….on … more on pencils and pens to come.’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.
Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.
 .
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
.
Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.
.
Memoir writing is her favorite form of creative expression.

 

Posted in Art

dreaming faerie

From Gretchen Del Rio: Not just for kitty lovers!

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 11/2014 watercolor aceo 11/2014

Celtic lore tells that many house fairies and spirits lived in the form of a cat.

purchase this painting

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Posted in Art

earthfire

Ultimate wisdom always from The BeZine friend, Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 11/2019

To walk the Red Road

is to know you will one day 

cross to the spirit world, 

and you will not be afraid.

purchase this painting

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Posted in Art

best friends

Perhaps the critter equivalent of crossing boards. Lovely!

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 2010 watercolor aceo 2010

Animals sometimes make friends with their deadliest enemies. I wonder why? I have two cattle dogs and a big black persian mix cat. As long as the cat doesn’t run the dogs leave him alone. My dog ‘Buddha’ actually nuzzles him with affection.

Buddha the Dog and his cat Hari Giri Buddha the Dog and his cat Hari Giri

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Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, Art, Peace & Justice, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

100,000 TPC 2015, Event Posters from Around the World

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As of this writing, there are well over 500 events scheduled around the world. To find an event near you or to register an event that you are organizing go to 100TPC.

Our own (Beguine Again and The Bardo Group) virtual event is scheduled to be held here at The BeZine blog on 26 September 2015. You are invited to join us by linking in your relevant work on poverty  (our theme this year) through Mr. Linky (directions will be included in the post that day) or simply by adding your link or your work in the comments.  You retain your own copyright.  All the links and works will be collected and posted in a Page at The BeZine and also archived at 100TPC.  Think about and prepare something you’d like to share so you can have your say and feature your own work.

To “meet” our host for that event, American-Israeli Poet Michael Dickel, link HERE.

To “meet” the founders of 100TPC, link HERE.

Posted in Art, Naomi Baltuck, Photo Essay, Photo Story, Photography/Photographer

The Art of Work

 

Imagine a world without art and artists.

They help us see the world through different eyes.

And artisans infuse our everyday lives with beauty.

 

 

Works of art come in many disciplines.

 

And on many scales…

…some more grand than others.

 

My artist sister Constance’s painting, “The Poet”, celebrates the literary art of poetry through her visual art.

But I have great appreciation for people who would never consider themselves artists, and yet they make an art of work.

Some apply exceptional creativity to their work, like this fellow who rigged a bicycle to power a sugar cane juicer, to crank out a little work of art one cup at a time.

Some turn an ordinary business into something with a very personal touch.

In Ireland, I was moved by the gravestone of a man lovingly remembered for his gift of turning his work into an art.

Be it traditional…

…entrepreneurial…

…fleeting…

…or a treasured heirloom…

 

…art is all around us, and everyone is an artist in his or her own way, whether practicing with a paintbrush, chisel, camera, wooden spoon, plow, or scissors.

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

Also on the tongue…

…in the ear…

…the nose…

…the heart…

and the mind.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, party arty!

All images and words c2014Naomi Baltuck.

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NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com.

Posted in Art, General Interest, Gretchen Del Rio

weeps for the earth

Another gentle lovely from Gretchen Del Rio …

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 8/2014 watercolor aceo 8/2014

May the sun
bring you new energy by day
May the moon
softly restore you by night
May the rain
wash away your worries
May the breeze
blow new strength
into your being
May you walk
gently through the world
and know its beauty
all the days of your life
                                     Apache Blessing

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Posted in Art, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Essay, find yourself, General Interest

Perfection and Creation

We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations. When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough. Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art. Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work. Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction? Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that the true meaning of the word only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are. Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

It may seem as if I am advocating the acceptance of ‘mediocrity’. I am not. By all means, aim for the moon, you may at least hit the stars! But also realize that everyone probably has a different idea of ‘perfection’, and, barring editors, publishers and the like, you have to be able to stop at a point in the creation and decide when it’s done, or when it’s “good enough”.

