Monday, September 30, 2013

a brush with life

Canvas, tubes of rich color, brushes made in France. Supplies are stocked and the sun porch has been transformed into an erstwhile art studio. Nary a thing has been painted to fruition yet - and there's the whole issue of talent - but it just feels so full-of-possibility good to have this creative corner set up. And waiting there just for me. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Grounded. It's such a desired state of being, but can be so elusive. Trees have a lot to teach us about this. As does Rumi, who says the human being resembles a tree; it's root is a covenant with God and that root must be cherished with all one's might.
(Cypresses, Vincent van Gogh, 1889)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

bringing happy back

Remember the double happiness jar? Somewhere I still have one in the attic, blue and white porcelain decorated with the Chinese symbol for bliss and joy. Mine was from the homegoods store and not the Ming Dynasty, but it did have a way of cheering up a room and I am going to dig it out. Maybe even buy a few yards of this adorable fabric, too, and find a way to use it. I'm certainly no decorator, just someone who cherishes interiors of another kind. And I believe you can never have too much happiness at home.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

still learning

He was the prototype Renaissance Man, called Il Divino (the divine one) because of his transcendent masterpieces ranging from the Sistine Chapel ceiling to David to the Pieta. But not only was Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) a painter, sculptor and an architect, I recently discovered that he was a poet, too. He is actually the author of several hundred poems, many of which were later translated from the Italian by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. How wondrous and inspiring that any one  human could do so much. "Ancora imparo," Michelangelo said near the end of his life. Still learning.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

still life

A work of art depicting an arrangement of commonplace items is called a still life. The artist may have simply wanted to draw the particular objects, and put them together just so, or they might have symbolic significance. Maybe both. Other compositions are purely 'caught moments' captured on canvas or paper. View the world with an artist's eye and you'll notice such visual vignettes all around, probably a perfectly perfect one on your Monday morning kitchen counter: coffee cup, sugar bowl, tangerine. Be still, the picture says, this is life.
(Henri Matisse, Still Life with Seashell, 1940)

Friday, September 13, 2013

autumn prelude

There is a great little store in Charlotte called the Savory Spice Shop. I went there yesterday to find mustard seeds for a photo shoot and found this adorable sign outside the front door. I don't need much encouragement to savor fall. The calendar says it's still a week away, but a slight dip in temperature (which the weather forecast promises), a high school football game, a good apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon and I'm there. Wherever you are, I hope you're getting your autumn on, too. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

joy for sale

There was a sale on joy last weekend. I bought all they had. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday motivation

I'm so thankful that Leonardo da Vinci happened to our world and that he gave us, along with the Renaissance, this great little thought that provides Monday morning motivation. And to the very talented photographer and calligrapher Kelly Cummings whose work I so enjoy and who finds the perfect words and makes them into art. Here's to a wonderful week. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

in a garden

When you contemplate God, who or what appears in your mind's eye? I have a recurring image of walking into an old monastery garden, down a gravel path, to where a figure waits for me on ancient stone bench. I don't see a face, just experience a presence of amazing love, complete peace. I sit down and God clasps both of my hands, saying softly, joyfully, "Tell me everything."
(Cloister at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

All in

September is roll call. Are you present, it asks? And are you all in? Primed to learn, make a friend, sign up, join in, change the world? This is the month for setting intentions and goals and alarm clocks, for chalkboard salutations and reading lists. September strolls purposefully across an ivy-covered campus, coffee in hand, basking in the nearly imperceptible change in the air that whispers autumn. September spends hours in the library, loves to linger in a bookstore and never lets a week go by without writing a letter home. It's a train whistle in the distance, geese overhead, a football huddle, apple cake in the oven. Who wouldn't aim for perfect attendance? September is for savoring.