installation 5

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Deconstructing Mary

I recall two special people every April,
like a pair of sad-eyed jacks –
Abraham Lincoln
and my friend, Mary.
I dream of Lincoln sometimes,
a long voice burning in my head brighter than any bullet.
And my friend Mary.
I met Mary many, many years ago.
She always wore silver hair and a smile
and sipped tea from bone-colored porcelain ware.
That’s what I remember.
Her invitations to tea.
Her framed mantle photos.
Mary’s stories lived in the folds of her face.
Her most prized story floated
in the crinkled waves around her ocean eyes.
While my clumsy fingers fumbled through the handle
of a delicate porcelain tea cup.
Mary told me ‘the’ story at our very first tea,

1912
A young man and his childhood friend were to travel to another country. They planned to find dearest loves and build dream homes. When the auspicious morning arrived, the young man’s travel companion was nowhere in sight. With no appearance by his friend, the young man made a difficult choice. He watched the steamship sally forth toward the horizon and away from him. Gravely disappointed was he to miss the once-in-a-lifetime, maiden voyage of the luxurious RMS Titanic. The young man did eventually meet Mary. And they fell in love. They had ten children. Their children had forty-eight children.

Mary is gone now.
Has been for quite sometime.
But there is always this week in April,
I fondly remember
Abraham Lincoln
and my sweet, departed friend Mary.
nana darkShortly before midnight of April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg, at 2:20 am the ship went below the water.
Abraham Lincoln – born February 12, 1809, died April 15, 1865
Dark Nana acrylic on illustration board done many, many years ago before I required eyeglasses.

I Naturally

Dear Friends,
Well, my blogtox injection must wait until this coming weekend. Such are plans…

I share with you an illustration from my college years. I created this stylish gal for a Corporate Identity Class. After the completion of my coursework, I Natural Cosmetics, offered me a job. I accepted. I worked in ‘their’ mall store during my junior year. The manicurist applied long, red acrylic nails on my fingers and my hair was teased to the hi hats. I sold ‘Clinique’ like cosmetics and did makeovers. I learned a very important lesson that year; Young girls want to be slathered in obvious makeup, but older women want to look like they aren’t wearing any. Who knew?
Ah, the wrinkle-free skin and wrinkle-less grey matter of youth 😉

I NaturallyThank you. May you all dream of mature minds and youthful skin 🙂
(Oil Pastel – this illustration is 30 years old – she needed a touchup too)

A Lieb of Faith

Dear Friends,
A few weeks ago, I was honored with a Liebster by FittyUpdike. My post is titled, The Liebster Behind the Curtain. Peer recognition is truly the greatest honor of all. If you haven’t visited Fitty’s Arty Blog yet, you should. She’s an amazing tactile artist and accomplished craftsperson among many other things.

I have since been recognized by other peers. Since I have Fitty’s lovely Liebster proudly displayed on a shelf in my blog cabin, I felt I shouldn’t begin collecting pretty Liebster trophies, though, for a chocolate crown, my ‘selflessness’ would turn on a dime!

Anyone that has gone through the Liebster process knows it takes some effort to pull together. Because of this extra work, I’d like to acknowledge two amazing, fellow ‘bloggists,’ who’ve honored my blog, anntogether with nominations. Both HemmingPlay and C-Dog & Company have written Liebster questions for their nominees. I have answered both sets of deeply profound 😉 questions herewith. I apologize in advance for length. I attempt keeping my posts short, but sometimes words and their colorful relatives are necessary. I’ve added photos and art too… 🙂

HemmingPlay: This bloggist is a prolific wordsmith and an artist of words. He’s a forthright person with a terrific sense of humor. His intrinsic understanding of the human condition fuels his passionate and creative writing process. You’ll not be disappointed reading chapters from his latest book, working title: ‘Running Girl

Hemminglsplay Liebster Nominee Questions:

  1. What was the title of the first thing you remember writing? Age? I remember penning a lengthy letter to Santa outlining the benefits of owning both a banjo and a bunny – I was five. When I was 11, I set up a workstation in my room and fantasized I was Kolchak, the Night Stalker. If memory serves, I wrote cheesy articles about suburban man-eating monsters. I graduated to writing ominous things in a diary and leaving it open on my bed hoping my sisters would read how they wronged me through the course of a typical day (I wrote more than one, sorry, it was fun thinking back)…
  2. Have you ever had a dream about walking into work without any pants on? Yes. I walked in ‘pants-less,’ and everyone ran out screaming – so it was my dream, but their nightmare!
  3. Have you ever actually walked into work without pants (or dress, etc.) on? Details! I did forget to shave me legs a few times, so I may have appeared to be wearing both a skirt and pants at the same time. There was another time I walked into work with a broken nose after a weekend at the Jersey Shore, but I can’t reveal the real story 😉 (picture of my hairy look/previously shared on Facebook with friends who remember the good old days – provided here for your entertainment)hairzilla
  4. What’s the biggest challenge you have to writing regularly, and how do you overcome it? Over the last eleven years, I’ve written 10 manuscripts for the YA/MS market. Works of fantasy mostly. During that time it seemed I couldn’t get my ideas and story lines out fast enough. On 3 separate occasions, 3 manuscripts got ‘call backs’ for full reads. Nothing developed past that point, but those ‘positive rejection’ have kept me going. I know my writing needs to improve and I have much to learn, but my writing will not improve if I can’t write – right? Since I began substitute teaching along with giving children’s art lessons, my brain feels like a sponge tablet that’s been left in the desert by a band of dried-out humanoids. It has been most difficult stringing coherent thoughts together. Blogging has been a wonderful way to keep the sponge wet and hopefully with summer break nearing, I can write again.
  5. What do you read for fun? Love Jonathan Tropper’s humor. Every so often I pull an anthology off the shelf – Poe, H.G. Wells… I also began reading 100 Famous Speeches to remind me just how bad my writing is and that’s always entertaining 😉 Oh, and there’s always an interesting book variety to read for my book club. Our book reviews get quite entertaining when wine is thrown into the mix!
  6. If you could be anyone in history, who would you choose and why? I’d like to be an unsung pioneer woman. I think it would’ve taken a tremendous amount of faith, character and personal strength to build a foundation for a family in the wilderness. I would’ve liked to have lived before technology and white noise became the air we breathe. And I adore the soulful eyes of cows and horses. I’d have had a few of each. I would’ve been one of those hip pioneer woman – straddling a horse rather than taking the  old chuck wagon to the grocery store.
    C-Dog & Company: Debra Levy, animal lover, is a true champion for earth’s defenseless creatures. Often times her posts focus on ‘man’s best friend.’  She knows what we should be doing as a civilized society to aide any mistreated critters living among us. Deb wants to share and grow the bond between humans and animals.
  7. Why do you blog; why did you get started? I’m embarrassed to say I began blogging after watching the movie Julie & Julia. I thought, gosh if Julie could do it, why not me? I began my first blog several years ago, but didn’t know what I was doing. I got nervous when only 2 countries – and large numbers from those 2 countries – viewed my blog. I thought my site address was being compromised. Less dumb, years later – I read a great book, Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho. I did research and spoke to a women who edits an educational blog and whalah, anntogether was born 🙂
  8. If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? Hands down – Abraham Lincoln. There is something so amazingly sincere and beautiful in his homely countenance and that’s not even delving under his stovetop…
    1. lincolnA very close second would be the artist Rosa Bonheur (Her wall-sized painting, The Horse Fair, 1853 – fueled my passion to be an artist)

    2. What is your favorite song, or piece of music, and why? For me this is always such a difficult question, I adore so many types of music and all sorts of singers across all spans of time. There is much music that reduces me to tears. Often while blogging, I’m crying a little, depending on what I’m listening to. For example, right now I’m listening to Camelot – Broadway version with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. Before that I was listening to Barry White and before that Great Puccini Arias…and this morning Green Day…
    3. If you had to donate everything you own to a charity that you have never given to previously, which charity would you give to? WWF if they shaved their expenses back. I give to various animal charities and I’m very big with children’s organizations and cancer research – I think WWF can reach many places, but my impression is they use a high percentage of donations to pay for stuffed animals, umbrellas…
    4. If you were allowed to eat only one vegetable for the rest of your life, which one would it be? Chocolate – oh, wait you said vegetable – okay, chocolate. Oops sorry, I think my vegetable would definitely be chocolate…
    5. Two of the best books you ever read were ___? Love James Herriot’s series, beginning with All Things Great and Small. And, I never wanted Harry Potter to end (I cheated that’s 7 books)
    6. Even if you don’t have a cat or dog — cat-person or dog-person, which are you? Definitely dog, because the husband and I are big, slobbery and hairy too.
    7. lalalalal
    8. What do you do, or where do you go, to “get away”? Give me a candle, a window and quiet and I can go anywhere, oh, and chocolate.
    9. What’s your “day job” — or what do you “do” besides blogging (or is blogging your job)? I currently am a substitute teacher, I give private art lessons and sell the occasional piece of art. Someday I hope to trade this glamorous life and make enough money to buy celery and milk with the money I generate from selling my art and my writing. Oh yes, I’d love to blog the hours away too (with chocolate and a candle of course). I was once an Art Director many moons ago. I miss the days of being wined and dined and carrying a big business card…but mostly I miss the companionship of other crazy artists/designers – we worked hard – deadlines and all – but we had fun!
    10. What’s your favorite number? Easy 13 – I know many a folk think it bad, but it was my high school softball number and it gave me confidence – 13 and I were like 2 peas in 1 pod (see I used other numbers as not to offend).
    11. Name a personal hero  . . . My mom. She had an extremely difficult life and was asked to be an adult at a tender young age. She had many opportunities to get married off – as she was quite beautiful – but she worked hard and paid her way through college, graduating with honors. I have 5 other sibs and we are all just about 1 year apart, we were all born in different states (my father was in the F.B.I.) and back then the agents got transferred quite a bit – through her rough life and then rearing us kiddies her smile never faded. Today, I have difficulty judging people’s ages because my mom is 78, but she has the heart and soul of one much younger.me and mom
      Thank you for reading and have a beautiful Sunday 🙂

O Captain! My Captain!

Dear friends,
Years ago, the giant husband worked for a large wholesale plant distributor. Every summer his company held a barbecue on Calf Island, Long Island Sound in Connecticut. As you are aware, a boat is often required when crossing water. It was during one of these barbecue voyages, I met the most ‘Captainish’ looking Captain I ever laid eyes on. His vessel pulled up to the dock and we party-goers hopped aboard. I asked if he wouldn’t mind my taking his picture. I had to paint this introspective face. His ocean eyes twinkled bright beneath his devil-may-care thick brows, his great silver beard shone white in the sun, and his old sea-dog straw hat reflected the brilliant yellow of his fisherman’s slicker-

The Captain/acrylic

The Captain/acrylic

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring…”
Walt Whitman penned, “O Captain, my Captain,” a somber yet beautiful poem in homage to Abraham Lincoln. I too admire Abraham Lincoln. Whenever I create a Lincoln portrait, I dress his figure in present-day attire. This makes me feel a bit more connected to Mr. Lincoln-

lincoln full I created this computer image with Adobe Illustrator. Again this was one of my earlier computer efforts so I used the mouse, good old-fashioned hand-eye coordination and a lot of patience…

lincoln closeAfter that barbecue, I never saw the Captain again. I have his stoic, sea-worn painted face to remember him by. As for Abraham Lincoln, I think of him often and wonder what we would have chatted about over tea…