keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

hotter than july

The weather has been quite uncomfortable for the past few weeks. I kept wondering if we had somehow skipped the month of June and moved straight from May to July, it’s that darn hot! So this morning I was overjoyed to hear the weatherman tell all who tuned in to shut off the air conditioning and open the windows. I bolted out of bed, followed his instructions, threw on my walking clothes and rushed out to enjoy the refreshing morning. Bouncing along I thought about the room I woke up in yesterday at the hotel where my business meeting was taking place, about my walk beside the water five floors down from my corner room with tall windows along two walls which allowed me to recline on the bed and look directly out at the water, see the sunset. As I sit down this evening with my feet propped on the couch, the windows of my own place are wide open, the temperature outside is 77° and the coolness filling the space threatens to lull me to slumber. But before I give in, thinking about mornings and evenings spent at the water over the past week and a half brought me back to my old journal to reread the last entries from that class I took in New York…

I’ve not felt the earth of Africa against my feet or the earth of any other country for that matter but the sands of the Caribbean shores did feel good I long to travel to see foreign lands & let my feet travel where great writers & artists have tread to absorb that energy to know that some rich heritage is waiting to jump into my body through my feet.

I miss the green grass of my grandparents back yard of the trees and flowers beds, grass feels soft nice comforting I’ve made the concrete jungle my home but it’s not my home it’s time to return to a place where I can roll in the grass.

When I moved back to my birthplace almost 10 years ago, it was a homecoming that to this moment continues to redefine the word and it sure does feel like I am rolling in the marvelous comfort of the many unexpected splendors and dreams realized that have occurred since I returned. This year I will feel the earth of Egypt under my feet and plan to visit other shores far from the one I walked along yesterday in the years ahead. No matter where I am, I will continue capturing time in pictures and text. My hope is that by sharing them, others can come along on the journey, will go on some of their own. As I looked out from my hotel room with a view and snapped the glow of evening, I found solace. The sun, moon and stars are the same in all skies. Even when we can’t see them in their orbit, they are still there for all. So as the sun rested in the western sky on the East Coast I sat with my feet propped on the frame of the bed, clicked and wondered who else was admiring the picture…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, June 27, 2010

sand petals

I woke up yesterday and missed the beach. Waking there last weekend was so soothing; every inch of me longed to smell the sea air, hear the sounds of the water lapping at my feet. I had the pleasure of speaking with each of my friends who was with me down in Bethany and without sharing my thoughts, they each mentioned our little get-away with the same dreamy sigh I had whispered to myself. It seems we all had tried to hang on to the peace of being in a peaceful setting with people who only have our best interest at heart, to hold ourselves in a blissful float hoping that nothing would come along to shatter the calm. So when the disturbances circled during the week, we each had to find a way to keep the negative energy from swallowing our positive spirits. I found myself back in the journal I mentioned on Wednesday and there in free write glory was…

Magnolia tree beside Grandma’s house the first thing we’d do is climb it & inhale the sweet fragrance of white flowers in spring breeze jumping down barefoot a little scrape on the knee because we’d be in a hurry to run barefoot across the hot sidewalk to great gran’s house the relief as we touched down in the cool grass of the front yard & pattered up the wooden steps onto the porch - the screen door slaps behind us - and padded onto the soft familiar carpet in the living room and great grandma would say Hey Baby, you sure is a pretty chile...I miss her.

Sand between my toes the beach at Martha’s Vineyard a fond summer memory from my teen years, I loved running across the sand to the water & diving in, swimming then walking & feeling little shells between on my feet I love the beach it’s been so long since I’ve been there

These back-to-back entries penned over 10 years ago in response to the prompt about our connection to the earth allowed me to close my eyes, take a deep breath and return to last weekend. It so happens that a little over a mile from the sand and forever ocean stood a magnolia tree with the most enormous blooms in both size and fragrance. I ran my hand over words found just when I needed them, lingered over beach and magnolia...felt the sand as it pumiced my soles, drank in the perfume filled air, heard the tinkle of laughter as the waves gently splashed over my ankles, caressed the white silky petals, the velvety underside of green leaves...and once again paid homage to the fact that our destiny is written. And sometimes we may actually scribe a few hints that go unnoticed until that moment when we most need to find our way back.

