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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Piddling around with art is one of the things that is always on my daily to-do list. Some days I paint, and some days I don’t. This simple one of a tree and meadow were done a couple of years ago.

          By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you’ve achieved – and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses – you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments.” — Jack Canfield

Morning Thoughts

          As I picked up my daily journal yesterday morning, I noted that it was 8:30 a.m. I then wrote “It’s not yet nine a.m. and I have walked my dog Scamp, made my bed, washed dishes, blogged and read a chapter in Carole King’s memoir. A Natural Woman.”

I paused for a moment, then laughed as I continued writing. “It feels good to give myself credit for the things I’ve done instead of beating myself up for all the things on my to-do list that I haven’t done.”

          All I can say is that at 80, it’s about time.

Reading my journals of the past, I discovered that I was constantly abusing myself for not doing everything I planned or wanted to do, even though in the earlier journals when I was a working mother, I found myself amazed that I had managed to do so much.

While I no longer beat myself up, today’s to-do list is, as always, longer than my attention and energy can handle. I like it that way. It assures that I will never wake up and find myself with nothing to do.

But being OK with not accomplishing it all is a blessing that has only come with age. I like that, too.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: Silly Saturday https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/silly-saturday-the-past-unblogged/ A plug for blogging that made me laugh.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.    *****

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Mission San José de Tumacácori: I did an onsite sketch of the mission on a painting field trip a while back, then added watercolors when I got back home.

          “The books that help you most are those which make you think the most.” – Pablo Neruda

Morning Thoughts

          I buy books and eBooks from Amazon, I buy books at Barnes and Noble, I buy books from Bookmans (a used book store here in Tucson), I buy audible books, and I go to the library weekly. Just thinking about not having something within arm’s reach to read at any given moment would be cause for a panic attack.

This was the view behind the mission, which is located off Highway 19 south of Tucson. It’s an interesting place to visit if you’re in the area. — Art by Pat Bean

Thus, it was that I found myself standing in front of the “Good Reads” book stand that welcomes visitors to the Dusenberry-River Library, the closest library branch to my apartment in Tucson’s Catalina Foothills. The stand contains mostly current best-sellers, and I usually make my first selection of books to check out here before moving on to look for more esoteric choices.

“So, what do you like reading?” A kindly voice asks. “A little bit of everything except for horror,” I told the tall, slender woman adding books to the stand.

“Maybe you’ll like this,” she asks, pulling a book from the backside of the stand. “It’s well-written and funny,” The book was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, and is about a therapist and her therapist.

“Sounds interesting,” I said, and put the book into my bag for later check out. (I’ve already started reading it, and I love it.)

She then brought out a second book, one I knew was a popular book club selection and had gotten rave reviews. She asked if I had read it.

I sort of frowned, then noted that I had started it but found it unoriginal and boring. I felt guilty about saying this, until she smiled and said, “I’m so glad you said that. I tried to finish it twice but couldn’t. But everyone else I’ve talked with absolutely loves it.”

I’m hoping to meet up with this library worker the next time I visit.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: Libraries everywhere. Visit one soon.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” — Friedrich Nietsche

I was trying to come up with a name for this recent watercolor and all I could think of was “Happy Poppies.” I asked my friend, Jean, what she would name the painting, and she came up with “Poppies ,Poppies,” and invoked a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” Our two minds certainly aren’t on the same page. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

Time Changed the Lens in my Eyes

How each of us views life is colored by a unique perspective – our own. Truth is usually somewhere in the middle. I first began to see this years ago when I compared how different reporters covered the same event, and then by listening to my adult children render five different accounts of the same event – or if I added in my two cents, six different accounts.

Eyewitnesses of events can vary so greatly they sound like two different happenings. For example, when I was an environmental reporter, I might lead my story about a speech by a lumber industry spokesman by using his quote: “A tree can produce enough oxygen to keep five or more people alive for a year.” But the paper’s business reporter’s lead would more likely quote him saying: “Logging is the lifeblood of hundreds of small communities; stop cutting trees and people will starve or turn to welfare.”

An art teacher once told me to set out to paint a bad painting as an exercise to free my anxiety. Well, this one fits that description. I was not happy at all with how this yellow-crowned night heron turned out. Life is like that. You win some and lose some.

Both of us are accurately quoting the speaker, but the reader is likely to only like, or even believe, the story that bends in his or her direction. The polarity of politics today certainly supports this conclusion.

But I also got to thinking about how this dichotomy even works as we age while reading Mary Karr’s book, The Art of Memoir. “Getting used to who you are is a lifelong spiritual struggle,” she explained while talking about how age can change how we look at our own pasts.

Susan Branch, author of “The Fairy Tale Girl,” explains this phenomenon by noting: “The thing I like about getting older is finally getting a handle on what the heck was going on back then.”

I’m also reading Dani Shapiro’s book, Still Writing, and she says: “…the idea that there is ever a definitive spot from which life can be understood is, I think, to miss the point of the ever-evolving nature of consciousness and life itself.”

I find it quite interesting that these three writers, so unalike in their personalities and writing styles, all seem to agree that everyone sees things differently, and as we age, even we begin to see things differently than we did when we were younger. I know I do.

Confusing, but it keeps life interesting.

Bean Pat: Bird Note https://www.birdnote.org/ A great way to learn about birds from your comfortable living room.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Garden Melody

Saturday Art

Garden Melody by Pat Bean and Jean Gowen. This is is the first time I have ever shared the creation of a painting with another person.

            “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain a child once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

I’ve cut down on my blogging to Mondays and Thursdays because I have started my memoir. It’s about how a high school dropout becomes an award-winning journalist who wrote stories about three presidents, and celebrities like Maya Angelou, my all-time favorite interview. What I accomplished seems more significant to me at 80, then it did when I was doing it.

Back then I felt like an inept fraud who was simply fooling everybody.

Before I dedicated my life to writing and journalism, there was a part of me that also wanted to be an artist. I gave that dream up for the more important one. But over the years, I occasionally took an art class, and these days, along with writing, I piddle at painting, mixed-media but mostly watercolor.

I find that just as I want the words I write to be read, I want my art to be seen. Perhaps, in addition to my Monday and Thursday blogs, I’ll share my art for the week on Saturdays. No promises because I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I’m not an artist; I’m a writer – and that comes with all the pressure I can handle.

Today’s painting is one that started out as one thing, which didn’t work out, and so became another. My friend, Jean, doodled on the paper a bit, with my permission, when it was in its beginning stages.

It then sat on the table I use for my art for about three weeks. I finally decided it had to be finished so I could start another. I call it Garden Melody, and I actually quite like it.

Check Out: James Gurney’s art blog at http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. — Wikimedia photo

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from a single thing I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keeffe 

Road Trip: June 21 – July 6, 2002

Santa Fe, the oldest state capital in the country, is a delight to visit – if you like quaint adobe buildings with an artistic flair and a town filled with old churches, art galleries and an atmosphere of enchantment. And I do,

A page from my journal with a Georgia O’Keeffe print.

The city, whose name means holy faith, was founded by Spanish colonists in 1610. I got to see quite a bit of its charming downtown area as I searched – and searched – for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. I had an address but no map and it took me quite a while to finally come upon the humble building.

I’ve long been a fan of O’Keeffe’s art, and of her boldness in living her life her way.  Here’s a sample of her way of thinking:

“Men liked to put me down as the best woman painter. I think I’m one of the best painters.”

            “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”

Georgia wanted viewers to really see a flower.

            “I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality. I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to say in paint.”
I bought a few Georgia O’Keeffe prints while in Santa Fe, intending to use them as gifts and keep one for myself. The latter didn’t happen but I made one extra family member happy when I gave the print to her.

With my morning of sight-seeing behind me, I was ready to get back on the road. I had a long way still to go before nightfall.

Bean Pat: Chicago Botanical Garden photos that might have intrigued Georgia O’Keeffe    https://sfkfsfcfef.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/coming-to-a-point-at-the-chicago-botanic-garden/

Available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

 

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When snow melts, the creeks do rise. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

Remembering my Grandmother

I was reading High Tide in Tucson, an essay anthology by Barbara Kingsolver who mentioned that she was often tempted to use one of her grandmother’s axioms when asked to commit to a future obligation. “Lord willing, and the creeks don’t rise,” she wrote.

My grandmother used to say exactly the same thing — and suddenly my wondering-brain was wanting to know the origin of the phrase  …  and then I was putting down Kingsolver’s book for a bit of research.

As usual, I came up with conflicting stories. One is that the phrase was first used by Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. General Superintendent for Indian Affairs between 1796 and 1818. Supposedly he used it in a letter to Thomas Jefferson requesting his presence in Washington D.C. in which he replied he would be there “God willing and the Creek don’t rise,” meaning the Creek Indians.

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors — and I’m loving this book of essays by her.

Others believe that Creek merely refers to a stream, and that it was simply a hayseed rural term meaning if nothing stops me or all goes well. One example for this is a mock rustic speech from an 1851 Graham’s American Monthly Magazine: “Feller-citizens — I’m not ’customed to public speakin’ before sich highfalutin’ audiences. … Yet here I stand before you a speckled hermit, wrapt in the risen-sun counterpane of my popilarity, an’ intendin’, Providence permittin’, and the creek don’t rise, to go it blind!”

Another example of early use of the phrase, according to Wikipedia, is from the 1894 Lafayette Gazette: “We are an American people, born under the flag of independence and if the Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise, the American people who made this country will come pretty near controlling it.”

It’s also said to be a sign-off tag line of the 1930s’ radio broadcaster Bradley Kincaid. My grandmother liked to listen to the radio so maybe this is where she picked it up. And finally, it has also been attributed to Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, among others, on the usual principle that attaching a famous name to a story validates it.

Well, that was enough information, if not exactly uncomplicated, to placate this wondering-brain of mine — until the next time it is wants answers. In the meantime, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll go back to reading High Tide in Tucson. And in case you’re wondering about that title, Kingsolver explains it in her first essay.

Bean Pat: In tribute to Mary Oliver https://deborahbrasket.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/mary-oliver-washed-in-light/  Her words live on.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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A Week with No Internet

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

I did finish this painting during my no-internet agony. Watercolor by Pat Bean

It Wasn’t Intentional

A few months ago, my Wi-Fi was down because I needed an updated modem. As a stop gap, I realized the Wi-Fi connection of my brother was near enough by so that I could use it.  It worked well and my life wasn’t interrupted while I waited for a new modem to arrive.

A few months later when the contract for my internet provider expired, I learned that the company wanted to increase the cost of my internet-only service – I don’t own a TV – from $70 a month to over a hundred dollars, I was incensed. I talked to my brother, and he encouraged me simply to cancel and use his Wi-Fi, which I already knew worked quite well for me.

The Internet lets me see my youngest great-grandchild Cora grow up, and lets others see me with this precious one when I do get to see her in person. — Photo was taken by another family member during our Christmas get-away in Florida.

Great, I thought. My limited, fixed-income budget was grateful for the brotherly love. And it was — for a couple of months. But then things began to go haywire, and after I was without internet for a couple of days, I knew I had to get my own. I found a different provider, however, one that was only going to charge me $45 a month for life –well there was another $10 for monthly modem rental and the life was only good for as long as I never moved from my current location, which I almost certainly will.

Of course, it took time to get reconnected to my own Wi-Fi, which left me almost a whole week without internet. It was agony. It made me realize how much I need and enjoy being connected to the world.

I begin my days by reading the New York Times online. I stay in touch with friends and family, getting to see my great-grandchildren who live far away grow up day by day.  I blog. I submit writing to potential publication markets and search out potential writing jobs.  I use the internet prolifically to find answers to my always questioning mind. I stream TV and movies on my computer or Kindle. I do research for my essays and blogs. I play computer games. I look at maps to see where I’m going or want to go. I shop online. I read Amazon reviews of my book Travels with Maggie online, and I download books from Amazon and the library. And I moderate a daily writing forum called Writer2Writer for Story Circle Network.

That’s a haystack made entirely of needles to this old broad, seeing as my family didn’t get a TV until I was 14 years old.

The world changed, and I guess I changed with it.

Bean Pat: First you must believe you’re a writer https://lithub.com/how-to-say-im-a-writer-and-mean-it/  A blog for writers.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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