“Don’t let the stuff of life obscure the radiant light that shines from within you.” ~ Terry A. Gordon
Rebecca Campbell is one of the most gifted artists I know. She makes exquisite dolls and assorted figures in a really unique, soft, inviting style. Over the years, you’ve seen me stalk her husband, David, with my camera, but he was ill during the Sorghum Festival. That meant poor Becs caught the lens. She said, “I thought it was some hunched over old woman sneaking up on me.” “It was!” I replied. Thanks for playing, Rebecca. You’re always a joy to run into.
“Magic happens when you don’t give up, even though you want to.
The Universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart.”
Last Christmas Judy Sackett gave me an original Joe Molinaro mug. It was one of my all-time favorite gifts. If I haven’t told you about Joe, let me fix that. Joe is one of America’s best ceramicists. He recently retired from Eastern Kentucky University where he’d been teaching ceramics. During his tenure there he studied indigenous pottery craft in Ecuador (and other places, too, but mostly in Ecuador). That in-depth study surely informed his organic style. He creates stunningly beautiful work; truly elegant in its simplicity. As a bonus, he’s a super awesome guy. Naturally, I was thrilled when Judy gave me one of his pieces because I could never afford one on my own. So, you can imagine my heartbreak when, last Saturday, I dropped Joe’s mug onto a kitchen counter only to have it shatter into thousands of pieces. There was no way to fix it. I was sick. I confessed to Judy that I had destroyed my beloved gift. She, being the queen of awesome, today brought me another Joe Molinaro mug. I couldn’t believe it! I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such kindness, but I’m sure glad I did it.
“Love fiercely, fight with honor, and always keep courage and compassion in your heart.” ~ VL Cox
Aunt Lois’ youngest granddaughter is Macie. Today was her first day of 6th grade, but until today, she’d been hanging out with Aunt Lois and our hero and shero. A day or two after mom was moved to Cardinal Hill she drew Corage the Dog. Corage now decorates mom’s wall with his motto: “All the things I do for love.” Macie is the sweetest girl I know. She brings a smile to our hero and shero every time she’s with them. She and Corage bring a smile to me.
“Psychologists say, once you learn how to be happy,
you will not tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less.”
Before the days of art murals there were these. Ads were painted on buildings and barns, large and small, city and country. This RC Cola painting adorns a wall in Whitesburg and I couldn’t help but admire it. Happy Saturday to us all!
“Turn your face stubbornly to the light, and keep it there.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
A few weeks ago Crystal traveled to Austin, Texas to attend a Photogrammetry workshop. This type of photography involves many photos, multiple angles, and a single object from which a map or a 3D model can be created of said object with specialized software. Basically, the software uses the photos to measure the object.
This afternoon Crystal decided to photograph the giant Abe Lincoln head in the Special Collections lobby from which to create a 3D model. Abe is a hollow bronze created by Gutzon Borglum, the artist who created Mount Rushmore. Our Abe was a model for that larger work. I lent a hand (and a flash), and I learned a lot about Photogrammetry along the way. One thing we both learned: close your eyes before the flash goes off.
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
Lori-Lyn Hurley had an opening reception this evening at St. Raphael’s gallery. Her beautiful paintings lined the gallery walls in few but mighty numbers. I’m so proud of her for doing the work she loves and putting it out there for the world to enjoy and appreciate. And that man of hers, Tracy; still one of the finest human beings ever. The two of them together fill me with more joy than should be allowed, and any time in their presence is a gift. I got an unexpected treat at the reception, too. Stacy and I met St. Raphael’s interim rector Rev. Karen Booth. She was engaging and her story was very familiar. She has a BA in fine art photography from EKU (who does that sound like?); and she left the church for a time before coming back to earn her Masters of Divinity. I don’t have the latter, of course, but I do identify with why one would take an extended break from organized religion. It’s amazing to me how many people I know who have had similar experiences. They’re brought up in the church, leave or become disillusioned for one reason or another, and then called to return. Most if not all are the most genuine, compassionate Christians I’ve ever known, so there was little surprise that I connected with Rev. Booth. I got to see two of my favorite people, hang out with Stacy, and meet a new awesome person. I win Friday.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
As I mentioned earlier this week, I crossed paths with a few new murals. First, let’s look at this surprise art I found by Two Keys Tavern. I love to see folks sculpt their dead tree stumps instead of grinding them to nothing. They can be great art pieces, or at the very least wonderful conversation starters. Take this wildcat for example. I think the artist could have used a drink or four from Two Keys because the wildcat looks pretty depressed. Nobody likes a depressed wildcat, least of all depressed Wildcat fans that hang out at Two Keys. Maybe he was carved after this year’s NCAA loss, or the NBA Draft announcements by most of the team. They’ve both become yearly depression events. In any case, I think the sculpture is fun and I tip my hat to Two Keys for adding a little art to their backdoor entrance.
