Quote for Today: Graham Greene

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So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Image: Mary Pickford writing at a desk, Public Domain Image via Library of Congress

Quote for Today: Michael Bassey Johnson

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Musicians do not get on stage without hearing the song singing inside of them. Poets do not write as if they are jotting down a sermon, they see everything in their subconscious before presenting it to the conscious, which they later turn to readable materials. Artists do not draw and paint without painting in dream states, trance, or see(ing) an art form that others do not see. Being creative does not call for being any supernatural entity, but in creating with the entities inside of you.
Michael Bassey Johnson, The Infinity Sign

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Reclaiming Objects: The Playful Art of Federico Uribe

Objects have connotations unrelated to their purpose. Art can stretch these personal and universal undercurrents  into something that celebrates life.

Federico Uribe was born in 1964 in war-torn Colombia. The Columbian Conflict, as history books name it, began in the mid-sixties and continues today. His homeland has been ravaged by armed warfare for the entirety of his life. You might think that this would make a broody, angry artist, and he was such for a time, but he decided that, in order to live, he needed to celebrate the life he was given and reconcile with his past. The key to that was to look at the world around him with new eyes and to use his hands and creativity to remake the world around him with humor and beauty.

 

Uribe has also made fantastic animals from colorful shotgun shells, turning something ugly and violent into something beautiful and playful. It is by remembering how to play that Uribe triumphs over the darkness and regains his childhood. That childhood is imbued with a reconciliatory power that shows us we can change our world by changing our perspective and helping others to see our vision. As Uribe puts objects in new contexts, we can put ourselves in new relationship with each other and with nature. The way to capture this energy of transformation is not through political statements, but through authentic feeling.

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In Good Faith, Federico Uribe

Mahatma Ghandi once said “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Please visit Federico Uribe’s website to see more of his wonderful vision.

Quote for Today: Virginia Woolf

 

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When, however, one reads of a witch being dunked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

Originals by Synkroniciti: Outgoing Tide

After a few years and two floods, I’m finally painting again. Nothing calms me down better than putting some color on canvas and seeing what crops up.

The section of wall to the left of our fireplace has some damage from whatever hung there in the past. It’s a rather tall footprint, and I didn’t have anything to fill it, so I headed to the craft store and bought a canvas. I hung the bare canvas briefly and realized that I should have bought a taller one, as part of the damage still showed clearly. Instead of returning it, I decided to make this a mixed media piece and attach a fabric skirt to the bottom to extend it.  I went through my fabric stash and, after some deliberation, settled on a gauzy green fabric embroidered with vines. I gathered it in the lower right corner and tied it off with some twine. To make the transition work and help anchor the fabric, I glued pine bark gathered in my back yard across the top of the skirt. Then I applied gesso to give the canvas some personality and texture.

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The next step was to make the piece more cohesive and cut down the contrasts between the canvas, bark, and fabric. I began shading the canvas with tones of yellow with red and pink mixed in. I painted the bark, favoring metallics, yellows, greens and blues that would give the bark more color and some iridescence, exaggerating the edges and patterns that were already present. White gesso, which has more body than paint, created a smokestack effect across the upper third of the painting, while a blue creature with arms appeared in the middle third. At this point I had not yet made a conscious decision as to what this painting was going to present, but the hints were all there.

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With the encouragement of Facebook friends, the painting became a beach scene featuring a starfish. As I began to paint and overpaint the starfish, building a nice layer of impasto (texture achieved by layering paint), I also detailed the foliage of a plant, intending to place a flower between the rocky bark and the creature, who appeared to be stranded on the sand. I worked more pink and red into the sand, which I later toned down.

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I could not leave that beautiful creature to die on the sand, so I began to shade in some water, thinking he was in some inlet or tidal pool. The water grew deeper and more turquoise, then I decided it was deep enough to splash where it hit the starfish. White gesso created the illusion beautifully. The flower had its first incarnation and other plants sprang up on the shore. At some point, I noticed that there were pockets under the bark where I could put items… a bit of pine cone, some fuzzy dried plant matter. Have you ever cut up a pine cone? It’s a daunting task.

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During the next phase I tried out some things that I liked, messed them up and then came up with better things. The only time that painting gets stressful is when I get attached to a particular item… a texture, a line, some shading… and it gets destroyed as I’m working. I’ve learned that, most of the time, the thing that comes next is more well-suited to the piece as a whole. Here are a few nice near misses.

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Here is the final product, Outgoing Tide, my seventh completed painting. The shading on the sand and the plants took me some time, but I am pleased. There’s a painted seedpod added that I find a happy touch. Painting the sides black makes the piece stand out; I went back and did that to 5 of my other 6 paintings. They won’t need framing now. As far as perspective goes, I decided we are on our stomachs looking down over a rocky ridge past some plants in the foreground  toward a tidal inlet surrounded by sand. The tide is going out, and that starfish will be carried back out to sea, far from the yellow flower that reaches out to him. From a damaged wall comes a vibrant new piece of art. I’m going to have to paint more.

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Synkronciti’s Faerie House Gallery

On the last Saturday of March Synkroniciti had a small gathering to build faerie houses. It was cathartic and fun. We had many folks express interest who were unable to make it, so we are going to build homes for the little people again on June 15th.

Shawntil, Kelly and I started working in the backyard next to the garden, but the weather turned suddenly cold, unusual for Houston at the end of March. We moved inside and were grateful for the warmth and the ease in using Shawntil’s hot glue gun, which proved very useful this time around. We enjoyed getting to know one another as we shared and created.

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Faerie Throne 

Kelly made a Faerie Throne! A seedling pot covered in moss on top of a corkscrew shaped shell, with an elegant back and seat skirt from potpourri stuff and a seat of sea glass. This is supported by a tripod of stiff reeds. Fit for a Faerie King or Queen!

 

 

Shotgun Shell House

My house is a low profile shotgun house (that is a form of house once popular in the south, so-called because, if both doors are open, you could shoot in the front door and out the back). It is made up of two seedling pots under a bit of palm leaf with a faux moss floor. It is crowned with feathers, purple raffia, pine cones and fronds, potpourri bits, rocks, glass beads inside of burr oak caps, and a sweetgum seed pod that I picked up outside of Houston Grand Opera on my way to rehearsal. There is a shell, two purple leaves and bit of pine cone between the front door and the back door on the side. The standing flowers are dried from the live bouquet we had at the last Synkroniciti gathering back in February. I love making connections between different parts of my life.

 

 

Branch House

Shawntil’s house was constructed from some strong twiggy branches put together with hot glue and decorated with natural and manmade items. Note the orange highlights. Someone had gotten a little excited with the orange spray paint marking a trail, inadvertently painting leaves and plant matter. Shawntil’s eye picked these items out while she was traveling and she took the time to set them aside for our construction project. There is also a lovely sea glass window, some arresting moss and a small pine cone from somewhere in the four corners region. So many fine details and a beautiful color scheme!

 

 

Our next event will be Poetry in Motion on April 27. We will be responding to poetry with movement. Come out and read some of your favorite poems!

 

 

 

Quote for Today: Marcel Proust

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When we have passed a certain age, the soul of the child that we were and the souls of the dead from whom we sprang come and shower upon us their riches and their spells, asking to be allowed to contribute to the new emotions which we feel and in which, erasing their former image, we recast them in an original creation.

― Marcel Proust, The Captive 

Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom, Ilya Repin, 1876