Monsters in your Mind

Since I did my incredibly long post on the basic how to’s of Internet Networking and how Social Media can benefit your business, I’ll just do add a transitional link to another interesting article. This one discusses: the computer age technology (“Big Design”); how, “the digital revolution has expanded the universe of design;” and art vs. design in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Businesswoman. Fitting since my business group is all women.

Also, since I’m working overtime this week on a backlog of commissions due to the snow lag, here’s another link to a very interesting blog/ book by James Gurney, the author of Dinotopia, regarding Imaginative Realism and How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist. This describes his creative process. I just added his very informative blog Gurney Journey, btw to my Blogroll. I’m very inspired by his work because I am as I call it a “visual artist” — I draw what I see. I use photo references all the time. Trust me, you do not want me as your Pictionary partner.

Thumbnail Sketches of James Guerney

Giving the imaginary and monsters some credibility, how could I not post this? Now, I’m going to be looking over my shoulder when I ride the Metro.

Monsters In Real Places from Lost at E Minor

A little appropriate music to Kick-Start your Weekend:

Sit Down, Stand Up by Radiohead.

Bicycle Diaries

I’m trying to get more exercise but won’t be biking long distance. Therein this book, Bicycle Diaries, by David Byrne of Talking Heads fame attracted my attention. Little did I know he was such a bicycling fan or that he had toured many cities this way. Very inspirational, if not vicariously. I’ll have to get it because it describes his appreciation for architecture and bike-friendliness through all the various towns he visited. Just like walking as opposed to driving, you get a different perspective this way.


To kick start the weekend, rather than post another David Byrne or Talking Heads song, which I love, let’s go with the B52’s Roam — so 80’s, so off the wall B52’s but fun:

New Orleans & Nine Lives

I just finished reading a fascinating book that I couldn’t put down, Nine Lives by Dan Baum. It was my choice and I hosted my book group last week to discuss it. The book reads like fiction but it is real life. For a writer who is not a native New Orleanian and who was on assignment after Hurricane Katrina (or “The Storm” as natives say), he really captured what it is like to be from and to live in New Orleans. His profile of nine people: several who lived in the Ninth Ward, the wife of a famous Mardi Gras Indian, a prominent lawyer, to a transvestite in transition, a cop and the city coroner demonstrated the interconnectivity and eccentricity of a multi-cultural city. Some of his true life characters have serendipitous connections with others as the book progresses from the earlier days of the last big storm, Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (this is telling — my birth year) to Katrina and immediately after. The last entry is in 2007 after The Storm and ends truthfully, with no closure with the characters still finding their way to reconcile how The Storm has forever changed their lives. I have many dog-eared pages for descriptive and profound passages to remember and mentions of people I know. Weird. “Big Mike” from Hermes being one and my Sewanee classmate’s father who gave the attorney character, Billy Grace, his first job. This may be worth a second read because there are a lot of subtle details and because he flips from one character to the next it is a bit difficult to keep it all straight. If you’re not from New Orleans, it’s very insightful. If you are, it confirms what you know and gives insight to worlds of separation that come together during Katrina.

nine-lives-cover, Telemachus, by Frank Relle

The front cover, Telemachus, by Frank Relle is captivating and visually gets to the heart of the book. There is something both sad and beautiful in ruin. At once you can see the grand past and history remaining, stalwart and strong and withstanding the elements and the same time there is disrepair and brokenness. We met Frank Relle and his artist/girlfriend Rebecca Rebouche at the Home and Garden Tradeshow in which casart coverings participated last March. His work is really wonderful. There is a Magritte sensibility of other worldliness about his photos. I ran across this video with them discussing New Orleans, in which they mention the individualistic spirit and Art being everywhere:

Other fun places we went while there was a second foray to the St. James Cheese Company. The food is great and it is very different than other gourmet food shop/eateries. It doesn’t try too hard and doesn’t apologize when the item you most want is no longer available; even though, it is still on the chalkboard menu but is out of supply due to the popularity that day.

While eating there, I had my sister take this photo because it reminded me of uptown — old cars and palm trees. For an iPhone, which I’m thinking of getting, I wasn’t all that impressed with the quality while looking at it on the gadget but it looks fine here. This could be my Aunt Katherine’s car.

