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About artbyheck

figurative artist

Discover Amazing Sidewalk Art!

 

The possibilities of art never cease to amaze me. And amazed is probably the word that best describes my reaction to the art created at the annual Italian Street Painting Event in San Rafael last weekend.

Watching artists squatting on the ground creating master-pieces out of sidewalk chalk made me think, “Wow, that looks like fun. Maybe I could try that next year.” But when I really thought about being hunched over on hot asphalt for two long days, I decided to forego that creative experience. I’ll be returning to the festival next year—as a spectator.

As the day progressed, gawkers like myself could revisit artists’ sites over  time and observe the progress as sections of sidewalk turned into works of art. It’s a two day event so if you want to see the process from start to finish, you have to attend both days. My friends and I were only there on Saturday so the images I’m showing are still in progress, although Jimi Hendrix looks pretty complete.

Here are just a few of my favorites from the event…

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the year of the rooster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                               The most beautiful girl at the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year the event’s theme was the Summer of Love. There had to be a Jimi Hendrix!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love painting zebras so I had to capture this guy. Look who’s having the last laugh.

 

 

 

 

After seeing so much great sidewalk art, I went on-line to learn more about it. It’s an authentic genre with a number of famous practitioners, including some who specialize in 3-D art. The most famous of these are: Edgar Mueller, Julian Beever, Kurt Wenner, Manfred Stader, and Eduardo Rolero. They have crafted an amazing ability to trick the eyes of passersby into seeing 3 dimensional sceneries and objects on a completely flat asphalt. To learn more about them, go to http://www.boredpanda.com/5-most-talented-3d-sidewalk-chalk-artists/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice Age by Edgar Muellar. Pretty amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in to my next blog where I’ll let you know how my battle with procrastination is going. I’m still using the Ivy Lee method.

Recently someone told me, “If you’re busy with something else, you’re not procrastinating.” Well, that depends. Watching TV for hours—procrastinating. Stopping to write the great American novel—maybe not. But if you use novel writing to avoid paying your bills, you just might find yourself living on the street. Stick to your to-do-list.

How Procrastination Killed My Blog and Why I’m Back

I wrote a blog about procrastination in January. That was back when I was actually writing a blog. So what happened that caused me to take a four-month hiatus?  Why was I suddenly procrastinating? And why had I previously managed to write a weekly blog for almost five months?

The reason I was successful is easy. I was taking a social media class at the local junior college. I had wanted to write a blog for some time and, finally, I had the tools and the impetus to get started. Writing a blog was mandatory. So, no matter how busy I was, I found time to write. My grade depended on it. Then the class ended and so did my good intentions. Within a few weeks, I stopped writing my blog. But I was going to start again soon—next week, or the very next.

In January I said I didn’t know why I procrastinated. I have a pretty good idea now. The future may bring me more “ah,ha” moments. In the meantime, I can think of four reasons why I frequently procrastinate.

  • Perfectionism: What if what I do doesn’t live up to my expectations.    What if it isn’t good enough? This leads to the next reason…
  • Fear: Elizabeth Gilbert once stated that “all procrastination is fear.” But is it fear of failure or fear of success? I think I fear both at different times, maybe even simultaneously. “People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.” Denis Waitley
  • Lack of self-discipline: Lacking self-discipline, we become seduced by instant gratification. The desire for instant gratification causes us to put off the things we should (or even want to do) for an instant “hit.” For example, I really want to finish the art for my book but I also want to work in my yard, watch that highly recommended movie, read the book I just bought on Kindle and a few other things that are all a lot easier and less time-consuming than finishing twenty-two illustrations.
  • I’m really busy: Of course, I was busy when I was taking that class. It’s all about priorities. Perfectionism, fear, and a lack of self-discipline caused me to make other choices when the blog was no longer mandated by an outside force. My long-term goal was sabotaged by a desire for instant gratification. I would write the blog tomorrow when I wasn’t quite so busy…only I didn’t.

    My Plan to Stop (or at least reduce) Procrastinating

    There a lot of things I could do. Today I read article after article on the “whys” of procrastination, and how to stop doing it. However, in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed—leading to more procrastination—I have selected two simple tools.

    1. Break things down into smaller steps: When I think about the fact that I need to finish twenty-two illustrations in order to complete my book, I feel overwhelmed. If I set a goal of one or two a week, the mountain of work will hopefully become a manageable incline.

    2. Use the Ivy Lee Method:

    • At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow.
    • Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
    • When you begin your work day, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
    • Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
    • Repeat this process every working day.

Why I’m Back In The Blogging Saddle Again

Despite a lot of self-doubt (Do I really have anything worthwhile to say that hasn’t been said before? Does anyone really care?), I’ve set the intention of resuming a weekly blog. Maybe it’s just for me, but I have come up with a few reasons why I think it’s a good idea.

  1. It will help me write better by providing a consistent arena to hone my skill. Practice does, indeed, make perfect.
  2. It demands self-discipline which means coming to grips with procrastination. It’s a test of sorts.
  3. I can promote my art and writing. Whether it’s a publishing deal or an offer of gallery representation, I’ve been told it’s more likely to happen to writers and artists who have built a loyal fan base.
  4. Writing a blog teaches me a lot. It demands that I learn about stats and how to get readers. It demands that I do research on interesting topics. If introduces me to other bloggers. I learn so much from their example. (Austin Kleon, you are my blogging idol.)  And, oh, yes, (back to number 1) it demands that I write.

I procrastinated much of today but I finally did what I set out to do. I wrote a blog and published it! Stay tuned to see if I can establish a regular habit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Valentine’s Day—Memories from the Heart

images-2 Valentine’s Day is almost over. Flowers have been delivered. Chocolate wrappers litter depleted candy boxes. For some it’s a time to celebrate their love. Others struggle with the letdown that goes with unrealistic expectations. As for me, I’ve been thinking of past loves. I thought of Charles who was my first love, and Armand who was my last. Today, I ‘m about to tell the story of the one who opened my heart, not the one who closed it.

His name was Charles. I met him when I was nine. You may call it puppy love, but it was important—a promise of things to come, a memory to be savored years later. It inspired the story I am about to share—a story as true as memory can recall.

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First Love

Charles Stroud was my first true love. Yes, I had cared for others…kid stuff. There was Buster with whom I shared a galvanized tub of cool water on hot days, licking condensed milk from oversized spoons. Buster brought me my first love offering, a popsicle delivered to my front door. My father had just forbidden me the coveted trip to the ice cream truck because I had picked at my dinner. Yet, when faced with the eyes of a love-struck three-year-old, it was my father who melted. The popsicle was mine!

In kindergarten I had a brief crush on Michael, the milkman’s son. It seems fitting that I shared milk and cookies with him at the snack table. However,  Damon Cooper was my true champion. After our kindergarten teacher announced to the class that Damon “uses his fists too freely,” no one teased me when he was around—not even Chucky Porter who hid my art projects, and grievously wounded my clay elephant. But that’s another story.
In first and second grade I gave my heart to Tommy Clark. We walked home together after school. Tommy lived on Water Street, aptly named because the street sometimes flooded. All the homes had been built to keep their main floors above the flood line, and  a long flight of stairs led up to Tommy’s front door. We often slipped under those stairs for a few stolen kisses before parting.
Sometimes David Marin chased me home from school. Over lunch, I announced to my mother that David liked me.

“How do you know,” she asked.

“Because he hit me,” was my reply. Any sensible little girl can recognize a love tap when she receives one.

There was also Clinton Dorn. He chased me on the playground and kissed me if he caught me. I never cared for Clinton. He picked his nose.

By the age of nine, I was no stranger to love. Still, all my past affections paled in comparison to my feelings for Charles Stroud. I saw him, for the first time, the day I entered the fifth grade.  In general, that was a dark year. Mr. Lydell, our elderly teacher, a religious fanatic in poor health, should have retired years earlier. His penchant for acting out the Old Testament convinced the whole class that Judgement Day loomed. We were surely facing Hell fire and damnation! Then, there, in the midst of it all was Charles.

Charles’s mother, Velma, was something very unique in a 1950’s Pennsylvania steel town. Divorce was almost unheard of and she had been divorced, not once, but twice. Following her most recent marital failure, she returned home to the welcoming arms of her own mother. Despite her reputation as a chain smoking, hard-drinking woman, Velma’s heart was in the right place and she loved her boy more than anything in God’s world.

Charles was more sophisticated than the local boys. Before his arrival in Birdsboro, he had lived in distant, exotic Florida, and even attended private school there. Although he was not a great scholar, Charles possessed a wry sense of humor. He was the best natured boy I ever met.
When I close my eyes, I can see him on that first day of school, standing tall, his blue eyes brimming with good humor and his blond hair surrounded by light…just like the light in the Jesus picture prominently displayed in my Sunday school class. That’s how he looked to my nine-year-old eyes, and that’s how I remember him now.

It was soon obvious that Charles reciprocated my feelings. We were the couple of the year. Many thought it more than a coincidence when, during the Christmas gift exchange, we received each other’s name. There was only one rule to follow; the gift we purchased could cost no more than one dollar. Being a stickler for rules, I agonized long and hard over the perfectly priced offering and settled on a pencil box with a built in ruler and pencil sharpener. What, I wondered, would my sweetheart find for me?

Rules be damned! Velma marched her boy right down to the local jewelry store. When I opened my gift in class, I beheld a heart shaped, gold locket that contained a smiling photo of Charles. The box also held a matching bracelet. Both pieces boasted a small garnet, my birthstone. Despite the fact that my offering paled in comparison, ever the gentleman, Charles managed to look genuinely pleased when he opened his package. I’d gotten him just what he wanted, or so he said. Once the gold locket circled my neck, I forgot about that pencil box.  All eyes were on me. Surely, only love could offer up a gift of such magnificence.

Even his ardor couldn’t stop Charles from having a bit of a laugh at my expense. It was nothing mean spirited and, in retrospect, it was funny. In those days, no little girl wore slacks to school, dresses only. During the cold winter months, my mother insisted that I wear leggings under my dress…bright red wool, itchy and absolutely mortifying! I hoped Charles wouldn’t notice. Of course, he did. Who could miss them? Picking me up and upending me on the playground, he sang, “She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes… scratch, scratch.” My flushed face matched my flailing, woolen leggings. Embarrassed but flattered, my heart raced. What a thrill to be in Charles’s arms…even upside down.

That was the year I decided to make an original Valentine for every boy and girl in my class. An ambitious undertaking, the cards were completed on time and deposited into the makeshift classroom mailbox, all except the one I made for Charles. To show my devotion, and perhaps to make up for the discrepancy in our Christmas gifts, his was one of grandiose proportions. Since it was too large to fit into the mailbox, I had to place it underneath to await delivery on Valentine’s Day. Seeing whose name was prominently displayed on the envelope, several boys began shouting “Oh, Charles!” The recipient of all the attention turned an alarming shade of fuchsia; however, I could tell he was pleased.

Although I made close to thirty cards that year,  I only remember the one I made for Charles. Its front featured a draft horse with a yoke around its neck and a funny hat on its head. The head actually moved back and forth thanks to an artfully placed tab. Inside, it said, “No horsing around. I go for you.”

Our romance lasted through the sixth grade; it didn’t survive junior high. I earned a spot in the accelerated class. Charles did not. New friends vied for my time and attention. I can’t even remember seeing him in the hallways or the gymnasium.  It was as if he simply disappeared. To be honest, I rarely thought of him back then. Youth is fickle. What’s more, I had problems of my own.

Within the year, my father lost his job and our family embarked on a series of moves that left me emotionally overwhelmed. As I struggled to survive socially at one new school after another, I longed for that little town in Pennsylvania where I had been happy.
My parents moved back to Pennsylvania many years later. On occasional visits I received news of Charles, none of it good. The funny, easy-going boy died on the killing fields of Viet Nam. An angry man came home, depressed and drinking heavily. His marriage crumbled, but he had a little girl whom he adored. Unfortunately, he never sat at her graduation ceremony or walked her down the aisle. Instead, cancer took him at the age of forty-two. His broken-hearted mother blamed it on Agent Orange.

While Charles’s life unraveled on the East Coast, San Francisco seduced me with her charms. After years of moving from place to place, I finally found a home.
Every summer, I returned to Pennsylvania to visit my widowed mother. It was my habit to run in the morning, and I frequently stopped at the local cemetery to visit my father’s grave. It was a tranquil place, part of the geography of my heart.  Surrounding me, old friends slumbered beneath marble markers: the shopkeeper who’d sold me penny candies, the old ladies who fussed over me at church, the teachers who tried to mold my mind, the neighbors who watched me grow.

Then, one day, I stumbled over a simple stone lying almost flush with the earth itself. Its inscription read…”Charles Stroud, Born – 1948, Died – 1990, Rest In Peace.”Seeing that marker, old feelings rushed back, feelings I had buried for more than twenty years. Surprised, I found myself on my knees, my face wet with tears. Were they for the boy who never returned? For a lost love, long gone, but never really forgotten? Or, perhaps, they mourned an innocence we both had lost. I only know that, without warning, memories of a childhood love opened my heart, like my long lost locket, to reveal a laughing boy with golden hair. Oh, Charles, you were there all along.

From Journeys: On the Road & Off the MapCopyright © 2015 by Redwood Writers

Valentine’s Day comes once a year. Make every day a special day. Tell someone, “I love you.”

 

Hope On A Paper Towel

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Fear has been reaching out for me lately. While I believe that good wins out in the end—there are days when I struggle to stay hopeful. And then I found a pocket of hope in an unexpected place, a roll of paper towels.

 

I’m trying to cut back on paper towel usage—the environment, you know. But I haven’t been able to go cold turkey. So I picked up a three-pack of the cheapest towels on the shelf. Each role had a design. I can’t remember what was on roll one except for the fact that it was pink and baby blue. Not my colors. Roll two had butterflies. Who doesn’t like butterflies? Roll three was special. There was a message running over the first two squares. This is what it said: “Each MORNING is an Opportunity to SHINE, a CHANCE to give the past a KICK in the pants, and the future a BEAR HUG.”

Sometimes I find meaning in the strangest places. I remember the paper towel message every morning when I sign a petition to honor freedom of speech and religion, make a phone call to protect the environment, or send a letter to the little girl I sponsor in Rwanda. I think of it now and then on my way to work where I teach young children with special needs. I’m helping them give their future a bear hug. I just need a reminder now and then that what I do matters.

But wait! There was a second message on that roll of paper towels. The second message said: “Love BIG, play HARD and eat DESSERT. Savor the simple things and DON’T WORRY about the rest. CHOOSE today to be AMAZING.”

Worry is not proactive. It weights us down. Even in the midst of great challenges, it’s OK to play and eat dessert. It’s the moments of fun that rest our minds and feed our souls. All work and no play wears us down. So I dance. I spend time with good friends and supportive family. And I continue to hope. I hope for a future that works for everyone. As Tiny Tim once said, “God bless us, every one.”

Anatomy Of A Painting

I posted recently that I was working on a new painting and worried that it wouldn’t be finished in time for the upcoming art reception at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery. Well, I got it done, but lost a lot of sleep doing it.

People often ask me. “How long did it take you to paint that?” Or they want to know something about the process. So, here’s how this particular piece came together. Keep in mind that every piece is different, and my process is not necessarily typical. Every artist has his or her own approach. Here’s mine.

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Day 1—Roughing in the subject

First, I painted in the background. I use acrylic paint. A discussion of acrylic versus oil may be a subject for a future blog. I always start with Indian Yellow. It gives a nice underglow. Next, I sketched in the subject. I don’t always start with a drawing, but this is a portrait of my granddaughter, Elise. When I’m doing a portrait, I want to make sure that the proportions are correct and everything is right where I want it. So I draw.

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Day 2—Face first

I don’t always start with the face, In fact, I usually start with the background. I enjoy figure drawing most and tend to save the best for last. But I wanted some assurance that this painting would bear a resemblance to my granddaughter. If I didn’t get that reassurance would i have quit? Probably not. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…

 

 

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Day 3—Move back

At this point I moved to the background and starting roughing in the color, simulating wood grain in the flooring, painting the carpet background, and placing a design on the curtain in the back. I worked on the walls as well. The background colors are very close, but there had to be differentiation. I found this stage to be a bit tedious. It doesn’t look like a lot happened here, but many more hours went into this phase.  I’m going to keep an actual count of work hours on the next painting.

 

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Day 4—More background detail

Longing to get to the figure, but I wanted to keep working on that background. Since Elise is placed in the actual environment where I snapped her photo, I wanted it to be accurate. Elise loves to get out all my hats when she visits and model them before the wall of mirrors in my room. I’m painting what will one day be her memory. Keep going…

 

 

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Day 5—Rough in the figure

At last, I’m on to the figure! That pink hat is Elise’s favorite. It’s also the one I wore to the women’s march. It gets around. By now the painting has a title, The Pink Hat. I gave Elise the dress she’s wearing in the painting. It actually has a western theme. Goes with the hat…

 

 

 

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Day 6—Details details

There are two figures here, Elise and Elise’s reflection. The mirror element is a challenge. I started the dress pattern at this stage. The dress has horses on it. I needed to just suggest them. If I covered the dress with realistic little horses people would tend to focus on them, not the painting as a whole. I’m not happy with the face but I still have time. It was a work day so I started painting after dinner. I painted until 3 AM with a raging storm in the background. Another work day tomorrow. Tired!

 

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Day 7—Almost done

After staying up late the previous night and working all day, I had a hard time dragging myself back to the studio. Lack of sleep sapped all my energy. I just sat on the couch and dozed in front of the TV when I should have been painting. Getting up was REALLY hard, but I knew I had to in order to be ready for the show. I finally entered the studio at 11 PM and painted until 5 AM. It’s hanging day at the gallery. Finish!

 

 

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Day 8—Close-up & done (maybe)

Got up at 7 AM—not much sleep—and painted finishing touches until 10. So much for sleep, or lack of. Not sure the photo shows the actual color palate accurately, but you get the idea. I’m still not totally happy with the painting, but I’m my own worst critic. I’ll probably  do a bit more work in the future. In the meantime, you can see the painting at the Cloverdale Gallery.

Why I Procrastinate…

This week I am a casebook study in extreme procrastination. Case in point—there is an art reception at my gallery this coming Saturday. We hang the art on Friday, just five days away. I have nothing new. I am working on a painting that I hope will be done in time, yet I have come up with a long list of reasons not to paint. Today, I have soaked in the tub, taken a lovely walk (such a nice day), watched reruns of Fixer Upper on TV (I’ve seen them all before), cleaned my kitchen, viewed my email and even played a few games of solitaire on my phone. What I have not done is paint.

To be honest, I’m in more of a writing mood this week. I just finished a fan fiction story for an upcoming Redwood Writers contest. I’ve done some research on a story about Sonoma County for the next Club anthology, and attended a workshop yesterday morning designed to facilitate writing said story. I’ve written a few pages about an ugly little man who turns women into flowers (I’m working out a few logistics on that one), and started a memoir about the man who broke his thumb over my head. Yet, I admit, I’ve procrastinated a bit on those stories as well.

zebraartwIn addition to all the above, I desperately want to publish my children’s book, Amazing Animals! Fun Facts from A to Z. Everyone who sees it claims to love it, but no one (yet) has been willing to publish it. So, I’m considering self-publishing. All I need to do is finish the art—four paintings done, only twenty-two more to go. Procrastination!

A peek at Amazing Animals!                                                                 Z is for Zebra…do you know why they have stripes? It’s not just for camoflage.

Getting back to the painting I should be working on today— I love the subject matter, but find working on the background a bit tedious. It’s a portrait, and painting people is my thing. That’s what I really enjoy…people and animals. Still, I have resisted doing the work all week. Oh, I’ll probably finish in time, although it will likely involve some serious sleep deprivation, the price I will pay for my procrastination. And, actually, writing this blog could also be labeled procrastination. I have promised myself I would write one blog a week, but finishing the painting should take precedence. After all, I have a deadline.

I’d love to show you where I am on the painting thus far. However, it’s a surprise for someone. Showing it here would likely ruin the surprise. I will publish it if/when it’s done.

All this brings me back to the title of this piece, Why I Procrastinate. Let me admit that I really have no idea what causes me to procrastinate. My mind is spinning with so many great ideas. Or maybe they aren’t so great. Is that what stops me? Fear of failure? Or, maybe it’s fear of success that puts up roadblocks. What would my life be like if I succeeded?

You might ask yourself, “Why would anyone be afraid of success?” Mark McGuinnes addresses this interesting question in his blog, Are You (Subconsciously) Afraid of Success? Check it out.

Perhaps Marianne Williamson penned the most famous quote about fear of success…“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Fear of failure, fear of success—the end result often looks exactly the same. With that in mind, I’m drawing this blog to a close and returning to my painting. I’ll let you know what happens. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Why do you procrastinate?

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You’re Invited! Reception hours are 5 to 7:30. Wine, food, art and brief presentations by the participating artists. I’ll be there. Join me at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery.

 

Sonoma County, California: Hotbed of Culture

 

a-street-copy“When I retire, I’m going to move to an art community.” That’s what I used to tell myself. I actually looked into the artists’ colony in Sand City, California, as well as a number of other locations that attract the art minded. Then, one morning, I woke up and asked myself, “Where would you go that has more artists per capita than Sonoma County?” The answer was, “Nowhere.” So, this year I’ll be blogging about all the art opportunities here in Sonoma County—for artists and supporters of the arts. We have amazing galleries and museums, art enclaves (think A Street and The Barracks to name a few), plus many venues that offer art classes in every area imaginable. I’ll be featuring various galleries and events from time to time, and spotlighting local artists. This week, check below for Art Walks throughout the County…

8tgb9ng7cMaybe visual the visual arts aren’t your thing, but you love theater. Or, better yet, you love art and theater. Rest assured, theater is alive and well in Sonoma County. You’ll find Main Stage West in Sebastopol, Spreckles Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, and Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. Santa Rosa has the Sixth Street Playhouse, Shakespeare at the Cannery (summers) and a great repertory theater at Santa Rosa Junior College. The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts boasts three resident theater companies: North Bay Stage Company, Roustabout Theater and Left Edge Theater. The Raven Performing Arts Theater offers great performances in Healdsburg. Up and coming Cloverdale has a Performing Arts Center too. If you are interested in honing your theater skills, check out Windsor’s Performing Arts Academy. WPAA provides musical drama experiences for public schools in Windsor K-8 and mentors many students each year at Windsor High School—all at no cost to the schools. The nomadic Pegasus Theater Company has its roots in the River Area but makes theatrical appearances throughout the County. One county away is the annual  Mountain Play at the top of Mount Tamalpais. Even though this event takes place in Marin County, it’s too special not to mention, and well worth the trip up the mountain in a big yellow school bus. I’ve been attending for the past six years and have no plans to stop until they cart me away. Mid May to mid June only.

untitledmusicCalling all music lovers! Sonoma County has a fine symphony housed in the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. It features the 1,400 seat Weill Hall, one of the most acoustically perfect performance centers in the world. In addition to the symphony, the Center also presents guest artists in a variety of musical styles. You don’t have to look very far to find live music throughout Sonoma County: hip hop, jazz, folk, blues, hard rock, Cajun and classical—something for every taste. Most of the performance centers listed under theater, above, also host a wide array of musical events.

writingIf you love to write and/or attend book events and readings. Sonoma County has that covered too. Yes, we still have some great bookstores that sponsor events. I’m especially grateful to Copperfield Books. I’m saving most of my information on the writing community for another blog. But I will mention that Santa Rosa hosts the largest chapter of the California Writers Club. Early honorary members included Jack London, George Sterling, John Muir, Joaquin Miller, and the first California poet laureate, Ina Coolbrith. Our local chapter, the Redwood Writers Club, meets monthly at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa. The Club motto is, “Writers helping writers.”  As a grateful active member, I recommend looking into this organization if you write or aspire to write.

There’s still more! Sonoma County has many opportunities for dancers. That’s another rich topic to be explored later. Looks like there’s a lot of information to be covered as 2017 unfolds. In the meantime, Thank you Jean Shepherd for collecting information on Art Walks in Sonoma County. Some of these dates and times can change depending on the season, so calling ahead might be good idea. Where available, Jean has provided phone numbers and emails. Also, a few additional events. (From OLLI Art Club – December 2016)

COME ON! TAKE AN ART WALK…

artwalk-logoArt Walks can include exhibits, music, food, and wine and are always fun. Each is a bit different, but all are worth the walk!

BODEGA
1st Sat ~ Art in Action ~ learn about various arts – up front and personal. 11-5, Artisans’ Co-Op, 17135-A Bodega Hwy, Bodega ~ 876-9830 ~ artisansco-op.com

CLOVERDALE & GEYSERVILLE
Thru May 2017 ~ Sculpture Trail Exhibit ~ The Sculpture Trail, produced by the Cloverdale Arts Alliance and the Geyserville Community Foundation, is a year-round, outdoor exhibit with sculptures changing every May.  9 new sculptures in Cloverdale and 8 new sculptures in Geyserville will be added to the sculptures already on display.  sculwww.101sculpturetrail.com

Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery –  MIX –  January 21 through March 17, 2017                          Artists’ Reception: Saturday, January 21 from 5 to 7:30 pm — 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd. Cloverdale Featured resident artist, Terry Holleman. Guest artists, Michael Coy – painting – and Aaron Poovey – sculpture.

FULTON CROSSING
Fulton Crossing is an industrial artisan center in Sonoma County providing workshop space to local artists, crafters and makers of visual and functional art.
Open Studio at Fulton Crossing – third Friday of every month. This month – January 20, 2017, 5:00-8:00 pm

GUERNEVILLE
1st Friday Art Walk Guerneville – the HeART of the Russian River. Year-Round.
Artist Receptions, Art Exhibits, Music, Food & Wine Pairings! Art Galleries, Open Studios, Merchants open til 8:00.  INFO: Russian River Art Gallery 
16357 Main St., Guerneville, (707) 869-9099

Exhibit: thru Apr 2017 ~ Russian River Glory Days ~ A Tribute to Clare Harris. The Russian River Historical Society announces its latest exhibit regarding the heydays of the Russian River and the town of Rio Nido as exhibited by the efforts and contributions of the Harris family who purchased and developed Rio Nido into a tourist destination in the 30’s and 40’s. This exhibit also focuses upon Clare Harris, one of two brothers, who ran the world famous dance hall at
RIO NIDO which featured some of the country’s great Big Bands.
Guerneville Bank Club, 16209Main St, Guerneville.  www.russianriverhistory.org

HEALDSBURG
2nd Sat ~ Healdsburg Art Walk  ~ Music, art, food, wine. May-Dec, 5:00-8:00 pm,
Downtown Healdsburg ~ 433-6935 ~ healdsburg.com

OCCIDENTAL
Nov 18 – Jan 15 – “Art and Gifts: Toute Petite” presented by Occidental Center for the Arts.
Unique exhibit and sale  Open Fridays through Sundays.
FREE – Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The gallery is located at 3850 Doris Murphy Ct, Occidental, off of Bohemian Highway near the intersection with Graton Road.  (707) 874-9392.

PETALUMA
Art Walk – 2nd Saturday, 5-8pm (Winter hours Nov – Feb)
petalumadowntown.com/petalumaart.aspx

Petaluma Art Center
Gallery Hours: Thursday through Monday from 11am-5pm
Center hours: Thurs. through Mon., 11 am to 5 pm – 4th Monday Free Admission
230 Lakeville Street, Petaluma – 762-5600 x100.  Visit Events page at www.PetalumaArtsCenter.org Fourth Mondays Free!

Riverfront Art Gallery, 132 Petaluma Blvd. N. – 707-775-4278                                                             New Show – January 11th to March 5th – Altered Reality: Photoshopped or Not? Photographs by Lance Kuehne.

