Belgium Solidarity

Joyfully it is Easter Week — a time to celebrate!

In the spirit of energy and renewal, this is quick post as we get ready for our annual Easter Brunch, to show solidarity with the Belgium people. The world has come together, yet again, to express their sympathy and support after the latest terrorists attacks.

It is a sad coincidence that as I wrote my blog post last week, the remaining terrorist in the Paris attacks had been caught in Belgium. I noted that I hoped this victory would give the French and other nations information to prevent future attacks. Tragically in just a week’s time, in between the writing of the last post and this, another horrific terrorist crime has occurred. More innocent people are dead and countries, particularly Europe is on high alert. In the midst of this wake, I’m more encouraged by the unification around the world expressing solidarity with Belgium and efforts to fight terrorism.

Begium Muslims unite on Art Is Everywhere

via Washington Post

This image spoke a message about the human spirit — free and defiant, not afraid to gather, called into action, paying respects to the lives of the dead, offering hopes and prayers for their families and the future.

Thinking about the book Big Magic’s concept that the idea is powerful and can be realized by those who think and act upon it, collectively as more people embrace prayer and thoughts for hope, I believe we can win this war.

Hermes-Butterfly as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Human + Butterfly merge

The butterflies are symbolic for God’s miracles, transformation, and rebirth. They indicate for me that peace will come.

Butterflies are free and in some ways represent transcendence from constraints and this world. Hopefully you’ll see why I like butterflies.

A Big Magic Kahuna with Creative Content

There have been two books I’ve read recently that deserve big recognition for their ability to express the subtleties of man living in consort with Nature and the mystery of inspiration. It’s Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear that takes the prize, however, for boldly being able to give meaning to and explain the creative process and the pathways to choose for achieving the most positive results.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert_Art Is EverywhereShe begins her book with a simple question and answer, “What is creativity? [It is] the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.” This blog, by the way, is primarily about witnessing such inspiration and marveling in the creative process involved.

Gilbert eloquently describes the moment that one’s revelation of an idea occurs is when a person is open to receive the thought that may have been there but they were not cognizant of seeing it. Kinda like the thought of the potential for art being everywhere exists around us but it takes the perceptive individual to notice. She likens an idea to a living entity that gets its life force through a person, as if the person is the vehicle for bringing it to light. If the person is unwilling to engage the idea, not receptive or too late to act on it, then the idea goes elsewhere looking for another individual to entice. She describes an example when her idea for a book was passed to another author simply through a hug. It was not the best timing for her to commit to the idea so the idea left for another host and this other author wrote a wonderful book involving this same idea. The idea was never discussed between the writers in advance. It only came to light when Ann Patchet (the other author) was describing her new book, State of Wonder. You might think Gilbert would be incensed that her idea had been “stolen.” How would you react? Instead, she appreciated Ann Patchet’s work and was delighted that the idea finally came to light. One does not have ownership over an idea, she notes. The idea has ownership over you.

This concept makes sense when waves of ideas come and they go. They aren’t always there but when they are, it’s always magical to see many ways the idea can manifest itself.

I’m having one of these moments in a new series of artwork I’m trying to produce. The concept has been with me for a while but I’ve just now gotten the chance to fully act on it. Her book gave me the impetus I needed with the suggestion that the idea will go elsewhere if not used. Now I’m fully immersed in it; albeit, while trying to manage my business(es), which is probably my other creative idea(s) that I’ve been nurturing for the last 8+ years.

She likens living in the moment while manifesting the idea as the most magical experience, full of pure joy, of which I can attest, when it happens:

“You may know this feeling. It’s the feeling you get when you’ve made [or done] something wonderful and when you look at it later, all you can say is, “I don’t even know where that came from.” You can’t repeat it. You can’t explain it. But it felt as if you were guided…It’s the most magnificent sensation imaginable when it arrives…[maybe] not a more perfect happiness to be found in life than this state, except perhaps falling in love.”

