Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful Thursday: New Year's Eve

The beach is one of my favorite places anytime of the year...the beautiful colors of the seastars, the rushing sound of the waves (that actually have a calming effect on me) and the scent of sea salt in the air are just a few good reasons for me to visit the beach. I visited this beach and tide pool by the Pacific Ocean on another bittersweet birthday, ten years ago today. It is a good day for reflection and I'm thankful for these memories, most of my fondest memories involve being at the beach, that brings me joy and peace in my heart. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit comes in many forms and these lovely carolers and St. Nick certainly had it here this year. They were singing joyfully and greeting everyone with smiles, in spite of it being freezing cold that day. My daughter was a little embarrassed, but maybe when she's 42, she will appreciate the feeling of the Christmas Spirit, even in the form of a hug from St. Nick. Today I'm thankful for the Spirit of Christmas, this Christmas Eve, that brings joy and peace to my heart. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Art: Advent Wreath

This beautiful advent wreath was made by Steve Morel, an artist in Seattle. The large ring is about 48 inches in diameter and is embellished with the letters of O Lord, O Wisdom, O Key of David, and O Emmanuel. The top is about 8 inches in diameter and has the impression of the cross inside, so that if you are standing underneath and look up, you can see through the rings and see the cross.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fingerprints on Friday

Water, water, how it seems when it's constantly raining, but I really enjoy being near the water anytime. It helps my creativity flow, offers inspiration and contemplation.
Concentration gives the message of alertness. Meditation gives the message of vastness. Contemplation gives the message of inseparable oneness.
Water is as close to us as our own consciousness, and a fingerprint of God, found in nature, to be enjoyed every day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Good will, peace towards all...must be Christmas time. While doing some Christmas shopping this week, I tried to keep this mantra in my mind at all times. There seemed to be so many shoppers in such a hurry, and then, there was the rest of us. For some reason, I kept noticing a lot of elderly people out shopping, presumably by themselves that could barely reach for anything they wanted to look at or pick up. I know I'm not much taller than an average Santa's elf myself, but I have been known to scale some shelves to get something higher on a shelf, so I try to help out others when I can. The other day, I got a little help from one of these elderly couples I just helped in the store and their gratitude really touched my heart. I had a very full coin compartment on my wallet, so when I took it out to pay for my purchases, it burst open and so many coins were all over the floor in no time. I was so embarrassed, but I tried to quickly pick it all up. That couple happened to be behind me in line, so they also helped me pick it all up, along with the cashier, and had us all giggling about it together. So today I'm thankful for the kindness of strangers, good will towards others, and my own patience to to remind myself to take time for others and enjoy this wonderful time of Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Art: Nativity

There are so many artistic interpretations of the nativity scene, but this painting is one of my favorites. This painting was done by an artist with the nickname of Tintoretto ("little dyer") and real name was Jacopo Robusti, who painted with the intent of mixing of styles of Titian and Michelangelo. He would often develop his compositions by making miniature sets of wax figures and arrange them, and the lighting until he was satisfied to begin the painting. I like the way he painted this scene in a circular composition to keep your eye moving around the painting, and the fact that he staged the scene as a 2 story stable so that the holy family is at the top, the 2 women bringing gifts were probably seen as midwives (the first to see the birth.) The rafters are open to see the angels above and the animals and peasants were kneeling below, but the scene was painted with dramatic lighting and the figures were posed in a theatrical way to enhance the viewer's emotional impact. It certainly worked for me and something I think back to at Christmas time when there are so many other nativity scenes in the stores, churches, even in people's yards. This interpretation really draws me in and makes my heart joyful in this season of Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Silly Photo Saturday

