Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Writing Haiku

I remember spring
Life waiting to be tasted,
Autumn came so soon!
This is a haiku I wrote a couple of years ago, one that has been posted with my painting at Innographx forum. My friend, Bev Langby, sent me a beautiful haiku she had written this week and got me thinking about them again.
Writing any kind of poetry is good for the brain cells as well as for the spirit. Remember how it's done? Haiku poems are usually about nature, don't rhyme, and have 17 syllables in 3 lines of 5, 7, & 5. In keeping with the brevity of haiku, I'll keep this post brief, but I thought you might like to try your hand again (or for the first time) at creating a haiku.

Here's Bev's haiku:
Butterflies flying
Birds singing all around me
Makes life joyfull free......

Monday, June 29, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I was garage saling, actually I go most weekends. You have to be dedicated and eternally optimistic to be a true garage sale fan because most weeks you don't find much amid the piles of toys, old clothes, logo mugs, and "As seen on TV" wonders, but once or twice a season you may find a treasure, something unique for a fraction of the cost. And so it was with my Oriental folding screen. The price tag said $25, but I got it for $15. I would have paid $50, but half the fun is getting the ultimate deal. It's in mint condition and very heavy. I put it in the master bedroom in front of the treadmill that seemed like a good idea when we bought it (full price).

I'm not a bragging person, but I do brag on my bargains. One of my best ones was nearly 20 years ago, but I still get a little thrill when I think about it. I was divorced and living on my teaching salary, and while browsing in the mall I saw the coat, dark taupe velvet with a pattern in dull gold, floor length, and scrumptuous! But it was $240 (remember this was 20 years ago), and I just couldn't justify spending that on a coat I really didn't need. But I kept thinking about it, and I visited it every couple of weeks, trying it on, imagining it as my own. Then the sales began, and I knew it wouldn't last till the final cut, so I watched, 20% off, 30% off, 40% off......it was still there, but I waited and hoped.
Finally, one Saturday I went in, and sure enough a big 75% off sign was in the window of the shop. Would my coat still be there?? Yes!! I bought it for $60!! It's not something I wear often, and yes, I still wear it, and it still looks like new.

For some of us, snagging bargains is a hobby. These days it also helps that I have a darling husband who enjoys them with me and drives me around to local garage sales like a patient chaffeur.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Buzz Pro

Here are some Day Lilies in my yard (They've been gorgeous this year, bursting out all over) and bird cages I've collected that are currently living on my screened-in deck (just the cages, no birds). I was playing around with the Buzz Pro filter on them. I've been using Buzz Pro for preliminary prep of photos for years; I love how it creates a look that's beautiful enough to sign and hang or serves as the beginning for a brush painting, and I was soooo disappointed when I learned that the company who created it, Fo2Pix, had closed up shop. Then I discovered that an artist friend of mine, Stephen LeQuier, has their final version, v3, on his site as a free download! http://asnailpace.com/blog/buzz-pro-v30/

Stephen (Trimoon in the forums) does both beautiful photography and digital art, and he offers his tutorials for sale. If you go there to download Buzz Pro, be sure and spend some time looking at all he has to offer. I use Buzz Pro as a PhotoShop filter, but I think it works in several other photo editing programs. It works especially well on nature photos, and it's also a good way to salvage photos that didn't quite develop the way you wanted them to, just turn 'em into art.

Today I added music to my Blog (thanks, Bev). If you'd rather not listen, just click it off. It has been a restful Sunday. I'm enjoying blogging for the moment, a different focus, and now I think I'll go work on a crossword puzzle. They seem to sharpen my thinking.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Goodbye, Michael

Let me fill you heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, well, it's all I'm after,
Just call my name, and I'll be there......

Michael, I don't know if you were insane at the end or not, but I do know you began as a genius; it has been said that there's a fine line between genius and insanity, and we've seen how new riches can lead to the downfall of celebrities. If the families who accused you hadn't ended up millionaires, I would tend to give more credence to their stories.

I mentioned to Jim how I loved the Thriller video when it came out, and he said he had never seen it! Can you imagine? I looked it up on You Tube for him, and he watched about 5 minutes of it and said he wasn't impressed. I guess you just had to be there when it came out in the winter of 1983.
It was really something..........
Goodbye, Michael.