She calls this having a genius, as the Romans did, not as we do now “being” a genius. The difference keeps the creative person’s ego in check. This is contrary to those pinned with the label of genius (i.e. Harper Lee) or the self-absorbed artist, singer (e.g. Kanye West) or actress or lawyer, politician or any person for that matter who thinks they are, unique, one-of-a kind. They can be either too scared to create again having reached a pinnacle or too frighteningly egocentric when they do. We are all creators and living life fully is in the act of doing something. I call it “finding Balance.”

She describes the paradoxes involved. The moment the idea comes and you act on it is sacred and related to divine mystery, which I agree. I often explain coincidences that happen as more than just mere coincidences. However, she warns that although you must take the work involved seriously, you cannot think it too important or let it torment you or create such disruption that the work becomes a burden, then you lose the miraculous flow. The creative idea is then affected and becomes too heavy when it needs to remain light, not necessarily easy but enough so to bring joy. Life is about creating (the process) not necessarily the results of what you create. It’s great if the result is a masterpiece or a best seller, as her book Eat Pray Love was, but the intent cannot be just for this goal. There is too much pressure and a set up for self-destined failure, which may be why Harper Lee never wrote anything after To Kill a Mockingbird. Ann Patchet’s work is so highly regarded not only because she is a wonderful writer but mainly because of her similar philosophy, “I don’t write for an audience, I don’t think whether my book will sell, I don’t sell it before I finish writing it.

Gilbert states, “in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not the audience.” I would even say and creativity should be received gratefully, giving gratitude to the Creator. She says the creative work must be the most important thing to live artistically but not matter at all in order to live sanely. Again, finding that balance, while always being grateful and enjoying the good and bad of what you do. That’s a lesson I remember my father telling me, no matter what you do in life, make sure is something you enjoy doing.” This way you can overcome hardships that will happen along the way.

Gilbert’s book is all about the creative process. How the idea forms, how one chooses or doesn’t choose to act on the inspiration and how there is work involved when you choose to act, which she humorously calls the “shit sandwich.” I don’t have a problem with this language because it is aptly named when you understand the reasoning behind it. It refers to all the frustration involved and hardships to overcome in making the idea materialize. You’re either willing to eat the shit sandwich, that no one wants or chooses to eat, or not. How badly do you want to make your idea work? There are lessons in this book for everyone to follow. Persistence, not perfection, pays off. The shit sandwich is what happens in between the bright moments of the easy flow of inspiration. There are other lessons: trust in what you love, learn from fear, be open-minded and curious, say yes to inquisitiveness and interests because they are often clues pointing you to a path that you might not fully see, stop complaining, get doing.

I chose this book for my book group as a philosophy book not as a self-help. We enjoyed discussing during our Mardi Gras celebration — enjoying life in the doing — as described in my previous post.

This was just after the previous book we read last month called Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, which is another one that I’d highly recommend. Sy Montgomery is a Naturalist who’s written a series of books that demonstrate Man’s symbiotic connection to Nature through the many experiences she has encountered. This one has to do with her observation and what we can learn from highly intelligent octopuses (not the more popular, but incorrect octopi). When reading her account, you learn how remarkable these mysterious and often feared creatures are but also how human emotions can become entangled and elevated with another type of being. As the book jacket states, her story “reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

Soul of an Octopus_Sy Montgomery_Art Is EverywhereThis is what I wrote to my book group about it. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see the connection between the two books and my delight in discovering them, coincidentally seeing how they relate to discovery and Art Is Everywhere:

I loved this book, btw and gave it a 10, which I rarely give, but it really spoke to me. I’ve been enamored with the sea and all its mysterious creatures, which is why I probably collect and paint seashells, sea life murals and have enjoyed a fresh and marine fish tank for over 20 years. Fish, surprisingly, also have personalities.

