“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.
“Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba
I went to a discussion at the Lexington Public Library between artists and organizers of the The Way of Sorrows: Stations of The Cross for the 21st Century. It’s a public art installation that follows the Stations of the Cross created by a variety of Lexington artists. Some of the artists didn’t grow up in a Christian denomination with Stations of the Cross, so they didn’t know what it was until they were asked to participate. That they embraced something so deep with which they were unfamiliar I thought inspiring. For readers who, like me, also did not grow up observing Stations of the Cross, it’s essentially a “mini pilgrimage,” as one Catholic called it, in which each station (fourteen in all) represents an event along Jesus’ walk to the cross. The Stations are observed throughout the Lenten season.
Each artist made a piece of artwork for a single station. Our shero, Lori-Lyn Hurley, created the 12th Station “Jesus Speaks to his Mother and the Disciple”. It’s affixed to the fence beside the colorful The Hive salon on Deweese Street (above). As you can see, many of the stations are small and unassuming in their surroundings. I especially loved Lori-Lyn’s piece, not just because of what it represents, but because she worked in design elements from The Hive like the honeycomb shape. With all this work being out in the open my first thought was vandalism. Artist Shawn Gannon loved the idea that the work might sprout legs and find a new home. Apparently, he makes work all the time and leaves it for someone to take. Lori-Lyn’s observation was about the weather and how that would change the look and feel of the work (not necessarily a bad thing). Several of the artists used the word “difficult” to describe the project’s subject matter. In my experience it is very difficult to make art of a spiritual nature, and here we see work that’s not only spiritual but also religious. Rev. Mark Davis from First Presbyterian perhaps said it best when he said, and I’m paraphrasing of course, that religion is a set of prescribed rituals we follow as a community (like Stations of the Cross), where being spiritual is an individual choice.
The Stations are placed throughout downtown Lexington and the project has an audio component to stream or download to a mobile device. You can also borrow an mp3 player from LPL, and I believe they, along with the website, can provide a map of the stations and other useful information about the work. The project is only up March 21-26 in observance of Holy Week. It will take about an hour and a half to walk the whole route, so wear good shoes. You can also go with a group if you prefer. Check the website for dates and times for those. I’m hoping to see all the stations this week, and if you go, I hope you enjoy the experience. (L-R: poet Bianca Spriggs, Rev. Brian Cole of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, painter Lori-Lyn Hurley, photographer Steve Pavey, LexArts’ Nan Golden, artist Shawn Gannon, artist Diane Kahlo, poet Alexis Meza, artist Lucy Becker, Rev. Mark Davis of 1st Pres., singer/songwriter/poet Donald Mason, artist Candace Chaney and Becky Alley. Several other artists and organizers were unable to attend the discussion.)
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” ~ Woodrow Wilson
I’ve spent my day piecing together footage, images, and audio from last week’s gathering with Lori-Lyn Hurley while bouncing back and forth to more March Madness basketball. I’ve learned a lot today about doing two camera shoots and audio from a third source doesn’t match one camera. I’m still not sure if that’s due to echo or a difference in film speed versus audio speed (somebody smarter than me knows, I’m sure). It’s all very strange, but I don’t think I’ve ever learned anything worth learning that was easy. In the end, I think we’ll have something presentable. Hopefully there will be some funny bits, too. Gotta keep it light I always say. Otherwise, people just get bored (usually me). I chalk this up to a good day.
“All complaints about life today will be ignored
unless they are submitted in the format of elegant haiku poetry.”
