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Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

The Colors of the Moment

“There are infinite shadings of light and shadows and colors… it’s an extraordinarily subtle language. Figuring out how to speak that language is a lifetime job.” – Conrad Hall

“We are made from the past, and for the future. Both are embedded in the present moment. Without the pain and sweetness of what came before, and the enticing lure and heart-pounding fear of what comes next, we cannot celebrate the fullness of the living moment.”— Elizabeth Lesser

Start new each day fully present in gratitude and joy. Return to the simplicity and depth of this moment. Create your reality daily with the fresh eyes and rapt attention. You hold the brush. Paint this day with vibrant colors in your thoughts, words and actions.

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” – John Burroughs

 

Thoughts and Words

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” – Yehuda Berg

What you say to yourself and others matters. It carries an energy. Positive or negative. Full or empty. Be mindful so you bring positive energy to create enthusiasm, optimism and light.

In a meeting yesterday, one participant was clearly having a bad day and showed it in words, facial expression and heavy sighs. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life at any particular moment so you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. But this person is this way a lot and it sucks the energy out of the room, even on a zoom call.

It was a good reminder to me to be aware of the energy that I am exuding in my own exchanges with myself and others. We all have a bad day but string too many of them together we arrive at a bad life. Be in tune with your energy level and make sure daily self-care is on the list to balance out stress so you have positive energy which creates positive outlook and outcomes. Awareness, mindfulness, intention can change the trajectory of the day and infuse it with optimism.

Gratitude is fuel to power through the day. Pursue optimism vigorously so negativity and cynicism don’t take permanent hold. It’s hard to shake it off. Check on your own energy which is the only thing that you control and it can influence others in a good way.

Read, write, laugh, walk in nature, look at photos, count your blessings and seek joy. Choose your thoughts and words carefully and make something good of this day. Cast light!

“Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders – not average people. They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks.” – Daniel Kahneman

Beauty in the Details

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” – Henry David Thoreau

“They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?” – Jeanette Winterson

In our need to have certainty, to be right, to feed our ego, we snuggle up in our assumptions, judgments and narratives. We bucket people, circumstances and experience, creating a sense of security and stability. Building foundations on sand, we are perplexed when they crumble.

Be willing to unlearn, to go deep to the root, to see the complexity in the details. Expand your capacity for joy through sincere inquiry, rapt attention and childlike curiosity. Open to the wonder hidden in each day, go past mere knowing to understanding, nuance and transformation.

From a distance, the snow is a white blanket. Up close, a brilliant tapestry of light, art and delicate form reminding us of the beauty in the details. Invite and accept the gift of deep awareness of what already is present. Awaken your senses and embrace delight in the ordinary.

In the details, in still points, within each soul, the spark of divinity longs to be revealed and released. To your knees, remaining long enough to hear the voice of divinity.

“Your inner voice is the voice of divinity. To hear it, we need to be in solitude, even in crowded places.” – A. R. Rahman

Create and Restore

“You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.” – Nate Berkus

It is in the pursuit of discovery and rediscovery that we unfold and expand. Learning, unlearning and relearning create space for growth and transformation. What new things do you want to start this year? What has fallen away to restart?

Years ago, I used to refinish and restore furniture. Stripping layers of stain, sanding the wood smooth and applying fresh stain to reveal the grain and character in the wood.

My favorite restoration project is a library table which belonged to my Grandmother who immigrated from Poland. She was a talented seamstress, using the table in her sewing room. She could take bolt of cloth and transform it into beautiful dresses, no pattern necessary, sheer craft and imagination.

“A tree’s wood is also its memoir.” – Hope Jahren

Each piece of furniture is rich with stories and memories. Both of my Grandmothers passed away before we could meet them so these antiques have a deeper meaning, to connections that transcend time.

While I enjoy restoring antique furniture, I’ve always wanted to learn woodworking, creating a piece from scratch. My brother has done it for years. Last week, he showed me and my niece Emily how he built a sensory table for Liam. Since other people are interested in getting these, Emily and I are going to start a new hobby this year and explore other items to create as well.