Sy Montgomery coincidentally mentions Cozumel as her first dive and likens it to something similar to visiting an alien planet right here on earth…It’s on my bucket list to go deep sea diving but until then, I’m going to go swimming with whale sharks (extra video ref). I learned about how this phenomenon came about through the Racing Extinction film (very worth watching even with some overtly political overtones). It aired in December but you may still be able to see it on the Discovery Channel?

Following suit on the philosophy take-away regarding this book about Karma and Consciousness,* I’m choosing Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. I believe it was written as a followup to her Ted Talk on Creativity that I was so impressed with that I  emailed the book group about way back. I just discovered she’s expanded it into book form. We’ve read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love and Committed before and discussed how she can have a somewhat self-absorbing nature to her writing but even though her stories are shared from personal experience, this broad topic on creativity and inspiration may grab our group of very creative ladies both collectively and individually.

I almost chose another book, Nonesense, the Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes and will still recommend because I think it might be the perfect followup to Gilbert’s book. This one is filled with unknown facts behind veils of deception — from what you think you might know. Both books seem enlightening for living in the present.

Montgomery marries science with poetry in her descriptions of her dives along with her cultural knowledge in explaining the meaning of karma and consciousness.

The desire to change our ordinary, everyday consciousness does not seize everyone, but it’s a persistent them in human culture. Expanding the mind beyond self allows us to relive our loneliness, to connect to what Jung called universal consciousness…Plato called the animus mundi, the all-extensive world soul shared by all of life…Karma is interchanged with destiny…but the idea of karma has a deeper and more promising meaning than fate…Our karma is something over which, unlike fate, we do have control. “Volition is karma,” the Buddha is reported to have said. Karma, in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, is conscious action. Karma is not fate, but, in fact, its opposite. Karma is choice.”

In her chapter, Consciousness to think, to feel, to know, she describes the following reflection about the meaning of the Soul while attending a Tahitian church service, she “understands the power of worship, and the importance of contemplating mystery…in all our relationships, in all our deepest wonderings. We seek to fathom the soul…[The Soul] gives life meaning and purpose. The Soul is the fingerprint of God. Others say that soul is our innermost being, the thing that gives us our senses, our intelligence, our emotions, our desires, our will, our personalities, our identity. Perhaps none of this is true, [but as she sits in the pew she ponders,] I am certain of one thing…if I have a soul — and I think I do — an octopus has a soul too.

Strangely enough, she contemplates this idea (which I think has to do with connection and creativity as it takes on its own life as the title of her book) while she is transported by the pastor’s sermon to the “Gilbert Islands, where the octopus god, Na Kitka, was said to be the son of the first beings, and with his eight strong arms, shoved the islands up from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean…Immersed in mystery, my natural response, even on an expedition in the name of science, is to pray.”

Perhaps I’m more reflective with my birthday a day away, but not thinking there is really a connection to this, except that these two books brought great inspiration, in a timely and interconnected way that is beautifully mysterious. I am grateful to have read them and I can only hope their inspiration will be sustained, at least for a while.

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Another Type of Glacier Event

Just as the snow from our Snowzilla Blizzard is melting, I read about another type of “big,” snow-related, glacier event (see below). But first, the blizzard snow was beautiful while it lasted. It was especially nice to shut everything down. Everyone enjoyed the welcomed break.

We visited with friends and walked back to take this picture. Although it was 3 am, it could have been any time of the day with everyone hunkering down indoors.

Snowzilla covered street with no cars on Art Is Everywhere

Snow covered street with no cars = beautiful

Snowzilla covered stairs on Art Is Everywere

No where to go but stay inside

Cat views Snowzilla garden on Art Is Everywhere

Ingmar our cat enjoys the view from the warmth

Just as our snow is melting, there is other news about recently restored murals depicting scenes from Glacier Park.

Glacier Lake Mural restoration on Art Is Everywhere

Joe Abbrescia Grinnell restores a Glacier Lake mural. Photo by Patrick Cote Dill via Hockaday Museum

size of Glacier Mural panels on Art Is Everywhere

This shows the large size of the panels via Hockaday Musem

There were originally 51 murals that were commissioned to be painted as large watercolor panels with water-based tempera on canvas and displayed for all visitors to view in the Glacier Park Lodge in 1939. However their recorded history leaves the artist as unknown.

Unfortunately, only 15 have survived. The lodge was restored in the 1950s and the murals no longer fit the decor theme so they were cut from their mountings, rolled up and thrown away! Hard to believe!

Fortunately, 15 of the canvases were saved by Leona and Robert Brown in their East Glacier home and passed down to their granddaughter, Leanne and her husband, Alan Goldhahn. They donated the murals to the Hockaday Museum in 2012. Through the Goldhahn’s generous efforts the murals have been fully restored and are now on display again and serve as a wonderful memory to Leona & Robert Brown, who had the vision to save them in the first place.

Glacier Park Murals 1 via Independent Record helenair.com on Art Is Everywhere

Glacier Park Murals 1 via Independent Record helenair.com

Glacier Park Murals 2 via Independent Record helenair.com on Art Is Everywhere

Glacier Park Murals 2 via Independent Record helenair.com

Glacier Park is truly a stunning place. It stood out among the national parks that we visited during a family road trip across the country around 1975. These gorgeous murals are making me want to return.

Out of 29 Surreal Places in America that you need to see before you die, Glacier Park is #27 on the list.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 10 on the list but realize my travel days are just beginning after seeing these and what about outside of the States?! I’m just wondering if I have enough time to fit it all in?

Blizzard Break!

Due to expected power outages and record snowfall with DC being the prime target, ArtIsEverywhere is taking a blizzard break.

You can read previous posts on that last time we had such weather:

Blizzard

Shazam Snow, Snow & More Snow!

Previous snow posts…

Stay safe and warm and if you’re in the NE, enjoy the snow-shutdown bliss that a blizzard can bring. If you’re elsewhere, enjoy reading ArtIsEverywhere.

We’ll be back soon…

Snowman on Art Is Everywhere

A Carving Frenzy Yields Furry Animal Friends

This is a busy week so I’ll leave you with this incredible video of Lueb Popoff using a chainsaw, which at first appears to be a carving frenzy with no plan in sight. However, a beautiful sculpture eventually evolves with several furry animal friends that appear to magically “come out” of the woodwork.

How in the world does he do it?! Pretty fantastic.

I also like the music. Kinda the pace I’m keeping this week.

The Completion of a Life Size Bird Mural Starts the New Year

What a perfect way to start the new year with the completion of the life size bird mural, So Simple, a Beginning.

It was about a year ago that I first wrote about Jane Kim of InkDwell‘s endeavor to depict the evolution of the world’s birds in a giant 70 x 40 foot mural for Cornell University’s Department of Ornithology. It’s taken a year and that’s pretty miraculous considering the intricate detail and accuracy involved to paint 270 birds and even a few dinosaurs.

Here are InkDwell‘s photos below showing the stunning result. Casart wallcoverings were used in the early stage as temporary wallpaper templates for the continents and geographical locations on top of which the birds were painted.

1_Many birds painted by Jane Kim on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog

Many birds painted by Jane Kim

African Section of mural on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog

African Section of mural

Cassowary bird painted by Jane Kim on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog

Cassowary Bird

Jane adding details Secretary Bird_casartblog

Secretary Bird

early stage of bird mural_casartblog

Early Stages

Cormorant in progress_casartblog

Cormorant in progress

Great grey owl_casartblog

Great Grey Owl

Detail Broadbill bird_casartblog

Detail Broadbill Bird

Great Hornbill_casarblog

Great Hornbill

Congratulations to Jane and her crew for all their hard work to create the largest and first-of-its-kind educational mural about the evolution of birds!!

Casart coverings is glad to have played even a small part in this major endeavor.

Next time you’re in New York, be sure to visit the Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology to see the mural in person and perhaps even do a little bird watching while there.

