Alihen

Dear Friends,
I couldn’t resist one more outer space, outer-limit illustration if you’ll permit. As it so happened, I was listening to Darwin; Portrait of a Genius, on CD when inspiration struck. It was noted Charles Darwin spent three years and one month of his five year ocean voyage on land, during which time this dedicated naturalist explored flora and fauna to his heart’s delight. He also enjoyed turtle soup (who knew) and hunting birds. One such hunt was for ostriches. Something told me an ostrich and an alien would be great fun together -

alihenThank you and goodnight. May you dream of soaring through the aurora borealis and wake with a luminous heart…
Alihen created July 31, 2014 with a smirk and glowing Prisma fingers 

The View from Above

Dear Friends,
What is it about leaving our ‘normal’ lives if only for a few days, that throws off the brain’s trajectory? The trajectory being any forward motion beyond a REM cycle. How different we are from one another, whether two streets or many countries apart. Yet despite distance, we constantly seek out similarities. We ache for common ground on which to rest our feet. Beyond grasping the universal necessities of breathing, drinking, eating, sleeping and reproducing, we are often perplexed. The bravest of us dive deep to skim emotional distances beyond invisible borders. But many of us are not brave. We take comfort in comfort’s sake. Our superficial observations block insight. Languages are walls of jumbled symbols. Unfamiliar comfort zones are not easily navigated.

I wonder – as I’m quite sure many of you do – what non-earthly sentient beings would deduce from our world, both past and present. Would they consider us intelligent, performance-driven, altruistic and neighborly?  Or looking down at Earth, would they believe us devoid of any compass, moral or otherwise? Lacking universal sameness, would these sentient beings comprehend our world? Would they conclude we live well together?

This outdoor sculpture stands behind Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island. As I took this photo, the sky bright all around, I contemplated what a non-earth entity would make of this particular subject, hence what they’d think of us earthlings…

statueThe little green visitor below would like to give us, ‘the benefit of the doubt.’

alien ragThank you and goodnight. May you slumber deep and float upon sparkling space dust…
Alien Ragoo created July 22, 2014 with Prisma pencil while listening to Lincoln’s Biography.

Much Mansion Money and Tea

Dear Friends,
How did the other half live – the half whose summer mansions were opened for precious months, maybe just weeks out of the year? I’ve just returned from a whirlwind Newport, Rhode Island mansion tour. I would answer the question this way – they LIVED. Gilded walls, marble staircases, tapestry-covered walls  – they LIVED. Did endless wealth showcased in opulent behemoth vacation homes make these folks smile every morning? I couldn’t say. Only ‘they’ could have answered this query honestly.

Many of their family tree roots have since grown deep, watered with wealth. Some have donated much. Others have sold plenty. A wonderful, silver-haired tour guide, whose face was deeply etched with lines of history jokingly remarked, “A fourteen-year-old Anderson Cooper was left a large Newport home and seventy-one million dollars by an Aunt. What fourteen-year-old can live on seventy-one million?”

rosecliffMy favorite mansion was not actually a mansion, but a replica of a twelfth-century Song Dynasty temple in the backyard of Marble House – called the Chinese Tea House. In the late 1800’s, Alva Vanderbilt hosted rallies for women’s suffrage in this lovely structure by the sea.

tearoomInspired by the charming tea room, I created a lovely creature I’d enjoy sipping tea with-

tealady3Thank you and goodnight. May you dream of sipping delicious tea by the glorious ocean at sunset.

Vulcan Milano’s Promise

Dear Friends,
Please excuse the length of this post. It’s longer than usual. I will be offline a few days, so for those of you who don’t mind reading my posts, I thought you wouldn’t mind reading a bit each day if that suits you. It’s a story about a man named Vulcan Milano and his dream to help the world. Thank you.

Vulcan Milano’s Promise

Though his strong body and bright mind did their best of convincing him otherwise, Vulcan Milano reached retirement age. This master builder and metal worker had made a secret commitment long ago. A promise that could only be honored while he had both resources and sinew. It required every last bit of scrap from Vulcan’s amusement business – and could possibly take several years – he wasn’t sure. Vulcan had also promised his wife, Millicent a peaceful retirement filled with grandchildren visits and sunset walks along the beach. He would not let her down.

So Vulcan Milano began. He toiled alone, day after day, night after night fashioning a teeter-totter the likes of which no man had ever seen. For this would be no ordinary teeter totter, but a testament to the life of a passionate individual and a gift to the world. After nine months of intense labor the teeter-totter was finished. Vulcan was pleased. Never before had such a beautiful seesaw graced his factory floor. The dark green triangular fulcrum appeared deceptively small. The bright sky-blue, ten-thousand footlong teeter-totter shone beneath the florescent lights. Truly it was a marvelous thing to behold.

Vulcan then called in his best amusement movers. One-hundred burly men and one-hundred equally powerful women cast steel hooks around the magnificent seesaw. Following Vulcan’s instructions, the ten-thousand footlong amusement was brought to an enormous expanse of sleepy grass by the east-west sea. A tear escaped Vulcan’s eye as he unveiled his final masterpiece to Millicent. She admired the shiny teeter-totter awhile. How proud she was of her husband. After staring a good long time, Millicent turned to Vulcan. “My darling husband, such a magnificent thing to behold. Why ever did you build it so large?”

Vulcan expected this. He’d been preparing his response for over fifty-five years. The first time he ever held a socket wrench and felt the heaviness of it in his calloused hands. He understood the weight of possibility when things are new. He took his wife’s delicate hand in his. Vulcan’s eyes remained fixed on the magnificent teeter-totter. His words poured out slowly, “Loving wife, anyone is free to ride. They can choose their seat and sit supporting each other. If too many people sit on one end, the seesaw will sink into the grass. If too few people sit on the opposite end, they will go so far up that they will be lonely. It will take cooperation from all sides. If they manage agreement, they will fly up and down as never before. The wind, the sun, the very clouds will lift their tummies and make them joyful.”

Millicent softly nodded her head. The young eyes of the selfless man she’d married all those years ago, had grown brighter with age if that was possible. She posed a second and final question, “My darling husband, why ever did you paint the fulcrum such a plain green when all your fulcrums have been silver with your bright red logo?”

A smile pulled Vulcan’s lips upward. He gave Millicent’s hand a gentle squeeze. His bright eyes moved to the calm sea where the orange sun was painting cream-sickle ripples across the water. “Loving wife,” he spoke in whispers now, “some riders know the particulars of levers and fulcrums, mechanics, science and mathematics. I painted the fulcrum green that it may hide in the grass and be lost as an unimportant thing.”

Millicent and Vulcan watched the glorious sun sinking into its evening slumber. The sea of aqua glass darkened. Vulcan patted the ten-thousand-foot, sky-blue teeter-totter then turned to Millicent, “And now my darling wife, let’s take a long walk upon the cooling sands…”

fulcrum1Thank you. May you dream of riding a giant seesaw and smile as your tummy lifts…

Fulcrum created with Prisma pencils, July 23, 2014 with a light heart and heavy eyelids :-)

We All See

Dear Friends,
We look up from Tahiti. We look up from Andora. We look up from French Guiana. We look up from Chile. We look up from Belgium. We look up from Gibraltar. We look up from St. Vincent. We look up from Macedonia. We look up from Cuba. We look up from Armenia. We look up from Senegal. We look up from Nepal. We look up…

We all see the sky. We all share the azure. We all see the clouds. We all share the billowy white. We all see the storm. We all share the ominous gray. We all see the sun. We all share the bright yellow. We all see the sunset. We all share the crimson. We all see the moon. We all share the silver-blue. We all see the stars. We all share…

We all see…

Dolores no frameThank you and goodnight. May you dream of the world’s people gazing up together, thankful for the sky…

Lady of Sorrows, 4′ x 3′ oil on canvas, 1997

‘Godsteed’

Dear Friends,
As humans go, I’ve been thinking and having thoughts. I’ve reflected upon the past few months and retraced my blogging journey thus far. It’s been about five months give or take since I paddled into WP. Along the way while finding the proper vessel, I’ve met interesting, intelligent, talented and human kinds of people – the type you wouldn’t mind meeting in a café and sipping drinks with. I’ve stopped at many blog homes. Some visits short, some stretching longer than others. Some infinitely more lasting. All kinds of blogging folks with all sorts of histories and dreams.

Dropping the big son off to wrestling practice today, we passed many people out and about. They were running, walking, chatting, walking dogs, pushing strollers, cycling…I found myself wondering what each of their journeys has been like so far. What were their histories? Their sorrows? Their joys? So many of us, so many dreams out there on the sidewalks, passing by wearing rubber ‘souls’…

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved horses. I continued loving horses, even after I was told I was too big to ride the miniature pony at a birthday party in third grade. It’s interesting how our childhood dreams – mine was being up to neck in all things horse – keep us and don’t let go, like willful children who don’t know the meaning of the word ‘no.’ In the end maybe the childhood dream that sticks, is the glue that holds the spirit together. And where there is spirit, there is hope. Where hope flows, therein lies strength. Where strength clasps, life catches – it all comes back to your beautiful dream…

My Horse Art from Age 13:

pastel horsesAbove is a pastel. Next two charcoal sketches below were drawn at age 14, from Breyer’s Horse Models I wish I still had-

foalpintoThis next was a small oil painting I did at Age 16, Misty of Chincoteague-

mistyI’m thinking since I was going on 17 other things came into the ‘picture’ for a while. I stopped drawing horses. I went to college then off to an eleven year publishing career. Next up, is a large 5’x5′ painting where at 30 years of age, I was feeling nostalgic for my horses. It was inspired by a wooden carving I found at a flea market-

conquistadorGot married, had kids, no horses for a while but plenty of bumpy rides. Painted this next oil, another large canvas 6’x3′ at 40, after getting a handle on the whole childrearing thing, though I couldn’t get primary colors out of my head-

primary horsesI’ve since discovered the meaning of life – I think it’s what we give meaning too. This next one I did 2 days ago with a smile on my face-

godspeedThank you and goodnight. May you dream of gorgeous white horses galloping across the universe. ‘Godsteed’ to you and your dreams…

The Magnificent Firefly

Dear Friends,
Imagine our inner-light glowing brightly outside our skin. How the world could peacefully glisten. Calm, warm light tinted with golden rod, blue fire and white sand sparkling against night’s tapestry of transient stars.

We sometimes believe ourselves dim, refusing to acknowledge the wings on our backs or the power of our inner-light.

no wingsTo be bold like a firefly. How mesmerizing they are. Their diaphanous illuminations flitting through the velvet dark, oblivious to manmade concoctions. They brighten the blue-black air and pull the stars closer to earth.

If firefly light joined man, oh, how the planet would smile – bathed in a comforting glow like children ’round a campfire…

firefishThank you and goodnight. May you flit within your velvety dream and wake up glowing…

Wing-less created with Prisma pencil on paper, July 8, 2014 after a late-night walk among fireflies
Fish/bug Morph, acrylic on canvas, 1998

The Pointy-Eared Dog Who Admired Art

Dear Friends,
There once lived a pointy-eared dog who admired art. He marveled at flat empty spaces of no significance brought to life with color, line and form. His great canine imagination soared whenever he gazed upon brushwork harmony -

rocky w:captainOne day he met a lovely blue-eyed woman. They spent the afternoon sipping Harley & Sons Peppermint Herbal Tea – his favorite – bantering about the merits of sable brushes infused with hog hair. He asked a passerby to take a photo of  this lovely smiling day. For the pointed-eared dog feared, if precious moments were not captured on canvas or film, the memories would be lost forever-

rocky:doloConcern for his own lasting image began haunting him. The pointy-eared dog once heard of a legend. A pointy-eared dog like himself – a Queen in her day – who had her image committed to canvas.

chama w:paintingHe wished for the same and set about the task of gathering the portraitist’s location. During his info quest, the pointy-eard dog heard another legend. This one painted terror in his heart. After the Queen’s death, the royal portraitist became a recluse and had moved beyond the border of Werewolf Wood. If one desired their portrait painted, one must make it through Werewolf Wood alive.

werewolf woodThe pointy-eared dog contemplated his motives for desiring a portrait of himself-

rocky reflectingHe questioned the intelligence of risking life and limb -

rocky tip headThe pointy-eared dog even tried imagining the mighty Werewolf fearing itself-

werewolf worriesIn the end, the pointy-eared dog smartly decided not to risk a journey through Werewolf Wood. He’d have to do his best to remember himself from the inside. He’d try to summon his best qualities and paint an image in his heart. The pointy-eared dog reasoned if he focused on his good qualities everyday, his image would be a masterpiece…

Thank you. May you dream a dream free of werewolves and hobgoblins…
Hope you enjoyed this little tale. Incidentally, Rocky the Shepherd is a ham ;-)

Photo: Rocky posing with Captain -acrylic on canvas, 1998 Photo: My lovely sister Dolores with Rocky 2011 Photo: Chama posing with her portrait: oil on canvas,1994 Photos: Rocky the Shepherd closeups – 2013
Werewolf art – mixed media 2011, Werewolf with Goggles – Prisma 2014

 

Dating Naked and World Peace

Dear Friends,
I was planning to write something fully dressed and sassy. Two things happened between last night and this morning that changed my mind.

Last night, the delicate daughter had seven friends over. Throughout the evening there was much googling and giggling. Around 9 PM, all eight teens gathered around the television. This is when the cacophony rose in intensity. Such was my curiosity, I swung wide my studio door. Two words instantly explained the hearty laughter and watering eyes, Dating Naked. Who knew? Apparently it’s a new ‘reality’ show where people – other animal species have already figured this out – meet each other au-natural. Now, I could say many things here as a mom of teenagers, as a former Catholic School girl, as a person who was raised to wear clothes, as a person who’d like to believe American audiences aren’t becoming this banal. I could have fun, but I won’t because it’s too easy. Maybe the talented Universal Federation of Tattoo Artists and not Pharmacological Intimidators Worldwide is sponsoring the show. Maybe Dating Naked will feature the kind of people who jiggle when they laugh. All I know is there was much laughter coming from my living room last night and it was soothing. Who knows, Dating Naked could become the next Seinfeld

etherealThis morning, a second thing contributed to changing my intended post. The AM newspaper headline made a lump form in my throat, ‘Jetliner shot down.’ Tragic events such as these boggle the mind and confuse the heart whether one comprehends the political complexities of world affairs or not. After reading the ensuing articles, the big son, Rocky the Shepherd and I went for a walk in the sunshine. I was chatting with the big son, telling him how I wasn’t in the proper mood to write light spontaneous. The big son, maturing into the good man he will be replied, “Mom, things happen that you have no control over. If there are no bright spots in the world, it will become a dark place.” Did I mention, the big son has been writing since his little feet dangled from an adult chair.

So the moral of my story for today is: life happens, some of it we have no control over and if a few naked people can make us laugh, so be it. Perhaps naked is the answer to world peace. Oh yes, and family and friends are the honest bright spots in an often dark world…

carmax hugThank you. May you restfully dream of peace (pjs optional) :-)

Everybody, walkin’ by the river, now
(Share the land)
Every night, everybody laughin’
(Shake your hand)
Everybody singin’ n’ talkin’
(Share the land)
Smilin’, laughin’, diggin’ each other
(Share the land)

Ethereal Being generated with Prisma pencil last night between bouts of laughter. Photo of big son and delicate daughter taken in Vermont by Lake Champlain, 2005…
Partial Lyrics from the song, Share the Land as sung by The Guess Who 

One Magical Stream and a Bullfrog Helmet

Dear Friends,
At the end of my cul-de-sac flows a small stream. It’s a lovely sparkling thing. After a great rain storm or a generous snow melt, the stream bursts over its treelined banks. Sometimes when the spill-off is plentiful, the stream enjoys river mimicry. When it is a barren summer or dry autumn, the stream, like a magical trickle disappears. Long wild reeds and straw grasses – the kind that make eerie swooshing noises at night – quickly take over the empty gullet.

July has poured buckets of rain into the little stream. Some might even say too much. Its wet path is boisterous and bubbling. This morning while walking Rocky the Shepherd, I heard the unmistakable bellow of a mighty bullfrog. A deep throaty call leaping the imagination to a land of gigantic reptiles. I sensed the bloated amphibian squatting heavily on a warm rock. Its long sticky tongue springing forth to grab its fly by breakfast. His marble eyes so round they appear poised to roll out of his bulbous bullfrog sockets. Rocky’s ears perked up at the echoing dissonance of nature’s gong. I eased his pointy Shepherd ears back down with simple reassurance, “Rocky, it’s just a big old bullfrog croaking because he can’t bark. I can make you a bullfrog helmet if you’d like to ribbit…”

close upI wonder where the bullfrogs go when the magical stream disappears…

frog helmetThank you and goodnight. May you kiss bulbous bullfrogs and wakeup human still…
Frog Helmet created July 10, 2014 with Prisma and five cups of coffee :-)