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Friday, June 28, 2013

Make a Wish

OK. I'll make a wish. I'd like to be someplace where the sunsets are pretty, the boats float gently on the water and putt-putt home.
With all the art supplies I can could possibly use! And a few books, too!
And someone with whom to enjoy a glass of wine.
 
Sometimes wishes come true!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Gift of Fading Blooms

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I recently had an MRI to determine if my rotator cuff was torn by my fall (it wasn't; just bursitis). I will never understand why they can't invent an MRI to do a shoulder (isolated in it's own little cuff inside the electric coffin). Instead, in you go, full body with ear plugs (that really don't work) for half hour that sounded the like sea-plane convention we do our best to avoid each year on our lake!
I suspect it was because of the rattled nerves of the done (or done-in) MRI patients that there is a lovely meditation garden just steps away from the building.
I really needed it after that!
The garden isn't large -- a path lined by trees, plants and flowers -- with a pond, a small bridge and a spot with several resting benches.
You never know who you'll encounter there.
Walking the garden was quiet and lovely. It helped me get my sanity back after the MRI.
The pond was in full glory, filled with blooming lily pads.
The koi were out, too! I loved how they swam under the bridge and back. Despite the "Do Not Feed the Fish" signs, I'm sure they have had a few errant walkers and they were prepared.
I couldn't help but notice that many of the blooms in the garden were past their peak.
Like me.
Blossoms were falling, some of the petals had been damaged. Perhaps by insects. Perhaps by time.
Even the petals on some of the roses were beginning to turn backwards, as though they might be all inside out soon enough.
 
And yet there was still a quiet beauty about them. That rose smelled as sweet as any of the others. Perhaps even more so. It was as though every fading flower knew their time for being the best bloom on the block was limited, and yet they were still giving it their all.
And in doing so, one could see more deeply within and note how elegantly they were structured, how their seeds would move on to settle in the earth for another year when they would bloom again.
Even the waterlilies, so stunning as they floated on their pods, would come to an end. But today, they were smiling.
I couldn't help but note that new buds were beginning to pop out and that there would be great beauty in this garden, long after the poppies had dropped their petals.
And they will fade at some point as well. The Japanese maple that shows its red leaves now will eventually be joined by the oaks, maples and sumac in their show of color.
Winter will come to our garden.
And then spring and summer once more.
 
New flowers and plants and trees will find their place -- and each will be beautiful in its own way.
There will be love. And beauty.
And so it goes. And goes. And goes.

I wrote this last week after my shoulder injury and when I was expecting test results from my lung cultures today. This morning I called to make sure I didn't have to go in again just to have them say, "Sorry, we don't have your results back. It was good I did, because they didn't have them back, so I am rescheduled for late August (first available).

To say I am discouraged (and exhausted) would be an understatement. I'm trying SO hard to be positive, but the waiting is getting me down. Sometimes I think I am going stark, raving mad. Or totally off the wall. Take your pick.

Just wanted to share with you as you've been so kind to ask. If it wasn't pouring so hard, I'd seek this garden out again today.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quiet Weekend

I thought just for once it would be nice to chat a little about things going on in my world on a quiet weekend -- within a few days of it happening,instead of a few weeks! 
Rick took a boy-on-his-bike-hike on Friday, returning Saturday. So, I enjoyed another walk to the Ditch.
 
Evenings bring their own beauty.
This was the first time I'd seen a deer that stood still long enough for a few photos.
 
Granted, the zoom couldn't handle it without a little fuzz. Nonetheless, I was entranced.
My Saturday jaunt took me by my favorite honeysuckle bush. It smells heavenly!
Harry was out, strugging his stuff.
Again, too far to get much clarity with the zoom. Still, my Big Bird makes me happy.
A duck family was near the walkway -- mom and her four babies. Dad was in the bushes, an occasional mallard tail showing through.They seemed content to scratch the ground and just wander, play and pick on each other!
 Of course, most just liked simply hanging out in the shade on this steaming hot day.
This child (with his grandma) was entranced by them.
So was I!
They were getting big, but were still downy.
Mom's feet were bright -- ready for a quick getaway if tempted.
 
I loved watching this family -- mom clearly called the shots.
 
When she moved, they did. Otherwise, she was content to let them explore.
I love seeing people out there -- this was a group of teens by another duck area.
And supper was on for Mr. Chips here!
 
Rick returned that evening and we enjoyed a riverside picnic before seeing the musical "Baby."
It was tranquil, calm and quiet. We'd periodically see geese and ducks float down the Red Cedar. A few joined us on shore.
 
They took off, though, when a rubber raft came along! The kids' parents were on shore, walking their dog. The geese took a pass!
Then the excellent production done by Michigan State University's theatre department. This photo was taken before the crowd filled in but they still deserved a much bigger audience than it had. 
This was the last of four nights for this show -- and the last of the free season of several shows for Summer Circle Theatre. Can't wait till next year.
All this -- and I still have Sunday left -- as you can see, it's warm here, even Lizzie is a sprawling!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Moodling with Kari McKnight Holbrook

I was not at my best last May when I went to the Moodling workshop with Kari McKnight Holbrook at SmittenDust
But oddly enough, art really can take you out of yourself that the headache -- which, as soon as you think about it is a killer -- really isn't that noticed.
Working with lovely people who are all creating their own unique versions of the sample and guidance that we are learning is motivating, delightful and fun.
Learning new techniques that you know you will use again feels as though you are actually accomplishing something. I'm not going into details, because on things like this I feel that sort of belongs to the teacher. But this is enough to give you the idea.
Our Moodling class involved taking a 4 inch square canvas (although that size is optional), painting it with acrylics, then using techniques such as texture and crackle glaze to give it character.
Add to that the polymer clay embellishments we made: hearts, birds, an Eiffel Tower. Ours all were different which was what made it fun.
Then after that, a word, a phrase, a highlight or two, some beads or buttons. Voila! Art!
That makes it sound very simple. But if it was, I would have finished! Of course I didn't finish my pieces in class. It's more likely that I don't rather than do!
So I took them home and now, several weeks later, the finished pieces!
 This one has my made-by-me Eiffel Tower, an antique button from a Parisian flea market and the texturing you saw above That crackle doesn't show up well in the photo, but really, it does!

A couple of us were captivated by this bird mold. I had a dickens of a time with painting the background and gessoed-and-removed more than once! The nest are lines from an old French book, the eggs, pearls.
Kari is an incredible teacher -- she's fun, she explains things well, she's generous with her supplies and she brings great spirit and energy to any class -- I've taken others from her as well, and will gladly take more. I strongly recommend her as a teacher -- and her projects are just plain fun!
There will be more of these wee canvases. In fact, in class I prepped two others. One is nearly done; the other still requires some creative thinking. But I'll share those, too!

Meanwhile, I just want to thank Kari and Dusty of SmittenDust for bringing wonderful artists to Lansing. Jen Crossley did workshops at SmittenDust at the same time Kari was there and Kristin Robinson is coming in August. We all loved the shopping opportunity, the delightful atmosphere and jolly times being creative. If you're in the mid-Michigan (or beyond) region and are interested in checking out the upcoming workshops, visit SmittenDust.com -- and get on Dusty's email list!


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