Sunday Slideshow-Butterflies in the Garden

Last year I didn’t plant a butterfly garden because I had just moved in to a new home.  This year, thanks to a wonderful friend who gave me the seeds, I did plant one.  The rewards are worth the time and effort.  The realtor who sold me the house gave me a patio swing as welcoming gift.  Now I can sit out in the evenings on the swing and watch the butterfly show.  Hummingbirds and goldfinches are all over too but I’m not quick enough with my camera to catch them yet.  Working on catching them with paintbrush instead.  I hope you will be as refreshed as I have been watching the beautiful butterflies.

Some of the photos in the slideshow are from previous butterfly gardens.  The old are mixed in with the new as seasons come and go.

Tennessee Ice Storm

People like to tease us in Tennessee for shutting everything down for winter storms but we have enough sense not to drive on a solid sheet of ice no matter how hard we get teased.  Shutting everything down affords the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of a world of ice crystals.  We save gas not driving on ice and we spend time enjoying the magnificent sight of a landscape of glistening diamonds.  It won’t last long so we must enjoy it while we can.  The temperature will be back up this week end and the wonderful, magical crystal and diamond world will be gone.

Christmas Tree Creativity

Creating is a response to the gift of life. Rosalind Pinsent (from The Painter’s Keys)

There are all kinds of comments and opinions on Christmas trees that crop up every year about this time. Creativity is one example. A Christmas tree is a statement of creativity. That creativity comes in many forms. Some like to have a color-coordinated tree. Others are all about the lights. You name it and people have a creative expression with their trees. My tree is all about eclectic creativity. This year added some new examples.

I have never had a color coordinated or designer tree. I have an “artsy” tree. My tree has some childhood ornaments that I love, like the angel that got chewed on by the cat. One year I made a few elaborate ornaments. My first tree in my first apartment was done on a shoestring budget and decorated with cheap ribbon. I loved that ribbon tree! This year four very special little girls decorated my tree and added their own creativity to the mix.

Looking at my tree this year has made me want to celebrate creativity. This year adds a paper plate cut out Christmas tree and paper plate cut out snowflake, a light bulb with ribbon hanger, and two yard-ornament egrets brought in from the garage to become Christmas tree ornaments instead. The paper plate cut out Christmas tree hangs alongside a hand-tied bow from the ribbon tree. The light bulb ornament and paper plate snowflake are hung with some of the ribbon from that first tree. The egrets have a grouping of other items beneath them that I am not sure of the meaning of but love it. Each ornament is unique and special in its own way.

Christmas time is a time of being thankful for giving and receiving gifts. Creativity is a wonderful gift to be thankful for. A Christmas tree is evidence of that gift.

Beautifully Purposeful

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“Create we must, and respond to this dark hour.” Makoto Fujimura

The artistic process for many can be a compulsion, striving to express an idea, a thought, a feeling bubbling up from deep inside. The expression is often not consciously mulled over before erupting into reality. How much time is spent reflecting on the purpose of the churning creative urge before releasing the explosion? What if this flow of artistic need is consciously directed in such a way as to nourish the human heart?

Even in the midst of the direst of poverty, the soul seeks beauty. Anne Ciccoline of Creator, Created, Create and leader of Creative Communion, describes her trip to Nairobi where she was taken to Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa. Anne was captivated at the sight of a mud hut with an entrance adorned with strips of fabric and a tin can planter with a green vine growing up the side of the hut. Anne says, “…no matter how primitive or impoverished our shelter, we strive to make it beautiful.” Beauty lightens darkness as nothing else can.

The human heart longs for beauty.   Our darkest hours are brightened by the simplest of beautiful sights. When there is nothing else, there is still beauty. Artists have a gift. Are we seeking to use it in a way that demonstrates gratitude for the gift? What better expression of gratitude could there be than for artists to bring the longed for beauty to the hearts of others? Creating art to nourish the soul is a noble purpose, a goal worth pursuing. And that is a beautiful thing.