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe in many cases, “good enough” IS perfect.  😉

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

* * * * * * * * *

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Art, Niamh Clune, story

Painshill Park & The Honey Bee Festival

Reading Biddle The Bee at Painshill Park during the honey bee festival http://www.amazon.co.uk/Biddle-Bee-Everything-Garden-Purpose/dp/0992618827

painshill

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was such a treat to read my Biddle The Bee story at The Painshill Honey Bee Festival at the weekend.Painshill Park is a beautiful, 18th century garden near Cobham, Surrey, UK. The landscape garden was originally created by the Honourable Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773. Over 80,000 visitors a year now visit Painshill Park with its iconic follies.

The Honey Bee Festival is hosted every year by members of The British Beekeepers Association. Sandra Rickwood and Marion Cooper of the Weybridge Branch of British beekeepers invited me to participate and read my story of Biddle The Bee. Marion Cooper helped with the final editing of the book, and I can honestly say that beekeepers are very particular that all the facts in a story should be absolutely correct! Biddle The Bee has their seal of approval! Phew!!

www.amazon.com/Biddle-Bee-Dug-Rosie-Everything-ebook/dp/B00GLXM9TA

Biddle The Bee http://www.amazon.co.uk/Biddle-Bee-Everything-Garden-Purpose/dp/0992618827
And Papa jumped up, “Let’s waggle and jive! Let’s be like the bees when they’re in the hive. They buzz to the left, and buzz to the right! They’re dancing a map of their nectar flight, And showing each other just where they have been, To find the best nectar for feeding the queen!”
 My tongue is so long, like a straw, made to shloop! I prod and I poke; I probe and I scoop. I suck up the nectar for my honey tummy. I cook it; I mix it ~ sweet honey, so yummy!  I keep it and store it in my winter pantry, For when food is scarcezzzzz, and nectar is scanty!”
My tongue is so long, like a straw, made to shloop! I prod and I poke; I probe and I scoop. I suck up the nectar for my honey tummy. I cook it; I mix it ~ sweet honey, so yummy! I keep it and store it in my winter pantry, For when food is scarcezzzzz, and nectar is scanty!”

Biddle The Bee is one of a series of Pa Dug & Rosie books, all about how everything in the garden serves a purpose. In my attempt to bring poetry to science, I am thrilled to be involved in raising awareness of the wonderful bee who is under serious threat internationally from pesticides and loss of habitat. Bees are an incredible civilization unto themselves and many things upset their rhythm. As part of my research for this story, I visited an apiary. The fact that bees crawled all over me didn’t phase me a bit!  I trusted them, and they were remarkably calm ~ even when being handled.

Painshill Park is such a beautiful place. Songs from the book were sung, and children wrestled with deliberate tongue-twisters such as: “But the bee buzzed by on busy business!” Well! if you were aged between 3 and 7, you’d have fun pronouncing this! And, of course, we danced the Waggle Jive!!! Children love the musicality and rhythm of the rhyme and hearing it read with me imitating all the different voices…doing the bee voice is fun; doing this at my age is even more fun! And, of course, the little ones LOVE the pictures ~ Originals courtesy of Marta Pelrine Bacon and coloured with added graphics by yours truly!

Find Biddle The Bee HERE in Kindle (GREAT FOR CLASSROOMS). HERE (where the print version is cheaper than Amazon!)

Niamh Clune © 2014, words and illustrations, all rights reserved

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE.  Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.

Posted in Art, find yourself, General Interest, Guest Writer

We cultivate love . . .

vulnerability-quote-webVulnerability is

1. The bearing of ones’ soul.
2. The exposing of our frailties
3. The peeling of our layers
4. The kiss and tell of our heart
5. The revealing of our inner being

Vulnerability feels like

1. Pain from an open wound
2. A throbbing in our head
3. A punch in our stomach
4. A thump in our brain
5. A thief stealing our soul

Love Feels Like
1. A quenched thirst
2. A harmonious gratifying touch
3. A warm breeze on our skin
4. Lips soft and sweet
5. An enchanted heart dancing

What does vulnerability mean to you?
What does vulnerability feel like to you?
What does love feel like to you?

Take the vulnerability test Brené Brown has offered us …..

“We cultivate LOVE when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and heard. ” Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW (b. 1965), American scholar, author, and public speaker, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

Write these three sentences down and list your five answers.

Vulnerability is ….

Vulnerability feels like ….

Love Feels like ….