I began preliminary work on this month's commission for Corel Painter magazine, a small piece using Gouache brushes to paint a 1950's kitchen (the editor's subject choice). Above is just the first sketch to see how it fits into the magazine template. It's supposed to end up a little gloppy and in the Bodegon (Spanish) style which literally means kitchen still life. Have to admit I wasn't familiar with the style, but some of the paintings I found online are beautiful. Maybe I'll post more as I work on it. I finally installed Painter 11 and haven't had any of the glitches (knock wood!) that earlier users were reporting, but I haven't devoted much time to it, either. Neither have I finished the mosaic stepping stones I began last winter or the stained glass piece I was working on, and I want to get back to reading The Breaker by Minette Walters, and my flower beds seem to need constant attention to survive at all, and I have emails to answer that are long overdue, and I'm been meaning to start painting acrylics onto some digital canvases I've got. Lots of unfinished objects (UFOs) around the house, but I'm happiest when I've got lots of irons in the fire.


New England is the place for me,
A cozy cottage by the sea,
Seagulls calling near the shore,
The water sending back its roar.

That's part of a little poem I wrote (without paper or pencil) in 10th grade, wearing my blue & gold cheerleading uniform, at night, on a noisy bus coming home from a basketball tournament......typical me, putting off assignments till the last minute, but I got an A- on it. For a landlocked Southern girl, I've always been drawn to the sea, and when I learned what meditation was, that cottage, actually just a hut in the sand, became my escape. It's still there (in my mind), sort of ramshackled and looking as if it were decorated by a 1960's Flower Child, beads hanging in the doorways, colorful, rumpled cloth mats on wood floors and lots of floor pillows to snuggle into........this is the first time I've told anyone about it.

My college English professor said that he meditated, and of course I wanted to know how, as I plan to know a little bit about everything before I expire. Following his explanation, I went home, tried it and was hooked.

Since then, I've found lots of kinds of meditation, one of them being prayer, but prayer (and I've probably been doing it all wrong) seems to be giving God a to-do list, and what I consider pure mediation is the opposite, simply opening myself up to......I call it the Source........("The tao that can be described in words is not the eternal tao"). When I'm needing to escape from reality, I meditate and envision my seaside hut.

The purest form of meditation, though, seeks to avoid dwelling on images, a tad scary at first because we operate on images. Here's how I do it:
I go into a quiet room, blinds drawn, noise makers like TV and radio off, find a comfortable spot to sit cross legged, sometimes on the carpet, sometimes if I'm feeling stiff, it's in my huge, soft recliner surrounded by pillows. I rest my hands in my lap or on my knees with middle fingers touching thumbs. Some people chant a mantra, but I usually go it alone. Eyes closed, I concentrate on the so-called "third eye" in the middle of my forehead and upon measured, slow breathing. As I begin to feel connected, my head invariably leans backward, and I wait in the attitude of "show me what you want me to know". If something is really bothering me, I may present it or him or her, merely as a word and wait. Sometimes I get insights so unexpected I'm in total awe. Sometimes it comes the next morning when I wake up. Sometimes not at all. But I always feel renewed, and when I'm too long between meditations, I wonder why I waited so long.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


"A tree that reaches past your embrace grows from one small seed.
A structure over nine stories high begins with a handful of earth.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."
Tao 64

Life happens. And these days I'm not quite as obsessed with my digital art as I was for the previous 5 years. I've decided to blog about bits of wisdom I've gathered along life's journey, and art will find its way in there, too, because that's also very much a part of who I am; but I've had as much counselor education and practice as art training and painting, so it feels right to share this here. Anyway, Deb said if I would write, she would read it. Deb, you're only obliged to read once.

I've been in sort of a meditative, waiting place lately, waiting for whatever inspiration life might send my way to get started on my next adventure (i.e. obsession). It has been said that in order to be happy, we need someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for (a goal to work toward). When I've achieved one goal or simply let go of it, I start looking around for the next goal; without it, I'm as directionless as the 2 opposing fish that symbolize my Zodiac sign. I find peace in striving for my goals.

The Tao of Inner Peace offers a self-assessment tool that asks am I
At peace in my body?
At peace in my career?
At peace in my relationships?
At peace in my family?
At peace with my finances?
At peace with myself?
At peace with my world?

According to the Tao, what matters is not the situation but the way in which we perceive it, * and finding peace within ourselves first, casts a whole new light on the other facets of our lives, but most of us are working at it in reverse, struggling to get all our ducks in a row in order to gain peace. It ain't gonna happen. When we're at peace, we become creative and resourceful and flow with life and change in order to see beyond problems to their solutions. Sometime today, I will take 15 minutes to sit in a quiet room, close my eyes, and be open to hearing what the Universe or my God or my inner Tao wants me to know about finding my own inner peace, about my next goal, and about priorities........and this is the first step in my new journey. Maybe you would like to walk along with me for a ways.............feel free to comment, to share your own thoughts and revelations.

* The idea that nothing's good or bad but thinking makes it so, I can accept for the most part, but there are exceptions where I would argue the point. Maybe we'll get to some of those; maybe not.