Archive | May 2013

Big Thought

There is art all around us. All you need do is look. Just now, I found this perfect work by John Tompkins. I do not know him, yet, but you can bet I will soon! What he says in this post is compelling, for even the most broken soul, and for all of us that still have hope, it is real, honest and refreshing! So many times in my life, people have said I over-analyze things, think too much… worry… Now I feel special, as reading this gives me better understanding of my ways… Thinking is a Good Thing! I hope you enjoy this beautiful masterpiece of writing, the perfect words for our mixed up world in 2013! Thank you John Tompkins!

sublime life

I firmly believe that most all human problems are attributed to one flaw: our unwillingness to think when it’s inconvenient. We all have the capacity to think. It’s just that it takes effort most of the time and it seems like a task to think beyond what we experience.

Investment failures, prejudicial bias, political partisanship, relationship problems, they can all be traced back to a refusal to review, to think.

Not thinking makes life easy. We don’t have to see others’ points of view or try to comprehend something unpleasant. Life is simple when we can take something that we don’t want to deal with and put it in a closet and shut the door.

Being a black-and-white thinker is effortless. Despite all of our attempts to make our mind a canvas with one dimension, it goes against nature. The world is like a gem, with facets all around that…

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Horses Seen Through My Eyes…Agatha Kacprzak

Sometimes, when you meet a person, and that person is an artist, you may, or may not have a connection with their work. You might very well love the person, as for their art, it might be a subjective thing. But in the case of Agatha Kacprzak, I immediately identified with what I saw in her artwork.

After you read her story here, you will understand why. As a child myself, my great-uncle would keep shetland ponies that my brother and I could ride. I also remember a picture of a painted pony with my mother and her older brother when they were just kids, so I know my grandfather enjoyed horses as well.

When my father married my mother, they moved to the “city.” Which meant subdivisions with back yards, and no place for ponies or horses. Even so, my dad would take me to the “Trades Day” in Canton, Texas, and we would always go to the livestock section. I remember this one little filly, a Palomino, for $200. I begged and begged, but it was not to be.

I do not know why I love horses, and always have. It is a deep abiding love and passion, and it has no comparison. When you love horses, you love everything about them, without question, from their smell, the smell of hay, to their beautiful, watery eyes. I always say, if we can ask for anything in heaven, all I want is a good horse and plenty of green grass. That would be my heaven. So it is with great love and excitement that I bring to you a most beautiful woman, and her story… as Horses seen through “her” eyes.

Agatha Kacprzak was born in Poland in 1979. Her family left because of Communism and they immigrated to Germany, and then later to Canada in 1991. Agatha now lives in the lovely Laurentian region of Quebec. This Laurentian region near the Riviere Rouge is a wild and wonderful place, rustic and rough, beautiful in the way of big rivers and old growth forests of the northern Canadian wilderness…

As a little girl, Agatha doodled horses on school books, restaurant napkins and anything she could find. Her parents could not afford riding lessons, let alone to buy a horse, so she started a collection of magazines and books to fulfill her passion and hobby. In Germany, her family was lucky to live in a rural town where she watched the neighbor’s horses graze for hours, and she imagined herself riding them when she would close her eyes. It wasn’t until 2010, after seeing one of her little childhood sketches framed at her grandmother’s home, that she decided to pick up her pencil once again.

Then she stumbled upon a horrific story of a little girl losing her beloved horse in a farm vehicle accident. As a mother and horse lover, she was immediately touched, and felt the need to express her sadness and compassion for the grieving family. She drew a portrait of the little girl on her horse, and offered it to the family. They were very thankful and grateful, and from there her pleasure for drawing began to grow.

Next she contacted a local horse refuge named Le Refuge de Galahad near her home in Quebec. She asked them if she could offer free portraits to anyone donating to the refuge. And to this day, she still contributes to Le Refuge de Galahad with every sketch that she sells. When you see Agatha’s art, it is so very clear to see her love of horses, whether the most magnificent Arabian, or the wounded and scarred farm horse caught in a barn fire. This passion and emotion is so beautifully captured in her sketches along with the feelings that horses give to their human companions. What Agatha Kacprzak sees through her own eyes, are the noble and gentle creatures who enchant us with their beauty and grace. Today, Agatha is very blessed as she shares her life with such a horse, her beautiful Coconut. Agatha has never taken formal art classes, but has been very fortunate to receive advice and mentoring from wonderful artists such as Robert Zirillo, Jess Morin and Sharon Linn.

So it is with great pleasure that I give you the beautiful and inspiring work of Agatha Kacprzak, and the horse, as seen through her eyes… She hopes in the future to experiment with different mediums, such as charcoal and pastels… but in my mind, she is an artist complete… I hope if you also love the horse, you will investigate what she does, and what many of the women of the Laurentian Region of Quebec do for the horses they love. And even if you only love the horse from afar… I know you will enjoy the amazing sketches of Agatha Kacprzak!