 

© 2014, essay, illustration and portrait (below), Isadora De La Vega, All rights reserved

unnamedISADORA DE LA VEGA (Inside the Mind of Isadora) ~ is a guest blogger here for the first time today. She was a copper-and-silversmith award-winning jeweler for twenty-eight years, exhibiting in more than 200 galleries across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Now semi-retired, Isadora maintains a web-site, Isadora Art Jewelry, for liquidating her remaining art jewelry. She is also the president and co-designer of Copper Whimsea’s by Al.

Isadora is a wife, mother of three, grandmother of eight, and a novice writer and a photographer. You can find her written work at Inside the Mind of Isadora and her photography at Isadora Art and Photography. She started her blog to hone her writing skills and never thought she would touch people in so many ways with her words and images. She is delighted to be able to do that and says, “I’m even happier that I am accomplishing the goal I had set for myself: touching peoples’ hearts.

Posted in Art, First Peoples, folk tale, General Interest, Nature, Spirit Animals, story, Story Telling, Photo Story

“Who Speaks for Wolf” … a Native American Learning Story …

Our thanks to Gretchen Del Rio (Gretchen Del Rio’s Art Blog) and Mary Burns (Seeker of Truth and Beauty) for this lovely video.

Gretchen is much appreciated by us for her beautiful spirit as expressed through her spirit animal paintings. Below is one of her watercolors, War Bonnet, which notes that “Wolf is on the warpath. Many of his kind have been destroyed.”

If you haven’t already “met” Gretchen and Mary, we recommend a visit to their blogs.

Original watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio (c) all rights reserved; posted here with permission
Original watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio (c) all rights reserved; posted here with permission

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The book, Who Speaks for Wolf was
written by Paula Underwood and
illustrated by Frank Howell.

Posted in Art, General Interest, Gretchen Del Rio, Spirit Animals

buddha bear

Gretchen Del Rio, the queen of spirit animal art, brings us this charming water color of Buddha the Bear and a sweet story of Buddha the Dog … Lovely!

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 7/2014 watercolor aceo 7/2014

I have a dog named Buddha. It seems to me as though he looks quite like a bear. He has a very expressive face and he is a stealthy fellow. Many years ago when he was disappointed with the way things were going he decided to chew up a few things. It wasn’t the all out destruction of puppies cutting teeth or boredom. In fact he usually never chewed anything. He was, however,  a casual muncher at times. The problem was the arrival of the second dog….Maus. There was one particular little book that was always on a table in the living room. He took it off the table and chewed ever so delicately around the edges. Upon discovery he was reprimanded….”NO CHEWING BOOKS.” Right then and there the book was returned to the shelf. He watched the placement out of the corner of his eye. Next day he was chewing…

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Posted in Art, Poems/Poetry, Victoria C. Slotto, Writers' Fourth Wednesday

Writer’s Fourth Wednesday–The Art of Touch

When introducing school-age children to the world of visual art back when I was a docent at the Nevada Museum of Art, I used to like to ask them, “What tools do artists use?” Typical answers include, “Paint, canvases, clay, ink…” and, indeed, it’s logical that these are the first things that come to mind for most of us. But then, standing before a painting or sculpture, I invited the children to take their responses a step further and, in so doing, we entered the sphere of the elements and principles of art.

As a would-be artist, I’ve learned that the elements and principles of art are tools can serve poets and writers, as well as visual artists. These tools include color, line, shape, space, texture, perspective, balance, contrast, movement, form, pattern, value, emphasis, rhythm and unity. Can you see how visual artists reach into their tool boxes and grab one or more of these to produce a painting or sculpture that will appeal to the eye and will elicit an emotional response? And how they might enrich your own work?

Photo: David Slotto

Today, I’d like to discuss Texture.

Texture refers to the surface quality, whether actual or implied, of artwork. Actual or tactile texture is present when, if you were to touch the piece, you would feel its roughness or smoothness. Implied texture is achieved through illusory techniques that allow your imagination to tell you how an object in the painting would feel.

To create rough texture in a painting, the artist uses heavy applications of paint with a brush or palette knife and layers it on the surface of the painting. This process is called impasto. Simulated or implied texture occurs when the artist creates the impression of smoothness or roughness. To do this he uses color and value contrasts, a dry brush technique, or broken lines. Collage is an art form that emphasizes texture through use of contrasting materials such as fabric, paper, wood, paint, fiber and natural objects.

For this Writers’ Fourth Wednesday, I invite you, as word artisans, to create textural poetry or prose.

  • You may choose to focus on texture as the subject of your poem, exploring and reproducing the rough texture of tree bark or wood, the smooth feel of a baby’s or lover’s body, the cool gloss of ice or the warm fuzz of a cuddly kitten.

  • Or select words that are textural when spoken, perhaps including a recording of your spoken verse.

  • Another option is to select a piece of art that is textured and write to that. Some artists known for texture include the masters Rembrandt and Titian, Impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh, or abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

  • Perhaps you have a painting, sculpture or photograph of your own that you would like to showcase.

Image Credit: theguardian.com
Image Credit: theguardian.com

I hope you enjoy bringing the sense of touch to your writing and look forward to reading your contributions, should you chose to share them. Above all, have fun adding texture to your creative tool box.

To link simply write your piece and post it on your website or blog, then copy the direct URL of your work into Mr. LInky.

2014, essay, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved; photographs as indicated 

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is  Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on July 23. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

Posted in Art, Corina L. Ravenscraft, General Interest

Pressed Flower Power and Sunny Spinach Pie

It is SUCH a blessing to have a mother who is an artist! My mother recently hosted a workshop where we made flower presses and feasted on home-made goodies. I had never given much thought to the process of dried and pressed flowers before, but I learned quite a bit! Did you know that back in Victorian times, pressed flowers were considered one of the “acceptable” past-times for women? They would trade them, make “Old Maid” cards with them, use them to decorate serving trays by putting them on the bottom of the tray and then placing a piece of glass over them to keep them in place and protect them! You can do the same kind of thing today, of course, or they can be used for bookmarks, hand-crafted greeting cards, even decoupage gift boxes. There are scads of good ways to use these free gifts of nature. 🙂

Bought Flower PressMy mom got the idea after buying some blotter paper on sale and seeing the different types of flower presses available out there in the world. She got a couple off of e-bay and decided that they were really simple to make, so she cut up some scrap wood she had in the garage, and bought some hardware and invited us all to come learn about the process.

Materials for Flower Press

She made it easy for us by providing all of the materials. Each press has two pieces of wood for a top and bottom, four long bolts with washers on each side and four wing-nuts, and then as many pieces of blotter paper and cardboard between as you can fit into the press.

Finished PressPress Close-Up

There were several of us who attended, and we each got busy sanding the edges off our own presses. We had to use wood rasps/files to get the big splinters and rough pieces off, and then we graduated to sand paper. Each top and bottom had holes (pre-drilled, thanks to Mom) in all four corners to line up for the bolts and wing-nuts.

Cutting PatternsAfter that, it was cutting out the cardboard patterns to go between the blotter papers (which had already been graciously cut and provided). You can use any paper (even regular copy paper) as your blotters but we suspect that the acid content may have something to do with preserving the original colors of the flowers.

Pressed HybiscusPressed Nellie Moser Clematis

The next step is to place your flowers between two blotters and stack them as you get more of them, so that eventually, your press is full of flowers! You then have to be patient and leave it alone for about 6 months, so that the flowers have a chance to fully dry and stay stationary. (This part will be the hardest part for me, as I am not known for my patience and I know I’ll want to keep checking on them). This is what my finished press looked like. I may paint it on the top and bottom, and I glued down the washers at the corners to keep them from sliding around when I added more flowers.

Pressed Jackmani Clematis

It’s important to get the flowers early in the day, after the dew is off of them, but before the sun has had a chance to wilt them. Moisture is bad, because it can cause your pressed flowers to mold. The thicker the flower, usually the longer it will take for it to dry, but don’t be afraid to try them all! You never know!

