Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mojo Monday ~ Rocking Chair Moments

When I'm 80 and sitting in a rocking chair listening to the Rolling Stones, 
there is absolutely no way I'm going to feel old or forget my younger days. 
~ Patty Duke

A friend of mine once described a particularly happy experience as a rocking chair moment. He said he knew that when he was old and sitting in a rocking chair that he was going to  think back fondly on that event.   We humans do have a tendency to reminisce and it can be fun to look back in time.  One of the things I also registered from the comment and realized is that we still had a lot more living to do and a lot more moments to experience that would become a part of our treasured history.  

Rocking chair moments don't have to involve expensive vacations or life changing events necessarily.  Many of our most special moments take place because we are doing them with loved ones or simply participating in a favorite activity.  Talk to most parents and they will have very specific memories of their children growing up that stand out to them.  There are poignant moments during milestone markers, such as completing kindergarten, graduating high school, getting married, having a child, losing a loved one or achieving something meaningful, no matter how big or small.

One of the ways I like to track time and record special moments is through photography.  Photography is a favorite art form and also a storyteller.  Several years back I even participated in a photo blog group and for over two years I posted at least one photo a day. There were a few group leaders who would post the word of the day and the goal was to interpret or represent that word with a photo.  It was fun, creative and sometimes challenging.  It enhanced my tendency to look around myself with wondering new eyes.  I know the photographic project came easily to me because I already had a tendency to look around myself with artful eyes.  

Whether you are around the house, just going around town or away enjoying a summer vacation, look around you with the eyes of an artist and a photographer.  What do you see?  What do you notice?  What draws your eye?  What could you want to capture as an image?  What would you want to share with others?  

I recently went away on vacation with my husband and twin daughters.  We spent a few days in Monterey and then moved over to camping at Little Basin, near Santa Cruz and Boulder Creek.  Being on the coast and in the redwoods provided a smorgasbord of images to delight me.  


Here is a slideshow from the Monterey area and another of camping in the redwoods at Little Basin with more photos.

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I'd love to see some images delight you.  Consider what sorts of things make for rocking chair moments and photograph them, describe them in words or paint or collage them.  The creative options are wide open, so explore and have fun.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mojo Monday ~ What and Who Inspires You?

Art by Donald Crew from the book Freight Train
If I ask you what or who inspires you, do answers immediately come streaming forth or does it make you sit and ponder?  Just last night and this morning I felt like I was on the freight train of inspiration.  Even just now as the words "freight train of inspiration" appeared in my mind and then on the page I thought hmmmm...I should go google that term and see what images pop up.  Well it appears that no one has quite coined that term yet, at least according to google, but I did find this wonderful rainbow image from a children's book called Freight Train by Donald Crew.  Needless to say I am feeling a bit inspired by Donald Crew this very moment.  Yet, before I get completely off track (no train pun intended) let us return to the topic of inspiration.  

Here is one example of how Inspire is defined:  to have an animating effect upon one's mind or emotions; to stimulate to some creative or effective effort; to elicit or create. 

Considering this definition of the inspire what or who has an animating effect upon your mind or emotions? What or who stimulates or elicits your creativity? 

It will be a challenge for me to limit myself, because there are so many things that are inspiring me every day, but I'll try to share a just a few on my list today and will provide links so you can explore more on your own.  

I just stumbled upon a very inspirational couple just last night via the posting of an artist friend.  The history geek in me is absolutely excited about the work of Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez, who are the co-founders of the Reflection Press and School of the Free Mind.  

Matthew is a videographer, webmaster, designer, accountant, manager, builder, architect, editor, publisher, and just about anything else needed to keep the Press running.  Matthew came from Philly to San Francisco to intern with COLAGE, a non-profit organization for children with one or more LGBT parents. Growing up with a gay father, isolated in the midst of homophobia, taught Matthew the importance of working to include everyone and inspired his activist spirit to take root.  

Maya is an artist, author, educator,  publisher, maker, freeek, spirit, big thinker, blissfully devoted spouse and parent who thinks kids and anything creative are awesome. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning, multicultural children’s book and written three. She has written three books for their press, including Claiming Face, Gender Now and I See Peace.  