Racing Extinction

After watching the film Racing Extinction, I thought it deserving of a blog post, because not only is it well done,* I like animals and  I’ve posted about efforts to save sharks and others before but it uses art to get its point across. In writing this post, I realized there have been a series of coincidental confluent events taking place in the process.

manta ray digital obscura projection on Art Is Everywhere

Majestic Manta Rays are just some of the animals featured and with a positive outcome.

At the time of this writing, the film has had over 11.5 million viewers, and just the other day, the video sound collaborators projected inspirational images of near extinct animals on the outside of the Vatican. Confluence #1: I just posted about the Pope and a mural created in his honor in my last post.

Racing Extinction on Art Is EverywhereOK, the location and animation in itself is pretty amazing. Just watch. Note: it requires patience for it starts after 10 minutes of silence with a lot of pauses and shots of the audience at night with only camera phones visible. It’s a meditative piece that is different than the Racing Extinction film but serves a similar purpose. There is no commentary only images and sounds of the animals with beautiful transitions. This gives a lot of time for reflection, which is the objective after all.

You’ll be amazed at how many animals are on the extinction list. Most all of the butterflies that I have painted + my clown fish in my fish tank (precisely because they are in people’s fish tanks and coral reef depletion). These are just to name a few that will hit home.

butterfly digital obscura 1 on Art Is Everywherebutterfly digital obscura 2 on Art Is Everywherebutterfly digital obscura 3 on Art Is Everywhereclown fish digital obscura projection on Art Is EverywhereI had already sent the film information to my husband, who happens to be attending the Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, thinking he might see the Racing Extinction folks in attendance. No report yet but coincidentally and yet probably strategically planned to market the film a the time of this climate change conference. Confluence #2. Instead, I received a beautiful picture of Paris, “the city of [Christmas / holiday] lights.”

Side note: I enjoyed watching the U2 Live concert the same night they just played in Paris. I always wanted to see them play live and I felt like I was there. There were a lot of moving moments and it was incredible how immediate the news was about it, with thoughts of Paris and San Bernadino and terrorism on everyone’s minds.

Paris Lights on Art Is EverywhereBesides man over fishing and killing animals, the film claims that the extinction of some animals is due to climate change. *Here’s where my politics differ to some degree but this is not a political blog so I won’t belabor points here because it’s been a roundabout argument from both sides of the subject. I’ll just say that I agree that some sensible steps to reduce carbon and methane emissions should be carefully considered and where adversely and economically impacted, there has to be a mutual meeting ground in order to get results. I do not believe man is completely in control of the world’s climate — that would be a tall and bold and almost arrogant “projection” to make when the world’s natural climate is changing all the time and there are larger forces than just man alone contributing. Nonetheless, the Racing Extinction group has a petition started on their website, if you’d like to join.

Confluence #3. I had mentioned I had written about efforts helping animal extinction before. This is the film’s main focus. OK, man is one of those animals but primarily it is about other animals with whom we share the planet. The manta ray and rare birds are among some. Confluence #4 will be in a separate post documenting the history of the world’s birds in a mural just completed and about which I just received the story alert at the time of this writing.

Regarding the Oceanic Preservation Society’s film production team: One of the photographers, Joel Sartore, creator of the Photo Arc [I’d like to feature in a single blog post, it is so impressive] and in fact the director, Louie Psihoyos, all work and have worked for the National Geographic, a publication I have been a long time supporter of and even took over my father’s subscription from 1921. I’m still wondering what to do with all the magazines because I’m running out of space, but I renew each year. The visuals and stories are worth reading and I like to support its efforts as well as its photographers, like Stephen Alvarez, about whom I’ve written before. Confluence #5.