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

hot & bothered

I’m hot and no longer too blind to know that I’m bothered. It’s time, not past time because this is the right time, the right moment. I don’t need the sun, moon and stars to align or for some something to come and knock me down. No more time to ignore the fact that I have been blessed with more creative talent than I ever imagined. With each thing that I try, I see how good I am, how talented. My friends affirm over & over – girl you got something special. The African art dealer said you’ve really got any eye. The photographer said you really know how to get people to relax in front of the camera. Everyone who has ever come to my home takes off their shoes, snuggles into the couch or chair & says you really know how to make a home a warm place to be – I never want to leave. And each time I fax or email another story to someone I trust to critique it they all say you’ve got something. I didn’t believe them. But recently, innocently my giving self had a wonderful morning. I got up, made a delicious egg & crab dish, poured a wine glass of sparkling water, spread a beautiful flower cloth across my bed put on some relaxing sensual jazz and had a picnic for me in bed. Immediately after I jumped up and wrote about my experience emailed it to friends. The response was phenomenal…when is the book coming out. I’m hot with energy & enthusiasm, no longer bothered by the nay-sayers. And I’m ready to write.

I recently unearthed the journal I took to a writing class many Junes ago during the last year I lived in NYC. In it was the passage above exactly as it appeared written in response to the exercise, “write something using one of the following lines":

Ten plus years later looking at the narrative I wrote, I see lines and thoughts I know have appeared in my blog. From that seminar I attended way back when, I now read recorded narratives that clearly were a prelude to The Eclectic Eye. I’ve also discovered other writings written in my past that resonate with me present day, like I was chronicling my future before it unfolded, writing my destiny. Coincidence maybe but I think not which is why I say…

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

beach babies

happily relaxing at the beach with friends I love immensely, back on wednesday…

keep your peepers open! ®

ps - happy father's day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

i.e., boxed in

Part of my mission in life is to demystify the arts so that more people will be encouraged to take a stab at a creative outlet of their interest. In this world of critics who pass judgment then tell the rest of us what we should see or skip, the average person tends to shy away from venturing into territory reserved for those deemed artist, writer, musician, dancer, etc. by the authorities; just the titles alone can be quite intimidating. My feeling is that anyone can claim any one of those labels if they so desire, you just have to:

 be open to all that is possible, i.e., let go of excuses;

 forget that somebody in your past told you that you weren’t good at it, whatever it might be, i.e., there is no right or wrong way to do it when it’s for your own pleasure;

 remember this is just for you, i.e., don’t even think about what others might think;

 let go of the desire to be perfect, i.e., there is perfection in imperfection so lose the inner critic;

 resist the temptation to do whatever it is like whoever’s work you admire, i.e., follow your own heart, something old can only become new when you bang your own drum, march to a different beat;

 not over think it, i.e., just go on and do it!

Time and time again I have witnessed talent newly discovered by one who just found out they had it or pride when those who took a chance walked away satisfied with just the attempt. But first things first -- give yourself permission to be free, i.e., lift the lid on that box you need to think outside of and…

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the resistance

I’m sort of an outsider artist in the sense that I taught/teach myself how to use various media to produce visual artwork. The tendency to back away from the table when someone asks me to work on any specific project to produce a defined outcome is always there as I tell myself that with no formal training perhaps I will be unable to do whatever is proposed. Though these types of challenges present parameters that make me feel constrained, bring up immediately resistance, a huge part of me could care less when I remember that taking a chance has gotten me to this exact place with my art. Yet when I was asked to come up with my interpretation of the human lungs via collage art, a medium I am more than comfortable with, my first response was to resist by throwing down a gauntlet -- if I had to do it, so did everyone else in whatever way they could even if they never produced a piece of art in their life.

The due date drew closer. Others had taken on the challenge and finished their piece. I on the other hand still had not sat down to do one thing; the rebel in me was resistant right down to the front lines until she finally faced the fact that time had run out. In my final act of defiance, I jumped down into the trenches refusing to go the table where I work, deciding to only use one magazine to source pictures to make the collage, and dead set against giving this piece much thought. And somehow no matter how much I had fought it the expression of what a lung really is rose up. Somewhere in me was/is artistic expression that took control, made me put down my arms as my hands picked up arsenal for a whole new order.

I rarely refer to myself as an artist; dubbing me as such runs counter to my belief that ascribed titles can have a tendency to make the arts and the person attached to whatever they do unapproachable. That those producing can get so caught up in the aura of their importance they become incapable of relating to those who admire what they are doing. I/my work need to reach out and touch so…

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

first came what

I set up this picture to use in a cute text message back in February. The black and white paper is part of a collage I’m still working on, the white and red heart, well I thought it served as a nice contrast. I like polka dots and stripes together. I am also partial to red, white and black together particularly when crimson, though not as prominently used, is dominant (oh that red with its attitude!). The appearance of metal was quite by accident and I had planned to crop it out. However, the unplanned inclusion added an unintentional dimension necessary to round out the thought.

In March, I was at an exhibition, didn’t have very much time to drink it in so I snapped pictures of the pieces that immediately spoke to me, grabbing the catalog to later luxuriate in leisure over what each artist had produced. I love color filled canvases but really take note of those devoid of color because of their stark boldness. My downloads revealed a picture of a small picture -- simple geometric design in black, red and white. It didn’t click until maybe a month later that my composition and what this person composed were so kindred. And then I thought about the bowls I sculpted and painted when I was trying to keep my mind from focusing on a body in pain. I remember looking at the designs once I had finished and inherently knowing that somewhere at sometime I knew them, they had met me. I couldn’t explain it and had no idea if I had actually seen anything with the same markings, especially the more tribal vessels.

It is one thing to deliberately copy, another to have imagery written to the soul memory from when and where we don't know until it manifests in front of us produced by our own hands. There are things out there we have already imagined without knowledge of their existence that are waiting for us to discover them. And while they and we are on the way to making an acquaintance, it is very possible that we will create our own version, a cousin to that future remembrance. Which begs the question…what actually did come first?

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, June 6, 2010

a.m. zen

Over the years, I have had different morning rituals. Most included reading from books that had 365 passages, one for each day of the year. A couple of the texts contained lush pictures that aroused my senses when I ran my hands across the page. I always enjoyed this part of my AM stimulation but abandoned it when I began walking. Thinking about it now, it seems like I traded a stationary means of feeding my spirit for one that drew from movement. When I started taking photos on my walks, my senses were once again engaged as I allowed my eyes to run across the landscape. But in my subconscious was a desire that could only be fulfilled by reading words that inspired, motivated, informed; cutting and pasting quotes and short narratives into my journal, daily email messages, and apps on my I Phone have helped though reading from a hardback manuscript can never really be replaced by magazines or electronic methods.

Lately I have come across several one-liners and partial quotes that so resonate with the woman I am right now. Here are three…

“…when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.” - Seng Ts’an (d. 606; from daily zen)

“I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.” 
- Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533 – 1592)

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.”
- Dr. Suess

Words of wisdom pass down from generations past to the present and can come from all types of individuals; coming upon ones that ring true are affirming. The lack of a ritual to center me as I begin my day has left me completely discombobulated on occasion which makes me yearn for the peace that a morning practice brings. I know that a new AM routine is percolating. I have the feeling that a morning reading that sprinkles me with spiritual nuggets from whenever and whoever is about to reintroduce itself so…

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

night of the wild women

I had the privilege of hosting my first Night with the Wild Women at the The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center here in DC last week. This two hour session is an abbreviated version of an eight hour workshop so I was a tiny bit apprehensive as I set the tables, positioned to stretch the length of the gallery, to receive whoever stepped through the doors. To my delight, 17 women, some friends many strangers came and found a seat. It was like a gathering for thanksgiving and in a sense it became just that as a few later told me they were thankful they had given themselves permission to be there, willed themselves to come when so many distractions threatened to keep them away.

Two hours of making collages, story sharing and movement breezed by but in that short time wonderful creations happened. I was extremely impressed with what each of the ladies accomplished, even more amazed at the depth of thought that went into determining what their piece would look like…no two collages were even close to being alike. Knowing I had not connected some threads throughout the session, that thoughts right on the tip of my tongue never parted from my lips no longer mattered to me. What did matter was I knew for sure that everyone who gathered had found a visual voice they were proud of and as they held up their work for the group to admire, was included.

keep your peepers open! ®

artwork by t. lassiter