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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Breathing out my world through brushstrokes...

Tuesday - Bye bye March...
"Spring would not be spring without bird songs."
-  Francis M. Chapman

It's the last day of March and I think we're finally done with snow!
Another one of my essays was just published in a wonderful online magazine Everyday Windshield - this writing is about my beautiful detour - check it out HERE!
A beautiful detour indeed...
 There are a few more essays of mine about to be published which I'm very excited for, which I'll let you know about when they come out...

More Art!
I've been painting by my window today!
I am so happy that all of my new pieces are finally getting to see the light of day!  Starting on April 9th, a bunch of my art will be featured at City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport, CT for their art show Forever YOUNG - which is actually a reflection on the good ol' Bob Dylan song.
I mean - I like Bob Dylan, but in my opinion, I think Brandi Carlile does a much better live rendition - which you can hear here:
Listen to Brandi's FOREVER YOUNG here!
On April 9th - Thursday of next week, there will be an opening reception for any of those in the area - both some old favorite and some never-before-seen art of mine will be shown - and it's the day before my birthday - so come if you're around!
Some of my work featured there...
Tree Thoughts - made in hospital
Singing Flower - made last week!
In the Studio...
So I've finally finished that epic 20 x 24 piece I was working on, now that I'm on a four seasons kick - and wait until you see everything else I have in the works....but here's just one at a time!

So, a while ago, I painted a fun background of the four seasons...

Summer on the left, into winter...

Followed by Autumn, and finally to Spring on the right.

I tried to give each background a different texture, complex layering and colors.
I added my usual drippy and paint-like things - I have a lot of random things poured into spray bottles that honestly, I'm even sure what they are anymore! But I love creating abstract backgrounds - I go into a total place of "no thought."
  Then after a bunch of smooshing around, wiping, banging, painting (yes, anything can be art, people!) and just having a bunch of fun, I ended up with this nifty background.
Tall grass for summer, I used spackle plaster for textured snow, a bed of leaves for Autumn, and beautiful rolling hills for Spring. Yay!
 Then, the fun really began, once Brandon took me to Lowe's - my new favorite hangout - to buy a ton of spackle of all different kinds - hard stuff, soft stuff, I don't know - whatever was there!
My DIY kinda guy <3
Or more specifically:
Man, that was hard to open!
 So using my fingers, I had some fun digging both fists into those giant tubs and just throwing globs of plaster onto the canvas.
 When I am painting, I crave the tactile sensations - feeling the plaster, waving around the canvas and banging it, stroking the hairs of my brush on the canvas - it really feels like an artful way of doing yoga.  I can feel the breath come into my body, breathing in the air around me, and breathing out acrylics and color.  Breathing out a world I don't even know I have within me until it evaporates onto my canvas.

So may we all breathe out worlds today.  Breathe in inspiration, and breathe out ourselves.

Maybe that is why I am so excited about my next project - I'll give you a little sneak peek:
oh the wonders at Home Goods!
OH but wait, sorry I didn't finish telling you about my project!  Too excited for my own good.  Anyway...
I started to paint in the trees - painting over the spackle is so fun - getting into every little groove and crevice - the little nooks in the dried plaster really instruct you how and where to paint, very little thought or intent involved!

So now the trunks are finished...
 Now onto the greenery!  I am trying to push myself to paint more and rely less on fabric and doodads, so I wanted to paint the leaves of the trees...
 Comin' along... (I was in the studio from 10am to 2pm today - yikes!)

Okay, now how fun is that???

  I've got all my favorite tree-folks represented, and I really did try to add as little embellishments as possible.
A bee for Summer

A ball of snow for Winter

A changing leaf for Autumn

And a bird for Spring (plus my lil' flower gal)
And I only added two tears today - to the Spring scene.
The flower is catching Spring's tear.
I'm very proud of my work today -and so many more projects I've yet to finish!  I'll keep you updated...

 Guess what's coming up...
PASSOVER!  Yes, more fun Passover prep and fun to be had.
Here are some great and classic Passover recipes.

I lovel Tori Avey's blog, which centers around recipes inspired by our past.
She has a ridiculously cool recipe for Charoset Truffles!  What???
One more blog that I LOVE is Leite's Culinaria by David Leite - who basically writes on all things FOOD - can't complain abotu that, nor his massive compilation of delicious Matzoh Recipes

By the way, I had matzoh brei for breakfast
There are some delicious matzoh brei variations, and I think the next one on my bucket list is Skillet Matzo Brei with Cinnamon, Apple, and Raisins, which I found from Elana Lyn's blog.

Passover is fun too!
Okay, you know Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, right?  Well, have you heard the Passover Rhapsody???
And I absolutely LOVE this - it's a parody for Passover - based on Uptown Funk!!!!

Oh, and the parody to end all parodies - how about for your seder?  You know West Side Story...How about having a West Side Seder?  This is hilarious - there are a ton of Passover Variations at Seders For You.

Passover Eye-Candy...
Beautiful Judaica celebrating Miriam's Role in the Exodus
Yet another amazing seder plate creation from amazing artist Gary Rosenthal!
So everyone, just

Time to go...
In the coming week, I'll be posting what I really love most about Passover, which is all the delicious insight and inspiration, metaphors we can draw from this wonderful transitional new-beginning-esque holiday.  But my wish for you today, is that whatever you do - paint, cook, walk, breathe, LIVE - may you take it all in fully with each inhale, and with each exhale, breathe out a completely new world you never would have known is inside of you. 