As for the “Sunny Spinach Pie”, I got the recipe from here and it looked so lovely that I decided to try and make it. I thought it would be the perfect dish to bring to our get-together. I ended up making two. The first one was what my boyfriend delicately called a “Pinterest Fail” (I’ll leave it to you to Google that phrase). It didn’t look very good but it tasted fine. The second one, however, came out a lot better. It was a success at the workshop, too. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Sunny Spinach PieWorkshops like this are a good chance to get together with other creative individuals, share the ‘creative energy’, good times, and learn something new at the same time. If you have a passion for a certain type of creative project, why not consider making it into a workshop and inviting others to participate? 🙂

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Art, Disability, Photography/Photographer, Wendy Alger

About my friend, Wendy Alger, Fine Art Photographer

WENDY ALGER (b. 1972), Chicago, IL, U.S.A.

Fine Art Photography

“Photography. It’s like music … It’s like your favorite song, something you can listen to over and over and over again. You try to explain it to some and you can’t. That’s the feeling it gives me. It’s like traveling and you want to tell everyone how great it was … and I have that experience every time I pick up a camera.” Wendy Alger

My friend, Wendy Alger, is a talented photographer, now still active though legally blind. Wendy pursued the craft of photography as a hobby until another friend of hers suggested that she become a photographer. Wendy thought that sounded just right and a natural thing to do since both her parents were photography enthusiasts. Wendy’s dad supported her new goal and gave her one of his cameras and some lenses. And so the story begins …

At the time when this adventure started, Wendy owned an old ’68 Mustang. She’d drive around, listening to music. When something called out to her, she’d stop and take photographs. Thus Wendy began to learn what subjects appealed. “I photographed everything that felt right and compelled me to keep taking photographs.” Slowly, she discovered the artful photographer within and her own distinctive style. “I enrolled at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and trained there, where I learned manual SLR. I also learned how to use a dark room.”

I am always surprised and delighted with the remarkable results Wendy manages despite the limitations of her sight due to retinitis pigmentosa. Quite a bit older than Wendy, I cut my own photo visionings using a Brownie and have not graduated much beyond that. My camera is digital, but it’s just a simple budget-wise P.H.D. (Push Here Dummy) camera.  Wendy, however, uses newer, better quality and more complex equipment than mine and tells me that these newer technologies facilitate the practice of her craft.  “I use a digital camera and I can check my pictures on the camera instead of in a dark room. Nowadays, my darkroom is a laptop, Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. This allows me to transform and print my images at home. I also use visual memory … I remember feeling to get through a photo session.”

Wendy’s long-term goal:

“To have my artwork displayed in the same building as Walker Evans in my lifetime – not after – during! My vision problems are not stopping me. I never even think about that. After I was diagnosed and as soon as I got the money I bought my digital camera.”

Here is a small gallery of Wendy’s recent work with a digital camera. The photo at the head of the post and the first one below are self-portraits. Wendy’s photographs are copyright protected. You can see more of her work HERE. She’s now in the process of updating her site.

– Jamie Dedes

© photographs, 2011 Wendy Rose Alger, All rights reserved

Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3kif_0858-1JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I am a medically retired (disabled) elder and the mother of a married son. The graces of poetry, art, music, writing and reading continue to evolve as a sources of wonder and solace, as creative outlets, and as a part of my spiritual practice. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

The photograph to your right, Portrait of a Photographer, which some will recognize as the photo I used for Wordless Wednesday, is a portrait of Wendy. I guess it might be more correct to say it’s a portrait of the camera not the photographer, though it was meant to capture the spirit in which Wendy works. I took the photograph some years ago when we spent an afternoon at Union Cemetery in Redwood City, Wendy pursuing art and me as chauffeur and tag-along doing the best I could. My own portrait here is a selfie captured using the photo feature on my MacBook. Happy interNational Photography Month.

Posted in Art, General Interest, Gretchen Del Rio

gaia

Gaia, the essential mother, by Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 7x10  4/2014 watercolor 7×10 4/2014

Nature – the gentlest Mother is,
impatient of no child
 
………………emily dickinson

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Posted in Art, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

~ Planet MoM ~

"Planet MoM" © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014
“Planet MoM” © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

M is for the multitudes She nurtures.
O is for the only world we have.
T is terrestrial preservation – Hers.
H is for the home we have to save!
E is ecosystems, all connected.
R is for respect that She is due.

E is for environments, protected.
A is for awakened points of view.
R is for the rescue of our parent.
T is teaching all to love Her, too.
H is the Heaven or Hell they will inherit.

