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Posts from the ‘For Artists’ Category

Where is Art Derived?

This is such an interesting idea, this poem by Ha Jin, shown above. Do you agree that poetry (and all art, music, etc.) stems from grief? For sure, I believe that we can take whatever grief we cannot eliminate, and make it into a creative offering.

But if grief were no more — would we stop creating? Perhaps, in addition to grief, wonder and the numinous are other sources for creative inspiration.

I believe art and nature shows us the essence of why we are alive and (if you are spiritually inclined) the divine.


How lovely is that?

So, recently, I took a walk around the neighborhood with Alex and Victory, and, let me tell you, glimmers abound. Here is a short list:

*Pushing Victory in her Hound About, while seeing her fur glistening in the sun.

*Seeing Alex balancing well on her scooter.

*Alex telling me all about the artwork she plans to make.

*Seeing beautiful flowers blooming.

*Feeling the cool, spring breeze.

*Seeing the sun start to set.

What glimmers have you seen lately?

Really Exciting News…

I have some really exciting news — my debut book will be released by the publisher during the fall of 2024, which focuses on a long-term photography project I completed employing dogs as my subject, further studying the relationship between dogs and humans. There has never been a project like mine published; and I worked tirelessly for over a decade, and I am extremely elated to have finished everything to turn into the publisher this month! It was a huge feat, to say the least! There is still much to get done, but I am so grateful to have reached this point in the journey. Importantly, this project would not exist if it were not for our sweet dear Biscuit.

Most of all, I am very excited to have the opportunity to share this work with a wider audience to raise awareness about dog rescue and to hopefully help as many dogs in need as possible. (I had previously mentioned, here on the blog, from time to time, over the years, about working on my project.) There are so many people to thank that have helped me along this journey and made this book a reality; and I have two wonderful people writing the foreword and afterword for the book. Additionally, I hope that this book can serve as inspiration to others to really go for their dream, even if it feels impossible.

This blog community is the first place where I have publicly announced this news. When I am able to share more details, I will! I will also let you know when the book is available for pre-order. Along with sharing here, I also hope to create a newsletter to bring you along on this part of the journey.

Thank you for reading!

Why Beauty Matters

Why does beauty matter, despite the really difficult things going on in our world? I love quotes, and I love this quote by C.S. Lewis, below.

“Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would have never begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with ‘normal life.’ Life has never been normal.” ―C.S. Lewis

As Lewis suggests: life has never been perfect, the precipice has always been near. And yet―these moments of unbearable beauty mean more than anything else that might ever happen to us. In fact, the precipice is the reason why they mean so much. They point us in the direction of the beautiful world, the one we feel so improvably sure is out there somewhere.

Katherine May: How to Find More Joy in Your Day

It is almost spring, technically, even though it still really feels like winter here with cold temperatures. I hope these ideas, below, might help you in this season. I already ordered Enchantment, and I cannot wait to read it!


It all started with a post-it note.

“Go for a walk,” it said, the matter-of-fact command enthroned prominently above Katherine May’s desk.

Ms. May, a British author who wrote the best-selling memoir Wintering about a fallow and difficult period in her life, had been going through tougher times during the height of the pandemic. She was bored, restless, burned out. Her usual ritual – walking – had been dropped, along with other activities that used to bring her pleasure: collecting pebbles, swimming in the sea, enjoying a book.

“There was nothing that made the world interesting to me,” Ms. May said in a recent interview with The New York Times. “I felt like my head was full and empty at the same time.”

In Ms. May’s latest book, Enchantment, she describes how a simple series of actions, like writing this note, helped her discover little things that filled her with wonder and awe – and in turn, made her feel alive again to be.

“You have to keep pursuing it until you feel that tingle that tells you you’ve found something that’s magical to you,” Ms. May said. “It’s trial and error, isn’t it?”

We asked Ms. May for tips on how you can do the same.

Commit to noticing the world around you

“We must find the humility to be open to experience each day and allow ourselves to learn,” Ms. May wrote in Enchantment.

It’s “easier said than done,” she admits.