“It is the accuracy and detail inherent in crafted goods that endows them with lasting value. It is the time and attention paid by the carpenter, the seamstress and the tailor that makes this detail possible.” – Tim Jackson

Each of us has innate creativity waiting to be released into the world. Keep searching for ways to explore and express your imagination. Design your days. Create and restore.

Living Art

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – Rene Magritte

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

As I ran by the Como Conservatory on my 10-mile run on Sunday, the flowers growing from the pond stopped me in my tracks. Every day, nature is a brilliant art gallery, a gift to open again and again as if we’ve seen it for the first time. May butterflies, flowers and bees always command my attention, delight and awe.

Life is either a series of hassles and hurdles or blessings and beauty. While I’m not batting a thousand, I pray that I always choose the blessings and beauty option.

We are only asked to be alive in this moment, fully aware and deeply grateful for simple beauty.

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

Exclamat!on Po!nts!

i “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” – Buddha

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.” – Walt Whitman

What punctuation are you using to define your story? Commas, question marks, periods? How about weaving more exclamation points into the narrative of your daily life, especially right now in this very moment.

We pause and stop too soon, starting a sentence but not finishing the paragraph. Your story is not over yet. You have the pen so keep writing, first drafts, second drafts, final edits to launch.

If you need prompts, inspiration, watch the natural expression of flowers in full bloom, dancing with delight, in exclamation and celebration.

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.” – Ecouchard Le Brun

Craft

“When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman.” – Jean de la Bruyere

In two days, I’ve watched one quiet craftsman tear out linoleum, laminate and carpet and piece together new vinyl plank flooring throughout my first floor. One person in rapt attention, in flow and in craft. An art and science. An ease and flow. It’s informative and directive of how we rebuild, design and craft our future. We may not know the pieces in this moment. Unknowing and mystery are gifts in disguise, revelation, if we enter with new eyes.

Embrace the mystery, allure, fullness and emptiness of this very moment of unknowing and uncertainty to discover how the pieces, the planks, the puzzle fit together. Sense comes from chaos. Order from uncertainty. Wait, hope and hold tight. Craftsmanship – the art and science of building from disparate pieces that create the whole which is always revealed in due time.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

Draw

“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Kids section. Dollar Store. Drawing book. Try something new, frivolous and creative. Dive into the unknown with joy and a sense of exploration and adventure. Cling to new and what’s next because it IS coming. In addition to planning for painting in a few weeks, I ventured outside, stocked up on cleaning stuff, cleaned and wrote “Is This Y(our) Renaissance? on Start3Things today. I also checked to make sure work technology is still up and running for my awesome coworkers who are in this to overcome and prevail to the other side.

I intend to post daily for Cast Light to offer up light, optimism and joy amidst “reality.” Pick up a coloring book, dare to draw and journal daily to tap into your very soul. Get out and give nature a warm long embrace. Forgive. Love. Laugh. – yep, laugh. Be vividly aware and deeply grateful for what already is right now amidst chaos. Do NOT miss this moment fully and deeply. Rapt attention.

Pick up the pencil and start drawing.

Fresh Water

“Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?” – Alice Walker

“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” – D. H. Lawrence

No special occasion. No waiting on someone else. On the weekly grocery list. I buy flowers for myself like I buy lettuce. Nutrition for the soul to savor the fragrant brilliance found only in a party of fresh blooms. Each one unique, brimming with beauty. Showing off as they should. Unapologetic.

A florist once advised me that to make the flowers last longer, freshen the water daily. Solid advice for living too. Dump out the stale, clouded water and begin each day a new. Fresh water, fresh blooms.

 

Concrete Flower in Bloom

“The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.” – Edvard Munch

“The artist discards all theories, both his own and those of others. He forgets everything when he is in front of his canvas.” –Georges Rouault

Rather than merely seeing an old wall on an industrial building, someone saw a blank canvas and painted a beautiful flower. When we look at the same old things in new ways, the same becomes new, our vision expands and understanding deepens.

Look at each day, each moment with new eyes, with your imagination. Where can you paint a beautiful flower, plant a seed in a heart?

Imagination and creativity are in all of us, no exceptions. Blank canvas, colors in your imagination, flowers in bloom all around. Start painting!

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