~ Dr. SunWolf
Lori-Lyn Hurley is one of the most eloquent speakers I know. From lunch conversation to contemplative dialogue, she is thoughtful and succinct in everything she says. We’ll add that to her laundry list of talents. I had the honor of being in a discussion with her today at ArtsPlace about art as prayer. It was part of LexArts’ Arts Weekend. At the time we signed up we didn’t realize the city’s plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (the parade started the same time we did), or that Comic Con was in the convention center, or that Disney On Ice was at Rupp Arena. And there was a lot going on inside ArtsPlace, too. The Chamber Choir was in just before us. We could hear children singing on another floor. Some of the most elegant Latina dancers stomping to Mariachi music helped end our day. It was a fun, festive atmosphere in downtown Lexington. There was one unusual thing that happened though. There was a man, another artist from the looks of it, going about his business as if we weren’t there. Through our entire conversation he continued to set up his artwork and lights and projectors and God knows what else. I’m still scratching my head over it. (I should write that as a haiku I suppose) While I was completely distracted by the man-with-no-name Lori-Lyn remained poised, as if we were the only people in existence. Yet another talent I wish I had. I’d start talking, see the man-with-no-name drag in something else, and suddenly fifteen minutes had passed. Lori-Lyn was awfully sweet to let me yammer on. But she did speak, and that’s what I wanted out of this deal. I wanted people to hear her talk about her work and be inspired like I had been inspired when she gave a similar talk in Ewing back in the fall. I have never been with her that I didn’t learn something or become inspired or feel as if I was in the presence of someone with more passion in her pinky than a whole town of people put together. I hope our small audience was able to overlook the interloper because, if they were, then hearing Lori-Lyn speak was worth every roadblock they surely went through to get there. It was a fantastic day made all the more memorable by the man-with-no-name and the wonderful friends, old and new, who came out to support art.
“One of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy
without the things we cannot or should not have.” ~ Richard L. Evans
It started with a completely out-of-this-world foggy/frosty morning drive to the little hamlet of Ewing, Kentucky. There, at a small gallery called Soul Mates, Stacy Yelton and I attended an extraordinary artist discussion by Lori-Lyn Hurley (above with her soul mate, the equally awesome and talented Tracy Hawkins).
Lori-Lyn is able to talk about art and her journey with it, and through it, with such eloquence. The story of how she broke open her creative shell; I’ve never had a story speak to me the way Lori-Lyn’s story spoke to me. The reclamation of her creative self was eerily similar to my own. She said so many valuable things about the connection between art and spirituality. The one that stood out to me, (I’m paraphrasing here) is that we are made in the Creators image, and as such, we are each Creators. We are bound to create whether through painting, photography, words, cooking, what have you. The mere act of creating brings us closer to our truth. Lori-Lyn was incredibly open, vulnerable really, about how she has come to focus her vision on the sacred feminine, and how it has transformed her life in all manner of ways. I just find her inspired and inspiring. I can’t say enough about how much I love her as a person, and how I value her work. She, and it, are important in this world. Tracy was so right when he said (again with the paraphrase) that this morning’s drive in the fog was the perfect metaphor for art: you’re driving through fog looking for your place, your meaning, and then – boom – there it is.
It was an extraordinary morning filled with good friends, new friends, glorious art, and the sharing of a delicious homemade meal by the incredible Amy Maupin. And that drive through the frosty fog? Heaven on Earth. I couldn’t ask for more.
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
~ James Allen
I had a guest register available at the reception. I didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I went to bed Friday night. I attended All Saints Day service this morning and picked it up afterward. Sixty people attended Friday’s reception. Sixty people took time out of their lives to come see my work. Some I’d never met before Friday. Some sneaked in and out without my seeing them though they were kind enough to leave their signature. Some drove nearly two hours to be there. Some took off work. Some were recovering from major surgery. Some couldn’t stay long, and others stayed the whole time. Someone pointed out how many segments of my life were assembled in that room: family, close friends, old friends, new friends, co-workers, writers, actors, artists, musicians, librarians, bankers, software developers, railroad men, professors, social workers, therapists, pathologists, nutritionists, the list goes on. They’re not all represented in this collage, but I couldn’t think of a better way to have a group hug in the outhouse. Sixty people. I may be speechless for a week I’m so overcome with gratitude.
“Remember that your natural state is joy.” ~ Wayne Dyer
I met Annie Bassoni at the Woodland Art Fair today. I had so much fun, and ran into so many people I love. It really did my heart good to hug all their necks. My favorite photo of the day, however, has got to be this little girl asking Bangaly Savané for ice cream. Or maybe she was just staring because he’s a totally beautiful human being inside and out.
I was crossing the street to meet Annie when I very nearly ran into Lori-Lyn Hurley, one of my all-time favorite people ever. She is such a light to the world, and just a joy to be around. She walked with us to Elaine Heis’ booth by the Christian Church where they met for the first time. Annie wanted to take our picture, and well, we had a good time with it (below). I love these women so much even though it’s obvious it’s time for me to drop some weight. I don’t care. I love the pictures anyway. Thank you, Annie, for taking the camera away from me and letting me be with my peeps.