Now, about those murals. This long piece (top) sits across from Lowell’s where I took the car for repairs. I really enjoy bright colors and abstract work, but this mural doesn’t really have either, and it’s a bit too Disney-esque for my taste. If it was near, say, a school or daycare I could see it as a good fit, but it faces a car repair shop and not much else. Maybe if I had kids I’d understand it, if in fact these characters are based on a Disney show like I suspect. The mural below faces the parking lot of Joe Bologna’s Italian Restaurant. While more aesthetically engaging, I admit to not understanding one bit of it either. It feels like a Ren-&-Stimpy-meets-Godzilla-on-the-basketball-court video game or something. It has great colors even if I don’t understand the imagery. All in all, I’ve concluded that just because you have a wall doesn’t mean you need to put a mural on it. Sometimes a plain wall just needs to stay plain. I may be showing my age with these critiques. Next thing you know I’ll be screaming at the kids to get off my lawn. Then, I’ll come into the house and laugh myself silly. Still, I whole-heartedly applaud these mural artists. These things aren’t easy to do, and I’m really pleased they get out there and get their feet wet. That’s how great art gets made.
“Think positive and positive things will happen.” ~ Unknown
It was finally time for Ky Crafted: The Market. It was a totally rotten weather day; perfect to be inside soaking up lots of good art. I met Annie Bassoni, fellow art soaker upper, and off we went. We were on the lookout for a few people, and sure enough, we found them. Our first victim, I mean, friend encounter was the ever beautiful Deb Chenault. As usual, she shied away from my camera. Annie somehow thought that this silly symbol would stop me. pfffftttt We continued our meandering ways when we spotted Rebecca Campbell, sending Annie into recon mode looking for David so I could spring the paparazzi on him. It was not a successful mission for David saw us first. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all. It does my heart good to visit with my people however short the time. And visiting among art? As good a day as it gets in my book.
“Life: It’s about using every crayon in the box.” ~ Unknown
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I opened the package today. Inside was this gorgeous hardcover coffee table book put together over many months by my soul friend Pam Thurman and her colleague Shawna Cain. It’s stunningly beautiful – seriously. Cherokee National Treasures highlights “Cherokee Nation citizens with exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art forms and cultural practices…” A book devoted to these gifted folks is not only an honor for them (bestowed by The Nation), but it gives the rest of the world the opportunity to enjoy and honor them, too. It’s vitally important that cultures cherish their torch bearers like this, but it’s especially important for U.S. indigenous cultures to do it because, historically, the country has committed unspeakable atrocities to destroy every last one of them. Modern U.S. politics has a long way to go to convince me that they’re not still trying, what with the North Dakota pipeline being just one of the more recent tragic examples. That’s why I’m especially proud that the Cherokee Nation formally embraces the people keeping the culture alive through the arts. They could have picked no one better to put this book together than Pam. When she’s not busy flying all over the world making it better and being a kick-ass academic, she’s busy being an artist and musician. As someone who has devoted her life to her native heritage, I suspect Pam will be a Cherokee National Treasure before long herself. One thing is certain: she’s a treasure to everyone who knows her, and I am deeply honored to call her my friend. I’m sure Lance is beaming right now.
“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
I came home to a box in my mail. I opened it to find this book, coffee mug, and the sweetest handwritten letter from Ellen Fagala. She read my post last week about my love of Kenya, Out of Africa, and Peter Beard. It seems I’m not alone in those loves. I recognized the book cover. I’d just seen it online last night, and like Peter Beard’s work on the Fleetwood Mac album, at first I didn’t make the connection with Beryl Markham, the subject of the book. But when I held the book in my hands today I realized on a shelf nearby sat ‘West With The Night‘ by Beryl Markham, one of the first female aviators and the third person in the love triangle of Karen Blixen (Isek Dinesen) and Denys Finch Hatton in Out of Africa. Ellen’s timing was eyebrow raising, and the book selection outstanding. Oh, but the best part was the coffee mug. You see, Ellen has been learning the art of ceramics as a way to work herself out of her grief over losing her Danny Boy last year to a heart attack. She made this cup just for me. I’m deeply honored. It’s the perfect Kopana color. The last two weeks have been a little trying for me on almost every level of my existence (growth will do that, so I don’t see it as a bad thing). This gift lifted my spirits at the right time. Even though we’ve always lived far apart, I’ve felt a kinship with Ellen since day one. Thank you, Ellen, for perfect timing, and your gracious, giving soul. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking hot tea in my new mug and curling up with a good book.