“Don’t get distracted by thoughts that tell you it’s stupid or pointless or a waste of time or that you’re way too busy to possibly do it,” Ms. May said during the interview. “Instead, give yourself permission to even want that — to long for that contact with the sacred and that feeling of being able to commune with something bigger than you.”

Entering into a state of wonder is akin to flexing a muscle, Ms. May said. Put yourself in that mindset more often and it gradually becomes easier.

First of all, you need to “give in to the fascination” that you feel in everyday moments. Ms. May, for example, gets “really excited” when she sees light dancing across the surface of her coffee.

But don’t force it. The key, she said, is to keep looking for the things that amaze you — and trust that you will find them.

What you find pleasant may be quite simple: Ms. May has often felt awe when examining a small vermin in her garden.

“We told ourselves that everything has to be this big,” she said. “Actually, we can just breathe out and live a pretty small life.”

Ask yourself a simple question

Instead of thinking about what you find adorable that’s too difficult to answer, Ms. May suggests asking yourself a different question: what calms you down?

It could be a walk. Or visit an art museum. You might like watching the moving clouds.

Whatever it is, find a way to do it. Every morning Ms. May goes outside and smells the air “like a dog,” she said, laughing. She notices the color of the sky and how her skin feels in the cool air.

For some people, that calming moment could be found at a place of worship or gazing at the moon.

“The moon is so beautiful, and when you look at the moon you can’t help but notice the stars and planets in the night sky,” said Ms. May, who regularly observes the moon phase. “It’s just a beautiful, beautiful thing to do. Daily. And it’s that simple.”

Consider and reflect in your own way

If you want to spend more time in personal reflection but are concerned about doing it the “right” way, put those concerns aside.

For example, when Ms. May was learning to meditate, she wanted to do it twice a day for 20 minutes, but not before or after sleep and never after a meal. Then she became a mother and finding time to meditate became more difficult.

“You get to a point in your life where you’re like, ‘This is just impossible,’” she said. “For a long time I thought, ‘I failed. Obviously I should be able to do that.’”

Finally, she had a realization: the problem wasn’t that she hadn’t tried hard enough, but that these rules weren’t made for her. They had been created by someone who had never walked in their shoes.

Now she meditates in a different way. Sometimes she does this for five minutes in the middle of the night or while walking in the woods.

“For me, it’s never been about clearing my head,” Ms. May said. “It’s about taking on the slower-paced kind of work, processing all those things that are itching in the back of your mind.”

Do it because it feels good.

People tend to think that it’s kind of naïve to seek pleasure for pleasure’s sake, Ms. May said. In other words, we’re more likely to assign value to things that are considered practical and efficient.

But you don’t need dates or any other compelling reason to do something you enjoy.

For example, one of Ms. May’s hobbies is cold-water swimming. She doesn’t do it to burn calories. Rather, it’s “for the sheer joy of being in this incredible space,” she said, not to mention “how sensual it is and the amazing feel-good hormones it releases.”

And although Ms May initially took a beekeeping course to learn how to make honey at home, that goal became less urgent when she was awed as a student.

“Technically I could still do that, but I now realize I never really wanted to,” Ms. May wrote in Enchantment.

The joy of it all—the connection with her teachers and classmates, the sensual pleasures—surpassed any practical ambitions.

“I want to take it slow, absorb my lessons on the skin and the ears, get pricked sometimes,” she wrote of the experience. And she described the wonder she found in the class: “They’re so loud when they’re all singing together, and with the smell of honey and propolis, the smoke, the whole box vibrating under your hands, it’s quite absolute, the human-bee interaction”


(Source for this above interview.)

The Paradoxes of Creating

I love this passage about creativity and paradoxes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book entitled, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Hopefully, it will help you create!

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified, and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.

Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything.

So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?

The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

Here is Alex’s first portrait of her and Victory together, a real gem! We always encourage her to follow her creativity, where ever it may lead! She is so open and free while making her creations, and I wish we all could be more like this!

Elementals: Deborah Samuel

“There are no forms in nature. Nature is a vast, chaotic collection of shapes. You, as an artist, create configurations out of chaos. You make a formal statement where there was none, to begin with. All art is a combination of an external event and an internal event.” —Ansel Adams 

I am excited and pleased to share with you that my mentor and friend, Deborah Samuel, has a new book out this fall, her fourth book, entitled, Elementals, which encapsulates a ten year journey and exploration, using iPhone technology to capture her imagery, in an endeavor to find home.

