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“Don’t leave the butterflies white,” someone told me when I was painting this. . Of course, I didn’t listen. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Morning Ponderings

Yesterday, I went to see the movie Knives Out, a good who-done-it in an Agatha Christie kind of way. This morning, I came across a question I had posed to myself in my idea journal: Who is the sturdy, steady ship to your tugboat? I think the question came from a writing prompt, to which I had no answer at the time.

An eagle, plotting its own course, — Sketch by Pat Bean

As I once again pondered the question, the opening scene in Knives Out flashed through my brain. In it was a large coffee mug that proclaimed: My House, My Rules, My Coffee. I laughed when I saw it, and again this morning when I recalled the cup while rereading the unanswered question.

I suddenly realized that I had always been that sturdy, steady ship. While I had, and have, strong, supportive people helping me survive this life, I have always been the one at the wheel of the ship steering my tugboat and directing its course.

Perhaps I would have missed quite a few falls down the mountain, and many deep potholes, if I had let someone else lead the way. But I never relinquished the ship’s wheel.

Probably by sheer luck, but I must say with a great bit of stubborn determination, I ended up in a good spot today. But if I hadn’t, I would have had no one to blame but myself.

Bean Pat: Fish Creek to Buffalo https://www.10000birds.com/fish-creek-to-buffalo.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+10000Birds+%2810%2C000+Birds%29 Take an armchair bird walk.

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

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Art and Thoughts

           “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

Chickens and Flowers

            I pretty much gave up painting for the nine years I lived in an RV. Just not enough room to piddle around with it the way I do. I’m trying to get back to doing it these days, Just for the fun of it.

And sharing is part of the fun. I know it’s not great art, but doing it cheers my soul and satisfies my creative side.

 

These hens remind me of the ones that ran around my grandmother's backyard, and eventually ended up on the Sunday dinner table.

These hens remind me of the ones that ran around my grandmother’s backyard, and eventually ended up on the Sunday dinner table.

 

            “If you know sometin’ well, you can always paint it, but people would be better off buyin’ chickens” – Grandma Moses 

Not exactly how I wanted this to come out, but I'm committed to finishing every painting I start, even if it goes in the garbage can afterwards.

Not exactly how I wanted this to come out, but I’m committed to finishing every painting I start, even if it goes in the garbage can afterwards.

And this is the poem I think of when I think of flowers:

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

~William Wordsworth, 1804

Bean Pat Birding Thailand http://tinyurl.com/ksl9p4v Some armchair birding for species not you won’t see unless you travel. There are nearly 10,000 bird species worldwide, of which not quite 1,000 can be found in North America. I would truly like to see all 10,000 in person, but since I can’t this is the second best way to go birding.

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“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” – Flannery O’Connor

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room that was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room, which was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

A Silly Game

            My mornings begin by walking my canine companion, Pepper, and then returning to my apartment for a cup of bold, cream-laced coffee, during which time I plan my day by writing down everything I want to accomplish in my daily notebook.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

The list is usually lengthy – and most certainly undoable. But, since I don’t suffer from OCD, I get pleasure in crossing out anything on the list that I do complete, and accepting that what’s left over makes a starting point for the next day.

Often, as I drink my coffee, I look up at a painting that was a gift to me from my friend Richard Sheppard. It’s titled X Marks the Spot.

My imagination asks me which X represents me this particular day.  Do I feel energized like a red X, happy or giddily like a yellow X, or strong and determined like a black X.? I know it’s silly, but it’s a game I’ve been playing for years.

This morning, as I drank my coffee and looked at the painting, I thought of the opening line of an Indiana Jones movie in which the professor said “X never marks the spot.” But of course it did.

Then I decided that my X for this day would be the biggest black one I could find. It would represent my determination to keep my newly created resolution to write three hours a day. I’ve learned that if I at least mark off this item on my long list, I will feel a sense of achievement that will put a big smile on my face.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pats: Spiced Memories http://tinyurl.com/n3vsf7v  and Wassily Kandinsky http://tinyurl.com/lx9ou9d I liked these two blogs because they sent me on a research mission to learn more. I checked out the photo on Spiced Memories, and found a creative spice commercial that was truly artsy-fartsy. And the second blog introduced me to an artist whose work has now made the list of my favorites, along with the paintings of Homer Winslow, Van Gogh and Emil Nolde’s colorful interpretations of life that goes on around us. The Internet is so much better than the encyclopedia volumes that my curious mind devoured before the world-wide-web became a daily part of my life.

