Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope it's been a pleasant one for all of you, and I hope everyone took a few minutes to say a prayer of thanks for those who gave their time and lives in service to our country--and that includes the thousands of K-9's who have been used in wartime since WWI, I believe.  Many of them didn't make it home either.

It's HOT here, and I've spent most of my weekend mowing. Ugh.  But I did manage to squeeze in a little painting time.  I finished one mini-painting, started months ago, and worked on a larger piece, also started awhile back.  I'm slowly re-motivating myself to write and paint at least for a few minutes a day.  Hard to do for someone like me, who wants instant gratification.  I'm not a very fast painter, although I am working on that. So here's a pic of the mini-painting.  This is a 4 x 4 acrylic.
Mini Kitty


Tomorrow I'll post another painting. Stay tuned!

Here's an interesting site to visit to get your artblog listed:">GetBlogs Blog Directory

Friday, May 27, 2011

Feathers Fly, and TGIF

I admit it:  I need one of those "I brake for anything" bumper stickers. In my haste to get home this afternoon (because it's Friday, and the start of a 3 day weekend) there is one less cardinal winging its merry way through Oldham County. Anxious to get home for the start of my long-anticipated holiday weekend, I drove a tad bit faster than usual. I saw the bird lift off from the ground and try its best to get airborne--and though I slowed down, hoping the little guy would make it, my left front bumper caught him, and in the rearview mirror I saw a flurry of red feathers.  And I felt guilty--so much so, that farther down the road, as I came around a sharp curve, I braked for a lone vulture snacking on the dead racoon I'd seen earlier this morning.  He barely glanced at me, ungrateful buzzard.  Maybe there's a poem in there somewhere....I'll post it for sure if I ever write it.

Since I'm home relaxing and thoroughly enjoying the start of my 3 day weekend, I spent an hour or so reading through writers' blogs, and found some good advice posted by Laurie Hulse Anderson.  Most of it can be applied to painters, too, actually.

1.    Learn to live frugally and don’t get into debt.
2.    Write what you want, not what you think “the market” wants.
3.    Turn off the television.
4.    Don’t major in Creative Writing in college. Chances are it will drain the life out of your creativity.
5.    Never, ever criticize yourself during a first draft.
6.    Have the courage to revise your work.
7.    Read every night before you go to sleep.
8.    Do not pressure yourself by saying "I have to get this published by the time I am 20 (or 30, or 40, or
       80, etc.)
9.    Write the story in your heart.
10.  Pay attention to William Faulkner’s wise words. He said “Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stormy Weather

Spent another night listening to the weather radio, watching tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings roll across the bottom of the TV screen, but thankfully, we suffered only a few minutes of heavy rain, thunder and wind--lost a few more tree limbs, and I swear the weeds have grown another 6 inches overnight.  While I'm grateful for our luck, my thoughts are still with the town of Joplin, Missouri, and those in Alabama who are still reeling from Mother Nature's recent rampage.  I just cannot imagine that kind of destruction, and I hope I never have to see it up close and personal. 

I'm looking forward to a long weekend--haven't had one in awhile, and I have plenty to do, yardwise, though I would prefer to be writing and painting. I'm hoping to make time for some of that, but unfortunately, mowing and weeding take priority, assuming the weather cooperates. 

Thinking of Memorial Day reminded me of a poem I found some time ago.  It was originally attributed to "Anonymous" or sometimes credited to an unknown Native American--but it was actually written by a woman named Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932.  It's called Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep.  You can read about it here:  Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.  Here's the poem: 

Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Different subject:  I don't know what's going on with Blogger, but all my Followers have disappeared! Not that I had that many, but I was grateful to have them, and now they're gone. Note to Blogger: Bring back my followers pleeeez! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hump Day--ugh...

Up early this morning, heading off to work soon. My computer was running soooooo....sloooooowwww last night. I'm thinking it might be time to trade in the old laptop for a newer, faster model.  I bet I could get a whole lot more painting and writing done if I didn't spend an entire evening trying to visit various sites that take forever to upload. I did manage to get to a couple places of interest.  Try these:  Book of Kells and Coffeehouse for Writers. There are tons more writing and poetry websites, but these two were the most interesting that I landed on last night. 

Pulled out a couple of my writing/poetry journals last night and found several promising entries.  I think keeping a writing journal is a wonderful idea--write in it without worrying about whether or not anything usable will come from it--you'll be surprised what you'll find later on.  Even if it's only a sentence or a phrase--you'll often find yourself thinking "hmmm...I can use that" and off you go!  I've got a couple of little gems that might be the jumping off point for a poem or two. Now if only I had time to actually write them.....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Uh....I'm Still Here!

So apparently the Rapture didn't least not for me, and I haven't seen any mysterious puddles of clothes anywhere (except those in my laundry room and closet, heh heh) so I'm guessing someone got the date wrong.  Guess we'll have to wait till 2012 and see if the Mayans got it right.  Meanwhile, I've been surfing the net, perusing various artist blogs, writer blogs, and websites.  Lots of interesting stuff out there and it makes me wonder if it's really worth all the effort to set these things up.  There are so many blogs and websites, seems to me that unless you've got something really unique, your site will be lost in the bloggers slush pile.

We talked about the benefits of having a blog at the writers' workshop yesterday, and visual artists say the same thing--that, yes, blogs are important venues for writers and artists.  But frankly, I just don't have the time to spend hopping from blog to blog, and obviously I have a difficult time keeping my own blog current--I'd be getting a whole lot of writing and painting done if I just stayed off the Internet! And yet, here I am, filling up cyberspace, joining the blogger conga line.  Reading other people's blogs is like peeping through a window to get a glimpse of how others' write and paint and think, and realizing that, yeah, we're all basically going through the same thing--wanting to sell, wanting recognition, or maybe just wanting comraderie. 

I don't have any paintings to share today--I spent the afternoon mowing and managed to finish just before it rained.  Maybe I'll get a chance to write or paint tonight....and I'll try to post whatever I do tomorrow.  Stay cool!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Sooooo Good to be Back!

It's been a long time, but I am finally getting back into my studio, and back to writing.  I have several paintings in the works that are in various stages of completion.  Last week I was able to spend a couple of hours in the studio, and couldn't decide which painting to work on...the portrait of Charlie, my dog, or the Irish landscape scenic, or the purple pansies...too many choices.  I opted to work on the Irish landscape, but not enough so you'd notice. I'll post a picture when I've made more progress.

Meanwhile, today I attended a wonderful writing workshop, sponsored by Clear Creek Writers in Shelbyville, KY.  "Confessions of Working Writers II" was led by author Annie Jones, with authors Ann Gabhart, Virginia Smith and Sherry Chandler conducting short breakout sessions throughout the day.  The keynote speaker was Laura Resnick, who writes science fiction, romance, fantasy and creative non-fiction.  It was a wonderful day, well attended, and I left with a new perspective on my budding writing career.  Lots to think about, and you may see some changes in this blog, as I try to incorporate some of the things I learned from these talented writers. Here are some links to the writers and the two writers' groups I belong to. I highly recommend you check them out! 

Clear Creek Writers
Green River Writers
Annie Jones or Dear Helen Hartman
Laura Resnick, Ann Gabhart, Virginia Smith and Sherry Chandler

Since I am still here on earth, I guess I wasn't raptured, so please check back in a day or so for more updates!