Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Remembering Leah

Yesterday was a very bad day for me. An early morning phone call from my mother conveyed the news that a horse we knew and loved had escaped from her paddock, along with two other horses, been struck by a car and killed. One of the horses survived, but Leah and a young horse did not.

We knew Leah because she belonged to our friends and former barn managers. They moved to California last year and because of Leah's advanced age were not able to take her with them. Transporting horses from one coast to the other is not an easy feat and it produces a lot of stress on the animals. Even the youngest and healthiest of horses come off the trailer at the end of their journey exhausted. As much as our friends loved Leah they knew transporting her clear across the country was not an option. For her sake they worked to find her another home. And they did. A nice back yard barn where she would be loved, cared for and well taken care of.

Leah was happy in her new home. The new owners ended up getting two more horses to keep her company, she had other animals such as goats and llamas to boss around and she was well loved.

We'll never know what caused the three horses to break through their fencing and run into the road. It was early morning, the sun hadn't risen yet and horses don't typically run off in the dark. They are flight animals however and when threatened in some manner their instinct is to run. Which they did with tragic results.

Our hearts are broken. I spent all day yesterday sobbing off and on and had a pain in my heart. The worst part, for me, was that I knew no one had called California to let Leah's human family know what had happened so I made the call. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but I would not let them find out by word of mouth or by seeing it discussed on one of the equestrian forums.

Leah was a beautiful, sweet mare who brought a lot of joy into all of our lives. She will be sorely missed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Found Art

I love creating art from found objects. Using objects one finds in the street, the woods or in junk yards presents an interesting challenge and also serves as a way to recycle items that would otherwise clutter up our earth.

The Cactus Gallery in L.A. is currently hosting an exhibit entitled "Found" that features art made from found objects. I wish I could attend the exhibit because I am sure it will not only be interesting but inspiring as well. Alas, a trip to L.A. is not in my immediate future though so I guess I'll have to make do with
reading about the exhibit and perhaps begining work on a creation of my own Found art. It's a beautiful spring day so getting outside to canvas the area for found objects is a good idea. I think I'll go put on my walking shoes, grab a large basket and go wandering. Who knows what I might find.....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A BIG question: Is This Art?

Is This Art? It's obviously a photograph, but does it qualify as art? What If I were to say that it was taken by Ansel Adams, would that make it art? Who decides what constitutes art and what doesn't? Is there some grand committee that sits around making up the rules of what is and what is not art? And if so, who appointed them? I know I didn't. Nor probably did you.

So why do some people have preconceived notions about what is acceptable in terms of art? For some, it isn't considered art unless it's hanging in a gallery or museum. For others, it isn't art unless it's one of the "fine arts" like painting or sculpting. So how did Ansel Adams' photographs become known as art? Who decided to let his photos into the "art category" and more importantly, why? I love Ansel Adams' work but want to know what it was about them that made the museum curators, gallery owners and art-snobs decide it was worthy of being called art.

In recent years there was a group of people protesting a Rockwell exhibit being held in a New York museum. To this particular group Rockwell was not an artist, but a lowly illustrator. But so was Maxfield Parrish and Alphonse Mucha yet they had no problem considering both of those men as artists. Why? where's the difference? To me all three are obviously artists. They create, they're artists. It's that simple. So why did an entire group of people get their knickers in a twist because Rockwell was being celebrated with a museum exhibition when the same group would've flocked to see Mucha or Parrish? I don't get it.

By the way, the photograph? It's not an Adams. It's one of mine taken on a trip to the Southwest and altered on the computer to be black and white. Knowing that, I ask you again: Is this art?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Serious Addiction.....

I have a serious addiction. Those who know me well will be well aware of what an addict I am. I crave & I covet. I compulsively give in to my addiction. It rules my life. Consumes hours, weeks, months. Is it drugs? Alcohol? No. It's books. Yes, books. I love books. Hundreds of them line my shelves. Perhaps even thousands. Many of them have been read, but the majority are TBR (to be read). Cozy mysteries are a favorite, but historical fiction holds a large place is my heart as well. So do art books, reference books, herbals, gardening books and illustrated vintage children's books. I cannot get enough. Seven bookcases filled to overflowing, a huge under the bed box and a large box in my closet. All filled. All offering a symphony of color, texture, scent and adventure within other worlds.

For the past year I've been cataloging my books via LibraryThing The ability to tag books by genre, time period, series or whatever else you feel like tagging by is awesome. but the best part for me is being able to comment on the location of each individual book. No more hunting through multiple bookcases & boxes for a certain book. Now I just look on Library-Thing and because of my diligence in tagging I can tell at a glance exactly where a book is in relation to my multiple bookcases. Knowing that a certain book is on the top shelf, bookcase 1 or middle shelf, bookcase 2 allows me to lay my hands on a particular tome instantly. Oh joy! How did I ever live without Library-Thing?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

10 Days Passed

It's been more than 10 days since I've been able to post anything here. In that time period much has happened. Easter morning we had a death in our extended family. My niece's husband's grandfather, who was 90, passed away. Very quietly at home in his bed. My niece's husband is stationed in Iraq and had recently been home on leave so we were unsure if they would allow him to come home for the funeral services. It took a bit of arguing on his part, but the military finally relented and allowed him to come. Once the decision was made they put him on the fast track and had him back on American soil within 24 hours. Although the reason for his coming home is a sad one I have to feel relieved that this gives him 10 more days where he is not in Iraq. Especially this past week where so much turmoil and violence has been going on. When you have a loved one deployed to a volatile area you learn to count your blessings in any way you can.

I've been undergoing a severe amount of pain the past week and a half. I threw my back out, doing something very simple and that, for a person who doesn't have back issues, should of been harmless. But, for me who has had multiple, serious back injuries it proved to be not simple at all, but the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I've been to my chiropractor's four times in the past 8 days and have two more appointments scheduled for this week. However, the pain is not lessening and I am showing all the signs of a herniated disk in my lower back. So an MRI is in in my future and who knows what else after that. It all depends upon what the MRI reveals. I for one hope that it reveals nothing more than severe muscle strain or pinched nerves because the idea of a herniated disk and what measures are needed to fix it are not pleasant.

My art has taken a back seat during this time, but I have been busy doing research on vintage clothing and the best place to sell off some of my collection providing my family with a much needed infusion of ready cash. I have two appointments set up for doing just that. The better of the two is in Cambridge, MA at a shop that pays outright for items they want. The other, in Worcester, MA is a consignment shop that specializes in vintage. The problem with consignment is the waiting for items to sell and the shop taking 60% of all sales. It makes it a bit more difficult to make serious money when more than half of it never makes it to your pocket.

I have managed to get some painting done on a pair of jeans and on a leather purse. All the painting has been done with my handy bed tray and my basket of fabric paints while I sit up in bed. Not the best way to work, but it keeps me in bed resting and helps my hands and mind stay busy.

Life is a funny thing. You never know what it will throw at you or when. Some people, when faced with adversity or challenging times focus on the negative and let the events suppress them. Others, like me, tend to look at each challenge as an opportunity to find the hidden blessings or reinvent the way things are done. Like the Pop's death. Instead of looking at it as a totally sad occasion I choose to look at it as a way of getting Andy out of Iraq for a while. Even if that time is short and has an element of sadness surrounding it. My back being thrown out is a chance for me to make phone calls, explore places to sell my vintage items and get a bit of art done.

I have an i-pod loaded up with music, a fresh cup of vanilla tea, my basket of paints and plenty of imagination. These are the things that will get me through these trying times. That and my wonderful, supportive family who picks up the slack and offers support during times of trouble and need.

Look around you and count your blessings. See the gifts every situation has to offer, even if those gifts are not easily discerned. Even the most difficult situations offer us some form of blessing. Some small gift to help us expand and grow. You just need to know how to look. See the glass as half full. See the blessing in each day, in each moment. It's either that or let life get you down. Let yourself be a victim of circumstance. For me the choice is easy. I'm going for the blessings for when you do they expand, grow, flourish and create abundance in every area of your life.

Goddess Bless.