The next people I ran into was Bangaly and Mamadou Savané. They had the brilliant idea of an ice cream booth at the fair. Sav’s Chill serves homemade gourmet ice cream, and what better for a hot summer afternoon than Bourbon Chocolate ice cream from these two sweet men? Not much, except talking to them, too. I’m so proud of them.
And then there was all the other favorite people I saw and hugged (apologizes to Deirdre Scaggs for not having the good sense to whip out the camera to photograph her with the awesome door wreath she’d just bought). I spotted Elaine’s daughter, Crystal, from a ways off. Mr. Boyfriend, aka Ken Trainor, saw me but played along. The surprise shot wasn’t worth posting, but their shot together was cute. And surprise, there stood Marlon Hurst. More hugs, and what a sweet, happy smile he gave me. I was honored to meet his girlfriend, Cathy, too.
There were three exhibitors I intended to see at the fair. The last to be found was David and Rebecca Campbell. We always joke about my stealth photo ways. I manage to catch them unaware, the results of which are not always their best looks. They’ve become pretty attuned to my sneaky ways as a result, but I caught them anyway (above). And I thought I was going to have to resort to a telephoto lens – guess not!
Finally, we found Deb Chenault at her booth, Twelfth House Designs. Like Annie before her, Crystal grabbed my camera and popped a shot of me with my peeps. Annie did not want to be in the picture, as you can plainly see, but she was very quick to show her disapproval of kale. I can’t say I blame her. I can’t acquire a taste for it myself. It was a great day. I loved seeing so many of my favorite people. I’ve included many photos in today’s post because I started my day having coffee over the phone with Angie Bliss Fanning. She wanted to see the festival. I wish she’d been here to go with us, so I hope the photos help bring her a little closer to The Bluegrass for a while.
“Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
~ Mother Teresa
While working on Lori-Lyn’s sacred spaces I came across this image. I think it might be my favorite so far. It speaks of peace, faith, tranquility, goodness and harmony; things important in our daily lives to ensure happiness and everlasting peace.
Outside, Lori-Lyn has a Mary Garden. Recently, her nieces, whom she keeps during the summer months, created a painting. When she asked them where they’d like to put it, they placed it in the Mary Garden. Not only is it a beautiful painting, but it’s perfect for the Mary Garden. It’s refreshing to see such love and joy spring from two young people.
“Ever since happiness heard your name,
it has been running through the streets trying to find you.”
One of the sweetest souls I’ve ever met is Lori-Lyn Hurley. She’s an artist and writer, a Reiki practitioner, and seeker of God in everything she does and everyone she meets. She allowed me to photograph the various sacred spaces around her home and garden this evening. Words really fail to describe the wondrous energy that surrounds Lori-Lyn. There’s little surprise to find the same is true for the home she shares with two pugs, Woody and Rocky, and Tracy Hawkins whom you may remember as one of my sweetest friends in all the world (October 27, 2012 and March 14, 2013).
Besides her kindness, perhaps the thing I appreciate most about Lori-Lyn is her religious variety. Her spaces combine the various belief systems she has explored. Buddha sits near the Virgin Mary. And with a bowl of crystals at her feet, a stack of rosaries and spirit cards lay nearby. There’s even a fairy alter in the kitchen. All of this swirls together and creates a palpable positive experience. The openness is engaging; intriguing. I could spend hours talking to Lori-Lyn or just looking at the beauty she creates around her. She is a true blessing to many people, and I’m so thankful to be one of them.
Today has been interesting indeed. It started with another great post from Lori-Lyn; “The first two, or six, or ten people you see every day are yours to love. When you gaze at them, gaze with love. Open at your heart and send waves of compassion to envelope them.” But the Daily Buddha’s quote really spoke to me and, as it happened, the photos I took today are centered around where I am right now – the University of Kentucky.
The photos aren’t indicative of how heavy where I am right now really is. That’s intentional and a good thing. I am in the process of figuring out where I want to be. Every day gets me a little closer to that answer. Starting my days with videos like this sets the stage for a day of laughter, and that’s the best medicine possible! It’s short and totally worth a watch (WARNING – there’s a dirty word at the end so, if you’re easily offended, you might want to avoid this bit of humor).