She finally has her horse! "Coconut"

She finally has her horse!
“Coconut”

Ms. Kacprzak presenting at one of the benefits for the Horse Refuge in Quebec

Ms. Kacprzak presenting at one of the benefits for the Horse Refuge in Quebec

A mare and her foal, by Agatha Kacprzak

A mare and her foal, by Agatha Kacprzak

She loves all horses, and you can feel it in her work!

She loves all horses, and you can feel it in her work!

Horses As Seen Through My Eyes... Agatha Kacprzak

Horses Seen Through My Eyes…
Agatha Kacprzak

Agatha Kacprzak and Coconut

Agatha Kacprzak
and Coconut

a letter from your dance teacher

Setting The Barre

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Last night I stumbled upon this article from Huffington Post, and found it so intriguing I knew I had to share it with all of you.  The piece is written as a letter to the dance students of 2013 from “Your Dance Teacher”.  Although I have never actually taught, I immediately related to the letter from a student’s point of view, and I’m sure many of you will too.

Ms. Beckford’s letter addresses the many emotional hardships dance students undertake as a result of “harsh” or seemingly unreasonable teaching techniques from their instructors (you’ve all heard of ballet teachers using canes, scarves and brute force to literally whip kids into shape, right?).  However, instead of sympathizing with the discouraged or frustrated student as you might initially imagine, this letter expressly sides with the dance teachers of the world, explaining that they are merely trying to help in the only way…

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After the storm….

Mother Earth is our mother truly… Mother Nature is her sister… they are here to serve us and to teach us… and they will not be ignored….

on this day I find myself very grateful… as many today are struck by losses untold… Oklahoma, we grieve for you…

here is something I wish to offer, as our beautiful Earth has such a temper, yet she is still ours, good and bad… and we must honor and respect her…

here is a little respite from the fray…. please enjoy…. Peace People! We are one! (please notice the faces in the audience as they are so struck by this very intense performance, especially the children!) This is Riverdance performing in Beijing!

This entry was posted on May 21, 2013. 1 Comment

Putting Back Pieces

I used to be a professional pianist. I also played french horn in the symphony. I guess I was pretty good because it was always fun and always easy. I got a few awards and was included in some pretty awesome groups. But one thing that became clear fairly early on, is that in order for a musician or an artist to create in the most pure of forms, a certain degree of stability is required in the life. And when you are young, you are not really in control of anything, in the home or out. Sure you have responsibilities, but things just flow day by day, and if you do not have support and encouragement, or if in the alternative, you are indeed being smothered in unnecessary drama and turmoil, then creating, or playing music is somehow ruined. What comes out is anguish, angst and sad melodies. Brash swipes of the paint brush in dark colors sometimes with shocking images in red.

All my life all I ever dreamed of was having a home, a joyful and happy home, and of course, a couple of horses. So over the span of this lifetime so far, I have collected lots of books, magazines and videos to learn construction, renovation, repairs and of course, as much education by Pat and Linda Parelli as I can possibly take in, for natural horse-man-ship. Actually, right at this time of my life, at 58 years happy this March, my thirteen year long roommate Jim has left the building. As I look around at what is left behind… it is shocking truly. That I could have let things go so far, could have been so blind to the depression and stagnation that was on-going for so very long is so very compelling. We were never married or even close like that, but as friends, I was drawn into his daily drama and as his health began to deteriorate, my life was going down the tubes as well.

I started this blog, “In the Life and Mind of an Artist” because I have nothing but admiration for those gifted people who work so hard to give of themselves to others, to inspire us with their artful creations. And just as I was about to launch into some serious research and writing for three very wonderful and different artists, my life here at home began to unravel. At that time I had begun to pray to my Creator every day and began to see myself as “walking a sacred path.” I was completely clean of any drugs or medications. No sodas, meat, sugar or salt. It was probably the roughest month of my entire life, but it helped me to wake up, look around and see a little harsh reality for a change. As Cesar Millan advocates, I set certain rules, boundaries and limitations, and my old friend Jim was not happy. He did not accept my proposals for evolving, nor could he even face his own issues, and I feel bad to say that clearly he is continuing forward dragging the same old river of denial right along with him, as always.