A decade of travel from Africa to the United States and Canada to mysterious Ireland gave rise to Elementals, an intimate look at our world’s fundamental gravity. It is also a reflection on the wonders of life’s fragility, transience, and persistence of beauty.

“Over time, Elementals became a free-form poem to the enduring beauty of the elements everywhere – earth, air, fire, and water and the transforming power of light. It is an ode to the solitude of wide-open spaces, the fluidity of shifting winds, and the monsoons’ breathtaking phenomena — environmental, atmospheric, and climatic. These elements are not just material substances. They are fundamental spiritual essences, bringing meaning and illumination to life.” —Deborah Samuel 

After ten years, Samuel did indeed find home — everywhere. Elementals’ photographs are Samuel’s tangible memory of something too precious to ignore and too perfect to forget. 

“Only Nature can inspire this kind of awe and reverence when we allow our eyes to open. Samuel has a distinct sense of capturing this radical truth in all her evocative photographs. In every image, she presents a facet of the profound beauty that inspired our ancestors and reminded them of the great living divinity – the wonder of oneness in every aspect of life. She reminds us of the true power of what our hearts beat for – to discover purpose and meaning, witness spirit everywhere, and know the continuity of the cosmos. Through her lens, we’re invited to see that beauty is all around us, and in an increasingly uncertain world, to know hope is alive and calling us home.” —Colette Baron Reid

“The prints of the images in Elementals are magical. Viewing them is a visceral experience beyond an appreciation of a photographic image or its subject. Somewhere in the genes of these images is Ansel Adams. He lurks there as the classical and majestic now combined with colors so lush, a sensuality that verges on the extravagant but pulled just back, so one has the thrill of being on the edge of excess. However, there is something else, and its existence begins to explain why we’re staring at the image long after our own sunset snapshot has ceased to intrigue. Samuel’s photographs instruct — that we all share a mystical connection to nature, pantheistic perhaps, and this longing apparent because we’re always photographing, painting, or otherwise enthralled by it. Samuel’s photographs of nature are of us.” —Kelvin Brown

Shared below are a few of the beautiful images contained in Samuel’s new book, Elementals. I have my copy of this beautiful book, which I love. To order Elementals, visit here. To view more of Samuel’s work, visit her website here.

Isabel Reitemeyer

I came across Isabel Reitemeyer’s animal collages, and I love them! A few of her collages are displayed below. Isabel lives and works in Berlin as an artist and graphic designer. You can see more of her wonderful work on her website and Instagram, as well!

All of the above images are courtesy of Isabel Reitemeyer.

Fill Your Own Bucket

I loved this excerpt from Lisa Congdon, which you might find inspiring, too!

“Think of your daily life as a bucket that is your responsibility to fill. When your bucket is full, you have a lot of energy and you feel good. We can fill our own bucket by taking care of our body, eating healthy food, getting enough rest, honoring boundaries, learning new things, engaging in creativity, spending time with people we love, doing work that we love, and living in alliance with our values. Sometimes we make the mistake of either trying to fill other people’s buckets instead of our own or filling our buckets with unhealthy things, and our own bucket becomes depleted. When this happens, there is always a chance to go back to filling our own bucket instead. Paying attention to filling your own bucket is the first step.”

Allow Something Every Day

I loved this excerpt from Lisa Congdon, which you might find inspiring, too!

“As human beings, we like to control things. It’s in our nature. But having to control everything all the time ultimately zaps our energy and causes anxiety, because it is simply not possible all of the time. So much of our stress is caused by wanting everything to go a certain way. That can be exhausting! Since the opposite of control is allowing, it can be helpful to consciously allow at least one thing every day. For example, allowing your day to unfold in a way you did not expect (which might also mean not finishing everything on your to-do list). Or allowing someone to have feelings or reactions you wish they didn’t have without having to fix them. Or allowing yourself to have painful feelings without burying them. Allowing requires surrender and a certain trust that everything will work out, which is tough. But when we consciously allow in moments where we feel a tight hold, peace settles in.”