Mako Fujimura talks about his painting, “Golden Sea”

Sunday Slideshow on Monday–Reelfoot Autumn

The Cypress trees of Reelfoot Lake turn a beautiful red orange in the fall.  Reelfoot Lake was created by the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-1812, a little known, little talked about earthquake but still the largest to hit the United States mainland.  Reelfoot is also known as the lake made “the day the River ran backwards,” as the Mississippi River, disrupted by the shifting ground of the earthquake, flowed backwards into a low lying swampy area before reversing and flowing back out again.  Today, Reelfoot is home to vast numbers of migratory birds and is a nesting area for bald eagles.

Eclipsing the Brain

The Rational Redbird

The Rational Redbird

Better be without logic than without feeling. Charlotte Bronte (from The Painter’s Keys)

The purpose in art is frequently directed toward the rational, the brain. Many artists seek ways to make the meaning clear so that others may discern the intent. The purpose is for people to appreciate the art because they have grasped the meaning. They “get it!” There is a sense of justification when that understanding is communicated. But what if art is created that does not have an outward but rather an inward meaning? What if people don’t “get it” but don’t care either?

When art is focused on the rational so people, “get it” and intellect kicks in, the heart is left out in the cold. “The approach of reasoning and ‘Rational’ debate has eclipsed the ‘heart’ approach,” says Father Brad Mathias of Four Winds Anglican Mission and RoadTripParenting. Engage the brain, lose the heart in a manner of speaking. The heart eclipsed is left in darkness. Art that seeks to enlighten the thinking leaves feeling untouched. Which is more memorable, art that enlightens the brain or art that touches the heart?

The rational art of the brain is so bleak, so heartless. Brain art is without feeling, cold, untouchable, like a beautiful flower incased in glass, forever distant and separate. Why leave the heart out? Is the brain really that important? Let the heart eclipse the brain instead and who cares if people, “get it?” They’ll be “feeling it” and that’s all that matters.

Sunday Slideshow-Foggy Fall Morning on the Mountain

A beautiful mist shrouded this October morning on Monteagle Mountain in Southeast Tennessee. An eerie stillness covers the landscape where only the sounds of the dripping beads of moisture on the trees can be heard. Gradually, the mist burned off and a gorgeous bright sunny fall day appeared. Many thanks to Kris Morton of Four Winds Mission, Spring Hill, TN for organizing this week end time of refreshing, rebuilding and renewal for women.

Breezy Magic

Yellow Bearded Iris

“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” William Butler Yeats (from The Painter’s Keys)

To provoke the senses is to be inspired. Without the conscious act of giving in to at least one sense little would be painted, written, performed or otherwise translated into art. Art requires that openness that comes from recognizing the role the senses play in inspiration. It is not only one sense that must be provoked in the creation of art, but all of them. And all of the senses include the most important and most elusive, the sixth sense

Can a painter paint smell or a writer write color? Suppose a person wants to provoke the feeling of a breeze blowing through the trees. Painting a few bent over trees won’t do it. Neither will writing the words, “ a breeze blowing through the trees,” provoke much. But giving those bent over trees some texture and color with paint, words or action and perhaps the senses of sight, touch, maybe hearing, could be provoked.  Add some autumn leaves and smell might join the other senses. Taste could even be added to the mix if those trees happen to be apple trees. Five senses have now come into play with that blowing breeze.

But what about the sixth sense, the magic sense? How can one go from sensing taste, sight, smell, feel and hearing to actually standing one with the trees totally within the blowing breeze. The only way the magical sixth sense can be provoked is to let go of the effort. The sixth sense comes from feeling the magic. The magic comes from within. To become one with that breeze is to go within and patiently sharpen the sense of magic, to be in that moment.   Artist and breeze are one.

All very easy for me to say but doing is another thing entirely. In the meantime, I think I will go out and sit under a tree for a while. Maybe if I sit long enough, the magic will happen. Maybe I will begin to grow roots. Maybe birds will nest in my hair. Maybe leaves will sprout from my fingers. Maybe I’ll sit long enough to get arrested for loitering. I wonder what the judge will do when I say I was sharpening my senses by becoming one with the breeze? Maybe someone will come bail me out of the slammer.