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fingerprints on Friday

The sweet songs of the birds in the morning usually capture Emily's attention, and I enjoy watching them. Their songs bring joy and hope for the day, singing directly to my heart. I was lucky enough to capture a few of these little birds last weekend when we had our brief snow, making the yard look so fresh and although it was very cold, listening to these birds really warmed my heart. These little birds in the snow are truly some of the fingerprints of God, found in nature, leaving their songs in my heart, to be enjoyed every day and I'm so thankful they stay with us throughout the entire winter here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I received a very special package in the mail with another one of my grandma's crocheted doilies. I have an extensive collection of these so I thought I would pick out a few of my favorites today to share and be thankful for the wonderful creativity and love of my grandma. She's amazing at 97, truly an inspiring woman for me, and still crocheting all kinds of patterns from memory. She claims she doesn't know how to read the patterns so she looked at pictures and can still replicate these beautiful creations.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Nature of Trees

We must be aware of

The nature of trees

Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice -

From the very foot

To the highest height.
Sri Chinmoy

Monday, December 7, 2009

Deck the Malls

One of the simple joys of Christmas is venturing out to see all the beautiful decorations. I prefer the personal ones, the ones that have sentimental value, the ones that have a memorable story with it, and all the different types of nativity scenes. You just can't find those kinds of decorations at the mall, but even these impersonal decorations are so bright and bold that you can't help but to stop and take a look while you are walking around, Christmas shopping or just window shopping as we did yesterday at this pretty outdoor mall.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday's Art Dots

Today I finished crocheting this pair of potholders and really enjoyed using this multi-colored yarn. The colors in the yarn reminded me of flecks of paint and I thought it looked like a painter's pallet, and would look great in the kitchen. I know that cooking is also an art, but something I probably will never master. Possibly the beginnings of a painting though? There is a painting by Georges Seurat called "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte," done in 1886 with a technique known as pointillism. He used tiny brushstrokes of pure color contrasts to play on light that looks like dots up close, but makes a beautiful painting at the correct viewing distance. I made a self-portait once using this technique of pointillism. I used the back of a paintbrush to make the little dots and was very surprised at what a likeness that can be made just by little dots. This is a photo of me at the time I painted that self-portrait. Not exactly the same photo, it was a close-up of my face and since it was already a 3/4 view, I didn't really change it for even then I didn't care for my a-symmetrical face. I don't have the painting to show...I wouldn't be surprised if it's still in my parents' attic somewhere, covered in dust...and cobwebs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Silly Photo Saturday

This is a silly photo of Emily, when she was still a little kitty and didn't quite know what to make of all this Christmas paper everywhere on Christmas morning. I was reminded of this silly photo yesterday while I was busy most of the day trying to do some gift wrapping and get some boxes ready to mail. Emily was a great help. She mostly sat on the wrapping paper as soon as I rolled it out on the floor, so that will explain the crinkly look to the wrapping paper before they even get to open it this year. Some people crinkle paper on purpose for that rustic (artistic) look, but they don't usually use smooth Christmas wrapping paper for that idea. Emily has her own ideas.

The following photos are of the beautiful snow we discovered early this morning, a rare sight in Alabama for sure! Since I missed out on posting my "fingerprints on Friday" yesterday, I thought this is a wonderful time to be thankful for and appreciate these fingerprints of God, found in nature to be enjoyed today.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Living in harmony is like living in the woods, whether you are one of the trees, birds or creatures. All are in nature's harmony. I am thankful for nature's harmony today and enjoying the birds' songs outside my window that connect us all in nature's harmony.
We are aspiring for harmony
In the inner life and in the outer life.
I deeply value the oneness
Of all human beings.
Sri Chinmoy

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Shadow is a Cat

Today I made some tarts and candles for Christmas so I looked down and around to find my little shadow, as she's usually nearby anytime I start doing something in the kitchen. She enjoys her sunbeam by the stove but will seek them all out in the mornings. There was no sunshine to be found today and I usually prefer a sunny kitchen to make my candles...but Christmas is coming and gifts need to be made. Soon it will be time to choose the pretty wrapping paper, bags and ribbons. Emily enjoys that part too...crinkling the paper, looking in all the bags (with most of her body) and playing with the ribbons all over the living room. I still have some more gifts to make and most likely, a bit more procrastinating.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams