Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 27, 205

"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine." -- Pablo Picasso

Saturday, December 26, 2015

All Work, No Play? Why Goofing Off is Good for You

The day after Christmas is a good day to just chill out, and that's precisely what I did today. After all the frantic preparations, shopping for gifts, cleaning the house, preparing Christmas dinner, coping with torrential rains and violent storms and dodging tornadoes as well as toppling trees, it was so wonderful to just sit and do absolutely nothing. Oh sure, there are a million things on the agenda yet to tackle, but today was truly a day of blessed rest! Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves preparing for the holidays that we forget to reserve time for ourselves to "recharge." I plead guilty on all counts. Now that I've spent all day doing nothing at all, and feeling restored and refreshed as a result, I see this is a gift I should give myself more often.

Of course I did spend time in the studio, but instead of working on a project I "should" tackle, I chose to just play with some transparent fluid acrylics. With nothing more purposeful in mind than observing how the colors would interact, I splashed pigment onto 8x8" gessoed watercolor paper, pushed it around, added some lines and marks, then added more lines and marks with inks and brightly colored Sharpies. It probably won't ever hang in the Louvre, but this "playtime" experiment actually yielded some exciting ideas for a future series. This happened without needing to consciously think about anything, plan it or do any analyses. the lightbulb moments just seemed to come out of nowhere. My motto for 2016? Work less, play more. A lot more! It goes to show goofing off is truly GOOD for you!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 20, 2015

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -- Joseph Campbell

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Escaping the Holiday Hassle

Christmas is less than a week away. Yikes! The to-do list seems to grow longer as the countdown gets shorter........and I have come to the conclusion that much of the attendant stress is of my own making. As usual, this year I decided to make some gifts while purchasing others. But I had other projects on my plate to finish first. So what happened? I found myself running around in circles, trying to find gifts for this person and that person, all the while trying to get sufficiently organized to start on the gifts I was convinced I needed to make.

I do this to myself every year. You'd think I'd learn.

Actually, I did learn something this year about minimizing the holiday chaos: I discovered that it's possible to have a magnificent Thanksgiving dinner without cooking. (And without being a guest at someone else's table.) I discovered I could order up a complete holiday meal, including an honest to goodness whole turkey, from Publix, our local grocery store. Everything was cooked and prepared by Publix. All I had to do was go pick it up the day before Thanksgiving, heat it up on Thanksgiving Day, and place it on the table. No muss, no fuss, no bother. And no, I am not getting paid or compensated in any way to say this. I'm simply recounting my positive experience.

If you think our meal was probably less than stellar, you'd be dead wrong. It was DELICIOUS! Better, even, than anything I could cook myself. The "hardest" aspect of preparing it was removing the wrapper from the turkey so it could be heated in the oven. The rest of the meal -- cranberry orange relish, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing and a decadent ambrosia-type dish -- was equally yummy. I confess I did make one extra vegetable dish for the occasion in order to uphold a family tradition. But that was the only dish I prepared myself.

Ordering the dinner from Publix freed me up to enjoy Thanksgiving as never before. It eliminated the hassles of all that shopping, chopping, peeling, dicing and slaving over a hot stove. It was my Get Out of Jail Free card.

So -- surprise! -- we're having the very same holiday dinner at Christmas. I've already placed my order. In fact, I can declare emphatically that I have cooked my last holiday meal. Having Publix prepare them is the only way to go. Now, if I could just find a way to get my act together when it comes to those Christmas gifts!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Whether we commune with Nature with unspoken intuition or informed knowledge, we remain humble to the sacredness of our reverential covenant and relationship with Her. This form of transcendent wisdom cannot be gained in gardening books or at nurseries. It is gained on one's brown-stained knees or in the still observation of a subtle shift of energy in the air, within the soil or drop of rain, or emitted by an insect, rock or plant." -- Tricia Clark-McDowell

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lighting Up Thanksgiving -- An Update

Well, it has taken a whole lot longer than Hubs and I originally anticipated, but we've finally managed to bring my Martha Stewart fantasy to life: a beautifully decorated tree in the window, the front door surrounded with a lighted garland with lighted twin trees to either side, and the arbor marking the entry to our home swathed in lights as well.

It took many, many more trips up and down a ladder than I ever thought our knees could handle, but we've done it!
Here, take a peek:

Christmas lights are magical to me. One of our most cherished traditions is driving through a nearby residential community a few nights before Christmas to admire the beautiful light displays at many of the upscale homes. It's always such a treat to drive slowly past house after house adorned with lights of every kind and color outlining eaves and roof lines, encircling tree trunks, and lighting up paths, porches and driveways. It's a glorious, dazzling sight -- something I look forward to all year long.

This year, we'll enjoy a light display right here at home each night as well. Of course, we'll still make our customary drive to view those gorgeous houses with all their gorgeous holiday light displays. We wouldn't miss that for anything.

I'm always sad when the holidays end because it means everything gets packed away and life returns to normal for another 48 weeks. For the first few weeks of January I often find myself thinking the world seems a lot less colorful and interesting. But then little by little, this state of mind gives way to a sense of excitement as I realize the days are starting to lengthen once again, and occasional respites from winter's chill remind me Spring isn't far off. Soon it's Summer, then Fall and finally, another holiday season...and another magical celebration of Light!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 6, 2015

"...We will never solve our problems simply by instituting new laws and regulations. Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, corruption, inequity, intolerance and greed -- all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values -- will persist." -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Art Abandonment: Leaving Gifts of Art in Public Places

If you're out and about in your community and stumble upon a piece of art that appears to be "abandoned," there's a good chance you've encountered the work of an artist who's a member of the the Art Abandonment Project.

A miniature painting I plan to "abandon" Friday in Marietta.
The Art Abandonment Project was started by well known artists Michael deMeng and his wife, Andrea Matus deMeng. The Facebook group now boasts an international membership in the thousands. Its sole purpose: create pieces of art -- which can encompass anything from original paintings to jewelry to art postcards to craft items and beyond -- to be left anonymously in public places for strangers to claim and enjoy.

When someone finds one of these treasures, a card accompanying the piece informs them that it's intended for them with no strings attached. Or, if they'd prefer, to pass along to someone else. It also informs the recipient that if they so choose, they can email the group to share the date and circumstances under which the item was found.

I loved the concept as soon as I heard about the Art Abandonment group. As I listen to reports of the tragic shooting in San Bernardino this evening, coming on the heels of the horrific attacks in Paris, I'm thinking that leaving small gifts of art for strangers to discover, and committing all sorts of "random acts of kindness," is more important now than ever. These are small gestures, and against the broader picture no doubt they seems irrelevant and totally insignificant, but in times like these, every "insignificant" gesture of love, good will and concern for others is of monumental importance. Whether it's leaving a gift of art on a park bench for a passer-by to find, holding a door open for a stranger, or offering a kind word to a harried store clerk, every tiny act of kindness helps counteract the climate of violence and intolerance that threatens us all.

We don't have to engage in grand, sweeping efforts to become instruments of peace. It's small, simple gestures that, cumulatively, can have enormous impact. Saint Francis summed it up when he wrote, "Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is darkness, light..."

Together, our smallest efforts can change the world.

Image and text ©2015 Lynn Edwards