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“The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”  ~Pablo Picasso

Visitor Center Art

A mural near the top of a wall in the visitor center at Great Sand Dunes National Park caught my attention, and I lingered for a while simply enjoying it. I thought you might, too. So Below are three of its panels. I found many surprises in each. Do you?

Panel 1: The eagle flies free. — Photo by Pat Bean

Panel 3: The elk stands tall. — Photo by Pat Bean

 Bean’s Pat: Life on the Farm http://tinyurl.com/77qhgwo A tomato sandwich. I have this cookbook, and love it. But forget the diet.  Blog Pick of the Day as selected by this wondering wanderer. FYI: I’m flying to a granddaughter’s wedding in San Antono and not taking my computer,  so my blogs will just be a few photos of my favorite places. I hope you enjoy

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It's the missing part of Mount St. Helens that tells the story. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.” Wallace Stevens

 Travels With Maggie

To artists, negative space is the blankness that exists around painted objects. Such space can sometimes be the most interesting thing on a canvas. Consider Rubin’s painting of a vase that when taken away creates the image of two facing profiles.

The professor in a drawing class I once took emphasized the importance of this empty space by having us draw it instead of the solid form before us.

I’ve learned since then that missing elements can tell us as much about what we’re seeing as what’s before us.

It's the negative space that's the more important image of Rubin's vase. -- Photo courtesy Wikipedia

How can one look up at the crater on Mount St. Helen’s without understanding that part of the mountain is missing? Such a conclusion can conjure up the image of a volcano erupting and remind us of how fragile life is.

When I’m out walking and the chattering of birdsong is stilled, I know to look to the sky. There just might be a hawk flying overhead.

Hollow footprints let me know who or what has trodden a path before me.

A branch with missing leaves might tell me a moose munched as it passed by.

A New York city street where no one walks warns me I might not want to walk there either.

The missing elements of a scene remind me of a saying among communicators, like journalists: Just because you heard what I said doesn’t mean you heard what I said.

So it is that just because you’re looking at a beautiful landscape doesn’t mean the painting is complete. Look again to find what’s missing. The story before you might change

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Epcot Butterfly Garden -- Photo by Pat Bean

“When bright flowers bloom, Parchment crumbles, my words fade. The pen has dropped.” — Morpheus  

Travels With Maggie

Enough already with the weather. I’m going to take you on a trip down memory lane to a spring day in Florida, the one  I spent at Epcot with a son and two grown grandchildren. It was one of those perfect days, full of laughter and sunshine, good food and pleasant company.

Fantasia in green -- Photo by Pat Bean

While I enjoyed everything about the day, the fantastic landscaping is what remains most vivid.  Perhaps I remember Epcot’s gardens best because they were so full of color and life, in contrast to this day’s grayness.

In an art appreciation class I once took, I was asked what two things I found most appealing about paintings. My quick answer was color and surprise. The canvas gardens at Epcot had plenty of both.

Golds, Reds, Purples, Blues, Oranges, Greens and Yellows were mixed together everywhere you looked. The surprises were things like the dancing green hippo and alligator, or Snow White’s voluptuous green, vine skirt.

It would be nice right now if I had could think of something philosophical to say about all the beauty I saw that day, but nothing comes to mind. Perhaps because the pictures are overshadowing my words.

So I’ll stop with the chattering and let the pictures do the rest of the talking. I hope they’ll brighten your day as much as they did mine.

Color to spare for a gray day -- Photo by Pat Bean

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Poppy by Georgia O'Keeffe

 “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 or not.” Georgia O’Keeffe

Travels With Maggie

 I love art museums. I can wander through them for hours, admiring the miracles created by the likes of O’Keeffe, Monet, Van Gogh and Homer, as well as those in an exhibit of work by second-graders, whose works usually contain a colorful freshness.

Winter never fully comes to the Texas Gulf Coast town of Lake Jackson, where the leaves on a tree in my son's front yard still linger. Its colors reminded me of Georgia O'Keeffe's painting above. -- Photo taken yesterday by Pat Bean

The two most important factors in art are the eyes of the artist and the eyes of the viewer. Anyone who has ever been in an art class, where all the students paint the same subject, know that each of the finished canvases will be different, perhaps even drastically different.

Whether we are creating or viewing, what each of us sees is unique to ourselves.

But one doesn’t have to go to a museum to see art. It’s all around us. Simply pulling my RV into my son’s Lake Jackson, Texas, driveway this week, was almost as good as walking through the doors of the Louvre, which someday I hope to do. But until that day comes, if ever, I’ll happily console myself with beauty closer to home.

I captured some of Mother Nature’s artistic miracles when I went walking with Maggie yesterday. And since this really is one of those times when a picture is worth more than words, I’ll now shut up.

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