Barkley’s Mom and my Mom spent the evening painting their favorite boys!
Bright acrylic paints that Auntie Jane went crazy with!
Too fun! These paints are forgiving and even Mom felt comfortable using them.
She picked this picture of me experiencing my first snow storm. Yikes what a day that was!
I love snow now!
My friend Jared occasionally surprises me with a small painting. This one I received as a Mother’s Day card. I believe he used acrylic paint. My iPhone photo does not do it justice.
Daydreaming with Jared’s art work is one of my favorite pastimes. Here is my story:
I was 6 years old the first time I visited the cottage. My brother was 3.
The road dead ended at the bridge to the cottage. Dad, mom and sis had to carry all our stuff over the bridge and up a winding path. I was given the responsibility of making sure Sammy didn’t fall into the stream.
We were real city kids, used to the sound of traffic and lots of people. The small stream that flowed under the bridge sounded like a huge river in that quiet place.
True dare devils Sammy and I would hang over the edge of the bridge, challenging ourselves to not fall as we dropped wild flowers into that raging torrent to appease imaginary ghosts. The ghosts would be lured away from the cottage, following the flowers down the stream until they reached the ocean where they could not find their way back.
The theft of the rattle was disturbing. The only item stolen from the studio. Trying to distract herself from this mystery Mary Lou did some research on rattles.
Discovered at archaeological sites throughout the world there was plenty to learn.
Music, healing rituals, spiritual journeys, the supernatural, and simply a child’s toy.
Ceremonial, sacred, magical, powerful, and simply soothing.
Her dreams included the peaceful vibrations of the different rattles she had studied and now created in her dreams. Wooden rattles carved with love, gourds painted and decorated with leather and feathers, and the clay rattles of all shapes and engravings. Rattles filled with rocks, seeds, grains, shells and clay pellets. A sighing haaaa as her breath entered each rattle before it was sealed.
This tube rattle had crossed over from her dream world. Almost alive it seemed to ache to be put to work. Most rattles had a noble job. She wondered at its purpose.
A little sushi, ginger pickled beets and some sake. That would set her straight.
After feeding her growling stomach, she felt the migraine melt away until it was just a regular pounding blinding headache. A second cup of sake and the headache diminished to a roar, she was at least able to think.
This was not the first time Mary Lou had lost time working with clay. But even then, with time flying by, she was aware while working on a project. The total loss of time and memory had only happened once before and was also followed by the intense migraine.
That project was again something she created from a dream. At first she was unable to figure out what it was. A square piece of pottery and the small pile of clay balls wrapped twice in delicate tissue paper.
She was compelled that first time to blow gently into the square, her breath making a soft “haaaaaa” sound. Nine clay balls had been dropped into the square and with a second whispered “haaaaaa” she sealed the square. As she made several small holes to the bottom of the square it was then she realized what she had created.
A rattle. But why?
The impressions she made on that square rattle were done with a hard rubber stamp. A stamp she had never seen before and none of the other potters in the studio had either.
When it came time to glaze the piece she was drawn to cooling and calming colors, shades of blue and green.
The piece had disappeared one night from the studio. No other art had ever been taken before or since but May Lou was too relieved to have it gone to make an issue of the disappearance.
It was what she has learned since that has made her creation of the new rattle comforting rather than alarming.
She smiled again, a bonus was that she could now put off making that teapot for Dennis. This tube rattle had a sense of urgency that couldn’t be ignored.
I am still writing to to my friend in prison. He is teaching me a lot about appreciating life, letting go of things I cannot change, and not forgetting things I am blessed with.
In his own words he is afraid of forgetting things we take for granted each and every day such as the taste of certain foods, smells, and relationships. He has no choice of foods. He misses the smell of a forest. His incarceration has been hard on his relationships.
He is afraid of losing what is the core of his essence, his tenderness, empathy and kindness.
I continue to write to him, mostly about every day things, attempting to make him a part of my life.
I would not have been brave enough to start sketching if I didn’t know him. He is the most talented artist I know and so I sometimes send him my sketches. He graciously compliments my efforts and tells me to keep working on my art.
The thing I think he is worried most is his relationships, especially will we be here for him when he is released?
Mary Lou loved working with clay. She fully intended to start on that teapot Dennis was begging for. Alone in the usually busy studio she sang out loud and reached for the lump of clay.
Her stomach was growling and her hands were screaming. She was exhausted and one of those bullying migraines was dancing around, trying to find its way into her head and threatening to take over her life.
She looked down at the piece she had created and realized that several hours had passed. The migraine, her empty stomach and her hands were forgotten.
This was not a teapot, she had made a tube of some kind. It was something she recognized from the edge of her memory, from her dreams. The wood block she had used to make impressions on the tube was not something she recognized. She had seen similar blocks used by fabric artists, lovingly hand carved and used to create amazing designs.
A small pile of clay balls was piled next to the tube. Each ball was wrapped twice in some delicate tissue paper. So that was what she had made!
One end of the tube was already sealed. Her breath entered the tube with a soft “haaaaaa”. Counting as she dropped each ball into the open end, nine, her lucky number.
With another whispered “haaaaaa” she sealed the tube with a disc of clay. Several small holes were added to each end to allow moisture to escape the tube as it baked in the kiln. The tube joined other pieces waiting to be bisque fired, looking ordinary in their company.
Cleaning up her space her thoughts were interrupted by her stomach. She would figure this all out after some sushi and a nap.
May Lou laughed to herself when she realized that Dennis wasn’t getting that teapot anytime soon.
This wonderful example of Chigiri-e art was displayed at a recent Hina Matsuri festival and is amazing.
Created from pieces of handmade paper. The paper is so delicate, even more delicate than tissue paper.
The artist is extremely talented and practices many different forms of Japanese art.
I have been enjoying her art displays at the festival for years and did not realize she was the artist for all the different forms of art she practices.
Her soul is even more amazing than her art and both she and her art are true inspirations.
Renjishi, the Kabuki dance of the shishi father and son (mythical lion-like animal).
As with many cultures regarding lions the myth of the shishi is that this animal is the king of beasts. Note the peonies on his costume. The shishi is also king of flowers!
The father shishi has white hair. This doll with its red hair represents the lion cub.
The shishi cub must be trained and it is the father’s duty to train the cub to be fearless. The shishi father must test his cub to see if he has trained him to be a strong and brave shishi. The father kicks his cub over the edge of a cliff and the cub showing extreme strength and courage triumphantly climbs its way to safety.
Perhaps other cubs before it were not able to make it to the top and thus the father’s anxiety waiting for his cub to appear.
What a wonderful experience to watch a story unfold, even knowing the outcome you are still rooting for that shishi cub!