For all She gives us, it’s the least that we can do.

 

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Art, Beauty, Essay, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Spiritual Practice

Empty Space as an Aesthetic Significance

I’ve read an intriguing quote in Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama;

‘The importance of ‘empty’ space in the presentation of Japanese cuisine can scarcely be exaggerated. Receptacles are never filled to the brim, but are left with a certain margin of emptiness- emptiness of an aesthetic significance comparable to that in a Zen ink painting‘.

(Chef Masaru Yammamoto).

Considering the importance of empty space is what I do when I draw or paint. Often an empty space is needed to guide the viewer to the place that needs his attention. Other times, empty space is filled with suspense. Because empty space can create guidance, tension and calm contemplation, it is full of possibility.

Isn’t possibility what emptiness is? The emptiness or absence of sound means a bird can fill it with its song. Emptiness as possibility works in compositions exactly the same. An empty place can be filled in or left open.

It is important to notice what exists in an empty space. If I paint a bird on the left side of my drawing looking at the right, what is the bird looking at? The empty space isn’t empty at all. It is full of possibilities. Is the bird looking at a mate? Or a prowling cat? Not filling up an empty space often works well; it adds more possibility, tension or imagination to a painting. Other times a large empty space is too dominating or too much a void, in that case, doing something with it is better. It is a place that offers calm contemplation, leave it open.

If you are a home educator, don’t teach you child that the whole page or canvas needs to be filled in. (The only reason why you should offer an art assignment in which nobody is allowed to leave the class room before his paper is completely covered, is when your students need to overcome shyness, self restrained, or inhibition).

If you are a creative therapist or an understanding friend, sit down with your client or friend, and analyse his doodle or drawing by asking what is going on in its empty space. Talk, investigate, and dream together. You will be surprised how many possibilities or interpretations will emerge.

If you are a parent and your young child is proudly showing you a painting, play with your child. Ask what is going on with the objects that are drawn, and what is happening within the empty space. Then built a story on what the child tells you. Your child will charm and entertain you with pure child fantasies. Empty spaces are full possibilities.

You thought empty space is boring or shows a lack of imagination? Or a bad composition? Certainly not always, often quite the opposite.

Returning to the book on Japanese food; I always dread the moment when I have to stop drawing in order to prepare a dinner. From now on, I will plan to continue my mindful meditation by bringing aesthetic principles into my kitchen.

– Paula Kuitenbrouwer

© 2013, essay and photographs and artwork (above and below), Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

birdcardsPAULA KUITENBROUWER ~ is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo and a Dutch nature artist living in The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing and on her website.   In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. You can view her portfolio of mindful drawings HERE.

Posted in Art, Niamh Clune, poem, Poems/Poetry, Writing

The Artist

Book Art by Brian Dettmer
Book Art by Brian Dettmer

The Artist

You are the poem and the rhyme,
The reason for created time;
The song, the sung, the singer too;
The truth that is the deepest you.
So ask not why you paint the rose,
Or write of love’s heart-wrenching prose ~
And steal the light from Heaven’s hand,
To write a poem in the sand.


© Niamh Clune 2013

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1orange-petals-cover_page_001DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE.  Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.

Posted in Art, Gretchen Del Rio

sacred buffalo

Here we have Gretchen del Rio’s delightful watercolor painting of Sacred Buffalo. Gretchen created it for a women’s collective – the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers – an organized movement to affirm the human connection to this beautiful Earth of ours and an alliance to protect our resources. You can read more about the painting and the group by following the link to Gretchen’s blog.  J.D.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

‘When one sits in the hoop of the People, one must be responsible because all of creation is related and the hurt of one is the hurt of all and the honor of one is the honor of all.’

‘White Buffalo Calf Woman’

 

I was asked to create this painting for a collective of women coming together to support/embody the energy of white buffalo calf woman. I am very excited about what is happening here. ‘This is a calling of women of peace from all walks of life to join hands and come together as a collective to support a humble movement of the Original People of the world.’

 

THE MOMENT IS NOW

“When the council of original seed issued by the Mother called upon the four elements ~ air, water, earth and fire ~ to Unity ~ life came to be on planet Earth. Now today, the Mother is…

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