Breathe out your potential today.  It might surprise you.
Inhale the world around you, and breathe out your own. - ME.

"O Day after day we can't help growing older.
Year after year spring can't help seeming younger.
Come let's enjoy our winecup today,
Nor pity the flowers fallen."
-  Wang Wei, On Parting with Spring 

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Beginnings, Finding Liberation...and Spackling!

It's Monday!
And so much to do...

A lot is happening this week.  First of all, a piece I've written on my medical experience, my dreams, and my vision of faith after all of these will soon me published in You & Me Magazine - "The World's Medical Magazine", so I'll keep you posted on when that comes out!  

Gallery Showings...
I've also been hanging my art in a bunch of galleries lately.  My art is still at Tusk & Cup (Ridgefield, CT), now at Temple Shalom, (Norwalk, CT), Blue Lemon (Westport, CT) and soon to be at City Lights Gallery (Bridgeport, CT) as well as G & B Wilton Cultural Center (Wilton, CT) as part of their Celebration of Trees! (Right up my alley!)
Many of my newer tree paintings will be featured in Wilton starting with on April 19th!
And I am very excited to be preparing for Beechwood Art's Immersion Salon on Resilience and the Power of the Human Spirit on May 31st.  I'll be showing how all of my art - my one-woman show, my cooking, my writing and my art - helped me through trauma in my life.

Reading through my blog archives, I see how much I depended on the tactile sensations of cooking ironically to help me cope with not eating!  For example just reading one old post from 2011 makes me wonder - how the heck did I last over three years unable to put anything in my mouth???

I guess the human spirit becomes as resilient as it needs to be...


But the most exciting this coming up is Passover!  We are having our big seder the first night (this Friday!) As usual, and I'm just a bit excited...
I even got these adorable matzah and seder plate earrings!

I could write for hours about Passover and what it means to me, but it does happen to be eight days, so I'll just share a bit every day!

There is also some beautiful Passover and and Judaica out there.
From Yosef Dreams Art Gallery
Exodus Painting By Judith Joseph
Schomo Katz Hagadah Cover

Passover Oil Painting

Seder plates can also get very fun...

A really innovative Seder Plate by artist Gary Rosenthal
By Artist Yair Emanuel
Book Seder Plate by Liz Ross
And don't get me started on the food!!!

What Jew Wanna Eat by Amy Kritzer is a fantastic blog on Jewish food and great recipes - she has a collection of her favorite Passover Recipes that are really phenomenal.

Of course, there are classic recipes, but then there are some crazy spinoffs, like Potato Kugel Pizza!  Or ridiculously creative things to do with Matzoh!  And Buzzfeed has some wonderfully crazy variations as well.
Matzoh Lasagna!  from Albion Cooks
Chocolate Toffee Matzoh! From 365 Hangers
So much fun you can have...
That's all with MATZOH!
So do you blame me for being excited!  I love making my own matzoh from scratch.  Here is the recipe I used - the key is to make sure to roll them out as thin as you can.

Much more recipes and art to come this week!  I've' already started making all of our guests journals that they can take home, centering around the themes of Passover.
Yes, I made matzoh and wine bookmarks for the journals!  Still working on the covers...In the journal, I'm going to have some prompts based on themes I love about Passover - there is just so much we can all relate to on Passover...

Spring and New beginnings...What beginnings are you starting this year?
No title yet.  By me!
A sentence in the Passover Hagadah is "All who are hungry, come and eat", which starts off the big feast.  So "What are you hungry for..."
Untitled right now, by me!
Finding your own liberation and freeing yourself from exile...What do you need to free yourself from?
The last line in the Seder is "Next year in Jerusalem" to always leave us striving and reaching for our dreams.  What do you hope your "Jerusalem" is next year?
The world seder literally means order - telling the story of Passover is the biggest good deed you can do on Passover, as well as sharing the story with others.  It's a way to put yourself in these people's positions and pretend like you yourself are escaping from your own personal Egypt.  What ties you down now?
And last, the Seder is all about asking questions, being curious, and sharing the Passover tale with people who have not heard it before.  What are you curious about?  How important is knowledge to you?  What can you share with someone you love?
So those will all be in the journals I'll give out.  It's a fun little takeaway I do for every holiday.  For Thanksgiving, I always make Gratitude Journals...

There is so much symbolism and insight you can take from the seder - there are so many tactile metaphors abounding on the seder plate, you could have a metaphorical field day with all of the juicy inspiration.  This is a great short little article on some prominent Passover themes.

In the Studio...

So much to do, but still managed to do six hours in the studio today!  Nothing is finished yet, just lots of new beginnings - trying to stick to the Passover theme!  But I had a bit too much fun with my mega-tub of spackling plaster...
(Looks like someone needs to run to Lowe's again!
So here's a sneak preview of what I've started - all to be finished by next week hopefully!

Some small abstract works...

And an epic 4 canvas series - all in Spackling!  Very exciting to paint this...
 She's flying over a city...this will be fun!

Before I go...

So lots of odds and ends this week - business, but always taking time to appreciate and look forward.  I really want to savor Spring, Passover, and all that this means to me.  Stop, smell the roses (soon enough!), and bake up some matzoh lasagna!  And maybe start your own liberation journal?  Or just journal...

Here are some wonderful journaling prompts to get you started!

Happy Spring and Happy (soon to be) Passover.  All about new beginnings...
The world begins anew, so do we.  UNTITLED AS OF NOW (by me!)
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.