They are currently raising funds for their latest project called Everybody's HistoryThe overall goal for Everybody’s History is for this to be a large collection of chapter books. Each book telling the story of one hero who has impacted our world, despite the fact that they may at times not have fit into what was socially acceptable at the time. The series will include heroes from the United States, and eventually, the world.

Everybody’s History
 comes in 3 book groupings. The series begins with the heroes, Harriet Tubman, We’Wha and Charley Parkhurst. The main themes in the first set are the Civil War era, gender expression and race. Other unifying themes include Night, Secrecy, Disability, A Time of Transformation and Social Agreements. Each paperback book will be 48 pages with full color illustrations. Between the covers kids can explore the life and times of the characters through story, anecdotes, quirky facts and unique activities. Be sure to visit their web site Reflection Press and if you feel inspired to contribute to their fundraising efforts for Everybody's History click here to pop over to their fundraising site on Kickstarter.
Next on my most inspirational list this week is artist Rita Loyd.  I had been looking for an image that might go well with an article I was working on for my column in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.  I came across this stunning image called Expansion of Love and this beautiful affirmation that accompanies the painting:
“Expansion of Love”
The expansion of love begins 
as a small seed from within.
irst I learn to love and nurture myself.
And then as my spirit awakens
I find that when I help others, 
I help myself.
And from that awareness
my love expands and overflows 
out into the universe.
I wrote to Rita about including the painting and affirmation as part of the article and she agreed.  We communicated back and forth several times and I even placed a purchase for a couple decks of her Unconditional Self Love Message Cards and several greeting cards.  I am so inspired by Rita and her art and writing.  This is what she shares about herself on her web site:  

"I am a watercolor artist and writer.  The theme of my work is about unconditional self-love.  The reason I write and paint about self-love is because unconditional self-love has the ability to heal and transform our lives.  I also believe that when we can love ourselves unconditionally that we create the internal support system that is needed to reach our greatest potential and to live our best life."
Be sure to visit Rita's web site for a lot more inspiration by clicking here
The last inspirational person I would like to share about is Henriette Simon Picker.  Henriette was born in 1917 and is a lifetime painter.  Henriette had her first solo exhibit in 2012 at the age of 95 years old and that was followed up by a retrospective exhibition in March of this year.   Her work has begun to enter distinguished private collections.   
Henriette studied drawing and painting at the Art Student's League of New York from 1939 to 1941, while pursuing a successful career as a shoe designer.  She was hired by world famous I. Miller Shoes of New York at the age of 16 and for the next 45 years designed women's high fashion shoes full time there and for many other major companies throughout the U.S.  During the 1950's and 60's she ran her own shoe companies and her designs were illustrated by many well known artists, including Andy Warhol.
I so appreciated this video featuring Henriette and her son as they speak about her painting and her first gallery showing.  It is also fascinating to visit her web site to view how her art changed and evolved throughout the many years she has been painting and it is wonderful that she is still going strong.  

I would love to hear from you now about who and what is inspiring you these days!  
Do share.  Inquiring minds want to know! 
Other people high on my inspiration list are:
Effy Wild ~ Fling some glitter in the air and then pay her a visit at The Glitterhood
Jenafer Joy Owen ~ Her art and musings make me hand-clapping happy! Visit her over that Jenafer Joy ~ Art & Musings
Allison Kenny ~ In March of this year she published her first chapter book for girls with Glitter & Razz.  The book called Starring Celia is the story of a 4th grade girls who goes from being bullied to becoming a 'Go Girl!'  With her best friend Jazzy, her puppy Rootbeer, and her new summer camp, nothing can stop her from taking center stage.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Red Boa Perspective

Today in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine
is my latest article called 

Perspectives are a lot like opinions in that everyone has them.  I am quite intrigued by perspectives.  Much like our opinions, our perspectives are also formed and influenced by our perceived identities and our life experiences.  Yet just as our identities can change during the course of our lives, so will our perspectives transform and evolve.
However, I have this suspicion that the one perspective at the core of them all is the one you have of yourself.  Do you think highly of yourself?  Do you think you are lovable? Do you love yourself?  Do you see your beauty?
Did those questions make you pause or did you feel immediate conviction in your answers?
Buddha quote and photo by Michelle Fairchild
Buddha quote with photo by Michelle Fairchild

To read more come visit this article at Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine