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March 2, 2018

Hello!

 

This is what I’ve been up to in recent weeks.  Drawing mandalas with colored pencils.  Each one is 12″ in diameter and took a few days to complete. The first seven drawings reflect the seven colors of the chakra system (red through violet).  I also attach the most recent piece inspired by the colors of the rainbow.

The fun thing for me when drawing these circular images is that I never know how they will look until they are finished.  I start each with a pencil line drawing on mat board and then let the piece evolve with color. Except for the orange piece, I worked from the center of the circle out to the perimeter.  With the orange piece, I did the opposite – working from the perimeter into the center.

The seven chakra-inspired drawings represent themes for seven essays I’m writing that I hope will provide encouragement for young people who may be struggling in these turbulent times.

Speaking of “The Book”:  The actual writing is slow!  Partly because I’m having so much fun with piano and art.  But I am also spending a lot of time THINKING about how to best communicate my ideas in a way that will resonate with young people.  It’s more challenging than I initially expected.  I will need to “test drive” my first draft with some trusted young people to determine if anything I have to say is even relevant to them, or if they think I’m just an old fogey with quaint ideas that have no bearing on their life experience.  Particularly in light of the recent mass shooting in Florida, I am loathe to sound trite and out of touch.

Regardless, I’ve decided no matter how slow the process or how long it takes, I will write this book, because the concept seems to have merit, and if nothing else, I will document my own philosophy and understanding of life, gained from six-plus decades of hard-fought struggles and hard-won victories!  I want to share with young people concepts I wish I had not had to learn the hard way.

The mandalas are posted on the gallery page, too, if you want to see them on a larger scale.

Happy March (and soon-to-be spring)!

February 13, 2018

This is my first post since the end of 2017.  So, belatedly, Happy New Year!

I’ve been spending the last 6 weeks working on a new piano composition.  It has been coming to me very slowly, in bits and pieces, but now feels complete.  It’s a very simple tune, but also has some lyrical complexity that intrigues me.  It feels like riding a wave.  I had 5 or 6 different ideas for the title, but settled on “Awakening.”  Awakening to the day.  Awakening to what’s happening in the world.  Awakening to one’s own inner “music.”  Awakening in consciousness.

I have also been working on drawings for the book I plan to write.  Each chapter (there will be seven) will have a drawing that represents the theme of that chapter.  Five drawings are finished.  When I complete the other two, I will share them all in my next blog post.  The drawings are inspired by the seven chakras, or wheels of energy in the body that relate to various stages of our human and spiritual development.

I still think about the book a lot, and have written a few pages of the first chapter, but mostly the ideas are still just sloshing around in my brain, and I feel like the time is not fully ripe for actual writing.  I guess it’s the incubation (or gestation) phase of the process!  But now that my piano piece is complete (as long as I don’t get enticed by something new), and as soon as my other two drawings are done, I believe I’ll be ready to immerse.  Or, maybe I’m just procrastinating???

 Smiley Face

Anyway, here is “Awakening.”  I’d love your feedback!

December 28, 2017

Happy New Year!  (Almost).  I am very excited to welcome 2018 and see 2017 in the rear view mirror.  Although, it has been a wonderful year for me personally, I am acutely aware of how difficult it has been for so many others.  Innumerable calamities (both natural and man made) to endure and transcend.  I marvel that the threads in our fabric are holding together.  In retrospect, it seems miraculous we’re still in one piece!

I wanted to share something amazing that happened to me a few weeks ago.  I met with a young woman who does tarot readings, and something quite interesting occurred.  She “saw” me writing books, particularly for young people.  Not stories, but books that educate, guide, encourage, support, etc.  It was something utterly unexpected.  Me, write? Mystified, I asked her what I should write about.  She paused for a long time and said: you already know.

Well, that sounds pretty woo-woo, doesn’t it?  The odd thing is, on my way home, a book concept flashed into my mind – fully formed.  Complete with title, chapters, format, layout, and general content.  Literally within minutes, this perfectly packaged idea burst into my brain, and it felt completely “right.”  Along with it came an equivalent feeling of certainty that I would be spending 2018 writing this book!

The target audience for the book is young people (teens and young adults) who are struggling to find there way in life.  Perhaps with drug and alcohol problems, or just problems coping.  Those who feel dis-empowered, overwhelmed, lost and confused.  I expect my own problematic youth will be inspiration for me…  Smiley Face

Wishing you all many blessings in the new year!

 

December 15, 2017

Hello All!

I am so excited that this wonderful book store, Wellington Square Bookshop  in Exton, PA is now selling boxes of my note cards in their store!  Just in time for holiday shopping.  They are displayed on a shelf in the back room.  A variety pack of 5 cards will be sold for $19.95.  The store is located in the Eagleview Town Center.  The address is 549 Wellington Square, Exton, PA.

These are the images selected for the boxed set.

Cards are still available directly from me, as well, in any combination you like.

2017 has been a wonderful start to my new venture.  I appreciate all the support and encouragement I have received from all of you.  I am already planning some new ventures and projects for 2018 to keep up the momentum.  Will keep you posted on developments as things unfold.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

December 11, 2017

On the heels of finishing “Angels Lament,” another piece of music just started to emerge today, so stay tuned!  I just have an opening theme so far…

I wanted to share my most recent art project.  Recently I was asked by the husband of my friend, Linda, to create a collage made of hearts that he could give as a gift to clients of his.  I thought this could be an enjoyable project.  There are unique challenges when you are working to make something that meets someone else’s expectations or according to specific parameters, but it is also fun to have to work within certain constraints, giving the project a particular focus.  The three pieces below were the result of this effort.  They are 9″ x 12″ in size.

It took me a few days to come up with these ideas and execute them.  I tried 3 distinctly different ideas because I didn’t know what style might speak to him.

Heart Design 1       Heart Design 2       Heart Design 3

Dave liked the one in the middle best (which is also my favorite).  So it is now framed and ready to deliver to him tomorrow.  Not sure what’s next, but I’ll keep you posted!

 

December 4, 2017

The new piano (Korg G1 Air) arrived! Randy put it together for me on Saturday morning. Its sound is much richer and more resonant than my old piano, and there are more choices and features, which will be fun to explore in the coming days.

My latest piece, “Angels Lament,” is finished.  I thought it might be interesting to share some aspects of the composition process with you.  NOTE: If you want to jump ahead and hear the whole thing, go to the very end of this blog or click on my “Piano Music” page.

As I mentioned in my blog on November 11, I began this piece with one small set of notes.  Literally four beats repeated once.  The progression just captured me and I kept playing the notes over and over.  It all started with this:

First few notes

Then I fleshed out that initial theme with what became the first movement.  I call this movement “Exhortation” because its music made me think of angel trumpets blaring, pleading with us to heed the warning bells clanging loudly and urgently all around us.  Calling us to action.  Calling us to wake up and repent our perilous fall from grace.

Exhortation

Then I started work on the second movement.  I thought of the tinkling sound of angel voices, their flapping wings, more and more joining the chorus, imploring God to help us.  The name for this movement became “Invocation.”  A prayer for divine intervention on our behalf.

Invocation

Finally, the third movement.  I wanted to integrate the “voices” of the first two movements.  My hope was that the final movement would be a reconciliation.  All would be well.  Divine victory would prevail.  But, the actual music doesn’t seem to reflect that wish. It took me awhile to identify a name for this movement. Then the word “Capitulation” popped into my mind. To capitulate is to surrender.  To cease resistance.  To give in to more powerful forces. Who capitulates?  The angels?  We, the people? To what do we capitulate? Our highest nature or our basest instincts? The ending is more somber than I wanted it to be.  It is slightly dissonant, discordant, and unresolved, yet it also feels like a perfect resolution! What it conveys remains a mystery to me.

Capitulation

OKAY!  So here is the full composition.  Would love your feedback, impressions, etc.

Angels Lament

November 15, 2017

I continue to work on “Angels Lament.”  The second movement is almost complete, and ideas are percolating for the third movement, which will be a a synthesis of the themes in the first and second movements.

I’m thinking of calling the last movement “Reconciliation.”   Its meaning: “to make one view or belief compatible with another.”  I reflect on the current polarization in our country.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there could be a way to reconcile such disparate perspectives?  Did this song come to me because the angels truly do lament our human dysfunction, or is it because I need reconciliation within myself?  Maybe it’s both!

We will be purchasing a new digital piano for my upcoming birthday in February.  I’m very excited.  The piano Randy (my husband) bought for me two years ago is a basic “entry” model.  We didn’t know at the time that I would play it very much.  Turns out I play every day, at least an hour, sometimes many hours.  With all that playing, unfortunately, a number of keys have become “loose” and they clack annoyingly.  It is driving me absolutely NUTS!!!

SO – we’ve done a lot of research, and the next piano will not only be much better quality, it will also enable me to record directly on the piano itself.  I may hold off recording this latest work until I have my new toy.

Stay tuned… (pun intended) 🙂