SANTA ROSA
First Friday Art Walk  ~ Year-round – Santa Rosa art galleries and studios open for monthly First Friday event. Participating galleries include (Open 5-7pm): The Art Trails Gallery at Corricks, and Annex Gallery. Open 5-8pm: Chroma Gallery, Christie Marks Gallery, Studios at 312 S. A and Backstreet Studios.  707-836-3099 – Email: melissa@ancientoakcellars.com

Barracks Artists – Now Open 1st Saturday of every month. Cutting-edge work.
Located in the Old Finley Barracks.
The Studio Santa Rosa, 3840 Finley Ave, Santa Rosa, California
https://www.facebook.com/baraart/info

SOFA (South of A Street)
1st Friday Art Walk 5-7:00pm; sofasantarosa.com/

 

 

Ten Steps To A Kinder 2017

tomorrow

I have vowed to stay away from politics in my blog, but let me just say that recent events have created an atmosphere of fear and anxiety as we enter 2017.  Fear makes us forget that we are, at heart, compassionate human beings and creates an “us” versus “them” view of the world. In reality, there is only “us.”

The Dali Lama recently stated that fear makes us act as if we are drunk. We do and say things we would not normally do. However, I am seeing some hopeful signs that we are sobering up. I was particularly moved by a recent speech by Canadian Prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to the UN General Assembly. In it, he advised us to choose hope over fear, diversity over division. “Fear has never created a single job or fed a single family.”

The only thing that neutralizes fear is love. Every spiritual tradition has told us so, and I believe it. Yes, there are haters out there, but most of us want to be kind. Sometimes fear gets in the way, and we become anxious. For me, the best way to counteract anxiety is to do something nice for someone else. Give it a try. You might be surprised by the effect a simple smile or compliment has on someone else, and how good you feel afterward.

The choices I make, and the things I say and do (or don’t say and do) have an impact on my life and the lives of others, and so do yours. For myself, I’ve made a resolution to be kinder and more compassionate in 2017. I knew I needed something to keep me on track. So, after careful consideration, I came up with the following  to-do list. There’s nothing new here, just gentle reminders of things I know but sometimes forget. Maybe you forget sometimes, too. If these suggestions strike a chord, use them and share with others. Together, we can make the world a kinder, more hopeful place.

  1. Do no harm—Remember the golden rule; treat others as you would like to be treated. No exceptions, including planet earth and ALL the creatures living on it.
  2. Practice kindness—An act of kindness has the ability to shift someone’s bad day into a better one. Why not be that change? Research tells us that we become happier by making other people happier.
  3. Remember, you can’t tell a book by its cover—It’s hard to look past appearances and our own prejudices. Make the effort. The book you almost rejected just might be a real page turner. I was so intent on hanging out with the “right people” in college that I almost missed a girl who became my lifelong friend.
  4. Support organizations that do good work—You can’t support every organization. Support the ones that speak to you. The homeless? Global warming? Human Rights? No one can do it all, but everyone can do something.
  5. Be a helper, volunteer—This is a natural follow-up to number four. “One of the greatest ironies of life is this: he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he who is served.” (Gordon Hinkle) Discover five surprising benefits of volunteering.
  6. Don’t be against anything; be for something—When asked why she never participated in anti-war demonstrations, Mother Teresa replied, “I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
  7. Always do your best—”Your best is going to change from moment to moment…it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.” (Don Miguel Ruiz)
  8. Be an active listener—Listening is different from hearing. Active listening requires that the listener keep an open mind, refrain from judgement and be attentive. The ability to listen to what another person is saying is essential to working through conflict. If I am formulating my  response before the other person has finished, I am not actively listening.
  9. Don’t make assumptions—We’ve all done it. When we wrongly assume another person’s motivation, problems ensue. Wars have been started by assumptions that were not factual. Number nine can often be avoided by following number eight—are you listening?
  10. If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all—Arguably the most famous line from Disney’s Bambi, Thumper’s mother was right. The negative things we say about others are like boomerangs bringing negativity back into our own lives. It’s my job to keep my words positive. A good rule is to ask is, “Will my words hurt someone?” Are they beneficial? Once spoken, a word can never be taken back. This refers to social media as well as the spoken word. Refraining from negative comments is one way to practice rule #2—be kind. Maybe that’s all we really need to remember.

Wishing EVERYONE a kind and happy 2017!