Finally, this large-scale film projection is created and “performed” by Obscura Digital, behind the creative force of Travis Threlkel its founder and projection mapping. It is another group about which I’ve featured in a blog post (Confluence #6). Their creative concept is to use not only the Vatican but other buildings while traveling around in a Tesla and projecting on surfaces as moving graffiti if you will is both clever, ambitious and innovative. I’m in awe of the entire production from conception to execution to strategically creating the necessary buzz to spread the word, that there is one thing everyone can do. This in itself, may be an initial start to seeing results. I’ve already started…

Duck, Duck Murals Nearby

While vacationing in Ocracoke, North Carolina, it was coincidental to read this article about Hitnes, the Italian street artist and his duck murals recently painted in Pine Island Sanctuary in Corolla, NC. He is retracing John Audubon’s footsteps while traveling across the US, painting murals as he goes. You can read the full article with links for his inspiration on Audubon.org. Image Hunter article and photos by Jessica Stewart.

Hitnes Duck Mural on Art Is EverywhereHere’s an interesting video regarding the decoys that inspired his artwork.

The Image Hunter / Voodoo Duck from magicmindcorporation on Vimeo.

Although Corolla was a little out of our way to travel to on the return route back home we saw plenty of Nature’s everyday art.

Pre sunset porch time_AIE

Pre sunset porch time

Sailboat view from dock on AIE

Sailboat view from dock

End of day starting on AIE

Sun Rays – End of day starting

Picture perfect sunset and kayaker in silhouette on AIE

Picture perfect sunset and kayaker in silhouette

Down by the Sea

While vacationing in the OBX what better way to celebrate life than posting about a recent discovery about Google’s Ocean Project and in the process finding this Men at Work song that I hadn’t heard before — jazzy and reflective of the beach’s beauty and beyond.

Down by the sea
I found your hidden treasure
Just you and me,
We overdosed on pleasure…

Imagine searching for directions to somewhere on Google Maps and looking at the street view so you’ll know what your destination will look like in real-time as you drive to it. Google’s Ocean Project gives you this street view in the ocean — under the water. They are mapping the world’s oceans and I can’t think of anything more other-worldly, right here on earth and without having to travel far to find. Truly fascinating!

When you go to the site, click on any map marker in the bottom left and it will take you to a 3-D panoramic view of that underwater spot. You can click on any thumbnail picture view and go there as well.

Google Ocean project_2 on Art Is Everywhere

Google Ocean project_1 on Art Is Everywhere

Have fun searching and discovering a whole other word that most of us will rarely see in person. Here’s a magical spot in the Florida Keys, where I hope to visit someday in person.

Florida Keys_Google Project_Art Is EverywhereIn the meantime, I’m enjoying this Australian sea-side video set to Down By the Sea and the ocean at Ocracokein real-time. Just hope not to see any sharks this trip.

…Down by the sea
I found your hidden treasure
Just you and me
We over-dosed on pleasure

Listen to your heart
Screamin’ at the sky
Can’t you feel it tremble?
Don’t you wonder why?

Global Weather Art

What’s one of the first things the news broadcasts on a continual basis? And what do you want to know — besides traffic? What info can help you for what to wear, what to pack, and what to prepare? Weather!

NOAA, the National Ocean Atmospheric Administration, has created a new global weather view map that is interactive. It’s not only fun and informative but beautiful and art in motion. Look at these views and check out the real-time animation for yourself.

NOAA_interactive global weather map via NOAA Environmental Visualization on Art Is Everywhere

NOAA_interactive global weather map via NOAA Environmental Visualization

Don’t forget to move the earth with your cursor to see other countries.

Who knew pressure could be so pretty!

NOAA_global weather winds on Art Is Everywhere

NOAA_global weather winds

NOAA_gloabal weather precipitation on Art Is Everywhere

NOAA_gloabal weather precipitation

NOAA_global weather moisture on Art Is Everywhere

NOAA_global weather moisture

NOAA_global weather Temperature on Art Is Everywhere

NOAA_global weather Temperature

 I’m hoping the weather this week during vacation in Ocracoke, NC will make some memorable artwork on this global view map or at least be.

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