Back here at home, it is quite shocking. I venture to say that there are very few people indeed that could even imagine the challenges I am facing. Perhaps if you imagine what living in an undeveloped nation might be like, that would give you a clue. I cannot explain why it just ran on and on. I asked for help, I bargained for help, but most of the time I was complacent rather than start any drama. But once I was free of my medication (my blanketed mind), I looked around and went “No way! This is not my beautiful home, and this is not my beautiful life!” hahaha

It is absolutely true what they say. When you clear away debris, whether it is a toxic relationship, a cluttered desk, a back yard that needs mowing, or perhaps a kitchen that requires an update, when you take on these adventures yourself, and you clean up your own mess, you take full responsibility for the condition of things instead of sulking and drowning in depression, and you get up with purpose and joy that you are even alive, all manner of amazing and wonderful new doors just seem to open magically, and you wonder how you could have been so isolated for so long. At least that is my take on things for now…

Life is a give and take process. I have a very cute little picture of a sweet yellow and white cat holding her nose up to a flower and it says “Take only what you need, and leave the rest.” I just love that little picture. It suits my whole philosophy of life perfectly. Today a new friend named Wayne drove over to my farm, and he and I took down all the numbers off the central heat/air unit in my house (not quite a home yet), because I do not want it. It costs far too much to run when the Texas desert heat kicks in, and over six months or more, soon all you can do is barely keep up with the electric bill. I much prefer the old grandma way of using window units in the window of each room. It makes me feel all vintage and cute! Plus my bill is certainly more reasonable.

When I was just a girl, and I would stay with my grandparents in the summer, there was no air conditioning used. In fact, I don’t even remember them having fans. I could be wrong about that part, but I know the day would wear on and the temps inside the dining room were like an inferno. But every evening, rain or shine, my grandmother and grandfather would migrate into their living room, every one would sit down, they would close the beautiful french doors and turn on the only window unit air conditioner. It would get so nice and chilly in there it was divine. They would watch the news, and then at six o’clock, you know it, the bubble man, The Lawrence Welk Show. I know, wow.

Well, back to the present day, I offered my new friend, Wayne, to come and remove this cooling and heating system and for him to sell it, as he is a true horse-trader at heart, although he is from California… hahaha. He came today, we turned it on, checked it out, and he wrote down all the numbers. Now he is going to call his people in the business and find out its worth. He will secure a deal, if anyone can, and all I will have to do now, is sit back and enjoy the show! I have no idea what it is worth, but I know the man who came out and put the system together charged over $800 just to make it work. So I figured it might turn a little coin. I asked my friend for $100 and to get it out for me. When he showed up today, he asked me to come out to his truck and help him bring in some things. This amazing kind-hearted man had brought me bag after sack after box of food supplies, even kitty crunchies and doggie bones. Unbelievable. I was truly sweating the next two weeks. Now I am not. Give and take. Only what you need. It was so cool, because as he was leaving, he asked me please, if there was anything I did not want or need, to please take it and give it to someone who might. Isn’t that just the most wonderful kindest man on Earth? I certainly think so. I have no hardship now. I will be fine, and all my 4-legged crew as well!

Yesterday, I had a bit of a meltdown. Back on my anti-depression medication to stable out, as I am a diagnosed bipolar, and being so “clean” this medicine hit me like a ton of bricks. If I have ever experienced a full blown panic attack, that was on the order of what happened immediately upon waking Monday morning. I immediately sent out the distress signal to my best buddies, my newest friend Wayne was first, and his advice was eat some salty crackers, which of course I did, like some shaking cracker-junkie – hahaha. Wondering what manner of hell this was, I called upon the lovely and always inspiring Donkey Whisperer, Melody Johnson, and just as expected, she came with bells on. Luckily I managed to get through the episode initially with the help of a long phone call with a dear woman who also lives in Washington state, but more closely to the Canadian border, I believe. I had been very rude and nasty to her one day, as I was trying to work for another woman on a court case, and I couldn’t seem to disconnect our chat session. There is no excuse for rudeness, no matter what the situation. And guess what? She was only more than willing to respond to my plea for help and hold my hand until I felt human again. Luckily for me, she forgave me, and I was able to learn a very great lesson in life. This is the second time this woman has surprised and changed me, most unexpectedly, I might add. Live and learn.

So today, Miss Melody has nominated me for a WordPress Family Award. She has asked me to place the award here on my blog. I must say I am very honored. It has brought me back to the very reason I started the blog in the first place. And as I pace myself, putting back the pieces of my life, I can now have the inspiration to come back to the new blog and begin my writing, so I can introduce you to some wonderful and truly amazing artists, from many places and many mediums of expression. This is not so much like my other two previous blogs, that seemed to jump around from the odd piece of prose or story-telling, to the deep and dramatic coming awareness of our changing times. This new blog is going to be light and fresh and telling the story of beautiful people who somehow find the stability and inspiration to create art. In my mind art takes many forms, and is the highest expression of being human. I hope in days to come, you will drop by and I will have something lovely and amazing to show you, as I introduce you to beautiful people who inspire me to keep going, keep creating and keep chasing my bliss. It is our right to be happy. All of us!

mel award

Melody Johnson, The Donkey Whisperer, was the person who nominated me for this award, and I am both humbled and honored. I am going to go forward and publish what I have here so far, but in the hours to come, I am also going to pass on the happiness to some of my favorite bloggers as well, and at that time, I will post their links below. So check back tomorrow, if you want to know the bloggers who inspire me, each and every time I come to WordPress. Peace!