Uptown NOLA car and palms. Photo by Lindsey Wood

I can’t mention food enough and New Orleans is where to find it. On my final night, we had a wonderful meal at Bacco’s where Cliquot was served with every course.

Art & Palate

Going from discovering an Australian blogs to Australian artists who paint food images…These artists featured in the book The Artist’s Lunch also have submitted recipes for this opulent book.

Here’s a fantastic painting of Quinces by Jeffery Smart.


And the cover of the book is equally as splendid — a feast for the eyes! That rooster’s tail feathers could be angel hair pasta.

cover of the Artist\'s Lunch, Michael Zavros, White Onagadori

I like the artist, Salvatore Zofrea’s quote, “I see the dish on the table as the link that brings everyone together to become one.”

Here’s a blog to check out, Feasting on Art. I like the way it’s set up to pair artwork with actual recipes. Very creative and appetizing.

Here’s the song that comes to mind to Kick Start the Weekend, Millions of Peaches by the Presidents of the USA.

Millions of Peaches – Presidents of the USA

Slipcovers for Your Walls

This past electronic art exhibit (below), in its ability to demonstrate the ocean bed through electronic dots, reminds me of a beachy Slipcovers for Your Walls blog post today. This is a new blog that I’ve started for casart coverings along with the casart crew — solely related to ways to use casart™ and interior design.

Slipcovers for Your Walls casartblog header

Another introduction to make is that casart coverings is now using Twitter.

casartcrew on Twitter

ElectrElectronic Art Exhibit at Total Museum of Contemporary Art via Korea Times

Here’s another exhibit that’s worth posting, even though it’s already occurred, for the premise to promote creativity, the Creative Mind at the Savina Museum. I like the photos as well — rather out of the box, literally and this is what our casart coverings concept is too.

Creative Mind Exhibit @ Savina Museum via Korean Times

And here’s a current, very resourceful link for everything art oriented in New Orleans. I love the New Orleans Art Museum and used to attend camp there and go as many times as I could. The surrounding park is gorgeous and there are free weekly musical concerts, called “Thursdays at Twilight,” that my mother attends.

New Orleans Museum of Art

Birthday Flowers & Blog Anniversary

Even though my birthday was a week ago, these flowers are still lovely and the arrangement is so artistically done. These were given to me by one of my best friends along with the beautiful tulip card. (Liza used to live in Holland.) Seems like the place to get beautiful flowers in my town is at Helen Olivia because they are just gorgeous and the attention to the design details are just impeccable, like their signature ribbon wrap. I also appreciate that their store is named after the owners’ grandmothers, signifying a passed down wisdom.

birthday-flowers-09 by C. Ashley Spencer

My other cards are thanks to my artist friend, Patsie, and my mother and mother-in-law. Love it. I’m not a big birthday celebrant but these helped to make my day and my birthday celebration linger. Another anniversary that I have to mention is I have been writing this blog now for one year and it has certainly grown and has been rewarding. Although I see my time dwindling as casart coverings takes over, I hope to keep current in the art world by being able to post what I find here. There is so much out there.

Here was one story, for instance, that really touched me, Confronting Life of Death at a Young Age, by Ibby Caputo — not only the writing but the sentiment, so true: in a powerless situation, the will to live gives personal power to try. I can relate to being young and with a cancer diagnosis; although not of her severity, but while pregnant, nonetheless, so a lot was at stake. She describes her fight so bravely and realistically. I’m glad I saved the print edition because what is just as powerful as her story is her recovery and the laughter and joy seen in this picture (with a blue morpho butterfly, which happens to be our new company’s symbol of rebirth and trasformation).

Ibby Caputo by Steven Caputo via The Washington Post

The Post has a wonderful new writer for their Health Section. I’ll be interested to read more.

The Creative Genius

I have read, Eat, Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert and I thought it was entertaining and descriptive about her reflective journey, which in many ways might parallel the creative process of artists finding their way toward production. But since I have long been fascinated by the creative process, I think her next, new book, will have much more substance. She is really onto something here in her lecture at the TED Conference.

I have long thought that there is divine inspiration in the creative output. Sometimes that flash of inspiration just can’t be explained. If we can accept that there is a mystery, greater than ourselves guiding us, then the explanation for a “creative genius” takes on a whole other, maybe more meaningful meaning.

I learned of the video through Derek Siver’s blog about music.

The Importance of Others

Happy Thanksgiving!

As this holiday seems to be here so quickly this year, I am reminded of the importance of others and how we should be grateful for their existence and how they have affected our lives. As I mentioned in a recent post that there is an art to living life well, there is also and art in being able to appreciate others and the simple blessings that make our lives memorable. This includes family and friends of course but also the preparation of the meal that we sit down to eat in the company of those we love. It’s a traditional communion of sorts.

Here are a few links to posts that really struck me as artistically heartfelt and worthwhile.

1) The Boldness of Her Brush Strokes by Anne E. Carroll about the memories of her 90 year old grandmother.

2) An exhibit about memory based on family photographs — negatives on glass by Anthony Goicolea

Artwork by Anthony Goicolea

This exhibit reminds me of the discussion I had with my 16 year old, who is home for the holiday, about one of my favorite books by Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, in relation to politics and how a government can “rewrite” history in just the little things we take for granted like changing street names, so that an entire generation grows up learning something different and forgets about the past. There are insidious ways this occurs and it happens sometimes without us even knowing. Something to be aware of with every new leadership. This was after we answered the call from our church to deliver 75 Thanksgiving meals to the needy. My teenage son didn’t want to go of course, but we said we had to run errands before going to brunch and afterwards, he was glad he helped. It was tearful to see joy on the little kids’ faces when we showed up with the meals for them and their families. There is something to be said for those who don’t take things for granted. Trying to impart this philosophy onto a teenager, even with the foundation you’ve worked hard to provide, is a tough task.

3) Making sense of painful tragedies as described in the Creative Imperative on the theinferior4+1 blog

Since my preteen goddaughter and her twin and their two younger siblings just lost their father, I am very concerned in how this will affect them as they grow older. Loss can manifest itself through art — hopefully in a positive way. Art therapy helps too as well as the support of the village network of friends and family.

4) I just came across this culture blog, 2 Blowhards, and I’ll be checking it out more, but I particularly like this post regarding Tom Thompson. I was unfamiliar with his work but it’s very apropos since my last post showed trees. I like his “Tiffany-like” stylistic stroke and this one of the water beyond the trees. Reminds me of the beauty of a lovely, crisp, colorful fall day, which this is.


5) Finally the link above led me to Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes/an arts journal, contemporary art blog…something to stay tuned to.

All the best wishes for this day of thanks with the ones you love (and that’s despite any tension family members can bring). My recipe: have a cocktail and endure!

Antique Books

The annual Book Festival is coming to Washington, DC this weekend on the Mall and I thought this photo was very appealing.

antique-books-photo by Larry Kobelka/Washington Post

I’ve always like the look of worn, antique books, as well as reading them. Their covers and colors remind me of certain decorative finishes, like faux rust or copper.

Yeah, the weekend is here, but more work to do is ahead. Have a great one!

It’s all in a Dream

I was fascinated by The Writing Life story in the Washington Post Book World regarding Robert Olen Butler’s account of how a dream changed his life because it changed his creative process for his writing. He describes how his dream of Richard Nixon made him reflect differently on the man, who he detested. It’s actually an interesting dream — similar to weird, funny but inexplicably, unsettling dreams we all might have and not think too much about, but they still bother us. Upon trying to understand his dream, Butler came to recognize that the “sensuous details…[were] probably the most important” and were the ones that could be easily overlooked. In these details he witnesses Nixon’s humanity — something shared in the human experience and he realized that his insight into this man didn’t come truthfully from his analytical reasoning of him but from his dream — his “unconscious.” Sometimes the artistic flow and insight comes from not thinking too hard but from paying more attention.

Robert Olen Butler. Photo by Joshua Butler

I agree with listening to the inner self, paying attention to the details and trying to make sense of it all but I disagree that observations shouldn’t also be logically based. I think it’s up to the artist, not to “act out the role of God,” as he positions but to strike the balance between intuition and rationale and it’s more important to be a loving person than a loving God. Should we, as mere mortal humans really presume to play the role of God, anyway?…. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued to read some of his work.

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