Hallowed Halls of Johns Hopkins

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The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. ~ M. Scott Peck, author of Gifts of the Journey, In Search of Stones and The Road Less Traveled

Happy Halloween, everyone. On October 3rd, my cousin Meg Heisse and I witnessed a little hocus-pocus when we attended An Evening of Victorian Magic at Evergreen Mansion and Library, which is a Johns Hopkins University Museum. Since my cousin is a member, we attended a pre-performance reception held in the Asian red room among Chinese and Japanese collectibles. The bartenders stirred up Victorian libations and we saw up close magic tricks by David London. Mind reader indeed, out of a 52 card deck, the magician asked me to select one card and show it to others.  No slight of hand involved, through telepathic transmission he correctly identified the card I had picked. But that was just the start of the delightful evening. The magician had many more magic tricks up his sleeve once the show started and he came to the stage.

There was no need to build a stage for the evening because there is already a Victorian era theatre in the Evergreen Museum. And although there were no upper level seats for celestials to sit as in many Victorian theatres, we were told apparitions are in or about the rooms of the mansion. The theatre, painted by Russian Artist Leon Bakst, was used regularly to entertain the three Garrett boys, who at one time lived there.

The Evergreen Museum and Library was built in 1850 and became home to railroad magnate, John Garrett and his family. He was President of Baltimore and Ohio “B & O” Railroad. A little over one hundred years later, in 1952, the Italianate home from the Guilded Era was donated to Johns Hopkins University and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also in the mansion is a 30,000  volume library with much of which is English Renaissance literature. Paintings by Picasso, DegasModigliani and stained glass by Tiffany, a 23 karat gold plated bathroom all are housed in the structure. In the Asian red room I spied several pieces of Chinoiserie furniture and as I snooped around in the museum gift shop at Evergreen, I saw several beautiful publications about stained glass.

Today, my Halloween treat to our readers is a recipe for soul cakes which traditionally was the offering to others on All Hallows Eve. And here are a few pictures of our evening at Evergreen Museum and Library, too. Look carefully you might see things that fool the eye!

Some time soon I do look forward to returning to the historic Evergreen Museum to take the full tour. This wonderful landmark is only one of the institutions of the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins. Check out the others on their website.

Thank you Meg for inviting me to accompany you for the evening.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Observations En Plein Air

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For me, plein air painting is about taking home memories – contemplating the subject with all senses. Smell, touch, temperature, weather – the feeling of warm sun or the start of a rainstorm, for example – and sound. ~ Melissa Jean

On October 6th, despite the calendar indicting fall had arrived, the lingering pleasant temperatures were perfect for a day of painting “en plein air” for artists who had gathered at Liriodendron Mansion.  It was a cloudy day but there was no biting chill in the air. The setting for day one of a week long plein air painting festival sponsored by the Harford Plein Air Painters and Maryland State Arts Council, was a great venue.

The property was purchased in 1890 and the Palladian mansion “Liriodendron” was built as a summer home to Dr. Howard Kelly, his wife and nine children. He was one of the founding fathers of Johns Hopkins Medical College. Artist John Singer Sargent left a legacy painting for the college a long time ago when he painted Dr. Kelly along with the other the founding physicians. For more information on Dr. Kelly and his home, please visit this writing called Perfect Timing.

As I walked the beautiful and expansive grounds of Liriodendron Mansion (originally 196 acres but now about 100 acres) with tall tulip popular trees towering over me, and their pungent, earthy-odored, crunchy dried leaves beneath my feet, I watched artists paint. I became increasingly more excited about new art-related opportunities that will come with a move to Harford County and for a new season of life.

The day reminded me of one the most fabulous plein air painting experiences I have ever had the pleasure to witness on an outstanding ranch just before I moved from Colorado back to my native Maryland, two years ago, after a forty year absence. That day was also cloudy but it was also a joy-filled day. Here is a link to the blog if you are interested in reading about Harvesting Others Joy and seeing some wonderful pictures of the experience and the artists.

Here are a few photos from last week’s plein air festival in Harford County, Maryland. There were some wonderful works in progress. If you have never been to a plein air festival, do so! It is a great way to learn a little something about art and about the creative people behind the art!

Photo above & below: Artist Ray Ewing

(Pictured below: Artist Sandhya Sharma. She is originally from India and I enjoyed talking with her about her

her observations of art opportunities and the art connections she has made in America)

(Below: Artist Pamela Wilde is also a portrait artist. She recently participated in a community portraiture project in nearby Havre de Grace. Click here to read more about it.)

(Above: Artist painting indoors surrounded by archival Johns Hopkins medical ephemera of Dr. Howard Kelly)

Below: A few images on display and for sale from various other venues.

Artists are members of the Harford Plein Air Painters

Liriodendron (aka tulip poplar trees) are not quite yet in their full autumn splendor. But soon….as God intends it.

 

Forever Grateful for Art Education

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“To live a life fulfilled, reflect on the things you have with gratitude.” ~ Jaren Davis

Last weekend I sat in on a plein air painting workshop held at Ladew Topiary Gardens. It is truly an extraordinary,  top-notch venue for artists who enjoy getting out of the studio to paint a garden landscape scene right in front of them in natural light.

Instructors and husband and wife team, Mike Bare and Joanne Bare are completing their one year Artists-in-Residence at Ladew Topiary Gardens. As I listened to the artists talk, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for a few chapters of my life that I would not have wanted to skip for anything – the opportunity to work at two different art galleries. More recently, Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and some years ago at West Wind Fine Art, LLC in Manchester, Vermont. That is when I handled the order fulfillment of art books and videos published by representational painter Richard Schmid‘s publishing house, Stove Prairie Press, LLC.  What an opportunity it was to learn so much about painting. My appreciation of art grew exponentially with those life experiences.

So, when artist Mike Bare spoke about differences in painting styles between loose vs. tight , and terminology such as warm vs cool colors, opposites on a color wheel, soft and hard edges, painting shadows (dark) vs light and negative spaces, I understood what he was talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about other technical aspects of painting before the artists went out into the gardens to sketch and practice what their instructor so capably preached.

( Above photo: Mike Bare at Barn Gallery at Ladew Topiary Gardens)

Some of what Bare spoke about can be applied to writing. Do come back to my next post on October 10, 2019. I’ll explain what the artist said that also relates to a fulfilling writers life.

(Above Photo: Mike Bare’s sketchbook and paintings at Ladew Topiary Gardens)

REFLECTIONS ON A TRIBUTE TO RICHARD SCHMID: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his Best-Selling Books, Alla Prima I & II

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Hard to believe it was 20 years ago I was part of the launch of this wonderful art book “Alla Prima 1” by master artist Richard Schmid. Through handling the order fulfillment of this publication and Richard Schmid’s painting videos (pre-Amazon days!) I had the opportunity to learn about the art and lives of top artists all over this country and beyond. A gift of a lifetime experience it was. Every day I went to work, I had to just stand in awe of the paintings hanging on the walls at West Wind Fine Art, LLC. What God given talent!

via REFLECTIONS ON A TRIBUTE TO RICHARD SCHMID: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his Best-Selling Books, Alla Prima I & II

When the Light Shines

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“Go to the people and the places that set a spark in your soul.” ~ Unknown

UMC Spiritual Bldg 2 with signature

Above Photo: Indoor Labyrinth – Spiritual Center, United Methodist Church, Steamboat Springs, CO

UMC Spiritual bldg 5 with signature

Above photo: Interior of Spiritual Center, Steamboat Springs, CO

When the light shines through the window pane of your soul, it’s a beautiful thing. The first time I stepped through the doors of the United Methodist Church in 2008, I never felt more connected to a place of worship since the church of my childhood. That church, the Maryland Presbyterian, is a church that my father and his company built.

The pastor of the church I attend now, The United Methodist in Steamboat Springs, Colorado,  in my opinion, is a rock star who offers inspiring words people come to hear in churches in this day and age. Nearly every Sunday, even in a resort community where people come and go with the seasons, the pews are filled to capacity. The connectedness and fellowship in the church is something very special.

My church life and the community of writers have been the best part of living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Not even to mention the magnificent landscapes. Others like me who have found a special connectedness here have had an etched brick with their family names or special sentiments placed in the courtyard of the new Spiritual Center. That’s where it will permanently stay.

I captured these photos of the new Spiritual Center at the United Methodist Church early one morning when I was with a group of women preparing for the annual 4th of July fundraiser. The street party held after the parade is hosted by The Tread of Pioneer Museum, the United Methodist and the Episcopal Church, all located within a block. Respectively, the three organizations sell “Routt” beer floats, strawberry sundaes and hot dogs in huge quantities! A seventeen piece band adds to the festivities.

Today is the dedication for this building which will bring much connection, light and life to many people in the years ahead.

UMC Spiritual Bldg 3 all things fulfilling brick with signature

UMC Spiritual Bldg with signature

Above Photo: The new Spiritual Center at the United Methodist Church in Steamboat Springs, CO

Lettuce Thank Them

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We are all one Energy Stream, but what makes the separations or distinguishes the differences is perspective. You are a unique and individual perspective.” ~ Abraham-Hicks

Today  we are celebrating creative thinking and creative spirits on All Things Fulfilling. We all know people who even as young children have “marched to the sound of a different drummer” or “keep a different pace than their peers” or perhaps it could be said “they go their own sweet way.”

Some people have a greater tolerance and understanding for deviations in personalities  than others. Thankfully “creative spirit” is not frowned upon in children as much as when I was growing up. People have grown to appreciate and celebrate creative thinking more, and the gifts unique perspectives bring to the world.

color inside the lines

When I saw this image below, I couldn’t help but ponder what extraordinary thinking and perspective!  It’s really cool couture! Yep, it’s a composition made with lettuce and etching.

very creative couture

If the energy is positively channeled, sometimes magnificent things become of children who go along looking at life a little differently. It is what makes life interesting!

See you tomorrow we will have more to say on ways to BE!

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Consider this: About Creativity

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Wow!  Fact or Fiction? Hmmm… consider it. State your opinion.

creativeadult

These simple words could bring very deep thoughts. Happy Simple Pleasures Week, everybody. Ponder it, reflect on it and share your ideas with others on this site about this thing we call “creativity.” Post your comment.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.